Isn’t this only slightly unconstitutional?

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Hey, Alabama? Requiring teachers to lead kids in Christian prayer in public schools is… um… unconstitutional.

By way of a voice vote, the House Education Policy Committee passed a bill that would require teachers to recite Christian prayers in public schools every day, even though the majority of members did not vote for it.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, would require teachers to spend no more than 15 minutes in the first class of each day to read, verbatim, opening prayers said before a meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs, chairwoman of the committee, said she heard more votes in favor of the bill.

“It’s what I heard as chairman,” she said.

Yeah, I’m sure that’s what you “heard as chairman,” but it’s still unconstitutional.

Look, I’m a pretty open minded kind of female. I have no problem with kids having their own little prayer groups, or learning about any religion in a public school. Fact is religion is a part of our culture and history, and to pretend it’s not there by not teaching kids about it is quite frankly stupid.

But notice I said, “teaching them ABOUT religion,” and not “teaching them religion.” There’s a difference.

I have no problem learning the history of different faiths, what they worship, how they worship, what they believe, etc. It’s knowledge, frothing atheist zealots. Get over it! It’s part of history. It’s part of geography. It’s part of current events. You can’t pretend religion doesn’t exist, and knowledge about the different faiths out there is important.

That said…

Forcing. Kids. To. Pray. Is. UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Period.

You don’t need a degree in constitutional law to understand that!

The First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing a national religion. It is incorporated, so that states have to abide by it as well. Schools receive local, state and federal money. Ergo, they cannot impose Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, Buddhist, Muslim, Rastafarian, Pastafarian or Scientolog… ical (I hesitate to even use the word “logical” in that particular description of Scientology) prayers on kids.

A teacher is in a position of authority over kids. What do you think is going to happen when a teacher leads a mandated Christian prayer session in the classroom? Think there’s no element of coercion? Please!

When the Redhead was 11 years old, he went to a middle school in rural Virginia. He attended a DARE program taught by a local sheriff’s deputy. The Redhead really enjoyed the class. They played games, discussed the dangers of drugs, etc. One day, the Redhead brought home a pamphlet that this particular deputy handed to all the kids in his class. On its surface, it looked like a bunch of optical illusions and puzzles. However, a closer look revealed that it was a publication by these Living Waters freaks.

The pamphlet used puzzles and games to scare kids into accepting Jesus. It told them they could die at any moment, and if they did anything bad like lie in their lives, they were going to hell, unless… they accepted Jesus right fucking now! It told the kids they were sinners. It told them that hell awaits them all, because they were all inherently bad. It even had an optical illusion that used a reverse afterimage to deceive the kids into “seeing Jesus.”

jesus5zk

The Redhead thought it was interesting, and it didn’t bother him. But I raised him to be a confident individual unfazed by religious scare tactics. But that doesn’t even matter.

There is no justification – NONE – for bringing scary death cult shit into a public school to scare kids into converting. The entire pamphlet was all about how they could die tomorrow, about how they’ll go to hell, about how Jesus will help them get to heaven, but since they could die tomorrow, perhaps they should stare at this picture and then close their eyes and find him!

How the fuck do you justify trying to scare a bunch of 11-year-olds into having faith?

Here’s a hint, frothing fundamentalist zealots: if you have to frighten, mislead, deceive or intimidate people into your beliefs, maybe your beliefs just aren’t strong or convincing enough to stand on their own merit!

I did contact the school and found out that the materials the deputy handed out were not approved by the school, and that the school officials weren’t even made aware that anything was going to be handed out to the kids! They told me this was the first time anyone had complained about the materials the deputy handed out, which makes me believe that either the parents aren’t looking closely enough, or this is the first time he’s brought that crap into the school.

For the record, I have no problem with anyone talking to my kid about religion, encouraging him to explore his spirituality or various faiths. No problem at all. But if you try to bully or deceive my kid into entering your little cult, I promise you will receive a swift kick in the gonads from yours truly!

But back to Alabama…

Forcing children to say Christian prayers in class with the teacher at the helm is coercive, especially if a child’s family practices something other than Christianity. Yes, believe it or not, there are families – even in friggin’ Alabama – that are not Christian! And guess what, you arrogant, supercilious shitbags! They pay taxes too, including your salaries and the salaries of those teachers whom you want to become accomplices in your little game of religious compulsion. And I’m fairly sure these families would be pretty unhappy if their tax dollars were paying for a coercive religious conversion.

But hey… it’s your state, so you do what you want.

Bring on the lawsuits!

The Duck Flap

48 Comments

I don’t know why I’m even mentioning this, other than I need to get this off my chest, and my Facebook feed is filled with photos of those bearded doofi and calls to boycott A&E.

If you’ve been living under a rock, the flap is over some show on A&E called Duck Dynasty (which I never watch), because the guy starring in it (who looks like a scarier version of Willie Nelson), who is apparently some really successful businessman, but looks like he lives in a rundown trailer in the middle of the Ozarks, said some ignorant shit about gays, so A&E suspended this redneck owing largely to a whole lot of screeching on the part of gay groups and advocates.

Point 1: What he said was absolutely ignorant and repulsive. He went on a rant about how vaj > anus, and how homosexuality is something akin to bestiality.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina…would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” Phil Robertson told the magazine.

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there: bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that women and those men…it’s not right,” he’s quoted as saying.

Classless. Stupid. Repulsive. All of the above. For someone who is supposed to be a successful businessman, this Duck Dynasty fellow is sure ignorant about human relationships. It’s as if he thinks relationships are all about where you stick your penis. Additionally, comparing a sexual act between two consenting (human) adults to animal cruelty and abuse (and essentially comparing both human beings to animals merely because of whom they choose to love) – let’s just say it’s not exactly Christian, as this Duck guy claims to be.

But hey – whatever. It’s his views, and I’m not out to change them.

Point 2: Duck guy is a celebrity, and he represents his show, and by extension his employer A&E. The “vaj>ass” remarks were simply in bad taste, and reflected poorly on his employer.  I’m not A&E, nor am I GLAAD or any other homosexual advocacy group, but I would venture an educated guess that had Robertson said “I’m a Christian, and my beliefs are that homosexuality is a sin,” I doubt there would have been much to suspend him for. But no… he had to venture into “gays = beasts” territory, which makes him seem ignorant and crass in the eyes of a lot of people.

Point 3: Robertson’s suspension from A&E has NOTHING to do with his First Amendment rights. The First Amendment protects individuals and groups speech and expression from government prosecution and persecution. It certainly does not protect them from the consequences, which include job loss, and outcry from others when they say something stupid. In other words, Duck guy has every right to air his views about gays, dogs, adulterers or anything else, but he’s not free from the consequences of his words. No one is jailing him for speaking out about his views. No one is imposing fines on him. He’s free to speak and continue speaking. And his employer is free to end the association if need be.

Point 4: Robertson has no right to a job. A&E is and should be free to suspend him, fire him, etc. should the network feel it necessary, for whatever reason. If what Robertson said impacts the station negatively and impacts its bottom line, it should have the right to get rid of him. Again, Duck dude is not free from the consequences of his actions.

People screeching about his First Amendment rights should understand this.

That said…

Point 5: Come on, GLAAD! It’s some redneck on some reality show! It’s not like you’re being hanged for being gay in Iran! Get some perspective. Get an enema. Don’t watch the show. Don’t watch the channel. Boycott whatever advertisers that show has. But understand that everyone has a point of view, and while society in general is a lot more accepting of gays and lesbians, not everyone is going to accept you. Sorry, but it’s true. You can’t force people to change their opinions, and you shouldn’t. I know not everyone is going to like me, because I’m a ginger… or because I was born a Jew… or because I’m an atheist. I know many Christians who tell me I’m going to hell. So what? If I took everything they say about me seriously, I’d be rotting in a mental institution by now, drooling on myself and excited for my next lithium pill.

In other words, chill the hell out!

All of you.

It’s a redneck on a reality show voicing his opinion in a pretty ignorant manner, not some plot to imprison you for your lifestyle!

I was pretty vocal in my defense of Dan Cathy in the Chick-fil-A flap, because the chain really was persecuted by local and state officials in some areas for its owner merely voicing his opinion. I don’t agree with his views on marriage, but he’s Christian and he’s entitled to voice them without fat, drooling shitbags like Menino in Boston trying to hinder his livelihood because of them.

In this case, Duck guy has no right to a job. His employer is a private employer and has every right to fire him.

So, please – stop yammering on about his rights being violated! All that has happened is that the guy said some pretty ignorant shit in public and his employer decided to end the association. That’s it. Get over it.

Dear Christians -

16 Comments

If you are wondering why people think you’re all shitslurping assholes, look no further than this church.

Elders at Ridgedale Church of Christ told Linda Cooper and two relatives that their public support for Kat Cooper, Linda Cooper’s gay daughter, went against the church’s teachings, local media reported. In a private meeting, reports say, Linda Cooper was given a choice: publicly atone for their transgressions or leave the church.
 
Linda left the church.
 
Kat Cooper is a detective with the Collegedale Police Department. This month, she fought successfully for health benefits for her same-sex spouse, Krista, from the town.
 
The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution allowing for same-sex partner benefits, becoming the first city in Tennessee to do so.
 
Along the way, the mother publicly supported her daughter. That support appears to have led to a rift with her church.

OK, so this lady has attended this church for more than 60 years. That’s SIX DECADES.

According to the story, the “public support” of her daughter involved being there for her.

To the church, this is some kind of horrid transgression. A mother who loves her daughter, and supports her legally-joined partner getting health benefits – just like any other legally-joined partner – something that could and should be viewed as equal treatment under the law…

Apparently that just won’t do.

And apparently, unless she publicly renounces her daughter’s “sin,” she must leave the church she has attended and supported for six bloody decades.

Did Linda Cooper, in fact, “endorse” her daughter’s lifestyle, as the minister of this church claimed? I don’t see it. Demanding equal protection under the law for two people who are legally joined/married/whatever you want to call it does not mean endorsing a lifestyle. It means that this woman loves her daughter, and whether or not she agrees with her daughter’s lifestyle is completely irrelevant.

Nonetheless, this lady has been shunned by the church she has attended for nearly her entire lifetime for her refusal to condemn her child, whom she ostensibly loves. This is not about condoning what the Church considers to be a sin. This is about supporting a child you love unconditionally in a legal matter. Apparently, this particular band of frothing fundamentalist fruitcakes doesn’t like that, and therefore, Mrs. Cooper is now being forced to leave the church in which she grew up…

…all for the “sin” of publicly supporting the child she loves in a legal matter.

I know a lot of religious Christians, Jews, etc. I don’t agree with some of them on the matter of gay rights, but those I consider my friends also accept this difference of views, and do not treat gay people with any less respect than they do straight people.

Unfortunately, foaming at the mouth zealots such as this shitbag of a minister, are of a different breed altogether. They would even force a parent to condemn their own child and exile a church member for failing to properly denounce their loved one!

And these are the fundamentalist assholes that give the rest of the Christians a bad name.

I supported Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy’s right to voice his opinion on gay marriage based on his religious views without local governments in “tolerant liberal utopias” such as Boston and San Francisco persecuting them and destroying their efforts to build their business in those cities using local government power.

I support the right of gay couples to be legally married and to enjoy (some will debate that, based on their own matrimonial experiences) the benefits that go along with being married.

I support the right of anyone to have and voice his or her views on any topic without government persecution. The church is a religious entity, and it certainly has the right to boot out any member for any reason.

However, doing so will not and should not make this church exempt from criticism.

Frankly, this church makes Christians look bad. It makes them look like repugnant, intolerant, disgusting bigots.

I’ve met plenty who are, and I’ve met plenty who are not. But the rotten ones are louder and more obnoxious, and I can’t help but think that their actions will reflect badly on all Christians – even those who hold the “hate the sin, love the sinner” mentality, and even the ones who support gay rights outright.

As an aside… The church is a tax exempt entity. Many churches also receive government grants. That’s taxpayer money going to these churches – taxpayer money that is taken out of pockets of gay and straight people alike. While it used to be that the congregations supported the churches, more and more, the churches are turning to governments – be they federal, state or local.

So, if gay people, who ostensibly pay the same taxes as straight people, are also funding grants for the nation’s churches, wouldn’t they morally have the right to demand the same services as the straight congregants?

This is the problem with the government having its paws in everything, including churches. This is why we do have the separation of church and state. It’s not just to prevent the federal government from imposing a national religion. It’s also to protect churches from government intrusion. If you are receiving taxpayer money, the taxpayers have the right to make demands of you. So if a church is receiving tax dollars, wouldn’t the government have the right to make demands on said church?

Just a few thoughts on that front.

But my bottom line is this: to churches such as the Ridgedale Church of Christ – yes, you have every right to exile this poor woman for supporting her beloved child. And we have every right to call you out as the bigoted piece of shit assholes you are.

This is a Good Thing!

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It’s about time that the military recognized that service members come from all faiths (and non-faiths) – not just Judeo-Christian!  In 2007, the Bush Administration finally allowed the Wiccan pentagram – a five-pointed star inside a circle on the gravestones of Wiccan military members in Arlington Cemetery and other military burial grounds.

Last week, the VA approved Thor’s hammer as one of 56 emblems troops can request to have placed on their headstones.

While some only know of Thor as a comic book hero, he actually dates back to Norse mythology. Thor used his magical hammer to protect humans and other gods from giants.

But today, that hammer means something special to those who practice Ásatrú and worship the Norse Gods. And as NPR’s “The World” reported last week, those who identify as such and served in the military now have the option of marking their gravestone with Thor’s hammer.

I had an instructor at the Primary Leadership Development Course (Today it’s called WLC – Warrior Leader Course) back in 2005, who practiced Ásatrú. He was one of the best NCOs I have ever met! Not only was he incredibly bright, but he was also a killer on the land nav course, and could kick some serious ass!

We’ve come a long way from those days when people who put “Pagan” on their ID tags were regarded with a certain amount of disgust. I’ve seen it. A female in my basic training platoon requested “Pagan” on her ID tags and received an “Ummm… OK” sideways look.

During a readiness exercise right before my last deployment, one of the trainers proudly informed me that he was a Satanist, and showed me his ID tags. I think he was hoping to freak me out. It did not work.

Look, as far as I’m concerned, if you can shoot straight and I can rely on you to have my back, it doesn’t matter if you worship Jesus, Allah, Thor, Snoopy or the Great Pumpkin! I’m just glad those of different faiths are being recognized for their ultimate sacrifice.

DOMA Unconstitutional!

12 Comments

Finally. The Supreme Court has acted to reduce the authority of government over private individuals.

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

The other was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month.

Look, I know that some of you have strong feelings about gay marriage based on your religious beliefs. You’re entitled to them. I would never say otherwise.

However, as advocates for a limited federal government, you cannot deny that this is a win! Politicians should have NO BUSINESS in people’s personal lives! They should have no business defining a relationship between two people as legitimate or not. And the federal government should have no business telling individuals with whom they can LEGALLY spend the rest of their lives.

It is an intrusion into our most private relationships, and considering how many of these corruptocrats actually lie, cheat and destroy their families, they have no place telling the rest of us how to live!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: leave marriage to churches. If there’s a church that has a policy of marrying two people of the same gender, more power to them. If not, more power to them as well.  But it should not be up to the voters, the politicians or the bureaucrats to make that decision for us. Once you allow the government – on any level – to dictate what relationship performed in what church is “legitimate,” you allow it into your religion, where it has no business being!

Congrats, gay guys and gals! You can now be as legally miserable as the rest of us!

Good for you, NFL!

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Politico reports today that the NFL stood up proudly in support of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s right to free speech, after a pathetic, tyrannical, parasitic turd burglar by the name of Emmett C. Burns Jr. tried to use his authority as a Maryland Assembly Delegate to force Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to “inhibit [his] expressions” in support of gay marriage.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday defended Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, whose public support for gay marriage prompted a Maryland state lawmaker to write a letter to the team’s owner asking him to silence his player.

“I think in this day and age, people are going to speak up about what they think is important. They speak as individuals and that’s an important part of democracy,” Goodell said at POLITICO’s Playbook’s Lunch with Mike Allen.

Thank you, Mr. Goodell, for standing up for the individual rights of NFL players.

As for Emmett C. Burns Jr., apparently his “faith” isn’t as important to him as race. He initially withdrew his support for Obama when he came out (no pun intended) in support of marriage equality. But then, suddenly… OH, nevermind! I’ll support Obama, because uh… Mitt Romney, he doesn’t have a record, except as governor of Massachusetts (huh???)… and uh… Yeah… Obama… I’ll support him anyway.

Not only does he not comprehend the whole concept of the First Amendment, he’s a hypocrite to boot!

 

Chick-Fil-A and free speech

6 Comments

I don’t like chicken. I’ll say that up front. When I was pregnant with the Redhead, we were stationed in Germany and lived in Wiesbaden. One bright, shiny day, we decided to go to Popeye’s and get chicken. I was 6 months pregnant or so, and I got chicken strips.  The first one I bit into was raw. I don’t mean pink or slightly undercooked. I mean underneath the crunchy layer of batter was slimy, raw meat. Biting into it was like biting into slightly stale, rancid meat-flavored Jello. Let’s just say, gagging followed.

That’s not the only reason I don’t like chicken. Frankly, the white meat is dry and rubbery, and the dark meat is somewhat slimy. Not my thing.

Needless to say, I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A precisely for that reason.

But today I did.

I don’t like fundamentalist anythings, whether it’s Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians or Unitarians.

I don’t agree with the views of Chick-Fil-A owner Dan Cathy on gay marriage. As a matter of fact, I vehemently disagree with him. I don’t need the government telling me whom to love, with whom to spend my life and whether or not it approves of my lifestyle choice. Dan Cathy is a Christian. His mileage varies. Whatever. He’s entitled to his views. He should also be able to run his business the way he sees fit – to hire whomever he wants, and to observe any holy day he wants, even if that means closing his stores on Sundays, which will affect no one but his business. He obviously considers his religion more important than his Sunday profits, so good for him. I wouldn’t have made that particular decision, but it’s not my business.

That said, while I disagree with Dan Cathy’s views, I will fight to the death to defend his right to hold them.

Do I support the right of anyone who disagrees with him to take their business elsewhere? You bet I do!

Do I support the right of his critics to encourage others to take their business elsewhere? Damn straight!

Do I support some mayors’ (Menino of Boston and Emanuel of Chicago) decision to use zoning laws (read: government force) to prevent Chick-Fil-A from opening in their cities? Not in a million years!

And do I agree with Cathy’s opponents who are pressuring localities to use government force to destroy his business merely because they disagree with his views? Fuck no!

It’s one thing to make the individual choice to spend your money at another fast food joint.

It’s one thing to encourage others to do so.

But it’s quite another to pressure corrupt politicians to promote your views by abusing their authority and using force to destroy someone’s livelihood!

Some of these assholes don’t see the difference.

One is free choice; the other is government force.

So even though I don’t eat chicken, and I’ve never eaten at Chick-Fil-A, I bought a large container of their waffle fries today.

Just as a big FUCK YOU to the asshelmets who can’t tell the difference between individual choice and government coercion.

Om nom nom nom nom!

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