February 3, 2011
What effect does the sexual orientation of parents have on the quality of character of raised children?
November 25, 2010
August 16, 2010
Yup. Michael Voris of The Vortex shows us clear evidence how his faith allows him to live in alternative universe while using the rights and freedoms found in this universe within his country’s secular society to advocate that all of us should join him there.
(Tip to Pharyngula)
August 5, 2010
I have long argued that marriage is a legal issue that involves civil rights and as such is a status available to all citizens at the age of majority. Any laws or prohibitions that exclude or deny access to gaining this legal status for some adults are therefore discriminatory. The denial of marriage for gays and lesbians has been a clear legal case in my mind of such discrimination. Equal rights, I have argued, are not to be determined or denied by majority votes unless one wishes to first endorse the legal notion of tyranny of the majority who gain special privileges with the establishment of unequal legal rights based on group membership. This notion is antithetical to the fundamental autonomy of the individual that shifts rights away from each citizen to membership in legally defined and politically privileged groups.
It is with a great deal of satisfaction that I now read federal judge Vaughn Walker’s decision on overturning California’s Proposition 8, the recent plebiscite that rescinded the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Judge Walker’s decision to overturn the 52% majority vote that denied gays and lesbians the civil right to marry was for exactly these reasons of discrimination on the sole basis of group membership – whether the genders of the spouses were the same or different. No evidence could be provided to show that this legal discrimination was based on anything other than this single discriminatory criteria that no other rational justification supported. Without going into the detail of the ruling, suffice it is to say that it completely dismantles the factual statements made in support of the proposition and makes clear that it is discriminatory solely on the basis of same or different gender of spouses without rational cause.
Well done, Judge Walker. May this case become the precedent. Step by enlightened step, may the bigotry supported by organizations like Focus on the Family and the mormon church and the catholic church (that to a large extent funded Proposition 8 ) be forced by secular law out of the public domain.
May 21, 2010
From the CBC:
A judge in Malawi has found a gay couple guilty of unnatural acts and gross indecency after a trial that drew worldwide condemnation of that country’s laws on homosexuality.
Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa issued the ruling Tuesday. The couple could be imprisoned for up to 14 years.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, had been jailed since their arrest Dec. 27, when they celebrated their engagement with a party that drew crowds of curious and jeering onlookers.
Their hearings also drew ridicule, an indication of views on homosexuality in this traditional society — and elsewhere in Africa.
Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries on the continent. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison and include capital punishment for “repeat offenders.” Even in South Africa, the only African country that recognizes gay rights, gangs have carried out so-called “corrective” rapes on lesbians.
What can I say? I was offended, so I wrote to the Malawi high commissioner:
The sentencing by this Malawi ‘court’ of Steven and Tiwonge is a mark of bigotry and shame that contravenes section 20 of your country’s constitution. And your government seems to be in full agreement with this ruling. When court rulings support populism, but break the spirit of guaranteed constitutional rights and freedoms for all, then all citizens lose. The fact that your government is satisfied with this ruling makes a mockery that human rights are respected and are of any legal value whatsoever in Malawi. On the world stage, your country has taken a giant step backwards into an age of superstition and fear about a victimless activity between consenting adults some in your country find offensive.
Unless and until the government of Malawi and its agents in positions of authority have the moral courage and political fortitude to step forward and accept that rights and freedoms for all outweigh popular superstition and bigotry against some, your country’s voice will be one of regressive and brutal bigotry codified and enforced by a bullying and ethically corrupt government that deserves nothing but condemnation and marginilization for it lack of intestinal fortitude. If your government can so easily discriminate against these two men because you find their behaviour offensive, then I see no reason why your country should not wholeheartedly agree to have its membership at the United Nations revoked and sentenced to 14 years of hard labour for offending the many people other governments represent who find your ruling so offensive. Simply put, your country does not belong at the same discussion table as civilized nations because your failure to act in this matter of Steven and Tiwonge is uncivilized and deeply offensive. Your government’s failure to intercede and insist that your courts enforce the law equally on behalf of these two men is at the very least a disgrace, an abdication of your government’s responsibility to all the people it represents like Stephen and Tiwonge, and I consider criminally negligent.
If nothing else, overturning the court’s decision on constitutional grounds would show the world that your government at least has the merit, unlike 37 other timid and scared African countries, of having grown a pair.
There. That feels better.
February 1, 2010
It’s easy: just follow and implement the Texas State Republican Platform!
With its clearly laid out plan that says one thing that seems a step in the right direction only to advocate guidelines that will achieve its opposite, this is a timely and important document to turn a great state into a laughing stock, a proud state into a righteously pious theocracy, an able state to alter intelligent and capable children into idiots.
Well done, Texas!
January 30, 2010
“The bottom line is that the science shows that children raised by two same-gender parents do as well on average as children raised by two different-gender parents. This is obviously inconsistent with the widespread claim that children must be raised by a mother and a father to do well,” Biblarz said.
Stacey concluded: “The family type that is best for children is one that has responsible, committed, stable parenting. Two parents are, on average, better than one, but one really good parent is better than two not-so-good ones. The gender of parents only matters in ways that don’t matter.”
This study is published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.
From ScienceDaily here.
Gov. Jay Nixon called on Missourians to pray for Engelhard’s family, who “lost a beloved son and brother.”
Neither statement tells the whole story.
Engelhard, hit by a car that lost control in the snow, was gay. He left behind a partner of nearly 15 years who was not mentioned in his obituary or official information released by the Highway Patrol, although members of the agency knew about his sexual orientation.
If Engelhard had been married, his spouse would be entitled to lifetime survivor’s benefits from the state pension system — more than $28,000 a year.
But neither the state Highway Patrol pension system nor Missouri law recognizes domestic partners.
A fraternal organization that provides benefits to the families of troopers killed in the line of duty is also unsure if it will help Engelhard’s partner.
December 20, 2009
The offer of reconciliation came in an introduction written by Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion to a book of speeches by Pope Ratzinger on Europe’s “spiritual crisis” (i.e. the crisis in Christianity) published in Russian by the Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate. The Vatican newspaper published almost the entire introduction in its 2 December edition.
In the essay, Hilarion denounced the “militant secularism” adopted by an increasingly united Europe and claimed that religion was being closed off in the “ghetto” of private devotion, and urged Christians to confront their governments on issues like abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage – even to the point of civil disobedience.
“For religion, militant secularism is just as dangerous as militant atheism was,” Hilarion said, adding ridiculously that in modern Europe the “unwritten rules of political correctness” are increasingly applied to religious institutions, to the point that believers can no longer express their religious convictions publicly because it would be considered a violation of the rights of non-believers.
Read the rest of the article here.
Note the word ‘publicly’. This is code for the right to implement a specific religious doctrine upon the public (usually financed by the public). Someone who holds religious beliefs in private is called a member of a ‘ghetto’ by the pope, as if only through state-sanctioned religion can anyone enjoy the right kind of religious freedom. And this is from those who think demonology is a legitimate branch of medicine. What unmitigated bullshit supporting religious interference in the public domain and ongoing faithist effrontery to the secular rights for all individuals.
What is a militant secularist? Apparently, it is anyone who disagrees with the public promotion of religious orthodoxy, although how that miraculous transubstantiation of disagreement into militancy remains is a bit of a mystery. Let’s just take it on faith that it is so. Archbishop Hilarion suggests civil disobedience by the faithful is sanctioned by church leaders in the face of such… umm… militancy. I’m a bit confused: which behaviour is more militant, disagreeing or civil disobedience? Gee, that’s a deep moral question; we’d best ask the pope!
November 6, 2009
Where do these people come from and why do their brains change states with the heat of religious thinking?
The latest victim is Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.
Ready for the rabbit hole?
From this article, we read that the Rabbi Chief Lord thinks Islam needs to learn to separate theology from power like the Jews and Christians have already done. That would be a Good Thing. But it takes time. It takes a tolerant religious culture for the Muslims to come to this realization themselves, you see. But Europe is losing its religious toleration. That’s a Bad Thing. In the meantime, Muslim families produce more children than non-Muslim families. Why? Why aren’t European women having more babies? Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.
Well, Lord Rabbi Chief links a declining birthrate to secularism. Secularism causes selfishness. Selfishness stops women from having babies. The solution to thwart such selfishness is religion because religion sanctifies the family and parenthood, safeguards us from relativism, and protects moral principles that allows for freedom. But Lo! Religion is under attack! By whom? Who might do such a dastardly thing? Richard Dawkins! That’s right. Richard Dawkins and his cohort of neo-Darwinian attackers of all that is good, which just so happens to be religion, are responsible for the current decline and eventual fall of Western civilization. Chief Lord Rabbi says so!
Damn those secularists. Killing off a civilizations like this. The nerve. But the question I am left with after reading such a brilliant and insightful piece by his Chiefiness and Lordship of Rabbinical Sackfulness is: Why didn’t I see it before?
Why didn’t I grasp that Dawkins, by promoting evolutionary theory, has put an entire civilization at risk? I’ve been so blind! Why didn’t I intuit that women couldn’t responsibly handle the freedom from reproduction, greedy piggies that they are, that they were just too damned selfish to be trusted to choose parenthood for themselves? I’ve been such a fool. I’ve been played by that Dawkins, looking to fossils and genes and other such nonsense while around me crumbles – crumbles, I tell you! – a civilization with each new wail of a baby born into a family of Muslim parents. I’ve been deaf as well as blind!
Little did I know that respecting human rights and dignity for all was actually an absurdly stupid thing for me to do because such concerns have already found a safe haven within the loving embrace of religious devotion. Silly me. Nothing says human dignity like standing up for honour killings, and few things can compare with the respect of a person’s rights by means of a suicide bomber. I’ve been had. Not believing in the literal transmutation of cracker to flesh is just too damned selfish of me. If I just believe enough in whatever any religion assures me is the truth, I can do my part to save Western civilization! If I just put aside my concern for science being in the science curriculum and cast out the civ-buster Dawkins from my conscience and learn the controversies like creationism for our ancestry and stork theory for delivering more babies, then I can do my part to make everything all right. Ask not for what my civilization can do for me but what I can procreate on behalf of my civilization! We must, therefore, have religion respected so that women can have more babies and Islam can find peace between power and theology. (Or do we donate $$$ to more Save The Stork foundations? Maybe lobby for more cabbage patch vegetable preserves. I’m not sure… I… I… I don’t know what to think… oh, right, don’t think… be tolerant…)
Phew. Secular evolution almost got me there.
Thank you, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks for saving us all… from our brains.