Weekend Coffee: August 30

CoffeeWithBacon

• Oliver Sacks has died. In his final column, "Sabbath", he talks about his humanism and his rejection of his Jewish upbringing when his mother discovered he was gay and was violently hateful towards him: "her harsh words made me hate religion's capacity for bigotry and cruelty".In his closing words, he contemplates the end with acceptance and peace:And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: July 5

• Iceland repeals its blasphemy law, which they apparently had until now?• Three cheers for California! The state legislature ends all non-medical exemptions for mandatory vaccination, despite vociferous protests from die-hard anti-vaxers.• In the wake of the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage, some Christians are writing optimistically about the last-ditch option of retreating into their own closed enclaves. One homeschooling parent explains that "relative … [Read more...]

The Charleston Shooting Is No Mystery

By now, you've heard about the massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina where nine people were murdered, including Clementa Pinckney, the pastor and a state senator. The alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, wore the patches of white-supremacist regimes, told police that he wanted to start a race war, wrote a virulently racist manifesto, and reportedly said to one of the survivors, "You rape our women, and you're taking over our country... you have to go." So of course, … [Read more...]

How We Built the Ghettos, Why We Built the Ghettos

BaltimoreMap

In the wake of the protests and riots that convulsed Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, there was unexpected and welcome news: state's attorney Marilyn Mosby moved quickly to indict the police officers who let him die in their custody. I was surprised and pleased to see that she threw the book at them, including by charging one with second-degree murder.But even if the indictment sticks, even if the officers are convicted, there's a deeper problem which hasn't been touched. The tide … [Read more...]

Drawing Mohammed in Spite of Violence

The American religious right loves to play-act as martyrs: bemoaning how cruelly the government oppresses them, fantasizing about how they're on the verge of being imprisoned or killed for their beliefs. Usually, these claims are pure fiction. But this weekend in Texas, for once, the pretense became reality.The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a religious right group run by the flamboyant anti-Muslim activist and Ayn Rand devotee Pamela Geller, held a contest for cartoonists to draw the … [Read more...]

How Religious Bigotry Was Beaten Back in Indiana

GuardianStatues

Last month, Indiana's Republican-dominated legislature passed, and Gov. Mike Pence signed, an intensely controversial "religious freedom" bill very similar to the one that almost passed in Arizona last year. It was based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but with several crucial differences, especially the fact that it allowed for-profit businesses to assert a religious-freedom defense in cases brought against them by private parties. In other words, it allowed them to use … [Read more...]

Tiptoeing Around the Civil Rights Act

Segregation

The Civil Rights Act is an abiding dilemma for members of the right-wing Church of Not Gay. As marriage equality continues to progress, their latest cause celebre is arguing that believers should have the right to refuse service to gay couples - whether they be photographers, bakers, owners of wedding venues, even county clerks - all in the name, supposedly, of "religious liberty", which they believe should be a trump card allowing holders to opt out of any generally applicable law.The … [Read more...]

I Think the MRAs Are Mad At Me Again

Quiche is delicious.

[Content note: This post contains obscene and sexist language that I wouldn't normally allow on my site. Consider yourself advised.]I wrote in May about the "men's rights activists" - a tribe of angry misogynists who, despite the name, have no interest in actual issues of justice that affect men but only want an excuse to insult and degrade women. A large faction of MRAs are atheists, but there are some who subscribe to traditional Christianity as well.One of the latter faction, who goes … [Read more...]

How Christian Hatemongers Hold the Needy Hostage

Last week, the giant Christian charity World Vision announced that they were changing their rules to permit the hiring of employees in same-sex marriages. As an explicitly Christian organization, World Vision requires its employees to be Christian and to obey a code of conduct which includes no sex outside marriage, and they weren't changing either of those rules. As they took pains to say, they weren't even endorsing same-sex marriage. It was merely a statement that they no longer considered a … [Read more...]

History Repeats Itself Yet Again

Last week, Arizona's governor Jan Brewer vetoed the revolting right-to-discriminate bill passed by her state's legislature. Like the similar bill that collapsed in Kansas, this one moved rapidly at first but then stalled when it gained national attention. As Brewer dithered, both Mitt Romney and the state's Republican senators John McCain and Jeff Flake urged her to veto it. Even three Republican legislators who voted for the bill publicly changed their minds about it.It's possible that that … [Read more...]


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