Remembering Matthew Shepard

I lived in Matthew Sheperd's hometown of Casper, WY for three years. He had studied at political science Casper College where I once taught.I never knew him, but I remember his death. I think about him often. I am only 11 days older than him.  There have been efforts of late to dismiss the the extent to which homosexuality played a role in Matthew's murder. Such attempts are completely contrary to the evidence that came up during the trial that convicted his … [Read more...]

Announcing Queer Pioneer Week

Today, is National Coming Out Day.No, I am not coming out.However, I want to announce what will be happening here at Approaching Justice. Starting tomorrow, and going through next Friday, Approaching Justice will have an array of posts about gender, gay rights, and homosexuality.I am calling it Queer Pioneer Week.A year ago today, I spoke as a candidate for office to the National Coming Out Day gathering at the United Church of Christ in Casper, WY. Much of what you will read at … [Read more...]

Lewis Black on Religion, Politics, and Mormons

Lewis Black is a cranky guy from Montgomery County, Maryland. I think I appreciate his style so much because I am a somewhat cranky guy...also from Montgomery County, Maryland.Here is Black from 2008:Amen! To the last part. And the testicles part.I got a kick out of Black's description of Mormons as "whacky" with a "moral center." Some are more whacky and some have a more solid moral center than other. But "whacky" with a "moral center" sounds like a good way to describe Mormons … [Read more...]

I Love Pearl Jam: Eddie Vedder’s Critique of Guns

Eddie Vedder, of the rock band Pearl Jam, offers a Utilitarian assessment of the gun situation in American society: In many ways, Vedder's thoughts remind me of the philosopher Jeff McMahan's argument that I looked at back in May.Vedder's argument about guns is not particularly articulate or sophisticated (and he can be both). However, it very much mirrors my sentiments about guns.In March, I referred to the gun culture of Wyoming as a a form of cultural psychosis. It is … [Read more...]

Working Class Hero: Happy 73rd Birthday John Lennon

Today,October 9th, marks John Lennon's 73th Birthday. This post is about my favorite John Lennon song.This video is of Green Day’s cover of the John Lennon song “Working Class Hero.” I think this song serves as a good reminder of the social outlook that goes along with the socialist political and economic program. It is this outlook that I so very much relate to. It is probably the reason that I am comfortable with the socialist label. While Lennon's song "Imagine" addresses a form of a socia … [Read more...]

“Clothe Yourself in Righteousness”…but Maybe Not Clothes.

Over the last week, I have been enjoying the Quaker-inspired songs of Jon Watts. He is a mixture of rap and folk. In many ways, it is more sermon than anything else.This one is title "Clothe Yourself in Righteousness." … [Read more...]

Not Selma, But Significant: Brief Reflections on Saturday and Ordain Women

Pretty much any movement can learn a lot from the Civil Rights movement.This past weekend, a group of women associated with Ordain Women lined up peacefully and asked to be admitted to the all-male Priesthood Session of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.As the Church had previously announced, the women were denied admittance to the meeting.A friend involved with the effort on Saturday referred to the event as her Selma. Selma, Alabama is the … [Read more...]