12 reasons to be happy

Let’s ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive and take a look at reasons to celebrate.

1. The FCC’s new rules requiring TV commercials to quiet down are now in effect. “This might very well be the only thing Congress did in the entire year of 2011 to improve our lives.”

2. Koran-burning “pastor” Terry Jones vs. The Beatles. No contest. Singing is good in such situations. It works, even if you don’t quite know the words.

3. A follow-up on my favorite pic from marriage equality in Washington State. These guys clean-up pretty good.

4. Frank James owns a pawn shop in Seminole, Fla., where he used to sell a lot of guns. But not anymore.

5. Leah Libresco shares “Three Stories of Forgiveness.”

6. Elizabeth Esther lists “Seven Gifts of Fundamentalism” — things she’s grateful for, despite the “harmful elements” of her religious past. I’ll second No. 2 on her list in particular — an intimate and broad familiarity with the Bible. Esther calls this “biblical literacy.” I think that’s probably overly generous, since literacy entails being able to see the forest and not just the trees, and fundies aren’t even aware that there is a forest. But I am grateful to them for encouraging me to develop an encyclopedic knowledge of the trees.

7. Some much-deserved praise and recognition for Balpreet Khaur and Glenn Stassen. People like them are liable to start giving religion a good name.

8. So are the 260 clergy in Illinois who recently signed a letter calling for marriage equality.

9. Juan Cole shares another encouraging story from the often-discouraging world of religion: “Muslims of Liberated Saraqeb, Syria, put up Christmas Tree for Local Christians.”

10. Some hints of signs of possible indications of good news about a decline in the death penalty in the US, from Amnesty International:

In 2012, death sentences and executions maintained their historically low levels, and only nine states actually carried out an execution. In fact, the majority of U.S. states have not carried out an execution in the last five years.

11. Check out the Mine Kafon, designed by Massoud Hassani based on toys he made as a child in Afghanistan. This wind-powered whatchamacallit can find and safely detonate landmines at a fraction of the usual cost.

12. A researcher has developed a new “cheap, easy and highly accurate paper sensor for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.” Pretty awesome. Oh, and by the way, this researcher, Jack Andraka, is 15 years old.

  • DorothyD

    That’s true enough and Lliira is certainly right that marital rape is far more common than kitten burning, and possibly more prevalent within the Fundamentalist community. The thing is, Ms. Esther self-identifies as a recovering Fundamentalist. So why the accusation that she would approve of marital rape, or at least would not be completely disapproving. Why was it necessary to throw even more gasoline on the fire. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Because it’s not only fundamentalists who think marital rape is a contradiction in terms.

  • Liralen

    Here’s a link to one of Fred’s anti-kitten burning coalition posts, which contains a link to a 2008 post:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/02/27/rick-santorum-and-the-anti-kitten-burning-coalition/

    Sorry, should have thought about searching and posting a link last night, but was just too tired to think of it.

  • DorothyD

    That makes no sense whatsoever and you are completely missing my point. How about, in the absence of actual knowledge of someone’s actual opinion on any particular subject, why don’t you assume the best of them instead of the worst based on guilt by association. Or something. 

    Especially when it’s in the context of that person already getting a crapton of barely-deserved criticism. Double especially when that person is not even present to defend themselves. 

  • DorothyD

    Thank you, I’ll go re-read it. It’s been a while. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    It has been my experience that any group that does not explicitly state that they are feminist, anti-racist, queer-friendly, trans-friendly, etc etc etc, is not in fact any of the above. I am weary of giving the benefit of the doubt.

  • DorothyD

    And I weary of this discussion because I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall. 

    We are not talking about a group. We are talking about a specific person. Two people, actually. Who were accused of a thought-crime. For no damn good reason. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, we are talking about a group of people who believe that sex is reserved for marriage and who have not disavowed the often-accompanying belief that marital rape is a contradiction in terms. These two individuals are examples of that group.

  • DorothyD

    These two individuals are examples of that group.

    I’m going to go way out on a limb and guess that that will be news to GuestAgain. 

    No, we are talking about a group of people who believe that sex is reserved for marriage and who have not disavowed the often-accompanying belief that marital rape is a contradiction in terms.  

    And until the individual who is Ms. Esther, who did not even know that she was going to be quoted on this here blog, explicitly denounces marital rape to your satisfaction and apologizes for speaking well of reserving sex for marriage without accompanying that statement with a firm denunciation of marital rape because she should have just known that that would be an issue,  until then she is presumed guilty and is a bad bad person and deserves whatever verbal abuse anyone here cares to fling at her.

    Right. Brick wall.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Reading back, yes, you’re right, I attributed beliefs to GuestAgain that GuestAgain was defending but did not claim to have. Sorry about that. You’re gonna want to cite your sources on the verbal abuse thing, though, ’cause I ain’t seeing any.

  • DorothyD

    It has been my experience that any group that does not explicitly state that they are feminist, anti-racist, queer-friendly, trans-friendly, etc etc etc, is not in fact any of the above. I am weary of giving the benefit of the doubt.

    Why don’t you ask her before you jump to conclusions based on group affiliation.* The individual person named Elizabeth Esther. After all, she did drop in here a ways back to thank Fred for the link. 

    *There’s a word for that. It’s on the tip of my tongue…

  • EllieMurasaki

    You do know there’s a reason why ‘racism’ is defined as ‘prejudice on racial lines backed up by institutional power‘, yes?

    People who want to upset established power structures do not, by definition, have institutional power to back up any prejudices they may have.

  • DorothyD

    Sorry, missed your most recent. 

    Verbal abuse? OK fine I’ll pick through it and cite chapter and verse. Maybe tomorrow. How about I just save myself some time and say that I actually cringed on her behalf when I saw her comment, and half-hoped she didn’t read the comments. 

    Good night, I’m off to bed. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Well, aren’t I surprised to see this tangent dragging on.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that both Elizabeth Esther and Guest Again are ok with marital rape, at least in some instances.  And that’s why their view is reprehensible. [my emphasis]

    First, someone’s view is reprehensible because of the aspect of it I made up? What the hell? Go ahead and argue that something one or both of them actually said is reprehensible and I won’t stop you. But that was ridiculous.And what the hell did Guest Again do? GA said that EE was “stuck-up and snotty as hell”, “I don’t like her”, and that she wrote a “pretentious, holier thou article”. But GA defended an aspect of the article and was rude about another commenter–so taking the “wrong side” in a discussion is sufficient justification to have hideous views attributed to you? We’re really defending that? We would cry unholy shit if, say, a member of the religious right or a conservatroll did something similar to someone we agreed with?I really don’t think the point DorothyD and I are trying to make is all that esoteric. If someone made up shit about what I might believe because they didn’t like what I said in a discussion, I would call bullshit. So would everyone else if it happened to them. If it’s not OK to do to us it’s not OK to do to someone else. It’s as simple as that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    As a matter of interest, how many people have you ever met who believe sex–all sex, not just all sex they personally engage in–should be reserved for marriage, who do not also believe that sex within marriage–all such sex, not just all sex to which the parties are actively at that moment consenting–is consensual?
    This isn’t comparable to saying everyone who supports same-sex marriage supports marrying pets. Might be comparable to saying everyone who supports same-sex marriage supports polyamorous marriage, but since the overlap isn’t actually all that great outside the minds of people who want to slippery-slope from the first to the second, might not be.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    As a matter of interest, how many people have you ever met who believe
    sex–all sex, not just all sex they personally engage in–should be
    reserved for marriage, who do not also believe that sex within
    marriage–all such sex, not just all sex to which the parties are
    actively at that moment consenting–is consensual?

    In real life, not just blowhards on the internet?

    All of them.  I know dozens of people who believe that all sex should be reserved for marriage. Not a single one of them believes that all marital sex is consensual*.

    *(I have not actually asked all of them. Many of them have said things which indicate they believe in the existence of marital rape, which logically should preclude the belief that all marital sex is consensual. Many of them have never said anything one way or the other, which I realize you have pre-defined as being just cause to assume they don’t believe marital rape is possible.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    As a matter of interest, how many people have you ever met who believe sex–all sex, not just all sex they personally engage in–should be reserved for marriage, who do not also believe that sex within marriage–all such sex, not just all sex to which the parties are actively at that moment consenting–is consensual?

    It’s completely unrelated to my point, but as a matter of interest–the vast majority (do not also believe latter). It’s technically possible that everyone I’ve ever met who believes that sex should be reserved for marriage does not also believe that marriage makes sex consensual by definition–since I’ve not personally ever met anyone who has denied the existence and seriousness of marital rape.

    The use of negatives in your question make my answer clumsy, so I’ll rephrase for clarity:

    I know many, many people who believe sex should be reserved for marriage. Of those people, a very large subset have explicitly stated to me that they acknowledge that marital rape is common, that they condemn it utterly, that it’s a sin, and that it’s good that it is now also illegal. I’ve never met anyone who has argued against any of those points, even half-heartedly.

    It’s not just acknowledged, it’s addressed front and centre. I went to Catholic school, I attended Catholic youth groups, I go to Catholic churches. The theology of the body (as it’s called) was addressed in each of these, and every single time the speaker was at pains to emphasise that marriage does not equal universal consent. I remember a priest saying to us “Lots of men go home at night and rape their wives”, and he left us in no uncertain terms that plenty of them considered themselves to be “good practicing Christians”.

    Is that the answer you were expecting?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Considering that the Catechism does not mention marital rape in the list of offenses against marriage, or suggest elsewhere in its discussion of rape or its discussion of marriage that marital rape is a possibility, and given that I grew up Catholic and never once heard anyone express the belief that marital rape is a possibility?

    No, it really wasn’t.

    Since you and Ross both say you know lots of people who believe all sex should be marital but not all marital sex is consensual, clearly I am reasoning from a false premise and I shall therefore retract everything I said based on that premise, with an apology to anyone I hurt with any of that.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Replying to myself to add something I accidently left out: in my diocese if a couple wants to get married in a Catholic church they have to complete a pre-marriage counselling course. Not sure if this is a broader, even universal requirement, but in my diocese it’s mandatory.

    Anyway, these courses include a whole segment on sex. Which, contrary to popular belief, does not focus on what can and can’t be put where but focuses on consent, respect, generosity and stuff like that.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I don’t know about the ins and outs of the catechisms and other proclamations on high. I have a friend (who incidently is the best person ever) who knows such things, so I’ll ask about it next time I see her.

    To be clear, I don’t think you’re making people up. I accept that there are people–in some areas, perhaps even a large majority–who believe that sex is reserved for marriage and somehow therefore marital sex is innately consensual. I’ve just never met them, and I know countless people in the opposite category.

    I expect that you and I (and Ross) are accurately describing our own experiences; we just move in very different circles. Which suggests that the common factor in the “denial of marital rape” phenomenon is not religion, nor is it the belief that sex should be reserved for marriage. It’s something else.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Same in my (Anglican) church. And in my old Baptist one. Marriage-prep courses, focusing largely on loving, respectful, equal relationships, seem to be fairly standard if you want to get married at a church in these parts.

    Also, *raises hand*, I’m another person who knows many, many people who believe sex should be kept for marriage and also believe marital rape is a bad thing. I am in fact one of them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The impression I’ve always had, Deird, is that you don’t object to people having sex that’s not in marriage as long as those people are neither you nor hurting anyone. Which puts you outside the category of people who think all sex should be within marriage, which is the category I [thought I] was concerned with.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I think, to some extent, we’re approaching this stuff from very different angles.

    Say you have person A, who says “I believe sex should be kept for marriage. So STOP HAVING SEX you horrible sinners!”
    And person B, who says “I believe sex should be kept for marriage. But… your call.”

    I tend to assume, unless I have specific evidence to the contrary, that Random Person Who Believes Sex Is A Marriagey Thing is more likely to be person B than person A.
    And… I get the impression that you would assume, in the absence of evidence, that they’re more likely to be person A.

    Which… yeah. People who get horribly judgey about other people’s sex lives are really annoying and should mind their own business. But when you say “the category of people who think all sex should be within marriage”… that’s a category that also includes me and others like me.
    I think other people’s sex lives aren’t my business. I think they are better judges of themselves than I am. I think their bodies are theirs, not mine, and they should be given respect, courtesy, and a profound lack of judgement from me. But I also think that all sex should be within marriage.*

    (*Or within a marriage-ish relationship, such as living together.)

    You seem to be wanting to talk mostly about people who are in Group A. But the way you’re phrasing it means that you’re also including all the people in Group B. Which is, I think, why there are several Group B-affiliated people lining up to tell you about all the Group B people they know.

  • DorothyD

    If someone made up shit about what I might believe because they didn’t like what I said in a discussion,

    Well, that really gets to the heart of it, doesn’t it. They were out-of-the-blue accused of holding a heinous view whether or not there was a reasonable likelihood that they actually held that view and it was actually relevant to the discussion, but because there was a hate-fest already in progress which needed to be rationalized and justified. By making shit up, because the shit already on hand apparently wasn’t good enough.

  • otrame

    I think you could pull about 20 questions put of that list that are actually a good idea to ask before getting seriously involved with someone. But really it looks like a draft document, someone just throwing ideas out. It’s repetative and seems to sometimes be addressing someone already married.


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