Author Archives: Nick
For those of you that haven’t heard, the Obama administration recently enacted legislation that requires employers to cover birth control on their health plans at no cost to the employee. This is great news for anyone that prefers to plan their families rather than leave it to chance. The legislation excluded church-affiliated universities, hospitals and schools. As can be imagined, someone had a problem with it, primarily Catholics and Evangelicals. Many church-affiliated organizations will be required to comply with this legislation with the option of a one-year exemption to make necessary plans.
Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, head of 13 Catholic hospitals in Indiana and Illinois, showing absolutely no respect for anyone’s freedom but her own said, “This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights.” Really? Has the government forced you yourself to start taking birth control? Has the government required all women to start taking birth control? I don’t think so. The fact of the matter is that these organizations are upset because they’re losing their ability to control everyone else’s lives, Catholic/Evangelical or not, with their narrow-minded restrictions. Newsflash, not all of your employees believe what you believe, heck 98 percent of Catholics take birth control, the majority of your own congregation doesn’t believe it anymore.
Since these organizations aren’t legally allowed to hire only Catholic or Evangelical employees they need to be respectful of the varying beliefs of all of their employees. Previously, if an employee desired to take birth control and worked for such an organization, they had to pay full-price for it. The only way around this was if that employee was taking birth control for medical reasons, migraine control and/or to reduce the severity of their menstrual cycles, then they had to supply a letter from their doctor, essentially a permission slip so that it would be covered. So I don’t know what those organizations would expect then, “they better not be having sex while she’s on that medication so as not to reap the benefits of it, THEY’LL GO TO HELL.”
Honestly, I’m tired of hearing the largest and most powerful religions in this country talk about being attacked whilst taking aim at everyone else’s freedoms. A woman’s access to affordable and safe contraception is beneficial not only to herself but to this country as well, we don’t need our population swelling any more out of control than it already is. This can result in a significant decrease in people relying on social services. The benefits outweigh the risks, though the only foreseeable risk are these organizations being uncomfortable.
16-year-old student, Jessica Ahlquist, is an atheist, she also attends a public high-school, Cranston High School West. This school happens to have a prayer banner hung in their auditorium that reads:
Our Heavenly Father.
Grant us each day the desire to do our best.
To grow mentally and morally as well as physically.
To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers.
To be honest with ourselves as well as others.
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose a well as when we win.
Teach us the value of true friendship.
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
The areas in bold above will become strikingly ironic in a few moments. Shortly after noticing the banner Jessica started a Facebook page to rally support for its removal.
Eventually the ACLU got wind of the situation unfolding at Cranston and began planning to file a lawsuit to get the banner removed, Jessica volunteered to be the plaintiff as she felt very strongly about it. The lawsuit was a success and the court ordered the banner removed by the school. Up to this point, pretty uneventful, but it was after the judgement that Facebook and Twitter started overflowing with the ever famous fundamentalist Christian tolerance and love. Here’s a sampling:
May that little, evil atheist teenage girl and that judge BURN IN HELL!
She just destroyed a piece of Cranston West’s history. Hope you’re happy #stupidbitch
to the girl who had the prayer taken off at Cranston west – why the fuck does it matter? it’s basically history. just don’t look at it. #Bitch
U little brainless idiot, hope u will be punished, you have not win sh..t! Stupid little brainless skunk!
she’s not human shes garbage
Let’s all jump that girl who did the banner #fuckthatho
It goes on and on, if you want to see more just take a look at the gallery here. My favorite has to be, “just don’t look at it.” Really? Let’s hang an Islamic prayer banner in their auditorium and see how well they respond to “just don’t look at it.” All about religious tolerance as long as its their religion. Now you can see how the messages about being kind, good sports, and conduct in their prayer were entirely lost on them. Granted some of them could be parents, which would be deplorable, but most of them are definitely students.
In all honesty, I care less about the banner being in the school and more about the reaction of Jessica’s fellow students knowing full well that if the tables were turned and a religion, other than Christianity, were represented on a prayer banner, they’d be all up in arms about it.
- Atheist teen defeats high school prayer banner (examiner.com)
- Judge says school must remove prayer banner (radio.foxnews.com)
Full story, “My Lesbian Daughter, the Bible and Sex” at Fox News.
As hard as it is for me to believe it, Fox News’ website has a very interesting and level-headed opinion piece in response to Pastor Mark Driscoll’s opinion piece, “What the Bible Really Says About Sex.” Thankfully, it appears comments are disabled for opinion pieces, one can only imagine the kind of venom the author would have received. As I read through it I came to the realization that this is the missing key that so many fundamentalist Christians need to learn, that God should be left to sort these things out.
Shari Johnson begins by discussing how her 37-year old daughter came out of the closet in 2004, prior to her marriage. She continues by essentially taking the reader through the process she used to gain acceptance of her daughter’s orientation. By her account, upon asking God for help in changing her daughter, He instead changed her. She came to the realization that God was far more disturbed by her lack of love than her daughter’s homosexuality. Throughout the rest of her writing she touches on numerous religious topics that I think are really important.
- “When I hear terms like ‘God’s design’ and ‘Biblical marriage’ I have to wonder who decides these things.”
- “Our cultural adaptation of marriage has certainly evolved through the ages – had God not intervened, Joseph could have had Mary stoned to death for being pregnant with a child that was not his.”
- “…we keep a death grip on the scriptures that suit us – and the translation of those scriptures becomes more a matter of tradition, opinion and convenience than the Word of God.”
- “…those who are upset about sex outside of marriage are the same ones who are opposed to marriage equality.”
- “…principles for heterosexual marriage are the same for same-sex marriage – love, commitment, faithfulness, loyalty, honor and respect. How can we deny that to anyone?”
- “…my attitude traveling to the wedding was far different from my attitude on the trip home. God attends gay weddings. Who knew?”
The remaining few paragraphs of her opinion are where the real meat and potatoes are at. After asking a friend how she came to terms with the scriptures and her daughter’s homosexuality her response was, “I can’t. So I just let God sort it out.” What she says next really has a great deal of weight to it, “…I learned things about God I would never have known if I were still telling Him what His scriptures mean.” She continues by saying, “If we spent as much time obeying God’s two greatest commandments, which are that we love Him and love our neighbors as ourselves, and less time policing everyone who is different from us, imagine what a world it would be.”
Shari closes with a question everyone should ask themselves from time-to-time, “What if I’m wrong?”
The Family Leader, a conservative Christian organization based in Iowa, is asking all GOP candidates to sign “The Marriage Vow” pledge. This pledge requires that the candidates declare a pro-marriage stance, oppose same-sex marriage, define homosexuality as a “choice,” and that marriage is undermined by adulterous factors such as pornography. Do you know who’s signed this “vow?” Michele Bachmann, and more recently Rick Santorum.
Vander Plaats, CEO of The Family Leader, told the Des Moines Register, “If you are looking at being a leader of our great country, we would like to have you pledge personal fidelity to your own spouse and a respect for the marital bonds of others.” Our country? Isn’t that pretentious sounding? This country belongs to more than just your uptight, holier than though, organization. It belongs to a great number of people with varying religions (and non-religions), and with differing viewpoints on homosexuality and pornography. Furthermore, your “marriage vow” calls for marriage to be defined by a Constitutional amendment thus banning same-sex marriages and pornography. The Constitution isn’t this public forum where you can write laws into place for every little thing you don’t agree with.
The Constitution is about protecting the inalienable rights of United States citizens, not taking them away. What could possibly be accomplished by banning same-sex marriage? Absolutely nothing, that’s what. You’ll still see innumerable amounts of same-sex couples, they just won’t be married. How does same-sex marriage affect anyone but the two people being married? Don’t even mention the “sanctity” of marriage that you’re supposedly working to protect…
Of course, the fundamentalists probably see this as a stepping stone to the eventual outlawing of homosexuality as a whole. This would only open the doors to the outlawing of many other freedoms as time went on. (religions, alcohol, etc.) They say, “the Bible is very clear about same-sex marriages,” yeah, it is, and what else is it clear on that we don’t observe in modern society?
Then we get to the whole porn banning aspect. For those that fell asleep during history class, and/or current events, what happens when you take a beloved activity of the masses and outlaw it. For evidence one would have to look no further than prohibition of alcohol from the early 20th century or that of our current marijuana prohibition. When people can not access the things they want a black market environment will be created to fulfill it. It was true with alcohol prohibition and it is true with marijuana prohibition. And as is always true with black markets, they can be dangerous and lead to increased crime rates. The pornography industry rakes in $10-14 billion every year, not only does that money changing hands help our economy but think of the number of jobs it across the board.
You know, I can’t help but find this even the slightest bit ironic. Here we have a few Republicans, who have specifically expressed an interest in creating and preserving jobs. How do they plan to show how important it is to them? By outlawing an entire industry that generates countless jobs, brilliant. Bachmann has claimed she’s all for small, non-intrusive government, which makes her signing of this “vow” quite the ironic gesture. Rick Santorum, on the other hand, doesn’t see a problem with invading the privacy and lives of every American and stripping every right we deserve away. This also makes me think about how many conservative candidates have expressed an almost xenophobic fear of the Islamic community and how they want nothing more than to impose Sharia law on everyone. I’m not sure what they’d call what they’re doing with the attempts at outlawing same-sex marriage and pornography. Let’s take a look at the definition for Sharia:
the moral code and religious law of Islam.Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah.
Boy, that sounds exactly like what is happening here, doesn’t it? Let’s see what happens when we change a few words from that definition.
the moral code and religious law of Christianity. Judeo-Christian Sharia is derived from a single source: the Bible.
This is precisely why we have separation of church and state, and precisely why it must remain so. If we are to be ruled by the laws of one religion’s single book we might as well admit that:
- Christianity is the single and only legitimate religion in the United States, all other religions’ laws will be overruled by Christianity’s.
- Regardless of differences in interpretation of the, at times, vague text of the Bible, whomever is in charge of the theocracy shall decide what is right or wrong, their interpretation is the one and only. If you don’t agree with the way a particular law from the Bible has been interpreted, tough luck, that’s not for you to decide.
- The only people who won’t have a problem with this are the fundamentalist Christians, in their minds, Christianity is the only true religion.
Does that sound sensationalist? That may not be the case. At an Iowa campaign stop Rick specifically stated that, “our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law.” On Thanksgiving Day at a candidates’ forum he said it again, “We have civil laws, but our civil laws have to comport with the higher law.” Still think it sounds sensationalist? Try this then, “We have Judeo-Christian values that are based on biblical truth….And those truths don’t change just because people’s attitudes may change.” I certainly hope when he says, “We,” he doesn’t mean the entire US population because he’s mistaken. As of 2011 Christianity accounts for anywhere between 59.9% and 76.0% of the US population. That may be a majority but it certainly isn’t all, and it definitely doesn’t justify fundamentalist Christians imposing their morals and views on others.
To be honest, I’ve gotten to the point where I can no longer tell if these candidates seriously think they have a shot at the Presidency, or if they’re just there to make the less extreme candidates seem like more sane choices by comparison.
Been a while since I’ve posted to my blog but this article needed to be shared, so here it is.
In November, the cable channel TLC premiered All-American Muslim which follows Islamic families living in Dearborn, MI. And, as shocking as it may be, someone had a problem with it. Evangelical Christian group, Florida Family Association, whose goal is to, “defend, protect and promote traditional biblical values,” rose a stink about it. The FFA, who previously bitched about Degrassi, a show that “promotes the transgender and homosexual lifestyles and other inappropriate behavior,” called All-American Muslim “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”
Really? That sounds incredibly hypocritical, cause that’s exactly what the FFA is doing. The FFA’s agenda presents a clear and present danger to American liberties and the traditional values of our founding fathers. Liberties and values such as freedom of/from religion, freedom of expression, and so on. Anyhow, they also had this to say:
Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.
Wow, really? Someone’s got a stereotypical view of the Islamic faith. They seem to forget that the jihad threat they speak of is only a reality in regards to Islamic extremists. Do they really need to be reminded that the Christian faith has its fair share of extremists as well. Westboro Baptist Church ring any bells? Heck, with the way this FFA organization wants to push their religious beliefs and morals on every single American I wouldn’t call it much of a reach to pigeon-hole their group as extremists. Their response to this harmless show could be read in one of two ways, they either truly believe that all Muslims have it out for America with this jihad bullshit, or they’re really just a bunch of racists hiding behind a false fear to make their reaction seem wholesome.
The FFA and other like-minded Americans have gone so far as to spread hate speech on the Facebook pages for Lowe’s, one of the show’s primary sponsors, who ultimately decided to pull their advertising or face retaliation from consumers. They’ve also urged Home Depot and Sweet ‘N Low to pull their ads.
Here we have TLC putting a show together to help educate sometimes ignorant Americans that not all Muslims are terrorists, just like not all Christians are out there bombing abortion clinics. The show touches on the daily lives of these Muslims in America and discrimination and bigotry they face at every turn. Then, quite ironically, they have to deal with it again thanks to this self-righteous clan of bigots from Florida. So sure of their own superiority over all others that they feel it is their sacred right to impress their illogical and stuck-up morals on everyone else.
MoveOn.org published a video of Zach Wahls giving a very well crafted and well spoken argument for legalization of gay marriage. Oh, he was raised by a lesbian couple. This guy is a really good wordsmith.