New on the Guardian: Civil Rights and Corporate Power

The American corporate sector is becoming more liberal-friendly territory than ever, and it has the potential to split the conservative coalition that's prevailed in our politics for decades. That's the topic of my new piece on the Guardian, Businesses are powerful allies on LGBT rights. The left should embrace them.This column expands on my recent post "Beating the Religious Right with Corporate Power", and presents new evidence that businesses may even be progressive allies on some … [Read more...]

The Church of Not Gay

In the riot of awful laws coming out of Republican-controlled statehouses, Mississippi's HB1523 may or may not be the worst. It has a lot of competition for that title. But I'd argue that out of all these bills, it's the one that gives the clearest insight into the motives of its supporters.The law's obligatory Orwellian name is the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act". It claims to shield people from state interference or punishment for following their … [Read more...]

Beating the Religious Right with Corporate Power

Red-state legislatures around the country seem as if they're competing to pass the cruelest and most inhumane laws. But even by that standard, North Carolina's HB2 stands out. Rushed into passage with the haste and secrecy of a coup d'etat - it was introduced in the legislature, voted on, sent to the governor and signed into law all in a span of less than twenty-four hours - it can only be described as deliberately mean-spirited and spiteful. It bans transgender people from using public … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: March 27

• With all the stealth and haste of a coup d'etat, North Carolina's Republican government rushes through a vicious and willfully mean-spirited pro-discrimination bill. Transgender people are targeted the worst, but the bill also nullifies all local ordinances that protect LGBT people, blocks private individuals from suing over racial or sexual discrimination, and prohibits municipalities from raising the minimum wage.• But North Carolina is getting a run for its money from Indiana, … [Read more...]

Some Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation

This summer, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts staged a "Kimono Wednesdays" event where visitors were invited to don the traditional Japanese garb and pose with a Claude Monet painting of his wife wearing a kimono. But the museum was taken aback when protestors showed up in force, accusing the event of perpetuating dehumanizing "exotification" of Asian culture. Ironically, the Japanese cultural attaché didn't see what the big deal was:"We actually do not quite understand what their point of … [Read more...]

The Astounding Hypocrisy of Anti-Refugee Christians

With the Syrian civil war plodding through its fourth year, the country is being hollowed out as everyone who has the means to escape flees from the bloodshed. Ordinary Syrians are trapped in a vise between the indiscriminate brutality of Bashar al-Assad's military and the sadistic terror of ISIS. The United Nations estimates that over four million of them are now refugees. The vast majority have gone to neighboring states like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and even Iraq, but tens of thousands are … [Read more...]

The Mormons’ Great Leap Backward

Earlier this year, I wrote about about how the Mormon church laudably apologized for its past racism, yet its leaders were repeating the errors of history by continuing to insist on anti-LGBT discrimination. Well, the next chapter of that story has just been written:In a major policy announcement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says children living in a same-sex household may not be blessed as babies or baptized.... "A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a … [Read more...]

Is Religion Inherently Authoritarian?

This article was originally published on AlterNet.Human history is a story of gradual moral enlightenment. Over the ages, we've become less violent, less xenophobic, more tolerant, more committed to the ideals of democracy and equality under the law. Of course, moral progress is painfully slow, with many holdouts and local reversals, and we have a very long way left to go. But it's hard to deny that the world we live in today is less prejudiced and more peaceful than the world five hundred … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: August 8

• Niloy Neel, a Bangladeshi atheist writer, is brutally murdered in his own home by Islamists. He's the fourth secularist writer in Bangladesh to be assassinated this year, while the government continues to sit on its hands and do nothing.• Prayer can't fight the Ebola virus. But science can.• Today in "why are LGBT people still Catholic" news: a director of religious education at a Catholic school was fired for being a lesbian, and unaccountably seems surprised by it. … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: The Bright Side of Discrimination

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "There's a silver lining in the religious right's onslaught of discrimination".From evangelical colleges to Catholic schools, America's religious right is pulling out all the stops to keep enforcing their prejudices on others, even after Supreme Court rulings that went against them. In this column, I argue that this is a good sign for those of us who care about equality! To find out why, read the excerpt below, then click through to the full … [Read more...]


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