Yes Actually, Religious Freedom Means You Have To Treat All Your Customers Equally
Another day, another Fox News martyr in the homosexual war on Christians…
The first civil rights laws, so I hear, were passed not to protect black people or red or yellow people, but to protect Irish Catholics in New York from the religious passions of their protestant neighbors. And in point of fact, religious freedom is only possible where government does not take sides in religious disputes and where the rule of law protects minorities from the hostility of others, whether or not that hostility is motivated by religious passions.
Jack Phillips is not a martyr, he is a bigot attacking the rule of law because it grants people he loathes a little human dignity. Okay…fine…but in the eyes of the law he can be no different from a bar owner who would like very much to keep selling beer to teenagers because it makes him money, and who regards laws against selling alcohol to minors as an infringement on his freedom to do business as he pleases without regard to the consequences to the rest of the community. The law does not, can not, care what the religious beliefs of Jack Phillips are, only whether as a businessman he’s abiding by the same rules everyone else has to live by, or whether he’s a greedy predator, caring not whether he tears his community apart in the process of making a buck, just so he can pick through and live quite nicely off the wreckage.
by Bruce |
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October 12th, 2013
This came across my Facebook stream just now…
Big tax cuts for the rich and big business, two wars on the card, and now they’re bellyaching about paying for it. But no. They’re bellyaching that the democrats won’t let them make the poor, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed pay for it.
Republican North Carolina state legislators have proposed allowing an official state religion in a measure that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings.
The bill, filed Monday by two GOP lawmakers from Rowan County and backed by nine other Republicans, says each state “is sovereign” and courts cannot block a state “from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.”
Arguments about religion are usually arguments about Who’s In Charge rather than arguments about religion. Same thing with arguments about Intrusive Government. Reverence allegedly paid to God is actually directed at the Tribe, in whose name God serves. Figure they’ll be holding a conclave down there somewhere in the old confederacy to elect the first Baptist pope any day now.
So we had this old Cary Grant classic Room for One More on in the background this afternoon and I just heard Robert Osborne explain that after an earlier broadcast the network had been inundated by angry viewers demanding to know why they cut the word God from the pledge of allegiance in the movie.
by Bruce |
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November 20th, 2012
Adding More Bullshit To Disguise The Stench Of Bullshit
Social Science Research editor James Wright published the Regnerus study without benefit of valid peer review, for which reason many scholars are calling for the Regnerus study to be retracted and for James Wright to be removed from his position. (To read some of the calls for retraction of the Regnerus study, see here, here and here).In response to the criticism for having published Regnerus without valid peer review, editor James Wright published — in his November issue — a non-peer-reviewed defense of Regnerus by Walter Schumm, a Kansas State University sociologist who was a paid consultant on the Regnerus study…
And what credentials does Schumm bring to the table…?
Schumm has a long association with the discredited anti-gay pseudoscientist Paul Cameron. He is on the editorial board of Cameron’s fatuously-named Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior.
Well there’s an authoritative voice if ever there was one! I have a question. How does a legitimate, self-respecting, peer reviewed journal of science look at the resumé of someone who sits on the editorial board of a Paul Cameron journal and conclude that person’s scientific judgement makes them fit to print in its pages?
Perhaps Social Science Research should ask Paul Cameron to sit on Its board…
by Bruce |
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The Assumption Church, a Catholic congregation in Barnesville, Minnesota, does not mess around when it comes to fighting followers who support marriage equality.
The church’s priest, Rev. Gary LaMoine, told the family of 17-year old Lennon Cihak that he cannot participate in his scheduled confirmation because Cihak shared his opposition to the recently defeated amendment that would define marriage as one man and one woman.
Not only that, LaMoine is now denying Communion to the entire family, including Cihak’s parents, who have attended the church for decades.
It’s something to remind me how glad I am, even at this stage in my life, that I was raised a Baptist, if only for the satisfaction of knowing I’d have been on the pope’s shit list for that fact alone, never mind my homosexuality. The only thing better would be to have been born a Jew.
But more importantly, being raised in a Baptist household meant I was never taught to believe I had to ask permission from the clergy to have a spiritual relationship with my creator. I will probably never really understand how painful this all is for that family, and especially that boy who is now afraid his church won’t allow him to be buried with his parents, simply because he stood up for the human dignity of his neighbors. I want to tell them there is no shame in walking out that door and never looking back. But I know that isn’t their way. You have to let everyone find their own way. That was something else the faith of my childhood taught me.
I’m an atheist now, and I can only watch these things happening to good-hearted people from a respectful distance. Meanwhile the boy inside me who once went dutifully to church every Sunday wonders how anyone would want to take the body of Christ from the hand of someone who is pissing on his cross.
[Edited…there was something else about being raised in a Baptist household that in retrospect I needed to get in here…]
by Bruce |
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November 7th, 2012
Moral Nihilism Isn’t Only Believing In Nothing…
I just finished watching Rachel Maddow deliver a smokin’ hot riff on republican shock and confusion, as displayed on Fox last night, that the numbers they were certain were going to go massively in Romney’s favor didn’t. She showed clips from past Fox News predictions of a Romney landslide, showed that stunning live TV moment that’ll almost certainly go down in television history, when Rove got angry that the Fox News vote analysts called Ohio for Obama. Then…brilliantly…she added that no, the polls were not skewed, Obama was born in Hawaii, he didn’t raise taxes, the deficit hasn’t gone up, unemployment figures were not cooked, Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, climate change is real, evolution is real, FEMA isn’t building concentration camps…
…and god I hope I can get my hands on a video clip of it because it really said it all…especially how at the end of that grotesque litany of decades of republican right wing and religious right hallucinations she said that it is profoundly damaging to our democracy when one party is trying to cope with things as they really are and the other is living it it’s own detached insular fantasy world.
We need, she said thumping her pulpit, honest, good faith arguing and debating about policy…real argument not phony crap ginned up just to drive people to the polls or satisfy the pathetic conceits of religious and political fanatics…because it is in that honest debating of the issues that we have the best hope of finding answers that work. By cocooning in their own fantasy world the republicans have made that honest, good faith arguing and debating nearly impossible.
She said she hoped the shock of that collision with real numbers and real reality last night might break the bubble. I’ve heard others expressing this since last night, but I am not so sure. But there is the problem we face as a nation. It’s the problem we need to address before we can really and truly get down to addressing any of the others. The polls were not skewed. The unemployment numbers were not rigged. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Climate change is real. Evolution is real. FEMA is not building concentration camps. Homosexuals are not demon possessed tools of satan. Two plus two equals four. If any of this distresses you be assured that reality does not care about what you believe or about you. It just is what it is. You need to care about reality. If you can’t bring yourself to do that critically, honestly, with your eyes wide open, without letting your cherished preconceptions blind you to simple facts, don’t be bellyaching about the moral relativism, hedonism, nihilism whatever of the world around you. The nihilist is you.
by Bruce |
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September 24th, 2012
The Libertarian Facade: What John Birchers Wear When They Want To Look Cool
Winger Eugene Volokh of the ersatz libertarian leaning Volokh Conspiracy gleefully passes on notice this morning that a lawsuit against Avis for discriminating against a straight customer can proceed. The gist of it is that because Avis gave a discount to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce they were discriminating against heterosexuals by charging them more in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. If you thought that libertarians were opposed to such laws to begin with you’d be right. If you thought that most people who oppose such laws are libertarians you would be sadly mistaken. And especially when they claim to be libertarians.
Another thread of argument runs through AVIS’s briefs: … since Plaintiff could have become a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and thus qualified for its favored discounts …, there was no pricing discrimination…. [But this] assumes an evidentiary showing which has yet to be made…. [A]lthough AVIS repeats it often as fact, there is no evidence that membership in either International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce was open to Plaintiff when she rented her car….
Okay…but where was the evidence that membership in either organization was not open to this Plaintiff? There isn’t any. And even if it was, that still doesn’t make a case that Avis itself is discriminating against heterosexuals. Perhaps they give a membership discounts to the International Heterosexuals Butthurt Because Gay Bars Can’t Be Raided And Their Customers Thrown In Jail Anymore Association as well. Surely Plaintiff could have found solidarity there.
But never mind that. Didn’t I hear somewhere that libertarians don’t like anti-discrimination laws to begin with? Hahahahahaha….
Volokh commenter 1: “Is it me, or is this a case where the discrimination laws are shown to be working across the board, that is against gay discrimination against straights as well, and yet the two most ‘voted up’ posts here are of the ‘gays get special rights under this law’ variety. What in the world?”
Volokh commenter 2: “It’s not you. It’s principled libertarians exercising outrage and protesting about a private company’s business decisions, as they always tell us disadvantaged minorities (like straight white people) should do.”
Except of course, this is not a case about discrimination and that first commenter needs to look, really look, at why it’s getting applause from the gays get special rights pew. Special rights are when that smaller kid you enjoyed beating up gets a protector and now you’re having to answer for your abusive behavior and being a bully isn’t fun anymore.
A libertarian would tell the person filing this lawsuit to go to hell, Avis can do as it damn well pleases. Eugene Volokh and his peanut gallery enjoy the spectacle of laws intended to protect a despised minority being used against them. How dare they think they were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
by Bruce |
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July 30th, 2012
Some Of My Best Friends Are People Whose Ring Fingers I’ve Cut Off
I have several friends and family members who support gay marriage.
We’ve had lively discussions about our differing beliefs.
But nothing they say would make me love them less…
…or stop supporting them as people I care about.
I strongly believe in supporting the traditional family unit.
Le Curtian…Applaus a vous…
Note: Deseret News is the news organ of the Mormon Church. If you think they’d let anyone take a genuinely friendly attitude toward gay people in its pages I have some real estate on the planet Kolob to sell you.
by Bruce |
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Citing their Christian faith, Mike and Mari Fuller, owners of the Waha Bar & Grill in Idaho, say they will no longer sell Pepsi or MillerCoors beer because of those companies’ ties to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Others have pointed out the list of products they still sell that also support gay equality. But the first thing that struck my inner Baptist boy about this story was…er…wait…this is a bar for goodness sakes.
The home I grew up in had no car, and when I was very young we took the bus downtown to go shopping and then walked my little legs off. I remember, and I am not kidding and not exaggerating, how my Baptist grandmother would point to the bars along our way and say “The devil lives there!”
Eventually I became a teenager and the instant some high school friends of mine gave me my first taste of illegal (for my age) rum and Coke I decided the devil might not be so bad after all. I’m a middle-aged gay man now with a taste for sugary cordials and fine tequilas. But I still count that distrust of the pleasures of drink as one of the pluses of the religious training I got way back when. It’s that little bird perched on my shoulder whenever I am miserable and depressed, telling me that there is no path to happiness in a bottle. I’d Like A Drink is fine. I Need A Drink is…ooooohhh…then you don’t get one Bruce Albert Garrett…
Unlike a reflexive distrust of sex and sexuality, a reflexive distrust of alcohol actually does have something to be said for it. Alcoholism, unlike homosexuality, really does cause health and social problems. And there is a pretty well known period in the history of this country of massive Christian opposition to the making and selling of alcohol on those grounds. So…listen…Mike, Mari…I appreciate your right to carry whatever products you choose, for whatever reason you want. But…seriously…I don’t think the Christian Women’s Temperance Union would approve of your line of work. Don’t you know how destructive alcohol is to the family and society?
by Bruce |
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July 17th, 2012
On My Honor, I Will Do My Best, To Hate The Stranger…
Bill Browning argues that there was no secret committee…that it was just a hastily assembled pile of bullshit they threw together because they were getting pressure from some pretty big sources to rethink their cheapshit prejudices.
I don’t believe them. Their story has too many holes in it to be remotely believable. This is a spin put in place to cover their ass at the recent blowback they’ve been getting as opinions change on gays and lesbians. There’s more holes in their statements than a block of Swiss cheese.
I’m inclined to agree…this was the first thing that crossed my mind this afternoon when I saw the stories about this go by in the news stream. But it makes no difference. You had to know this organization, whatever noble work it initially set itself out to do, had become corrupted by hate long ago when they started in earnest kicking good kids out of their ranks when they dared to be honest about themselves. Prejudice and morality do not co-exist within the same heart. Whether or not the BSA leadership is lying through its teeth about this secret committee is beside the point. They are lying to every kid they take into their ranks now, and to their parents, and to their country.
I would like to point out since it seems to be getting lost in the conversation here that it’s not just gay kids that the BSA deems unworthy but also atheist kids. Basically what BSA is pushing is a mindset that gay kids and non believing kids cannot aspire to the moral character of a boy scout. It’s a mindset they’re determined to keep pushing on kids, both straight and gay, believing and non-believing. Picture a Cub Scout happy to belong to his troop, working hard for his badges, winning the approval of his parents and troop leaders. Picture that kid as a teenage Scout, at the threshold of adulthood, coming to terms with his sexual orientation. He’s gay, he knows it, he’s not sure what it means for him and the adult life ahead of him but he’s at the point now where he knows he is gay. And because a Scout is brave and a Scout is trustworthy and a Scout is honest he comes out to those he trusts most. And for his trouble he’s kicked out of the organization that taught him the moral values he now holds. What’s the message here? The message is obvious: you are not worthy to wear this uniform, because you are a homosexual. And homosexuals Are Not And Can Never Be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Forget all the values we have taught you. You have failed them all. You are not worthy to bear them in your heart. That’s an absolutely disgusting attack on the self worth of children, but also on American society. It is enforcing, under the guise of teaching important moral values, nothing more noble then cheap bar stool prejudices, teaching fear and loathing of neighbor against neighbor, and starting it young. You’ve got to be carefully taught…
Prejudice and morality do not co-exist within the same heart. One will eventually drive out the other. As long as Scouting teaches kids to distrust if not hate each other outright, whatever other moral values they claim to teach are rendered moot in the process. You cannot teach both moral character and prejudice at the same time.
Had Regnerus walked down the hall and knocked on my door, I would have been happy to explain that stress and instability harm children in any family context. Love and support help children to thrive and succeed. Pseudo-science that demonizes gay and lesbian families contributes to stress, and is not good for children.
Just so. Robert George is probably having a good laugh right now at the fast one he’s just pulled, of kicking the kids of gay parents in the teeth even as his and other homophobes’ concern for their welfare is taken for granted by the corporate news media.
Reading this something that was nagging at me finally clicked. Mark Regnerus is basically Paul Cameron, but with a job at an actual University. Bear in mind, Cameron’s evil genius is in his ability to deftly gerrymander his data while making it seem like his conclusions are purely and honestly arrived at. His original claim, the zombie lie that never dies, that gay men have vastly shorter lifespans, is the classic case in point. When you look more closely, you see that all Cameron did was select a data set that guaranteed he’d get the outcome he wanted. But you have to really look at what he did to see that was what he was doing, and there of course, is the rub.
Eventually intelligent people of good will would see though it and dismiss it as junk science, but people of good will were never his audience. In the end what he was doing, was giving the kook pews something to wave around as proof that persecuting homosexuals is just good public policy and no, they’re not just saying that because they’re a bunch of knuckle dragging bigots.
Stripped away from all its formal academic pretenses, what you see is Regnerus is doing what Paul Cameron has always done: deftly select just the data that will give him the answer he wanted in the first place, in such a way as to appear to the casual observer that he’s not deliberately biasing the data. This is the essential Paul Cameron technique. Mark Regnerus is just another Paul Cameron, but with a University office. Maybe Paul should send him a diploma from ISIS. Grant him a PhD. This was as good a thesis as anything Paul himself could have produced.
by Bruce |
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June 23rd, 2012
And Speaking Of The Long History Of Heterosexual Marriage…
This started coming across the wire the other day and I just have to repost it here. Alas, I’m suspecting many of my fellow Americans won’t even get it…
Yes, yes…I can hear it already. King Henry didn’t redefine marriage, it was still one man and one women. And the next woman. And the next. And the next. And the next. And the next.
by Bruce |
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May 21st, 2012
The Normalization Of Normality
There is nothing more ordinary then human diversity. Some of us are blue eyed, some brown, some green. Some of us have blond hair, some black. Skin color, height, weight, proportion of leg to torso…ask anyone who observes and draws or photographs the human form how identical we are to one another. Some of us are left handed, some right. There are males, females, and also transgendered individuals. There are mathematicians, mechanics, chefs, doctors, painters, musicians, actors, soldiers, firefighters, teachers. There are people who just seem to light up a room whenever they walk into it no matter the gloom that was there before, and people who bring their own little grey cloud with them wherever they go. It is normal to be different. And very young children, generally, accept this in each other. As the song goes, You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.
For decades now the homophobes have warned about the “normalization” of homosexuality. Dire consequences would follow. Very dire consequences. What everyone is beginning to see now, finally, is that when the homophobic static is gone, normalcy returns. Here in Maryland, the Baltimore Sun today has an article about how the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is playing in at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. The answer seems to be a catastrophic decent of society into pure unadulterated normalcy.
Gay cadets at the U.S. Military Academy and the Coast Guard Academy are forming clubs. Gay alumni at the Air Force Academy hosted their first football tailgate last fall, and gay alumni at the Air Force Academy and West Point held their annual dinners on campus for the first time.
It’s not all roses of course. Some worry about the effect coming out will have on their careers once they leave the academy. Others insist it will have little to no impact. But the effect here in Maryland, as elsewhere, of lifting the outcast status on gay people, that dangerous alien other label, has been mostly…business as usual. Or rather, business more usual then it previously could be when people had to be afraid. The sense you get is of peace descending, finally, after a long and brutal battle. We are all neighbors once more. Now that the fires of prejudice and hate are subsiding a sense of community becomes possible once again. Normalcy returns.
Most of us evangelicals in Canada, regardless of personal beliefs about homosexuality, can admit that since same-sex marriage has been legalised in Canada, our society has not gone to hell in a hand basket, nor has traditional marriage, or our families been under attack. Scare tactics and wild-eyed fear-based rhetoric rarely turns out to be true. In actual practice, our society has become “live and let live” which is actually a rather tolerant and comfortable place to be.
Behold the dire consequence. A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog, responding to a question put to Maggie Gallagher about the harm to individuals and society where same-sex marriage has been legalized, noted that her reply was basically worry about the status of homophobes like herself…
Essentially, Maggie Gallagher is concerned about the affect of same-sex marriage on people like Maggie Gallagher. She cites no data or statistics or study which shows how any heterosexual marriages or children in families with same-sex parents have been damaged. She makes no claim that any such damages has occurred, only that people like her have been made social pariahs instead of the gay people who ought to be the pariahs. I’m sure there’s a social science term that describes what she is doing, but I guess I just find the complaint that “you’re making other people not like me” to be a rather petty and self-absorbed. Where, I wonder, is her concern about the affect on people other than Maggie Gallagher?
There’s the problem. To fear and loath your neighbor over some trivial difference just isn’t normal. To incite those fears and loathings in others is damaging to community and nation. Once the homophobic static is gone everyone just gets along with each other. The horrible outcome of the normalization of homosexuality is world where we are all neighbors once again and we just get on with life and things get back to…normal. The scapegoat, the hated other, no longer hate themselves, and are no longer hated. We are neighbors once again, each of us just going on about our business. And the only thing that warning anyone who will listen about the homosexual menace teaches them is what an creep you are.
by Bruce |
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May 19th, 2012
Sometimes The Pat Answer Is The Right One After All
The longer I am in this debate, the more something emerges. Most people don’t really care much about gays. The subject doesn’t come up; and most adjusted straight men do not feel passionately on the subject one way or the other. And so you notice patterns. You find that most of the really impassioned anti-gay activists are just as motivated by personal passion – whether as an early victim of sex abuse (Paul Cameron), or as the father of a gay son (Charles Socarides), or as a single mother abandoned by her boyfriend (Maggie Gallagher), or someone fighting to restrain their own gay feelings (Ted Haggard, Larry Craig) – as pro-gay activists are.
He’s commenting on the story that the father of anti-gay junk science Paul (homosexuals live an average of 36 years) Cameron acknowledged finally his homosexual urges, saying that he’d been sexually abused as a child. You would watch that creep on various TV interviews and your gaydar would go off like a fire alarm. The only thing that surprises me here is he finally admitted it. Yeah, yeah…he claims he’s overcome his urges. Spends every waking hour of every day obsessing about the homosexual menace, but he’s overcome those homosexual urges. I’m going to overcome my chocolate chip cookie urges by spending nearly every waking hour thinking about chocolate chip cookies.
There was a time I understood what Sullivan is saying there to be occasionally true, but just too pat to rely on as an explanation for the extremely passionate homophobes. Now…not so much. Decades of seeing it over and over and over…it’s the other shoe that almost always drops eventually. Oh, they have a gay child…oh, they had a gay spouse…oh, they were abused as kids…oh, they’re gay…
But make no mistake, you also see the thoroughly heterosexual anti-gay crusader, who cheats on a spouse, has their own history of sexually abusing other people, or otherwise fails morally in some miserable spectacular way, and needs a scapegoat. And that’s where we come in. Newt Gingrich. Rush Limbaugh. They’re not all dealing with their own private confictedness about homosexuality, but they’re all nursing a private moral failure they need a scapegoat to dump it on.
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