Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
I've grown up in, and continue to live in, Orange County, CA. OC has always been a stronghold of right-wing religious groups. Once in a while some thing happens here that gives me hope for the future.
Certified whack-job Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist decided that something had to be done about a local high school that decided to put on a somewhat edited version of the musical "Rent".
From the LA Times article:
By midday Friday, the protesters had arrived. There were three of them, carrying signs that said, "[Gays] Are Beasts," among others.
As they gathered on the sidewalk, several students came together in counter-protest on the other side of the street. Within minutes, more than 200 -- some wearing rainbow tie-dye shirts and holding peace signs -- stood sentry in front of the campus, clutching signs that said, "Support Love," "God Hates No One" and "Love Is Not a Sin."
The students turned the protest into a mini-celebration, singing songs from the musical and breaking into the school's own fight song. A couple ran through the crowd in swim trunks, with the words "God Loves Gays" written across their chests. One was wrapped in a rainbow-colored cloth. Another wore a handmade shirt that read, "Love Is Equal."
At one point, several students ran across the street to stand near the protesters. They shouted, "God loves gays and lesbians too," and waved their signs at passing cars. Minutes later, Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, and his supporters walked away, taking their signs with them.
Childbirth is usually associated with some pain and struggle, at least in most humans. That's normal, and to be expected.
But the cries of anguish I'm expecting to hear shortly will not be coming from women giving birth. Rather, it will likely come from religious fundamentalists who are going to scream about how their rights are being denied, how they are being persecuted for their beliefs. Which beliefs? These:
SAN FRANCISCO - California's highest court on Monday barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.
Justice Joyce Kennard wrote that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."
Cue the outrage:
Feeling a little haggard? (Sorry. That was just inappropriate. *snicker*)
[link] In January 2007, Ted Haggard voluntarily agreed to enter a process of spiritual restoration. He has selected Phoenix First Assembly and Pastor Tommy Barnett as his local church fellowship and is maintaining an accountability relationship there. He has recently requested to end his official relationship with the New Life Church Restoration Team and this has been accepted by them.
New Life Church recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry. However, we wish him and his family only success in the future.
I honestly had no idea he was in Phoenix.
The whole "curing teh gay" thing is complete and utter bullshit. Haggard is, oddly enough, a victim of the entire Judeo-Christian anti-gay sentiment. As a young man it seems to have caused him to reject who and what he was, a gay man. He appears to have to shamefully hidden it from even himself for years, and engaged in dangerous sexual liaisons on the sly - probably rationalizing them in his own screwed-up brain every time as "reaching out to a sinner" or some such.
It hurts his family, which like it or not he is responsible for. I'll also bet the guy is losing his mind at this point after a year of anti-gay "cures", witch doctor's spells, and shamanic chanting. (Or whatever they do. Kill a chicken and read the guts? What?) I actually feel a little bit of pity for the poor guy. I hope he can resolve his personal situation in a healthy fashion, for his wife and kid's sake if for nothing else.
Ah, yes. Via Pandagon, word that the horrendous fires in southern California which have displaced more than half a million people (and killed several) is due to the city of San Diego allowing gay marriage in spite of God's Law.
No, I'm not kidding. Here's the rant from one of the lovely, loving Christians, James Hartline:
They shook their fists at God and said, "We don't care what God says, we will issue our legal brief to support gay marriage in San Diego!" Then Mayor Jerry Sanders mocked the Christian vote and signed off on this rebellious legal document to support same-sex marriage.
And then the streets of La Jolla under the Mt. Soledad Cross began to cave in.
In front of a full house of hardcore Potter fans at Carnegie Hall in New York, Rowling, sitting on the stage on a red velvet and carved wood throne, read from her seventh and final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," then took questions. One fan asked whether Albus Dumbledore, the head of the famed Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, had ever loved anyone. Rowling smiled. "Dumbledore is gay, actually," replied Rowling as the audience errupted in surprise. She added that, in her mind, Dumbledore had an unrequited love affair with Gellert Grindelwald, Voldemort's predecessor who appears in the seventh book. After several minutes of prolonged shouting and clapping from astonshed fans, Rowling added. "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy."
This is certain to drive a whole lotta Harry Potter-hatin' fundies just completely around the bend...
I don't know how long they thought they were going to go on that way, all self-righteous and judgmental, blaming homosexuals and feminists for everything from 9/11 to the price of gas, ignoring the interests of the poor in favor of those of big business, and dismissing any kind of environmental stewardship as nothing more than a way to waste time until the Rapture comes. Clearly, the didn't see anything at all wrong with elevating the most spiteful and amoral among them as their national spokespeople, and rewarding them in direct proportion to the heat of their rhetoric. No, these folks were on fire (we're still not sure if it was Jesus or heartburn), and they weren't afraid to let their bilious light shine on the TV, in the streets, all the way to the White House. They did their best to set it high above the rest of the culture, where none of the rest of us could miss it if we wanted to.
People in positions of authority who confuse their own, personal, wacky religious beliefs with the law of the land. For example, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
[link] We need to be very precise then, about what I said wearing my stars and being very conscious of it, and that is, very simply, that we should respect those who want to serve the nation but not through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law.
I would be very willing and able and supportive [to changes to the policy] to continue to allow the homosexual community to contribute to the nation without condoning what I believe to be activity — whether it to be heterosexual or homosexual — that in my upbringing is not right.
Key phrases: "in my upbringing" and "what I believe".
How does a man become a General, for goodness' sake, and not understand that his own quaint little personal beliefs mean exactly nothing when it comes to setting policy, or writing laws for the entire population of the United States - who may or may not share his upbringing?
This is the reason why the concept of the neutral, secular state is so important. Separation of church and state is the only thing keeping our country from becoming a Christian theocracy. This is evident in the way that Christian dominionists work so hard to marginalize the concept, in print, in person, and through legislation.
Don't allow the wall to fall, folks. Fight back.
(Editor's Note - This article originally appeared in Jon's MySpace blog, then was picked up by the Secular Web. Jon has graciously allowed UTI to re-print his important article exposing the lies and hypocrisy at Brigham Young University centered around their treatment of gay students. Thanks Jon! -Brent)
Giddy over their best football season in years, students at BYU are brimming with school pride. The Cougars handily defeated the Aggies, my school's team, and narrowly squeaked out a win over the Utes. But though BYU's students have earned some bragging rights, I am not yet envious of their school choice.
They are missing out on the marketplace of ideas other universities enjoy. I'm not talking about the porn filters or lacking cable selection, but the onerous censorship of vital information about the government and the church.
In 1998, the American Association of University Professors voted to censure BYU for infringements on academic freedom that were "distressingly common" and a climate for academic freedom that was "distressingly poor." Despite this condemnation, BYU has persisted in a systematic purge of any freethinking faculty. The two most recent victims: BYU professors Steven E. Jones and Jeffrey Nielson.
More below the fold...