Tag Archives: Politics

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae


Wacky Xians Strike Again

Tempest brews over quotes on Starbucks cups

The group believes corporations have a responsibility to reflect the diversity of their customers by taking a balanced approach � or staying out of divisive social issues altogether.

Actually, corporations only have a responsibility to their shareholders.

Starbucks spokeswoman Lara Wyss said decisions about sponsoring gay-pride events and other causes are made at the store or regional level, not the corporate level.

Largest corporate contingent–by far–at the Pride Parade this year? That’s right. Starbucks.

The parade was very corporate this year, really indicative of the pressure now on corporations to demonstrate how inclusive & openminded they are if they want to keep their customers. What a change from even a few years ago.

Laughed So Hard I Cried

It’s not often I feel compelled to share something IMMEDIATELY. But once I controlled my uncontrollable laughter, I had to share this. I was laughing so hard, I’m sure the neighbors think I’m crazy.

Ah, Dan Savage. You rock. The religious right? Not so much.

Two things that happened today

FYI, it’s stuff like this that makes me proud to be Canadian.

Same-sex legislation passed

The Liberals’ controversial same-sex marriage legislation has passed final reading in the House of Commons, sailing through with a vote of 158 for and 133 against.

Supported by most members of the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP, the legislation passed easily, making Canada only the third country in the world, after the Netherlands and Belgium, to officially recognize same-sex unions.

Not quite as momentous, but…

Wal-Mart rejected

After a lengthy public debate, Vancouver city council has rejected a proposal to build a 143,000-square-foot store that would have been the city’s first Wal-Mart. The vote was 8-3.

What? Someone said “no” to WM? *gasp* (hee)

Continuing Sagas

Conspiracy Theories

“If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you’ll love the Downing Street Memo.”

Okay, so this article at Slate isn’t really about the Da Vinci Code. But I had to share anyhow, because it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking ever since the hype started and exactly why I haven’t read it yet (well, that and the hardcover vs. paperback thing).

A few weeks ago, at an airport in Europe, I saw Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code staring at me across the bookstore bins. I had seen it many times before and averted my gaze, but I was facing a long delay, and I suddenly thought: May as well get it over with.Well, of course I knew it would be bad. I just didn’t know that it would be that bad. Never mind for now the breathless and witless style, or the mashed-paper characters, or the lazy, puerile reliance on incredible coincidence to flog the lame plot along. What if it was all true? What if the Nazarene had had issue, in fleshly form, with an androgynous disciple? The Catholic Church would look foolish but, then, it already looks foolish enough on the basis of the official story. “Opus Dei,” according to Brown, is a sinister cult organization. Excuse me, but I already knew this, so to speak, independently.


As previously mentioned, snarking at creationists? Always fun.

I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him….

We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it.

It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia.

I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.


Religion is the root of all evil.


There’s a wealth of snark here, from students who think “their beloved” GWB doesn’t lie to the biology professor who teaches that “the earth was created in a week” — but I’m going to focus on the subjugation of women.

Keep in mind, these quotes refer to university students:

Brobst was wearing a cherry-red suit, Ross a peacock-blue one, with stockings and pumps�the uniform of Washington wives in waiting.

Power suits? Stockings? Pumps? Hello? Makes me want to say go west, young women, to the land of Birkenstocks, fleece, and year-round shorts.

Referring to du M�e, he said, �Maybe one day he�ll be the one standing before the Supreme Court, arguing to overturn Roe v. Wade.�

Oy. You know it’s one thing when a 60+ person holds certain, ah, “values” I disagree with. I think, okay, well, maybe their small-mindedness was due to the times they grew up, etc. I think they’re wrong, but I can see where/how their opinions developed. OTOH, I always find myself startled when I realize the person going all ballistic over “One Dad, Two Dads” is closer to my age than my parents’. I think, WTF? It’s like we grew up on different planets. That there are twenty-somethings who also hold such views is both perplexing and disturbing.

Ross would look for a job, but only to pay back loans. Eventually, [Ross & du Mee] want to adjust to living on one salary so that she can homeschool their kids.

In theory, homeschooling may have its merits. In reality, homeschoolers = crazy people. The fact that the students in this article were homeschooled in part explains how they can hold views the views they do. Public school is terribly flawed. However, it has the advantage of exposing you to people who are not the same as you and who don’t share your parents’ views/values. IMO, this compensates for a lot.

Ben Adams … sent out a nine-page e-mail to the entire student body before the spring formal reminding the girls to dress modestly. �Lust is sin,� it said. �It is sin for you to tempt us. It is . . . unloving. Unsisterly. Un-Christlike.�

Asshat. Blame the girl. It’s all the girl’s fault. Women are evil. etc. etc. etc. Hate that. This is why I couldn’t get past page 1 of the Bible (I did try to read it once, for its literary merits). Step up, Asshat! Take responsibility for your own actions. Also, the shame/guilt element here is disturbing. No one should feel that bad about sex–which, after all, is a natural biological function, while “sex only w/i marriage” is a mere social convention.

Girls talk about not �stumbling� a guy, the equivalent of tempting him, and resident advisers keep a close eye on them to make sure they don�t wear shirts that show any bra. If they do, they�ll get a friendly e-mail��I think I saw you in dress code violation,� followed by a smiley emoticon.

Phony niceness. Yeah, that’s a good value to encourage. I guess this is “hate the sin, love the sinner” again. Hate that message too. Anyhow, what I notice is that these “values” encourage people to be shallow, to focus on the external. It’s all about appearances, looking “good” to others. Bleh.

Matthew du M�e, who was an R.A., told me that if he saw a boy and girl sitting too close for too long he would pull the boy aside and tell him to stop, because �the guy is supposed to be the leader in the relationship.�

I’ve heard this one before. Newsflash: 21st Century. Speaking of which…

Even the most ambitious [girls], those who wake up at 3 a.m. to study, told me without reservation that as soon as they had children they would quit their jobs to raise them.

Elisa believes the Bible dictates that �there are different roles for men and women�; … But the expectation of most of the guys she knows at Patrick Henry�that wives should just �fade out,� that she should instantly take on the identity of a wife and mother �and consider it a blessing��is not something that she�s comfortable with.

This is simply sad. Honestly, people still believe this shit in 2005? Really? I mean, really, truly, deep inside, without the slightest bit of hypocrisy, they believe this? Doubtful. More likely the guys selfishly want it (who wouldn’t want their very own personal assistant who works for free?) and the girls delude themselves into accepting it in their eagerness to please everyone around them who is expecting them to be perfect. Ugh.


Soldiers of Christ II

In the parking lot outside the center, I come across a pickup truck with large hand-painted panels bearing anti-gay slogans and a round red circle with a line through the center superimposed on the faces of two men kissing. STOP THE INSANITY, it says across the top. I pick up one of the pamphlets in a metal box on the side of the truck: �Protect Your Family & Friends from the Dangers of . . . Homosexuality: The Truth!�

The truth. Riiiight.

Wright promises the audience that as the new president of NRB he will fight to block the passage of hate-crime legislation, something many Christian broadcasters fear might be used to halt their attacks on gays and lesbians.

�If we had to give equal time to every opposing viewpoint, there would be no time to proclaim the truth that we have been commanded to proclaim,� he says. �We will fight the Fairness Doctrine, tooth and nail. It could be the end of Christian broadcasting as we know it if we do not.�

Oh, darn. The end of hate-filled broadcasting. I weep.

I can�t help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the �Christian fascists.�

…fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

…too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. …

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right�s persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute�s library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first �deviants� singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.

In all seriousness, though, this is scary shit. I strongly believe that organized religion just gives people an excuse to hate. Organized religion imposes a set of manmade “values” on its followers, which they must follow blindly or else they aren’t a good whatever and risk punishment (in some cases, the heaping on of guilt, in others, the heaping on of stones). It doesn’t encourage people to think for themselves; in fact, it does the opposite. It encourages people to be submissive, to let those who “know better” take charge and tell them what to do. People are exploited and hurt in order to feed the ambitions of the religion’s hierarchy. It’s all about power & money for the people at the top.

I think there’s a common theme here…

Creationism: God’s gift to the ignorant

Because snarking at creationists is always fun. 😉

Love, Family, and Fairness, or How to Raise a Gay Friendly Child

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this said better, if at all. I think this is really important, and it’s something I’ve thought about a lot, especially with all the recent media attention on banning books that depict same-sex families because they’re “age inappropriate.” One, I don’t think that it’s ever too early to show kids that not all families are of the one mom, one dad variety. And two, I think it’s pretty presumptuous to assume that your child is heterosexual.

The Talented Miss Highsmith

I also think she’s terribly cool. She’s on my “must read all books by her/him” list. I try to take these things slowly though, because it’s always a little disappointing when you’ve read a writer’s entire oeuvre and there’s nothing left to discover.

You’re with us or you’re against us.

A few weeks ago, I hit on what bugs me about the usual liberal vs. conservative arguments as we have them today. I will use abortion as an example.

With the abortion issue, you are either “pro-life” or “pro-choice”. Pro-lifers see the issue as black/white. All abortions are bad. Period. No one should ever, ever, ever have an abortion. No discussion, no exceptions. They paint pro-choicers as their polar opposite when the two “sides” are not opposites at all. The opposite of the pro-life stance would be: All abortions are good. Every woman who ever gets pregnant should have an abortion. Clearly, that’s not what pro-choicers believe. Yet, that is what “pro-life” implies. It also implies that pro-lifers believe in the sanctity of all life, however, I’ve noticed that the most fanatical anti-abortionists also tend to be pro-death penalty. How do they reconcile that?

Anyhow, pro-choice is not the opposite of pro-life. It encompasses the pro-life view. It allows for it. A person who is pro-choice could be personally for, against, or undecided about abortion, but irrespective of her personal views, she respects the rights of others to make their own decisions about the matter. A person who is pro-choice doesn’t think, “abortion! yay!” She understands that a pregnancy is more often than not a gray issue. A baby could be much-wanted but endanger the health of the mother, or have a severe genetic defect. A pregnancy could be the result of rape. A family could already have more children than they can support. A pro-choicer understands that there may be situations when abortion is the best—not the easiest—choice for all concerned.

This is where the true meat of the argument lies: In what situations do you think it would be appropriate to have an abortion? When would it not be okay? If everyone could accede that people have the right to hold their own opinions on the matter, then we could have a true, rich, nuanced debate on the moral, medical, philosophical, etc. implications. Instead we just have two factions yelling at each other.

So that’s what bugs me. It seems no matter what the issue, you’re “conservative” if you have your opinion and you’re sticking to it and goddamn it so should everyone else, and you’re “liberal” if you allow for the fact that everyone has opinion and that there is a whole spectrum of ways to look at an issue not just two (see: “you’re either with us or against us”). It’s just impossible to have a real debate on anything if that’s what the two “sides” are.