The recent Religious Rightist bullshit over transgender access to bathrooms continues. Christianists’ sanctimonious fury has only ramped up in light of the various criticisms that have been leveled at them. They just can’t handle being told they’re out of their fucking minds.
The latest example of their juvenile outrage is over the retail chain Target, which — in light of the laws and other assorted bellyaching the R.R. has thrown at transgenders — declared that they’re free to use any bathroom they want, in their stores (WebCite cached page). As the Christian Post reports, Christofascists have called for a boycott of Target (cached):
More than 392,000 people have signed an online pledge to boycott Target after the retail giant said that transgender employees and customers could use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, irrespective of their biological sex.
“This means a man can simply say he ‘feels like a woman today’ and enter the women’s restroom…even if young girls or women are already in there,” says American Family Association’s online #BoycottTarget pledge, which was launched after Target announced Tuesday, “We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
“Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims. And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women’s bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the pledge asks.
“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” says AFA President Tim Wildmon in a statement.
First, let me get something obvious out of the way: In spite of its name, the “American Family Association” does not represent “American families.” It represents “American Christofascists.” Moreover, the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled them a hate group (cached).
Second, note their laughably reductionist view of transgenderism: To the AFA it amounts to nothing more than “he ‘feels like a woman today’.” Last I knew, there was a lot more to it than just how someone feels on any given day.
I note, too, that after working to disparage transgenders and implying they’re all rapists or something, the AFA backpedaled from that:
“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” Wildmon clarifies.
Gee, thanks for that “clarification,” Timmie. Yeah, that makes it all clear … as clear as mud.
The Christian Post‘s headline for this article reads, “392,000 Signers Pledge to Boycott Retailer Target Over Transgender Bathroom Decision.” The large number of petition signers, presumably, grants this boycott veracity or something. That large a number of people simply must be right … right? Actually, no. It doesn’t work that way. This sort of thinking is known as “the bandwagon fallacy,” “appeal to the masses,” “the democratic fallacy,” or more formally, argumentum ad populum, and it’s fallacious. Lots of people can be, and often are, very wrong about things. So call me unimpressed with this 392,000 number. They could have said 392,000,000 and I still wouldn’t give a flying fuck what any of them think.
The objection that male sexual predators will use the pretense of being transgender in order to get into women’s restrooms so they can expose themselves or attack them, is just ludicrous. There’s no evidence that any of them ever have done so. As Chris Wallace of Fox News said earlier today, “bathroom laws” like the one that passed in North Carolina are “a solution in search of a problem.” What’s more, it would still be illegal for such a person to expose him/herself or attack someone in a restroom, whichever one they go into and regardless of whether or not s/he is transgender.
I also love how these so-called “conservatives,” who ordinarily would love to let American businesses run themselves however they wish without undue “government regulation,” somehow disapprove of what a private company is doing and want to pass legislation preventing them from doing so. What fucking hypocrites.
Look, I understand Christofascists are creeped out by transgenders. Yeah, I get it. Christianists don’t understand them. For that matter, neither do I. Nor do I expect I ever will understand what it means to be transgender. But do you know something? That doesn’t matter! I don’t need to “understand” transgenderism in order to realize that transgenders are people, too! They’re people who deserve to be treated like fellow human beings, and with dignity, not used as pawns in a religio-political game to acquire more power. What these putative “people of God” are doing in the name of their god — i.e. harassing transgenders, gays, and other “undesirables” — is horrific and inexcusable. They’d do well to re-read their own scriptures, particularly this little part:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
With all of this said, I plan to do more of my shopping at Target. Even if something costs a little more there. I encourage everyone to “reverse-boycott” this retail chain.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, american family association
, bathroom law
, bathroom laws
, christian right
, religious right
, target stores
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Good morning, Dear Reader. I’ve made another change to blog comments. Intense Debate worked well enough, but creating and editing comments with HTML markup (especially Web links) was problematic. So I switched to another, better (in my opinion) comment platform, which happens to be very common on the Web (and that means, any given commenter will already be familiar with it): Disqus.
You’ll have to have a Disqus ID in order to comment here, but that’s easy enough to do, so go ahead — comment away!
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: blog business
, blog comment
, blog comments
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The Roman Catholic Church is very good at conjuring excuses, especially for things it’s done. I’ve cataloged a large number of its — and its defenders’ — excuses for the worldwide “priestly pedophilia” scandal.
But that’s hardly the limit of the hierarchs’ excuse-making. Case in point: As Spain’s edition of The Local reports, the archbishop of Toledo blamed women for domestic violence (WebCite cached article):
The Archbishop of Toledo, Braulio Rodríguez, has caused controversy with a series of comments on domestic violence he made during a sermon.
The majority of cases of domestic violence happen because the woman’s partner “does not accept them” or “rejects them for not accepting their demands” he told the congregation.
He went on to lay the blame for many cases of domestic violence on the woman in the relationship.
“Often the macho reaction comes about because she asked for a separation,” the archbishop said, according to local newspaper, Periódico CLM.
This is another of those times when a Catholic official has carried on about a topic that he — by definition as a celibate — knows absolutely nothing about. One wonders why they repeatedly do so.
Photo credit: darkuncle, via Flickr.
Hat tip: Rational Wiki.
Tags: archdiocese of toledo
, braulio rodríguez
, catholic church
, domestic violence
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
, toledo spain
, victim blaming
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I blogged about the
gay oppression “religious freedom” laws recently passed in North Carolina and in Mississippi. Christianists in both states are ecstatic that they now have additional legal weapons to use against a class of person they despise. But there’s been something of a backlash. Businesses, for example, are boycotting both states.
But things ramped up when two famous rockers canceled shows in those states. Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in Greensboro, NC (WebCite cached article), and Bryan Adams canceled another in Biloxi, MS (cached).
As one would expect, the Religious Right is none too pleased about any of this. They view these counter-measures as a vile attack upon their beliefs and, in turn, their persons. They remain steadfast in their refusal to bend, and they continue to press the lie that these laws promote “safety.” For example, as The Hollywood Reporter explains, an NC Congressman went after Springsteen over his Greensboro cancelation (cached):
A U.S. congressman who represents portions of Greensboro, N.C., is accusing Bruce Springsteen of being a “bully,” after the rock star canceled a concert there to protest a new law that’s being described as anti-gay.
“It’s disappointing he’s not following through on his commitments,” said Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican freshman congressman.…
“Bruce is known to be on the radical left,” continued Walker, “and he’s got every right to be so, but I consider this a bully tactic. It’s like when a kid gets upset and says he’s going to take his ball and go home.”
Walker explains the reasoning behind this law:
“I choose to stand with our sheriffs, who support this bill, which doesn’t target the LGBTQ community; it targets imposters,” said Walker. “It’s a little crazy to think sexual predators wouldn’t be devious enough to pull something off if they were free to go into any bathroom they want.”
There are some problems with this rationalization. First, just because sheriffs support a bill doesn’t automatically make it a good law. Second, there are already laws against “sexual predators” and this one does nothing to stop any of them (since, unless police are posted at restroom doors to prevent entry, it can be enforced only after-the-fact, and by that time a true sexual predator could already have attacked someone). Third, this justification assumes that transgender folks are “sexual predators” in disguise, which isn’t generally true. Yes, I suppose a criminal might pose as transgender, but how often does that really happen? Can Walker or anyone else show it’s common enough to merit such a law? I haven’t seen any statistics along these lines, just a lot of innuendo and slander against gays and transgender folks.
Oh, and it’s nice how Walker dismisses Springsteen as a “radical leftist” and a “bully.” He doesn’t seem to realize his own fellow Religious Rightist movement is, in its own way, also quite “radical” and guilty of a lot of “bullying” of its own. What a fucking hypocrite! I hope he understands his own Jesus explicitly forbid him ever to be hypocritical, at any time or for any reason.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: bathroom law
, biloxi MS
, bruce springsteen
, bryan adams
, christian right
, greensboro NC
, homosexual laws
, mark walker
, north carolina
, religious freedom laws
, religious right
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Note: There’s a little more to say about this story; see below.
As I’ve frequently discussed, the problem with religions is that there’s really nothing supporting anything they teach. Since they all move in the world of metaphysics, it’s generally impossible to confirm them. Believers in a religion, therefore, are usually left foundering in a sea of insecurity. They have few means to relieve this insecurity.
The most common such tactic is communal reinforcement; i.e. they all get together and collectively reassure each other that their religion is true. This might seem like a form of social circular reasoning, and a virtual open-door to delusion, and it is … but it’s a remarkably effective way of relieving the insecurity of adhering to a package of metaphysics.
Even so, it can only provide just so much reassurance. After all, if one looks around and sees the very same people (e.g. the members of one’s own church) all the time, the apparent confirmation they offer each other begins to seem hollow. It’s necessary to expand that pool of mutual-reassurers from time to time; and what’s more, the process of convincing someone to join a religion s/he hadn’t been part of, is another kind of confirmation that can be extremely compelling.
Hence, a lot of religions put a strong emphasis on proselytizing, and some of their followers can essentially become addicted to it. A great example of this is an Indiana state trooper, as WXIN-TV in Indianapolis reports, whose compulsion to proselytize during traffic stops has left him unemployed (WebCite cached article):
Indiana State Police terminated a trooper Thursday after a second complaint in 18 months that he was preaching to citizens after stopping them for traffic violations.
State police say this was in direct violation of an August 2014 counseling statement where Senior Trooper Brian L. Hamilton, 40, was told in writing, “During the course of his official duties, S/Trp. Hamilton will not question others regarding their religious beliefs nor provide religious pamphlets or similar advertisements.”
The most recent traffic stop happened in January of this year, but Hamilton was sued in September of 2014 in a similar case, which was settled.
That’s right, this is Hamilton’s second ride on this particular merry-go-round. He was already caught once doing something he shouldn’t, was documented as having been instructed not to do it again, but then proceeded to do it anyway.
As one would expect in cases like this, Hamilton is defiant and unrepentant:
FOX59 spoke with Hamilton over the phone after news broke of his termination.
“Oh well…I’m just following what the Lord told me to do and you can’t change what the Lord tells you to do. So if the Lord tells me to speak about Jesus Christ, I do. And that’s why they fired me so that’s where we’re at,” he said before disconnecting.
Yes, it’s true, he is doing what his deity instructed in what is known as “the Great Commission”:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
So that provides Hamilton a ready excuse for indulging his compulsion to reassure himself of the veracity of his unfounded religion. It also provides him what he will consider justification for him proselytizing during traffic stops — as a Christian, by this scripture, he’s been explicitly instructed to spread his religion. He and his lawyers will, I’m sure, sue the state of Indiana on the grounds that his “religious freedom” was infringed, and the Great Commission, I’m equally sure, will be their Exhibit 1 in that case.
The problems with what Hamilton did are myriad, though, and are quite obvious. Quite aside from simply offending people who don’t want to be pelted with his Christianity during a traffic stop, it places those he stops in untenable positions, and can create conflicts of interest. First, someone who has no intention of doing so may promise Hamilton that s/he will go to his church, just to get out of a ticket; but what happens a few weeks later when s/he hasn’t shown up? Hamilton has that driver’s information, and could track him/her down later. I dare not think how that might work out! Second, what happens if the driver responds some other way, such as saying s/he won’t go to his church (whether because s/he isn’t religious, or is already committed to some other faith)? That driver risks offending Hamilton so that, perhaps, he might treat him/her more harshly. Moreover, what would Hamilton have done if he’d stopped someone who attended his own church? Might he have let that driver go without taking any action?
Put simply, Hamilton’s proselytizing compromises his job and, in turn, how the Indiana State Police relate to the public. It’s just not something they can tolerate.
In addition to suing Indiana over his firing, I also predict Hamilton will also go on the Christian lecture circuit, whining to rapt church audiences how he was fired for Jesus and simply because he “offended” people. His Christianist audiences will, no doubt, sympathize, and wonder what the problem is; why shouldn’t drivers want to hear Jesus’ gospel during traffic stops? After all, Hamilton is just looking out for their mortal souls and providing them what they need. How dare he be fired for having “offended” people?
I won’t even address the (poor) ethics of proselytizing to a captive audience … which is what a driver whom Hamilton has stopped, is. Christianists generally dismiss this particular issue; they happily proselytize in all sorts of closed settings, such as in prisons, schools, etc. It never occurs to them that it’s an underhanded tactic.
These Christianists won’t understand — or worse, will simply refuse even to begin to comprehend — what I explained above, which is that “offending” stopped drivers is the least of the problems which result from what Hamilton did. All they care about is their precious Jesus and making sure everyone else worships him as they do. Because really, what this boils down to is, Christianists are both selfish (seeing things only in their own way and never through anyone else’s perspective) and infantile (always demanding they run things whereas no one else is permitted to have any say in anything, ever).
P.S. I love how proselytizers like Hamilton always assume people have never heard of their Jesus … as though someone could have lived in the US for at least 16 years (thus being eligible to drive) yet never have heard of him. No American of driving age can possibly fail to know about Jesus, period. So why do Hamilton and his ilk think they have? I’ve never understood this assumption.
Update: Former trooper Hamilton truly is the unrepentant militant Christianist I’d assumed he is, as this story by WRTV-TV in Indianapolis reveals (cached). He’s a “soldier for Jesus” who’s simply following the commands of his Almighty. The poor little thing just can’t help but shove his Jesus down the throats of drivers he stops. Also, as I’d assumed, he clearly has a cadre of supporters who are just as unrepentantly militant as he is. I expect an uproar over his firing.
Photo credit: Indiana State Police, via Indianapolis Star.
Tags: brian hamilton
, brian l hamilton
, great commission
, indiana state police
, mt 28:19-20
, proselytizing trooper
, religious freedom
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I’ve blogged a few times about how perilous it is to be an outspoken secularist or even atheist in Bangladesh. It seems al Qaeda has joined in with this fierce Islamofascist crusade; CNN reports that al Qaeda has taken responsibility for the latest such killing (WebCite cached article):
Ansar al-Islam, the Bangladesh division of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, or AQIS, has claimed responsibility for the recent killing of blogger Nazimuddin Samad, the jihadist monitoring group SITE reported Friday.
Machete-wielding attackers in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka killed Samad, 26, the sixth secularist writer or publisher to be killed in the city in the last 14 months.
Police said the attack late Wednesday on Samad, a master’s student at Jagannath University, was planned.
“He was on his way back home from his evening classes when he was circled by a group of three to four people,” said Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Nurul Amin of the Dhaka Police.
“First the attackers hacked Samad with machetes, then shot him.”
Police said the attackers then fled the scene on motorcycles. No arrests have been made.
Bangladeshi students took to the streets to protest against the brutal killing.
While I appreciate the protests (and this certainly isn’t the first such occasion), what’s disturbing is the reason they occur: The government of Bangladesh doesn’t really do much about these killings. They largely view the killing of outspoken secularists as a natural and understandable consequence of their outspoken secularism. In response to Samad’s assassination, as the (UK) Daily Star reports, a Bangladeshi minister has decided to investigate his writings rather than his killing (cached):
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal today said that the write-ups of the slain secular activist Nazimuddin Samad are needed to be scrutinised to see whether he wrote anything objectionable about religion.
He underscored the need for scrutiny in an interview with BBC Bangla Service while asked about possible cause behind the killing.…
“I cannot say right now why it happened or what exactly happened. I need to gather information first,” the minister responded, when asked about the murder that took place Wednesday night.
“It is needed to see whether he has written anything objectionable in his blogs.”
They do this because they’d rather pacify the Islamofascists than stop them. This is actually a very common response to militancy of any sort, because after all, it’s easier to capitulate in the face of violent bullies than it is to stand up to them and even fight them if needed. In the case of secularist bloggers being killed, it’s easier to blame them for their deaths than it is to go after their killers. That this “strategy” (which really isn’t any strategy at all) allows militants to take over, doesn’t seem to occur to anyone.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
Photo credit: CNN.
Tags: al qaeda
, al qaeda in the indian subcontinent
, asaduzzaman khan kamal
, blogger executions
, islamist terror
, islamist terrorism
, nazimuddin samad
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There’s a paper published not far from me, that I read from time to time, the Torrington (CT) Register Citizen. A few years ago I noted — and documented several examples of — that paper printing a lot of “hauntings as news” stories. Of course, they’re not the only ones guilty of that bad journalism trope. Thankfully I haven’t seen them do too much of that lately. So that’s an improvement.
But today I see they ran another specious story, though of a different kind. This article is a puff-piece promoting a Litchfield, CT naturopath/chiropractor and his so-called “practice” (WebCite cached article).
I don’t plan to quote any of what amounts to a press release for this woo practitioner. Instead, I offer a few observations:
First, one must understand that naturopathy is a pseudoscience (aka “phony medicine” or “quackery”) based on something called “vitalism.” Chiropractic is similarly pseudomedical, based on the notion that “subluxations” in the spine cause all disease. There’s zero evidence supporting either vitalism or the subluxation-of-the-spine model of disease … but that doesn’t stop quacks like this. They’ll happily reel off any number of tales in support of their woo and nonsense.
Next, the guy complains about conventional medicine making money, as though the profit motive destroys its credibility or something. The problem is, quacks like him themselves make money, themselves, peddling their phony cures. He lampshades this by saying he’s not wealthy, but does admit he makes something, which basically invalidates his whole “making-money-on-medicine-means-it-can’t-be-any-good” argument.
In truth, no remedies — whether real or phony — are given away for free! Everyone who offers any kind of cure, does so with his/her hand out. It’s unavoidable. And all by itself, it doesn’t tell us anything about the effectiveness of the cure.
This guy is also an anti-vaxxer … and the less said about that, the better, because that movement was established by a con artist. Yes, a fraud.
This “practitioner” wants people to think for themselves and question what they’re told by conventional medicine. Questioning things is a principle I support wholeheartedly. The problem is … before one can productively question something, one must first know something about it … the more, the better. Most people are not educated in medicine, though, which means that any questioning they may do of conventional medicine, could easily go off the rails. (The popularity of the antivax movement is a sterling example of this.)
A year and a half ago, Connecticut “modernized” naturopathy practices and expanded what naturopaths can do (cached). This guy, no doubt, is profiting from that. Yes, I said “profiting.” As in, “making money.” Something the article suggests is bad for healers to do.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, litchfield CT
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