Postcards from the culture wars (8.6)

“If these young ladies were in a public school, they’d have a shot at justice, but in America these days, a white man can put the word ‘Christian’ in front of any behavior from boorish to criminal, and suddenly he’s untouchable.”

“Every time I noticed this happening, all I could think was ‘Crap on a cracker, Mr. Torres was right!‘”

“Be gentle with them; they are, after all, one of nature’s most fragile creatures.”

“The school’s action — firing her because she is a victim of domestic abuse — is sadly legal in most states. Just six, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, have laws on the books that bar employment discrimination against victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault.”

We worry about what people are doing in bed much more than making sure everybody has a bed to begin with. There certainly is a need for a life-giving sexual morality, and true pro-life morality, but one could sincerely question whether Christian nations and people have found it yet.”

“For all of the debates, the study, the parsing — for all of the noise that surrounds the contentious questions of sexuality that foment around and through our churches — I think it really is that simple: God does not want us to be alone.”

“Are politicians like Gingrey embracing misogyny as some kind of deliberate campaign tactic?

We want women’s health care, not cookies.”

“There is a sense among some anti-immigration-reform proponents that whites are genetically superior, and thus, uniquely suited to living in a free society.”

“If this is what you bring to the table, I experience you not as a follower of Christ in whom we are free, but as a hard hearted, biblically illiterate, superstitious, idol worshipper who wouldn’t know Jesus if you were nailing him to the cross yourself.”

Without the working class, without young people, without intellectuals and without women, the religious denominations will have reached their end. And they won’t be able to blame anyone for their failure. They themselves will have committed suicide.”

“It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.”

“I have yet to enter a street where sin is not present – not even when I walk by myself.”

“The climate for LGBT people in Russia is growing from bad to worse, and Putin’s new law will only serve to support more anti-LGBT violence and hate crimes.”

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  • aunursa

    The more I read from this article in The New Yorker, the angrier I got. Police departments in towns across America routinely conduct holdups where they steal money, valuables, cars, and homes from innocent motorists and residents. And it’s all sanctioned by law.

    Taken, by Sarah Stillman

    Extortion and theft by asset forfeiture should unite conservatives, liberals, and libertarians in collective outrage. I don’t understand how this type of organized crime has been allowed to continue and hasn’t been shut down.

  • cyllan

    That is appalling.

  • J_Enigma32

    I read something about that on Ed Brayton’s blog the other day. I’ll have to go back and see if I can’t find it; I thought it was only happening in Texas, but clearly that’s not the case (and I’m not sure why that surprises me, either). Police abuse is rampant in this country thanks to the “war on poor people” (i.e., the war on drugs*), as is police militarization, and theft by asset forfeiture is just the tip of the little iceberg.

    * what “amuses” me – by which I mean makes me froth at the mouth in rage – about the “war on drugs” is this: we can treat smoking and alcohol addiction like the health problems they are, rather than personal failings. But let someone get addicted to a harder drug, and suddenly it’s their fault and they’re a personal failure. A drug is a drug, whether it’s cocaine or caffeine. They’re all mind altering, neurochemistry-altering compounds that induce a specific reaction, it shouldn’t make any difference at all – addiction is a healthcare problem and a social problem, not a crime or personal failure. But that’s just my rant on the subject.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Shakedowns and bribery demands got so bad in Louisiana for a while that it was starting to hurt tourism and only then did the state legislature step in.

  • J_Enigma32

    Well, at least we know they have their priorities straight…

  • stardreamer42

    My partner and I are traveling vendors, and we have to be very much aware of this. If we get nailed on the way home from a big event, we could lose thousands of dollars. Tennessee is bad all along I-40, and Collinsville, IL (just across the river from St. Louis) is infamous.

  • Steve Morrison

    Was it this?

  • Cathy W

    There have been a few voices in the wilderness crying out about this for years. Ed Brayton, definitely. But I think it’s been allowed to continue through some combination of “Even police departments who don’t abuse asset forfeiture too badly find it very lucrative” and “Why are you soft on drug dealers?”

  • MaryKaye

    Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief (retired), sits on the advisory board of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and was a major voice in getting legalization passed in Washington State. So, not *all* cops buy into the War on Drugs. His quote when asked why:

    My first epiphany was as a beat cop, a rookie beat cop. I had
    arrested a nineteen-year-old in his own home in possession of marijuana,
    had him in the back seat of my police car. This was, incidentally,
    after having kicked in his door on the strength of having smelled what
    we described in those days in our police reports as “burning green
    vegetable matter.” And I had him hooked up, had him in the back seat of
    my caged police car. I was driving him to jail, and it came to me: I
    could be doing real police work. I could be intervening in domestic
    violence situations. I could be looking for the suspect who was carrying
    away my beat with daytime residential burglaries. I could be doing
    something, in other words, to stop the kind of crime that hurts people,
    scares people, causes people to change the way they lived. That was my
    first experience.

  • Mark Z.

    Except conservatives aren’t outraged at all. They’re generally fine with asset forfeiture, because people who are accused of drug dealing are usually guilty and thus deserve anything that happens to them.

    Meanwhile, most liberals won’t touch it because they’re terrified of the conservatives smearing them as “soft on crime”, and it lacks synergy with the big liberal concerns. You can talk about how the educational system screws people of color who then can’t get decent (union) jobs and can’t afford health care and get harassed by the police, but how do you connect asset forfeiture to that story?

    That leaves us lonely libertarians, and even then we have to convince each other that the solution to asset forfeiture is not to just get lots of guns and shoot the cops when they come for your stash.

    Politically, it’s an orphan issue, and nothing is going to change until we admit failure in the War on Drugs and legalize absolutely everything.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Some “liberals” do touch that issue, as there’s been a slow but growing distrust of the tendency of right-wing governments to give police more powers than are considered strictly necessary, and the concomitant abuse of such.

    However it doesn’t help that any cop who refuses to repeat Drug Warrior dogma is effectively blackballed within the profession.

  • aunursa

    I think that most people simply haven’t been aware of this abuse. Hopefully the article will lead to politicians getting involved and terminating this practice.

  • mistformsquirrel

    Absofriggenlutely. I read about this a couple days ago and it’s enraging beyond words.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    As you can see on the upvote list, I did not downvote aunursa’s comment.

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little


  • J_Enigma32

    There are times you make me want to tear apart your comment. In which situations, I usually do.

    Then there are times you actually make a modicum of sense. I which situations, I often agree or correct where necessary.

    And then there’s times like this, when I can do nothing but sit here and wonder what exactly is going through your head.


  • AnonymousSam

    Just specifically calling attention to things people hate him doing in hopes of derailing the thread by getting someone to complain about it. He just did it in another thread, too, specifically calling attention to a person’s profile not being set to private, in a callback to when he complained that someone had made their own private.

  • J_Enigma32

    It’s like a thought terminating cliche; for the first two or three minutes I’m trying to parse how that remotely matters. I’m reading through the thread and everything is making sense until I get to that one comment that totally trashes everything. I dare say that’s not just a derail, that’s a thredwreck.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    EH is really like an annoying kid who just got a rattle and has figured out how to use it just enough to get attention off of anyone else but not quite enough to seriouly piss off the adults into taking away the rattle permanently and giving the li’l snot a whap on the ass for being saucy.

    But there’s just enough RATTLERATTLERATTLE going on that it disrupts normal conversation.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    As I like to say:

    There is no palm that can encompass the magnitude of my facepalm.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    Lori claimed she assumes that every lone downvote on a comment is mine until proven otherwise. Thus, I prove otherwise.

  • aunursa

    It is possible to upvote and downvote the same comment.
    (I have no idea why someone might do that intentionally.)

  • Enopoletus Harding

    It is possible to upvote and downvote the same comment.

    -Haven’t seen that to be possible yet.

  • aunursa

    I stand corrected.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Thanks for that link, aunursa. Asset forfeiture has horrified me for years. I remember first reading about it in the nineties. One article I gave my mom to read actually gave her nightmares. Maybe now the issue will start to get some traction

  • Invisible Neutrino

    There was a nasty lil case in Louisiana (as I mentioned generally) – there was an old lady with a Cadillac. Cops pulled her over for “speeding”. She was carrying a wad of cash for her grandkid. Cops made her cough up $1000 for “expeditious release”. (>_<)

    Otherwise, well, they could seize the car and she'd have a devil of a time getting it back.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    In what way is that not extortion?

  • Invisible Neutrino

    (tongue-in-cheek) Why, the police just wanted a friendly little contribution to the Police Officers’ Ball. (/tongue-in-cheek)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Now I’m having dark thoughts about that one space on the board of our old version of Life.

  • Baby_Raptor

    “Like Peter entering the house of Cornelius, it was a moment that would be considered unlawful and scandalous to those who see members of this community as profane or unclean; yet, for me, and I believe for others who chose to be present in this march, it was a moment of grace, when we could witness the power of the Holy Spirit moving in this community, so often alienated from the Church of Christ.” (Taken from the second to last link.)

    I don’t understand what Mr. Whitney is trying to say here. He and some others from his church decided to march in the parade, I got that far. But where do grace and the Holy Spirit come in?

  • Michael Pullmann

    Grace and the Holy Spirit are what moved them to do it.

  • Amaryllis


    But I thought that Father Whitney was saying that grace and the Holy Spirit were already there at that parade, with those people, before ever he or his parish decided to march. Grace and the Holy Spirit are to be found in the “house of Cornelius,” whether or not Father Whitney or the Bishop or the Pope recognizes them there:

    I am going to the parade because I want to enter the house of Cornelius, where I have already seen the signs of the Spirit; because I want those in whose very nature is God’s blessing, to know that Christ longs for them with mercy and with love, asking them not to hide or reject their natural identity, but to see in that identity a way home to God.

    Which is to say, let’s get rid of this pernicious nonsense about “intrinsic disorders,” let’s recognize love when we see it, let’s welcome our brothers and sisters with love.

  • Baby_Raptor

    That’s highly odd wording then. He appears to be saying that they saw grace and the Holy Spirit moving *in the church* where it’s often not, instead of amongst LGBTs.

  • Stan Taylor

    Ironically, I assumed that the writer in this blog post was a man until she described herself as a woman. Shit.

  • forgedimagination

    As the writer of that post, this just makes me grin. :D

  • Enopoletus Harding

    Me, too. For some reason, I assumed AnonSam and BabyRaptor weren’t women back in mid-2012.

  • Daniel

    Both the Muslims and the Christians have the same strategy: limit the women to make men more virtuous.

  • P J Evans

    Some Muslims and some Christians. Not all. (And also some Jews.)

  • Daniel

    It’s a quote from the article.
    I’d also add: some Hindus, some Buddhists, some Zoroastrians…

  • Invisible Neutrino

    “If these young ladies were in a public school, they’d have a shot at justice, but in America these days, a white man can put the word ‘Christian’ in front of any behavior from boorish to criminal, and suddenly he’s untouchable.”

    (Content warning: Discussion of sexual offences, ROT13d for anyone who does not want to read it.)

    You know, I used to half-seriously entertain, back in the 1990s (but never assumed it would actually happen) fbzrbar gelvat gb hfr gur Ovoyvpny yrtraq bs Fbqbz naq Tbzbeenu jurer Ybg nyy ohg guebjf uvf qnhtugref gb gur jbyirf nf “cebbs” gung encvat jbzra vf Ovoyvpnyyl nyybjrq.

    Now it’s 2013 and I’m actually worried this isn’t far off. As long as you’re white, male, and profess to be Christian it seems like you can literally get away with murder. (O_O) Other offences can’t be far behind.

  • Carstonio

    Gingrey’s rhetoric disguises misogyny as tradition, stability and parental responsibility. He’s pandering not just to males seeking to protect their social position, but also to people terrified of social change. And yes, there is a hell of a lot of overlap among the two groups. I wasn’t old enough to remember the reaction that David Bowie’s androgynous image generated, but I did remember the hand-wringing over Boy George and Annie Lennox, particularly the older people who acted as if Captain Stubing’s Gender Neuter Apocalypse was an actual possibility.

    Hard to tell whether folks like Gingrey believe that gender roles are learned, or if they believe that feminism and sexual orientation are simply rebellions against nature. But I do know that when you teach kids that they’re supposed to do X or not do X because of their genitalia, you straitjacket their individuality and quash their spirit. I might go so far as to say that there shouldn’t be gender roles in the first place, but I’m really trying to say is that society shouldn’t impose genitalia-based limitations or requirements on individuals.

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I wasn’t old enough to remember the reaction that David Bowie’s androgynous image generated, but I did remember the hand-wringing over Boy George and Annie Lennox….

    I have a strong and unpleasant memory of, while watching a multi-celebrity benefit concert on TV my mother referring to Annie Lennox and her dress as, “…What is it wearing?”

    The only other time I heard my mother refer to a woman as it was when she was angry on behalf of her best friend whose husband had been found to have been cheating on her. She used the pronoun to refer to the other woman.

    The viciousness in the latter incident stuck with me, and made me feel a lot more sympathy for the vilified ‘other woman’ than I’m sure Mom wanted me to feel. It’s like when I was consoling a male friend over a relationship gone wrong, but a large portion of my sympathy for him recoiled in horror when he recounted his coup-de-grace from their final break-up fight; he seemed grimly proud of having called her a slut. Up until that moment my heart was bleeding for a friend in need; after that, it still was, but it also wanted to reach out to a sister under attack.

    As for the former, I think Mom thought she was being funny, but the tools people fall back on for spur-of-the-moment humor can reveal a lot about their beliefs and insecurities and prejudices.

    There is a significant portion of the population–hopefully, as you suggest, concentrated in older generations that take their bigotries with them to their graves when thence they go–in finding androgyny and gender-bending to be grave threats to her understanding of the world, and therefore to find the neuter pronoun one of the gravest insults to aim at a woman.

  • banancat

    I’m a One Direction fangirl and while many of their songs are highly problematic, I find it refreshing that the boys in the band can interact with each other very closely, in ways that many people think are gay. They’re all nearly a decade younger than me and I take this as a positive sign that they can just be comfortable hugging each other while being straight and not being defensive about it. (One of the five has not visibly dated anyone so I shouldn’t assume that he’s straight as the default, but neither should I assume he’s gay. And frankly, whatever his preference, I’m glad for him that he has managed to keep his private life private, which many celebrities haven’t achieved because we forget that they’re still people.)

  • Carstonio

    Matt Lewis is right about the ideology of the anti-amnesty crowd but wrong about the scope. He’s too ready to say that only an “underbelly” or passionate minority fears loss of majority status, and too eager to claim that critics hurl accusations of bigotry far too casually. It’s as if he’s never seen Fox News or listened to Limbaugh and understood how they relentlessly pander to those same fears.

  • Space Marine Becka

    I thought this was the best analysis of Morsi’s power grab by anyone.

  • BringTheNoise

    “We didn’t get rid of a military regime to replace it with a Fascist theocracy”

    So we put the military back in charge and let them massacre civilians who disagree with us. Great job, guys.

  • Space Marine Becka

    Yeah :/ But the kid’s still got a good head.

  • Veylon

    It’s one of those “lesser of two evils” situations where both the rock and the hard place are studded with spikes.

  • The_L1985

    “It never occurs to chastity police to beat the men with the hard-ons and not the women who showed a hank of hair. And it never occurred to the administrator of Strong Rock to teach the school’s young men respect, instead of taking away an educational experience from a young woman.”

    Once again, Christians fail to surprise me in a bad way. So much for being good “witnesses,” Strong Rock!

  • Carstonio

    It never occurs to chastity police to beat off the men with the hard-ons

  • VMtheCoyote

    Is it just me, or is the Conservative Right Fundegelical Art actually getting worse? I seem to remember it being at least slightly above, say, middle school level. A friend of mine, for some Fourth of July years ago, changed her picture on Facebook to a photoshop of Ronald Reagan crossing the Delaware with George Washington, and the Statute of Liberty in the background, with fireworks over the whole thing. But somehow, they seem to be getting so awful they can barely be parodied anymore.

  • Viliphied
  • ShifterCat

    That looks Colbert-worthy.

  • banancat

    But that is surely satire, right? Right?

  • J_Enigma32

    It’s awesome. The one of FDR is just as bad ass – he has a mechawheel chair!

    Edit: Because all AMURKA reminds me of this game for the XBox-360:

    Just remember – to quote TV tropes, a game THAT American could only be made in Japan.

  • Fanraeth

    One of my friends owns a copy of the Benjamin Franklin fighting Zeus print from that series. It is awesome.

  • GDwarf

    Well, there’s always the moderately-famous re-captioned McNaughton piece by David Willis:

  • VMtheCoyote

    Hah! I’d never seen that version – thanks! Definitely the best response to it I’ve ever seen.

  • ShifterCat

    Who is that supposed to be in the picture? It looks vaguely like David Duchovny.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Haha, it kinda does. And now that I’m looking at it, is anyone else getting a baptism scene in The Godfather kind of vibe? Like, while this guy’s getting sworn in, all sorts of shit is being set in motion that leads to kids needing to be rescued and cemeteries filling with soldiers?

  • mistformsquirrel

    At first glance I honestly thought “Jon Stewart” myself, which understandably had me a little confused.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.”

    -Three cheers! The trends of religious fundamentalism since the 1960s have finally borne good fruit!

  • Enopoletus Harding

    There is a sense among some anti-immigration-reform proponents that whites are genetically superior, and thus, uniquely suited to living in a free society.

    -Last time I heard, most illegal immigrants aren’t non-white. America has had a far better experience with democracy than most Latin American countries, and I don’t think that all that many people think it’s a matter of genetics. Certainly, I don’t.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    Without the working class, without young people, without intellectuals and without women, the religious denominations will have reached their end.

    Women and working class, yes, the other two, no. The YECs can easily survive without a sherd of intellectual credibility and young people are rarely to be found on the YEC lecture circuit.

  • Drow

    …am I the only one who thinks the guy taking an oath in that picture looks like John Stewart? And the guy in profile with the rifle looks like Stephen Colbert?

  • Enopoletus Harding

    Guy taking an oath reminds me more of Bill Maher.

  • Ethics Gradient

    I thought a cross between Bill Maher and Frank Burns.