Left In Lowell

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February 11, 2006

Reframing Environmentalism to the Religious Right

by at 11:09 am.

“I give you dominion over the earth” says God in the Bible (all right, not an exact quote, I haven’t been to church since I was a teen). And this passage is often given by the Religious Right as an excuse to abuse, pollute, and otherwise exploit nature.

Talk to Action’s cyncooper puts it this way in the title to his post: “Baby Trap: Why Anti-Environmental Evangelicals are Pro-Life Hypocrites.” This subject, of course, must be discussed in the new context of the Evangelical Climate Initiative recently publicized all over the place, for which these evangelical leaders are taking a lot of flack from their own side.

By the way, I want to point out that anyone interested in the intersection of religion and politics really ought to read Talk to Action. It’s a highly intelligent cadre of writers in one place, talking about the far Right, Dominionism (if you don’t know what that is, you ought to), and how to take back the country from those who use religion to further political ends.

February 10, 2006

I Respectfully Withdraw From Paying Taxes

by at 7:12 pm.

No really, it’s getting to that point. I can’t believe how much stupid, wasteful, hurtful, deadly, unjustified horsecrap my federal tax dollars are going to.

Where are all the goddamned conservatives who claim they are sick of seeing their tax money wasted? This is so much worse than a $200 hammer. It’s millions to big pharma for overpriced pills, billions for a deadly and unjustified war, and $500 million to anti-gay groups to “promote and strengthen opposite-sex marriage.” Here is THE quote you should read (bold mine):

Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Wade Horn said that the financial windfall is not intended to specifically oppose same-sex marriage, although the President is a major supporter of a proposed amendment to ban gay marriage in the Constitution.

Horn said, however, that none of the money could be used to promote or support same-sex marriage in Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal.

So. Unconstitutional. I’m sputtering maledictions as I write this. This sort of cherry-picking of “causes” to fund with this faith-based initiative crap is exactly why the state should not be involved with religion.

Right now, I totally respect anyone brave enough to refuse to pay their taxes. Probably about 90% of it is going to shit with this bunch. Animals.

[Via Queer Today.]

November 8, 2005

Must See TeeVee

by at 6:19 pm.

If you’re chewing your nails waiting for election day returns tonight (go, vote, only a few hours left!), then you should tune in tonight to Frontline at 9pm on Channel 2 (WGBH). They’re going to be presenting “The Last Abortion Clinic” - a rundown on the religious right’s assault on abortion clinics, focusing on Mississippi, where there is only one abortion clinic left in the entire state.

I’m off to help maanav and the amazing technicolor UTEC crew with their get out the vote activities.

October 24, 2005

Religious “Pharmacist” Turns Away Desperate Rape Victim

by at 3:47 pm.

I’m going to say this one time: AMERICA, WAKE THE HELL UP.

I don’t believe in using CAPS to “shout” unless it really needs to be shouted. I’m shouting. And you should be, too.

Because this is the America in which they, the religious right minority, want you to live.

After a sexual assault one recent weekend, a young Tucson woman spent three frantic days trying to obtain the drug to prevent a pregnancy, knowing that each passing day lowered the chance the drug would work.

While calling dozens of Tucson pharmacies trying to fill a prescription for emergency contraception, she found that most did not stock the drug.

When she finally did find a pharmacy with it, she said she was told the pharmacist on duty would not dispense it because of religious and moral objections.

“I was so shocked,” said the 20-year-old woman, who, as a victim of sexual assault, is not being named by the Star. “I just did not understand how they could legally refuse to do this.”

Readers should be grateful that I’m only using mild four-letter words.

Look, I have no problem with people who are pro-life. You have your beliefs, I understand that. I have family members who are passionately against abortion as much as I am passionately for a woman’s right to choose (whether or not to have one). But abortion, and the morning after pill, is LEGAL, SAFE, and it is NOT, I repeat, NOT the place of a pharmacist to decide FOR me or my doctor, or anyone else. Not now, not ever. Not unless you change the constitution and we go back to the dark, terrible days of back-ally abortions and arresting doctors who only want to help their desperate patients. And I have news for those of you who do want to outlaw it once again: You are not the majority of people in this country. You will not, in the end, prevail.

You will hurt a lot of people by your “moralizing” from behind the counter, behind the bench, and behind the law. But mark my words: you will make no friends with your fascist-religious goals. You will, now or later, be sent back to the very fringes of political society, where you belong. I will not stop fighting until this has come to pass.

(Via AMERICAblog.)

Update: Add THIS to the outrage:

Target is claiming the 1964 Civil Rights Act gives their employees the right to do whatever they want to any customer so long as the employee claims their actions are motivated by their religion. Funny, but when we studied civil rights in law school, I don’t remember that section of the Civil Rights Act.

Here’s what Target is saying, then read my analysis below:

Target consistently ensures that prescriptions for emergency contraception are filled. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we also are legally required to accommodate our team members’ sincerely held religious beliefs as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the unusual event that a Target pharmacist’s sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with filling a guest’s prescription for emergency contraception, Target policy requires our pharmacists to take responsibility for ensuring that the guest’s prescription is filled in a timely and respectful manner. If it is not done in this manner, disciplinary action will be taken.

Now, the 1964 Civil Rights Act certainly does protect religious folks against discrimination in the workplace. But the kind of discrimination it refers to would be, for example, Target saying “we’re not going to hire Christ killers,” or, “man we hate those Baptists, none of them get promoted at Target.” Yes, that would be illegal under the ‘64 act.

But Target is now saying, outright, that the 1964 Act covers any action a Target employee takes so long as the employee claims the action is motivated by his or her religion. Though, then they turn around and say that their religious employees have no such rights at all (see further down).

By that logic, a shop owner should be able to keep a Muslim out of his store - hey, he’s part of a wacky Christian sect that says all other religions are blasphemy and thou shalt have no dealings with them. A grocery store chain owner could, if he the had a thing against those “Christ-killers,” keep Jews from shopping at his outlets. Say, one might even imagine a KKK-Christian might cease to serve blacks because he believes they are a subhuman race. And one can easily manage to use the same logic to discriminate against gays.

I mean, why not stop at a woman’s right to make her own medical choices? Why not just let everyone discriminate - so long, of course, as they can justify it with their religious beliefs.

UPDATE II: And keep in mind, folks, these people are often the same ones that will not dispense birth control methods.

October 21, 2005

Boycott Target

by at 2:37 pm.

AMERICAblog ferrets out the true nature of the apparently very red Target. It stands to reason that the CEO really doesn’t mind that some of his employees might fail to fill prescriptions for legal birth control:

Over the years, Target CEO Robert Ulrich has donated:

- $71,353 to Republicans
- $3,660 to Democrats

Hmmm… that’s interesting.

Perhaps my favorite donation is the $5,000 he gave just two months ago to a PAC named “Every Republican is Crucial.”

Among other donations:

$1,000 to anti-gay bigot Mel Martinez, now the GOP Senator from Florida.
$1,000 to kinky-sex-cage-my-wife-please GOP Senate hopeful from IL Jack Ryan.
$3,000 to Bush-Cheney ‘04
$1,000 to Bush for President 2000
$1,000 to Elizabeth Dole for President 2000
$603 to the Republican National Committee
$1,000 to Robert Dole for President 1996

The only Dems he’s given to in nearly 20 years, according to the online records, are Amy Klobuchar and Tim Penny from Minnesota. Yeah, big hitter’s, those two.

That’s it, I’m done shopping at Target. I love the stuff there, it’s higher quality without the high price (which probably means just a better set of child labor, but I digress). I will send them a letter and call them to tell them so. Not one more dollar to people whose actions every day brings us closer to being ruled by the American Taliban.

October 20, 2005

BREAKING: Christian Right threatens to take over Maynard high school radio station!

by at 11:25 am.

This alert was just sent to me by a friend and colleague in the state, and serves as a wake up call to us all - even here in good ol’ blue liberal Massachusetts, the theocratic wing of the Right is trying to get footholds. This is a source I trust.

Here’s the relevant info from his new blog Theocracy Sneaks In, which he was prompted to start when he heard about this:

I have started this blog to aggregate news concerning the activities of the Christian supremacist right in Massachusetts. There has lately been much talk on the left about the American Christian right and its will to forcibly impose theocracy on America.

Do I use that word “theocracy” lightly ? No, I study the Christian right, and I use it clinically. It the correct term to use here.

The Christian supremacist right is on the move everywhere in the US, and it is on the move in Massachusetts. To even perceive this requires a less than casual knowledge of how the movement functions, of its strategies and tactics - and the left has so far shown a great reluctance to invest the time necessary to acquire this knowledge.

Getting down to immediate issues :

My impetus for this blog was simple - a Boston Herald story concerning an FCC decision to strip a radio broadcasting license from a Maynard, Mass., high school radio station and award that license to a Houston Texas based Christian broadcasting network.

It’s not just any Christian broadcasting network though - it’s the cutting edge of a campaign to bring a militant new Christian right theology of war to Mass.

But there is a difference, a huge one, between the Christianity I was raised in and the newly ascendant Christianity marked by the theology of “Dominionism” - which holds that Christians should rise up and forcibly seize political power.

Texas was the first state in the US where the Christian Dominionist movement gained political power - by talking over the Texas GOP from moderate and secular factions.

So, does it matter that the FCC has pulled a radio license from a school to award it to a church ? Yes, and on several counts.

Please read the whole post. This is serious stuff folks, and something we in Massachusetts think happens “down there” in places like Texas. As progressives, we cannot allow theocratic interference with our democracy, plain and simple. That is what these people advocate. Imagine living in a country much like Iran, or worse. That’s their end goal. The only way to combat this movement is to shine the light of day on it.

September 19, 2005

Can the Church Get Any More Backwards?

by at 10:22 am.

Once again, someone is claiming homosexuals = pedophile. This time, though, it’s the always-inappropriate Roman Catholic Church. Does anyone wonder why I’m a completely lapsed Catholic? Wake up and smell the evil, people! These people are completely nuts.

Maniscalco said the homosexuality question is appropriate, given the ‘’preponderance of [abuse] victims of the male gender.”

‘’Celibacy is a challenge to everybody, but is it a special challenge to the homosexual?” he asked. ‘’Is the pastoral situation of the training something that might be conducive to discomfort on the part of heterosexual or homosexual candidates? In a situation where you have an all-male priesthood, is that significant in terms of the ability of people to go through the training? Is it fair to create a situation where there might be a subculture? These are the kinds of questions that have to be asked.”

The seminary study was requested by American cardinals in April, 2002, when they visited Pope John Paul II to discuss the exploding sexual abuse crisis.

The church is looking into the question of homosexuality because some church officials believe there is a link between a high number of gay men in the priesthood and a high incidence of sexual abuse. But specialists say there is no evidence for such a link.

‘’There is no evidence that a male homosexual is any more risk to a boy than a male heterosexual is to a girl, and one of the problems within the church is that they are confusing the issue of homosexuality with the issues of child abuse and pedophilia,” said Dr. Fred S. Berlin, an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

If you teach young priests in their prime that sex is bad, bad and wrong and shame, shame on you for having feelings for other adults, and you give them no tools for which to deal with completely human urges in a celibate life, those desires warp you inside and you do terrible things, and kids are powerless and easy victims. I’m willing to bet a good number of the pedophile priests were not gay, but access to young boys was effortless - they were alter boys and choir singers and no one would believe them anyway, right? We forget that as a society, we used to be much more protective of girls, and they did not serve in the RCC hierarchy much because after all, girls are much better seen and not heard from in our parents’ day.

Come on, is there really any reason to be a member of the RCC anymore? They still go so far as to disavow birth control. Even my dad, a devout Mass-attending man, disagrees with the Church on at least that issue. They aren’t relevant anymore. Time to dismantle the time-honored tradition of throwing people to the lions, folks. It’s the damned 21st century. [Via AMERICAblog.]

August 22, 2005

Pat Robertson Hates Democracy

by at 8:12 pm.

Not that too many people pay attention to Pat Robertson, but enough do to make his words part of the Right Wing Noise Machine. So, what’s ol’ Pat been up to lately?

Apparently, calling for assassinations of democratically elected leaders of other countries (video clip at link):

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he’s going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don’t think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United … This is in our sphere of influence, so we can’t let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

Bad enough Bush backed a military coup against Venezuela’s president. No matter how much you hate Chavez’s politics (guess what, he’s a leftist who doesn’t want greedy corporations controlling the country’s resources), he was democratically elected by voters - you know, that thing we want Iraqis to do (as long as they vote the way we want them to). Of course, our record-breaking vacationing president has a habit of backing militants against democratically elected leaders, so who’re we kidding? Poor, forgotten Afghanistan is in shambles. His supporters back down on insisting on a truly democratic constitution in Iraq, leaving women in a far worse situation than they were under Saddam (no one can argue they weren’t better off before we invaded, sorry folks), and say things like:

In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we’d all be thrilled. I mean, women’s social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they’re there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

No matter what way you slice it, Bush and his cronies are not pro-democracy, and never were. Democracy is the convenient excuse they use, when all the other excuses are exhausted (terrorism, security, WMD), to sell war to the American public so they can remake the world in their corrupt fat-cat image.

Yes, today is a Bush-is-pissing-me-off-day, even a Pat Robertson post turns into a rant.

Wake up, America! (Oh wait, they are.)

(Hat tip, AMERICAblog)

August 11, 2005

All Hail! His Noodleness Approaches!

by at 12:14 pm.

So the Kansas Board of Education (that oxymoron of a name!) voted yesterday to “weaken the role evolution plays in teaching about the origin of life.” The language of the decision is based on what so-called “Intelligent Design” advocates wanted.

Well, come on, this is a great and positive thing, folks! It opens the way for lots of other theories of the origins of life to be taught in the science classroom. For instance, the theory that all life began at the whim of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Yes, all things can be explained, including the apparent “scienced-up” age of the earth. All is as the almighty FSM decides, and if he wants to trick silly non-believers into thinking the dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, well, he goes ahead and does it.

Bobby Henderson, underling to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, has an open letter to the Kansas School Board, stating “Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.”

May you be forever touched by His Noodly Appendage.

(Found via the Stephanie Miller Show on the radio this morning.)

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