Friday, June 22, 2012

Links and Stories of Note

I've been incredibly confused about my posting schedule on various blogs lately, readers, so please pardon my apparent inability to adhere to anything resembling a timetable. Today I bring you a collection of links and stories I've been gathering for the past several weeks. Some of them are rather out-of-date at this point, having been "resolved" or otherwise become old hat, but I'm leaving them in here because they're a good illustration of the kind of tone American culture has been taking lately. In case the following doesn't make it clear: the tone is decidedly anti-feminist.

First, I bring you an article about a Catholic nun's book on spirituality and sexuality. It's pretty standard fare, since religious scholars and philosophers are always pondering what "the rules" were, are, and should be, but I'm amused by this one in particular because the Vatican condemned it and thus guaranteed its bestseller status (of course). Take that, sex-phobic oppressors!

Next is a victory here in Colorado Springs, that bastion of head-in-the-sand religious conservatism, where one of our school districts has managed to pass an anti-discrimination policy to protect students on the basis of gender identity and expression. This is a HUGE deal, notably because trans students have it rough everywhere but especially in a cis paradise like this one, and the general tenor of debate across the country has been that protecting gender identity and expression is somehow a way of caving to special interest groups. It's nice to have a formal entity stand up to that perspective and grant those protections anyway.

A less victorious link is the proposal to build an anti-abortion monument/glorification centre in Wichita, Kansas. It's designed to incorporate a "wailing wall"- yes, designed after the world-famous wailing wall in Jerusalem- and will cost somewhere in the vicinity of millions of dollars. And you know what? That's a pile of horse shit. Kansas, as a state, has a terrible record with abortion providers (namely, killing them) and providing supportive services for babies born to low-income families. Maybe instead of wasting so much time and money on a glorified hate structure, the church that's behind all this could redirect that energy towards- oh, I don't know- actually doing something to support families with young babies? Increasing access to health care, food, clothing, child care, and information? You know, actually doing Christ's work? The hypocrisy in this is mind-blowing.

Another one in the "ugh" category also comes to us from Kansas. This one is a measure that made its way through the state legislature and permits religious organizations to ignore- yes, IGNORE- anti-discrimination ordinances that violate their beliefs. What does this mean? It means that someone could be fired for being gay. It means that a professor at a university could refuse to acknowledge or educate a trans student. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's the text of the bill. Luckily it managed to avoid passage, but here's something important to remember: religious freedom does NOT mean that a religious organization can stomp all over the civil rights of others. DONE.

Finally, a quick note on the power of the internet: a store undergoing construction in a New Jersey mall put up this sign for patrons, apparently thinking that sexism and sexual harassment are funny. Fortunately, someone complained about it on Facebook and the outrage went viral. The store has since taken down the sign (yay!) but apparently is still managed by people (or being renovated by people) who don't have enough humanity to stop themselves from making such bad decisions in the first place.

That's enough for this week! Tune in for more up-to-date rants and raves next time.

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