Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday News Roundup

  • Santa Claus comes out and Focus on the Anus is not amused. GLSEN is using the play about Santa's "heartfelt struggle to reconcile his relationship with Italian toymaker Giovanni Geppetto" as a fundraising tool. FOTA is objecting that it sexualizes Santa and "perverts the innocence of Christmas." My take:
    • It's about time! There have been reports of his exploits for years in various gay and straight magazines—sordid tales of "My night with Santa" and such. (j/k)
    • This is also another double standard thing. Eartha Kitt can sing "Santa, Baby", and it's fine. A little child sings "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and they have no problem. Change the lyrics to "I Saw Daddy" and then they have a problem.

  • Roman Culture of Death—Father Geoff Farrow has some thought provoking insight into just how much the Catholic Church's influence is affecting the culture that then creates anti-LGBT laws.
  • In the "You can't make this stuff up Department": In the movie Bruno, Sascha Baron-Cohen dupes various people into being in sketches and skits in the movie. One of them was a pastor who urged Cohen-as-Bruno to convert and become an "ex-gay". Now, that pastor is running for mayor in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • In November, a Houston, TX student was brutally beaten for being gay after getting off his school bus. The student had asked his assistant principal and his bus driver for assistance because previously other students threatened him, saying they were going to "beat the gayness out of him". After the bus driver and principal failed to respond appropriately, he was beaten anyway. The bus driver has now been fired, and the principal is still under investigation.
  • Priest abuse victims want an investigation of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, while there have been multiple reports indicating the Church's negligence, prosecutors are unable to bring charges, often because of statutes of limitations. I would like to see a systematic investigation of the Church, but unfortunately, it looks like change will have to come from the inside. (h/t http://queeringthechurch.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/preventing-the-cover-ups/)

  • Bilerico:
    • Who decides LGBT strategy? It's an interesting and thought provoking question. One recommendation I will make is that we decide on a strategy and make it work. That's part of how the right-wing nuts have been so successful. Their success politically is the fruit that came from the seeds of the "Moral Majority" and the "Christian Coalition". It is shameful that my rights have to be put to a vote, but since they are, by God, I'm going to fight.
    • Congress to Gays: "LA-LA-LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" Dr. Jillian Weiss writes about ENDA. I think she may have a point.

    • Parents can't opt their kids out of Alameda Diversity Curriculum. Last Spring, some conservatives were throwing a hissy fit because the Alameda School Board decided to adopt an LGBT-inclusive safe-school curriculum. Now a judge has ruled on a lawsuit by those parents, indicating that this does not fall under "Health education" and therefore, they cannot choose to take their kids out of the prgram. He also indicated that this would violate California's educational policy to provide equal rights and opportunities to all.
      The result would be that parents who object to instruction in tolerance of individuals or families of other races or of mixed races, of persons with disabilities, or of persons or families of other races, ethnicity, or religion, would have the right to have their children excused from instruction on those topics. This result could not have been contemplated by the Legislature, since it substantially hinders the ability of schools to implement California's policy under Education Code section 233 to provide equal rights and opportunities in public schools to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, or religion.

  • I know I spend a lot of time discussing the Catholic Church. Part of it is that while there are other evangelical, fundamentalist 'movers and shakers' that are doing things that are just as nasty, the Church is extremely active in my area. One blanket criticism I can make, no matter what denomination, is that the loud Anitas will not let an open and honest debate. Case in point, the symposium sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis called "Understanding the Cultural and Legal Battle". Brian McNeill wrote an article for the Progressive Catholic Voice about it. One commonality I notice is that there seems to be an overlap in tactics, at least, between the religious conservatives and the political conservatives. Neither group in either arena will allow facts and honest discourse. They just obstruct anything until the consensus matches their prejudices.

    Wayne Besen of TruthWinsOut.org also has some commentary on how the Catholic church is blurring the line, and making it difficult for GLBT people and their supporters.

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