Friday, March 30, 2007

God really isn't watching

I'm not sure why I'm on such an anti-God thing, but I am.

Why is it that when people get subjected to a really horrible illness or experience, they thank god for getting them through it. I just read a story about someone who survived the flesh-eating bacteria (won't link to it), and while I'm enormously sympathetic to that person, and indeed, it's terrible, but really, to say "We are so thankful to God that [he] survived this deadly disease! It's been an amazing faith journey -- I can tell you most assuredly that even in the darkest days, we had faith that God was in control."

So, wait. God's in control. God's watching. You're thanking god for the good result that he survived, but, um, what about the fact that god gave him the infection to begin with?

Thank the lord we survived the earthquake! How about cursing him for sending it?


is there a woman doing this protest?

Why do we care??

Why does this make the news? If the headline were "Woman thanks green space aliens for recovery from cancer," we would laugh and expect to see it on the News of the World or some similar sort of tabloid.

And, you'll notice the article is completely devoid of any kind of substantiation.

I agree with Dan Savage (this is a vague nonsequitor): How come so many people ignore the pope when he goes on about blowjobs and abortion and what not, but then fall over and genuflect when he speaks about gay rights? As Savage says,

Unless straight people are prepared to limit their sexual rights, freedoms, and expression and live in as the Pope would like you to—no birth control, no blowjobs, no pre-marital sex, no yoga—then straight people should stop making an elaborate show of deference and respect for the Pope’s delicate feelings when it comes to my sexual rights, freedoms, and expression. Ignore the Pope or not. But don’t ignore him when he has something to say about your sexual conduct and then prick up your ears when he’s got something to say about mine.

No kidding. Wine turns to blood, or it doesn't. It doesn't do so in Rome but not in Canterbury.

It amazes me that we tolerate such nonsense because it's religion, when really, if you took the pronouncements of the religious and said that they came from The Blue Egg faith, or the Church of the Holy Block of Cheese, those same people would look at you like you were a lunatic.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Freedom of religion for Pastafarians

This is patently outrageous. A kid is claiming he follows the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion and that his religion requires him to wear a pirate suit. He was suspended for being disruptive.

Outrageous. We'll assume, for the sake of argument, he does genuinely hold the belief (in my mind, believing in a spaghetti monster in the sky is no more or less rational than believing in a mad jealous god who smites people if they don't believe in him, or in a guy being born from a virgin and coming back to life and ascending into heaven and turning wine into blood (I like my wine as it is, thank you very much)). Anyway, I digress.

I'm sure the religious wackos would come down against this guy, agreeing that yes, his costume was disruptive.

The problem is, they come down on exactly the opposite side when it comes to mad Christians being disruptive. For example, they're strange bedfellows with the kid in the Bong Hits for Jesus case (recall that the kid, outside the school, had a poster saying that jesus likes pot or something similar and was suspended for being disruptive). They're on his side, because they want to be able to put up signs outside schools saying "Jesus thinks that being gay is bad" or "don't kill your foetus." They also routinely intervene in cases where kids wear t-shirts that say "the Bible says homosexuality is bad."

Of course, this is somewhat apples and nectarines. If the kid truly believes his religion and that it requires a certain dress, he should be allowed it. That's like a nutjob Christian needing to wear a crucifix (a macabre ornament if there ever were one).

That's entierly different from allowing a kid to be disruptive by saying "because of my religion, I believe that homosexuals are evil, and I should be allowed to say so." That's disruptive and not required by the religion.

Similarly, if the kid walked around saying "Arrrrrrrrrrr me hearties!" I'd be all for suspending him too.

Sanjaya Must Be Stopped

I completely agree with this blogger. While it is completely unlikely that we'll manage to stop the hoards of teenage girls (and Dan Savage) who love him and think he's the hottest thing since, well, god knows, Jon Swift makes a great point:

Intervention by the Supreme Court. They should step in immediately to stop the
voting and kick Sanjaya off the show. There is, of course, precedent for the Court's taking action when votes seem to be going the wrong way: the landmark Bush v. Gore decision.

One note, of course: The Bush v. Gore decision specifically stated it couldn't be used for other cases. I'm sure that was to stop godless liberal heathens from using it, but my, the consequences. Had they only known that seven years later, their intervention would desperately be needed . . .


Sometimes, when people aren't returning my calls or emails, I want to send them this:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reason number 232 why we love having a GG

This is yet another example of why it's better to be a monarchy.

When Dubya shows up with soliders/children/aircraft carriers as backdrops, it's blatantly partisan. He has no real interest in them, just in their political value.

In contrast, when the GG does things with children, there is no political purpose. She's there for the children--in her official capacity, to be sure--but still there as an expression of caring.

How much better to have a head of state that can represent your country without having a political motive behind it?

God save the Queen.

The Fifth Amendment? You must be kidding.

Dan Froomkin is exactly right about this Monica character, who's invoking her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and refusing to testify before Congress:

For one, it's not at all clear what she's trying to say. Undeniably, if she chose to lie to the panel, she could face perjury charges. Her recourse, therefore, would appear to be to tell the truth. So is she saying that if she told the truth, she would have to admit a crime? What crime? Or is she saying something else: That she'd have to admit someone else's criminal behavior? Well, that's not something you can take the Fifth to avoid. Sorry. Or is she just afraid of being grilled by an antagonistic bunch of congressmen? Well, that's not something you can take the Fifth to avoid either.

Exactly. As my future wife Dahlia Lithwick pointed out today, if you can invoke the Fifth any time you have to take the stand because you're afraid that sometime down the road you might get charged with either purjury or obstruction of justice, then people could refuse to testify any time they wanted.

This is so vintage Bush. Invoke the constitution when it suits your needs, but do it wrong.

The sad part is most of the country is too apathetic and stupid to care.

UPDATE: The best part is she's a frickin' Christian. She did her undergrad at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., an institution that describes itself as "committed to embracing an evangelical spirit." And then her law degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. Regent, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, which says its mission is "to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world."

First off, I'm not going to say much about the fact that it's depressing that someone with a law degree that's not on the radar of any firm or real government agency can get a senior job in the White House.

But more importantly: She's invoking the 5th, which (in this case) carries a certain implication of criminal conduct.

Which blows the whole "Christians are more moral" than everyone else claim that Republicans always make out of the water.

Friday, March 23, 2007

PLQ and the Tories

I hope tonight's election results come as a rebuke to Harper's big "new federalism plans."

After all, it seems the ROC did whatever it can to make sure that a federalist was elected in Quebec. So we give Quebec all sorts of special treats, like $700m more in equalization (that is promptly used not to "equalize" services, but instead to give a nice fat tax cut), etc etc etc (I'm sure some Tory or Albertan can provide a comprehensive list).

Harper's been sucking up to Quebec as much as he could, with the hope of boosting federalist fortunes, and what do we get? Charest personally defeated, the federalists reduced to a minority, just ahead of the "autonomist" ADQ. Great. The balance of power is held by a party that doesn't necessarily want separation, but separation if necessary (in all but name.)

I say it would have been better to put the PQ in the driver's seat of the minority. The ADQ was against a referrendum, and then the Feds could take the Chretienite position of not having to bow and scrape at every PQ demand, rather than feeling like every time Charest put out his hand, we had to give him something.

Well, Duh

And they needed a study for this?

How on earth is this constitutional?

Okay. How can it be that the person who drafted legislation is now able to rule on its constitutionality?

Thta's a little Bush-esque, really.

Abortion Stupidity

I have to say I agree 100% with Canadian Cynic. In response to the suggestion that women be forced to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion, CC writes:

Using that same logic, I could suggest that legislators pushing for additional
funding for military action should first spend a few seconds contemplating, on
their desktops, the remains of a broken, dismembered child killed by heavy artillery.

I agree. Actually, I'd go even further. Before someone can stand up and talk about "supporting the troops," they should a) have served in the military or b) have a child/parent/spouse in the military. I'm really over hearing Republicans and Tories talking about "supporting the troops" when that's a meaningless phrase with no consequences. "Stay the course" as long as it's someone else's son/daughter that's doing the dying.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thank god for a boring culture

There are many days I'm glad I'm western, I'm Canadian, I consider myself absolutely Canadian, my family has no knowledge whatsoever where we came from. I'm glad I'm boring. We have no cultural grudges. I don't see people from some ancient ancestral enemy ethnic group. This article is proof why I'm glad.

And I believe, to the depth of my heart, that the point of coming to Canada is giving up those things. It is not becoming the same as everyone else. But it is giving ancient hatreds. It is giving up customs that need to yield to the Charter (e.g. women in Burkhas, etc). We have a few basic values in Canada, and becoming Canadian means accepting them.

But I say this: If we find our glorious, wonderful, improbable country becomes a battleground whereby different warring groups bring their battles here, I say throw them all out.

A mari usque ad mare.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More God and Gays

Good for the Episcopals to stand up to Nigerian bullies regarding gays and same sex marriages.

I thought it was nonsense for the Communion generally to ask the American (and by extension Canadian) churches to sit out and become junior members, in the interest of preventing a schism.

Though I'm not Anglican, I say fuck 'em. It's like saying, "To prevent us from disagreeing with you, please make all your women wear burkhas." Actually, that's what a lot of supposedly tolerant people want--"Oh, we might offend some nutjobs by doing what is normal for us, so let's cave."

But the communique is remarkably strident.

First, they slam the fact that Mr. Nigeria is appointing bishops in the US:

Other Anglican bishops, indeed including some Primates, have violated our provincial boundaries and caused great suffering and contributed immeasurably to
our difficulties in solving our problems and in attempting to communicate for ourselves with our Anglican brothers and sisters. We have been repeatedly assured that boundary violations are inappropriate under the most ancient authorities and should cease. The Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998 did so. The Windsor Report did so. The Dromantine Communiqué did so. None of these assurances has been heeded. The Dar es Salaam Communiqué affirms the principle that boundary violations are impermissible, but then sets conditions for ending those violations, conditions that are simply impossible for us to meet without calling a special meeting of our General Convention.

Then, the brave statement:

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God. The Dar es Salaam Communiqué is distressingly silent on this subject. And, contrary to the way the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council have represented us, we proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought and encourages free and open theological debate as a way of seeking God's truth. If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision.

Finally, perhaps, there is a group--an unexpected group, to be sure--that is standing up for us.

I say bravo to the Episcopal Church.

Update: Our fair friend Seething Mom provides excellent analysis here.

God and Gays

From today's Post, Harold Meyerson makes some good points.

First, further to yesterday's post about no politician wanting to stand up for us, he relays this:

Sen. Hillary Clinton, when first asked if homosexuality was immoral, answered that it was for "others to conclude," before righting herself to say that she didn't think being gay was immoral. Sen. Barack Obama, according to Newsweek, avoided a direct answer three times before coming to his senses and disagreeing with Pace. The spokesperson for Sen. John "Straight-Talk Express" McCain said that "the senator thinks such questions are a matter of conscience and faith for people to decide for themselves." Such political and moral contortions are hardly confined to presidential candidates.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. Hillary Clinton, saying it was for "others to conclude" that being gay is or is not immoral? First, that's typical Hillary bullshit, wanting to be all things to all people. Any nonrepublican nonasshole should have absofuckinglutely no hesitation in saying "That's hogwash." I can't even see Stephen Harper hesitating there. Maybe Vic Toews, but that's it.

He also makes the great point that clearly religion isn't working too well with regard to homos. After all, if it becomes clear there is at least some biological basis for homosexuality, then you have the contradiction that God is churning out homos, meaning he must at least intend to make them, but then condemning them to hellfire. Good stuff. Clear intelligent design.

Which brings me to the amazing Dan Savage. I love the man. In his recent column, he points out that women and men aren't really all that compatible, since women tend to want chocolate and love and men want to fuck (with exceptions). Clearly, that's not intelligent design:

Hey, intelligent design idjits? If God really wants us to have heterosexual sex only, and then only within the bounds of holy matrimony, and if adultery offends Him so much—it's a stoning offense, right up there with gay sex—how come He designed men and women to be sexually incompatible?

Well, I should say that He designed straight men and straight women to be sexually incompatible. Lesbian couples, with their bags of Doritos, and gay couples, with our mutually insatiable sexual appetites, seem pretty intelligently designed. Thank you, Jesus!

Indeed, thank you Jesus!

In the meantime, God thumpers, I can't wait for you to square the circle that if God makes us gay, whe the hell is he automatically damning us to hell?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why do straights hate the gays?

First, apologies for the lack of posts. Mike and I were skiing in Mammoth with many hundreds of our closest homo skiing friends. We managed to survive, no injuries, and let me tell you, spring skiing in California is amazing. We were in tshirts, I'm sunburned, and a fantastic time was had by all, save for a few horrified straight people.

But, on to my point. This article appeared today in the LA Times. And I agree with it. No doubt there will be many who say that no, not all straights hate the homos, and that is certainly true, at least for those of us who cling to the Coasts or the Canadian border and live in big cities.

The problem is, those people are drowned out by the people who hate us. Think Peter Pace. Sure, he was sort of vaguely condemned by politicians, but imagine if he'd said what he'd said about blacks or jews or something. He'd be fired instantly. Where are the calls for his resignation from nongay organizations?

Where are the straight politicians who actually will stand up for us? Where are they who would cry out against the anti-gay-marriage amendments that the electorate love? Where are they who stand up and say that looking out for our equal rights is the good thing to do?

They aren't there. We're the first group jettisoned by any politician on the left, and the first group attacked by any politician on the right. We're supposed to feel grateful when we get half equality--when we're given domestic partnerships, instead of full marriage equality. We're supposed to feel okay when there's don't-ask-don't-tell, because that's better than not being allowed to serve at all, but who stands up and says that equality should be the goal?

No one.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jean in Afghanistan

Recall back in January, the Commons Defence Committee made a visit to Afghanistan. They were quite upset and vocally so, when they realized that they would be restricted to main base . They wanted to go abroad and see what our troops were up to in the field, their living conditions, and the status of reconstruction projects. The local commander had received instructions, obstensibly from the PMO, that they were not allowed to leave. The argument went that they were 'a high value target', resources were not available to transport and defend them, and it was safer to remain on the base.

So we have now, Governor-General Michaelle Jean in Afghanistan, and in addition to visiting the main base, she is visiting forward operating bases, inspecting troops in the field, meeting local Afghan leaders and seeing the results of reconstruction efforts.

The PMO didn't see any need to stop her. And if Jean, our Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces is not a 'high value target', then I don't know what is.

Which means the excuse the PMO offered for restricting the Defence Committee from going abroad is complete bunk.

An alternative explanation is that the PMO tried to stop her, and she told them where to stick it.

I'd much prefer to run with the latter.