The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘fundiegelicals

Good Thursday, Widdershins.  Not that there has been much good news of late.  The Supremes have had a banner week serving their corporate masters, other than for their mystifying vote to uphold the bulk of the EPA regulations. Some of their decisions may prove to be the undoing of the Republican agenda, although at this point it appears that the Supreme-Industrial-Religious Complex has had a mighty good week.

Let’s start with the flipping “buffer zone” decision.  Past history of bombings a la Eric Rudolph have been clean forgotten by the Fab Five, and apparently Dr. Tiller’s murder was just happenstance.  What really, really matters above all is the First Amendment right of individuals to speaking “lovingly” to women who go to a clinic to obtain a perfectly legal procedure.  The state of Massachusetts has a few other laws in place that may help somewhat in reducing the onslaught of “affectionate” diatribe that these women will endure, and some clinics are hiring escorts to walk patients into the facility. Therefore we can assume that it will be fine and dandy for protesters to gently touch bankers, brokers, and captains of industry on the arm, and lovingly speak to them of Jesus and the moneylenders?   Can we affectionately share the teachings of Christ with regard to caring for the elderly, the young, the ill and less fortunate?   Or perhaps softly remind them that it will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?   I’m certain that they will be ever so grateful, and may amend their evil habits under such a withering attack of love incarnate.   The Supremes left their own buffer zone solidly in place, but the rest of the US is now a wide-open  free speech zone , so our First Amendment rights should apply as readily to financial  centers as they do to an abortion clinic.  How about gun stores?  Shall I bounce down to my local firearms emporium and sweetly advise the customers that the Lord wishes for them to beat their weapons into plowshares?  That He wants them to turn the cheek rather than stand their ground?  I can make posters of dead children, and whisper in dulcet tones that the Lord does not need any more angels blown to bits by gunfire?  I would clearly be exercising my First Amendment right to express my (and the Bible’s) unhappiness with the freewheeling use of their Second Amendment rights, would I not?   I’m only trying to be helpful,  to let them know how much I care and that I can assure the customers that Jesus loves them, despite their misguided, though legal, activities.  I now know that this is my absolute right, written in law and confirmed by SCOTUS.  The Supremes have spoken, and  the right to privacy of a pregnant woman isn’t worth a puddle of warm spit when measured against a protester’s right to free speech, so maybe we should just join them and exercise ours, ad libertarium.

Do not annoy me with Tenth Amendment drivel about business’ rights to free enterprise, because protesters are infringing the clinic gynecologist’s right as well, and apparently that does not measure up to free speech and religion.  Therefore, it is our constitutional right to share our loving opinions with perceived miscreants of all stripes, even when they are going about their perfectly legal everyday lives.  I believe that they require religious redirection, and by God, it’s my constitutional right to share my opinion, free of buffer zones.

I’m not even going to start on Hobby Lobby.  All I know is that industry has once again found a way to get the government to pay for things so corporations don;t have to, as evidenced by the decision to give parity to a “Closely held” religious corporation with a true not-for-profit group.  Do we need to make book on the number of corporate boards that will suddenly undergo a mass epiphany?  Praise the Lord, and pass the federal funding. There is plenty of excellent precedent set by Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and more companies too numerous to mention that already have the taxpayers footing the bill for Medicaid and SNAP for their employees who are too poorly compensated to afford such luxuries  as food and health care for their children.  What do they care?  They’re already paying lower tax rates than the average person. The only good thing that may come of this will be the ability to get more Democrats voted into office.  Not that they are all that great, but they are better than this.

This is an open thread.

Good Thursday, Widdershins.

First, allow me as a Florida resident to thank the state of Arizona for distracting the entire nation from whatever-the-hell- it -is than we have done lately.  I find myself basking in the roseate glow of another state being roasted over the open fire of public opinion.  It’s really quite refreshing.

While AZ richly deserves the ire of the masses for the unfortunate piece of legislation that would permit businesses of all stripes to deny services to the LGBT community, they are hardly alone in this endeavor.   Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Idaho. Tennessee, Oklahoma, Utah, Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon are all in various stages of crafting eerily similar legislation as we speak.  Somehow, Arizona appears to be carrying the load on this particular fiasco.

No one appears to be entirely certain about the source of all of this ill will.  There have been some instances, especially in the wedding industry, of vendors denying services to members of the LGBT community on the basis of religious scruples.   If such legislation stands, it will effectively immunize the vendors from suit.   Even more unclear is the timing – almost all of these bills hit the various legislatures within a brief period of time, kind of like the rolling cavalcade of crap that sprang from ALEC after 2010, but this really does not appear to be an ALEC maneuver.  This appears to be more of a Tony Perkins type of event.  Oddly, no one in the more ostentatious Christian Movement appears to be claiming credit for the bills at this time.

The Republican Regulars are horrified, and well they might be.  Delta, Dell, Southwestern, American Express, the NBA, WNBA, Verizon, Marriott, Intel, Yelp and a host of other businesses are unhappy about this maneuver.  The NFL is reserving judgement, but the scheduled Super Bowl may well be in jeopardy.  All of these things could easily cost the state billions should this bill become law.  Both Senators McCain and Flake are urging Governor Brewer to veto the legislation. Three state legislators now claim that they did not really understand the (two page) bill when they voted for it, and are demanding a Mulligan.    The Guv says that she needs time to really study the (two page) bill prior to making a decision.

Basically, this seems to be the usual Repub legislative maneuver of tossing a bone to the Evangelical community in order to curry favor for the forthcoming election so that they might ensure their ongoing power.  Unfortunately for them, the party appears to have clean forgotten that they are owned and operated by corporate America, and corporate America is as intolerant of financial loss as the Evangelicals are of the LGBT community.  What’s a poor legislator to do???

As far as the Evangelicals of my acquaintance go, they are horrified at the march of progress, and even more horrified at their inability to put a stop to all of this change.  Therefore, their only open avenue is to “protect” themselves by claiming religious freedom, which would thus serve to insulate from “them”, from adverse public opinion, as well as from potential litigation.   We already permit pharmacists to decline to dispense Plan B, and Catholic institutions to opt-out of contraceptive coverage by punting to the insurer.  I understand how the Evangelical community now believes that any and all of their personal boogeymen might be tamed by claiming religious freedom, as it has worked so well in the matter of contraception.   What they fail to comprehend is that their religious liberty ends where another’s liberties begin, and that their right to practice their religion does not include the prerogative to force others to practice it with them.  No statute forces them to provide a service, but there will be no legal cover for bigotry.

This is an open thread.

UPDATE”  Governor vetoes AZ bill just as I finish writing.  (Of course.)  Now, we wait and see what happens next.  I have a feeling that we are not yet out of the woods here, although I would dearly love to be proven wrong.

Good Thursday, Widdershins.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has recently made the astounding discovery that he is also a citizen of Canada.  Astounding to him, at least.

Senator Cruz was born in Calgary to an American mother and a Cuban father who fled to the US, but did not become a citizen until 2005.  His parents were working in (what else?) the oil industry at the time, and a few years later returned to Texas.  Cruz received his undergraduate degree from Princeton, and his JD from Harvard.  He was named primary editor of the Harvard Law Review.   

Sen. Cruz enjoyed a top-notch Ivy League education, and  is described by many as “off the charts brilliant”, and indeed has a meteoric career in politics. Nevertheless, this “OTC”  brilliant man was quite surprised to discover that he holds Canadian citizenship as a birthright, along with the American citizenship passed on by his mother.  Who knows, perhaps he is a Cuban citizen courtesy of his father as well.  At ant rate, Sen. Cruz insists that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship tout suite, dissociating himself once and for all from our pantywaist neighbors to the north who insist that their citizens are entitled to a decent lifestyle.

This is a revolting development for a man who seemingly has is eye on the prize of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  I have been fascinated by the reactions of my Fundie friends who ranted and raved about Barack Obama not being an American citizen because he had a Kenyan father and probably wasn’t even born here.  Somehow, Ted’s Cuban father and Canadian birth are fine and dandy, because after all, it’s Canada.  Canada, I suppose is actually a suburb of the nearest American city of your choice, while Kenya does not possess a contiguous border with the US.  The same Fundies who screamed and carried on about Obama being a first-term senator when he ran are fine with it with Cruz, because he has “fresh, new ideas”.  This is deja vu all over again, albeit with a rightward twist.  Amazingly, my Fundie friends do not see anything even remotely odd about their sudden change of feelings.  It all seems quite reasonable to them.  Even those pinko institutions of higher learning attended by the Obamas have suddenly become academic meccas now that they have discovered that Cruz matriculated within their ivy-laden walls.  Go figure.

Seriously, I’m not certain that anyone knows for certain if Senator Cruz is actually eligible to run.  The Constitution states that only natural citizens may hold the office without actually describing what that means.  The question came up when Sen. John McCain ran, but was quickly answered by the fact that he was born in the Canal Zone when his father was posted there.  At the time, the Canal Zone was an American territory, plus his father was in the Navy and US military bases are considered to be US soil and issue US birth certificates.  (My BFF was born in Cavite, Philipines while his father was assigned there and has his original “US Registration of Live Birth” form.)  But what the hey, exactly, is a “natural citizen”?

For those of us born to American parents on American soil, that’s easy.   We are most definitely “Natural” citizens.  After that, things get murky.  I have heard a number of Constitutional law professors mumble something to the effect that “yeah, probably, Ted Cruz is a ‘natural’ citizen”, but that falls somewhat short of being a ringing endorsement.  The Supremes have never weighed in on the matter, so who knows?

I must, however. give props to Donald Trump here.  When asked about Sen. Cruz’ ability to run for President, he replied “Probably not”.  At least he is consistent.

As for the Canadians, they thus far do not appear to be too broken up by Sen. Cruz’ announcement that he plans to disavow his Canadian citizenship.  Tweets from our northern neighbor have run the gamut from “Ted who?” to “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”  From what I’ve read, it’s going to take Ted the better part of a year to ditch them, as he has to explain in writing why he does not wish to be a Canadian (that should be interesting), and undergo some sort of security clearance.  It’s not quite as simple as saying “I renounce thee” three times.

The Cruz candidacy may take off, or may stall out at the first hard turn.  I have to believe that the Canadian birth might be a little bit awkward, but time will tell.  If nothing else, it could be intereresting to watch.

This is an open thread.  Come on, everyone – let’s stand on cars and freeze.

Greetings from South Florida, where the fun simply never stops.

Back in March, a professor at Florida Atlantic University held a classroom exercise which was taken from a textbook entitled Intercultural Communication, A Contextual Approach.  The textbook and accompanying instructor’s manual were written by a man named Jim Neuliep, a professor at Saint Norbert’s College.  Sr. Norbert’s is a private, Catholic liberal arts college located in DePere, Wisconsin.  Mr/ Neuliep has used the exercise with his students in the above referenced Catholic college without incident or controversy.   Apparently, no one else has had a problem with the exercise in the other institutes of higher learning that have used the book, either.   Here it is, straight from the instructor’s manual:

“This exercise is a bit sensitive, but really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings. Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence, instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.

The point of the exercise is to engender discussion of the importance of symbols, and our emotional attachments.  The author states that most students are hesitant to step (not stomp) on the paper, and that asking them about the reluctance leads to a healthy class discussion.

Earlier this year, FAU professor DeAndre Poole offered the exercise to his class on a voluntary basis.  No one was forced to participate.  In one sense, the exercise worked like a charm, as there has been no end of conversation subsequent to this event.   It seems, however, that  the voluntary nature was unsatisfactory to at least one student.   Junior Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon,  not only declined to participate, but also punched a fist into his open hand and stated that he wished that he could punch the professor.  Unsurprisingly, that bought him a suspension from the university. Mr. Rotela handled the news of his suspension by shrieking that he had been punished for his steadfast refusal to stomp on Jesus.  At that point, all hell broke loose.

Needless to say, all of the fundie churches, aided and abetted by the Tea Party, rallied  to Ryan’s defense.  Rev. Mark Boykin, (The Church of All Nations),  Ren. Nesl Dozier (Worldwide Christian Church), and Danita Kilkullin (Ft. Lauderdale Tea Party) held a rally of a whopping 175 people on campus in support of Neal.  Local conservatives (and there are not millions of them), gleefully pointed out that Poole is the vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, which of course proves that all Democrats are heathens.  Even our beloved governor got into the act, labeling the event as intolerant, and demanded a complete report.  (Take that, heathens!  The Governor wants a report.)

Despite the fact that Rotela was actually suspended for threatening a professor, FAU caved under the ranting, raving, and ongoing media circus.  Rotela was reinstated, and the university actually issued an apology to him.  Next, the administration removed the offending exercise from the course.  As for Professor Poole, he in on leave of absence because of the ongoing threats being made to him.

Anyone with such utterly delicate sensibilities is ill-served in a public university.  No state university should ever bend itself to the will of religious zealots of any stripe, nor should they compromise the First Amendment.   There are plenty of non-secular colleges and university out there that would welcome such scholars, but avoid St. Norbert’s, where  they actually ask you to think.

This is an open thread.

Telephone, n.  An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.  ~Ambrose Bierce

I don’t think that it comes as anything resembling a surprise that this country is sharply divided on the question of elective termination of pregnancy.  The last decade has had some rather spectacular examples of just how far the “antis” are willing to go in order that the rest of we heathens are sufficiently impressed with the depth of their beliefs.  Dr. George Tiller died, any number of clinics have been bombed, and the perpetrators are treated as folk heroes rather than the murderous individuals that they are.  Two state legislatures contemplated (albeit briefly) adding laws to consider adding the killing of an abortionist to the list of justifiable homicides.  During their less blood-thirsty moments, fervent anti-abortionists have bombarded the offices of providers with endless telephone calls begging them to reconsider their career choices.

As for the rest of us, we’ve been pretty well speechless in the face of this.  Oh, we’ve counseled caution, huffed about a woman’s right to choose, suggested that we consider proper family planning teaching.  Our reward has been schools teaching abstinence, funding cuts for Planned Parenthood and other clinics and Rush Limbaugh’s  defamation of a Georgetown student being lauded in certain circles.  Probably none of us will ever shoot anti-abortion protesters, but it seems that there may be something that we can do.

I have a new hero, and his name is Todd Stave.  Todd inherited an office building from his father that houses an abortion provider.  He has been familiar with protesters picketing, praying,lighting candles and displaying gory photographs outside of the building, and supports their right to do so under the First Amendment.  The protestors, however, began to gather outside of his daughters school and then began calling his home at all hours of the day and night demanding that he terminate the lease, and to let him know that they were praying for his soul.  Todd first got angry, then he figured out a way to get even.

He began to write down the telephone numbers of the callers, and enlisted his friends who enlisted their friends, and so forth.  Soon the callers were receiving hundreds of telephone calls from people who spoke softly and nicely thanking them on behalf of the Stave family for their prayers.  The callers also advised that the Stave family could not and would not terminate the lease, as they believe in choice.

Word spread, and a new association has formed – Voice of Change.  From their website:

For too long, the abortion discussion has been dominated by angry, nasty protests fueled by individuals and organizations that thrive on sensationalism and extremism. Now it is our turn.
“Voice of Choice” was established as a calm, measured response to anti-abortion activists who engage in misguided, raging protest tactics that are often ill-informed and only serve to victimize women, pro-choice professionals, law-abiding businesses and unaligned bystanders.
We use email, telephone and social media in peaceful, person-to-person counter-protests against groups that target abortion facilities, providers and patients, as well as their families and communities. We don’t question anyone’s right to express opinions and ideals; we challenge their bullying tactics and their contempt.

Widdershins, I am beyond excited.  I am retired, have a telephone service with unlimited long-distance calling, and I can sit here all day and make phone calls.  As a triage nurse in public hospitals, I’ve been called almost everything that you can think of, so negative feedback will not be particularly distressing.  If this catches on, perhaps we can make the PLUBS realize that we need reasonably priced prenatal care, the same sort of maternity leave that’s available in other enlightened nations, accessible child care and family planning.  I think that the latter issues would be of more general value to society than brandishing posters of mangled fetuses to the world.  If you have some time and would like to help, sign up and the website.

This is an open thread.

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