Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rep. Alan Grayson To Christian Right: What About YOUR Pact With Satan?

Via JoeMyGod:

Rep. Alan Grayson To Christian Right: What About YOUR Pact With Satan?:
"On the floor of Congress yesterday, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) called out the Christian right for the comments about Haiti and asked Pat Robertson, 'What about your own pact with the devil? How's that worked out for you?' Classic Grayson!"


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Letter to the Editor I wish I'd written:

Susan Russell over at "An Inch At a Time" has a letter to the editor that sums things up quite well:

A Letter to the Editor I wish I'd written::

"[via email -- thanks to Jerry Anderson!]


The 14th Amendment was adopted to ensure the constitutional rights of freed slaves and their descendents after the Civil War. There have been roughly 325 federal court cases relative to this amendment since that time. Nineteen of those cases have actually had anything at all to do with a human being. The remaining 300 or so cases have been part of the ongoing corruption process that grants “personhood” to corporations. “Corporate Personhood” is the legal concept that grants most of the rights of natural living, breathing citizens to corporations.

Under our constitution US corporations are allowed virtually every right of humanbeings including such rights as the right to marry. This “marriage/merger” concept which flies in the face of “traditional marriage” is openly embraced by conservatives who will freely grant to a profit-making business what they flatly refuse to grant to millions of our living, breathing LGBT citizens."

Surf over to read the rest! It's a dilly!


Friday, January 22, 2010


From Enlightened Catholic:

SCOTUS decides to SCREWUS: " I guess SCOTUS forgot about the reasons for some of the legislation around the teapot dome scandal. Now we are really back to the future.

Robert Weissman - President of Public Citizen - Huffington Post - 1/22/10)
Today, in Citizens United v. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence election outcomes.
Money from Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer and the rest of the Fortune 500 is already corroding the policy making process in Washington, state capitals, and city halls. Today, the Supreme Court tells these corporate giants that they have a constitutional right to trample our democracy.

.....(More here
In eviscerating, longstanding rules that prohibit corporations from using their own monies to influence elections, the court invites giant corporations to open up their treasuries to buy election outcomes. Corporations are sure to accept the invitation.

The predictable result will be corporate money flooding the election process; huge targeted campaigns by corporations and their front groups attacking principled candidates who challenge parochial corporate interests; and a chilling effect on candidates and election officials, who will be deterred from advocating and implementing policies that advance the public interest but injure deep-pocket corporations.

Because today's decision is made on First Amendment constitutional grounds, the impact will be felt not only at the federal level, but in the states and localities, including in state judicial elections. (The local impact may be exactly where the most damage is felt. Hello Walmart, hello immanent domain abuses, hello corporate towns.)
In one sense, today's decision was a long time coming. Over the past 30 years, the Supreme Court has created and steadily expanded the First Amendment protections afforded to for-profit corporations. (Important point here. Your average 501c3 isn't rolling in billions of third quarter profits like Goldman Sachs or Exxon.)

But in another sense, the decision is a startling break from Supreme Court tradition. Even as it has mistakenly equated money with speech in the political context, the court has long upheld regulations on corporate spending in the electoral context. The Citizens United decision is also an astonishing overreach by the court. No one thought the issue of corporations' purported right to spend money to influence election outcomes was at stake in this case until the Supreme Court so decreed. The case had been argued in lower courts, and was originally argued before the Supreme Court, on narrow grounds related to the application of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. (I think we really need to digest this fact. No one expected this kind of universal blanket decision from this case. It's like taking a local sodomy case and jumping it up to allow gay marriage rights. It's called right wing judicial activism like the left never ever considered.)

The court has invented the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights to influence election outcomes out of whole cloth. There is surely no precedent to support this outcome, since the court only created the rights in recent decades. Nor can the outcome be justified in light of the underlying purpose and spirit of the First Amendment. Corporations are state-created entities, not real people. They do not have expressive interests like humans; and, unlike humans, they are uniquely motivated by a singular focus on their economic bottom line. Corporate spending on elections defeats rather than advances the democratic thrust of the First Amendment.
We, the People, cannot allow this decision to go unchallenged. We, the People, cannot allow corporations to take control of our democracy


I haven't been this angry since our conservative court gave GW the presidency. Now our conservative court has given Exxon our democracy. I guess we can forget any real ecological, financial, or health reform. By 2014 we could truly be represented by the Senator from Koch Industries who happens to live in Texas.

What really bothers me though, is the thought that Goldman Sachs as a corporate individual apparently has the same constitutional rights I do as a human--without any of the responsibilities. Mr Sachs has no children to worry about which really effects a person's bottom line. Mr Sachs has no health problems to worry about which really effects a person's bottom line. Mr Sachs doesn't have to worry much about his house being foreclosed on, or where his next meal is coming from, or whether his car is going down the tubes. Even if Mr Sachs did have to worry about any of these humdrum issues, Mr Sachs has plenty of mine and your assets to help with such issues. Mr Sachs has already been defined by our government as 'too big to fail' where as us mere human individuals are too often defined as 'too little to care about'. SCOTUS has just decided to put us mere human individuals permanently in our very little place.

I looked up this morning what it takes to impeach a Supreme Court Justice. I think it would behoove our current government to investigate some of the members of this court. Maybe some of them have holdings in off shore accounts. Holdings which don't compute with their salaries or other perks. It's just a thought. Here's another thought--judicial malpractice.

Some angry folks are discussing a constitutional amendment to define the rights of corporate individuals vis a vis the first amendment. This could actually get bi partisan support since SCOTUS also extended this benevolence to unions. Then again it may not because it wouldn't take long for a corporate democracy to legislate unions off the face of our map, especially on the state level. I mean the greatest leverage an individual can have over other individuals is their pay check. How many Americans are really able to vote their conscience or speak their mind if it might cost them their pay check? I guess only those who have already lost their paycheck.

This is bad news folks. If this isn't stopped we will have no real democracy. If tea baggers and right wingers think this is in their best interests, just wait. Exxon only cares about how much money tea baggers are willing to pay for a gallon of gas or home heating oil. Just like the rest of us.



Friday, January 15, 2010

Catholic Archbishops Launch New Manhattan Declaration Campaign

Via Joe My God:
Catholic Archbishops Launch New Manhattan Declaration Campaign: "The authors of the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration, which calls for the disobedience of any laws granting LGBT rights, want to increase its number of signatories from 370,000 to one million. Working to help them reach that noble goal are Catholic archbishops. Via press release:
Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia (right), Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, DC (left), Archbishop Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville reached out to all of their brother Catholic bishops asking them to spread this document throughout their dioceses and encourage their clergy and faithful to study it and join as signatories. The Archbishop of Detroit has planned a grassroots effort throughout his archdiocese. The Bishop of Phoenix has already organized a grassroots effort there. We are also receiving many reports of evangelical gatherings in a number of areas - and many evangelical pastors referring to the Manhattan Declaration in their sermons. This bold and exciting movement needs to reach 100 or 200 cities in America. Why not? Can you help? We are urging you to encourage your pastors and community leaders to do what these other cities are doing. Organize ecumenical meetings organized around the Manhattan Declaration; get other concerned citizens to join the effort. Get on the internet or phone and ask friends to join you.
After a raft of suggestions on how to increase the number of signatures (Use Facebook! Twitter! Hair salons! Barbeques!), the authors close with: 'Just think what might happen in our land if one million courageous Christians declared their uncompromising allegiance to Jesus Christ and to biblical faithfulness on some of the most urgent moral issues of our day. May God give us the strength to do what He is so clearly calling us to do. From our perspective, this is a cause worth giving every last ounce of effort and energy we have.'

And once again, the moral and Godly oppression of natural human sexuality is aided by elderly drag queen eunuchs in embroidered gowns, gaily waving their smoking purses all the way to the NAMBLA meeting.
Subscribe to Joe.My.God.


A picture is worth 1000 words

h/t (Susan Russell @ inchatatime.blogspot.com)

Exporting culture war and ignoring the consequences

Via Episcopal Cafe:

Exporting culture war and ignoring the consequences: "

Here is a recipe for trouble: Go to another country and culture. Take a dreadful and defining historical event grounded in one context, reframe in terms of a battle you are having at home, so can line them up on your side back home. Stir up us-versus-them rhetoric, tell people their children are at risk, and then walk away. When the results are volatile and dangerous, resulting in death and threats of death, be shocked but only after a respectful silence. Or just remain silent.

This is what American conservative Evangelicals have done in Uganda and the result is the anti-gay bill in Uganda.

In the churches in North America, the fight over sexuality has meant divided churches and, probably, disaffected members who are tired of churches who do nothing but argue. In Uganda, American culture wars have become a license to kill, including now a proposal to extend state-sanctioned killing to homosexuals and imprisonment towards those who know gays, interact with gays, or assist gays.

Both NPR and Newsweek reflect on what happens when American culture wars are exported to different cultures and political climates.

Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek.com about the limits of 'Anglican soulmating'. She says that while conservative former-Episcopalians in a rich California suburb may be impressed by the piety and theological purity of their African counterparts, it can be shocking when they see what happens when American culture wars are exported.

American culture wars are kindergarten play compared with those in places like Uganda, where democracy is a sham and tolerance rare. And American conservatives who insist on romanticizing Africans for the purity of their Christian belief must guard against escalating those wars and endangering lives—intentionally or not—by giving support and money to Christian leaders with insufficient regard for human rights. 'The culture war which has been fought in the U.S. has been exported to Africa,' says Ochoro Otunnu, a Ugandan human-rights lawyer based in New York. But, he adds, there's a big difference. 'In America you can have an open debate about homosexuality knowing full well you have an array of legal and constitutional protections. Those protections don't exist in some of the African countries—Uganda being a case in point. When this debate is conducted in public you can actually endanger an entire minority community....'

The anti-homosexuality bill now before the Ugandan parliament is a case in point. NPR's Barbara Bradley Haggerty reports on what happened how American conservative evangelicals encouraged the bills and only half-heartedly back away from its deadlier consequences:

To understand how this bill came to be, one needs to know the story of King Mwanga. In 1886, Uganda's king ordered some two dozen male pages to have sex with him, and when they refused because of their Christian faith, he ordered that they be burned to death. Every year on June 3, Ugandans celebrate a national holiday honoring the Christian martyrs and deploring the pedophile king.

Into this climate stepped Scott Lively, an American evangelical and president of Defend The Family International. In March 2009, Lively traveled to Uganda to speak, along with two other Americans from 'ex-gay communities,' about the 'gay agenda.'

'The gay movement is an evil institution,' he told Uganda's Family Life Network. 'The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.'

Then Lively, who has authored a book called The Pink Swastika, played into the fears raised by Uganda's history.

'Male homosexuality has historically been, not adult to adult; it's been adult to teenager,' he said. 'It's called pederasty — adults sodomizing teenage boys.'

Lively went on to talk to the Ugandan parliament, but says he never intended for the bill to include the death penalty, but he admires the line in the sand the Ugandan politicians are drawing. He told NPR: 'But the fact that they're willing to stand up and say, 'No, we are not going let you homosexualize our country!' — that is a step in the right direction, and I would hope that it would spread to other countries.'

Martin Minns, of CANA whose boss is Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola, calls the lobbying and pressure from the West to stop the legislation 'megaphone diplomacy' and he says it doesn't work. He claims that his groups has been working quietly behind the scenes to change the legislation.

'It's hard for any of us who have not lived under colonial rule to realize how offensive it is for people who have won that freedom to now basically be told, 'You're fools. You're ignorant. One day you'll grow up and be like us,' ' Minns says. 'That comes across in a very patronizing way.'

Nigeria had a similar law come before their parliament a few years back, with the open support of Minns' boss, Archbishop Peter Akinola. It was withdrawn after a lot of megaphone diplomacy which included consistent international condemnation from governments and foreign ministers.

NPR interviewed Episcopal Cafe's Jim Naughton, who said he doesn't buy the stated shock and dismay of some evangelical leaders about the bill. He says that they should have known that their message, which plays one way in the USA, would play another way in Uganda:

'If you go to countries where there's already a great deal of suspicion and maybe animosity towards homosexuals, and begin to tell people there, 'Well, actually these people are child abusers, they're coming for their children, that they're the scourge that is being deposited on you by the secular West,' you're gonna get a backlash.' Naughton says it's like 'showing up in rooms filled with gasoline, and throwing lighted matches around and saying, 'Well, I never intended fire .' '

Lisa Miller talked to human rights activists and others who point to this law as the consequence of a policy of exporting American religious and political ideologies to Africa, Latin American and Asia.

Otunnu and other human-rights activists believe the political war against homosexuals in Uganda is a direct result of the legions of evangelists who landed in his country during the Bush administration, determined to fight HIV/AIDS with Christian rhetoric about abstinence and marital fidelity. 'Africa, like Latin America and parts of Asia, is culturally very conservative. But within Uganda there has never been an ideology on how to criminalize this act. This is the impact of the evangelical movement.'


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian

Via Peterson Toscano:

Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian: "

This just in from the deliciously reliable “news” source–The Onion:

LOUISVILLE, KY—At first glance, high school senior Lucas Faber, 18, seems
like any ordinary gay teen. He’s a member of his school’s swing choir, enjoys
shopping at the mall, and has sex with other males his age. But lately, a
growing worry has begun to plague this young gay man. A gnawing feeling that,
deep down, he may be a fundamentalist, right-wing Christian.

“I don’t know what’s happening to me,” Faber admitted to reporters Monday.
“It’s like I get these weird urges sometimes, and suddenly I’m tempted to go
behind my friends’ backs and attend a megachurch service, or censor books in the
school library in some way. Even just the thought of organizing a CD-burning
turns me on.”

Added Faber, “I feel so confused.”

The openly gay teen, who came out to his parents at age 14 and has had a
steady boyfriend for the past seven months, said he first began to suspect he
might be different last year, when he started feeling an odd stirring within
himself every time he passed a church. The more conservative the church, Faber
claimed, the stronger his desire was to enter it.

Read more here. hat tip to Mister Tumnus"


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sunday Drive: Back to Rome

The Gospels of Matthew (8:5-13) and Luke (7:1-10) both have accounts of this story, and according to Helminiak, both seem to have been drawn from the same original Greek source. In the story, a Roman centurion comes to Jesus, asking Him to heal his slave. What is interesting about this is the original Greek wording. There are two different phrases that are both translated as ‘slave’— entimos pais and dulos. Entimos Pais is could be translated as “my son”, “my boy” or “honored servant.” That phrase has also been used in other non-Biblical documents to refer to a slave who was his master’s gay lover. While the idea of sexual slavery is repugnant to us today, it was common in the culture of the time. The basic way of forming familial relationships outside of one’s ‘birth’ family was a commercial transaction. ‘Wives’ of the day, and concubines for that matter, were often sexual slaves and treated as their husband’s property. Likewise, a man interested in sharing a similar relationship with another man purchased a pais.

As a distinction, the centurion’s other servants are designated ‘duloi’. Helminiak also indicates that the ‘son’ interpretation is out because Luke’s account also designates the pais as a dulos. In other words, he was definitely a slave. Entimos indicates that the boy is very dear to the centurion. Some might say that he wanted simply to protect his investment, but centurions were wealthy. They could go buy other slaves. Perhaps this pais held a key position in the household, but the wording indicates that this slave is also young, and given his age, the most probable interpretation is that this ‘dear slave’ had an emotional bond with the Centurion. This story is significant because Jesus did not condemn the Centurion. Rather, he marveled at his faith, and declared him an example of it.


Friday, January 8, 2010

If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care



Ok, there's still a few days left in the campaign, but Even if we miss the deadline the idea is sound: Via Good As You:

Op(portunity)-Ed(ucation): "

Look, we get it. It's January. You're freezing your arse off. Going back to work at all is tough enough, much less taking on any new assignments.

But here's the thing: We are still a loooooong way from marriage equality in this country. Sure, some of us have joyously crawled through the window in the handful of areas where we can legally marry. But none of us have federal recognition. None of us have the ability to transport our unions to the majority of other U.S. jurisidictions. Plus states like Maine and California have shown us how fragile even our state-level freedoms can be when thrown in front of a fervently faith-based firing squad. So really not a one of us (of any orientation) are ever going to be free until we are ALL truly free.

Share-1So here's what we need you to do: First, thaw out of your post-holiday ennui and warm up your typing fingers. Next, pinpoint a local newspaper that runs opinion pieces. Then let your heart and mind pour out into a passionate pro-peace piece that demonstrates why, exactly, gays and lesbians are in fact human beings who deserve basic human freedoms. The purpose: To show the country that when homo-hostile bias is relegated to the historical dustbin that it deserves, love will then take over.

The deets:


One week. One unified voice.

NEW YORK - Love Takes Over is a nationwide initiative calling on citizens to write to their local newspapers about marriage equality during the week of January 3rd-January 9th. Love Takes Over seeks to promote and foster dialogue about marriage equality on a local level.

The idea behind Love Takes Over is simple: One week. One unified voice. Everyone take over America’s local newspapers and get people talking about marriage equality across the entire country at the same time.

Love Takes Over encourages American citizens to open up dialogue on a variety of issues pertaining to marriage equality. These issues include why civil marriage is a civil rights issue, why Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships are not equal to marriage, how inequality affects the families and children of same-sex couples, and why the issue of marriage equality is personally important to the author of each article.

“We believe in the power of small,” say the activists behind Love Takes Over, “We believe that the small steps people take everyday to educate their families, friends, and local communities are a vital part of any social justice movement.”

Articles are to be published during the week of January 3rd-January 9th. College students on Winter Break are encouraged to write to their hometown newspapers and submit a piece to their campus newspaper at the start of the new semester.

For more information, please contact Jen Dugan at (201) 247-6419 or email ltonewspapers@gmail.com. More information can also be found at Love Takes Over’s official project blog: lovetakesover.tumblr.com.




Thursday, January 7, 2010

And Now, A Message From Dick Cheney

Nuff Said. Via Daily Kos:
And Now, A Message From Dick Cheney: "



Top Republicans support lawsuit pushing vote to strip rights from same-sex couples in DC

OK. After taking some time off over the holidays to regroup, it's time to go back to the grindstone. I do find it interesting just how many Republicans conflate their politics and their religion. As I've said many times before, I have no problems with someone voting a particular way regaring a proposed legislation (or even advocating a particular position) based on their personal faith journey and interpretation of what God wants. After all, that's what I'm doing too. Many of these Republicans, especially James Inhofe and Michelle Bachmann make a show out of their piety, making less about doing somehting for the glory of God and more about doing it for the glory of the politician. I also object to people like Bishop Jackson using their positions as pastors to become "backdoor lobbyists".

Via Americablog:

Top Republicans support lawsuit pushing vote to strip rights from same-sex couples in DC:
There are some Republicans who never miss a chance to do some rhetorical
gay-bashing. Today, we learn that 39 Republicans on Capitol Hill have joined a
lawsuit filed by noted homophobe Harry Jackson to force a vote on DC's
new marriage law
Thirty-nine congressional Republicans, including House Minority
Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), have filed an
amicus brief in D.C. Superior Court calling for a voter referendum on whether to
legalize same-sex marriage in the District.

In the filing, U.S. senators
James Inhofe (Okla.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.) and 37 House Republicans align
with Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church, in asking the court
to reverse a D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics decision prohibiting the
same-sex marriage question to be put before voters.
Just leave it to Republicans to think a public vote to strip away the
rights of citizens is a good idea. Funny, in a hypocritical way, how Republicans
are always bashing lawyers and lawsuits, but run to the courts when they can
thwart equality. It shouldn't be a surprise that the top GOP House leaders are
engaged in gay-bashing. After all, their press spokesperson, Andy Seré, spends
his time gay-baiting (that is, when he's not attending GOB
or getting 'tail.')

here's the rest of the list of GOP homophobes who got on board with the amicus

In addition to the two senators and Boehner and Cantor, the brief
was signed by U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt (Ala.), Todd Akin (Mo.), Michele
Bachmann (Minn.), J. Gresham Barrett (S.C.), Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), Marsha
Blackburn (Tenn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), John Fleming
(La.), J. Randy Forbes (Va.), Virginia Foxx (N.C.), Scott Garrett (N.J.), Phil
Gingrey (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Tex.), Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), Wally Herger
(Calif.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Steve King (Iowa), Jack
Kingston (Ga.), John Kline (Minn.) Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Robert Latta (Ohio),
Don Manzullo (Ill.), Michael McCaul (Tex.), Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), Patrick
McHenry (N.C.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Jeff Miller (Fla.), Jerry Moran
(Kan.), Randy Neugebauer (Tex.), Mike Pence (Ind.), Joe Pitts (Pa.), Mark Souder
(Ind.) and Todd Tiahrt (Kan.)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sunday Drive: Let's go visit Ruth and Naomi

Ruth and Naomi

But Ruth said,
"Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
And your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the LORD do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!"
Ruth’s vow to Naomi has been used as a definition and illustration of the marriage covenant. Modern readers seem to overlook the fact that it was originally a promise made from one woman to another.