Government Regulation of Sacrements = Religious Liberty

Sometimes the right wing just gives me a headache. In the USA, legislation making its way through Congress would forbid chaplains serving in military chapels from performing any recognition whatsoever of same-sex relationships.

A military installation or other property owned or rented by, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of, the Department of Defense may not be used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman.

Note this: It’s not just about marriage. It’s not just about legally-binding commitments. It’s about ceremonies. Handfastings. Commitment ceremonies. Whatever.

Timothy Kincaid:

For the first time in my lifetime, a house of government has dictated what is acceptable theology and has banned sacraments from its properties that do not meet the religious beliefs of legislators.

And here’s how the Baptist Press reports the story:

Rep. Todd Akin, R.-Mo., successfully pushed through a second amendment to protect the religious liberty of all military service members, particularly military chaplains.

The disingenuousness is striking, no? The language is almost Orwellian. These clowns aren’t the least bit interested in “religious liberty”.


And What’s Your Difficulty Setting?

John Scalzi wrote an interesting article comparing life to a video game: “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is“. And then the Internet blew up. The original article was a fairly straightforward examination of privilege, though without using that actual word (intentionally). It said nothing you haven’t seen before. But it got shared and spread and the comments went wild. I won’t claim to have read all, or even most, of the comments, but I did quite like Sigh.

John Scalzi later wrote a follow-up and then later some final notes.

The Slacktiverse hosted a discussion of how comment threads go bad.

Just in case the actual facts of privilege and discrimination are in doubt, Jim C. Hines has the data.


Amish Fire Alarms: Public Policy, Safety, Religious Rights, Children’s Rights

It’s all a tangled mess, isn’t it? Exactly where are the boundaries of religious rights. Public safety policy in New York (and many other areas) is that all houses should have a smoke detectors. This affords protection to the residents of the house, including any children. It affords protection to neighbours, as housefires can spread. And it’s part of the social contract. Firefighters will be called out in the event of a fire. Making their work easier (and, potentially, less heartbreaking) can only be a good thing.

The Amish are a Christian group which prefer to live without modern technology for religious reasons. There are different sects, with some being more anti-technology than others. Some Amish groups have refused to install smoke detectors. The case is currently in court.

Religious freedom (actually, I prefer the broader term freedom of conscience) is very important to maintain a functioning free society. This gets complicated, doesn’t it?


Boycott OMM!

I’m linking to this article mainly for its first line:

One Million Moms, a hateful collective of a few thousand insufferable busybodies, has once again called for its members to break out the torches and pitchforks and attack JC Penney. At issue is a single page in the department store chain’s May catalog that depicts a lesbian couple doing horrible, abominable things like smiling, hugging, and wearing wedding rings.

Penny’s other sin, of course, is having Ellen DeGeneres as their spokeswoman. But apparently showing non-heteronormative couples in their catalogue is even worse.


Human Rights are not a zero-sum game

The United States is supposed to be a “pro-homosexual” regime. Millions of us Americans are LGBT people and our nation is supposed to have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” For all people. That means a government or “regime” that’s pro-people — pro-heterosexual, pro-LGBT, pro-everybody.

Fred Clark reminds us that human rights are for everyone, and everyone can have them. No one loses out.


Evelyn Hooker and Lord Wolfenden, 1957

I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated, “all my homosexual patients
are quite sick”, to which I finally replied “so are all my heterosexual patients.”

— Ernest van den Haag, psychotherapist

The studies which demonstrate that there’s nothing psychologically wrong with homosexuals are considerably older than you might think.

Note: This article and its meaning is further discussed in the comments at Slacktivist.