This is a sequel to
Last night, my faith in one of the oldest and largest guilds in all of World of Warcraft, Order of Knights Templar (OKT) of Lothar realm, was destroyed after several of its officers conspired to kick my main character, Bichorak, from the guild, claiming I caused “drama” in it. My actual crime: Reporting to Blizzard cheating activities by one of the members, Kibblenbits, and discussing it privately with at least two of those same officers, one of whom dismissed it with the comment “Who cares?”. The actual officer who kicked me from the guild, with no warning whatsoever, was Kymophobia.
This was after I had been a member of the guild for many months and worked hard to help make the guild one of the best and most popular in Lothar realm. I’d had many, many great experiences with the guild and its members and thought nothing would ever end that. But another member, who had first alerted me to the cheating, also warned me that the corruption of the guild was not limited to that one member. I should have listened to her! Continue reading →
This has to be one of the most pathetic criticisms of the Atheist community I’ve ever seen. If it had been written by a Christian attacking Atheists, it could not have been worse.
Atheism is too often expensive.
Where are the picnics and hikes and movie screenings? We know that the demographics of the movement are diverse, and, therefore, it’s likely that the needs of the individuals are quite varied as well… so why is raising awareness about the historicity of Jesus (usually a ticketed event) always more important than delivering casseroles to the non-theist first-time parents? Where are the low-cost, easy-access events that tie us together as people, simply for us to get to know one another and organically create support networks?
We talk an awful big game about Christianity in particular, but ultimately religions have cornered the market on human emotional connection, and so far it seems that the atheist movement is content to ignore it altogether. A major reason it’s hard to leave the church is because of the wealth of social and emotional support you must leave behind. Learning about evolution and archeology are awesome, mind-opening opportunities that are great for everyone, but a lecture about evolution won’t pick your kids up from practice if your car breaks down. Or take you out for coffee if you’re having a rough week. Or play a pickup game of raquetball. Or come to your open mic night. Or whatever it is that you do. And the connections that make those interactions possible aren’t easy to create when you don’t have the money to join in.
I then commented there:
Indeed, that link should give a great solution to Amanda’s problem:
Atheism and Agnosticism: Theological Diversity in Unitarian Universalism
Atheists are people who do not believe in a god, while Agnostics are people who think that we cannot know whether a god exists. Both groups are welcome in Unitarian Universalism.
Today, a significant proportion of Unitarian Universalists do not believe in any type of god. Our congregations are theologically diverse places where people with many different understandings of the sacred can be in religious community together.
Another non-theistic tradition is Humanism, which focuses on human potential and emphasizes personal responsibility for ethical behavior.
Unless, of course, she is too bigoted to fellowship with anyone who is not an atheist. And that would only draw my contempt.
Is that a mosquito I hear?
I was disgusted to read this:
Chick-fil-A president slams gay marriage
The president of Chick-fil-A, the fast food chain with more than 1,600 restaurants and $4 billion in revenue, has come out against same-sex marriage.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Dan Cathy, the company’s president and chief operating officer, said in a recent radio interview. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”
In an interview with the Baptist Press published this week, Cathy doubled down on his stance against same-sex unions.
“Guilty as charged,” Cathy said. “We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
“We know that it might not be popular with everyone,” he added, “but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
The company, founded by Dan’s father, Truett Cathy, in 1946, has a history of “unapologetic social conservatism,” as the Daily Caller put it. All 1,608 of its stores are closed on Sundays, a day of rest for most Christians.
According to Queerty.com, the WinShape Foundation—Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm—donated more than $1.1 million between 2003 and 2008 to anti-LGBT groups, doubling that amount to $2 million in 2009.
Earlier this year, students at Northeastern University protested a proposal to put a Chick-fil-A on its Boston campus because of the company’s history of supporting anti-gay organizations. The school abandoned its plan.
I have been eating that restaurant chain’s food products for many years, and I love them, but I cannot accept this expression of homophobia and religious bigotry. So as a matter of principle, I am calling for a boycott of this company by all those who support gay marriage.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’”
What arrogance! Assuming that there is a God, that this God is that of the Bible, and that this God of the Bible is still against gay marriage because of statements made in his name thousands of years ago is the height of hubris, not skeptics like me casting doubt on all three claims, which are empirically UNFOUNDED. And being willing to alienate a large portion of your customer base because of unfounded claims is stupid!
This is the website for Chick-Fil-A: http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Home
The company’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ChickfilA
And the company’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/chickfila
And a webpage to make comments directly to the company: http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Connect/Contact-Us-CARES
- Ed Helms — I Won’t Eat at Chick-fil-A … ‘Cause It’s Anti-Gay (tmz.com)
- It is time to boycott Chick-fil-A (rhymeetreason.com)
- Chick-fil-A president says company opposes gay marriage (ajc.com)
- Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay stance sparks online outrage (with poll) (vancouversun.com)
Previous references on this blog to her:
Imagine my horror when I saw this:
i am going to be taking a break from tumblr. i’m not sure how long. i have been getting a slew of people (who i can only guess are from “social justice” tumblr) telling me to kill myself, making violent threats, sending me my home address they somehow found. my inbox this morning was graced with pictures of my apartment building.
i honestly have no words.
love you all.
To the bastard who sent those sick things to Laci, you are nothing but a worthless coward. Maybe someone should take a sledgehammer and slam it on YOUR face!
And if he wants to come after anyone for insulting Islam, what about me?
Except I never threatened the life of anyone for being Muslim, did I?
The Baha’i Faith claims to support the ideal of equality of men and women as a basic teaching. Equality implies that members of both genders, all else being the same, have the exact same rights and opportunities in society.
Consider this statement from an official Baha’i website:
Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of Women and Men
A Statement of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States
The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is essential to human progress and the transformation of society. Inequality retards not only the advancement of women but the progress of civilization itself. The persistent denial of equality to one-half of the world’s population is an affront to human dignity. It promotes destructive attitudes and habits in men and women that pass from the family to the work place, to political life, and, ultimately, to international relations. On no grounds, moral, biological, or traditional, can inequality be justified. The moral and psychological climate necessary to enable our nation to establish social justice and to contribute to global peace will be created only when women attain full partnership with men in all fields of endeavor.
Nice words. But does the reality measure up to them?
Women on the Universal House of Justice
by Universal House of Justice
To: National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand
We have been informed of a paper, presented at a recent New Zealand Bahá’í Studies conference, which raises the possibility that the ineligibility of women for membership on the Universal House of Justice may be a temporary provision subject to change through a process of progressive unfoldment of the divine purpose. We present the following points as a means of increasing the friends’ understanding of this established provision of the Order of Bahá’u'lláh that membership of the Universal House of Justice is confined to men.
The system of Bahá’í Administration is “indissolubly bound with the essential verities of the Faith” as set forth in the writings of Bahá’u'lláh and Abdul’ Baha. A unique feature of this system is the appointment of authorized interpreters, in the persons of Abdu’l Baha and the Guardian, to provide authoritative statements on the intent of Bahá’u'lláh’s revelation. Writing in The Dispensation of Bahá’u'lláh, Shogi Effendi stated that “Abdul’ Baha and the Guardian ” share . . . the right and obligation to interpret the Bahá’í Teachings”. In relation to his own function as interpreter, he further stated that “the Guardian has been specifically endowed with such power as he may need to reveal the purport and disclose the implications of the utterances of Bahá’u'lláh and of Abdu’l Baha”. The significance of this important provision is that the religion of God is safeguarded and protected against schism and its essential unity is preserved.
With regard to the status of women, the important point for Bahá’ís to remember is that in the face of the categorical pronouncements in Bahá’í Scripture establishing the equality of men and women, the ineligibility of women for membership on the Universal House of Justice does not constitute evidence of the superiority of men over women. It must also be borne in mind that women are not excluded from any other international institution of the Faith. They are found among the ranks of the Hands of the Cause. They serve as members of the International Teaching Center and as Continental Counsellors. And, there is nothing in the text to preclude the participation of women in such future international bodies as the Supreme Tribunal.
Not only are women excluded from membership in the Universal House of Justice, but this body has absolute power over the rest of the worldwide Baha’i community, by its being considered infallible, like Baha’u'llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi before them. All of them were also men, by the way.
Bahá’u'lláh revealed the basic laws for His Dispensation and ordained the Universal House of Justice to pass subsidiary laws “regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book”. (TB 68) With these words, Bahá’u'lláh promises divine guidance to the Universal House of Justice in the legislative process: “God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth, and He verily is the Provider, the Omniscient.” (TB 68) Likewise, `Abdu’l-Bahá promised in His Will that the Universal House of Justice would be under “the care and protection” of Bahá’u'lláh, and under “the shelter and unerring guidance” of the Báb. (WT 11) In the Second Part of His Will, `Abdu’l-Bahá promised that the decisions of the Universal House of Justice functioning with only its elected membership, whether unanimously or by majority vote, would be “the truth and the purpose of God Himself,” (WT 19) a subject which is more fully discussed here.
Clearly, the idea that the sexes are equal in the Baha’i Faith is an outright lie. When a body that has absolute power excludes women from its membership, that means the women of that community have NO power of their own and any appearances of authority from any Baha’i woman is merely phony window dressing. Indeed, the whole concept of equality of men and women in the Baha’i Faith is an insidious form of doublespeak.
Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., “downsizing” for layoffs, “servicing the target” for bombing ), making the truth less unpleasant, without denying its nature. It may also be deployed as intentional ambiguity, or reversal of meaning (for example, naming a state of war “peace”). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth, producing a communication bypass.
And any religion that engages in such dishonesty must be condemned!
“You women are equal because we men say you are equal, but NO, you cannot have the same authority over others that we men do…..BECAUSE WE SAY SO!”
Science is an empirical enterprise and thus it works through the examination of the material universe and all that exists within it. Through detailed observation, experimentation, debate, and tentativeness, science advances one step at a time through producing more and more detailed and accurate portrayals of what exists in the universe. And it is precisely because of the principles of peer review and the willingness to reconsider long accepted ideas that errors made in science can be corrected and new findings revealed and confirmed that overthrow long accepted theories.
The problem arises when certain people, adhering to extremist dogmas whether of religion or political ideology, find the findings of modern science in conflict with their beliefs. They could do the seemingly obvious thing of abandoning or modifying their beliefs to fit the evidence that all can see. Sadly, some do not. Instead, they make claims that oppose the scientific consensus, and then to explain why most in the scientific community do not accept these claims, they make additional claims of a conspiracy theory that seems to involve a great many people, which is itself unlikely in the extreme.
There is nothing wrong with proposing alternative hypotheses to explain phenomenon in the universe, and we must encourage this as much as possible for science to advance. But what must not be allowed is the assertion as dogma of anything that claims to be scientific but has never been tested through the long and slow process of peer review and subsequent examination by independent observers.
The arrogance of those who would deny the value of scientific processes, often by those who themselves have little understanding of how science works, just illustrates the incredible power of the Dunning–Kruger effect, as described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect We must understand that such is the danger of these attitudes that they should not be tolerated for long once they are fully exposed for what they really are.
Examples of a such unscientific and pseudo-scientific dogmas are Creationism, Global Warming Denialism, AIDS Denialism, and anti-Vaccinationism. Often, these stem from legitimate problems with a procedure, such as faulty vaccinations discovered to occationally cause problems in children, and are exaggerated far beyond rational bounds and turned into an absolute (“Vaccinations should no longer be given to children at all because a few became autistic a few months after their injections!”). We must remember that the ONLY way for anything to advance in science is by the accumulation of empirical data, and repeated testing through peer review. Nothing else will ever suffice, because no other method has ever been consistently shown to work at revealing facts.
Science is a methodology for studying the universe and everything in it, as well as the conclusions reached over time from repeated use of that methodology. That’s all it has ever been and ever should be.
The traditional view of God is of a Creator of the universe. He is not a part of the universe, otherwise he could not have been its Creator, therefore science can never study him. And what science cannot study, it has no business making judgements on.
That religion has wrongfully intruded on scientific matters with ancient creation myths means that science CAN rightfully debunk those myths. It does not follow, however, that Theism itself has been disproven by science, because science cannot do that. It can only show what dogmas in religion that relate to things in the universe are wrong, but not dogmas about anything outside the universe!
And that is why P Z Myers’ assertion here that “if you’re not an Atheist, you aren’t doing science right” is really a case of arrogant dogmatism on his part and need not be taken seriously by anyone who knows what the real conception of God by most theistic religions is.
Rebecca Watson just reported on a supposedly “moderate Theist”, named Stan, who criticized her attacks on Helen Ukpabio, a self-professed “witch-hunter” and Christian fanatic in Nigeria.
Here is the message he sent her:
Subject: Moving beyond Skepticism toward agendas
Message: Thank you guys/gals for years of entertainment, lessons regarding logical fallicies, interesting interviews, laughs and the ‘how-to’ in approaching a supposed “science-based” essay.
I continue to download your podcast weekly, though lately I find myself only to listen briefly to your science news, check who may be interviewed and skip to ‘Science or Fiction.’
Over these years (in MY subjective estimation) you have continued to drift toward an ‘agenda-based’ position forwarding not only skeptical thinking but actively pushing atheism.
It’s no longer limited to Rebecca’s consistant slam on organized religion, but seems woven through most your dialogues whenever the subject arises.
OK, example please! Late examples would be the story of a supposed Christian lady leader in Africa killing witches (the one coming or who came to Houston, TX). These acts of this organization in Africa are terrible. And so, you blame it on the religious group(s) for allowing or supporting this. In the same vein, let’s poke at the religious for our history segment on burning witches at the stake (last week). Skeptically, I think the anthropologists would look more at the local government structures at the time to be the culprit; but, religion is an easy target for you.
I wondered today, that say a man entered a local bank, loudly declared himself to be an athiest and proceeded to rob the bank at gunpoint, how you would spin it on SGU.
By what I see as of late, I think you would not deem it noteworthy, since 1) It’s not a topic driven by my afore mentioned agenda; 2) You wouldn’t accept that he was an athiest just by his declaration; and 3) You would NEVER associate his atheism (if he was) to this disassociative act.
If the last two reasons above seem sensible to you, why not apply that with inflamed news that includes religions?
I don’t think you can defend the position that you do give religious news the ‘fair skeptical look,’… and thus my first point (not your agenda) has grounds.
Though I may slowly drift from your podcast, I do thank you greatly for your lessons, and for introducing me to various energized skeptics across the globe who can keep focused on the “Science” and fair “Skepticism,” not focusing on groups to slam in order to feel good or more right.
I absolutely hate when people write like this. It is so intellectually dishonest!
Fighting bigotry is not about promoting the atheist agenda. Unless and until the speaker in the podcast is explicitly stating he wants to promote atheism, any such assumption from Theists should be considered an outright lie!
Indeed, I consider the writer above to be a backstabber. As the saying goes, it is not so much the evil doers that are the scourge of the world as much as the supposedly good people who do nothing….including Christians who ignore or make excuses for the extremists amongst themselves. Stan is an idiot.
Rebecca answered him as follows:
I don’t understand the complaint at all. Helen Ukpabio founded an evangelical Christian ministry based upon her interpretation of the Bible. She preaches to congregations around the world about witches, telling them that God hates these children and demands that they be cured or murdered.
Why on earth would we discuss that without mentioning religion? She is literally using religious belief to convince people to murder children. We never said that this is what all Christians do. We never even said that this is what all Christians believe or support. So what did we say that was incorrect?
When Stan did not give a straight reply to her, she sent another message:
Apparently I don’t merit a direct response, but I’ll try once more, anyway. Witches are paranormal creatures that do not exist. Our podcast is called “The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe.” Skeptics often rationally discuss the paranormal.
Now, I’m very curious: please explain why we should not have covered the Helen Ukpabio witch-hunter story.
The answer, quite simply, is that the Bible itself condones and even commands the sort of brutal stunts against women and children who are labled “witches” that Ukpabio calls for. And Stan must know that.
This whole issue would not exist if Christian leaders would stop lying about the Bible itself and how it was made.
There is nothing moderate about asserting as fact what is actually a falsehood. Not in politics nor in religion!
You can be a theist without believing in the Bible as the Word of God. You can even be a Christian without believing in the Bible as the Word of God. In short, you can be a Christian without believing in any lies. Try it sometime!
First, read this:
Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by police in 1991 sparked the L.A. riots, was found dead at his California home on Sunday. He was 47.
Police said King’s fiancée discovered him at the bottom of the swimming pool at their Rialto, Calif., home, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles.
Police responded to a call at 5:25 a.m., pulled King out of the pool and attempted CPR, but could not revive him.
King’s representative Suzanne Wickman confirmed to his death to KABC-TV. According to TMZ, King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, told friends King spent the bulk of Saturday drinking and “smoked marijuana at some point,” before she went to went to bed at 2:00 a.m.
The cause of death is unknown, but police are investigating it as a drowning. Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda told CNN there were no preliminary signs of foul play.
King was beaten by four white LAPD officers following a DUI stop on March 3, 1991. Footage captured by an amateur videographer showed the officers hitting King 56 times with wooden batons.
“I just got lucky that night to have the cameras on me,” King said in April, marking the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots. “When I saw the tape, I was so happy that it was on tape and then looking at it, it was like I was in another body. I felt like I had died in that one, and was just watching it.”
The four officers–Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Sgt. Stacey Koon–were acquitted of criminal charges, sparking the riots that left 55 people dead. (Koon and Powell were later found guilty of federal civil rights charges and sentenced to 30 months in prison.)
In hindsight, it appears that Rodney King was an example of a soul who could not be saved and was doomed to pass away prematurely due to his own failures instead of being able to live a full life. Even so, he had a few good qualities that society should have done a lot more to nurture, instead of treating him like he was disposable.
There was simply no excuse whatsoever for the beating King received from the cops; they were clearly out of control and lawbreakers themselves. So why were they acquitted at the first trial? One reason was because the jury was all white, a racist practice that was all too common in the South, where blacks would be sent to prison for crimes they did not commit, while guilty whites would be exonerated.
Another issue was the misperception that it is better to have a few corrupt and abusive cops on the beat than too few cops to keep order in society. That is simply wrong; I think I’d rather have no cops at all than ANY cops that are themselves criminals and never held accountable for their misdeeds because such corruption can feed on itself to ruin a whole society from within. The riots that broke out resulted from people seeing lawlessness among the cops and in that courtroom and thus thinking, “If they will not uphold the law and promote justice, why should we?!” No, I do not blame them at all!
Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Stacey Koon, if they are still alive, should never work for any police force ever again, nor should any cop caught being so abusive. And no jury involved in a case involving a black person and white people should be of one racial makeup!
Racism is normally thought of in America as whites hating blacks, but it is clear that members of any race can be bigoted against members of any other race. That’s clearly what we see here: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/beauty-pageant-winner-caught-ugly-controversy-150938019.html
Beauty pageant winner caught in ugly controversy
A newly crowned beauty queen in Fiji, who sparked an outcry because of her mixed heritage, was asked to give up her title because of her age, not her race, according to pageant officials.
Torika Watters, 16, was chosen last month to represent Fiji in the Miss World contest. The pageant drew the likes of supermodel Rachel Hunter, who was a judge.
But after Watters won the title, she faced heavy backlash because of her mixed European/Fijian descent, and some said she did not look Fijian enough.
Hundreds of derogatory comments had to be deleted from the Miss World Fiji Facebook page, according to reports.
Watters had to step down because she did not meet the minimum age requirement of 17, Miss World Fiji pageant director Andhy Blake told the Fiji Times. Koini Vakaloloma, 24, the first runner-up, will take her place at the Miss World competition in Inner Mongolia in August.
Watters issued a statement saying that she had been approached by Blake to be in the contest and at the time expressed concerns about the age requirement. Blake told her she was still eligible. “I had no intentions of doing anything sneaky or wrong and like the other contestants entered the competition for what I believed to be the right reasons—to be an Ambassador for Fiji and raise money for charitable causes,” she wrote.
She went on to say: “I am proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists.” She is not challenging the decision and has chosen to walk away.
Blake confirmed that he was under the impression Watters could compete, but was told later by organizers that contestants had to be at least one month away from turning 17 by the start of the pageant.
A posting on the Miss World Fiji 2012 Facebook site says, “Please be informed despite media reports—Miss Torika Watters was never stripped of her title. We wish her well in her future endeavors and offer an apology to her, her beautiful family and friends for any distress this competition would have brought upon her! She will always be the very 1st Miss World Fiji!!”
Watters is eligible next year for the pageant, according to Blake, if she chooses to compete again.
But I’d be willing to bet $1000 that she even if she does compete again, she will not win, because they will find another excuse to exclude her. Indeed, even if the pageant organizers are not guilty of being racist, they ARE guilty of discriminating against Watters because of her AGE, another thing she had no control over. And since she was allowed to compete in the first place, she should have been accepted, period.
I would be proud to have this girl be Miss America, Fijian heritage and all!
First, look at this:
Are all Christian schools this bigoted? Appearantly!
Former coach of the year fired from Christian school for out-of-wedlock pregnancy
In an incredibly bizarre situation that appears headed for a legal challenge, a Dallas-area volleyball coach and science teacher was fired by the Christian school at which she worked for becoming pregnant before being married.
As first reported by Dallas Fort Worth network WFAA, Rockwall (Texas) Heritage Christian Academy volleyball coach and science teacher Cathy Samford was fired during the fall semester after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Samford had led the volleyball program for three years and had been named the school’s coach of the year once during that span.
Still, that couldn’t help save her job when she first admitted her pregnancy during the fall semester, with the school terminating her based on a violation of her contract’s morals clause because it was determined her pregnancy meant she could not serve as “a Christian role model.”
“I looked it up and thought, ‘They can’t do this,’” the 29-year-old Samford told WFAA. “We all have different views and interpretations. It’s not necessarily the Christian thing to do to throw somebody aside because of those.”
While Samford and her lawyer, Colin Walsh, are working toward filing a discrimination suit against the school, their case may be complicated by the fact that Heritage Christian Academy is a private school, and recent Supreme Court decisions have defended the right of Christian schools to exert more influence on their hirings and firings because they consider teachers to be “ministers in the classroom.”
“The Supreme Court, as a matter of fact in the last month, has ruled 9-to-0 that a Christian school does have that right, because this is a ministry, so we have the right to have standards of conduct,” Heritage Christian Academy headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor, who acknowledged that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had contacted the school, told WFAA. “How’s it going to look to a little fourth-grade girl that sees she’s pregnant and she’s not married?”
While the two parties attempted mediation, those efforts failed quickly because the school refused to consider a settlement for the case.
That has left Samford uninsured and in financial distress as she heads towards giving birth, a situation she never considered possible when she was a proud member of Heritage Christian Academy’s faculty.
Would it have been better if this teacher and coach had chosen abortion to hide that she was ever pregnant? According to traditional Christian morals, isn’t having an abortion even worse than having the baby out of wedlock? And have any men been fired for getting a woman pregnant out of wedlock? I’ve never heard of that happening!
This is why I will never teach at or send any children I have to such a school….most of them seem to be run by sexist hypocrites! This is not about enforcing morals, this is about a school trying to save money by denying an insurance claim, something you would expect only from corrupt private businesses! And even if having a baby out of wedlock is considered immoral, the BABY should not be punished for her parents’ mistakes!
While the Democrats are firmly united under President Barack Obama, the Republican Party has been badly split among its Presidental candidates. After some of the loonier and less competent candidates have quit, there remain:
- Mitt Romney, a moderate with a genuine track record of success, but also a Mormon.
- Rick Santorum, an extremist appealing to the Religious Right bigots
- Newt Gingrinch, whose instant name recognition and deep well of experience is marred by his hypocrisy and public failures.
- Ron Paul, who professes libertarianism and a strict Constructionist view of the U S Constitution, but he is just too old to be a viable President. His son Rand Paul is a Senator and he might run for President later, and he is indentified with the Tea Party zealots.
Notice what all these current front runners have in common? THEY ARE ALL WHITE MEN! And that is really all the Republicans are appealing to these days, as well as Christian bigots. And these different candidates are engaged in a brutal fight for the nomination that is splitting the party up.
Four years ago, there was a simular fight between Hiliary Clinton and Barack Obama. Hiliary had a slight advantage because of her previous position as First Lady, while Obama was still only serving his first term as a Senator, so by all appearances Hiliary should have trounced Obama quickly. But in fact she did not, because blacks were so eagar to get one of their own as President that they pushed hard for him. Likewise, women wanting one of their own as President pushed hard for Hiliary. Blacks and liberal women are two of the Democratic Party’s strongest constituencies. The result was a battle that lasted for months and threated to severely damage the Democrats’ chances at winning in 2008. And yet in the end the Democrats were so determined to defeat the Republicans who had disgraced themselves so badly under Bush Jr that they were able to put aside their differences and win the election.
So why can’t the Republicans do the same and thus win this year? Because the differences between the front-runners are trivial compared to their simularities, yet they fight bitterly. In addition, all of them are appealing to a core constituency, white males, who are no longer the overwhelmingly dominant segment of the American population, even though they are still slightly more privileged than those who are non-white and/or female. The fact that John McCain lost in 2008 to Obama should have showed the futility of continuing to appeal to a base that is growing impotent. But the Republicans have not learned how to grow and diversify, have they?
So keep losing, Republicans! In a few more decades your party will be irrelevant! Like the Ku Klux Klan is now.
- A growing enthusiasm gap on the right? (midwestaholic.wordpress.com)
- MSNBC/Wall Street Journal Poll: Republican Party and Its Presidential Candidates Hurt by Primary Season as Obama Rises (themoderatevoice.com)
- Ohio voters remain angry about Republican attacks on unions (dailykos.com)
I just got a comment from someone named Sally. Rather than approve it where it was placed, I will copy and paste it here, along with the identifying information on it, and attempt to respond to its points in red.
I have a question for you, please don’t consider that I’m attacking you.
Usually when someone opens with something like that, he is about to make a statement that really IS an attack.
I like how you expose ignorants and bigots in this blog, but I fail to notice something important now you’re bringing up the subject of homophobia. As a bisexual woman myself in a same-sex long term relationship, I am definitely against homophobia, and as a liberal person I condemn any kind of discrimination. I’m also agnostic, so I don’t refrain from critizing religions. So far I guess we pretty much agree in our views, but I haven’t seen you (maybe you did and I’m not aware) critizing the criminalization of consensual incest between adults.
Of course, she would equate the prohibition of incest with the prohibition of homosexuality, since both were condemned in the Bible and in all Abrahamic religions. But just because the Bible condemns something doesn’t make that thing good for atheists to accept. Unless you think atheists should also accept stealing and murder.
Please note that I’m not talking about incestuous rape or incestuous abuse of minors, only consensual incest and between consenting adults. I’m sure you’re aware that consenting adults involved in consensual incestuous relationships are going to jail, punished by archaic laws because of a victimless crime like this.
I wonder if she saw my blog entries about prostitution. But even prostitution is not the same as incest, just as homosexuality is not the same as incest.
I’m not incestuous myself nor planning to ever be, but seeing how a good number of people is threatened with a long imprisonment (until 14 years in Canada, for example) only for loving a person of their family causes me too much indignation, even more noting that almost none of these self-avowed liberal activists seem to care or speak in their favour.
Loving a family member? Sorry, but in fact I do not equate “love” with having sex. If you do, I think you have some serious issues.
Please, if you really hate hypocrisy and bigotry this much, I encourage you to show support to consenting incestuous adults, they deserve to live and love in freedom.
Hypocrisy is when you profess a system of values that you fail to live up to in practice. Since I have never professed support for legalizing incest, I would not be a hypocrite. As for bigotry, that charge would make sense only if it could be proven that incest was something as fundamental to human nature as skin color. All the evidence indicates just the opposite. Unlike homosexuals, who are compelled by their nature to engage in sexual relations with members of their own gender, there is no evidence that people who practice incest are obeying some natural instinct. In most cases, there are plenty of other possible mates for the incestuous partners to avoid having sex with each other.
And I beg you not to perpetuate the offensive “deformed offspring” myth, deformed is NEVER an aceptable [sic] word to qualify a human being.
Why not? It’s only descriptive of the person’s physical nature. It’s not a racial slur like the N-word is for black people of African descent.
Yes, disabled children may be born from incestuous couples, but most of consenting incestuous couples are NOT interested in having offspring and even if they can’t help loving a relative they’re consciously against inbreeding, besides sex is not longer only for procreation purposes (my partner and I are both women and still have sex, that’s pretty much self-explanatory), and contraceptives and sterilization exist for a good reason.
You earlier called the issue of “deformed offspring” a myth, then admitted it is not so. It seems interesting that you try to make incest more palatable by claiming that incestuous couples need not have children, but in fact there are cases of such couples who do, and often those children ARE deformed. Indeed, ONE such child resulting from such a union would be one too many!
Consensual incest between adults cause no harm to anybody, people shouldn’t be punished for loving or having sex with another consenting adult. Please, help us end the hatred and spread the tolerance, it’s very much appreciated.
Incest is harmful because it limits genetic diversity in the offspring that result from it, and thus it negates the most obvious evolutionary benefits of sexual reproduction, indeed making it pointless. The accumulation of recessive genetic mutations results in a inbred line being weakened over time. Consider this sad case:
- One of the most famous example of a genetic disorder aggravated by royal family intermarriage was the House of Habsburg, which inmarried particularly often. Famous in this case is the Habsburger (Unter) Lippe (Habsburg jaw/Habsburg lip/”Austrian lip”) (mandibular prognathism), typical for many Habsburg relatives over a period of six centuries. The condition progressed through the generations to the point that the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, Charles II of Spain, could not properly chew his food.
- Besides the jaw deformity, Charles II also had a huge number of other genetic physical, intellectual, sexual, and emotional problems. It is speculated that the simultaneous occurrence in Charles II of two different genetic disorders: combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis could explain most of the complex clinical profile of this king, including his impotence/infertility which in the last instance led to the extinction of the dynasty.
And it’s not just humans that are affected badly by inbreeding. Animals like dogs in Japan have also suffered as well!
Rare dogs are highly prized here, and can set buyers back more than $10,000. But the real problem is what often arrives in the same litter: genetically defective sister and brother puppies born with missing paws or faces lacking eyes and a nose.
There have been dogs with brain disorders so severe that they spent all day running in circles, and others with bones so frail they dissolved in their bodies. Many carry hidden diseases that crop up years later, veterinarians and breeders say.
Kiyomi Miyauchi was heartbroken to discover this after one of two Boston terriers she bought years ago suddenly collapsed last year into spasms on the living room floor and died. In March, one of its puppies died the same way; another went blind.
Ms. Miyauchi stumbled across a widespread problem here that is only starting to get attention. Rampant inbreeding has given Japanese dogs some of the highest rates of genetic defects in the world, sometimes four times higher than in the United States and Europe.
Hirofumi Sasaki, a pet store owner in the western city of Hiroshima, has seen so many defective dogs that last year he converted an old bar into a hospice to care for them. So far he has taken in 32 dogs, though only 12 have survived.
One is Keika, a deaf 1-year-old female dachshund with eyes that wander aimlessly. Her breeder was originally selling her for about $7,500 because she is half-white, a rare trait in dachshunds.
“That is an unnatural color, like a person with blue skin,” Mr. Sasaki said.
The breeder told Mr. Sasaki that he had bred a dog with three generations of offspring — in human terms, first with its daughter, then a granddaughter and then a great-granddaughter — until Keika was born. The other four puppies in the litter were so hideously deformed that they were killed right after birth.
Therefore, my decision is that I will NOT support legalizing incest. I don’t want to see any more people like Charles II or those unfortunate puppies in the future.
The Heartland Institute (HI), a think tank devoted to “pro-business” policies and climate change denialism, has suffered its own embarrassing data breach, simular to what happened with Climategate to some climatologists. The results have been most amusing and show clearly the hypocritical nature of the HI.
BTW, we never did find out who leaked the stolen e-mails that started the Climategate uproar, did we?
- Heartland Institute takes money from Kochs, gives it to deniers (grist.org)
- Heartland Mystery Donor to be Unmasked? (climatecrocks.com)
- Breaking news: A look behind the curtain of the Heartland Institute’s climate change spin (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Peter Gleick: The Origin of the Heartland Documents (littlegreenfootballs.com)
During the television broadcast of this years SuperBowl, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra had the gall to put out a ridiculous commercial attacking his opponent in the 2012 U. S. Senate race, Debbie Stabenow. It has since been removed from Hoekstra’s YouTube account.
Fortunately, another person made a copy of that video with an explanation for how stupid it really was:
Feel free to comment there.
Indeed, Republicans have actually been the biggest “spend it now” lunatics since Reagan was President. We had a chance to start paying off the U. S. public debt under Clinton, but Bush Jr ruined it with his absurd tax cuts for the rich! Pete Hoekstra is a LIAR!
Oh, and when he was a Congressman, and even Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he committed some blunders which should have got him removed from that Committee, if not expelled from Congress outright!
Don’t allow this bastard to come anywhere near the U. S. Senate! We already had a disgusting racist, Jesse Helms, in the Senate for decades. We don’t need another!
…..or own a laptop, or even have any fancy electronics at all, not if they tend to libel their own parents the way the girl did in this video!
However, I would not have shot out the girl’s laptop; that’s a waste of resources. What I would have done was to simply take it away from her and send her hundreds or even thousands of miles away to a boarding school with nothing electronic, not even a cell phone, to enable her to have any contact with her friends. Because without the support of her peers back home, her rebellious phase would probably be snuffed out quickly.
The structure of the United Nations (UN) reflects the political realities shortly after World War II. Since that war ended nearly three generations ago, it’s time for a change in the UN, starting with its Security Council. Until such reforms are made, it will only be a laughingstock for decades to come.
There are five permanent members of that Council: The United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, and China. These have veto power over all Council decisions. I would recommend that the veto power within the Council be done away with; it only makes paralysis of the Council more likely than not. I would also recommend that Germany, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Brazil be made permanent members of the Council, with at least 20 others subject to election. The number of nations on the Security Council must always be a prime number to prevent tie votes. Only the UN Secretary-General could veto a UN resolution, but his veto could still be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote of the Security Council. In any case, no single nation should have the power to veto a resolution, because as the chart above shows, the Soviet Union abused that power more than any other nation in the early years of the UN. One wonders how many innocent people died in wars or armed uprisings of one kind or another because of this.
- Reforming the UN Security Council? ¡Ay Dios Mio! (diplomaticscrutiny.com)
- Russia to veto Western-backed SC resolution on Syria (laaska.wordpress.com)
Mitt Romney is shaping up to be the Republican front-runner for President. By all accounts and
appearances, he should be the ideal President candidate for conservatives: he is a successful businessman, he managed the state of Massachusetts as governor according to consistent conservative principles, and he even managed the Salt Lake City winter Olympics, making it a huge success.
There’s just one problem: he is a Mormon. And for members of the Religious Right, which is dominated by orthodox Christians, that can be a stumbling block. Of course, it would have been better for the credibility of the conservatives if they had never included the Religious Right; using religious matters to judge people and policies in our government violates the spirit if not the letter of church-state separation.
When I was a Baptist, there was a film shown at my church titled “The God Makers” which depicted Mormonism as a cult infested with pagan elements. This is ironic; Jews could say similar things about Christianity itself. Today, having rejected Christianity, I find those arguments about Mormonism pointless, but I do have my own reasons to oppose any political influence the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may have:
Racism, homophobia, and whatever other forms of bigotry the Mormon Church may endorse should be eradicated from secular politics in America. Nobody who would take the Book of Mormon seriously as scripture should be trusted to run the world’s most powerful democracy. We should have some standards for truth, logic, and ethics from our leaders. Thus, I will never vote for a Mormon for President, even if he was not a Republican.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
In August of this year, I was looking into Facebook like I did almost every day, and I saw this ad that said “World of Warcraft – Free to play up to level 20″. Up until this time, I’d had no interest in any MMO games, thinking they were just for teens. I’d read about Everquest, but my reluctance to pay for games like that made me miss out on what could have been some great experiences.
Prior to seeing that ad, I saw these videos:
Even though World of Warcraft was never mentioned, they sparked my interest in the game. The Facebook ad only pushed me to take the plunge I otherwise never would have.
Once I was in the game, I proceeded to experiment with different races and classes of characters, but the one I came to love playing with the most was a Gnome warrior I named Bichorak.
Then in October, I paid for an upgrade to the game and played it more than ever. The limited exposure to the game from the trial account had only made me eagar to get more from it.
Some critical thoughts on the game and concepts related to it:
- This game IS addictive, but so can anything be that triggers pleasure to the body and mind, so to be consistent we would have to ban literally everything, including things that are essential to life, like sex and food. The “Drug Wars” waged by law enforcement over several decades have been a total waste of time, money, and lives and should be ended. Possession and use of a substance shouldn’t be banned; only if its use actually leads to harm of another person should legal action be taken.
- At first glance, the game seems to be all about violence and hatred between races. But in fact the actual theme of the World of Warcraft storylines is redemption from the mistakes of the past. ALL races have potential for both good and evil.
- Likewise, there is no point to stereotyping game players. I met some sweet people there who were very helpful to me, often asking nothing in return. And I also met some real jerks too. Inspired by the help I got as a new player, I in turn began helping others that were of lower levels once I reached the higher levels with my main character.
- Children who play the game soon learn the value of discipline, cooperation, and following orders. While playing solo is perfectly doable, the greatest rewards are for those who are willing to join groups and fight in dungeons, which provide richer loot and experience.
- Nothing lasts forever. A decade ago, Everquest was the greatest MMO ever. But it was overthrown by World of Warcraft, which is very simular in concept to Everquest. Perhaps a decade from now, something will overthrow WoW.
- The storylines of WoW are as rich and compelling as those of any other mythology….including those of the ancient Greeks and of modern religions like Judaism and Christianity. I can’t help but wonder if most of the stories in the Bible began merely as tales told for entertaiment, but hundreds of years later were mistaken for literal truth.
- Why do you have to pay in World of Warcraft (wiki.answers.com)
I’ve not been blogging much lately, mainly because I’ve been spending much of my free time since April (1) looking for a job and (2) playing World of Warcraft. A blog entry about World of Warcraft will be produced later, but other issues must be dealt with first.
First, read this article:
Cain says God persuaded him to run for president
ATLANTA (AP) — Republican Herman Cain said God convinced him to enter the race for president, comparing himself to Moses: “‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’”
The Georgia business executive played up his faith Saturday after battling sexual harassment allegations for two weeks, trying to shift the conversation to religion, an issue vital to conservative Republicans, especially in the South.
In a speech Saturday to a national meeting of young Republicans, Cain said the Lord persuaded him after much prayer.
“That’s when I prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m a man of faith — I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I’ve ever done before in my life,” Cain said. “And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’”
Once he made the decision, Cain said, he did not look back.
Four women have now accused Cain of sexually harassing them when he led the National Restaurant Association more than a decade ago. Cain, who has denied wrongdoing, was silent about the allegations and did not take reporters’ questions.
Cain isn’t the first to say God prodded him toward a campaign. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s wife, Anita, has said she felt God was speaking to her about the race, adding that her husband needed to see a “burning bush,” a Biblical reference to God’s first appearance to Moses.
During his speech, Cain also criticized President Barack Obama for canceling the space shuttle program — a decision actually made by President George W. Bush — as NASA shifts its focus on travel farther from Earth’s orbit.
“I can tell you that as president of the United States, we are not going to bum a ride to outer space with Russia,” Cain said to loud applause. “We’re going to regain our rightful place in terms of technology, space technology.”
Cain was talking about U.S. plans, now that the space shuttle is retired, to use Russian rockets to send astronauts to the International Space Station. In the meantime, NASA is focused on explorations deeper in space.
It was Bush who decided in 2004 to retire the space shuttle program. The Republican president still supported sending astronauts to the moon and Mars.
Obama, once in office, dropped the goal of a moon mission. Instead, NASA has plans to build a giant rocket capable of sending astronauts to an asteroid and eventually Mars. It wants to outsource to private companies the task of ferrying astronauts and cargo to the space station — a job previously performed by the space shuttle.
Until private companies are ready, NASA will keep buying seats on Russian Soyuz capsules to get astronauts to the space station. The cost per person to fly on a Soyuz is expected to rise from $56 million to $63 million, which is still cheaper than flying on the shuttle.
Cain spoke in advance of a Republican debate Saturday in South Carolina focused on foreign policy.
Cain is an idiot! If he thinks dragging God into his campaign is going to save it after being accused of sexual misconduct, he should talk to some Catholic priests who have been convicted of sexually abusing children. Not to mention getting a basic fact about the Space Shuttle cancellation wrong!
And while you can criticize those women for not revealing their claims until after Cain began running for President, the simple fact that Cain took such desperate measures to do damage control shows he is losing credibility with all but the most delusional religious bigots.
And why is there so much media hype about Herman Cain anyway? I think just because he is a Black Republican. Indeed, it seems the Republicans have been struggling ever since Obama became President to project the image of rejecting racism. But combating racism is more than just having a few token black people in your party; it’s about really doing what’s best for both black and while people in general. That the Republicans have not been doing.
I remember when George Bush Sr was President and he said he was against racial quotas for helping more black people get jobs and education. But he proved to be a total hypocrite when the venerable Thurgood Marshall, who had been a prominent civil rights activist in the 1960s and later a Supreme Court Justice, retired from the bench. Bush Sr then appointed to replace Marshall with…..another black man, Clarence Thomas. And then there was the uproar over Anita Hill and her accusations of sexual harassment against Thomas. Despite this, Thomas got on the court and has been a consistently conservative justice ever since, just as the Republicans wanted.
Being black means absolutely nothing if you are selling out and backstabbing most of your own race to get yourself ahead, that’s for sure!
With Barack Obama, the first black man to become President of the USA, the Republicans countered by electing Micheal Steele, another black man, as Republican National Committee Chairperson. But Steele proved to be so incompetent and controversial that he was replaced this year by a white man, Reince Priebus. Steele later made appearances on the Rachel Maddow Show of MSNBC as a political commentator. Poor fellow!
This nonsense has to stop. It is only tolerated because so many people are too ignorant to understand how stupid it is.
It should have been obvious from the 1990s onward that global warming was indeed real and that human activities were chiefly to blame, but many who were entrenched in conservative or libertarian political positions found those conclusions offensive and a threat to their interests, hence the ever-present attacks by climate change “skeptics” who would do everything they could to cast doubt on the evidence regarding the issue. They did that instead of examining their political positions, which a true skeptic should have done!
Now one of them, Richard Muller, has changed sides, but is still trying to justify his earlier attitude. That’s an example of a “notpology“, which is dishonest.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly.
The study of the world’s surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. He was spurred to action because of “Climategate,” a British scandal involving hacked emails of scientists.
“The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago,” Muller said in a telephone interview. “And now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”
Muller said that he came into the study “with a proper skepticism,” something scientists “should always have. I was somewhat bothered by the fact that there was not enough skepticism” before. (Emphasis mine)
That is bullcrap. If Muller was wrong before, he was certainly wrong a decade ago, so why not just say that and leave his ego out of it? Scientists, including proponents of the man-made global warming hypothesis, have to be responsible skeptics to do their work at all and prove it by subjecting their findings to peer review, and it was the peer review process that made that hypothesis credible in the first place. Saying otherwise as Muller is doing is slander.
Science and religion are so often considered rivals that it doesn’t occur to many people that the deepest form of spirituality can be formed from modern scientific knowledge. This video by Symphony of Science illustrates that idea brilliantly:
Enough said! Just watch and enjoy this, then follow the link above to see more videos!
- A quantum Symphony of Science | Bad Astronomy (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Symphony of Science: the Quantum World! (geeksaresexy.net)
- Science and religion do mix (personspiritresearch.wordpress.com)
- Symphony of Science Video of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- How scientists settle conflict between religion and science (news.bioscholar.com)
The following are screenshots of a woman who clearly was going off the deep end of drama queendom. Since she made this a public matter on her own Facebook wall, I feel no shame in exposing her here.
Unitarian Universalists have recently started an effort to engage in the sort of civil disobedience that civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr and his followers did in the 1950s and 60s, and Mohandas Ghandi did in India a generation earlier.
Utah UU convicted for environmental activism
Federal jury faults Tim DeChristopher for blocking auction of oil and gases leases.
By Donald E. Skinner
Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher, a member of First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, Utah, was convicted Thursday of two felony counts of disrupting a federal auction of oil and gas leases more than two years ago. He faces up to ten years in prison.
DeChristopher made false bids of close to $1.8 million for more than a dozen properties in Utah during a Dec. 19, 2008, Bureau of Land Management auction, in an effort to block development near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and bring attention to the global climate crisis.
The jury deliberated nearly five hours after the four-day trial. Sentencing is scheduled for June. Prosecutors said in a news conference they would not seek the maximum penalty.
DeChristopher’s supporters on Thursday worked to put the best possible face on the verdict. “This is a beginning, not the end,” said Joan Gregory, First Unitarian’s Environmental Ministry coordinator. “We are looking at this as a turning point in the fight for climate justice. This verdict will not stop us.”
After the verdict, DeChristopher told his supporters, “We know that now I’ll have to go to prison. We know now that’s the reality, but that’s just the job I have to do. And many before me have gone to jail . . . If we’re going to achieve our vision, many after me will have to join me as well.”
Said Gregory, “What Tim wants, what we all want, is for everyone, wherever they live, to feel the urgency and be empowered by Tim’s actions and take actions in their own communities. This may have been a guilty verdict, but we have a very positive message to send out into the world. We need to take responsibility for change.”
And it’s not just a few of the rank and file members doing this!
UUA President Responds to Sentence in Arizona Protest Trial
August 23, 2011
(Boston, MA) The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), was convicted August 5, 2011, on misdemeanor charges stemming from his nonviolent civil disobedience in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2011.
Rev. Morales was arrested while protesting Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070. Today, August 23, 2011, his sentence was announced in Maricopa County court. For his act of conscience, he received a sentence of one day in jail, with credit for the one day already served.
Rev. Morales released the following statement upon hearing of his sentence:
“While my trial has finally ended, my determination to oppose Arizona’s SB 1070 and the inhumane practices of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is stronger than ever.
“As people of faith, we are called to oppose injustice and help protect the most vulnerable among us. We cannot turn a blind eye to the inhumane immigration enforcement practices of Sheriff Arpaio, nor should we accept similar policies in other parts of our country.
“We Unitarian Universalists will continue to stand on the side of love against such legislation and the anti-immigrant sentiment it represents. We look forward to an opportunity to witness publicly against such injustices at our Justice General Assembly in Phoenix in 2012.”
The UUA is a faith community of more than 1,000 congregations that bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance and social justice. For more information, please visit our online press room.
And the movement is spreading like a virus!
Tar Sands Action inspired by a UU’s civil disobedience
A proposed pipeline could be ‘game over’ for climate change, say environmentalists.
By Donald E. Skinner
In late August, Barbara Ford will cross the country from her home in Portland, Ore., with several other members of that city’s First Unitarian Church. They’re headed for Washington, D.C., to participate in a large public witness event calling attention to the threat of global climate change.
Religious activists and organizations are gathering August 29 outside the White House as part of a two-week protest called Tar Sands Action, which is aimed at pressuring President Obama to reject a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil extracted from clay and other materials in the tar sands region of Alberta. Environmental groups describe tar sands oil as one of the dirtiest fuels on earth, resulting in higher emissions during the refining process. Investing in tar sands oil will delay investment in clean and safe alternatives, environmentalists add.
Construction of the pipeline requires the signature of President Obama. The Tar Sands Action, which will extend from August 20 through September 3, is aimed at convincing him to not approve it.
“I’ve been feeling for the past five years that civil disobedience was going to be necessary in the climate movement,” said Ford, a former chair of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth, an independent organization that works closely with the Unitarian Universalist Association on environmental justice issues. “It seems clear we can’t count on our government to do the right thing without our influence. To me, we’re at a similar crossroads as the civil rights movement was in the 1960s. There is no choice but to step forth and work for justice. We all need to do something besides recycling. This is my opportunity.”
The Tar Sands Action is the latest in a series of public witness events that have grown, at least in part, out of the arrest and conviction of Unitarian Universalist Tim DeChristopher, a 29-year-old climate activist, for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction in 2008 in Salt Lake City. Last month he was sentenced to two years in prison. DeChristopher’s actions have inspired UUs and many others across the country, and have caused them to take to the streets in pursuit of climate justice.
Five members of his congregation, First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, were arrested in Washington in April in a protest against energy policies as part of the Power Shift 2011 energy and climate conference. They went as part of a group DeChristopher formed, Peaceful Uprising. Other UUs took part in a march across West Virginia in June to raise awareness of mountaintop removal mining. They cited DeChristopher’s actions as a reason for their own. When DeChristopher was sentenced, 26 people were arrested outside the courthouse.
Tar Sands Action was organized by Peaceful Uprising. DeChristopher is in prison, but his impact is still being felt.
What’s going on? Why are UUs doing these things now? The answer, quite simply, is that in the face of the almost total corporate domination of our politics made possible by that contemptible Citizens United decision by the U S Supreme Court, rejecting and physically fighting back against unjust and dishonorable governmental and corporate policies that are not in the best interests of the people have become fashionable once more, just as they were 40 to 50 years ago. And a possible side effect of these efforts will be more people seeing the Unitarian Universalist Association and its churches as the organization to join for finding more progressive social and environmental activists. After all, if it had not been for those stupid Jim Crow racist policies of the southern states, would most of us even know who Martin Luther King Jr was? UUs marched alongside him too.
- Tim DeChristopher’s Court Speech: ‘This Is What Patriotism Looks Like’ (via Food Freedom) (wilderside.wordpress.com)
- Tim DeChristopher supporters issue oil protest ‘call to action’ (revolutionwithoutborder.org)
- The Sentencing of Tim DeChristopher Highlights the Conflict Between the People and Corporate-Government (susansayler.wordpress.com)
- Tim DeChristopher supporters issue oil protest ‘call to action’ (guardian.co.uk)
- 1 day in jail for Arizona immigration protesters (seattletimes.nwsource.com)