Jesurgislac’s Journal

June 28, 2011

“Jesus wants me to hate you!”

This is Jeffrey:

First, we were created in Godd image. Second, God gave you free will to make your own choices and act on your own feelings. third, it is a feeling that you get that makes you like the same sex, therefore, it is not any different than a rapest who feels he has to rape women to be sexually fulfilled. Also the molester who gets off on touching little kids. It’s all acted out on feelings that you have. I have feelings that I feel strongly about, but it doesn’t make them right or ok. Also with the bible it talks about traditions and ideas that are created by man and laws set by man. You cannot take what man created and use it to conflict what God has said! We are all created for a purpose in life. Unfortunately being gay isn’t one of those purposes. I see a lot of desperation to twist and contort the bible. You cannot compare specific law of man in the bible with specific law of God in the bible. It specifically says in the bible that God looks down on homosexuality not eating shrimp!

This is David:

  1. When law and public opinion give their endorsement to homosexual behavior, they implicitly condemn those who disapprove of such behavior, namely traditional Catholics, Protestants, and Jews.
  2. The push for SSM is — at least de facto, if not deliberately — an attempt to destroy traditional Christianity.
  3. The drive for SSM is but the latest stage of the sexual revolution, and at every one of that revolution’s earlier stages (casual fornication, unmarried cohabitation, out-of-wedlock childbirth, abortion), it has served to undermine marriage; why would any reasonable person imagine that this latest stage will be any different?
  4. SSM is the reductio ad absurdum of marriage. If persons of the same sex can get married, doesn’t marriage then mean anything — and nothing?
  5. Marriage was instituted for the begetting of children, something that two persons of the same sex cannot do
  6. A growing child has a profound psychological need for a mother and father. Two mothers won’t do, and neither will two fathers.
  7. The undermining of marriage has had disastrous consequences for millions of children who have grown up fatherless (and usually in poverty). These consequences, while bad among all racial groups, have been worst among African Americans — in some cases frustrating the movement toward socioeconomic parity between black and white.

David says, rather pathetically, that he thinks these arguments are good arguments, “but, in practice, I find that the arguments don’t persuade anyone who is not already convinced”. He asks, with extraordinary blindness “Why have many of us in the anti-SSM camp been unwilling to deploy the argument that homosexual behavior is immoral/unnatural?” I have no idea why he thinks this hasn’t been happening, but it’s possible that people who are opposed to equal civil rights for LGBT people haven’t been attacking in quite that way in David’s hearing as much as he’s used to, in the last few years, just because coming out as openly homophobic and bigoted is found to be counterproductive.
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May 29, 2011

Pastor Chuck Phelps is passionate and practical

Colonial Hills Baptist Church has a biography of their senior pastor that is significant for what it omits:

Dr. Charles Phelps is our senior pastor. Prior to coming to Colonial, Dr. Phelps served as a youth pastor in Minnesota and Colorado, as a senior pastor in New Hampshire, and as a college president in Wisconsin. He has traveled to numerous mission fields, colleges, seminaries, and churches to teach and preach the Bible. Pastor Phelps is a passionate, practical Bible teacher and preacher. He ministers faithfully to our church family along with his wife, Linda. They have five children and one grandson.

In 1997 Pastor Phelps was the senior pastor at the Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire, when he discovered that a church member, Ernest Willis, had raped (on at least two occasions) a 15-year-old girl, the daughter of a church member, and the girl was pregnant. Under New Hampshire law, Willis had committed a felony – a Class B Felonious Sexual Assault – a crime for which he has since been found guilty (verdict Friday, he hasn’t yet been sentenced but it could be up to 54 years). This was the case even if, as Willis persistently claimed, the girl had consented to sex: she was under 16. (Exceptions can be made for two kids more-or-less the same age fooling around with each other, but Willis was then in his late thirties and married: the girl was his kids’ babysitter.)

There were multiple people affected by Willis’s rape of the girl. There was Willis’s wife (they are now divorced), their children, the girl herself, the girl’s mother. (I don’t know if the girl’s father was a church member.) Supposing that, 14 years ago, Willis had been arrested for rape and Phelps had stood by the girl and given his testimony in support of her. One can assume that even an anti-rape Pastor Phelps would have been against abortion, so I’m not going to fantasise that the girl would have been able to make her own decision about that: but suppose she had a supportive mother who hadn’t made her give the baby up for adoption, or if the adoption had been with local parents and as open as possible, so that the girl was not (as actually happened) permanently separated from the baby she’d been forced to have? (I can’t say what decision the girl might have made about abortion if she’d been genuinely free to choose, with a supportive mother to back whatever decision she made, but I can be pretty sure that Pastor Phelps would never have supported abortion nor envisaged a “solution” that included abortion, so let’s assume not.)

Phelps would have been faced with a congregation aware that one of their number was being charged with rape of a babysitter; the man’s wife would have had to deal, there and then, with knowing that her husband was a rapist who molested teenage girls: and the girl herself, pregnant with the rapist’s child. The situation would necessarily have continued for months, maybe for years – really, for as long as any of the people involved remained members. (Adoptive parents might have been members of the same congregation, or known to members of the congregation, too.)

Whereas, I can see the temptation to Phelps: if he got the pregnant girl out of the way, got the girl and Willis to apologise to the congregation thus making it partly the girl’s fault and therefore allowing Mrs Willis to tell herself it wasn’t altogether her husband’s fault, and got the baby adopted out of state and to parents not known to anyone in the congregation, then – he could tell himself – everything would be over and done with in weeks. The girl would be out of the way in Colorado having her baby, when she came back she wouldn’t talk about it, and there wouldn’t be any messy lingering upset. Perfect solution, so long as the girl kept her mouth shut and Phelps wasn’t concerned about justice, or kindness to a raped girl, or protecting other vulnerable teenagers from Ernest Willis – or even with being honest with Mrs Willis, that her husband was a rapist of teenage girls and there could be no excuse for him.

Pastor Phelps’s defense in court was that he did report this to the police, though he also says he told the police that the girl didn’t want to come forward. The two phone calls, he claims, were made on Oct. 8, 1997 when he found out that the girl was raped and pregnant, and on Oct. 9, the following day, when he told the police the girl didn’t want to come forward.

Pastor Phelps says he told the girl “I read to Tina from Deuteronomy 22. The passage is about a maiden in a field and she is accosted by a man, the maiden screamed and no one was there to help her. Then the passage refers to a maiden in a city who is accosted by a man, she didn’t scream. There is the appearance of complicity.”

Chuck Phelps (his new Colonial Hills church says he “especially enjoys teaching pastoral ethics, church management, church growth, and discipleship”) got the girl to read an apology for her misbehaviour to the congregation. Then he had her sent away to another state to have the baby, have the baby adopted, and then return to the New Hampshire Church, where she’d continue to worship alongside the man who’d raped her, Ernest Willis. This kind of abuse, revealed by one brave woman who opted to come forward, doesn’t seem to concern Phelps’ new church.

A lot of people responded to my previous post on this subject. I thank you all now for commenting: I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your comments. Several spoke of how this matched their own experience of Christian charity – caring for rapists more than for their victims.

Chuck Phelps set up his own website to excuse his behaviour: www.drchuckphelps.com. He claims that neither he nor the girl’s mother told her not to press charges. But clearly, even according to his own testimony, he made no effort whatsoever to support the girl against the rapist. Ernest Willis was also a member of Phelps’ congregation. Phelps had a responsibility to him: a responsibility which Phelps seems to have thought he fulfilled by protecting the rapist from the legal consequences of committing a felony. It does not seem to have occurred to Phelps, ever, that he had a moral responsibility towards Willis or towards his other victims, to ensure that Willis was arrested by the police and charged with the crime Phelps knew he had committed: the burden of his defense is that the 15-year-old girl, whom he admits he’d told was “complicit” in her own rape, was solely responsible for ensuring that charges were brought against Ernest Willis, and it’s entirely her fault, not his, that the rapist was left to go free for 14 years.

What’s missing from the website now (I first looked at it a few months ago, soon after the 20/20 broadcast) is a defense by Chuck Phelps that the whole horrible situation was worthwhile because the girl had a baby and the baby was adopted: she didn’t have an abortion, and the couple who got a baby were made happy by this. I don’t know why Phelps took this down – perhaps because someone with more self-awareness realized that it made Doctor Phelps look very, very complicit in the sexual abuse of an underage girl. Perhaps Phelps was still hoping, at the time he first set up the site, that Willis would be found not guilty and he could dismiss the girl whose rape he’d condoned, all those years ago, as just another silly slut. (His website still cites a letter from the girl’s mother which claims her daughter is only doing this for the money: I don’t think he quite sees that abuse from an abusive parent is not exactly helping his case.) But it did strike me as a classic pro-life justification for rape and sexual abuse.

Colonial Hills Baptist Church says it is “a family of caring Christians, a place where people feel like they are coming home. Through fervent prayer, the passionate and practical declaration of God’s Word, carefully presented and God-focused music, and a sincere love for the individual, Colonial Hills Baptist Church desires to help you and your family grow in Christ.” They even have a Facebook page. But their senior pastor condoned the rape of a fifteen year old girl, and continues to excuse his behaviour then. His church appears to think the problem can be resolved by giving him a separate website, hoping perhaps that people won’t keep associating their pastor with the rapist in New Hampshire.

Apparently their sermon for today, May 29, is “designed to strengthen saints and convict sinners. This morning’s message is entitled, ‘God is Able to Keep You Eternally Secure.'” Phelps doesn’t seem to have regarded justice, or kindness, or protecting the vulnerable, or honesty, as anything a pastor ought to be concerned with. But security, yes: he does seem to have cared about that.

January 13, 2011

How prolifers actually live out their beliefs

“to understand how seamlessly and humbly we actually live out our belief in the sanctity of human life”Pterodactyl, on FamilyLifeNZ

On Nov 6 2010, a Walgreens pharmacist in Boise, Idaho – apparently one of those prolifers “living out his belief seamlessly and humbly in the sanctity of human life” received an order for a prescription for Methergine, a medicine used to prevent or control bleeding of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion. She asked the Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner whether this was for a patient who had had an abortion, and in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Act, the nurse refused to tell her and asked for a referral to a pharmacist who would fill the prescription. The prolifer hung up.

To Pterodactyl, and to other followers on that blog who approve of pharmacists being legally entitled to deny women contraception or medical aftercare in order to “seamlessly and humbly” show how much they support “the sanctity of human life”: the patient’s privacy was not deserving of respect. To prolifers, women who might have had abortions aren’t entitled to medical privacy: women aren’t entitled to freedom of conscience. Women aren’t entitled to respect or dignity.

The pharmacist might seem arrogant and brutally uncaring as he put the phone down on a patient who was bleeding and might die, but really, to if you’re Pterodactyl, that’s just seamlessly humble behavior. Because letting a woman bleed to death is the way “to live out your belief in the sanctity of human life”.

This is part of the issue that the Catholic Church objected to when Amnesty International decided to support the right of women who had been raped to abortions and to medical aftercare: to AI, a human rights organisation, a girl or a woman who has been forced to have sex has the right to decide to have an abortion, and whether or not the abortion is legal, to have aftercare post-abortion. To the Catholic Church, it is only right for women to risk death in illegal abortions, and to be denied healthcare for complications afterwards. And this is what Pterodactyl calls “respecting the sanctity of human life”.

Following on to the conclusion: prolifers are llying hypocrites, or prolifers believe women aren’t human, and so aren’t included in the “sanctity” clause.

January 2, 2011

Invitation to a prolife Pterodactyl to debate basic human rights

Filed under: Pro-life — jesurgislac @ 10:41 am
Tags: , ,

As MTV’s recent documentary on abortion demonstrated, “abortion is common despite the silence around it, it’s not an easy decision, it’s extremely safe, and most women who do it really think long and hard about their decisions”.

In a recent debate on a prolife site, a prolifer who had previously made clear they support human rights regardless of sexual orientation, came out solidly against human rights regardless of gender, arguing that a “subset of humanity” (that is, each individual pregnant woman) ought not to be allowed to be the only people allowed to make decisions about abortion.
My position never changed from the statement I made early-on in the debate:

I think it’s even simpler than trying to mess around with definitions about “potential humans”, etc.

A woman is a human being. No one has a right to use her body against her will. Not even to keep another human being alive.

All prolife legislation and ethics rest on the idea that a woman isn’t really human: she’s just an incubator that can be used without her consent to make a fertilized egg into a baby, regardless of what damage this does to her. This dehumanization of women is what is profoundly wrong with the prolife ethos.

During the discussion, Pterodactyl asserted: “It is not interesting to you to know how a person can be queer, a defender of life at its incarnation and a religious rebel.”

I offered to provide a post where Pterodactyl could, if desired, defend the division between human rights for pregnant woman (not permitted by prolifers) and human rights for LGBT people (most prolifers are against this, too, simply because prolife is generally a religious/anti-human rights movement, though I’ve encountered prolifers who were surprisingly gungho about equal rights for gay men and almost-equal rights for lesbians).

To begin, then: here are the basic human rights violated by the prolife belief that the state, not the individual pregnant woman, has the right to decide if a woman shall terminate or continue a pregnancy.

The big one that prolifers violate by their belief women ought not to be allowed to decide whether to terminate or continue is of course Article One, but there are 11 other Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that prolife beliefs oppose.

Nowhere in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is there found any Article that prolifers claim is a human right for fetuses only: the right to make use of someone else’s body against her will in order to stay alive.
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2010 in review

Filed under: About this blog — jesurgislac @ 10:12 am

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

(behind a cut, since I suspect it’s of not much interest to anyone but me)
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December 3, 2010

Thank you for your service, now fuck you very much

Filed under: Pro-life — jesurgislac @ 6:28 pm
Tags: ,

It may interest you to know that 1 in 7 US soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are women.

Not everyone realizes how different the Iraq war is for women than any other American war in history. More than 160,500 American female soldiers have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East since the war began in 2003, which means one in seven soldiers is a woman. Women now make up 15 percent of active duty forces, four times more than in the 1991 Gulf War. At least 450 women have been wounded in Iraq, and 71 have died — more female casualties and deaths than in the Korean, Vietnam and first Gulf Wars combined. And women are fighting in combat.

So what do these serving soldiers get from the crawling morons of the pro-life brigades?

“Thank you for your service”?

Oh no.

The last thing any loyal American would want would be for a US soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, to be able to get full healthcare at the military base where she serves. The crawling morons at Secular Prolife regard it as their loyal American duty to force a serving soldier who needs an abortion, either offbase to deal with a foreign doctor, or to request emergency leave, fly home, and use her pay to get an abortion from a civilian doctor.

“Thank you for your service? Fuck you very much!” from pro-life Americans to serving soldiers in a war zone.

Ironically, they have this picture of a US soldier

illustrating their post about denying her healthcare. Wonder what’s it’s there for? Target practice?

September 16, 2010

Peter Tatchell: Not the Pope

Over at Mercatornet, Michael Cook, the editor, is having Conniptions about a documentary on Pope Benedict, released by Channel 4 the Monday before the Pope’s arrival in the UK on a state-funded visit.

Cook dismisses Peter Tatchell as “a vigorous campaigner for lowering the age of consent to 14″ and summarises a documentary that touches on such things as the bans on contraception inspired by Catholic doctrine which cause such suffering in developing countries, to the ban on stem cell research, to the re-admission of a Holocaust denier to the fold, as “about the Pope and the sex abuse scandal”.

Peter Tatchell began his life’s work as a campaigner for human rights as a teenager in Australia, where he campaigned against the death penalty and for aborigine kids to have scholarships to attend his school.

This is Tatchell on the Channel 4 documentary he presented this Monday:

Rather than interview atheists like Richard Dawkins, which would have played to expectations, I chose to interview mostly Catholics, both allies and critics of the pope. To some extent, the film reflects a debate within Catholicism, between the liberal and fundamentalist wings of the church.

I wanted to give Catholic leaders an opportunity to put their side of the story. When we went to Rome, the production company, Juniper TV, requested an interview with Pope Benedict or a senior cardinal. The Vatican turned us down. Our approach to interview Archbishop Vincent Nichols in London was also knocked back, with the rebuke: “We do not wish to co-operate with a programme presented by Peter Tatchell.”

Although the church did put up a spokesperson at the last minute – Fiona O’Reilly from the pressure group Catholic Voices – it strikes me as a sign of weakness that no Catholic leader from the Vatican or Britain was willing to be interviewed in defence of the pope.

In the forty years since Tatchell began his life’s work for human rights, he has campaigned for democracy, civil liberties and rights, and human rights almost literally without stopping. He campaigns for clean water, for the right of Muslims to live without harassment, for the rights of women and LGBT people under Shari’a law, for the right of free assembly, for the right to vote. He was beaten twice by Mugabe’s bodyguards when he attempted to put the dictator under citizen’s arrest for torture.

Does he feel resentful towards his attackers? “No. There’s an element of regret in that I wish these injuries hadn’t happened.” Mugabe’s henchmen attacked him three times in Brussels – once in the lobby of the Hilton hotel where the Zimbabwean president was staying, and twice on the street outside, leaving Tatchell paralysed down his left side for several days. On television news footage of the beating, you can hear a crack as the bodyguards make contact with Tatchell’s skull. In Moscow he vividly remembers the thugs kicking him to the ground with “heavy, black boots”. Afterwards the Russian police arrested Tatchell and let his attackers go free. How can he not feel resentful? “What’s the point? Bitterness is a very destructive emotion.” He breaks off. “Obviously, I think they’re bastards,” he says with a grin, “but I don’t hold some grudge… The best reward for me would be to change them.”‘ link

“Age of Consent” is top of the alphabetically-ordered list of things he campaigns for on his website – http://www.petertatchell.net/ – and you may or may not disagree with his belief that a 14-year-old has the right not to be prosecuted or persecuted for having consensual sex.

Ratzinger may outlive Tatchell. Ratzinger has led a far more sheltered, protected life. At the age of 16, Ratzinger joined Hitler Youth, because his family didn’t see any alternative but to go along with the social norms. No one can blame a teenage boy for doing what’s easy, not what’s right, especially when doing what’s right would have got him and his family into such serious trouble.

But knowing what we do about Peter Tatchell, in the same situation, he would have died rather join Hitler Youth. Tatchell has the moral stature that Ratzinger lacks: the willingness to stand up for and suffer for what he believes, that Ratzinger has never demonstrated.

His doctor has told him he should take a complete break of at least six months, but Tatchell, who works 14 hours a day, seven days a week, and ekes out a living of £8,000 a year, largely from donations, is politely ignoring them. He spends his time orchestrating campaigns and answering a constant stream of emails and phone calls. He is extremely thin, subsisting on a diet of raw vegetables and cups of tea. On a comparatively uneventful day, he goes to bed at 3am and wakes up at 9am. Doesn’t he ever pine for a quiet life? “I can understand why people want a quiet, relaxed, material life, but on another level I can’t understand why people just accept things the way they are. One billion people woke up this morning without clean drinking water. That is outrageous. We live in a world of such plenty that it’s unconscionable that so many people don’t have the basics… That is just morally unacceptable.” link

The notion that Pope Benedict, who instigated the worldwide concealment of child abuse by the Church and supported the systematic transfer of paedophile priests from parish to parish, is somehow morally superior to Peter Tatchell?

Some people think Ratzinger’s critics are holding him responsible for acts that were carried out before he became Pope, simply because he is head of the institution involved. This is an error. For over 25 years, Ratzinger was personally in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the part of the Vatican responsible for enforcing Catholic canonical law across the world, including on sexual abuse. He is a notorious micromanager who, it is said, insisted every salient document cross his desk. Hans Kung, a former friend of Ratzinger’s, says: “No-one in the whole of the Catholic Church knew as much about abuse cases as this Pope.” Johann Hari

Benedict lives in a city state where he is supreme ruler: Tatchell lives in a small flat in London. Tatchell has fought for his beliefs all his life: Ratzinger has always taken the easy path. That’s the difference between them.

September 9, 2010

Do pro-lifers really think of women as animals?

The pro-life argument is, in essence, a refusal to see women as human – or to perceive women at all.

It’s easy to see this in terms of slavery. The pro-life movement is the heir of the aggressive, racist-eugenic fascism before WWII*: which in turn inherited so many of its beliefs from the calm white-centric belief that inferior people shall be slaves to their superiors. Women in this scenario are the slaves of men: women have no right to decide for themselves how many children to have, and when. The forms of contraception which the pro-life movement is most likely to passionately campaign against are the contraceptive pill, its younger sister emergency contraception, and the IUD: contraception which is under the control of the women who use it, and which a man is not likely to be able to sabotage and may not even be aware the woman who is “his” is using. Emergency contraception even enables a rape victim to take control of her body and say no, at the least you will not make me pregnant: naturally, pro-lifers oppose emergency contraception being provided automatically to rape victims as soon as they seek medical treatment.

*The aggression in pro-life attacks on Margaret Sanger speaks of an enmity far older than the modern pro-life movement: Sanger was a believer that even the poorest women should be allowed to “improve the breed” (yes, she was a eugenicist, as were the pro-lifers who opposed her then) by her passionate pro-choice support of even the poorest woman’s right to decide how many children to have, rather than – as in her day – being forced by denial of contraception and denial of the right to refuse their husbands, to have as many children as they could until they died of it. Margaret Sanger’s eugenics was a form profoundly opposed to the fascism inherent in the white pro-lifers who opposed her: who believed white women owed it to “the breed” to be forced to have as many children as they could, and let two-thirds of them die. The strongest would survive, these pro-lifers felt: why give women the right to decide?

Slaves are not allowed to decide when they will be bred, or how many children they will have: pro-lifers want to roll back the human rights movement to the days when a man could literally own the women he bred, and the children he produced.

But even a slave may be cared for by her owner, at least to the degree of concern that she should be maintained as a healthy breeder: for some pro-lifers, who openly maintain that when a pregnancy goes wrong, the woman should be forced to continue the pregnancy though she dies of it, and regardless of what damage the pregnancy does to her. This is thinking of a woman as an incubator – a cheap, easily replaceable machine, used to produce babies, use till it breaks.

But there is still another sticky undercurrent to the pro-life movement: the belief that women are morally equivalent to farm animals.

A few weeks ago a New Zealand pro-life blogger, Brendan Malone, published an outraged post in which he complained that a Green politician, who’s pro-choice, had recently

issued an official press release which passionately attacked the NZ dairy industry for inducing the premature birth of unborn cows, a practice which often results in the death of the calf.
Yes, you did read that right; unborn cows, and look at the language used by Kedgley when talking about this issue, and the sort of action she wants the government to take against it…

Brendan describes this as “unbelievably hypocritical”, because the same politician is pro-choice.

Now, if you’re pro-choice, you believe that the pregnant woman is the person who has the best right to decide whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy: it’s a basic human rights issue, a basic healthcare issue.

What does this have to do with humane farming practices?

Dairy farming is an inhumane business. Male calves are of no value to a dairy farmer: they’re sold young for veal. Female calves are taken from their mothers young, reared and fed indifferently by humans, so that their mothers can be milked for food for our use: milk, cream, butter, cheese. Cows are bred to produce far more milk than their calves could use, so much milk that if they aren’t milked twice a day they suffer terrible pain and eventually die. Dairy farming is emblematic of how we as humans treat animals as if we have the absolute right to use them at our will to provide for our needs, regardless of how this twists and distorts their lives.

What does this have to do with a woman’s right to choose? If you are pro-life, you believe that women can be bred against their will – but surely even a pro-lifer would see some distinction between a human woman, even one deprived of her basic human rights, and a dairy cow? Women do not, even in the most extreme pro-life fantasies, lead lives in any way resembling a dairy cow’s.

But apparently Brendan Malone, and multiple regular pro-life commenters who follow his blog, really see no difference at all between a pregnant woman and a dairy cow. To them, arguing that the farmer of dairy cows ought not to be allowed to induce the cow early to get the milk production started, because this is an additional layer of cruelty on top of the regular day to day use of a dairy cow’s life, is “hypocritical”, because this same politician who opposes a farmer’s mistreatment of cows, opposes pro-life mistreatment of women: she believes that women ought to allowed to decide for themselves about their pregnancies. But to these pro-lifers, and I wish I was joking, women are no more than cows.

Indeed, in a later thread on the same blog, a pro-lifer Mikestruth was insistently arguing a Dolcett-like belief that being vegetarian and being pro-choice was somehow “inconsistent”: as if believing women have the right to choose was somehow inconsistent with not eating meat. (Dolcett, if you didn’t know and I often wish I didn’t, is the eroticisation of cannibalism – specifically, men consuming women as meat. Sorry: my tolerance for human perversity lapses at that point, as it has firmly lapsed with Mikestruth’s belief that women are food animals and arguing for human rights for women is weird if you’re a vegetarian.)

August 25, 2010

On the comparison of torture with equal marriage

Republicans Must Not Support Gay Marriage

Based on an actual post by a conservative blogger who was against torture in 2004, but who by 2009 was comparing the evils of allowing gay marriages to be federally recognized to the evils of allowing people to be tortured.

satire begins, for the sake of those without an irony-detector

I generally support the 9/11 Commission Bill [I suppose I could have picked out another piece of legislation, but it suited my sense of irony to pretend that we live in an alternate universe, where Republicans had decided to support gay marriage as a weapon in their War On Terror - which makes as much sense as supporting torture]. However, Sections 3032 and 3033 are very disturbing. They make it very easy for the US to accept gay marriages performed in other countries in order to allow such people to get married in that country.

I strongly believe in the principle of policing your own. I am a Republican and a regular advocate for the Republican Party. You should consider this post a kind of ‘toughlove’. As such I have some harsh words for the sponsors of this bill. This portion of the bill is morally, ethically, and politically wrong. It may be that you did not know all of what you were sponsoring (the bill is 300+ pages). But you should know now, and you should take action to change it.

There are so many things wrong with the idea of allowing gay marriage that I hardly know where to start.

First, it is wrong to treat people that way.

Second, these rules involve gay people. It is bad enough that we sometimes allow the wrong people to get married. Can we live with ourselves as a nation if we have condemned innocent men to get married to each other? If the French experience with PACS is any guide, the regularization of gay marriage causes an explosion of men getting married. They moved from the low hundreds to the thousands in just one year. That would likely involve at least a hundred innocent men getting married.

Third, it is a well understood conservative principle that people tend to push past the bounds of the legally permissible. Even though we have banned the use of gay marriage in our country, the line between gay marriage and non-marriage is still skirted from time to time. Overzealous gay people sometimes go a bit further than we allow. If we move the line to allow for gay marriages performed elsewhere, where will those who go a bit further go? They will go to using a person’s children against them. They will send a man and his wife to these other countries so both can be forced into same-sex marriages. I can’t predict exactly how it will work. But I know for a fact, and you do too if you think about it, that gay people push the line and push it hard. If we move the line so far as to allow gay people to go to other countries to get married, the actuality will go even further. You should also note that such exporting of gay marriage will never be under the classic ‘ticking bomb’ scenario which is sometimes used to justify gay marriage. If we have time to send them to another country, the information isn’t so crucial as a ‘ticking bomb’.

Fourth, gay marriage is rarely more effective than other marriages. Why open ourselves up to such horrors without even a payoff?

Fifth, for those not convinced by the above, it is politically stupid. This plays into all the left-wing fears about conservative blindness to the problems of the gay system. It makes all the whining about a ‘gay state’ look a bit less crazy. It provides a perfect example of willingness to abandon our country’s principles in the war on terrorism. Voters want tough, but they do not want crazy. We are at a crucial stage in a vital campaign. Throwing it all away by playing into every swing voter’s concerns about Republicans possibly going too far is just plain stupid. So if your heart is hardened to the moral implications, at least pay attention to the political implications.

My message to Republican leaders is this, either listen to the moral implications, or at least learn Dan Rather’s lesson. The blogosphere is beginning to focus its attention on this issue. Look at the number of trackbacks to katherine’s post. It isn’t just going away. Put it to rest now. Admit that you hadn’t fully thought through the implications of this small section of the bill and move on. It would be the height of foolishness to risk the American public’s backing for the War on Terror on a practice which is both highly immoral and typically unhelpful. We are going to have to steel the public’s nerves for a lot of things to come in the future. It would be a shame to waste time and energy defending the unhelpful and indefensible instead of dealing with other issues which are highly useful to the war and merely tough to defend.

August 24, 2010

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Bring On The Sweet Stuff

You have a cake or a cookie or a muffin.

Actually, this is the Internet, so I don’t know if you really do, but pretend, okay?

How can you make your ordinary and undistinguished cake or cookie or muffin or fruit loaf or WHATEVER, really, look special? Cover it with more sugar!

Icing or frosting, the basics:

The best invention ever; if you’re icing a whole cake, do it twice. The first layer is the crumb layer.

1 cup powder sugar (aka icing sugar). This is very, very fine-grained sugar that blows about with a puff of air. You can sub in 1/3 of a cup of cocoa for 1/4 cup of sugar, if you want to make a chocolate icing.
2 tablespoons liquid.
1 teaspoon glycerine, if the cake is not to be eaten immediately: it saves the icing from drying out.
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of additional flavouring, if the liquid is not sufficient.

The liquid can be anything. Use wine or brandy or liqueur for a rather grown-up taste: use lemon or lime juice for something sharper. Use coffee if you are making a chocolate cake. Coffee icing on a chocolate cake is THE WIN, if you can’t make chocolate ganache, see below. You can even use a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of vanilla essence. Put the icing sugar into a big bowl. Wear old clothes. Shoo the cats out of the kitchen. (Their hair will stick to the icing. Yuck.)

Add the liquid to the powdered sugar, and beat well. The icing sugar flies about the kitchen. You’re grateful I told you to wear old clothes. If the icing seems a little dry, add small amounts of more liquid, but it should be fairly thick and sticky for the crumb layer. You can expand this recipe just by doubling quantities. Four tablespoons of liquid is one-eighth of a cup, to be added to 2 cups of powdered sugar .

Spread on the first layer of icing. It will take up crumbs from the cake, but that’s okay. No one will see it. Cover the whole cake. You can use a knife dipped briefly into boiling water to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Wait for the first layer to cool and dry. It doesn’t need to set completely.

Mix up the second batch of icing – this can be a little bit more liquid BUT NOT MUCH – and pour over the first layer. Presto: you have a perfectly frosted cake.

Buttercream is even easier and you use it to layer the cake together. So, if you just frosted your cake according to my instructions above, you should now take it apart to put in the buttercream frosting, cursing yourself for not reading my instructions to the end.

1 cup of soft brown sugar.
2 tablespoons butter or vegan margarine.
1 tablespoon vanilla essence, or other flavouring of your choice. You could also add 1/3 cup cocoa, or a couple of tablespoons of honey.
Beat the soft butter into the sugar until you have a thick brown paste. (You could, of course, use plain white granulated sugar and use food colourings, if you want sparkly colours instead of the yummy brown-sugar-butter-vanilla flavour. Peasant.)

Spread the buttercream on one layer of the cake. Cover thickly. People will thank you for it. Drop the second layer on top of the first. Repeat as necessary.

Chocolate ganache: Melt 8 ounces/200g good chocolate in 1/4 cup of soy milk. (Heat the milk till it’s quite warm, not boiling, break the chocolate into the warm milk in small pieces, put the bowl with the milk into a larger bowl with just-boiled water – and stir the contents of the bowl until the chocolate has all melted. This is a foolproof technique: the milk doesn’t need to be kept VERY warm to melt the chocolate, and a bath of very hot water around the bowl works a treat.) Add a tablespoon of maple syrup or honey. When the chocolate is all melted, spoon the liquid ganache over the cake. When this sets, it will be like solid chocolate, only slightly softer. Delicious. You can use this to layer cakes together or to cover them or even as just a layer on top of the cupcake.

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