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...]

Atlas Shrugged: Full Disclosure


Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IIIAlmost as soon as Dagny returns to work, Jim comes to her in a panic. He insists she appear on the radio that night, on a talk show hosted by Bertram Scudder, to reassure the people that she hasn't quit and that she believes the government's policies are working. She flatly refuses. But a little while later, she has another visitor, and it's Lillian Rearden.Lillian asks Dagny if she knows why Hank surrendered his patent on Rearden Metal. Dagny says … [Read more...]

Kim Davis’ Multiple Marriages Are Fair Game

Although the vast majority of American local officials are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, there are a few stubborn bigots determined to hold out. In the state of Kentucky, 3 out of 120 county clerks are still refusing to comply, including the most notorious, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis.After repeatedly losing her appeals and then defying a direct court order - claiming she answered only to "God's authority" and not the courts or the Constitution - Davis was jailed for … [Read more...]

Anti-Sex Dogma Can’t Fail, It Can Only Be Failed

There aren't many Christians who've been at the center of not just one but two major scandals, but that twice-disgraced distinction now belongs to Josh Duggar, the Quiverfuller and reality-TV star turned pro-patriarchy political activist.First, there was the confession that he had molested his sisters as a teenager, which his parents helped to cover up, and which got him fired from his job as a professional sex scold for the Family Research Council. And now, last week, we learned that he had … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Good Men Are Hard to Find


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXDagny gets a letter from Quentin Daniels, the physicist she hired to work on reconstructing the motor. He tells her that he's reached the end of his rope and that he intends to cease his efforts, because "I do not wish to work in a world that regards me as a slave... I would not take it upon my conscience that anything produced by my mind should be used to bring them comfort."When she reads the letter, she frantically calls Daniels, who confirms his … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Kiss with a Fist

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXI've said this before, but it bears repeating: Hank Rearden is an awful human being.He's jealous, possessive, self-centered and misogynist. He has a short fuse and a violent temper. He makes a point of never caring about anyone's welfare but his own. He feels contempt and disgust for his family. He cares about nothing but work, is disgusted by charity and socializing. He cheats on his wife, lies to her about it, and threatens to beat her when she finds … [Read more...]

Marriage Is Suffering and Suffering Is Good: A Catholic View


Last week, I wrote about the crushing burden of fear and guilt about sex that women labor under in Orthodox Judaism. Taught to fear pleasure, to shun knowledge and to regard their own bodies as sinful vessels, they often end up in loveless and unhappy marriages, trapped by religious rules that bar them from happiness and affection.But I don't want to give the impression that Judaism is the only religion which has irrational, anti-humanistic rules about sex, and Catholicism has some uniquely … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Objectivist Mating Rituals

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IXWhile Francisco is being cryptic at Dagny about the disappeared capitalists, their conversation is interrupted by a surprise visitor:The sound they heard was the turning of a key in the lock of the entrance door. The door opened and Hank Rearden came in....Francisco had risen to his feet, as if in the unhurried, automatic manner of a d'Anconia trained to the code of courtesy. There was nothing that Rearden could see in his face. But what she saw … [Read more...]

The Crushing Burden of Religious Sex Guilt


This week, there was a lengthy profile of Bat Sheva Marcus, a Jewish sex counselor who helps Hasidic Jews with intimacy problems in their marriages. Marcus is merely Orthodox, rather than ultra-Orthodox like most of her clients: she "sometimes wears pants", and though her synagogue has segregated men's and women's sections, they're side-by-side rather than consigning women to the back. (By ultra-Orthodox standards, this is straying dangerously close to anything-goes liberalism.)As in other … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: To Have and To Hold


Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VIIIHappy New Year! If you haven't already seen it, here's an article that's worth a laugh: an Ayn Rand acolyte pens an editorial in the Washington Post explaining how to have a properly selfish Objectivist Christmas, and why the holiday season is really about gratifying your own desires rather than caring for or thinking about the less fortunate.I think this is my favorite line: "When we wish happy holidays to strangers, that, too, stems from … [Read more...]