Good news for people who like good news

Good news for people who like good news June 13, 2013

France says oui to marriage equality.

• And Minnesota says you betcha.

• New principal takes over violent, failing high school, fires the security guards and hires art and music teachers. School starts to turn around. It seems kids do better in school when the school seems more like a school and less like a militarized prison.

One Voice for Change is amplifying the voices of women in the Churches of Christ. It seems like an important, potentially history-making, movement in a denomination that has long been denying women a voice and denying itself the contribution of women’s voices.

I’m not closely familiar with the CofC, and I can’t judge how effective this movement for change may be, but anything that has the support of James McCarty and Richard Beck strikes me as a Good Thing.

• Gold mining and recovery uses lots of cyanide. You know, the deadly poison. Cyanide salts have been the main way of extracting gold from ore — often resulting in cyanide waste poisoning the environment and leaching into groundwater. Now scientists at Northwestern University have figured out a way to extract gold using cornstarch instead. Cheaper, non-toxic, and it seems to work better than cyanide did.

• The endangered — and adorable — dwarf foxes of California’s Channel Islands  have “made one of the fastest recoveries of any animal in the history of the Endangered Species Act.”

• “Teen birth rate drops to record low in the U.S.

US teen births have dropped to a record low, but the country still has one of the highest rates among developed nations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“The overall rate declined 25 percent from 41.5 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15-19 in 2007 to 31.3 in 2011 — a record low,” the CDC report said.

“The number of births to teenagers aged 15-19 also fell from 2007 to 2011, by 26 percent to 329,797.”

… According to the most recent National Survey of Family Growth, teens are increasingly using contraception during their first sexual encounter, and sexually active females and males are using dual measures — mainly condoms and hormonal methods.

Philadelphia sets a new standard for protecting the legal equality and civil rights of LGBT Americans.

Church of Scotland stops pretending God doesn’t call LGBT people to ministry.

• “U.S. Murder Rate Is on Track to Be Lowest in a Century

• Someone spray-painted graffiti on Grace Episcopal Church in rural Randolph, N.Y. “Can I still get to heaven if I kill myself?” appeared on the wall of the church in two-foot letters.

Rather than approaching the tagging as a criminal act, however, church leaders decided to take the graffiti seriously as an expression of something spiritually meaningful — a cry for help, perhaps; even a mocking expression of religious skepticism. They approached it relationally, using the church building itself as a social media platform, and responding with their own message of hope.

Instead of calling the cops or setting up security cameras, the pastor spray-painted this reply next to the original message: “God loves you with no exceptions!”

• Sarah Moon is now blogging here at Patheos!


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  • Hexep

    So, the graffiti-er in New York… Will they?

  • Also…

    Human genes by themselves are not patentable. YES!

  • TheBrett

    Good news on the gold mining thing. Now I’m hoping that the fracking waste water filtration thing I heard about a while back pans out.

  • Lori

    I hadn’t heard about One Voice for Change. I wish them luck with it, because they’re looking at a long, hard road. The Churches of Christ are very patriarchal and very resistant to women in any kind of leadership roles other than those that strictly involve women teaching or leading other women. Women having any sort of authority or “headship” over men is a total no-go.

    As an example, I’ve attended a number of congregations in the course of my life. All of them had regular business meetings to discuss financial issues and decide on church programs and that sort of thing. Women are not allowed to attend. I don’t mean they’re not allowed to speak or vote, I mean they’re not allowed to be present*. In most places it is literally called the men’s business meeting. For the sake of convenience the regular ones (usually monthly or quarterly, depending on the size of the congregation) are often held after a service. That means that the attendees’ wives are there and thus have to hang around waiting for it to be over. They sit in a separate room and chat amongst themselves, like regency ladies taking tea in the drawing room while the men have their cigars and port. I am not making that up. Yes, I mean now, in 2013. It happened at my parents’ church last week.

    I get tired just thinking about the amount of work that will have go into fighting that. It makes me grateful to be an atheist. I’m pretty sure that if I believed and gave a crap, the CofC’s sexism would have totally crushed my spirit years ago.

    *ETA: Literally any adult male member of the congregation can attend, no matter how uninvolved he is in the church’s activities. As a practical matter a guy who is strictly a pew-warmer isn’t going to have a lot of influence, but he’s allowed to be there and speak his piece and if something is settled by vote he gets the same one vote as anyone else. Conversly, no matter how involved or interested a woman is she’s not allowed to attend. I’ve seen cases where the congregation was basically being held together by the will and effort of a handful of women and everyone knew it and they still didn’t get any direct say in church business. They were of course free to fulfill their womanly role by influencing their husbands behind the scenes. [gag]

  • fredgiblet

    So how long until Monsanto creates a GMO corn to make the starch from that ends up being worse than cyanide pollution in the long run?

  • EllieMurasaki


  • Carstonio

    As soon as you started to describe the practice, I had the same image from the Regency, and was pleased to see that you make the same comparison. Maybe I’m too idealistic, but I hope that something in those men’s consciences rebels against that custom.

  • Lori

    If anything in CofC mens’ consciences is rebelling against acting like regency asshats I’ve seen no evidence of it.

  • Carstonio

    I was confused by the story at first, because I assumed it meant that individuals couldn’t patent their own personal genes. I suppose that would be more like a copyright.

  • FearlessSon

    You know, it is probably a good thing for my criminal record that most of the blatant misogyny I encounter is through the insulatingly vast distances of online communication, because if saw crap like that in person (as it the case with those churches) I would probably end up going to the meeting just to punch the person who organized it.

  • FearlessSon

    With as evil as Mosanto is made out to be, I would think it would not be long now before they attempt an armed coup with an army of genetically engineered killer corn monsters.

  • flat

    just went to the newest blogger and said hello, My fellow slacktivites would you be so very kind to also greet the newest blog at patheos thank you very much.

  • Michael Pullmann

    Andrew Bott is my new hero.

  • In crappier news, that guy who gives homeless people haircuts got harshed on by authorities.

    Heaven forbid anyone cut poor people a break.

  • Lori

    It’s not a problem that is in any way amenable to violence. People are there voluntarily. I don’t like it, but the people involved are adults.

  • FearlessSon

    To quote MLK Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And institutional sexism is still sexism, even if everyone in that institution volunteers to be there. If I am present, I have to do something about it, and it has to be enough that it cannot be brushed off or easily ignored. The comment about punching was a dig at my own temper and lack of patience for male chauvinist bullshit.

  • Lori

    First, I don’t believe MLK meant that for anyone to be free we have to force everyone to be. Second, I seriously don’t think he would have had any truck with the notion of punching people in the face for being sexist.

    People make choices, some of which suck. As long as the choices aren’t forced and people aren’t prevented from making different ones then we have to respect those choices even when we don’t like them. You can let people know that there are other ways of doing things, but you don’t have the right to demand that they take one of the other options. It’s no more right for you to force them to do things your way than it is for them to try to force you to do things their way.

  • Yeah, still not entirely pleased by the outcome though. Naturally occurring rice and corn sure hasn’t dampened Monsanto’s winters any.

  • What’s especially fucked up is that the city honored him just last year for the exact same thing.

  • reynard61

    *readies the boiling water, butter, salt and corn-cob holders and waits to feast*

  • reynard61

    The Lord Mayor giveth and the Lord Mayor taketh away…

  • Indiana Joe
  • LL

    Yes, this was very good news, too. I am sick of the corporatization of everything in America. I can’t be the only one.

  • Space Marine Becka

    More good news, I think.

    Also I love how animated she is. X-D I want to do someting like this but I don’t know how to begin when I suffer from social anxiety.