Archive for category Religious Fundamentalism
I was an enthusiastic Cub Scout but at best a indifferent Boy Scout. I lost interest in scouting after a campout that was a well-intentioned mismanaged fiasco from beginning to end.
BSA have been living in a difficult place for years. They clearly sees themselves as a mainstream organization, modernizing and responding to contemporary society while transmitting time honored values and experiences. They strive to achieve racial and ethnic diversity. The organization updates and adds to its list of possible merit badges to represent changing societal awareness and standards, as for example badges in environmental science, disabilities awareness and game design. At the same time, many of the most fervent supporters of scouting are religious conservatives who perceive the organization as a bulwark of traditional values defending against a rising tide of valueless modernity. The organization’s struggle exemplifies the struggle in American culture. Read the rest of this entry »
The argument goes something like this:
“Gay pride” necessitates anti-Christian hate. It must. “Gay marriage” and other “sexual orientation”-based laws do violence to freedom and truth. They are the hammer with which the postmodern left intends to bludgeon bloody religious liberty and the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic.[snip]
Still, know this: If you are a Christian in today’s America, you too will almost certainly find yourself with a similar decision to make. When man’s law violates God’s law, you will have to choose which to obey. Choosing God can mean persecution.
With Delaware’s vote to allow same sex marriage, the rocket scientists at American Family News have this to report:
Nicole Theis, president of Delaware Family Policy Council, says there is no protection in the bill for people of faith.
“Our immediate concern is that good people in this state will suffer discrimination simply because they believe marriage is between one man and one woman and that children deserve a mom and a dad,” Theis tells American Family News. “There’s minimal protection in this law, and we believe that passing legislation like this will trigger lawsuits and other forms of government retaliation.”
More dramatic though no more convincing is the video from Reach America, in which a group of grim faced teens inform viewers about all sorts of things that aren’t true – i.e. that the Supreme Court declared the bible unconstitutional and that prayer in school is outlawed and that the US was founded as a Christian nation. In the video, the students, obviously well meaning though wildly misinformed, simultaneously pose as victims, martyrs and bold warriors who will lead the world.
A middle school in Red Hook, NY, conducted an anti-bullying workshop, working on questions of gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. The workshop was co-led by students from Bard College who are peer counselors at Bard.
So far, so non controversial.
What happened is that a student went home and complained to her mother – the story is now that the school forced girls to engage in lesbian kissing. A massive controversial discussion ensues on Facebook. Right wing media picks up the story that the school forced female students to kiss one another, that male students were taught how to identify which girls were sluts and were told to carry condoms at all times. Hysteria – not hysteria as in laughter but more in the nature of a moral panic – ensues.
Of course, none of those things actually happened and most parents are happy with the outcomes as well as the actual workshop. A few conservative parents are upset and the story with all its wrong details is being distributed around the right wing echo chamber.
The right wing picked up the mother’s complaint and ran with it – it appeared on Fox News. The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage has picked it up and used it in fundraising appeals. The false stories have made the rounds on the right (including a sensationalized account on WorldNetDaily). Expect to hear/read comments from conservatives about “that school in New York that forced girls to engage in “lesbian kisses” on comment boards and in discussion. What’s going on here is the right wing noise machine in full bore, blowing an entirely non-controversial incident out of proportion, creating a scandal where there is no scandal, feeding it into the right wing culture war community where it will become accepted as fact, and repeated ad nauseum.
The story in right wing media is not credible. Think about the details – does anyone seriuosly believe that an anti-bullying workshop would involve middle schools girls kissing each other? That an anti-bullying workshop would teach boys how to determine which of their classmates are sluts? It doesn’t pass the straight face test. Conservatives seem to have accepted accounts of the workshop without question at face value.
The dynamic at work here is deeper than simple gullibility or extremely credulity. Conservatives accepted the story on face value because it confirmed their existing biases about the general gone to hellness of the world. To put it another way, it’s not that the people believing this story are unusually gullible or credulous, it’s that they embrace a view of the world that tells them that school teachers and diversity programs and anti-bullying training are forms of indoctrination; these conservative parents expect to be outraged by what they hear about public schools, so they are primed to see scandal and depravity where none exists. The outraged conservatives hearing and sharing the story, expect public schools to try to indoctrinate their children in homosexuality, they’ve been told for years now that anti-bullying and diversity initiatives in public schools are nothing more than codewords for indoctrination. It’s a tiny step from believing that to believing students are being forced to kiss each other. Even if it didn’t happen in this case, conservatives will tell themselves it’s surely happening someplace else because that’s the sort of depraved thing that liberals will do if they think they can get away with it. To take one example, look at this comment from the WingNutDaily article:
If the liberals have it their way the law will destroy the meaning of family and the authority of parents completely. Remember what certain people were promoting on MSNBC? Your kids are not going to be your kids anymore so the government can brainwash them all they want and there won’t be a thing that you or anyone can do about it. Yeah, this is the culture that the lunatic liberals are creating. In certain European countries the kids are basically property of the state and not children of the parents. The kids in those countries are indoctrinated into anything and everything so long as it has nothing to do with God. This is powerful evidence of the type of utopian society and world that the lunatic liberals in the world are dreaming up and working towards making come true. The truth of the matter is that their dreams will, in fact, become nightmares. Their efforts will lead to catastrophe. No person should put up with the liberal lunatic agenda. It’s time for the anger of good citizens to be on full display and put the lunatic liberals in their place.
For this person it’s all part of a grand conspiracy. The breathless recounting of the event on right wing blogs and websites comes complete with denunciations of the evils of liberalism and public schools and gay people and fervid theorizing about the nefarious machinations of homosekshuls intent on destroying the family. The CBN (that is Christian Broadcasting Network) report ends with the warning that “school officials are planning more of these workshops!” The report – word for word – crops up on dozens of websites, propagated throughout a network of right wing blogs, bloggers, opinionators and semi-real news websites, to be forwarded, linked and discussed on other sites.
The story of the lesbian kisses is admittedly a minor one, but it’s a valuable case study in how the right wing works to spread misinformation throughout its network of activists, voters, bloggers and communities. Even if Fox were to retract the story today, it has spread far and wide, believed by who knows how many people. Like other right wing atrocity narratives, it will be reported again and again and no matter how many times its refuted, it will keep coming back. It will become the justification for right wing groups attempting to hold their own workshops at which people witness for Jesus and talk about becoming “ex-gay” and spread misinformation about gay people. When pushed on it, they’ll defend themselves with the story about the forced lesbian kisses in middle school.
Over the weekend, the D-News linked to yet another article opposed to gay marriage (this one published in Provo Daily Herald). Written by Jenet Erickson, of BYU’s School of Family Life, the article begins:
One of the most painful parts of the same-sex marriage debate is the accusation that those who oppose same-sex marriage must be blinded by bigotry . . . marriage involves more than just the adults who marry. Because marriage involves children, society has a deep and abiding interest in how it affects them.
You’ve had all of recorded history to come up with arguments against gay marriage and the best you’ve got is “Oh, won’t someone think of the children?!” You wonder why people think you’re a bigot?
Snark free: I get that it must be difficult to be accused of bigotry when the person being accused truly believes they are without bias. At the same time, Erickson’s entire argument hinges on the notion that gay people marrying is a threat to children; infertile couples, couples who cheat on each other, couples who never plan to have children, none of these couples seem to bother her, only gay couples. That’s why she and other people who oppose marriage equality get accused of bigotry.
“I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don’t deny that the climate is changing. I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what’s causing that change without automatically being either all-in that’s all because of mankind or it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence. I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change, and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.”
—Republican Congressman from Texas Joe Barton, during today’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on the Northern Route Approval Act, legislation which would authorize Congress to approve the Keystone pipeline.
Yeah. New rule, if you think talking about 4000plus year old myths borrowed from a culture that in turn borrowed them from another that borrowed them from still another culture should be sited as scientific evidence to use against something that pretty much every peer reviewed climate work has found actual evidence for, you are too god damn stupid to be allowed to open your slobbering slack jawed maw in public. You are certainly the last person who should be allowed to vote on legislation that demands at least a sixth grade level of science comprehension. In fact, you should likely have your legal status as an adult human being taken away to protect yourself and others.
In short, you might be a Texas republican.
Hell, at least Idaho and Texas keep doing their level best to make sure Utah isn’t the national embarrassment.
I hope I’m not the only person who read the story of Lykov family and felt a sense of both grief and outrage at the pointlessness of that family’s many years of suffering, isolation and privation.
Slowly, over several visits, the full story of the family emerged. The old man’s name was Karp Lykov, and he was an Old Believer—a member of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect, worshiping in a style unchanged since the 17th century. Old Believers had been persecuted since the days of Peter the Great, and Lykov talked about it as though it had happened only yesterday; for him, Peter was a personal enemy and “the anti-Christ in human form”—a point he insisted had been amply proved by Tsar’s campaign to modernize Russia by forcibly “chopping off the beards of Christians.” But these centuries-old hatreds were conflated with more recent grievances; Karp was prone to complain in the same breath about a merchant who had refused to make a gift of 26 poods [940 pounds] of potatoes to the Old Believers sometime around 1900.
Things had only got worse for the Lykov family when the atheist Bolsheviks took power. Under the Soviets, isolated Old Believer communities that had fled to Siberia to escape persecution began to retreat ever further from civilization. During the purges of the 1930s, with Christianity itself under assault, a Communist patrol had shot Lykov’s brother on the outskirts of their village while Lykov knelt working beside him. He had responded by scooping up his family and bolting into forest.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/For-40-Years-This-Russian-Family-Was-Cut-Off-From-Human-Contact-Unaware-of-World-War-II-188843001.html#ixzz2PVdGTg89 Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
Note to Shit-Kicking Conservatives: We (U.S. & World) Are Moving on Without Your Tired Lame Bigoted Asses.
Each years CPAC showcases the steady, incremental march toward the obsolescence of conservatism. And while conservatives are by nature regressive and behind the times, as the brutal velocity of progress in science, communication, education et. al. increases, conservative ideas are more obsolete than ever. Traditional Conservatism is by all accounts, DEAD.
The Republican Party has become authoritarian out of necessity. Moderates are leaving the party in increasing numbers. Inter-party calls for sanity fall on deaf ears. Example: CPAC went for Birthers and extremists like Trump and Gomert over far right assholes like Chris Christy.
I post this as a classic example of how the right-wing has hacks the most blunt, vulnerable minds.
John Edwin Jackson
Would you believe this: A movement rises to strip free speech from corporate America, to take the right to speak from PACs and churches and businesses and any other group that is an “artificial entity.”
They would take away free speech — one of the most basic of all human rights — and they would do this right here in America.
The startling thing, to me, is that the movement is winning in so many ways. The startling thing, to me, is that I run into so many people who agree with them. The startling thing, to me, is that while this issue has hardly caught the public’s eye, when it has, people are buying in with it.
The startling thing, to me, is that (if I’ve been told correctly) Montana’s voters have passed legislation calling on leaders to push for a constitutional amendment stripping free speech from corporate America. A citizen’s initiative also passed in Colorado, but it called only for corporate campaigning limits, not actually stripping free speech altogether from corporations. California is considering putting an initiative on the ballot. Voters in about 175 local entities have passed initiatives calling for amending the Constitution, and the governing bodies, themselves, of about 350 local entities have passed measures pushing for a constitutional amendment.
Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve blogged about the film The Magdalene Sisters before – it was based on real accounts of women incarcerated in Ireland’s Catholic workhouses. Many of the women were badly mistreated and abused by the nuns running the workhouses. The film was set in the 60s. It’s easy to believe they were part of the past.
Ireland’s government was directly involved in sending girls and women to work for nothing in laundries run by Catholic orders, a landmark report published Tuesday concluded.
The report by Irish Senator Martin McAleese found that orphans and abused, neglected or unruly children were among more than 10,000 sent to the Magdalen Laundries from 1922 to 1996.
Some had committed minor crimes, others were simply homeless or poor. Women with mental or physical disabilities and some people with psychiatric illness also found themselves in the laundries.
Their average age, the report found, was 23, but the youngest child was just nine and the oldest known entrant was 89.
Through 1996. That was 17 years ago. And the government actively sent women and children to the laundries. The Irish are turning away from their faith faster than almost any other nationality. The church with its neverending priestly pedophile scandal and in Ireland the laundries has tarnished its reputation perhaps beyond repair. Now word comes out that government played an active role in sending people to the laundries? That’s gonna secularize folks as they realize the alliance of church and state is unhealthy.
I realize my experience with Catholic priests and nuns was exceptionally positive and I’m starting to realize that I was apparently incredibly fortunate.
Religious freedom, like other concepts of freedom, is contested. What it means varies across time and place. In recent years, the US has experienced a massive shift on questions of religions; attendance and membership are down in almost every denomination, the public influence of Christianity has declined as the public face of Christianity has come to be seen as the face of bigotry and intolerance. The result has been a sharp and painful bit of cognitive dissonance for religious conservatives. From HuffPo, Read the rest of this entry »