An anti-abortion activist gets cornered into admitting the movement ultimately wants to make contraception, including the pill, illegal. But we knew this already. They usually only admit to it when they are speaking to an audience of their own and think nobody else is listening.
This is but one among the very good reasons why you should care about abortion even if you or someone you know will never need one.
Because if they get their way with that issue alone, they will go for any pharmaceutical or medical procedure with which they disagree.
And then they’ll come after you. Because these people — and I can tell you this from many years of experience — will never rest until your life adheres to their capricious rules.
The Liberty Counsel, the right-wing hate group responsible for many of the anti-LGBT court cases around the country, has put out its annual wingnutty naughty-or-nice list:
Liberty Counsel has launched its fourteenth annual Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign, pledging to be a “Friend” to those who recognize Christmas and a “Foe” to those who censor it. The campaign educates, and if necessary litigates, to make sure that Christmas and Christian themes are not censored.
Liberty Counsel is actively monitoring cases across the country where there is intimidation by officials and groups to remove the celebration of Christmas in public and private sectors. These threats include atheist groups seeking to ban nativity scenes from public property, senior living centers that prohibit residents from singing Christmas carols, public schools that ban students from wearing the Christmas colors of red and green, school officials who censor religious words from Christmas carols and retailers which profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist. In all of these situations, Liberty Counsel has successfully educated and reversed these anti-Christmas actions.
Since well before Halloween, stores have had entire sections devoted to Christmas, with a large assortment of angels and other religious icons.
The idea that everyone around the planet is not already aware that Christmas is linked with Christianity is so laughable it’s hard to take anyone seriously if they argue otherwise.
The entire controversy surrounding whether people say “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”has long ago been proven to be a campaign devised by Fox News to inflame its right-wing viewership and increase ratings.
Stores which made the Liberty Counsel’s naughty list (PDF here) include:
Dick’s Sporting Goods
With no reference to “Christmas” and less than a handful of “holiday” references within product associations and advertisements, this sporting goods store remains on our Naughty List. For the second year, Dick’s Sporting Goods is on the Naughty List. Usage of generic Christmas colors in design yet lacks any reference to the reason for the season. This sports store ignores the most important gift of Christmas. Contact Dick’s to encourage the organization to include Christ in their “Christmas” Seasonal marketing plan.
There are no references to “Christmas” or any biblical elements within products associations and advertisements. Only “holiday” is used to refer to the upcoming season. Gap has oscillated over the years, but this year it is back on the Naughty List. In 2013, after nine years of “naughty”, Bill Chandler, executive vice president for global corporate affairs at GAP Incorporated, issued a letter in which he referenced “Christmas” nine times and wrote that “every Gap outlet window will have signs that say ‘Merry Christmas,’ along with Christmas trees and wreathes throughout their stores.” Chandler concluded “. . . we hope you’ll agree that our Gap Inc. family of brands, including Gap and Old Navy, are Christmas friendly this holiday season.” In the years since the announcement, GAP has shown a decline in Christmas friendliness with reduced references on their website and in stores.
J. Crew Outfitters
There are no references to “Christmas” or any biblical elements within products associations and advertisements. The term “holiday,” however, is used more frequently. J. Crew’s home page remains void of any mention of “Christmas.” The Gift Giving page doesn’t even use traditional Christmas colors. Contact J Crew to let them know that consumers buy their products during the “Christmas” Season specifically for “Christmas” gifts.
Stores which made the nice list include such right-wing favorites as Menards, Home Depot and Hobby Lobby.
If Christians wanted to put the Christ back in Christmas they might start by trying to make the holiday less about “things” and more about goodwill toward humanity, as it is claimed to be about.
After all, Jesus Christ (a man who appears to have had not much more than a robe and some sandals to his name) was about feeding the poor and not Black Friday.
I wonder if Christians will ever get around to boycotting Black Friday because it is so un-Jesus-like? Don’t hold your breath on that one.
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq.
Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
Good writing that goes beyond the simple to lead us (or me, at least) to one conclusion, although this article does not state it this directly: the problem is not Islam. The problem — and it is causing problems ranging from terrorism a world away to America’s own issues with homegrown Christian terrorists — is religious fundamentalism. It is also at the root of the current American inability to govern itself because so many Christian fundamentalists are essentially opposed to a representative democracy where their religion and votes count only insofar as they can martial the like-minded into a voting booth.
If you believe society and the world are going to end and all non-believers will be destroyed, it matters not if you are a Christian or Muslim. All that matters is your beliefs and all other considerations are not open to rational debate.
The names Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph should be mentioned to anyone who claims this is solely an Islamic problem. Just as with the Muslim far right, the Christian far right openly preaches armed insurrection and all manner of violent upheaval in the U.S.
As for what to do about all these young, impressionable homegrown and overseas terrorists, who knows what is the right direction into which we must head?
It’s so complicated. I suppose all we can really do is try to understand why young people are drawn to these ideologies and attempt to prevent them from being recruited in the first place.
If you are not familiar with Vice and their reporting on issues others ignore, you really should subscribe to their newsletter or their RSS feed or their YouTube channel. I learn a lot from them on issues I care about and some I didn’t know enough about to care before I saw their reporting.
Of course we all have so many demands on our time. We can’t possibly care about all the things we think we should. But Vice is also interesting, so it’s time well spent even if just as a diversion.
The latest episode of HBO’s VICE, “A Prayer for Uganda,” exposes what American Christian extremists, like Scott Lively, have done to the country of Uganda. A poor, landlocked nation of about 37 million people, Uganda has become synonymous with its “Kill The Gays” bill, that was debated for year, generating international condemnation and fear. It became law and then was tossed out by the Ugandan Supreme Court, but only on a technicality.
VICE interviews Member of Parliament David Bahati (image, top left), who authored the bill. “Homosexuality is evil,” he says. Bahati is a member of the secretive Washington, D.C. based organization known as The Family, which has helped to coordinate the war against LGBT people in Uganda.
The report goes on later to point out that which American right-wing Christians have sown: a rape and murder streak that runs through the Ugandan public:
“We hate that one [homosexuality] completely,” one of the men tell her. “If we find a woman with a woman, we will pull out one and we will do it to her.” He’s of course talking about rape. “We cannot allow a woman to have sex with a fellow woman.”
Yeung asks, “Have you ever raped a lesbian?”
“Yeah,” the man replies. “Serious raping.”
Then Yeung asks, “So what would you do if you saw a gay man?”
“Kill! Kill! You kill that one! Kill! I just kill them. Woman and woman we rape, but man and man we kill.”
America’s right-wing Christians have done in Uganda what they cannot get away with here.
After a tornado ripped through Van, Texas, … killing a husband and his wife, neighbors of the deceased reportedly discovered something in the rubble that is bringing family and friends some comfort.
A Bible was found in the wreckage near the home of David and Brenda Tapley — the sole casualties of the tornado, according to the Van Texas Tornado Recovery Facebook page.
That Bible, which belonged to the Tapleys, was open to page 1,500, which includes James 1:2-6, verses that address how to handle life’s sometimes difficult struggles.
It reads, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”
The verses have reportedly brought comfort to the family, with AOL reporting that David Tapley’s sister wrote, “Thank you Jesus for your message,” in a Facebook post published following the couple’s death.
The Tapeleys, longtime members of the Van United Methodist Church, were praised by fellow parishioners who said that the compassionate and caring couple will be greatly missed.
Don’t take this as a indicative of my feelings about the death of what sounded like a sweet old couple. What about the many people who weren’t killed? God just loves them more? Or God kills off innocent old people to prove some point?
I wonder what they all would have said if they found a copy of Tits & Ass magazine open to the centerfold.
“Look, everyone! It’s a sign from God! We must all of us get boob jobs and butt implants!”
The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.
Of course the Christian Right is blaming everyone else. Obama. Stopping prayer in schools. Homosexuality. Television. Higher hemlines. Gun control. Higher Education. Any education. The five-day workweek. You name it.
What they do not seem to want to face is the fact that so many people have had enough of their bullshit song-and-dance.
Growing up, Mr. Bostian was a good student, regular churchgoer and “unabashed nerd,” said Lee Allen, another of his close friends in adolescence.
“When you heard the name Brandon Bostian, the first thing you would think is trains,” Mr. Allen said in a phone interview on Thursday. “His walls were covered with pictures; he had several model sets. Sometimes we’d just go down to the tracks that ran through town and watch trains and shoot the breeze.”
Every Friday in high school, Mr. Bostian and friends would sit at the Memphis train station to watch the City of New Orleans passenger train arrive near midnight, then go for burgers at Dyer’s, a Beale Street landmark.
“We just loved everything about trains,” said Mr. Weir, a 32-year-old aspiring novelist. “If we were driving and got stopped by a train, it was not an inconvenience for us.”
At Mr. Bostian’s afterschool job as a reporter at the local weekly newspaper, The Bartlett Express, he loved covering “all things transportation,” said Stefanie McGee, who worked at the paper at the time.a
“I remember he would go on vacation with his family, and he wouldn’t talk about the vacation,” Ms. McGee said. “He would talk about the train — the subway, the trolley ride. He would bring back subway route maps.”
She added, “That’s how much he loved trains.”
Good student? Regular churchgoer? Under any other circumstances than simply being gay, even the loony Right would take a wait-and-see attitude.
The guy sounds like a regular nerd Boy Scout type if you believe the people who know him first-hand and not the wingnut cranks being egged on by their masters in the kook universe.
We will not know until we are told. Until then I withhold all judgment.