Friday, 31 October 2008
Often, it’s gays who are being compared to him, as this week over California’s proposed vote on the State Constitution.
Proposition 8 is a move to change the Constitution to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples, and there are some pretty evil people fighting for that change, as we reported yesterday.
But there’s this pillock now called Brad Dacus, president of something called the Pacific Justice Union (its idea of justice can only be guessed at if it allows this twat to be its president).
He told a rally earlier this week, “There was another time in history when people – when the bell tolled. And the question was whether or not they were going to hear it. The time was during Nazi Germany with Adolf Hitler.” Then, after a long interlude, he concluded, “Let us not make that mistake, folks. Let us hear the bell! Vote on Proposition 8!”
I’ve embedded the YouTube video of this below. The words aren’t too clear, but someone at the Doctor Who Forum website, whose online moniker is Jebus101, has thoughtfully provided a transcript. (Doctor Who fans have got to be useful for something!)
“Dacus”, Jebus101 tells us, “is the guy who was the chief architect of the movement to get an opt-out law for parents to take their child out of any school activity that violates their religious or moral beliefs. Like say if a charter school asks the parents if they want to take their kids on a field trip to celebrate their teacher getting married. You know, the one they are conveniently forgetting about and then lying in their ads about education and teh children.”
Thursday, 30 October 2008
This has emerged from campaign finance records, according to SFGate, an online voice of the San Francisco Chronicle, which says:
ProtectMarriage.com, a coalition that sponsored Proposition 8 [the proposal to change the State Constitution to ban same-sex marriage], reported the contribution to the California Secretary of State on Tuesday. The Washington-based conference represents the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.
These evil homophobes have ganged up with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Morons) and evangelical Christians, Catholic clergy and laity as “active participants in the coalition of religious groups working to pass the initiative”.
Donations totaling $1.4 million have made the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organisation, the largest institutional donor to the “Yes on 8” campaign.
What happened to the biblical edicts of “Love thy neighbour”? And “If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out”? And “Judge not lest ye be judged”?
But these primitives just don’t do compassion, equality and the love of humankind. Nope. Just a god that may or may not exist and a bunch of desiccated scriptures written by nomadic herders, whose ways are simply not relevant to today.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
It was called The Message (also known as Mohammed, Messenger of God) and two people died in riots in the US because people of a certain religion thought it was going to feature Big Mo himself. Anthony Quinn played the leading role, but it wasn’t Mo: it was a character called Hamza.
Now it’s being redone as – wait for it – The Messenger of Peace (where did the message get skewed along the way, then?), and is due to go into production soon.
It will be “a remake of Moustapha Akkad's The Message, a 1977 Hollywood classic starring Anthony Quinn which is often applauded by Muslims as an example of how commercial Western cinema can respect Islam”, says the WorldWide Religious News website. The Internet Movie Database news story linked to up top says, “Depictions of the prophet are unheard of in Islam because of fears it will lead to idolatry, which is forbidden in the religion.”
Yes, and almost unheard of elsewhere (give or take the odd Danish cartoon) because of fears that Islamic nutcases will be on the rampage again, because they get what they want only through spreading fear and through the PC kowtowing of Western appeasers who can’t see Islamisation creeping up on us.
And I bet it won’t show Mo. Pity: they could show some scenes in slo-Mo.
Oh, dear, sorry about that!
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
The gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has written to the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith requesting that the homophobic Muslim cleric Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi be included in the list of hate preachers who will be banned from entering the country.
Al Qaradawi is the cleric who was so warmly welcomed by former London mayor Ken Livingstone to City Hall in 2005 – a welcome which caused a storm of protest from gay groups including the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA), OutRage! and School's Out. GALHA subsequently called on the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke to ban the cleric.
In its letter the PTT writes: “It is reported that the Government is to introduce tough new measures to prevent those who foster extremism from ever entering the country and that it will name and shame hate preachers and share their exclusion with other countries.
“The Pink Triangle Trust (registered charity number 1015629) requests that Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi be included in this naming-and-shaming list.
“In his own words, Al-Qaradawi supports:
- the killing of homosexuals to keep society pure;
- the killing of apostates - those who have rejected Islam;
- the killing of all Israelis - including civilians;
- the mutilation of women's genitals.”
PTT secretary George Broadhead, who is also a GALHA vice-president, said. “This frightful homophobe should never have been allowed into the country in the first place, let alone hugged by Ken Livingstone who absurdly claimed that the cleric was ‘a moderate’. He is one of the worst examples of Islamic extremism.”
According to New Zealand’s One News:
The 23-year-old woman was executed in front of hundreds of people in the southern port of Kismayu, which the Islamist insurgents captured in August, witnesses said.
Guards opened fire when a relative ran forward, killing a child, they said.
A resident, Abdullahi Aden, is quoted as saying, “A woman in green veil and black mask was brought in a car as we waited to watch the merciless action of stoning.
“We were told she submitted herself to be punished, yet we could see her screaming as she was forcefully bound, legs and hands. A relative of hers ran towards her, but the Islamists opened fire and killed a child.”
It said to be the first such execution for about two years.
Not according to the politically correct management at a radio station called AWAZ FM, which serves the Asian community. The Rev. Mahboob Masih (pictured) was presenting what we can only assume was an avowedly Christian show. But some Muslims didn’t like that, apparently, especially when Masih tried to explain what was meant by the claim that Jesus was the way, the truth and the life.
Well, I say “Muslims”, but there’s one in particular – and we might have expected it. He’s none other than Dr Zakir Naik, who has “previous”. As we reported last week, this prat thinks eating carnivorous animals such as tigers and lions can make you violent, whereas Muslims eat only gentle herbivores and, as we know, are peace-loving and not violent. He also tries to justify why Muslims can come to the UK and build mosques, but it's OK to stop Christians building churches in Muslim countries.
The Christian Broadcasting News website tells us:
Following claims by Muslim academic Dr Zakir Naik, well known in the Asian community for his critical comments about Christianity, that Jesus was not the only person who was “the way, the truth and the life” and that every “prophet” was in their own way the way, the truth and the life, Rev. Masih’s programme received a number of calls asking questions about Dr Naik’s comments.
Mahboob Masih answered these questions in moderate and temperate terms, including quoting the claims of Jesus as stated in the Bible.
Despite Rev. Masih’s factual and honest answers to these questions, some Muslim listeners, complained the radio station.
Management at Awaz FM asked Rev. Masih to offer an apology for any offence which had been caused. But after reading out a prepared apology on air, as he had been requested, the station sought to find further fault with Mahboob Masih and removed him from the radio show.
So in what is a Christian programme on a radio station that is meant to serve all the Asian community and its respective religions, including Christianity, a Christian presenter cannot explain why Christians believe Jesus to be the way, the truth and the life?
I may be wrong, but I didn’t notice Sikhs, Buddhists or Hindus complaining. Just Muslims. And would the station management have taken the course they did had it been any religion other than Islam? Well, you’ve no doubt read enough about this bleating, moaning, whingeing, victim-culture belief system, and about how anyone in authority – whether private managements or public bodies – loves to bend over backwards to accommodate its every whim, to be able to answer that question for yourself.
Monday, 27 October 2008
But it’s not legally binding.
So what the hell are they playing at? Why bother even considering what a bunch of Islamists and their imams have decided on some ridiculous religious grounds if it’s got to be approved by a British court, anyway? Why waste judges’ time by presenting them with judgments from a sharia court? Why not let them just hear the two sides and make their own judgment – based on British law?
Critics have said before that they fear women will be treated worse, as we can see by an example on this blog post from September.
Why are we always kowtowing to religion? Why in particular to a religion that has such primitive views on the place of women in society?
The Shadow Justice Secretary Nick Herbert has said, “There can be no place for parallel legal systems in our country. It is right that agreements decided privately in family cases must be authorised by a judge applying English law if they are to have any legal effect.
“It is vital that in matrimonial disputes where a sharia council is involved, women’s rights are protected and judgments are non-binding.”
Quite. So why not just skip the kangaroo courts and get straight to the civil courts, where judgments can be handed out in a secular environment based on fairness for all? We're supposed to be progressing socially, not going back to the Dark Ages.
While the blog works as an entity in and of itself, it is also an extension of our sister publication Gay & Lesbian Humanist, which began publishing in 1981 and relaunched last week as an online magazine.
Pink Triangle will continue to be updated daily and G&LH will be published once a month. The blog and the magazine aim to be challenging, informative and entertaining.
As well as regular columnists, one-off articles and special features, each issue of G&LH will include a roundup of the month’s news in its News, World Watch and On the Blog columns.
We hope you’ll find pleasure in reading both publications and consider contributing either by submitting articles or letters for publication in G&LH or by leaving comments here at Pink Triangle.
For more on the blog, see the “Welcome” post from March 2008. For more about the PTT and G&LH, see here.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
This time – not exactly hot on the heels of but not far behind Lillian Ladele, the registrar in Islington, London – it’s a relationships guidance counsellor called Gary McFarlane (pictured).
And it’s not as if he worked for a specifically Christian counselling organisation. No, he works for the nationally known and renowned Relate.
He claims he’s been fired because he admitted that his superstitious beliefs could prevent him from administering sex therapy.
McFarlane has worked for Relate since 2003, but, according to the Mail, he says his employers failed to accommodate his religion and allow him to overcome his reservations.
The 47-year-old is taking his case to an employment tribunal.
The Mail says:
Mr McFarlane, a solicitor, said he was “sad and disappointed” with the “bigotry” he had experienced at the Bristol branch of Relate from “a group of people with their own agenda”.
“If I was a Muslim this would not happen,” he said. “They would find a way to make the system work. But Christians seem to have fewer and fewer rights. Relate needs to be forced to work through stuff like this.”
Mr McFarlane, who regularly attends both Church of England and Pentecostal services in Bristol, joined Relate Avon five years ago.
As a solicitor, he has specialised in resolving legal disputes through mediation, and even sits on a committee advising the Law Society.
Well he has a point there. If he were a Muslim you can bet your bottom that they’d make allowances, because that particular religion is almost invariably kowtowed to.
McFarlane says he did overcome his doubts at one point and helped a lesbian couple.
“In counselling,” he tells the paper, “you are drawing the couple out, going on a journey with them, enabling them to think in more than black and white. You are not telling anyone what to do or endorsing what they do.
“But in sex therapy you are diagnosing their problems and setting them a treatment plan, not unlike a doctor.”
He said that, while he had the attitude “each to their own”, he felt uncomfortable doing anything that would directly encourage gay sex. He says he hadn’t thought he’d have to confront these issues until he faced the prospect of providing therapy for a gay couple. That was when he planned to discuss them in confidence with his supervisor.
Some fellow counsellors have complained about McFarlane’s views, claiming he’s been homophobic.
Homophobic or not, it’s a fact that many couples are of the same sex (get used to it), and McFarlane should be able to give the advice, therapy and/or counselling he’s been trained to give.
He says some counsellors with special issues had been worked around. Some who had been abused as children found it hard to work with abusers, he said.
But that’s something that happened to them against their will, creating a psychological scar. A belief in a particular form of religion is a choice.
The Rev. Dr Martin Dudley perpetrated this evil deed at St Bartholomew the Great in London, a church that was featured in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (see our first post on this, “One wedding and a fundamentalist or two”.
One of the frothing African bishops had a go at this at the time.
Now Dudley has put his tail between his legs, apologised and said he won’t do it again, according to a story in Pink News.
Give him his due: he has at least warned that the rules of his employers are being “widely [. . .] disregarded”. And, if you’re in a job that restricts your “blessings” to heterosexual couples, you either obey or lose your job.
Should he have told his bishop where to stick his crosier, thrown down his dog collar and flounced out?
Read the statement he made, and judge for yourself:
I can now appreciate that the service held at St Bartholomew the Great on 31 May 2008 was inconsistent with the terms of the Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops issued in 2005.
Whilst the precise status of this pastoral document within the Church of England generally and the Diocese of London in particular may be a matter of differing interpretations, I ought to have afforded it far greater weight.
I regret the embarrassment caused to you by this event and by its subsequent portrayal in the media.
I now recognise that I should not have responded positively to the request for this service, even though it was made by another incumbent of your Diocese, who is a colleague, neighbour and friend of us both, nor should I have adopted uncritically the Order of Service prepared by him and his partner.
I had not appreciated that the event would have been attended by so many nor that it would have attracted the publicity and notoriety which it did.
I share your abhorrence of homophobia in all its forms.
I am profoundly uneasy with much of the content of the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement which anecdotal evidence suggests is being widely, though discreetly, disregarded in this Diocese and elsewhere.
Nonetheless, I am willing to abide by its content in the future, until such time as it is rescinded or amended, and I undertake not to provide any form of blessing for same sex couples registering civil partnerships.
You get the impression that he doesn’t regret the act itself, just the alleged embarrassment it’s brought on his church.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
I came across it on the Freethinker blog, where there’s also a nice animated picture of the person in question talking shit. I mean actually talking shit.
The Freethinker post digs into the archives of the online Islamic Voice, and poses the question of why we in the West fall over ourselves to allow an alien religion to come here and build out-of-character places of worship called mosques. The answer – but you’ve probably guessed already – is that this alien religion, Islam, is dead right and everybody else is dead wrong. And that is why its adherents feel they should be able to build mosques here in the West, while those among us who insist on building churches (few readers of this blog, I fancy) are not allowed to do so in, say, Saudi Arabia.
The chap on the video is Dr (yes, believe it or not) Zakir Naik, who actually thinks eating carnivorous animals such as tigers and lions can make you violent, whereas Muslims eat only gentle herbivores and are peace-loving and not violent.
When you’ve seen the video below (it's just under five minutes), you’ll see just why this religion is so right and we in the West (religious or not) have been so wrong. Apart from letting them build mosques, of course. We’re right in that. Bound to be. They say so. They’re right. Always right. Enjoy the film show.
This finding may help to boost the chances of the Republican hopeful John McCain, it says.
“Some 50 out of the nation’s 197 active bishops have published articles or given interviews during the run-up up to the election urging abortion as the key issue on which voters should decide which way to vote,” says the paper, adding:
Senator McCain opposes the 1973 Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, which legalised abortion in the US, but has refused – most recently, at last week’s final television debate between the presidential candidates – to impose an abortion-based “litmus test” on his Supreme Court nominees. The Democratic candidate, Barak Obama, has repeatedly indicated his support for the 1973 ruling alongside a pledge to sign a proposed Freedom of Choice Act that would invalidate any state or local ordinance intended to “deny or interfere” with a woman’s choice to have an abortion.
The US bishops issued some guidelines for voters last year, the story says. These were approved by 98 per cent of a bishops’ conference.
But the 30-page text has been seized upon by lay-led Catholic interests supporting both Mr Obama and Mr McCain. As Mr McCain’s backers have sought to focus on the document’s assertions that “intrinsic evils” such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning “must never be supported”, Mr Obama’s advocates emphasise passages that state Catholics “are not single-issue voters” and “should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity”.
Euthanasia, abortion, stem-cell research are evil? The ending of suffering and possibilities for discovering how to prevent more suffering? And these people call themselves lovers of mankind? Gawd ’elp us!
- Worried about the rising cost of living?
- Confused by all the chatter surrounding the current world financial crisis?
- Depressed at listening to Robert Peston’s nightly proclamations of doom?
- Sick and tired with Main Street and High Street, Wall Street and the City?
Then look no further than the current issue of G&LH, where you can join me on my crash course in financial freedom.
Telephone banking and heavy trading, golden shares and upside/downside rotation have never been so much fun!
Friday, 24 October 2008
Trial sowings of a new variety of oilseed rape located in Aberdeenshire and also near Arbroath in Angus were discovered to have unauthorised GM properties but swift action from the Scottish Government prevented their progress.
According to the news report, the director of Friends of the Earth Duncan McLaren said this was yet another example of the careless attitude of the GM industry, and that his organisation supported the Scottish government’s decision.
Meanwhile, Scottish Environment Minister Michael Russell is reported as having said:
This further emphasises the continuing need for rigorous controls on GM material and for Scotland to remain a GM crop-free zone.
In the October 2008 issue of G&LH, you can read my article “Gay genes and soya beans”, which looks at the issue of genetic engineering, asking whether a brave new world of nightmare biotechnology could bring about a “cure” for homosexuality even before a person is born?
In his “Daily Dish” in the Atlantic he’s talking about the late Austrian neo-fascist leader Jörg Haider, who was killed in a car crash recently.
It was revealed that, although married with kids, he had a male lover, Stephan Petzner (pictured).
“Why do they always have to die or get caught before we find out?” asks Sullivan.
Actually, that’s not strictly true, and there are many people in the public eye whose sexuality is kept secret by those in the know, including media, as a matter of respect. Sometimes it gets out, sometimes not (as in the case of the former British prime minister Ted Heath, whose sexuality was one of the longest-lived open secrets).
But Sullivan makes an interesting point:
The closet is a deeply destructive thing. It leads many closeted gay men to adopt far right politics as a psychological mechanism to deny their own reality, a syndrome that is also very widespread at the top of the Catholic church, the Republican party, and the Christianist movement.
From Ted Haggard and Larry Craig to Jörg Haider and Roy Cohn, it’s a destructive and self-destructive dynamic.
Gay conservatives have every right to be part of the spectrum of the world and the gay movement. But our political argument must come from an open, honest philosophical conviction, not deep psychological denial of our own nature. I count myself as an out and proud gay conservative and know countless others. My disagreements with the left are clear and candid and open, as my sexual orientation has been since my early twenties. But the precursor of this new movement is the darkness of the closeted past and the lies and psychoses the closet still perpetuates.
He goes on to say that it’s a sickness, and it has “helped destroy the Catholic church and conservative political parties across the world”. It is, he reckons, “the enemy of open faith and honest politics and strong families”. The only cures, he recommends, are honesty and integrity. “That’s not easy always. But it is still the only sane and healthy way forward.”
Thursday, 23 October 2008
The tabloid newspaper had printed details of a private S&M sex party attended by Mosley, claiming – falsely – that it had Nazi overtones. Since the story ran and the resulting court case, Mosley has been open and frank about his interest in and enthusiasm for sadomasochistic practices and tells the Guardian that he has no intention of stopping. (Good for him!)
According to the interview, “his greatest sense of injustice is against the tabloid culture, for the invasion of privacy that he says devastated his family”:
To live in a society where the rules are made by the [tabloid] editors, I think, would horrify most people. Particularly as it’s very one-sided. They never hesitate, for example, to use completely illegal means to get information, such as bribing people with access to the police computer. So they can’t talk about morality, they are immoral themselves.
The interview also reveals that he has defamation and privacy cases – some of which are criminal proceedings – in Germany, Italy and France, and is targeting the British government at the human rights court in Strasbourg, proposing a law to force editors to contact a subject before printing, which would give them a chance to seek a court injunction to stop publication.
People say, “But this will cast a chill on investigative journalism.” Well no, because . . . the judge isn’t going to suppress that which should not be suppressed. But he will probably suppress the revelation of people’s most private lives for no better purpose than to sell newspapers.
To this end, he has set up a fund for less well-off victims of intrusion of privacy to help them bring cases against newspapers.
In the current issue of G&LH, Diesel Balaam discusses the Max Mosley–News of the World case and reflects on our attitudes to consensual sadomasochism.
The subject was the government’s intention to introduce more into sex lessons. As things stand, reproduction and biology are covered in science lessons, but the government wants to get to the nitty-gritty of relationships. Such subject matter is already part of the education system in Wales and is compulsory in Northern Ireland but not in England. Scotland doesn’t have any legal requirement.
So biology, yes. Reproduction, yes. But the relationships side of things is what the government wants to see schools addressing.
A BBC website report says:
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said the review of sex lessons had identified “a need to challenge the perception that sex and relationships education happened in a ‘moral vacuum’ in schools and says that parents and schools can and should work together to decide how best topics should be taught”.
It said updated guidance would also be produced covering the content of the PSHE [personal, social and health education] curriculum, based on the existing non-statutory programme.
As you would expect, “Christian groups” are up in arms. And here’s where the crap journalism comes in. “Christian groups” (plural), said Carney, are complaining. Then we get “Stephen Green of Christian Voice . . .”
Er, where are the other Christian groups, Martha? OK, we don’t expect you to interview them all, but all you’ve managed to cite is this nutty little outfit run by Stephen Green and his dog – the very Stephen “Birdshit” green who is always wheeled on, it seems, when you want to create a bit of a controversy. What about bringing on a Christian group – if you must – that has a more balanced view on the matter?
Well, the government has certainly got religious groups in mind with this proposal.
“Faith groups, for example,” says the Schools Minister Jim Knight, “will want to produce supplementary guidance on top of our guidance, in order to say to their own schools [. . .] how they should then deliver that programme of study in a way that's sympathetic to their moral beliefs, their faith beliefs, in those schools.”
So “faith” is going to be allowed to get in the way of proper education. Ho hum. ’Twas ever thus.
One thing is puzzling me. On that BBC page linked to above is what journos call a crosshead – a small subheading in the text. At the time I accessed the page, at about 2.03 p.m. today, one of them said “Wickedness”, in quotation marks. Search as I might, I could not find a reference to wickedness, quoted or otherwise.*
I’m sure we’d all love to know!
* At a later date the "Wickedness" crosshead was removed. Maybe the BBC are reading this blog. More likely that someone else has pointed it out.
Yes, Hallowe’en is just around the corner, and I read on the MediaWatchWatch blog that in the Scottish town of Banff a Christian alliance of churches, Banff Churches Together, are bleating about a Hallowe’en display in a local shop. You can see it in the photo on this post.
Here’s what Fiona Stewart of that organisation has told the Banffshire Journal:
We were alarmed by the nature of the Castlegate window display and the entrance to the Eastside Shopping Centre.
The displays relate to cemeteries and, as Christians, we take the view that they are disrespectful to our faithful departed.
We have no problem with children dressing up and having fun at Hallowe’en, but we are concerned that these displays are particularly morbid.
The word Hallowe’en derives from the term ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ and is the date before the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls, when Christians respectfully remember all the saints and martyrs and people who have died throughout the centuries.
We do not think the manner of these displays is in keeping with the respectful remembrance of the faithful departed.
The shop owner has more or less told them to go to hell. No way is he dismantling his display after he’s gone to a lot of trouble to create it, he says. Good for him.
Anyway, as secularists and other more reasoned people tire of telling these Christian killjoys, the festivals they have appropriated were someone else’s: they belonged to pagans. As MediaWatchWatch points out, the festival now called Hallowe’en (or Eve of All Hallows) was and is Samhain, which marks the end of the harvest season, among other things. The term comes from the name of a month in the ancient Celtic calendar.
As with other festivals, Christians needed to impose their own on top of what was here as a way of getting them accepted. That goes for Christmas and Easter.
Anyway, Happy Hallowe’en, everybody. Whoooo-oooo, and all that.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
The recipient of a Britannica Internet Guide Award, Humanists was selected by Britannica.com as one of the best on the Internet when reviewed for quality, accuracy of content, presentation and usability.
For the best part of 10 years, Humanists – the independent website for agnostics, atheists and enquirers – has been offering free impartial information about the Humanist ethical tradition, and now our old friend can be reached here.
The site now has a rather amusing picture comment on the global financial crisis. To go direct to the page, click here.
Well the Daily Mash has a story on it. All buses that carry the message will go to hell, it seems. Some buses are complaining about it. Some bemoan having had to carry Christian messages around on their sides.
But now we're going to have this bus with a message.
Typical! You wait a lifetime for an atheist bus to come along and then they all come at once.
One particular pride event, New York City’s 39th annual Heritage of Pride Parade, saw Candis Cayne, the transsexual actress in Dirty Sexy Money, lead the celebrations.
Visit the latest issue of G&LH online to read more about this and all the season's Stateside Gossip!
She can do that, because she’s no longer a Cabinet minister and, at the next general election, she’s standing down as an MP, anyway, in order to spend more time with her superstition. So, although she's voting against her government, there's not much that can be done to discipline her.
Kelly was once Secretary of State for Education and Skills. She was not happy with having been allowed a free vote, along with other superstitionists, on individual aspects of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, on the understanding that, when it came to a vote on the Bill itself, Labour MPs will vote with the government. Those individual votes went against her, but she was not sporting enough to say, “OK, we were defeated, now let’s support the Bill because it’s a government Bill.”
So she’ll be voting against her government.
This piece in Pink News speaks of her poor voting record on gay issues. But, then, she’s a staunch Catholic, believing all the fairy stories such faith entails.
We can do with fewer of her kind wielding influence over our lives, thank you very much. Good riddance to her.
As you would expect, the nuttier kinds of Christian groups (Kelly's lot apart) are against it. One calls itself Christian Concern for Our Nation and it has this to say:
This Bill is one of the most destructive pieces of legislation that we will see in our lifetime. It is anti-life, anti-family and anti-God. It will liberalise abortion law, create animal–human hybrids and create fatherless families unless we pray and act to stop it. Will you do so? Each person’s contribution counts.
And in a last-minute bulletin to supporters, which came into email inboxes yesterday lunchtime, this group say:
Please pray that God will have mercy on this nation and allow amendments limiting the loss of human life to be passed. Please continue to pray that [the] abortion law will not be liberalised and that the Abortion Act will not be extended to Northern Ireland. Pray that amendments that have been tabled to restrict research on embryos will be passed and that safeguards will be put in place. Pray that the tide will be turned and the Bill brought down.
If human life can be preserved by the discovery of a new therapy – discovery brought about by experiments on stem cells – is that not a good thing? Better than preserving a bunch of cells with no sentience?
Don't you get the impression that these people are on the planet Zog?
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
The Atheist Bus Campaign began thanks to readers of the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” articles blog. Comedy writer Ariane Sherine wrote an article for it in June (and another today) about the Christian adverts running on London buses. The ads featured the address of a website that said non-Christians would burn in hell for all eternity. Sherine suggested that atheists reading her article could each donate £5 to fund a reassuring counter-advert.
“Hundreds of readers offered to contribute to the proposed ad,” she tells us, “and after six weeks, 877 people had signed up to a Pledgebank page where they pledged to donate their £5.” Another 1,300 joined the campaign after Sherine’s follow-up piece on the Guardian site.
The campaign received a boost when the British Humanist Association undertook to administer donations for the campaign and Dawkins agreed to match all donations up to a maximum of £5,500, giving the groundbreaking campaign a total of £11,000 if the full amount is raised – enough for two sets of 30 buses carrying the atheist slogan across Westminster for four weeks.
CBS Outdoor, the bus advertising company, have said that they will run the ads in January if the money is raised.
Dawkins said, “Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride – automatic tax breaks, unearned ‘respect’ and the right not to be ‘offended’, the right to brainwash children. Even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side. This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think – and thinking is anathema to religion.”
Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the BHA, said, “We see so many posters advertising salvation through Jesus or threatening us with eternal damnation that I feel sure that a bus advert like this will be welcomed as a breath of fresh air. If it raises a smile as well as making people think, so much the better.”
Ariane Sherine added, “I’m very pleased so many people are behind the atheist bus – though not actually behind the atheist bus: they’d get covered in exhaust fumes.”
Atheists (and archbishops, rabbis and imams, if they’re of a mind) can donate to the campaign here.
Yesterday, the new issue of G&LH reported on the 400th blog entry:
We began the blog in March 2008, and by early August had notched up going on for 280 posts [and when it's] reached a mini-milestone (the 101st post, for instance, the 180th post, the 200th, the 300th – even the 365th (the number of days in a year, give or take the quarter) – and the 400th (Circular blogic), we’ve found a novel way of marking it.
This is the 400th blog entry! See what we’ve done?
If you haven’t p(cl)icked up the latest issue of G&LH yet, what are you waiting for?
Monday, 20 October 2008
Gay humanist mag rises from the ashes of controversy
We’ll have a no-holds-barred policy, say editors
Gay & Lesbian Humanist, the magazine that suspended publication amid controversy in 2005, is back. And its editors have promised a no-holds-barred policy concerning political correctness.
G&LH’s return has been warmly welcomed by Barry Duke, editor of Britain’s oldest freethought magazine, the Freethinker, who says it plays “an important part in getting the message across”.
The new online publication takes over from the print version, which had been publishing quarterly since 1981.
The magazine has, throughout its life, carried a lively mixture of in-depth feature articles, regular items, events news and general news on matters concerning humanists, lesbians and gays worldwide.
In a statement today, the magazine’s editors say:
Many people will remember G&LH. Some may remember why it suspended publication following a protracted dispute about content.
After a period of change and restructuring within the PTT, the trustees decided to resume publication. In order to optimise the trust’s work and cost-effectiveness, and to reach a wider audience, it was decided to make G&LH an online publication.
On the magazine’s policy, the statement adds:
Much is often said about the right-wing threat to our liberties, but far less attention is made of threats from the left wing and elsewhere. However, we will expose threats wherever we find them, without fear of or favour to any established dogma, and with chromatic indifference to the whole political spectrum.
If it stands for anything, G&LH stands for reason, free speech and open debate. There are no sacred cows or no-go areas. Full stop.
The editors’ statement says everyone has the right to free speech within the confines of the law. “The only way to strengthen something is to question it, test it,” they say.
Truth is not protected by never being challenged, but by always being challenged. Where there is no truth, there is no education. The educative process knows no bounds.
We hope that, by providing feature articles examining all aspects of humanism, sexuality, dogma, threats to free speech, we fill a gap not addressed by other publications.
Barry Duke, editor of the 127-year-old Freethinker, said today:
As one who helped launch the Gay & Lesbian Humanist, then witnessed with enormous pride its development over the years, I am delighted that the magazine has resurfaced in electronic format.
I always believed that the magazine could play an important part in getting the message across that, not only was it good to be gay, it was even better to be a gay person free from the dreadfully debilitating and hugely harmful influences of religious belief.
I like to think that the magazine – with its top-notch reportage and in-depth coverage of important and often controversial issues – provided its readers with a vital and unique stepping-stone from the tyranny of religious dogma to the freedom of a guilt-free, rational lifestyle.
And a former editor of G&LH, George Broadhead – who is also secretary of the PTT – had this to say: “I was very sad that the previous print version of G&LH ceased publication. I am enormously pleased we will now be able to continue where we left off.”
On arriving at the magazine’s website readers are greeted by a montage of covers from the print edition going back to the late nineties, when it began printing in colour. On clicking the “Enter here” button they are taken to a mixed content of serious articles, some more light-hearted material, a roundup of news from Britain and around the world, and an invitation to visit the magazine’s sister publication, the blog Pink Triangle.
The move has been welcomed by gay groups and human-rights campaigners.
You’ll remember how shocking photos (one of them reproduced here) did the rounds of the Net when two lads were hanged, allegedly for being gay, although the authorities claimed they had committed rape.
The online Pink News tells us today:
In December 2007 the UN passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty for all crimes.
The vast majority of executions of juvenile offenders take place in Iran, where judges can impose the death penalty in capital cases if the defendant has attained “majority”, defined in Iranian law as 9 years old for girls and 15 years old for boys.
Iran is reported to have executed at least six juvenile offenders so far in 2008. More than 130 other juvenile offenders are currently sentenced to death.
Gay & Lesbian Humanist’s print edition featured the hangings in 2005, and this blog questioned what the hell the UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, was playing at back in June, when she said gays in Iran were safe if they acted discreetly.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
But, on 15 October 2008, a Nebraska District Court judge threw out the lawsuit because the defendant was not served a legal notice. Judge Marlon Polk wrote:
Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant, this action will be dismissed with prejudice.
Ergo, and as Hamlet’s clown would add se offendendo, God cannot be served in Nebraska, except if you get out of its public buildings and into its holy buildings.
See this entry in Philosopedia.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Back in the summer, we heard stories about the “burcycle”. That’s a portmanteau word incorporating burqa and bicycle. It would allow women in Iran – where women are not allowed to ride bicycles – to take to the road on two wheels (they can ride on motorbikes, apparently, but must be accompanied by a male and sit behind him, which makes actually driving the motorbike a bit difficult without pressing her gazonkas arousingly against her companion's back, which could be a bit embarrassing if it's her dad).
The woman riding an ordinary bicycle is deemed to be too arousing for Muslim men, it seems, so someone has invented this “burcycle” contraption, which is a sort of shed on two wheels. The poor cyclist is in the shed, pedalling away, and remains concealed, apart, we assume, from the head.
But even the head could find itself more covered than usual. We heard a few weeks ago that some crazy imam in Saudi Arabia wants veiled women to be able to show only one eye. Yes, one eye is enough, apparently, says Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan.
Anything more is seen as a come-on to the men. Well, the heterosexual ones, that is, but, of course, most Islamic countries don’t have homosexuals, do they? If they find any, they usually dispose of them in interesting ways.
But just what is it about the Muslim male that makes him less able than others to keep his pecker in his pants? Why is it so hard to prevent the blood running to his dangly bits?
A document that came into my possession some time ago may be of interest, and is clearly good news to many Muslim males. This highly sensitive piece of evidence (OK, its provenance may be a bit dubious) came to me after I had read a story in the International Herald Tribune last year, in which Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, accuses women of “emotional abuse”, saying that men are finding it difficult to sleep at night because they are so aroused. He wants changes,
. . . including that women should stop wearing lipstick and perfume to lower the risk of being raped. Women’s groups have slammed his statements, saying Islam teaches both men and women to be responsible for modesty. They say comments like these encourage rapes because it puts the onus on women.
And so to my highly sensitive document. This purports (as I say, it could just be a fake) to be a transcript of a sermon this geezer gave to his brethren within the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, which shows that not all is bad, and some Muslims are rising to the challenge. This is what he is alleged to have had to say:
Brothers, it is with a sad heart that I come before you today – though “come” may not be the most appropriate of words in these hard— er, these trying times.
I am truly cognisant of how uncomfortable it is for us to pray, kneeling as we do. These harlots do not realise the anguish caused to us five times a day when we come here to commune with Allah (pbuh) and our Pillars of Islam make painful contact with the floor.
But, in his great munificence and generosity of spirit, most merciful Allah (pbuh) has smiled on his poor, hard-done-to creatures, and has provided gracious compensations.
My great friend Dawoud al-Har Don in Rawalpindi is now making a great profit (pbuh) by selling mini-burqas to his brothers in that great city so they can cover their impressive members while undressing for bed, in order that their womenfolk might not become violently aroused at the sight of them and seek to rape them.
In New York, where he runs a street stall selling most agreeable and delectable sweetmeats, my good friend and cousin-twelve-times-removed Hadir al-Priapus has found a novel and amusing way to display his halal doughnuts to customers.
And my wife’s uncle, Mahmoud el-Stiffi – in Bradford in England – has at last found somewhere to hang his donkey jacket.
And as for myself, my brothers, I have grown an affection for my member and have decided to give him – er, it – a name. I have chosen for his name Mohammed (pbuh).
The International Herald Tribune is not the only news outlet to carry the story. But no publication other than Pink Triangle has hard evidence of Nik’s letter to his hard-done-to brethren in Malaysia. We have hard copy, and we have it firmly backed up on an external hard drive.
The drive was not hard, however, till it noticed a pair of floppies.
Hat tip: Freethinker
Friday, 17 October 2008
So, anyway, says Paul Elliott, who played for Celtic, Chelsea and Aston Villa during his 12-year career, who was speaking at an event called “Homophobia: Football’s Final Taboo”, hosted by the UK’s Football Association at its central London headquarters. He claims to know around a dozen gay footballers.
The online Pink News says that Elliott, who now works as an adviser to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, “said gay players do not come out because they fear the reaction of fans”.
Kick It Out, the organisation dedicated to removing prejudice from football, yesterday launched a new campaign.
Professional footballers will link up with schools, universities, community and youth centres, for a nationwide stand against discrimination and for diversity. More than 1,000 events and activities are scheduled to take place.
At last night’s event gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “I would like to see the FA organise a dozen Premier League straight players to condemn homophobia in a MTV-style video. Straight voices are likely to have the strongest impact on homophobic fans.”
One of the UK’s most celebrated gay footballers was Justin Fashanu, who committed suicide in 1998.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Should this be the case with advertising? If I publish an ad for, say, the National Secular Society on Pink Triangle (not that we carry ads, but just suppose), am I then bound to go to the Church of England for a response? It’s a paid-for thing, don’t forget, not a news story. If the C of E said, "No, we're not interested," do I then drop the ad from the NSS and lose business?
No, ads are different from news in that respect. You might as well say that every ad for a Big Mac should have a counter-advertisement from someone in the vegetarian movement saying killing animals for food is cruel.
This strange situation has raised its head over a speech that the well-known American writer on Islamic matters Robert Spencer is giving today at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee as part of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week III.
According to the Terrorism Awareness Project, which carries images of the ads, as we do above:
The David Horowitz Freedom Center bought an advertisement (above left) in the UNW Post, school newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, to publicize Robert Spencer’s speech there on October 16 as part of Islamo Fascism Awareness Week III. On October 13 the ad appeared with an answering ad (above right) on the opposite page of the school [newspaper] which was taken out by Muslim Students Association (MSA).
Students helping to put on Spencer’s speech at UWM claim that the Muslim Students Association was offered an advance look at the Freedom Center ad and that it was allowed to print its own response free of charge. (The words above the Freedom Center read “Paid advertisement”. Above MSA’s ad, they read “Advertisement”.)
Spencer says the MSA’s ad is defamatory (and answers some of their criticisms on the page linked to above), and is demanding an apology.
Is this another case of running scared of Islamic thugs? Of fearing that, if a counterargument is not canvassed from the other side, the college newspaper will suffer the consequences?
Perhaps not. But previous Muslim behaviour of things that they don’t like would justify your being excused for thinking so.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
There’s this geezer from the Reform group within the Anglican Church, Rod Thomas, who detests poofs and women. Well, he wouldn’t put it that way, but, when he wants people to answer to conservative bishops who detest poofs and women instead of the nearest bishop if he happens to he “progressive”, you kind of get the impression that he’s a bit that way inclined himself.
And just what does he mean by “progressive”? Someone who recognises people’s rights and dignities, and sees women as equal to men, and sees gays as loving people who are as driven to form relationships as hetties are? That’s progressive, is it, Mr Thomas, you moron? Not just being compassionately human? Hmm? Well?
Pink News carries the story today of how he and his detestable, hateful ilk “believe in being part of an Episcopal church for good theological and pragmatic reasons”. He goes on to say:
However, where the teaching and actions of a bishop promote an unbiblical way of thinking, then we simply have to look elsewhere for a bishop.
If we fail to do this then our congregations will not see us taking New Testament teaching seriously and the process of accommodation will continue.
Read more in this Guardian story.
This got me to thinking. If a church that was once one can become two, where does that leave the eternal verities? Who is right? They can’t both be right.
Doesn’t that, then, make them question who is right in the wider world of religion? Is Islam the right path? Are its cosmology and ontology factual? Judaism? Buddhism?
Again, I emphasise, only one can be truly right. So what exactly does the Bible say about it? And, if it’s left to the interpretation of mere mortals, where has gone the assertion that it is the inviolable word of God?
Religionists of all hues have a lot of questions to answer.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
“No, that was not what you said. You said ‘Islam is the light.’ ”
“Na-na-ga-ga-ga-gaah, giggle, coo, coo, mama, dada, allah.”
“Right! That’s it! I’m going to complain about you, you little plastic, shiny-faced, religion-befuddled imbecile. Here, put this on.”
“Ga-ga-ga-ga-ga-gaah, giggle! Uh?”
“It’s a burqa. What do you think it is? If you’re going to spout that stuff, you can jolly well look like one.”
“Ga-ga-ga-ga . . . burp!”
Well, that’s one of many possible scenarios that could have played out around the country as parents have complained that the new Fisher-Price Little Mommy Cuddle ’n’ Coo doll is saying, “Islam is the light.”
No, say Fisher-Price. She’s got something wrong with her tubes. It just sounds like that. The only word programmed into her is “mama”. Everything else is just noises.
Some shops in the States have removed the doll from the shelves. Now it’s available in the UK – it’ll knock you back twenty quid, or, as they prefer to call it, £19.99.
A Fisher-Price spokesman is quoted in a (UK) Daily Telegraph story today as saying, “The Little Mommy Cuddle ’n’ Coo dolls feature realistic baby sounds including cooing, giggling, and baby babble with no real sentence structure.” (Sounds like John Prescott.)
It also burps, farts, shits – no, I made that last bit up.
But think of the possibilities. You could buy dolls that say “Vote Labour!” or “Vote Tory!” or (to be balanced here) “Vote Liberal Democrat!”
Or you could simply have a doll saying “Religion is dumb!”
THANKS to "Holy Prepuce", who leaves a link to a video on the comments below. That set me to looking for more video evidence, and I came across this one. Enjoy!
A letter from I Stewart, convener of Atheist Scotland, appears in the Scotsman (second letter on the page).
“Like the Kirk,” the letter writer says, referring to a previous letter from someone else, “we support the introduction of sharia courts in Scotland for members of the Muslim community.” Stewart continues:
In cases of domestic violence or abuse of women, we feel that sharia courts would give Muslim women the opportunity to resolve their disputes without recourse to the criminal law.
By using sharia courts, Muslim women and their partners would not have to appear in open court and risk the public humiliation of a criminal conviction for domestic violence.
A guilty finding in a sharia court for domestic violence would not result in a criminal conviction and therefore would not appear in a Disclosure Scotland police criminal records search, thus avoiding the potentially devastating effects on the job opportunities of the male partner, particularly in sensitive areas.
Why should a male partner be spared public humiliation if he’s a Muslim but not a non-Muslim male partner who would have to appear before magistrates or in the Crown or Sheriff Court? How does it make it a good thing for women if a sharia court is going to rule, as it most likely will, in favour of the man, because women are treated as second- or third-class citizens by traditional Islam?
Here’s a good reason why sharia courts are a bad idea, in a blog item we carried a while back.
DEMOCRATIC candidate Barak Obama last night claimed he was quoted out of context after describing Governor Sarah Palin as a “creationist psycho bitch”.
He dismissed the “phoney outrage” of the Republican camp, insisting the remark was not intended to do anything other than draw attention
to Governor Palin’s insane beliefs and ugly, bitch-like qualities.
Senator Obama said: “I was simply implying what a stupid, horrible, terrifying freak she is. I can’t help it if people decide to take that literally.
“I was using a metaphor to make the important point that if you want another four years of psychotic, blood thirsty creationists who love sucking the oil industry’s big fat cock, then vote for my opponents.”
He added: “I did then go on to say that if Jesus came down from heaven and told me I would have to fuck either Sarah Palin or a pig, you'd have to drag me off the pig.
“Now that doesn't mean I'm comparing Governor Palin to a pig. What I am saying is that if it’s a straight choice between Governor Palin and a pig, I’m fucking the pig.
“If I then went on to say that I’d rather fuck a dead pig than Governor Palin, that should not be construed in any way as a personal attack.”
Senator Obama refused to apologise to the Governor, insisting it would take too long to translate the words into her “retarded hillbilly language”.
I'm sure Palin is a lovely woman (not!) . . . but this is hilarious!
Hat tip: NSS Newsline.
UPDATE: See the latest Jesus and Mo offering. It's a hoot.
Monday, 13 October 2008
The dancers in the New York show are as good as or maybe even better than those shown in the YouTube link that I included. Vogue is in vogue!
Second, visit Philosopedia for a quick read about Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (left), the author who won the Nobel Prize in literature last week. I distinguish between dues-paying Humanists and humanities humanists, you’ll note.
Fry’s love of America (and – according to an interview he’s given to the Radio Times – shame at the “exultant and ignorant arrogance [too often believed by the British] that Americans are ignorant, irony-free and vulgar”) is nevertheless tempered by his dismay on the growing “insistence [there] on equal validity between ‘revealed’ truth and evidence-based truth”:
[This] has meant that evolution is now pitted against so-called “intelligent design”, a barbarously irrational mixture of pseudo-science and fallacious argument that poses itself “innocently” as a credible alternative.
Philosophy and empiricism got America where it is today – it’s incredible to me that there are those who would turn their backs on the spiritual beauties, wonders and truths of the world and face instead the false promises of a preposterous text and even more preposterous commands. Jefferson,
Washington, Franklin, Madison, Adams and Lincoln would all be turning in their graves.
In this blog entry on Fry’s own website, he talks in some detail about his exploits, including an interesting encounter with semi-naked young men from the Church of Latter Day Saints.
I do not find [the Mormon] faith particularly absurd, in the way many mainstream Christians do [. . .] because I find all pretend invisible friends, Special Books and their rules equally ridiculous. Mormon ideas about realms of crystal rebirthing and special underpants are no weirder than the enforcing of wigs and woollen tights on orthodox Jewish women or laws and dogmas about burkhas and Virgin Births. The religion of the Latter Day Saints is not deserving of especial contempt simply because it is newer. It is as barmy as the rest and I cheerfully treat it as such. It has the same impertinent views concerning women and gays, of course, but [nineteen-year-old Mormon] Cody is clearly embarrassed about this and says with a touch of defensiveness, “We aren’t as bigoted as some fundamental Christians.”
After all, they can be hilarious. Just draw a cartoon of their marauding prophet, and the world is set alight. Sometimes literally, in parts.
Threaten to publish a book, and publishers shy away from it, having taken advice from “scholars”.
Print a picture of a little doggy on a postcard that’s meant to help the police, and Muslims are up in arms.
Make a film about their “holy book” and they threaten consequences if it’s not taken off YouTube.
Try venturing into a “Muslim area” in Birmingham, and you could just have a hilarious time being beaten up – or at least being told to get lost by a policeman wannabe who, in this case, happens to be Muslim.
There are Muslim comedians who take the piss out of all sorts of things – including Muslims. It’s called comedy. There’s this thing called irony. There’s satire. Only a bone-headed primitive religion would object.
Often, Muslims – the more enlightened ones, and there are many – don’t object. Often, it’s left to the indigenous politicians and civil servants and assorted do-gooders to prevent you from “going there”.
Well, there’s an interesting piece in the Independent on Sunday about it, which is worth reading. In it, David Lister argues, “The irony is that in [making Muslims a comedy no-go area], they really are insulting Muslims, the hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Britain who are perfectly capable of laughing at themselves, and would resent the patronising protection supposedly offered them by the comedy police.”
He was commenting on the fact that the comedian Harry Enfield had been told to leave alone a Muslim hoody character he had developed.
The production company Tiger Aspect, which makes Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse’s show Harry and Paul, confirmed that, “Obviously, it is a sensitive area. It [Enfield’s character] never made it further than the page. This was a decision taken collectively by key members of the production team.”
Back in April, I seem to remember, another comedian and writer, Ben Elton, was complaining of how Islam has become a no-go zone for comedians.
Quite simply, no religion should be exempt. The more they complain about it, the more the urine should be extracted, in huge quantities. If they shut up, they’ll take their share of piss-take with the rest – and not just religions, but politicians, celebs and just about anyone or anything in the public eye.
Good comedy helps us to see things in a different light. That makes it an art form. Anything that takes the piss for the sake of being cruel is not really comedy. Our laughter, if indeed it’s generated from such material, is not healthy laughter. It’s smutty laughter.
However, it shouldn’t be censored. In the marketplace of public performance, there is a mechanism. Crap comedy can be ridiculed by those whose job it is to do that: critics and other commentators.
Anyway, if thine eye offend thee, pluck at the off switch.
Sunday, 12 October 2008
We’re seeing some sense, then, it seems.
Today’s Sunday Times tells us that “Gordon Brown's new minister for race relations has attacked sharia courts”.
Sadiq Khan, whose comments will have added impact because he is a Muslim himself, has also warned that the growing number of tribunals based on Islamic codes could entrench discrimination against women.
It’s just what we’ve been saying all along, really. Why aren’t our touchy-feely, PC-soaked politicians waking up to the fact? It could almost be expressed as a syllogysm: a culture treats women like shit; that culture seeks its own legal system; therefore that legal system will treat women like shit.
Gays, too, no doubt.
Judy Shepard (pictured) has issued a statement to coincide with the tenth anniversary today of his death after he'd spent five days in a coma, for which two homophobic thugs are serving life sentences, one with no hope of parole. (See "Remembering Matthew".)
“It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since Matthew’s death,” says Shepard, who is also executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
“So much has changed yet so much remains the same. I want to thank all of the individuals and organizations that have given us the Foundation and our family their unwavering support."
The rest of her statement reads:
Our work is far from over. I don’t mean the work of the Foundation only, I mean the work we all need to do at a personal level. We need to continue talking to our friends, families and co-workers.
Unless we are honest about who we are and are able to share with those who love us what our lives are like, they will not know how to help us.
We need those allies in this struggle to achieve equality across the board to realize all of our civil rights.
Great advances have been made in changing people’s attitudes and eliminating ignorance about the gay community even in my wonderful state of Wyoming.
At least I thought so, until I read the readers’ comments following an article about the ten-year observance of Matt’s death in the Cheyenne, Wyoming, newspaper.
I understand that the readers who take the time to write in are doing so because they absolutely disagree with the article and those who do agree won’t bother to write comments.
However, it brought home to me how much work is left to do to make the world an accepting place. The level of ignorance is astounding.
The continuing belief that what happened to Matt was not a hate crime and the notion that “special people shouldn’t have special rights”, is beyond my comprehension.
The level of “hate” is frightening.
Our family and the Foundation staff are committed to doing all they can to ensure the message – “erase hate” – is one that is known to the community and its allies as well as those who are trying learn more about the Foundation and the LGBT community at large.
It is ignorance that ultimately results in hate, and that may escalate into physical violence. The only way to combat that ignorance is to educate and tell our stories.
We are all aware of how important this election cycle is to all of us. Please take the time to know the issues and what is at stake for the LGBT community. Share your stories with those who care about you. It is the only way they will know how to vote to support you.
The privilege of having the right to vote is also a responsibility. We must remember that we are not voting only for a new president but also for representatives at the local, county, state and national level.
Please vote and encourage everyone you know to vote. Apathy is unacceptable. We are at a crossroads in the movement and we need to show our support for those who support the LGBT community. We are all hoping the next ten years will be our time.
She ends by pointing her readers to the Foundation and the work it is doing: please visit:
Friday, 10 October 2008
Its dynamic actors remind one of the 1990 documentary film Paris is Burning, which described the ball culture of poor African-American and Latino gay and transgendered people who engaged in drag balls that involved contests in new-way and old-way vogue dancing.
In the first of two acts, we meet five males who live in the House of Light, two who live in the House of Di’Abolique, The Fates 3 (gals who explain the action in song, much like a Greek chorus), and Eric, a seemingly straight handsome guy who is tempted to come out.
In Act II, we see the two houses engage competitively as they “walk” the runway and are judged on appearance, dance skills, costume, and attitude. With laughter and tears, the audience marvels at the elaborate costumes, the consummate performances by every actor, and the unexpected conclusion.
In November 2008, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play was shown at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Since opening at the Vineyard Theater on 30 September to rave reviews, the play has been sold out nightly and will close in November.
To get ticket holders back to their seats after intermission, a several-hundred-pound femme queen dishes individuals who are late or eating, “shading” or “dissing” them so the show can go on.
Straights are shocked. Gays and lesbians are picking which person they want to meet afterwards at the stage door (like Erik King, Clifton Oliver, or Andre Holland, the last of whom, if you sit close to the stage during the nude sex scene, you can see under the sheet).