Friday, May 25, 2012

But It Was Just A Thought Experiment!

In my last post, I pondered the thought that the Religious Right's answer to the gay question was to make them so miserable that they would commit suicide.

But just a few days later, a Pastor Charles Worley of North Carolina offered his take on how to address the problem.

"I figured a way out — a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. But I couldn’t get it passed through Congress. Build a great big large fence, 150 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed ‘em, and– And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce."

Worley's little brain fart conveniently omits a number of important things.

First, an 18 year old homosexual put in an internment camp isn't going to die "in a few years."   Some of the younger ones could live for a half century or more in Worley's prison for "lesbians and queers."

Second, how does Worley propose to handle family members of gays who love them and resist their imprisonment.  Does Worley intend to have SWAT teams raid their homes and forcibly remove gays from their families?

Lastly, why does Worley assume that no more gays will be born after the current crop is walled off from the rest of society?  Will there be tests to identify gay children at a young age so that they can be put into special schools where they will receive reparative therapy to cure them of homosexuality?

While Pastor Worley clearly is a despicable human being and should be roundly condemned for his remarks, he clearly is not in any position to put his ridiculous proposal into action.  I look at Worley in his proper context, as being at the extreme end of a movement in this country to deny gay Americans their humanity and their right to equality under the law by denying them the right to marry, adopt children, serve in the military, or to hold a job without fear of being fired simply because of their orientation.  Gays being rounded up into internment camps is simply a bigoted hayseed Christian's wet dream that will never come true.  A Romney presidency that would reinstate DADT is a potential reality.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Do Right Wing Republicans Expect Gays to Commit Mass Suicide?

On the most recent episode of Bill Maher's Real Time, Maher asked, rhetorically as it turned out, what do Republicans expect gays to do, because they apparently don't want gays to have jobs, serve in the military, get married, or adopt children.

For some reason, it didn't occur to Maher to ask two of the guests on his panel who were conservative activists, Margaret Hoover and Grover Norquist, to answer the question.  Maher mentioned the flap over the hiring and abrupt departure of Mitt Romney's foreign policy adviser and openly gay Richard Grennell after Bible Thumpers like Bryan Fischer made a public stink about it.

And then we have James Lankford, Republican (of course!) representative from Oklahoma, who told ThinkProgress recently that it should be legal for an employer to fire an employee who is gay.  The irony in this is that if you look at Lankford's picture in the linked article, it looks like what you would expect to see in a phrase book dictionary next to the phrase "Queer as a three dollar bill."

I have an idea what Right Wing Christians would say to all this.   In short, the same thing that Stan in South Park told his gay dog Sparky, "Don't be gay!"

The thing is though, if you believe that being gay is a choice rather than an orientation that you are born with, then by the same token it should be okay to fire people based on their religious or political beliefs.  After all, those are choices too.

If gays are going to continue to insist on being, well, gay, then I guess the Right Wing strategy for dealing with them is to try to make their lives so miserable that they will just commit suicide, or, to paraphrase a phrase from Mitt Romney, they'll self-abort.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

That Other Christian America

Ed Brayton at Dispatches From The Culture Wars had a post the other day about a debate between Dinesh D'Souza (or as I like to call him, Dinesh D'Douchebag) and Susan Jacoby.  Brayton highlighted this excerpt from D'Souza's remarks:

If you look at the great social movements of American politics, not only the movement that led to the founding, which was driven in part by the First Great Awakening, but the movements that led to the temperance movement, the suffragette movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-slavery movement, there were not only waves of religious revival that often preceded and sometimes accompanied these movements, but the arguments in favor of these causes were made in explicitly religious terms.

But this cuts both ways, because the arguments for slavery were also made in explicitly religious terms.  

While figures on the Religious Right, like David Barton, like to claim that the United States was explicitly founded as a Christian nation, the Constitution of the United States is a secular document.  However, if the United States was this Christian nation that Barton and his ilk argue, then we have an example of what the Preamble to the Constitution would have looked like.  One need only look at the Preamble to the Constitution of the Confederate States of America:

We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

Besides explicitly invoking God, what else did the Confederate Constitution contain that the original Constitution did not?

Well, there's Article 4, Section 2, Paragraph 1:

The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

Then there's Article 4, Section 2, Paragraph 3:

No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs; or to whom such service or labor may be due.

We can also look at the concluding remarks of Confederate President Jefferson Davis's inaugural address:

...let me reverently invoke the God of our fathers to guide and protect us in our efforts to perpetuate the principles which by HIS blessing they were able to vindicate, establish and transmit to their posterity, and with the continuance of HIS favor, ever to be gratefully acknowledged, let us look hopefully forward to success, to peace, and to prosperity.

Well, we all know how that turned out.

My Proposed Blasphemy Law

In the mid-13th century, the future Byzantine emperor Michael Paleologos was charged with a crime.  The archbishop declared that if Michael were able to carry a red hot iron ball in his hands without burning them, it would prove his innocence.  Burned hands would be a sign of his guilt.  The astute Michael told the archbishop that he would gladly do so if only the archbishop personally handed him the hot iron ball.  After all, being a holy man of God, the archbishop obviously need not worry about his own hands being burned.  Needless to say, the archbishop declared that the charges were dropped.

Now on to the present.

The Kuwaiti parliament recently voted on a proposed law that would apply the death penalty to those found guilty of blasphemy against the Islamic faith.  However, perhaps in response to international pressure, it was softened a bit.

"The draft now includes a new clause which will mean the death penalty will only be applied if the person stands by their actions when questioned by a judge.

This would give defendants the opportunity to repent and face a prison term or a fine instead."

As an atheist, I object to blasphemy laws on two grounds.  The first and obvious reason is that I do not believe in the existence of a deity that can be insulted by humans.  What is going on with laws like these is that certain religious believers want to immunize their religion to public criticism or ridicule.  The second reason is that if such a deity exists that is offended by the mockery and insults of a mere human being, said deity can easily dispatch that person by sending down a fireball from the heavens to consume that person and thereby send a clear message to all other would be blasphemers.

That being said, I am a practical man.  If these primitive people want to have a blasphemy law, let them have one, on one condition.  Any person charged with blasphemy should have the right to request that God be the one to carry out the death sentence by lightning bolt within one hour of the imposition of the sentence.  If the time passes without the alleged blasphemer being struck dead, then all charges are dropped and the person walks free.  Or do these religious believers lack enough faith in their god to do the deed?