Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

Tag: Gender Page 1 of 2

Only the NY Times Could Write This Headline

Colorado’s Effort Against Teenage Pregnancies Is a Startling Success

This is Colorado’s approach to anti-abortion, and it’s working great.  A reality based program:

an IUD

  • Educate young women
  • Make long-term birth control available to them
  • They choose the option to not get pregnant
  • It works

How is this startling?  Who at the NY Times was surprised this would work?

When women have a choice, they choose a method that acknowledges their humanity – unlike “abstinence-only” education that imposes a bronze-age view of women’s sexuality.  By the way, if the Colorado program reminds you of the approach taken by Planned Parenthood, it should.  They are nearly identical.  Planned Parenthood truly follows the principle that “abortion should be legal, safe, and rare.”

The program was started with a private grant but now will need state funding.  Given that the Colorado state senate is controlled by Republicans, expect opposition.  Expect the same puzzling approach the so-called pro-life crowd take to Planned Parenthood: if you really want to stop abortions, shouldn’t you be handing out contraceptives on every street corner?  But the right-wing approach to abortion, contraception and sex-education is not about any of those things, it’s about men controlling women’s sexuality.

Bobby Jindal Better Be Careful What He Wishes For

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, wants to be sure that we understand: bigotry and appeals to the lowest common denominator are the rock-solid foundation of his political career.

In a NY Times Op-Ed he wanted those Commie, atheistic, libtard corporations like Cummins Engine to know they won’t be able to bring their left-wing propaganda that ruined it for Christian pizza shop owners in Indiana to Loozy-anna!  No sir!

As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath. In 2010, Louisiana adopted a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits government from unduly burdening a person’s exercise of religion. However, given the changing positions of politicians, judges and the public in favor of same-sex marriage, along with the potential for discrimination against Christian individuals and businesses that comes with these shifts, I plan in this legislative session to fight for passage of the Marriage and Conscience Act.

Well, they better take care.  They had better write into the new law that only Christian beliefs are protected by it, and also be pretty specific as to which denominations are to be covered.  You wouldn’t want it to cover anything like Rochester’s own Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church where “All are welcome.” (Link, but careful, it’s noisy.)  Imagine!  A church that has the heretical nerve to be inclusive!  
Without these sensible though obviously-unconstitutional precautions, they will find themselves in the situation of poor Missouri, where some of the rather severe abortion restrictions are being challenged now by the Satanic Temple.  It seems the Satanic Temple has a primary belief that women have bodily autonomy [I know… right?].  Missouri’s 72-hour waiting period requirement, together with a number of other bullshit regulations that have closed every abortion provider in the state save one, are placing an easily actionable “undue burden” on their adherents’ sincerely-held religious beliefs.
I can’t wait to see what ideas about marriage and conscience the Satanic Temple find are unduly burdened by the legal code of the fine state of Louisiana.

Totally non-discriminatory

Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky filed a delightful brief with the Supreme Court on March 27 in defense of “traditional marriage” or “natural marriage” or whatever dog-whistle the bigots are using this week to identify the sentiment, “I get to marry whoever I want but I think your love is icky.”

Kentucky’s marriage laws treat homosexuals and heterosexuals the same and are facially neutral. Men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are free to marry persons of the opposite sex under Kentucky law, and men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot marry persons of the same sex under Kentucky law.

Well, there you go!  True equality under the law!  It immediately made me think of that paean to equality from Anatole France,

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

It’s easy to see that under Gov Beshear’s ideal system, we’d have no Americans with Disabilities Act; let everyone alike go up the same stairs!  No Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; let everyone alike deal with the same racist manager!  

By constraining a government built (loosely) on majority rule, the Bill of Rights accomplished what few societies before had managed.  It created a public and commercial sphere in which majority and minority populations could coexist and flourish.  Congress, as the branch of government most driven by the sentiments of the masses, is constrained time and again from doing everything the Founders could think of that would support the proverbial tyranny of the majority.  Indeed, the phrase “tyranny of the majority” is not the exact phrase James Madison used, but he did write, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson about the need for a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution,

“… In Virginia I have seen the bill of rights violated in every instance where it has been opposed to a popular current. Notwithstanding the explicit provision contained in that instrument for the rights of Conscience, it is well known that a religious establishment would have taken place in that State, if the Legislative majority had found as they expected, a majority of the people in favor of the measure; and I am persuaded that if a majority of the people were now of one sect, the measure would still take place and on narrower ground than was then proposed, notwithstanding the additional obstacle which the law has since created. Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents.

So when I hear the repeated appeals of anti-marriage-equality and anti-anti-discrimination demagogues  to “the will of the people”, it is supremely chilling.  Because what this means is, they got a bigoted ballot measure to pass a popular vote in someplace like Kentucky.  Well, knock me over with a feather.  

What this means to me is: marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws are all the more desperately needed in just those places.

Freedom to Destroy Freedom?

A commenter on my post about the Planet Fitness story wanted to know why the same accolade I gave Planet Fitness for their inclusive stand should not be accorded a bakery that refuses to bake a wedding cake because they disapprove of the bride and bride.
Freedom of speech/press/expression is extremely important, and we should all be interested in preserving it to the maximum.  That does imply, however, that some speech must be opposed in unison by people of goodwill.  There will always be people expressing the idea that the free expression of ideas itself is an evil that must be curtailed.  It would be great if we could count on a vast majority to laugh such propositions right off the stage, but as the rogues’ gallery of yesterday’s post shows it’s not always so easy to dismiss them.  Insecure or scared people will latch onto anything that seems to promise an improvement in stability.  They are seldom able to assess the risks properly and may simply believe whoever is loudest.

The equilibrium of a marketplace of ideas can be destroyed when one of the ideas that gains purchase is: that there should be no such marketplace.  Marginalizing the different, the minority, the underclass is a key strategy.  Scaring everyone else is another.

Matt Baume’s excellent video series now takes a look at several such marginalization efforts aimed at the LGBTQ community.  See if you can spot the similarities between these “new” attacks on freedom and another set of laws that officially went away in the 1960s (but whose spirit lives on to this day).

No Judgement Zone

The Planet Fitness in Midland County, Michigan recently had a conflict between one of its core company values and one of its customers.  In the kind of move that I wish we’d see more often, they fired the customer.

Yvette Cormier said she felt threatened by the fact that a transgender woman was one of the women using the women’s locker room (news story here).  Planet Fitness never wavered in its response that it is in fact a No Judgement Zone.  That principle extends to gender identity, and that was their final answer.  As a customer, Ms. Cormier had agreed to uphold this essential aspect of the business.  So when she declined to stop complaining about the trans- member, she was deemed by Planet Fitness to be out of compliance with the policy of No Judgement and her membership was terminated.

“I’m offended by that” has become something of a weapon in the hands of the intolerant.  If you analyze it logically, the only action it really calls for is an inaction on the part of the offendee.  You are offended by this book?  Don’t read it.

Somehow though, offendees have arrogated the right to act to prevent others from doing things that the offendees themselves dislike.  This is the core of many so-called debates going on now.  I say “so-called” because every high-school debater can tell you that an unconditional requirement of a “debate” is a reasoned argument on both sides.  But one side in the debate on an “offense” has no logic or evidence, only their self-reported, subjective reaction to something.  And it’s always something of which they are more than welcome NOT to partake.  You find this movie offensive?  Don’t see it.  You find same-sex marriage offensive?  Marry someone of the opposite sex.  If you wish to argue that it’s not so simple, please be prepared to explain how someone is trying to force you to marry a same-sex spouse.  I will go to the barricades with you to oppose that.  But of course, that has happened exactly zero times in the history of the universe.

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