Weekly Link Roundup

If blogging was my full-time job, I’d probably have written a post about each of these stories! As it is, I leave you with some food for thought – and there’s a virtual banquet this week:

• In the U.K., more and more decaying churches are being converted into homes – a fitting use for these still-beautiful buildings, in my opinion.

• According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, gay teens are more likely to be punished by schools and courts than their straight peers. One wonders if something similar holds true for young atheists; there are plenty of places in the country where I wouldn’t doubt it in the slightest.

• And on that note, a mind-boggling story about former Confederate states celebrating secession – in one city, there will be a parade featuring “a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy” – that’s being cast as a celebration of “self-government” and “states’ rights”. In reality, what the Confederates were mainly fighting for was their right, often justified by religion, to buy and sell human beings as property. A hundred and fifty years later, it’s astonishing that so many people still refuse to admit their ancestors were in the wrong.

Divorce rates are skyrocketing in Iran as Iranian women, increasingly assertive and educated despite living in a brutally patriarchal society, fight back against unwanted marriages and cruel husbands.

• Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks show how Ireland’s government caved in to Vatican pressure to grant immunity to church officials suspected of complicity in child rape.

• A council of rabbis in a Lubavitcher Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn have issued a decree forbidding believers to speak to the police, even to report a crime, without the permission of the rabbis.

• In San Francisco, a DMV employee was suspended after he sent a letter threatening hellfire to a transgender woman who applied to have her sex changed on her driver’s license. It appears that he shared her name and address with his church without asking permission. It also appears that this is not the first time this employee has done this. Stories like this need to be better publicized – when bigots cry for “freedom of conscience” clauses that would permit them to refuse to do their job on religious grounds, this is what they’re really demanding the right to do.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://Daylightatheism.org J. James

    Little known fact: Jefferson Davis tried to flee Richmond in disguise… As a woman. Anyway, these stories are unsurprising, with the exception of the dicorce rates in Iran- I half expected it to say “divorce and stonings up in Iran” and I was sure that the DMV is some kind of evil cult front of doom, and here’s the proof. But this is what our reality is now. An Atheist must always fight for proper justice. I like to think that without our influence the world would go completely barking mad.
    P.s., I reread the article on the Rabbis- and seriously, WTF, Brooklyn?!

  • mikespeir

    Strange how divorce rates shoot up as women gain the freedom to leave a marriage. If we want to save marriages, it seems to me that we have two choices. One is for us men to wise up to the fact that we don’t have the prerogatives we once did and learn to live with it. We might just find that an equal partner is a happier partner, one less inclined to run off.

    Or we can go the other direction. We can put women back under our thumbs again and deprive them of the right to leave. That’s been proven to work, too. Sorta.

  • http://superhappyjen.blogspot.com SuperHappyJen

    I don’t understand why some people would rather have a slave than an equal partner. I wouldn’t want my husband to be forced to stay with me, and be obedient to everything I say (on some occasions but not always ;) ) How would you ever know that they really loved you? A marriage like that must be so lonely.

  • http://GodlessPoetry.blogspot.com Zietlos

    *Puts on pedantry hat*

    Well Jen, as you can no doubt see from item #3 in the opening post, especially in the Southern United States, wanting a slave is very common. Love is not a requirement when you have slaves, after all, Stockholm syndrome will soon kick in, and then through a bit of psychologocial torture, everyone thinks they’re happy-ish!

    Though they’re probably not very good slave-owners. I mean, I know quite a few BDSM subs (join all the strange clubs in university and you can too), and they avoid any intimite relations with the religious zealot type. Its telling when even people who want to be slaves avoid those folks.

  • http://Daylightatheism.org J. James

    Ha, that IS telling. I wonder why they do so; it seems a perfect fit. But I for one welcome our new overlords and submit myself to them!

  • ArtyB

    The piece about gay teens being more likely to be punished than their straight peers is nothing new. There seem to be a parallel when it comes to “beautiful or pretty” people. I heard somewhere that beautiful accused people were more likely to be found not guilty than their “ugly” peers. Talk of vanity and bias. Last I checked Lady Justice was blindfolded. The jury is not.

    For the States celebrating the secessions I have only one thing to say: You were defeated accept it and move on.

  • Em

    Did those states only read the first half of South Carolina’s declaration of secession? Because the second half is pretty damn clear about which states’ rights they meant. They even complain about the anti-slavery faction “observing the forms of the Constitution” (working within the law… how dare they!) and some states “elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens,” who then might, gasp, legally vote against pro-slavery policies, which will destroy… uh… liberty. Yeah. It’s also pretty funny how they complain about the North using religious rhetoric to justify abolition, as if they’d never used the very same religion to justify slavery.

    Jen: It doesn’t sound at all fun to me, either! But I think that the same way those 19th century white guys defined themselves as “not black/better than black,” the kinds of guys who want subservient women have their identities as men wrapped up in being “not women.” One of the worst insults you can give a man is to call him “girly” or say he runs like a girl, after all. So if women start doing “manly” stuff like math or sports or having their own opinions or wearing pink (a boy color until the early 20th century), then there’s no “not-woman” stuff left to define men, and then where would we be?


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