In case you hadn’t heard by now — and I assume most of my readers have — gay marriage is suddenly legal in a number of states (WebCite cached article). Naturally, this has brought the insanity out of the Religious Right, who just can’t tolerate the idea that gays should actually be allowed to live normal lives. I can hardly hope to catalog all the wingnutty craziness that has, and will, erupt from them over it. That would be impossible. Only Google has a data center with enough storage for that!
But I can report on one particular paranoiac reaction that defies history. It comes from the Bible Belt (er, Bobble Bay-elt) state of North Carolina; the Asheville Citizen-Times reports on some GOP functionaries’ reaction to a gay-pride flag flying over City Hall (cached):
A decision allowing that a two-story rainbow flag be flown at City Hall had more to do with supporting civil rights than jumping into political conflict over same-sex marriage, Mayor Esther Manheimer said Friday.…
Former City Councilman Carl Mumpower and Chad Nesbitt, a former chairman of the Buncombe County GOP, said council violated state open meetings law by not holding vote during an official meeting in public.…
Nesbitt and Mumpower in their statement included a depiction of a Nazi flag flying from City Hall.
“I am equating their methods with the Nazi movement,” Mumpower said. “They are indifferent to the rule of law and indifferent to the vote of the people. And that’s Adolph Hitler all over again in a different disguise.”
This is where I find it necessary to call a big fucking time out.
First, if the best these sanctimoniously-enraged good ol’ boys can come up with is to trot out an old reductio ad Hitlerum, their argument was over as soon as it began. The Right bellowing appeals to Hitler and the Nazis every time they’re confronted by something they don’t like, is exceedingly childish, and it’s long since gotten old. These guys desperately need new material — and fast.
Second, gay rights advocates absofuckinglutely are not Nazis, no matter how much one hates them. It’s not hard to understand why this is the case. It’s because, as I’ve blogged before, details matter. They have not taken over the federal government and then: 1) outlawed all other political parties; 2) nationalized state governments; 3) deployed their own militia out to control the streets; 4) abolished labor unions; or 5) arrested their opponents en masse and imprisoned them in concentration camps … just to name a few of the specific things the Third Reich did.
Third, Hitler and his minions in the Nazi party were certainly not friendly to gays. There is no goddamn fucking way they’d ever have flown a gay-pride flag over anything. Quite the opposite, they despised gays in every possible way! Gays were among those whom they first rounded up and imprisoned, then exterminated (along with Jews, Dom/Romani, and other minorities). One of the pretenses for Hitler killing Ernst Röhm, his head of the SA (i.e. the Sturmabteilung or “brownshirts”), was that he was gay. To suggest the Nazis might have done anything in support of gays, is contra-factual and idiotic.
Because of all this, I’m placing Mumpower and Nesbitt in my “lying liars for Jesus” club. I’m sure they’ll be happy to end up there, surrounded by lots of their fellow Christofascists who likewise have hurled ad Hitlerums around in ridiculous and juvenile fashion.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: I get it. Really. Honest, I do. I get that these hyperreligious nutcases don’t like gays. They don’t want to treat gays like human beings. They’d much rather not even know that gays exist. Gays creep them out. I understand that. I truly do. But … I don’t fucking care! The cold fact is that gays exist, they are human beings just like everyone else, and it’s fucking long past time for the world to accept it. These Religious Rightists don’t have to like it, and I doubt they ever will — but they do have to get over it and move on with their lives, fercryinoutloud. Just knock off the lying bullshit already.
Photo credit: PsiCop, based on original from quitor.com.
Hat tip: Raw Story.
Tags: ad hitlerum
, ad hitlerums
, appeal to nazis
, appeal to nazism
, argumentum ad hitlerum
, argumentum ad regnum tertium
, asheville NC
, carl mumpower
, chad nesbitt
, christian right
, gay marriage
, nazi party
, north carolina
, reductio ad hitlerum
, reductio ad regnum tertium
, religious right
, same-sex marriage
, third reich
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I recently blogged about male Hasidic Jews who threw a tantrum on a plane, and delayed a flight, because they refused to sit next to women. That’s not unusual for their wing of Judaism, since they’ve long refused to acknowledge the very existence of women. It’s also well-known that the Muslim world is home to similar sentiments.
While some Christians love to crow about this, and claim their treatment of women is so much better, the cold fact is that not all of them are very happy that women exist, either. Some Christian men also pretend women don’t exist and would wall themselves off from females, if they could. One cadre of godly Christian men who worked in a godly Christian school who felt that way, recently ran afoul of the law. The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, VA reports on what they did, and on their trial and conviction (WebCite cached article):
Four hours into trial, four former staff members of a Caroline County boarding school changed their pleas to guilty and were convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery.
Fredericksburg residents Liam Galligan, 44, Jovany Rivera, 22, Timothy Jordan, 26, and 49-year-old William Honea were all given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to have no contact with any of the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing in Caroline circuit court.
Three of the men were prohibited from teaching at a school with minors for the next five years. Galligan, who had served as the interim director at Abundant Life Academy, was prohibited for teaching minors for 10 years.
The men were accused of committing a continuous assault on a 14-year-old male student at Abundant Life on Feb. 14 of this year.
The Free Lance-Star explains the reason for this attack:
The victim testified that after the three-hour assault, he was awakened every 90 minutes as part of his punishment for “talking to a girl,” which wasn’t allowed.
Defense attorneys simpered and whined that the court prevented them from explaining what happened and defending their clients … however, that’s because their clients stopped the trial after the prosecution rested and chose to plead guilty! In other words, their clients are, themselves, responsible for their own failure to explain what they’d done! (This kind of nerve and nonsensicality isn’t uncommon in defense attorneys. They live in a strange, alternate universe of their own; it’s best not to try understanding it, lest one go insane in the attempt.)
A better explanation for why these guys decided to cop a plea in the middle of their trial, is the evidence the prosecution offered, including a video — courtesy of WTVR-TV in Richmond VA (cached):
As it turns out, according to WTVR, this trial wasn’t the last of this case:
Investigators said their investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed. In fact, deputies said Galligan faces 12 counts of child endangerment. He’s accused of making teenage boys stand in a swamp for extended periods of time.
I get that the students in this school were supposed to have been “troubled,” and a certain amount of rough handling might ensue from time to time; but I just can’t see how this kind of punishment can possibly be appropriate for a “crime” as trivial as “talking to a girl.” Please, enough of this already! Isn’t it time for religious nutcases to fucking grow the hell up and deal with the fact that human beings come in two varieties, male and female, and that the two occasionally will interact? What part of this is so damned impossible to accept?
P.S. I love the “12-month suspended sentence” which is, essentially, no sentence at all. Sure, the sentence also included injunctions against working in schools for periods of time, but that latter provision is the very least the judge could have ordered. The judge also ought to have ordered prison time — and by that, I mean real time, not just 30 days or something ridiculously light — ought to have been doled out for this child abuse. But alas, dis here is ol’ Virginny, ya see, ‘n’ ah reckon da judge don’ wanna put away a few good ol’ boys fer jus’ doin’ da Lord’s work, y’all.
Photo credit: WTVR-TV.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
Tags: abundant life academy
, caroline county VA
, caroline cty VA
, fredericksburg VA
, jovany rivera
, liam galligan
, timothy jordan
, william honea
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Conservatives have strange ideas about how teaching works. For instance, a lot of them think teaching evolution in science classes — which is currently the only known scientific explanation for our planet’s diverse life forms — is a form of persecution against Christianity and part of an effort to abolish that religion. Also, a lot of them think teaching kids things like slavery will cause kids to hate their country or something. They also worry that teaching kids about things will somehow force them to do them; e.g. teaching kids about communism will convert them to communism.
That the teaching of history, in particular, doesn’t work the way conservatives think it does, should be rather obvious. For instance, my 4 years in university learning medieval history didn’t make me into a crossbowman, swordsman or jouster, even though I learned about medieval military methods and read about a lot of tournaments.
An example of the outright-fucking insanity that erupts when conservatives get their hands on history curricula can be seen in this report by the New York Times on recent actions by the Jefferson County, Colorado school board (WebCite cached article):
A new conservative school board majority here in the Denver suburbs recently proposed a curriculum-review committee to promote patriotism, respect for authority and free enterprise and to guard against educational materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder.” In response, hundreds of students, teachers and parents gave the board their own lesson in civil disobedience.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students from high schools across the Jefferson County school district, the second largest in Colorado, streamed out of school and along busy thoroughfares, waving signs and championing the value of learning about the fractious and tumultuous chapters of American history.
“It’s gotten bad,” said Griffin Guttormsson, a junior at Arvada High School who wants to become a teacher and spent the school day soliciting honks from passing cars. “The school board is insane. You can’t erase our history. It’s not patriotic. It’s stupid.”
The Times article explains that the board’s conservative majority (3 to 2) has been stirring up trouble for several months, including driving out a 12-year superintendent. They’re really angry, and appear to have fallen for the prevailing conservative myth that public schools are nothing more than Marxist indoctrination camps.
In addition to the false notion that teaching kids about civil disobedience will force them all to become perpetually “civilly disobedient,” they appear to forget that civil disobedience has been used to promote conservative ideals and even to bring about changes that American conservatives approve of. Have they forgotten so soon about things like a western Rightist’s decades-long unrepentant refusal to obey federal law (cached) — a sterling example of civil disobedience if ever there was one? Or about the “Brooks Brothers riot” (in which Rightists working for G.W. Bush campaign used civil disobedience to try to derail the 2000 election recount in Florida)? Or have they forgotten about protests around the world, especially in eastern Europe, that toppled many communist regimes in 1989? Or even that many of their own number want the incumbent president removed from office, and wouldn’t object to civil disobedience or even revolt in order to make that happen?
My guess is, they’re blissfully unaware of this. They tend to be authoritarian, and demand unthinking adherence to authority. That they sometimes, themselves, object to some authority figures just doesn’t register with them all that often. In other words, they’re hypocrites — fiercely decrying civil disobedience if they find it inconvenient, but using it like a tool whenever they feel as though they can. Wah wah wah, little babies.
Photo credit: PsiCop modification of Sue Ream photo, via Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: advanced placement history
, ap history
, arvada CO
, history curriculum
, jefferson county
, jefferson county CO
, jefferson cty
, jefferson cty CO
, public schools
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Air travel is a nightmare these days, as everyone knows. What with TSA’s laughable “security theater” antics — which includes making passengers take off their shoes, belts, and throw away their coffees and sodas at security checkpoints — there’s the problem of cramped flights jammed with cranky people. Well, a bunch of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men on a flight from JFK in New York to Israel recently did their best to make this already-bad situation much worse for their fellow passengers. This debacle, Canada’s Shalom Life reports, stemmed from the fact that none of them would sit next to a woman (WebCite cached article):
Passengers aboard an El Al flight from New York’s JKF airport to Israel claim that hundreds of ultra-Orthodox passengers demanded that they trade places with them before takeoff, saying they cannot sit next to women.
“It was an 11-hour long nightmare,” one of the passengers summed up her experience.…
According to the passengers who were on the plane, their fellow ultra-Orthodox travelers refused to sit next to women prior to the takeoff, which not only delayed the flight, but caused actual chaos to ensue on the plane.
“People stood in the aisles and refused to go forward,” said Amit Ben-Natan, a passenger who was on board the plane.
“Although everyone had tickets with seat numbers that they purchased in advance, they asked us to trade seats with them, and even offered to pay money, since they cannot sit next to a woman. It was obvious that the plane won’t take off as long as they keep standing in the aisles.”
I’m not quite sure what horrific thing would have happened to any of these guys if they’d actually shut their faces and sat down next to women. Would they explode? Would they catch some kind of disease? Do they have “girl cooties” that the Haredi just can’t allow to infect them? What, exactly, is the point of this sort of juvenile and idiotic shit-fit? Someone please tell me, because I can’t figure it out. Perhaps that’s because I’m just a cynical, cold-hearted godless agnostic heathen and can’t comprehend such holy matters. Or whatever.
Something that didn’t help at all, was that the El Al flight crew actually indulged these incredible religionistic crybabies:
Passengers claimed that though the El Al flight crew informed them they do not have to agree to a switch, the flight’s captain said over the PA system that the flight would not take off as long as people were standing.
“This is completely inconsiderate of the non-haredi travelers. I don’t know many airlines that would allow their passengers to act like that,” said Bar Natan.
What Bar Natan said is true. I’ve never heard of any airline crew tolerating disruptive passengers, especially while a plane is still on the ground and they can kick the malcontents off easily.
Note that, even once the plane was in the air after they’d pitched their fit over the presence of women, the Haredi compounded it all by creating even more trouble while in transit:
It seems that after takeoff a large portion of the haredi travelers took to the isles to pray which, according to their fellow travelers, crowded the isles and caused the flight to be unbearable.
Again, it seems the flight crew indulged these guys because they allowed this to occur. Well done, El Al! How nice of you to bend over happily for your ultra-Orthodox brethren. Their irrational, childish, metaphysically-rationalized wishes, after all, are vastly more important than getting a plane in the air on time or making other passengers comfortable. The rest of the passengers must be treated like shit compared to the all-important Haredi. What they say goes, and everyone else can go fuck off. It’s mandatory … for some reason, again that I can’t fathom, and again that’s probably due to my being an insolent, cold-hearted godless agnostic heathen, not gifted with sacred insight into such godly matters.
Photo credit: Amit Ben Natan, via Shalon Life.
Hat tip: Peter at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.
, amit ben natan
, el al
, jfk airport
, separation of sexes
, ultra-orthodox jews
, ultra-orthodox judaism
, ultraorthodox jews
, ultraorthodox judaism
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The R.C. Church has been having trouble lately up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Archbishop John Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis has been dealing with a few controversies over the last year or so. But something else has come up. As Minnesota Public Radio reports, a Catholic parish’s musical director was fired because he married his same-sex partner (WebCite cached article):
Archbishop John Nienstedt has asked the music director of a parish in Victoria, Minn., to resign after learning that the man married his long-time male partner last weekend, according to a letter from the parish priest [cached].
“Our beloved Director of Music, Jamie Moore, married his long-time partner Garrett this past weekend,” the Rev. Bob White, of St. Victoria Catholic Church, wrote in a letter to parishioners posted on the parish website this week. “Since Jamie’s marriage conflicts with official Church teaching, Archbishop Nienstedt asked for Jamie’s resignation.”…
In a written statement to MPR News, Nienstedt said he was “consulted about the employment matter and I responded by saying the teachings of the Church must be upheld, including the pastoral response of working with an employee whose actions are contrary to the Catholic faith.”
Note that these two accounts differ a bit. Rev White explicitly says Nienstedt asked for Moore’s resignation; the archbishop said he’d merely been “consulted” about it. Thus, Nienstedt implies it was the priest, not himself, who requested the resignation. Although he doesn’t exactly deny any involvement in the decision, he does downplay his part in it. The priest’s account, on the other hand, doesn’t suggest his role was anywhere near that remote.
Note that his Excellency’s thinking on the matter is clouded by his wingnutty beliefs about gays, which MPR News helpfully relates:
[Nienstedt] has also said that “homosexual inclination is a result of some psychological trauma” that occurs before the age of 3.
I have no idea what evidence Nienstadt has to support this insane hypothesis. I’d love for him to divulge it — if he dares. I doubt he will, of course, since there probably isn’t any.
Given Nienstedt’s nuttiness on the subject of gays, his refusal to rein in child-abusing priests, and the possibility that he or someone who worked for him may have destroyed evidence of kiddie-porn possession by one of his priests, I suspect the liar here is Nienstedt and not the Rev White. Although I certainly can’t be sure of that.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News.
Tags: arcbhbishop john nienstedt
, archdiocese of st paul and minneapolis
, catholic church
, fr bob white
, gay marriage
, jamie moore
, john nienstedt
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
, st victoria parish
, st victoria parish family
, victoria MN
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You could say the archdiocese of Hartford is the gift that keeps on giving … for agnostic bloggers like myself, anyway. Some two and a half years ago, this is the outfit whose attorney, Jack Sitarz, achieved a new high in low, during a civil trial over child abuse by a priest, by not only claiming the abuse wasn’t harmful because the victims “liked it,” but then by doubling down on that claim later in the same trial. (This is in spite of the fact that minors cannot by law be construed as consenting to sexual activity. Even I know this, and I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not sure how Sitarz got away with it.) Fortunately, the jury didn’t fall for Sitarz’s nasty and reprehensible maneuver (WebCite cached article).
Well, the archdiocese isn’t done scraping up new ways to evade responsibility for the abuse that it knew Fr Ivan Ferguson had been guilty of. They’ve appealed the verdict, the Hartford Courant reports, and demand the Connecticut Supreme Court invalidate the law that allowed the suit in the first place (cached):
The Archdiocese of Hartford is seeking to have the state Supreme Court overturn a $1 million verdict in a priest sex abuse case while at the same time reversing a state law that extended the amount of time in which accusers may file a lawsuit against it.
In February 2012, a jury in Waterbury awarded a former altar boy $1 million after a trial in which the victim, identified in court papers as Jacob Doe, testified that he and another friend were repeatedly molested and sexually assaulted by the Rev. Ivan Ferguson and a friend of the priest.
The diocese is asking the Supreme Court to overturn that verdict based on a variety of claims — including that the trial judge erred by not allowing an expert witness to testify for the church and by allowing the jury to hear testimony from a deposition of Ferguson.
But the most controversial argument is the claim that a state law last updated in 2002 — bumping to 30 years the statute of limitations for when a victim of sexual abuse may file a lawsuit — is unconstitutional and should be stricken.
What the archdiocese conveniently leaves out of the discussion, is just how long ago it knew the abuse had been going on, and even after it knew about the abuse, purposely chose to put Fr Ferguson back in a place where he could abuse more kids:
At the trial, testimony showed that when former Archbishop John F. Whealon confronted him about the 1979 allegation, Ferguson admitted to the abuse. Ferguson was sent to a treatment facility in Massachusetts. Two years later, Whealon appointed Ferguson priest director of a Derby school.
Ferguson and his boyfriend were accused of abusing Doe and his childhood friend at, among other places, the rectory to which Ferguson had been reassigned in Derby. At the time of the abuse, from 1981 to 1983, the boys attended the school. Ferguson died in 2002.
Now, I know some of the Catholic Church’s defenders here in Connecticut. Most of them are convinced no Catholic clergy ever abused any kids; that plaintiffs and their lawyers fabricated claims solely to extort money from a totally-innocent Church. It’s all a pack of malicious lies, you see, cooked up by greedy trial lawyers. While I agree some trial lawyers are greedy, and also agree it’s possible some plaintiffs are exaggerating or lying for profit, the cold facts are:
- Clerical child abuse has occurred within the Catholic Church;
- It happened all over the world, not just in Connecticut;
- The Church hierarchy knew damned well it was going on;
- The bishops happily and giddily continued putting kids in harm’s way by redeploying abusive clergy all over the place;
- And they actively interfered with secular authorities’ efforts to prosecute it, stifling investigations and even refusing to obey mandatory-reporting laws.
So am I impressed with these apologists’ objections? Fuck no. I’m nowhere near as stupid as they seem to think I am.
It’s long past time the archdiocese of Hartford stopped making ridiculous excuses, such as “the victims liked it,” grew the hell up already, and owned up to what they did. In this case, that was was to knowingly put Fr Ferguson in a place where he could abuse Jacob Doe and his friend. Pitching fits and whining in court over “unfair” legislation, is not accountability, and not what anyone ought to expect of Jesus’ representatives on earth. If you’re a Catholic and don’t like hearing this … well, it’s time you fucking grew up too, and started holding your own Church accountable, even if your bishops refuse to do so on their own.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: archdiocese of hartford
, catholic church
, catholic clerical abuse
, catholic clerical abuse scandal
, catholic clerical child abuse
, child abuse
, clerical abuse scandal
, clerical child abuse
, connecticut supreme court
, derby CT
, fr ivan ferguson
, hartford ct
, ivan ferguson
, jack sitarz
, jacob doe
, northwest catholic high school
, rev ivan ferguson
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
1 Comment »
Several times I’ve blogged about Pope Francis diverging from established papal traditions, even when his own officials in the Vatican disapproved. Well, he’s done it again. The Pope married 20 couples today, Reuters reports, some of whom aren’t what one would call traditional candidates for marriage in the Catholic Church (WebCite cached article):
Pope Francis married 20 couples on Sunday, some of whom had already lived together and had children, in the latest sign that the Argentine pontiff wants the Catholic church to be more open and inclusive.
In the first wedding he has performed in his 18-month-old papacy, Francis took each couple through their vows in turn — including Gabriella and Guido, who already had children and thought such a marriage would be impossible, official broadcasting service Radio Vaticana said.
“The people getting married on Sunday are couples like many others,” the diocese of Rome said in a statement. “Some already live together, some already have children.”
I hadn’t realized it, but Popes marrying people is fairly rare, as Reuters explains:
The ceremony was the first of its kind in the Vatican since Pope John Paul II presided over a wedding in 2000, when he was the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.
I expect traditionalists within the Church will soon pitch fits over this. It wouldn’t be the first time, and as I said, the Pope doesn’t seem to mind such confrontations. Which is kind of a refreshing change from the past.
Photo credit: Reuters/Giampiero Sposito.
Tags: catholic church
, holy see
, pope francis
, roman catholic church
, vatican city
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