Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Destructive Policy in Action (Part 1)

Georgia—All hell broke loose when the Ga. legislature first proposed and then passed “religious freedom” legislation sanctioning bias against people who are, or are perceived to be, non-heterosexuals.The Atlanta-based organizers of the massive DragonCon convention, which brought 70,000 people and untold sums of money to Georgia last year alone, threatened to find a new home should Georgia’s “religious freedom” bill become law. Their threat was mirrored by threats of boycott from myriad television and film studios and production companies, which have been increasingly attracted to the state owing to the incentives Georgia has put in place to attract the industry. The voices of dissent soon swelled to include the top executives at a vast range of corporations, including Virgin, Unilever, Microsoft, Dell, multiple sports organizations including the NCAA and the NFL, and hundreds of Georgia businesses, including Home Depot, Coca-cola, UPS, SunTrust, SalesForce, and AT&T. On Friday, in a statement made to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the NFL "said any form of discrimination is inconsistent with its business practices and could affect the awarding of the Super Bowl.” This announcement followed statements of strong condemnation from all of Atlanta’s four sports teams. Proponents of the bill say that it protects the religious freedoms of churches, businesses, and individuals, ensuring that they will not be forced to hire, provide services for, or otherwise accommodate individuals, couples, or groups, when doing so would violate their faith. Critics of the bill say that religious freedom is already guaranteed by both the U.S. Constitution and Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. This bill, critics claim, instead makes state sanctioned discrimination against non-heterosexuals the law of the land.Despite the overwhelming outcry and the sweeping promises of boycotts, Georgia’s strongly right-winged legislature passed House Bill 757 anyway, leaving Gov. Nathan Deal to decide whether to accept the fallout and sign it, or take the risk of angering far-right supporters and veto the bill.
Image uncredited; filched from “Marriage Equality Does not Affect Religious Liberty” by Julian Drury

Sunday, November 27, 2011

santorum: the neologism everyone should know

santorum (n.)—1. the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.  2. former Senator Rick Santorum.

When you Google the word "santorum," the topmost result is the definition given above.  How could that be?  How did the former senator and presidential hopeful end up with a "Google problem?"  Well...

from Wikipedia:

"In response to comments by U.S. Senator Rick Santorum criticized as anti-gay by gay rights groups[1] and some politicians,[2] sex columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage began a campaign in 2003 to associate Santorum's surname with a sexual innuendo.[3]"

Hysterical!  And good activism.  Read the entire entry here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dear Dr. Laura...

Below is one of those internet pieces that morphs and takes on legendary form as it is put into mass circulation. While the authorship and original intended recipient (if there was one) is unknown, the piece is clearly intended for a wide audience and meant as a critique of selective use of the Bible to defend one's own pet prejudices.

The legend goes as follows: In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is written as though an open letter to Dr. Laura and subsequently posted on the internet.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

John H. Faithful

NOTE: While the missive may or may not have originally been intended for Dr. Laura, it is true that she has made rather abhorrent claims about gay people. It is also true that, at the time this was written in early 2000, she was a self-avowed Orthodox Jew. She recanted this claim in 2003 and began to implicitly promote herself as Christian.