xenologer: (vagina)
Friends, I was linked to the most amazing thing this morning. I can only hope you will be as delighted as I was. See, anti-choicers seem to be even more off the rails than I had suspected; if you know me at all you know this must be pretty impressive.

It is.

Kevin Swanson is amazing.
I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.

RH Reality check explains why this is wrong but I feel like they are missing the sheer joy of it. This is nothing short of hilarious. If you have a uterus and have ever used birth control, you are the host of a teeming internal nightmare, an unconsecrated fetus graveyard!



This is beyond misogyny. Misogyny is ordinary. It's tired and boring and DONE. This is a brave new world and we are moving with the times! Misogyny is passé. Nobody cares anymore. It's 2013 and it's time for gynephobia. Wombs are scary and haunted! There could be anything in there!!! Sluts (by which we obviously mean any women on birth control) aren't just dirty and ruined, but they're probably full of disquiet fetus ghosts all up in their slutty slutslut snatches.

Kevin Swanson's account of the latest research into the eldritch terrors inside of women that we call wombs is like obstetrics and gynecology written by the authors of American Horror Story (spoilers) or Jim Balent.

xenologer: (human monsters)
Wrote a lot of this a week or so ago, when I was still reeling from all that Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day horseshit.

Read more... )

Resources

If anybody else is still having these terrible terrible discussions, here are some resources that you might find helpful.

Specific and easily-linkable information on Chick-Fil-A's donation history.

Great rundown from ThinkProgress.org that I like because it addresses the problems with (and harm caused by) falsely casting this as a First Amendment issue.

Tired of having this cast as a dispute between two equally-unreasonable and extreme camps of zealots? Here, drop this link before you smash your head against that brick wall again.

JP Brammer's Final Rant on Chick-Fil-A, full of justified anger over very real harm.
It’s not about Dan Cathy’s opinion - which I do not give a flying fuck about - it’s about the fact that Chick-Fil-A donated over $5 million to anti-gay hate groups. Hate groups which have been listed next to the KKK, hate groups which try to cure gay people like it’s a disease, and hate groups that have disseminated information claiming that gay people are pedophiles. (...)

Let me tell you this. Agreeing to disagree is a luxury I can’t afford because that’s something you can only do with an equal. And, if you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of dealing with some major inequalities here. So when you tell me that I have to deal with the bullshit that society and religion sends my way on a daily basis, and that I have to do it with a smile on my face, then don’t be surprised when I tell you to kindly fuck off.

“But you’ll never get rights that way. You attract more flies with honey than-” oh shut the fuck up. Like you care about my rights.


Then, for a slightly different tactic, Aesop to the Right: Why I Believe Bristol Palin, one of those rare potentially bridge-building essays which does that difficult job without compromising on the values at stake here. This is a keeper any time someone says, "I don't have a problem with LGBT people. I just believe that they're definitionally excluded from certain rights because of the way I have chosen to define the group of people eligible for those rights. But I love my gay friends!"
Some people turn supremacy into an over-arching philosophy. For most, it’s just a habit of mind. As a habit of mind, supremacist ideas can spring up in anyone. Being liberal doesn’t make you immune. Being gay doesn’t make you immune. Being a minority doesn’t make you immune.

You don’t have to hate people to feel innately superior to them. After all, what kind of threat are your inferiors to you? You may be annoyed by them, from time to time, or you may even like them. You can even have so much affection for them that you might call that affection love.

Because they don’t have to be said in anger, supremacist statements aren’t only the purview of the “God Hates Fags” crowd. The dangerous thing about a supremacist point of view is that it can accompany even warm affection.

Now understand: I’m not saying you’re a supremacist, but your letter, polite as it is, does betray a somewhat a supremacist point of view.

Finally, Snopes.com on the Chick-Fil-A marriage equality issue.

Also! For those of you on LJ and DW who might want to link this, the entry on DoaW is here. Please feel free to leave links to more resources in the comments on DoaW so that anybody who needs them won't have to depend only on what I happened to have stashed in my browser history when I posted this.
xenologer: (objection!)
My dad posted this article on Facebook, and I ended up sort of wall-of-texting at him. In the interests of not having to type this again in case I need it, I'm saving it here.

I'm not terribly fond of people using some highly-fictionalized privilege-friendly white-coddling version of Dr. King's work as a stick to hit people with who dare bring up race like there might still be racism and like maybe we still have work to do and white people still need to check ourselves.

In The De-Christianizing of Dr. King, Peter Heck complains that there were no direct references to Christ or God on the monument or in the selected quotes.

My first thought was yeah, well, they somehow managed not to explicitly mention race or racism, either. If they won't let him be a hero to Christian social justice activists, at least they're not letting him be a hero to black people either. (And yes, I find both of these two things inexcusable, though hardly inexplicable.)

The sterilization of Dr. King's positions and work is really interesting, if sort of maddening. To hear the way he's discussed now, he was a nonconfrontational and nonthreatening friendly black Santa who didn't challenge anybody's ideas of justice, racial equality, or what kind of social justice battles Christians could be considered OBLIGATED by their religion to fight (but which many of them just try not to think about). He asked politely and quietly for equality and eventually it was handed to him because he was nice enough to say please and then sit down and wait for white people to be comfortable with his ideas.

I mean, by all serious accounts I've read (by which I mean to exclude the children's books they have people read in grade-school American history courses), King was considered a dangerous radical. Sure, you had X running around being even more of a scary angry black man, but it's not like people saw King during his time the way memorials like this seem to be trying to get him viewed in hindsight.

Everybody LIKES Dr. King because at this point in our culture you sort of have to like him as a symbol of... of well, whatever we're calling the best American ideals and behavior at any given time. What not everybody would like is being faced with someone like him today. When King died, wasn't his approval rating only like 30%?

Then again, I have basically the same view on Jesus. Americans are sort of all required to at least have some vague bland fondness for him as a symbol of kindness and generosity, but it's a lot easier to feel that way about him when he died way too long ago to turn over anybody's tables or assail anyone in the face with a whip.

As long as Jesus is this amiable white guy telling us we're God's favorites and not telling us that means we should change how we do things or think about our fellow humans a certain way, Jesus is great and we're all allowed to sign on with a loose version of his ideas. As long as Dr. King is this amiable black guy telling us we can all get along and not telling white people that it requires we change how we do things and think about our fellow humans (both black and Asian) a certain way, King is great and we're all allowed to sign on with a loose version of his ideas.

I think maybe it's because he said a lot of inflammatory things that are actually still basically true. It'd be a lot easier to honor the real work he did and the real reasons he did it and the real people he was working for if we didn't still have his opposition hanging around acting like mentioning racism is a dirty trick conversation ender. (For example, this article condemns people who call out racism today as though they were somehow BETRAYING King's legacy rather than continuing it.)

I don't think the people who put up this monument would enjoy or appreciate the Dr. King who really existed and was such a controversial figure in his time.

Honestly, though? I don't think the guy who wrote this article would, either, and I don't think he'd get on with Jesus any better. Just a lot of dangerous radicals bringing class warfare and race relations into everything and bothering all the comfortable privileged people who just want to live their lives pretending that nobody else's problems have anything to do with them.

I mean, what King would have to say to Peter Heck, who wrote in this very article:

While King dreamed of the day when ours was a colorblind society, the left seems intent on bringing color into every political discussion. In just the last two years, liberals have used race to condemn conservatives for their opposition to high unemployment, increased debt, stimulus spending, climate change policies, the occupy Wall Street protests, and for the mere observation that food stamp usage has skyrocketed under President Obama.


Sounds like somebody still doesn't want race discussed at all, and isn't even open to CONSIDERING whether racism might need to at least be an explanation on the table. What would King have thought of that?

Despite new laws, little has changed...The Negro is still the poorest American -- walled in by color and poverty. The law pronounces him equal -- abstractly -- but his conditions of life are still far from equal. -- Negroes Are Not Moving Too Fast, 1964


Heck is right that King's work is being sterilized of much of its substance to make him a less threatening and challenging figure, but I'd find Heck's criticism a lot more compelling if he were not doing the exact same thing. Just as he derides the planners of this monument for recasting King as the kind of guy who didn't work from Christ's teachings, Heck recasts King as the kind of guy who didn't want to have conversations about race and racism (that are uncomfortable, but mainly only for white people).

Heck has himself remade King in his own image, and while he's not the only one doing it, it puts him in a damn poor position to gripe at anybody else.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.

edit: Originally posted at http://xenologer.dreamwidth.org/350821.html, where there is excellent discussion happening.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.

edit: Originally posted at http://xenologer.dreamwidth.org/350821.html, where there is excellent discussion happening.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.

edit: Originally posted at http://xenologer.dreamwidth.org/350821.html, where there is excellent discussion happening.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.

Agora

Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:29 pm
xenologer: (Default)
Just watched Agora, a movie that I heard about from the entries about it at The Wild Hunt.

I can't speak too confidently about the historical Hypatia (nor do I particularly expect this movie to do so, because it probably doesn't). Near as I can tell from totally cursory Googling on the subject, not only was Hypatia's religious affiliation not relevant to the circumstances of her death, but she herself was barely relevant. She could have been anybody sufficiently important to Orestes. He had pissed off Cyril (who was kind of a big deal at the time) and Hypatia happened to be an appealing target for a revenge killing.

So... I wanted to say first off that I'm not really inclined to believe anybody who says, "Hypatia was killed by nasty misogynist anti-intellectual Christians because she was an educated and independent Pagan!" or anybody who says, "Hypatia was killed by nasty misogynist anti-intellectual Christians because she was an educated and independent atheist!" Near as I can tell, she was killed for being there.

There's my take on the historical Hypatia. People who have actually spent some study on her will know more about her than I do, though, so if they post in the comments and say I'm wrong, y'all should probably listen to them instead of me. I just wanted to touch on the actual real person we are talking about here so that I could talk separately about Hypatia The Character In The Movie Agora.

Cut for that. )
xenologer: (vagina)
This is my obligatory reminder to the internet that I am an angry feminist madwoman who believes that the person who has the final legitimate say on whether a pregnancy continues is the person who is pregnant.

Why people need to stop telling me that life begins at conception because that's when babby gets soul. )
xenologer: (I have arrived)
Someone on my FB page asked for my thoughts on this article, in which the reprehensible "No means yes, yes means anal" rape apologism at Yale is blamed on the sexual license argued for by feminists. Yes, that's right. It's all the uppity bitches' fault.

A group of mostly female students is suing Yale University for allowing a “sexually hostile environment” to exist on campus.

The women, of course, have a point. After all, when frat boys are allowed to parade around the old campus chanting “No Means Yes,” or to hold up signs that read “We Love Yale Sluts,” I guess you could say that’s a sexually hostile environment.

But may I ask a question? What did you expect?


The rage, it knows no bounds.

I think this man is an asshole who is bitter on behalf of all jilted men that women are fighting for the right to fuck, but not with him. I mean, look at this.

The disgusting, intimidating behavior at Yale -- and on many college campuses -- is a classic example of the post-modern impasse. For nearly 50 years, academia, the feminist movement, and post-modern society have embraced sexual freedom as the ultimate good.

And the feminists led the way. They wanted to control their bodies; to be free from any consequences of sexual license.


He completely misses the point that women want to control their bodies, even though it's right there in his own description of their goals. The goal of feminism was never that women's bodies ought to be treated like public property; that is in fact the PRECISE WORLDVIEW that feminism is still fighting.

This asshole seems to think it's perfectly natural and inevitable that uppity women who have the nerve to do what they like with their sexuality should be treated like disposable whores, there for the taking by any man.

As far as I can tell, Colson literally CANNOT envision a world in which female sexuality is not controlled by somebody other than the woman herself. He presents an utterly insane and backward choice for women--either you let Jesus own your sexuality, or it will lay there unclaimed and men will just rape you all the time because you don't belong to anybody.

"Does the Christian view of sex promote intimidation, harassment, and brutish behavior like we’re seeing at Yale, or does it promote moral and ethical virtue?"

By treating female sexuality as something which must always be in the possession and under the control of a man, it certainly does promote intimidation, harassment, and brutish behavior. By treating this as the natural outgrowth of women thinking they can just walk around like they're human beings with a right to do things other than powerspawn babies for their husband and Jesus, he reinforces the slut-shaming and depersonalization of women who fuck that is the very basis of the rape culture we live in.

This man is an asshole. He is an asshole, he is an asshole, he is an asshole, and if you want the most obvious indication that he is an asshole, he is blaming feminism for the culture of degradation and rape on college campuses INSTEAD OF BLAMING THE RAPISTS. Why? Well, because boys will be boys, and it's always the woman's fault if she gets raped. She had to have done something to ask for it, right? Like demand the right to vote, to have or deny sex, to hold a job, to decide not to have children. The natural outgrowth of the fight for women to have these things is not RAPE. That is the natural outgrowth of SOMEONE BEING A RAPIST.
xenologer: (unlikely weapon)
Upon reading the afterword to Letter to a Christian Nation I got to thinking about blood sacrifice. It's not necessary for you to read this link, and I'm not even necessarily wanting a discussion about the link; I'm just giving context.

Here's where my head is right now, though. In the days when Judaism and Christianity were having their major cultural foundations laid, the people depicted in the Scriptures in question were certainly a product of their times. Those people had certain expectations about how exchanges with supernatural beings worked. There was an unquestioned assumption about the rightful place of blood sacrifice that we really don't tend to have today. The assumption was that blood was a (literal or symbolic) manifestation of life itself, and that giving this to a divine figure would please it.

From this widespread assumption seems to spring everything from Abel's sheep to Abraham's son to Jesus himself. Without the assumption that blood sacrifice and offerings of live creatures is pleasing to a deity, the whole system falls apart. It seems to me that part of the reason why the "Jesus Christ died for your sins" narrative falls flat for a lot of people is that a lot of people just don't understand anymore why there was anything about that in "the rules" to begin with. They don't even understand why YHWH wants blood, let alone how big a deal it was that his own son was offered up. The "why" of it is lost because we aren't supposed to give blood to our gods anymore. Aside: if you think blood sacrifice is still considered part of polite religious worship, consider how afraid people are of Santeria for doing what Jewish and Christian scriptures clearly state gods want us to do.

For me personally, this means that while the "God spilled the blood of his only-begotten son to pay the blood debt humanity owed for their sins" narrative had broad resonance at the time (because basically every culture shared the assumption that a sin was a debt owed to the gods which could be repaid in blood), it has no meaning or place in societies where blood sacrifice is considered something that "savages" (word used with full scare quotes because I'm an anthropologist and can't say "savages" unironically anymore) do. If Christianity is dying, it is because the most central assumption that makes the whole thing work just doesn't have any relevance anymore.

Now, I'm anticipating somebody with a Christian background saying, "Well, the crucifixion was such a badass sacrifice that it ended the time of blood sacrifice, and nobody ever need repay YHWH in blood again." I think this is dodging the issue. The issue is that your potential converts probably don't understand why there ever needed to be a sacrifice in the first place, because they weren't raised to believe that blood sacrifice is Just What People Do. These people need to be convinced first that blood sacrifice is a natural and desirable thing, and I don't think Christians can make that case. Please feel free to prove me wrong if I'm underestimating you.

If the rule is that divine powers can be propitiated with blood, whose rule is that? Did YHWH make that rule, or is it a rule totally external to YHWH by which YHWH is bound? Seems most likely to me that it's the latter. It's a rule external to YHWH by which YHWH is bound because that's how humans thought they had to be interacting with gods. YHWH is a god. Therefore we have to interact with it by giving it blood. If we really seriously screw up big time or just really want to say "I love you" in a big way, we have to give YHWH particularly awesome blood.

For ancient people this was a serious "well duh" sort of a thing, but lots of people don't think like this anymore. Even the idea that someone else can rightly pay for the sins of another is considered unjust and barbaric by lots and lots of people. For Christianity to remain relevant, then the practice of valuing blood sacrifice has to be explained, justified, and thereby preserved for your religion to even be intelligible to modern people. Can you?
xenologer: (human monsters)
Day Four (the day you were waiting for): The Church Loves Child Rapists

A 9 year old Brazilian girl was repeatedly raped by her stepfather and impregnated with twins: a pregnancy for which the word "dangerous" might as well have been invented. The local archbishop didn't see fit to excommunicate the rapist, but the mother and doctors who terminated the pregnancy clearly had grievously offended god. And no, this wasn't just some outlier whacko. The Vatican backed him up on it.

WI bishops opposed Wisconsin legislation to repeal the statute of limitations on child abuse cases. Whom does that one help, eh? They don't like sex abuse legislation in Connecticut or New York or the D.C. area or Denver or basically anywhere.

New Report Shows Extent of Priest Abuse in Chicago
The percentage of parishes and institutions ministered by credibly accused priests approached 25% in the mid-1990's. In 2009, one in five institutions in the archdiocese still had a credibly accused priest in residence.

"This study raises deeply troubling questions about the way credibly accused priests were sent to parishes and residences. The concentration of assignments in certain areas, the clustering of multiple pedophiles in the same place, and the total absence of assignments to parishes or institutions in other areas, all suggest that assignments were not made strictly in response to changing pastoral needs. The question of what criteria were applied to the assignment of these priests remains to be answered. It is painfully clear that these assignments were not accidental."


Another article on the RCC's habit of relocating predator priests to unsuspecting communities rather than firing them.

The Kansas City Catholic Diocese chooses not to tell the police that one of their priests--who, it should be noted, had received complaints about the way he behaved around children--had a stash of kiddie porn on his computer, and on his very own personal camera.

The Cloyne Report describes the failures of one particularly nasty diocese.
At the launch of the report, the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald expressed “sincere sympathy with those who have suffered”; offered an apology “for the failings of the state”; and condemned the response of the Cloyne diocese for displaying a culture of “astonishing non-compliance”. Fitzgerald also criticised the Vatican’s response to the crisis, saying that that it was evident its “sole concern was the protection of the institution – not the children”.


When, yeah. I think we knew that.

Cardinal Egan, former Archbishop of New York, once said, “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.” But ten years later he's decided that actually no, he never should have said that because he isn't fuckin' sorry. Cute!

Some 200 Catholic priests suspected of sexual abuse--but not convicted--are living undetected in communities across California, according to an attorney who represents hundreds of plaintiffs who sued the LA Archdiocese alleging molestation they say was inflicted on them by priests and clergy of the church. Trigger warning for explicit ddescription of sexual abuse.

An Australian Bishop indicated that an inquiry into the suicide rate of victims of Catholic priests' sexual abuse was not needed. Here's the money quote: "I think we've learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what's not appropriate behaviour," Bishop Connors said. I'm glad that it only took twenty six of a single priest's victims committing suicide to get to this point! They just didn't realize before that a priest shouldn't be having sexual contact with children, but they get it now, honest, so they're quite sure no investigation is needed.

A German Catholic priest has admitted 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys in the past decade, saying he did not think he was doing harm. Oh, well, okay then. I mean, if nobody told him that this wasn't cool I guess I can sort of NO. NO WHAT THE FUCK. What's he waiting for, some arbitrarily-large number of his victims to commit suicide?

The Vatican is arguing the following things as reasons why Benedict shouldn't be deposed: "that the pope has immunity as a head of state; that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren’t employees of the Vatican," etc. Not "we didn't do this and you have no evidence," but "the pope has diplomatic immunity so nyah."

Another good defense: Blame the Jews! ...Somehow. There are some other hilarious scapegoats listed here.

But you know what, even if they refuse to accept any responsibility or accountability from outside organizations or governments, the Catholic Church puts the right people on the job to investigate these things when they can, people who really care about protecting kids. Oh wait no.

If you missed it, here's Day One: The Church Hates Gays, and Day Two: The Church Hates Women and Day Three: The Church Hates Africa.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Thousands of people in Finland have left their church over recent anti-gay remarks.

This is what it looks like when a church is held accountable to members for its anti-gay rhetoric. Huge love to the former members of Finland's Evangelical-Lutheran and Orthodox Churches for actually DEMONSTRATING that this matters to them instead of whining and making excuses like Americans.

Meanwhile the suicides of two more gay teenagers have hit the news.

17-Year-Old Gay Teen Terrel Williams Kills Himself Following After-School Attack

Corey Jackson. 19. Gay. College Student. Killed Himself on Tuesday.

I want all those people who wore purple two days ago to think long and hard about what they're actually willing to do to show solidarity with these kids, or whether they were just looking for a pat on the back and an ego boost for themselves on Wednesday.

If your denomination has made anti-gay statements, show a little backbone and demonstrate that these stories matter to you. I'm tired of choking on the insincerity and excuses from people who claim their hearts are breaking, but won't so much as stop attending churches that preach the very hatred and disdain that feeds this bullying.

Dan Savage is a problematic figure for a lot of reasons (so I'm by no means saying I agree with him on everything forever), but he had it right when he said the following:
The kids of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or in your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. And while you can only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, your children have the option of attacking actual gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not "sinners." Gay and lesbian children. (...)

You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" queer kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we're seeing the fruits of it: dead children.

Oh, and those same dehumanizing bigotries that fill your straight children with hate? They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words?


Stop attending churches you disagree with about homosexuality. Stop dragging your children to churches that are teaching them to hate other kids, or themselves. Stop telling me how much you love your gay friends, and then faithfully attending lectures on how depraved and inverted and unworthy they are.

Show a little backbone and stand behind those convictions, or stop asking for pats on the back for having them. Having them isn't enough. Burden of proof is on you. Nobody is going to believe what you say if you're contradicting it by what you do--or don't do.

Much love to the Finns here. Hopefully Americans will learn from this example.
xenologer: (Default)
This entry started as a comment on this entry about what "Progressive Christian" actually means. It's a subject about which I've given a lot of thought, and I've held this opinion for a pretty long time before being willing to say anything about it. There's a lot that I believe that I'm unwilling to say, for fear of alienating people who would otherwise be my allies.

Isn't that silly? Once I really looked at it, I realized what a condescending and nasty thing that is for me to think about my moderate theist friends. If you learn what I really think, you'll stop caring whether the courts blame rape victims, whether our judicial system executes an inordinate number of mentally-challenged and black or latino convicts, or whether gays ever have equal contractual rights in this country. You'll stop fighting with me if you hear the things that I didn't want to hear back when I was a theist.

I didn't, though. When I was a theist, I listened. Eventually. Brian can attest that it took a lot of time and patience on both of our parts before we came to a meeting-place on the question, but I didn't abandon the people and causes I cared about, so I'm going to trust the people reading this not to do it either.

Cut for fragile things. )
xenologer: (did they hear me)
A coworker mentioned at one point that she had the keys to the Kingdom, and that's what matters to her. She pointed to the nice Jewish fellow we work with and mentioned that he does as well. Pointedly no comment was made to me.

I said, "Well. My Kingdom's here. I got shit to do."

She replied... that she thought I'd be left behind as a teacher. That I have that light about me.

I know she probably meant this as a compliment (and given how often she compliments my fire and intellect and whatever, it seems likely), but man. I don't go to work to hang out with people whose highest available praise for me is that I'll be left behind after the Rapture.

*sigh* These people. I love my coworkers; I really do. This one woman, though, just drives me up the wall with this shit.

Dear Rapturist Christians: Find better ways of complimenting atheists or Pagans or... y'know. Generally other people who don't share your batshit insane views about when God's gonna beam us all up to the mothership of heavenly bliss, and who's not gonna get to come and what we'll be doing while you spend eternity playing Celestial Golf with Saint Fuckface, patron of Dumbass Zealots.
xenologer: (did they hear me)
A coworker mentioned at one point that she had the keys to the Kingdom, and that's what matters to her. She pointed to the nice Jewish fellow we work with and mentioned that he does as well. Pointedly no comment was made to me.

I said, "Well. My Kingdom's here. I got shit to do."

She replied... that she thought I'd be left behind as a teacher. That I have that light about me.

I know she probably meant this as a compliment (and given how often she compliments my fire and intellect and whatever, it seems likely), but man. I don't go to work to hang out with people whose highest available praise for me is that I'll be left behind after the Rapture.

*sigh* These people. I love my coworkers; I really do. This one woman, though, just drives me up the wall with this shit.

Dear Rapturist Christians: Find better ways of complimenting atheists or Pagans or... y'know. Generally other people who don't share your batshit insane views about when God's gonna beam us all up to the mothership of heavenly bliss, and who's not gonna get to come and what we'll be doing while you spend eternity playing Celestial Golf with Saint Fuckface, patron of Dumbass Zealots.
xenologer: (did they hear me)
A coworker mentioned at one point that she had the keys to the Kingdom, and that's what matters to her. She pointed to the nice Jewish fellow we work with and mentioned that he does as well. Pointedly no comment was made to me.

I said, "Well. My Kingdom's here. I got shit to do."

She replied... that she thought I'd be left behind as a teacher. That I have that light about me.

I know she probably meant this as a compliment (and given how often she compliments my fire and intellect and whatever, it seems likely), but man. I don't go to work to hang out with people whose highest available praise for me is that I'll be left behind after the Rapture.

*sigh* These people. I love my coworkers; I really do. This one woman, though, just drives me up the wall with this shit.

Dear Rapturist Christians: Find better ways of complimenting atheists or Pagans or... y'know. Generally other people who don't share your batshit insane views about when God's gonna beam us all up to the mothership of heavenly bliss, and who's not gonna get to come and what we'll be doing while you spend eternity playing Celestial Golf with Saint Fuckface, patron of Dumbass Zealots.
xenologer: (creator destroyer)
"The irony would be delicious if it were not so bitter: earnest theologians have been earnestly persuading Christians for sixteen centuries that their gospel supports violence, while massive outpourings of citizens in one officially atheist country after another [during the peaceful overturning of the Soviet regime and its allies at the end of the Cold War] recently have demonstrated the effectiveness of Jesus’ teaching of nonviolence as a means of liberation."

- Walter Wink, from his book The Powers That Be
xenologer: (creator destroyer)
"The irony would be delicious if it were not so bitter: earnest theologians have been earnestly persuading Christians for sixteen centuries that their gospel supports violence, while massive outpourings of citizens in one officially atheist country after another [during the peaceful overturning of the Soviet regime and its allies at the end of the Cold War] recently have demonstrated the effectiveness of Jesus’ teaching of nonviolence as a means of liberation."

- Walter Wink, from his book The Powers That Be
xenologer: (creator destroyer)
"The irony would be delicious if it were not so bitter: earnest theologians have been earnestly persuading Christians for sixteen centuries that their gospel supports violence, while massive outpourings of citizens in one officially atheist country after another [during the peaceful overturning of the Soviet regime and its allies at the end of the Cold War] recently have demonstrated the effectiveness of Jesus’ teaching of nonviolence as a means of liberation."

- Walter Wink, from his book The Powers That Be

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