Two episodes within less than a month’s time! It’s like some government shutdown miracle! This week’s episode is dedicated to talking about that “religious liberty” concept conservatives are always throwing around. What do they mean when they say it and how are they trying to use it do keep discriminating against LGBT people? Does a […]
Reverend Elizabeth Jeremiah (from the Elizabeth Jeremiah Global Worldwide Ministries in Jesus) stops by (hacks in) to the podcast today to chat with Zack about polygamy. The Brown family from TLC’s “Sister Wives” is suing the state of Utah to overturn the criminal ban on bigamy, and Rev. Jeremiah has some Biblical precedent to support […]
Imposing an every-22-episodes tradition, Zack and Peterson are back this week to continue the open conversation about religion that began in Ep. 22, Reeking of Faith. This week, the conversation revolves around the idea of truth and knowledge and the motivations for good deeds. The goal of these episodes is to generate discussion, so please […]
The state of Indiana is going above and beyond what could possibly be necessary to prevent marriage equality, and with such confidence comes untamed rhetoric that reveals the vile intentions of its social conservatives.
The manifest destiny of a Christian American theocracy took a bold step towards the light this week with the inauguration of Alabama’s new governor, Robert Bentley. The day before taking office, Bentley, a deacon at First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, spoke at Dexter Street King Memorial Baptist Church, once led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther […]
In response to The Manhattan Declaration debacle (the creation of and the elimination of an iPhone app for the document that promotes breaking the law in order to perpetuate anti-LGBT beliefs), Fake Steve Jobs has written a scathing rebuke of the whiny groups upset the app was pulled.
Reverend Elizabeth Jeremiah (from the Elizabeth Jeremiah Global Worldwide Ministries in Jesus) stops by (hacks in) to the podcast today to chat with Zack about polygamy. The Brown family from TLC’s “Sister Wives” is suing the state of Utah to overturn the criminal ban on bigamy, and Rev. Jeremiah has some Biblical precedent to support their case. Peterson makes it back into the call to add some context from Dan Savage about being “monogamish.” Is it right to assume that monogamy is the best solution for all relationships? We pull back the curtain a bit on marriage and hope you join the conversation!
Imposing an every-22-episodes tradition, Zack and Peterson are back this week to continue the open conversation about religion that began in Ep. 22, Reeking of Faith. This week, the conversation revolves around the idea of truth and knowledge and the motivations for good deeds. The goal of these episodes is to generate discussion, so please leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments or on our Facebook page. We were able to play nice this week, so you all should too. Enjoy!
In case you get your I-states mixed up, Iowa has same-sex marriage, Illinois just got civil unions, and Indiana has nothing of the sort. Indiana is where they call themselves “Hoosiers,” which means “people from Indiana.” In Indiana, same-sex marriage is already banned AND the Indiana Supreme Court has already ruled that the ban is constitutional. And with a Republican legislature, there’s really no hope in sight.
Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach (D) held his annual marriage equality press conference this afternoon in the Capitol Rotunda, proclaiming that there are no rational arguments against full equality for same-sex couples.
Joined by several other state senators and representatives, Sen. Leach introduced Senate Bill 461, the Marriage Equality Act. He pointed out “a few years from now, we’ll wonder what all the fuss is.” Still, the bill faces an uphill battle as Pennsylvania recently elected a majority of Republicans to both its legislative bodies as well as a Republican governor.
State Representative Mark Cohen (D) was also on hand to introduce a bill in the House that would allow for civil unions, a bill for which he has 41 cosponsors. It’s his goal to have civil unions in Pennsylvania by the end of 2012.
In his remarks, Cohen acknowledged that “civil unions are not marriage” and “do not have the social significance of marriage and probably never will.” They do, however, provide important benefits to same-sex couples that are not currently available. According to a 2009 Muhlenberg College poll, 61% of Pennsylvanians support civil unions.
Others were on hand to offer their support for both initiatives. Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality Pennsylvania, took time to point out the devastating reality for LGBT Pennsylvanians:
At a time when it is perfectly legal in more than three quarters of the state to fire, evict, and deny public accommodations to an LGBT person or simply dismiss their relationship as nothing official EVERYWHERE in the Commonwealth, we need to have honest discussions on how we treat real people in the 21st Century.
Martin went on to point out that St. Valentine, today’s namesake, was a martyr, and “too many LGBT people have already experienced the harshest of circumstances.”
Rev. Pastor Larry Hawkins of Harrisburg’s St. Michael’s Lutheran Church also spoke out, imploring people of faith to support people these efforts:
Religion is at its best when it stands by those who have been marginalized. … I urge people of faith to be at our religious best and stand for marriage equality.
Flanked by LGBT families and allies, Sen. Jim Ferlo, Sen. Larry Farnese, Rep. Dan Frankel, Rep. Pam DeLissio, and Rep. Eugene DePasquale all added their support for the proposed bills.
Sen. Farnese echoed Martin’s concerns about the importance of protections in employment and public safety for LGBT people.
Sen. Ferlo said, “The time has come to see love between two people.”
Rep. DePasquale demanded, “Which side of history do you want to be on?”
Unfortunately, proponents of LGBT equality may soon find themselves playing defense as Republicans push for an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution that would prohibit any legal recognition for same-sex couples. Rep. Frankel called the proposal “radical” and ‘wrong.”
Wrapping up the press conference, Sen. Leach reminded those in attendance that “”We’ll be here every year until we have marriage equality in Pennsylvania.”
The manifest destiny of a Christian American theocracy took a bold step towards the light this week with the inauguration of Alabama’s new governor, Robert Bentley.
The day before taking office, Bentley, a deacon at First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, spoke at Dexter Street King Memorial Baptist Church, once led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. An occasion meant to honor Dr. King on his holiday seemed to have quite the opposite effect. Said Bentley:
But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have, if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives with me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.
Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.
Maybe he was just getting it all out of his system while he could.
What’s worse, if you read the news article, you’ll see plenty of people (the Anti-Defamation League notably excepted) are open to defending him or at least equivocating about his intentions. It must be really bad for non-Christians in Alabama if they’re afraid to even say, “Yeah, I was pretty damn offended” on the record.
This is ridiculously offensive. We’re a nation with a history of denying groups of people a role in their government, and here’s a newly elected official who seems eager to govern in just that way.
And who says “daddy”?
I don’t think folks realize how fragile the separation of church and state is. They’re not non-overlapping magisteria; they both deal with serving the people, so we have to try our hardest to maintain the boundaries we can. Electing religious leaders to government positions does the exact opposite, and Bentley is a shining example.
If you pause and consider the phenomenon of the religious right, you realize how bizarre it is that a political point of view so concerned with the constitution is the most concerned with violating the intentions behind it. Of course, snap back to reality and remember that integrity has nothing to do with it; it’s all about power. Try to make rhyme or reason out of it and you’ll get nowhere (If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college).
We’re not a Christian nation. That meme is just the largest-scale example of the George W. Bush approach to truth. Say it enough and act like it enough and people will buy into it.
Alabama, you have my sympathies. Maybe all you Jews, nonbelievers, and other non-Christians can be at least counted as 3/5 of a brother or sister.
You know what would be great? To hear some Christian groups condemn him, to stand up and say, “This was not Christian behavior and we disapprove of infusing such evangelism into state government.”
Zack and Peterson gather by the fireside to follow up on DADT repeal, Barack Obama, and the United Nations, and lots of other interesting things happen too. Happy Holidays from the Queer and Queerer Podcast!
It’s been quite a while since “Religious Right” didn’t sound redundant, and while plenty of folks can articulate differences between “social conservative” and “fiscal conservative,” it seems rare that anyone has to take exception to their conflation. While they might mean different things, they arguably have the same motivation.
Consider the belief in an afterlife. This single, simple, commonplace belief can easily define the context for a person’s entire life. Juxtapose 80 years with eternity and priority number one becomes getting into that afterlife, according to the prescriptive guidelines. Priority two might be a compassionate attempt to get others to abide by the same guidelines so they can get there too. And once all the ducks are in a row for the afterlife, all that’s left to do is sit back and tolerate life.
Yes, yes, this is a simplistic generalization that doesn’t recognize the nuance of belief—I hear ya. But at a basic level, it is still fair to say that believing in an afterlife can impact every single decision a person makes as the very motivation that leads them through life. This dubiously simple factor provides an important context for understanding the concept of “conservative,” particularly in the malicious way it is being employed by Congressional Republicans during this lame-duck session.
Fundamentally, there is a “me” factor: I want to go to Heaven, I want you to go to Heaven the same way, and I want God to be pleased with what we did in the meantime. Social conservatism is wanting society to abide by God’s laws… or at least not stray from them any further. (Just ignore that shifting Zeitgeist.) Fiscal conservatism is just a way to make that happen. It’s the same philosophy of unchange; let the people with money keep it. And while Jesus may have said to let go of all your possessions, having money in a capitalist society is great leverage for enforcing a social agenda. It also makes the ride incredibly more comfortable until that Rapture comes along.
So consider this “hostage situation” regarding tax cuts for the rich. Hoarding money is clearly not Christian (a memo many Christian leaders have missed), and Reaganomics (or as Rachel Maddow calls them, “Riganomics”) clearly fail. So why are they “all in”? It could be greed, which itself could be reflective of subservience to the afterlife. But it could also be for leverage. Leverage against the DREAM act. Leverage against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal. Leverage against support for 9/11 first-responders. Remember, the one budget Republicans will never cut is defense; we are, after all, engaged in two wars on behalf of Christianity.
The will to impose the proper afterlife on others is not benign. Just today, a story on good old OneNewsNow complains that Liam Neeson suggested that Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia (whom he voices) represents non-Christian spiritual leaders. Because, damn it, Aslan is Christ and that’s what C. S. Lewis intended! Don’t worry, “Dr.” Marc T. Newman (whoever he is) comes to the rescue with ideas for how Narnia can be an effective evangelism tool.
And while critics of my post will argue that believing in the afterlife is not a reasonable reduction of Republican motives, I think it’s hard to find a better one. Sure, there is an obsession with power (and ascension thereof) as well as the gluttony of being lobbied, but while there might be incredible focus on their own lives, I’m not sure that conservatives are motivated by the lives, per say, of anybody else. Who cares if people have money, or food, or a job, or a house, or healthcare, or citizenship, or integrity? As long as everyone is abiding by the Bible, they’re going to Heaven, and they should be thankful for that.
It’s not a surprise that the Christian myth of an afterlife (social conservatism) and the myth of the American dream (fiscal “bootstraps” conservatism) have become so intertwined. They both are founded on self-determination. They both assume that the individual is responsible and that no other context plays a role in an individual’s success. And both ultimately help a very small group prosper while creating false hope for all the rest.
The opposite of all this, after all, would be true for progressives. Not believing in an afterlife (or at least not abiding so stringently by such a belief) makes it much easier to recognize the needs of others now, in life. Rather than a focus on “me” until everybody goes to Heaven, it’s a focus on everybody because right now is all we have. Being a social progressive means recognizing that the human species is capable of learning more about its own nature and adapting to accommodate that new information. Being a fiscal progressive means trying to help the most number of people, even if it means asking those who have to make sacrifice for those who have not, because it’s life that matters. Life is all that we have control over while we’re living.
Imagine, though, a completely different universe, altered in just the way that no one believed in an afterlife. Would these political hijinks be par for the course? Maybe. But at the very least, they wouldn’t be based on complete irrationality.
In response to The Manhattan Declaration debacle (the creation of and the elimination of an iPhone app for the document that promotes breaking the law in order to perpetuate anti-LGBT beliefs), Fake Steve Jobs has written a scathing rebuke of the whiny groups upset the app was pulled. The whole thing is brilliant. The best part… even though it’s intended as satire, pretty much everything in it is true, too. Check out this entertaining critique of Christianity and defense of LGBT rights.
Here are a few highlights:
Second, your “religion” is a myth. It’s bogus. Jesus did not die and rise from the tomb and ascend into heaven. Okay? That. Did. Not. Happen. God did not take the form of a little bird and fly down and impregnate an unwed teenage virgin girl so that she could give birth to a half-human half-divine man-god. Immaculate conception, virgin birth, raising people from the dead, walking on water, loaves and fishes — great stories, but correctly filed under “fiction.” The sad fact is, what you call “faith” is a form of mental illness. It’s amazing enough that so many of you are running around in your mental case dream world. But it’s simply unacceptable when you start trying to impose your delusions upon the rest of us. Cynical politicians may feel the need to humor you and kowtow to your demands. I, however, do not.
It’s wonderful the things you can get away with using satire…
Oh, and here’s one that you even put on your own Manhattan Declaration document, which is ironic because you don’t seem to understand what it means and in fact what you’re doing is the exact opposite of what this statement intended: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. In other words, do not become entwined with the state. Focus on the next world, not on this one. Or, to be more blunt: Stay the hell out of politics, you boneheads. If a state or federal government wants to marry gay people, that’s their decision. Leave it alone. Go say some prayers.
Yet somehow you’ve twisted this around and interpret it to mean that you should impose your will onto others by passing laws that would force other people who do not share your beliefs to be bound by the rules of your Bible, even though (a) your Bible is fiction and (b) you’re not even interpreting the fiction correctly.
It’s bad enough that you’re hateful bigots. But to dress up your hate and bigotry as an expression of Christianity? That, my friends, is pure evil. If you want to go around hating people, fine. Go for it. It’s stupid, and pointless, but whatever. Go hate people. Just don’t go around saying Jesus told you to do it.
So, listen up. You can’t put your bullshit in my app store. I’m sorry. But I won’t let you use my store to spread your hate. I don’t want any part in the spreading of your phony religion, either. There is no God. There is no heaven. There also is no hell, which is too bad, because if hell did exist, you would surely be spending eternity there, with red-hot pokers up your butts. And nothing would make me happier.
When WorldNetDaily files a story under “Faith Under Fire,” it’s always worth a look.
This story comes from Britain, where a Christian couple was told they may not be fit to be foster parents under new laws about sensitivity to gay and lesbian kids.
Mrs. Johns told London’s Daily Mail, “The council said, ‘Do you know, you would have to tell them that it’s OK to be homosexual?'”
“But I said I couldn’t do that,” Johns continued, “because my Christian beliefs won’t let me. Morally, I couldn’t do that. Spiritually I couldn’t do that.”
The Johns appealed to the courts, hoping it would force their council to clarify whether Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics would be forbidden from adopting foster children.
I think it’s brilliant, aside from being perfect common sense. We want kids to go with parents who will love unconditionally. If the parents are going to condemn a same-sex orientation, that is quite far from love unconditionally.
Now, I’m not going to quote too much from the WND story; I quickly grow weary of being called homosexual and “gay” and having my “rights” talked about. The mocking quotes are so degrading. But I want to share this next bit because it clearly shows how Christians really struggle to understand the privilege they have, perceiving a reduction of the oppression they cause as a loss to the supposed “equality” they think they have.
The groundbreaking legal collision of homosexual “rights” and the freedom of religion has generated extensive public attention, including an open letter from several British clergy and signed by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton:
“The High Court is to be asked to rule on whether Christians are ‘fit people’ to adopt or foster children – or whether they will be excluded, regardless of the needs of children, from doing so because of the requirements of homosexual rights,” the clergy write. “This ‘equality,’ however, privileges homosexual rights over those of others.”
“There is a ‘clash of rights,’ which the court must settle,” the clergy continue. “If the court believes that those with traditional Christian views on homosexuality can be discriminated against, the state has taken a position on a moral question, namely that such religious belief is problematic.”
The Christians are suddenly concerned about the needs of children! That never happens when there are same-sex couples ready to adopt. But when there are Christian parents ready to bully their own children for being gay, now that’s a home for a needy child.
Guess what, such a religious belief is problematic. And I hope the British courts say so!
And, as is already happening, I hope the American conservative movement freaks out.
And then, I hope the American LGBT movement has the courage to stand up and say the same thing: Religious beliefs against homosexuality are extremely problematic whether a child turns out to be gay or not.
“The city council needs clarity on this matter,” [Jeremy West, representation for Derby City Council] said. “It defends diversity and equality and has treated the Johns as it would have treated anyone else. It would be inappropriate for the council to approve foster carers who cannot meet minimum standards.”
Weston also said, however, “It would be difficult and impractical to match children with Mr. and Mrs. Johns if they feel that strongly.”
Weston added that the Johns’ application could also be ultimately denied should the Johns be found “unsuitable” for other reasons, including “if Mrs. Johns’ attendance at church twice on a Sunday would limit available time [to care for children].”
So what comes first, children or God? To any of the Christians out there who might possibly be torn about this dilemma, you need to seriously reconsider how much influence you want your faith to have over your life.