Tag Archives: Religion

Buddhist Student Wins Settlement With Louisiana School District That Called His Religion ‘Stupid’

shutterstock_71761258

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

I’ve followed this story from the beginning, so I’m happy to see that Constitutional law still applies in this instance…

Think Progress

A Buddhist student and his family won a settlement last week against a Louisiana school district where the student’s religion was ridiculed in class as “stupid,” the teacher taught that evolution is “impossible,” and that the bible is “100 percent true.”

The court-approved consent decree prohibits future religious discrimination in a school district that had portraits of Jesus Christ in the halls and a “lighted, electronic marquee” outside one school that scrolls Bible verses. “Religious liberty, as embodied by the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and free speech are hallowed constitutional rights to which all are entitled,” the consent decree states.

Parents Scott and Sharon Lane alleged in their lawsuit that their attempts to report religious harassment were dismissed with comments that “this is the Bible Belt,” and that their son, referred to as “C.C.,” could either change his faith or transfer to another school where “there were more Asians.”

C.C.’s parents did transfer him to another school to curb his daily physical nausea and anxiety, even though it is a 30-minute drive from their home. But the school is in the same Sabine Parish district, and also promotes religious beliefs. The District posts a belief statement on its website that says, “We believe that: God exists.”

As part of the settlement, the school agreed to a permanent injunction on school-endorsed prayer during school events, promotion of religion, and “denigration of religion.” School staff will be required to participate in trainings with an attorney on the legal obligations of the settlement.

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Filed under Establishment clause

Anderson Cooper Slams Senator Who Doesn’t ‘Know Anyone In Arizona That Would Discriminate’

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The New Civil Rights Movement

Monday night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed Arizona Republican state senator Al Melvin, who is running for governor and is the only candidate actively supporting SB-1062, the anti-gay “religious freedom” license to discriminate bill. Senator Melvin could not give Cooper any examples of religious discrimination that SB-1062 would prevent in the Grand Canyon State. He used the phrase “religious freedom” a lot, but, despite the ten-minute unedited interview, was at a loss for words to support the existence of the bill that currently sits on Gov. Jan Brewer‘s desk.

In fact, Anderson Cooper was forced to repeatedly state, “but you can’t cite one example where religious freedom is under attack in Arizona.”

Crickets.

“Not now, no, but how about tomorrow, Sen. Melvin offered, after pausing.

“Well — I don’t understand what that means,” Cooper responded. “I mean, if you can’t cite in the entire history of Arizona, one case where religious freedom has been under attack, or even in the last year where it’s been under attack, is this really the most important thing for you to be workin’ on in the state House and the Senate?”

“We’re doing many things, sir,” Sen. Melvin replied. “We are trying to stop Common Core from being implemented in the state, we’re trying to secure the border… We can do multiple things here, and this is one of them — to protect religious freedom.”

Cooper then offered an example of an unwed mother and a divorced woman who, under SB-1062, could easily be targeted by those exercising their “religious freedom.”

“I don’t know where you’re getting your hypotheticals,” Melvin said. “Who would be against an unwed mother?”

Cooper, again, was forced to educate the Senator. “Jesus spoke against divorce,” he told the Arizona Republican. “He never said anything about gay people.”

“I think you’re being far-fetched with all due respect sir,” Sen. Melvin told Cooper. “As a Christian, as most God-fearing men and women would respect unwed mothers, divorced women — who would discriminate against them. I’ve never heard of discriminating against people like that.”

Melvin refused to consider Cooper’s purely plausible examples.

“You know, all of the pillars of society are under attack in the United States. The family, the traditional family, traditional marriage, mainline churches, the Boy Scouts, you name it. All of the pillars of society as we know it today are under attack, including religious freedom.”

(The irony of Sen. Melvin telling an openly-gay man that “all of the pillars of society,” including “traditional marriage,” “are under attack in the United States,” escaped the Senator.)

Cooper then asked, “Under attack by who?”

“Well, Melvin responded, “it’s throughout the country. We had a ballot measure a few years ago, to define marriage as between one man and one woman… and it passed and that now is part of our constitution.”

Cooper then reminded Melvin that, “no florist is going to be forced to participate in a gay wedding, because, ‘a’ — you don’t have gay weddings in Arizona, and you’re not going to any time soon — and ‘b’ under Arizona law, it’s OK to discriminate against a gay person, to refuse them service already.”

“With all due respect sir, I don’t know anyone in Arizona that would discriminate against a fellow human being.”

“Discrimination doesn’t exist in Arizona?,” Cooper, shocked, asked, noting he knows people in New York who discriminate.

“Well, maybe you ought to move to Arizona. We’re more people-friendly here, apparently.”

Senator Melvin’s lack of understanding of the bill, the intended or unintended consequences of the bill, and what discrimination actually means and that it exists is appalling and embarrassing.

Sen. Melvin closed by reminding Cooper that he is “the only candidate for governor in Arizona who is promoting and defending this bill.”

Exactly.

Below is the video. Part two includes NYU Law Professor Kenji Yoshino who defended Cooper’s analysis.

Towards the end of part two, Cooper blasts Melvin who refuses to state whether or not he believes firing an LGBT person for being LGBT is discrimination.

“You’re going to be governor of gay and lesbian people, and you can’t even go on the record and say if a gay or lesbian person is fired simply for being gay or lesbian, that’s discrimination?” Cooper incredulously inquired. “You can’t even make that leap and say, ‘Yeah, that would be discrimination’?”

“I don’t know of any case like you just cited, sir,” Melvin responded.

Visit CNN to watch video…

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Filed under Anderson Cooper, Arizona

Tennessee Court Fires Judge Who Wouldn’t Let Parents Name Their Baby ‘Messiah’

Seven-month-old Messiah, who was temporarily renamed Martin by Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew.

Seven-month-old Messiah, who was temporarily renamed Martin by Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew.
CREDIT: AP/WBIR-TV, HEIDI WIGDAHL

I will always contends that the Court has no right to interfere  with a mother naming her child even if it sounds ridiculous to most people…

Think Progress

In August, a Tennessee couple appeared before a child support magistrate judge to resolve a dispute over the baby’s surname. But Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew took it upon herself to order that the seven-month-old baby’s first name be changed from “Messiah” to “Martin,” because that name should be reserved for Jesus. New court documents reveal that Ballew was fired Friday, after being cited by the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct for inappropriate religious bias.

“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” Ballew said at the time of the order, reasoning that the child would face difficulties in a heavily Christian town.

On appeal, a court held the name change unconstitutional, as a clear violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Ballew will still face a disciplinary hearing even after her removal.

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Filed under Religion

School Allegedly Told Buddhist Student His Faith Is ‘Stupid’ & He Should Convert Or Switch Schools

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CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

So, what happened to the Constitutional privilege of the free exercise to practice one’s religion  (or not) for EVERY AMERICAN?   These folks will not let us ever forget the so-called “right to bear arms”, but just like the Taliban, anything other than their proscribed religion is an abomination to them.   This really boils my blood!

I can’t believe this stuff happens in the United States…

Think Progress

A Louisiana teacher who taught her sixth grade class that evolution is “impossible” and that the bible is “100 percent true” ridiculed a Buddhist student during class and announced that those who don’t believe in god are “stupid,” according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.

When the child’s parents reported the incidents, the Sabine Parish superintendent allegedly told them “this is the Bible Belt,” and asked whether the child, referred to as “C.C.” could either change his faith or transfer to a school where “there are more Asians.”

According to the ACLU, the teacher, Rita Rourke, works at a school in Sabine Parish, La., that consistently touts Christian beliefs through portraits of Jesus Christ in the halls, a “lighted, electronic marquee” outside the school that scrolls Bible verses, and regular staff member recitation of prayers with students during class. “The day after meeting with the Lanes, the Superintendent sent a letter to Negreet Principal Gene Wright stating that she approved of Negreet’s official religious practices. Wright read the letter to the entire Negreet student body over the school’s public-address system,” according to the complaint.

C.C.’s parents did transfer him to another school to curb his daily physical nausea and anxiety, even though it is a 30-minute drive from their home. But the school is in the same district, and also promotes religious beliefs. The District posts a belief statement on its website that says, “We believe that: God exists.” And C.C.’s new school begins student assemblies and events with prayer. The ACLU lawsuit alleges that the school and the district are improperly coercing religious practices by students and endorsing beliefs in violation of the First Amendment.

C.C.’s original teacher, Rourke, has also continued to promote religious beliefs, giving students extra credit points for including a bible verse or the phrase, “Isn’t it amazing what the Lord has made,” at the bottom of exams. She told her class that Buddhism is “stupid” and, “no one can stay alive that long without eating.” And she told her students that “if evolution was real, it would still be happening: Apes would be turning into humans today.”

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Filed under First Amendment Rights

10 worst right-wing statements of the week — Marxist pope edition

10 worst right-wing statements of the week -- Marxist pope edition

Pope Francis (Credit: Associated Press)

You can’t make this stuff up.

I challenge any conservative leaning person or blog to match the insanity featuring similar left-wing statements…

Salon

Pope Francis came down on the dangers of trickle-down economics — and conservatives promptly lost their mind

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Before the Thanksgiving floats, there was the usual parade of right-wing nuts this week, many of whom became apoplectic after Pope Francis’ much-publicized Joy of the Gospel document, which critiqued unfettered capitalism and insinuated that thoroughly discredited trickle-down economics is naïve and just plain wrong.

1. Stuart Varney lectures Pope Francis about capitalism.

Not even the pope is safe from the wrath of Fox. How dare the pope attack “deified markets” and the idolatry of money? Who does he think he is? God?

Fox Business host Stuart Varney was just stewing about the pontiff’s remarks. “Capitalism, in my opinion, is a liberator,” he lectured Pope Francis from his television pulpit. “The free choice of millions of people is the essence of freedom. In my opinion, society benefits most when people are free to pursue their own self-interest. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it is not.”

It isn’t. It just isn’t.

Oh, yeah, and another thing. The pope has no business mixing politics with religion. Especially when his political views diverge with those of Fox. Varney again:

“I go to church to save my soul. It’s got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.”

Pope John Paul II was much more to Varney’s liking because he was very against communism, and very into private property. He never made rich people feel bad for having too much, while millions of others went without.

2. Cliff Kinkaid: Marxists have infiltrated the Catholic Church.

The problem goes a lot deeper than Stu Varney (and Rush Limbaugh) had feared. The Catholic Church itself is infiltrated with Marxists. This conspiracy theory is brought to you by the right-wing, misnamed Accuracy in Media director, Cliff Kincaid.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not here to beat up on the pope,” Kinkaid insisted in a video recently uploaded to YouTube. “That’s not my job. But I can read. I can read this document. I can see what he is saying, and I can tell you right now that this is a very, very disappointing document, and it makes me wonder about the future of the Roman Catholic Church in this world and what they’re heading towards.”

Kinkaid says he has proof that there is an evil commie plot in the Roman Catholic Church, that it supports one world government and that Pope Francis is using “flowery language” to camouflage this sinister plot, or  “what we might euphemistically call a new world order, a new world economic order.”

But he is not attacking the Manchurian Pope.

3. Pam Geller: How dare the Pope actually read the Koran!

It’s not the communism that Islamophobic blogger/activist Pam Geller is worried about with Pope Francis. It’s how nice he is to Muslims. It’s downright unChristian of him to imply that there might be Muslims who don’t want to kill the rest of us. He obviously condones the killing of Christians.

Talk about a leap of faith.

“At a time when Christianity worldwide is under siege by Islamic jihadists, the leader of the Catholic Church claims that the Quran teaches non-violence. As Christians across the Muslim world live in abject terror and fear kidnapping, rape and slaughter to the bloodcurdling cries of ‘Allahu akbar,’ the pope gives papal sanction to the savage,” Geller wrote on her blog.

What the pope actually did in his apostolic exhortation, which has sent shockwaves throughout the right-wing wackosphere, was to contrast “violent fundamentalism” with “authentic Islam.” The latter, he wrote, was “opposed to every form of violence.”

“How does he know that? When did he become an imam?” Geller writes.

Because you have to be an imam to read the Quran. Geller has read a few passages as well, especially the ones about slaughtering Christians in the name of jihad. Wait, so does that make her an imam?

4. Jeb Bush: Obama is taking revenge on Catholics by moving Vatican embassy.

So, even though the pope is a socialist and a Muslim, for some reason our socialist Muslim president is out to get the Catholic Church.

Jeb Bush took it upon himself to perpetuate the Republican lie that President Obama is attacking Catholics by relocating the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican. He’s very vindictive, you know, the president. And he wants to punish Catholics for the Church’s opposition to Obamacare. When Obama did all those mea culpas about the problems with Obamacare, that was just code for blaming the Catholic Church.

Here’s what former Florida governor Bush tweeted out last Wednesday:

“Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.”

Jeb is not the first Bush to be willfully ignorant of history and geography. A modicum of research reveals that the process of moving the embassy from its current location to the compound at the U.S. Embassy to Italy actually began under Jeb’s brother, President George W., whose administration purchased the buildings. The new location is actually a tenth of a mile closer to the Vatican. And, just for knowing, many Catholic organizations supported the Affordable Care Act.

5. Birther preacher Manning: Obama had mother of his lovechild killed.But, hey, since when did actual facts get in the way of an ad hominem political attack on the country’s first black president?

Despite the pope’s apparent sanity, there was still plenty of lunacy in the right-wing pulpit this week. Take birther preacher (yes, that’s a category) Rev. James David Manning, pastor of Atlah World Missionary Church, who leveled this bizarre accusation: Remember the apparently mentally ill woman who was shot and killed after she tried to ram her car into a barrier outside the White House in October? Her name was Miriam Carey, and that was no random, tragic incident. According to Manning, that woman was the mother of Barack Obama’s illegitimate child.

The proof, says the good reverend—who also believes Michelle Obama was born a man and that the president was born in Kenya—will come when Miriam Carey’s young child is given a paternity test. Just to make extra sure.

While the incident is being investigated, neither the family nor their attorney has suggested this conspiracy. Their denial of the conspiracy, says Manning, is just more proof that Obama had his secret baby mama killed.

That’s the wonderful thing about conspiracy theories. Everything proves them right.

6. Dinesh D’Souza: Obama is a grown-up Trayvon. I take it back. No, I stand by it. No, I take it back.

Conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza called President Barack Obama a “Grown-Up Trayvon” on his Twitter page, earlier this week. “I am thankful this week when I remember that America is big enough and great enough to survive Grown-Up Trayvon in the White House!” was the tweet, according to Politico.

Then he deleted it. Then he defended it, saying the President himself had said he was like Trayvon, showing a deep understanding of the President’s compassionate speech. Then he deleted that.

Make up your racist mind, D’Souza.

7. Colorado school board member recommends castration for trans people.

Intolerance and hate comes in so many packages—this time, it’s a little old white lady in Colorado who holds a small amount of local power. It came to light this week in Gawker, that Katherine Svenson, a school board member for the Delta County school district, recently suggested that transgender students not be allowed to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity unless they have been “castrated.”

Lovely.

“Massachusetts and California have passed laws relating to calling a student, irrespective of his biological gender, letting him perform as the gender he thinks he is, or she is,” Svenson said at the meeting. “I just want to emphasize: not in this district. Not until the plumbing’s changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here.”

Given the chance to walk back those inflammatory remarks when questioned by a local news station, Svenson declined.

“I don’t have a problem if some boys think they are girls,” she said. “I’m just saying as long as they can impregnate a woman, they’re not going to go in the girls’ locker-room.”

(h/t Gawker)

8. Klingenschmitt: The devil sent transgendered boys to rape your daughters.

Discharged former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt has similar qualms about transgendered people. They are out to rape your daughters; the “demon of rape” sent them, Klingenschmitt ranted on his Internet broadcast recently. Even when the transgendered person is really young, like 6-year-old Colorado girl Coy Mathis, who was born a boy.

“He has been dressed as a girl by his parents because his parents have a political agenda to push these coed bathroom bills into Colorado state law,” Klingenschmitt declared, without any apparent evidence or need for evidence.

The parents, who have had the wisdom to accept their kid for what she is, and fight for her right to be who she is, are “abusive,” according to Klingenschmitt, and they are part of a broader movement, “to violate your daughters.”

Changing your gender identity to carry out rape. That’s a lot of trouble to go through.

(h/t: Right-Wing Watch)

9. Florida Tea Partier: GOP ‘gay thugs’ are forcing employers to hire effeminate males and masculine women.

The author of this little piece of absurdity is one Danita Kilcullen, co-founder of the Fort Lauderdale Tea Party, who is very upset that 10 Republicans joined Democrats to approve the Employment Non-Discrimation Act (ENDA) in the Senate. She blames that “thug organization,” the Log Cabin Republicans, for this turn of events, and promises that the act will force employers to “hire someone with orange hair, body/neck/face covered with tattoos, multiple piercings, or a man in a dress … or for that matter, a demonstrative effeminate male or purposeful butch-looking female,” according to an email obtained by the Broward County/Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel.

That would be terrible, especially if that orange-haired, tattooed, pierced person could actually do the job.

10. Alec Baldwin: Gay Fundamentalists?

Alec Baldwin, liberal actor with an anger problem and a streak of homophobia, flailed around this week after his temper got him into trouble once again, and cost him his flagging TV show. First, he compared his lashing out at a no-doubt extremely annoying paparazzo allegedly with a homophobic slur to Martin Bashir’s suggestion that Sarah Palin be subjected to the slave punishment of defecation in her mouth. (Bashir later apologized. We forgive him.)

When that didn’t work, Baldwin blamed “gay fundamentalists” for his demise.

We just have one question, Alec: What are gay fundamentalists?

 

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Filed under Republican Buffoonary, Right Wing Myths and Falsehoods

WTH is going on? – To some conservatives, Vladimir Putin is ‘the defender of Christian civilization’

Yes, that Putin. No, really.

Daily Kos

Oh look, the radical conservative American quote-unquote-”pastor” who helped form a vicious anti-gay movement in Uganda that led to the killing of publicly outed gay Ugandans is a huge fan of Vladimir Putin.

Last month a federal judge allowed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit to proceed against [Scott Lively] that alleges the pastor persecuted gays in Uganda and committed a potential “crime against humanity” — one that contributed to a bill that would have made homosexuality an act punishable by death. And yet the grey-haired 57-year-old has refused to quiet down.On his blog this month, Lively praised Putin as “the defender of Christian civilization” for signing this summer a ban on information that treats being gay as valid or attractive — and traced the idea to his own tour of Russia in 2006-7. Last week, Lively suggested Russian officials foil gay activists planning to rainbow-bomb the Olympics by flying a rainbow banner over the games so “the global homosexual movement” would be reminded that “the rainbow belongs to God!”

What the hell is going on? Have we abandoned irony forever, now that the staunch conservatives that saw communism as the be-all, end-all threat to humanity have shuffled into embracing the rather unambiguously creepy Russian leader and the nation’s latest restrictions of human rights—nay, even bragging about their connections to Russian politics? Is there anyone who was alive for even the smallest portion of the Cold War that thought Red Dawnconservatism would move into being pro-Russian-government?

Nope, apparently the hatred of gay Americans is greater than all those old fears of the creeping communist menace. John McCain and other old-schoolers keep trying to get them worked up about Russian plots and dangers and diplomatic machinations, but the social conservatives are too worked up about the Gays and the Muslims and the Obamas to even remember what they were supposed to be worked up about in the before-times. The enemy of my enemy isawesome.

Vladimir Putin, the “defender of Christian civilization.” There’s really no way of making fun of these people anymore, they do it to themselves before you ever get the chance.

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Filed under Religious Right, Vladimir Putin

“Pro-Life” Is A Lie, Here Are 10 More Accurate Descriptions They Won’t Like

touch my sign

Addicting Info

There’s a lot of terms floating around that people use to describe themselves when they want to make their position sound more appealing, even if those terms are a completely (and very deliberately) misleading. One such lie term is “pro-life.”

John Fugelsang said it best: “Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, and still call yourself ‘pro-life.’” Indeed, the term “pro-life” has come to represent a group of people whose values have nothing to do with protecting life, and living people, and more to do with protecting unborn fetuses to the exclusion of all other considerations.

The only way to effectively kill a misnomer, such as “pro-life,” is to replace it with a more accurate description. I would encourage everyone to pick one of these terms, and start using it in place of the words “pro-life,” when discussing abortion.

1. Anti-Abortion: People who call themselves “pro-life” oppose abortion. Since that’s the only argument the “pro-life’ moniker is applied to we should just call their position what it is: opposition to a woman’s right to get an abortion, or anti-abortion for brevity.

2. Anti-Choice: This term works because the people who proclaim that they are “pro-life” are using that term to describe their position in regards to whether or not a woman can choose to have an abortion and absolutely nothing else. See the Fugelsang quote above. Therefore they are anti-choice. “Life” does not even enter the equation.

3. Pro-Fetus: This term works because a large swathe of the “pro-life” movement are the same people who support cutting funding to programs like WIC, food stamps, and other programs which generally help mothers and children. If they were really concerned with “life,” and not just the fetus, then they would aggressively commit themselves to make sure children have enough food to eat, a proper education, and a place to live. Since their concern for the fetus ends as soon as it is born, they are clearly pro-fetus.

4. Pro-Birth: Same reasoning as “pro fetus,” this term works because so many people who consider themselves “pro-life” stop caring about whether or not the baby is adequately taken care of the instant it’s born.

5. Pro-Controlling Women: It’s irrefutable that the people who would deny women the right to have an abortion are trying to control women. If someone thinks they’re more qualified than a pregnant woman to decide what she does with her body, without her input, that’s control, pure and simple.

6: Pro-Abuse: Attempting to dominate or control another person in a relationship is considered domestic abuse, so how is attempting to control women whom you’ve never met not considered abuse? A woman in Ireland died last year because she was denied a lifesaving abortion for a pregnancy that was already ending in an unavoidable miscarrage. How are the doctors who denied her that life saving procedure any better than a man who tells a woman how to dress, or what to do? If controlling what a woman does with her time is considered abuse then denying that same woman a medical procedure should be considered equally abhorrent.

7. Anti-Sex: My friend Justin insisted for a long time that the people who oppose abortion do so because they think that a baby should be punishment for premarital sex, and I was admittedly skeptical, but he actually proved it, here. I’ll let his words on this topic speak for themselves, he makes an excellent argument.

8. Pro-Religious Control: A lot of the arguments that fuel the anti-abortion debate are religious in nature. Since not everyone follows the same religion, trying to assert your religious beliefs over other people can be considered nothing less than pro-religious control. Not all of the “pro-life” movement is opposed to abortion, necessarily, but they are in favor of controlling people on the basis of religion. Rick Santorum, for example, who strongly opposes abortion for religious reasons, had no problem with his own wife having a life saving abortion. Despite the fact that his own wife needed one, because of his religion, he continues to insist that it should be denied to other women. What’s more controlling than that?

9. Misogynist: Misogyny is defined as the hatred of women, and what’s more hateful to women than treating them like they’re too stupid to decide what to do with their bodies, by denying them a procedure which could be life saving, medically necessary or, in many cases, the responsible choice to make? I can’t think of many things more hateful than letting women die, or forcing them to carry a rapist’s baby to term, because you think you’re more qualified to make their medical decisions than they are.

10. Hypocrite: I thought I’d end with this one, because after the previous examples it should be glaringly obvious that this isn’t a debate about “life,” it’s a debate about abortion and what women are capable of deciding in regards to their own bodies. History, and extensive studies, have shown that making abortion illegal doesn’t get rid of abortion; it only makes the procedure more dangerous and unregulated, which causes more women to die from complications. According to the World Health Organization, “illegal abortion is usually unsafe abortion.” Anyone who would call themselves “pro-life,” while simultaneously trying to outlaw abortions, making them more deadly, is a hypocrite.

I consider myself pro-life because I support programs and policies which help people to thrive, including abortion. There’s nothing “pro-life,” or noble, about forcing a woman to carry an unwanted fetus to term, especially when that fetus could put her life in danger, was conceived through rape or incest, or would be subjected to a life of difficulty and poverty because the mother is unable to provide for a child.

We can’t continue to allow people to pretend that they support life, on the basis that they oppose abortion. We have to be willing to say, “No, that’s not what you are, and I’m not going to let you lie about your position in order to make it sound more appealing. You are not pro-life. If you were, you would be fundraising for orphanages instead of protesting at abortion clinics.”

 

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Filed under Pro Life v. Pro Choice

Obama’s prayers: charity, humility, and longer skirts for Malia

Our president was both poignant and funny when he spoke at the annual National Prayer Breakfast yesterday…

Christian Science Monitor

At the National Prayer Breakfast, he admitted that his ‘faith journey has had its twists and turns,’ but he also said a frequent prayer is that he ‘might walk closer with God.’

President Obama offered a detailed glimpse into the role of prayer in his life during a speech Thursday that was at turns humorous, news-driven, a bit defensive, and deeply introspective.

The president, who has been criticized in some quarters for rarely being seen going to church, admitted “my faith journey has had its twists and turns.” But speaking in Washington at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Mr. Obama said his Christian faith has “been a sustaining force for me over these last few years.”

In sketching his religious history, Mr. Obama said his father – “who I barely knew and I only met once” – was said to be a nonbeliever. The president called his mother, on the other hand, “one of the most spiritual people that I ever knew.” But, he noted, she “grew up with a certain skepticism about organized religion, and she usually only took me to church on Easter and Christmas – sometimes.” Still, he said, his mother’s example of living the golden rule meant that “my earliest inspirations for a life of service ended up being the faith leaders of the civil rights movement.”

[...]

There was fatherly humor when Obama said that one subject for prayer was his 12-year-old daughter Malia. “Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance. Where there will be boys. Lord, have that skirt get longer as she travels – to that dance,” he said to widespread audience laughter.     More…

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Filed under National Prayer Breakfast, President Barack Obama, President Obama

The Season of Gay Whiplash

The New Yorker Magazine has an excellent article on the recent rash of gay bashing, bullying and assaults…

Between Paladino, the Bronx tortures, and the suicides, are things really getting better?

A few weeks ago, I found myself wondering whether the Logo reality show The A-List—in which a handful of vapidly handsome men make fools of themselves in the playground of Manhattan—would be “bad for the gays.” That this would even occur to me as a concern shows just how blissfully easy it can be to be a gay man in New York.

How embarrassingly silly that worry seems this week, with the news of the torture of three young gay men in the Bronx. That came on the heels of a string of gay-teen suicides nationwide, including one young man at Rutgers who felt so humiliated by his roommate that he jumped off the George Washington Bridge. And in the midst of it all, this state’s Republican nominee for governor declares that homosexuality is not a “valid or successful” option. As we were trying to process all of this, the Washington Post allowed Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, to write a thuggish op-ed inspired by those suicides, as though his bigoted gay-conspiracy theories are legitimate.   Continue reading…

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Filed under Gay Bashing, Homophobia, Uncategorized

Religion: Who Knows What

Mario Piperni

Not surprising.

A new survey of Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

While most people are born into their parent’s religion and stick with it for the duration of their lives, it’s usually a different matter for atheists and agnostics.  They tend to evolve into their beliefs after some reflection and study.

And no, I am not implying that all religious individuals are idiots who do not ever reflect or study.  Some of course do and come to form a stronger bond with their own religion.  But I am suggesting that most people who refer to themselves as religious do not bother to ever question the tenets of their religion (or other religions) and choose to believe with little, if any, question or thought.  Thus the poorer showing on the survey.

If you’re interested, Pew has an online quiz on religion you can use to test yourself.

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