equal rights

A Marriage Update (Massachusetts)

Serrano, Piss Christ (detail)“Did you just feel an icy chill, homophobes who think hiding behind your religion will protect your right to be discriminatory and hateful? It’s called the wind of change, and it’s going to get a lot stronger. A Massachusetts judge this week has ruled that a Milton all-girl Catholic prep school broke the law when it withdrew a job offer to a gay man. I suspect you’ll be seeing a lot more of that from here on in, America. You might want to get used to it.”

Mary Elizabeth Williams

So … right. I don’t know, just keep an eye on this one. I mean, you know, it’s good news and all, but I’m not sanguine. It’s not quite the pricking of my thumbs, but something tells me this isn’t over.

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Image note: Detail of Piss Christ, by Andres Serrano, 1987.

Williams, Mary Elizabeth. “Sorry, Catholic schools: Discriminating against gay people in the name of ‘religious freedom’ just got harder”. Salon. 18 December 2015.

A Note on ‘Curing’ Heterosexuality (Puppy Power Mystery Mix)

Puppy play. (Original photograph by The Stranger.)

There is a long, hard joke in there somewhere involving basic Freudian propositions of differentiation between polymorphous equivalence in pleasure seeking and genital focus. And with a setup like, that, well, right. But it did come about that in the wake of an embarrassing trial and subsequent, obvious verdict against a conversion therapy outfit called Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a friend mused on the thought of whether or not humanity might achieve a cure for heterosexuality.

The unfortunately requisite disclaimer here is threefold; there is an obvious cure, it is an obvious joke, and there are still people in the world who would take such a joke as some manner of genuine threat. No, we’re not coming to apply anti-straight conversion therapy.

To the other ....

Last weekend, I was hanging out at the Cuff, the leather bar at 13th and Pine, when a man to my left pulled out a pink rubber ball.

(Baume)

Something about a setup like that goes here, but here’s another morbid joke, and this one almost worth recounting. (more…)

A Clown Car Crossover Extravaganza

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015.

Two stars of the 2016 GOP Clown Car strove for fabulosity in a crossover clusterdiddle for the ages. Steve Benen of msnbc brings us the Tales of Two Petty Whines in the wake of marriage equality; first up, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s (R) grasp of constitutional law has long been a little fuzzy. In January, the Republican presidential candidate said Supreme Court rulings don’t set the law of the land because decisions need to be enshrined by lawmakers through “enabling legislation.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks to guests gathered at the Point of Grace Church for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff on April 25, 2015 in Waukee, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)The problem, of course, was that this was gibberish.

Huckabee’s argument was presented in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, which arrived on Friday. Right on cue, the former governor made a similar argument to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos yesterday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So are you calling for civil disobedience?

HUCKABEE: I don’t think a lot of pastors and Christian schools are going to have a choice. They either are going to follow God, their conscience and what they truly believe is what the scripture teaches them, or they will follow civil law. They will go the path of Dr. Martin Luther King, who in his brilliant essay the letters from a Birmingham jail reminded us, based on what St. Augustine said, that an unjust law is no law at all. And I do think that we’re going to see a lot of pastors who will have to make this tough decision.

He added moments later, “I’m not sure that every governor and every attorney general should just say, well, ‘It’s the law of the land,’ because there’s no enabling legislation.” When Stephanopoulos asked if he would enforce federal law if elected president, Huckabee said it would depend on Congress passing “enabling legislation.”

Mr. Benen makes the first, obvious point, that, “There won’t be ‘enabling legislation’.” Mr. Huckabee is, in all seriousness, pulling a screeching monkey out of his ass and telling you it’s a rabbit prophesying in a hat.

There is also the question of civil disobedience, and while most can agree it has its place, one wonders if our Republican neighbors can tell the difference. In tihs case, the proposition is a matter of civil disobedience in assertion of a right to discriminate and harm. In Jesus’ name, you know. Amen.

But wait, there’s more!

(more…)

Spiritual Warfare, Among Other Things

Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd speaks to the faithful in Columbus, Ohio, June 16, 2015. Floyd exhorted members to stand united against same-sex marriage and vows that he will never officiate a same-sex union. (Eric Albrecht/Columbus Dispatch via AP)

We may or may not have mentioned before something about bigots, victimhood, and insurrection.α

If I told you we could add the Southern Baptist Convention to the list, would you really be surprised?

Or, as Craig Schneider of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains:

Declaring “spiritual warfare” on gay marriage, thousands gathered here Tuesday for the annual Southern Baptist Convention and vowed that, no matter what the Supreme Court rules this month, they will never yield on the issue.

The Baptists acknowledged that the court seems likely to legalize same-sex marriage when it rules in the next two weeks, but leaders urged the faithful to stand fast and, indeed, lead the nation in opposition.

“We are in spiritual warfare,” said convention president Rev. Ronnie Floyd. “This is not a time for Southern Baptists to stand back.”

Floyd echoed a generally defiant tone among attendees, many of them pastors, who have faced increasing criticism for their belief that the Bible declares homosexuality a sin and limits marriage to a man and a woman. At a time when society is increasingly tolerant of same-sex unions, he said, Southern Baptists must stand by their views.

“This is not the time to retreat,” said Floyd, who leads Cross Church in Arkansas. “The alarm clock is going off around the world. Now is not the time to hit the snooze button.”

And it goes on. Fuel to the “wildfire of sexual revolution” that would “move it beyond all control”. At least Dr. Floyd is honest about the connection between sexuality and control. But this is also an attempt by Southern Baptists to paint themselves as victims of gross injustice:

Many of their congregants, sensing the shifting cultural climate on gay marriage, feel defensive and afraid to publicly state their views, wary of being cast as bigots or hate-mongers.

“We understand how fully unpopular our view is, and where the culture is on this issue,” said the Rev. Bryant Wright of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in East Cobb and a former convention president. “But we must stay true to God’s word.”

Wright acknowledged the difficulty of communicating that church members are not hateful or discriminatory against gays and lesbians, though Baptists do believe they are sinners. He noted that he preaches to teens who have sex outside of marriage, people who divorce, and those who commit adultery. He loves them and hopes they find their way, he said.

Let us be clear: When you are calling for warfare of any kind, spiritual or otherwise, in response to the fact that other people have human rights, there is not really any useful way to slip the question of bigotry; nor do people believe the claim that you are not hateful or discriminatory.

Really, that part seems pretty self-evident.

(more…)

Nebraska (Belfry Beats Mix)

SayWhat

“In a strongly worded opinion, the judge said it is not up to the court to decide whether homosexuality is sinful.”

Alissa Skelton

Naota winces in sympathy as Ninamori suffers the effects of N.O. (FLCL ep. 3, 'Marquis de Carabas')This is just one of those lines we might read and then wonder for ourselves what sort of courses might bring our lives to such a moment. Judge John Gerrard felt the need to say it; Alissa Skelton had every reason to report it.

A federal judge will not allow a Nebraska woman to be a legal spokeswoman for God and his son, Jesus Christ.

Judge John Gerrard dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday filed against all homosexuals ....

.... Gerrard said Driskell lacked subject matter jurisdiction and cannot sue a class of unidentified defendants. Driskell did not set forth a factual or legal basis for a federal claim.

“The United States Federal Courts were created to resolve actual cases and controversies arising under the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Judge Gerrard said. “A federal court is not a forum for debate or discourse on theological matters.”

The thing is that many journalists have seen entire careers pass without having an opportunity to write lines like these. To the one, we will see more explanations like this as the mass media overflow continues to grow into a market flood. To the other, yes, it really does seem like we are, as a society, dispensing with certain dignities quite suddenly seeming inconvenient as traditional empowerment majorities reel from the shock of learning that their bully privileges are being revoked. In this case, the tacit obligation of actually having a point has stretched so thin a judge felt compelled to make the point specifically.

These should be rare days.

After all, the election cycle is only beginning. Things aren’t supposed to get really strange until the Boone Straw Poll in August. And that’s still a whole state away.

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Image note: Naota winces in sympathy as Ninamori suffers the effects of N.O. (FLCL ep. 3, “Marquis de Carabas”)

Skelton, Alissa. “Federal judge dismisses Nebraskan’s suit against all homosexuals”. World-Herald. 6 May 2015.

Kilgore, Ed. “Ames Straw Poll Leaving Ames”. Washington Monthly. 12 March 2015.

Full Color Hatred

Detail of cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz, via Daily Kos, 1 April 2015.“Governor Pence swears [Senate Enrolled Act 101] was not created to allow religious conservatives to discriminate against gays. Trouble is, this bill’s most fervent backers are notorious homophobic anti-gay activists. Sheer coincidence! State sanctioned discrimination needs to stay in the 1950s, where it belongs.”

Lalo Alcaraz

Ouch.

Certes, Indiana will resent so pointed a hit, but those who might protest the basic notion of such a comparison would find themselves enlightened by certain wisdom offered nearly forty-five years ago:

Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panthers.Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion. I say “whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppresed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.” Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.

Huey Newton

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Alcaraz, Lalo. “Indiana, coloreds not served”. Daily Kos Comics. 1 April 2015.

Newton, Huey. “The Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements”. 15 August 2015.

Christian Faith and Character in Tennessee (Double Down Devil Mix)

"Remember, Satan was the first to demand equal rights" (Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle; March, 2015)

This is just strange:

A sign posted by a Knoxville church continues to raise eyebrows and spark both discussion and outrage after it was posted online.

The sign posted by Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle Church read “Remember Satan was the first to demand equal rights.” Many people posted the picture to the WATE 6 On Your Side Facebook and Twitter pages, starting a debate about what the sign really means.

The pastor says the purpose of the sign was to send a message about unity and spark conversation in the community. He says it wasn’t meant to offend anyone.

“Our sign referencing Satan demanding his equal rights to ascend into the heavens and be God was simply ‘I’ and all about that individual,” said Pastor Tony Greene. “It was not a statement against any one group in particular, you know what about the rights of the unborn babies, the rights of children, the rights of everyone?”

(Holloway)

There are a few things here, but let us, please, simply start with the obvious: Did he just turn that into a plea for equal rights?

(more…)

Something I Would Really Like to Know

Okay … so … I really need an answer to this question:

Ex-Gay Equal Rights Now! — What does that even mean?

Brian Tashman explains:

Yesterday, American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios spoke to Ex-Gay Pride Month organizer Christopher Doyle about today’s ex-gay lobby day on Capitol Hill. Doyle, who was organizing the since-canceled Ex-Gay Pride banquet at the Family Research Council, complained in an interview with the Christian Post that “un-American” LGBT rights advocates have “shut us out,” explaining that “because of all this homo-fascism and indoctrination in the media, ex-gays aren’t given a fair shake.”

Roberts-20130731-ExGayPride-EqualRightsRios confidently predicted that “thousands of ex-gays are descending” on Washington for a press conference planned for today at the Supreme Court. She lamented that when she led Concerned Women for America the media refused to hear “our ex-gay friends” because it “undermined the whole effort of the homosexual lobby.”

Doyle told Rios that “tens of thousands” of ex-gays exist but are “in the closet because of fear, shame and threats from gay activists.”

Well, despite the expectation that “thousands of ex-gays” would partake in Ex-Gay Pride Month, fewer than ten people showed up for the big event.

Setting aside that the explanation is obvious, that the thousands of ex-gays are still hiding in the closet because they are afraid of the discrimination they and their fellow heterosexuals face each and every day under the iron fist of the homofascists, one question simply persists. As Tory Roberts’ photographs from the event show, these activists are demanding ex-gay equal rights, and now.

And I really, really don’t know what that means. “Ex-gay equal rights now”. Anybody? Anybody?