Saturday, November 22, 2008

More things I've been reading!

I keep finding these really cool pages, and I don't have time to turn these all into coherent entries about relevant stuff with insights from me (which I know you crave like the delicious crackity crack they are). However! I still wanted to share them. I kinda sorta tried to categorize them, though this doesn't always work perfectly.

Anyway! Have some stuff.


Quick Note: The Voters Who Like Wiccans

As more pollsters dissect Obama's win, we continue to get a trickle of interesting data points regarding modern Pagans. Conservative Christian polling organization The Barna Group has released their look at how "people of faith" voted in the 2008 election.

Faith and Works
Suppose you believed in a just and loving God, a God who had said the things I quoted above. And suppose you had taken it upon yourself to tell parents to throw their kids out onto the street, children to stop speaking to their "apostate" parents, and the various other things detailed in the Post story. The thought that you might be wrong might not worry you much if you didn't take God seriously -- if you just took Him to be a name you could toss around at will. But if you imagined that He was real -- a real other person who might or might not approve of the things you had done in His name -- then how could you not lie awake at night, wondering whether you had somehow mistaken His will? (...)

Again: taking God's name to justify all this wouldn't worry you if you didn't believe in God. But if you did, it would be terrifying. This is one of those cases in which I think that the actions of a religious person, though justified entirely in the language of faith, can best be understood on the assumption that the person in question does not really believe in God at all, in any serious sense.

What About Our Faiths?
"In Paganism, there is no sense of a norm in terms of a handfasted relationship. While the Church, and others keen to hold to a status quo, have been fearing for the future of marriage and the family with gay weddings and extended legal rights for couples cohabiting, the Pagan perspective is quite different. Tribe and family are of paramount importance, yet far more worrying than the increase in 'different' household arrangements is the ongoing decline in people's ability to craft intimate relationships at all." - Emma Restall Orr, "Living With Honour: A Pagan Ethics"

As a recently re-galvanized LGBT community and their allies take to the streets protesting the passage of California's discriminatory Proposition 8 (which bans same-sex marriage), editor Japhy Grant at the prominent gay blog Queerty asks an important question.

"I personally understand that for many Prop. 8 supporters, their beliefs are the most important thing in the world to them, that the idea of living without those beliefs would be too much to bear. Well, that's how we feel about our equal rights. We are not asking you to abandon your faith, just stop making the rest of the country bow before your altar. What of the faiths which bless same-sex unions? Are you not denying them their freedom? Freedom from religion means freedom for all religions (even the absence of it), not just freedom for your religion. Keep your beliefs, but leave our rights alone."

This very point is one I, and other prominent Pagans, have brought up at length. Proclaimed caretakers of "traditional" marriage are quick to raise the flag of "religious freedom", while completely ignoring the fact that numerous faiths are denied the right to legal recognition of their own holy unions.


What Marriage Is
No on 8 never showed us the thousands of families that were directly threatened by this amendment, and they started to to disappear from the minds of Californians. Whenever Yes on 8 said, "Family!" No on 8 said, "Rights!" And as we already know, the heart only sings in response to one of those songs, even when the words are all wrong.

When the people of California went into the voting booth, they compared the two sides. And these Californians knew, in their heart, that what marriage is isn't a right, it's a family. And so they voted for the side they thought cared about protecting families, because for many of them, the rights about mariage didn't make sense in their heart. And it's easy to deny a person something you don't understand, aren't sure exists, barely realize you have. By the time they left the booth, they thought they'd protected families, perhaps at the cost of, at most, some legal technicalities.

What they did is destroy families.

If I could go back in time and run the No on 8 campaign, I would put those families front and center. I would run the ad where parents say, "I want to teach my duaghter that she doesn't have to worry about the state taking her away if something happens"; "I want to teach my son that if something happens to his mother, I can take care of both her and him." I would let these families stand in front of the state and say, "We are in danger. Think about your family, and protect our family."

Because I wish that Californians had understood what I knew in my heart. That when they voted yes on Prop 8, they weren't voting about laws or rights or judicial activism or theology or lawyers or mayors or even tradition. They were taking daughters and sons and husbands and wives and sisters and brothers and uncles and nieces and aunts and nephews and grandparents and stepchildren and saying, "You. You over there. Not the other ones, just you. YOU ARE NOT A FAMILY. YOU NEVER WERE. YOU NEVER WILL BE."

Because that's what they did.

And so many of them still don't even understand that.

Why civil rights should not be put to a majority vote.
"The religious institutions that file this petition ... count on article XVIII to ensure that the California Constitution's guarantee of equal protection for religious minorities cannot be taken away without a deliberative process of the utmost care possible in a representative democracy. If Proposition 8 is upheld, however, the assurance will disappear-- for, just as surely as gay men and lesbians could be deprived of equal protection by a simple majority vote, so too could religious minorities be deprived of equal protection-- a terrible irony in a nation founded by people who emigrated to escape religious persecution."

Phear of buttsechs and strong wimmen
I've noted before that it was straights who redefined marriage (during the sexual revolution) and gays getting in on it is reminding people that traditional "husband" and "wife" roles are fast disappearing. The effort to "defend traditional roles" may be a proxy for the politically incorrect desire to get the little lady back into the kitchen.


Affirmative Action for Conservatives
Eric Boehlert noted, "Who's stopping conservatives from being hired in newsrooms? Honestly. If Newsbusters can document how scores of qualified College Republican grads were passed over by local newspapers to poorly paying jobs to cover local zoning commission jobs simply because the applicants were conservative, we'd love to hear about it. Because right now there's nothing stopping young conservatives from joining newsrooms and working their way up from the bottom just like everybody else in media does. They just don't want to do it."

Gun ownership NOT a disqualification in Obama's administration. Conspiracy theories continue to fly.
Captain Ed Morrissey of the A-list righty blog Hot Air titles his response to this news "Owning a gun a disqualification in Obama administration."

That's a lie.

HHS Secretary-designate Tom Daschle is a gun owner, according to a spokesman quoted in this article, and according to an e-mail reproduced at the sight

Correction pending, Ed?

Making it Explicit
Pethokoukis and Cannon claim that if Obama succeeds in passing health care, then people who might have been conservatives will like it, and will be more likely to vote for the people who passed it. This is unexceptional. An honest conservative might accept this claim and say: well, I guess our ideas are unpopular, so we'll just have to make our case more persuasively.

But that's not the conclusion they draw. Pethokoukis and Cannon say: because people will like health care reform, if we do not block it, our party will lose support. So precisely because people would like it if they tried it, we need to make sure that it fails.

At least they're honest about it.

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