Illinois Bishop: Catholics Who Support Equality ‘Harm The Common Good Of Society’

Why is it that shit like this leads me to think Equality = Good/Religion = Bad?

From Think Progress:

By Zack Ford
on Feb 13, 2013

The Illinois Senate is planning to approve marriage equality legislation Thursday, and the Catholic Church continues to rail against the effort. In the latest bishop-penned screed in advance of the Valentine’s Day vote, Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki turned his sights on the majority of Catholics who support marriage equality in spite of the Church hierarchy’s dictates, in the name of “love” (via Jeremy Hooper):

We would do well to remember the color red is associated with St. Valentine’s Day because Valentine died as a martyr on February 14, about the year 270. Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Emperor Claudius II.  This Valentine’s Day we would also do well to focus on a more authentic understanding of the word “love.” Love never encourages sin or leads a person further into sin, but seeks instead to help others live a holy life.  As St. Valentine demonstrated, love seeks to lead us further away from sin and closer to the truth. […]

The Church hopes all civil servants will serve the common good and avoid acting contrary to that common good, especially in regard to basic institutions that, like marriage, are fundamental to the well-being of the whole society and her members.  In a special way, the Church expects this of Catholics who have been called to the dignity and responsibility of public service. Catholics who propose or promote the legal establishment of marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman harm the common good of society, as known by reason, and set themselves against the settled teaching of the Church.

The Catholic Church has great love and compassion for those who experience same-sex attraction and offers pastoral help for people dealing with this condition to help them live a life of chastity.  This is a separate issue, however, from the definition of marriage as a natural institution between a man and a woman committed to an exclusive and life-long relationship open to the potential to bring new life into the world.

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NOW and One Billion Rising Call Attention to Violence Against Women Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

Now Press Release:

February 14, 2013

Today, women and men around the world are rising and dancing to end violence against women and girls. The National Organization for Women is a proud partner in the One Billion Rising actions organized by Vagina Monologues author and global activist Eve Ensler. NOW leaders and supporters are taking part in actions across the country, including in our nation’s capital.

We know too well that hostility toward women and girls is an injustice that knows no boundaries. This past year, a medical student on a New Delhi bus was viciously gang-raped by six men. She died of her injuries two weeks later. In the United States, a Notre Dame student committed suicide after facing harassment for reporting that a football player had sexually assaulted her. A young woman was raped in Steubenville, Ohio, where the community rallied not behind the victim but behind the accused football players. In Pakistan, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who is an advocate for girls’ education, was shot by members of the Taliban on her bus ride home from school.

One in three women and girls will be abused or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s one billion worldwide. And yet, gender-based violence is virtually invisible, perhaps because it’s so common it is seen as inevitable. Too often, it is dismissed and overlooked. So today we gather together to demand an end to this crisis and the silence surrounding it. Here in the United States, we specifically call on the House of Representatives to immediately pass the inclusive Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that sailed through the Senate this week on a bipartisan vote of 78 to 22. To those politicians who would block this essential legislation, we have a simple message: women are watching, and women vote.

One Billion Rising is a revolution where everyone can dance — where we celebrate the power and resilience of women and girls, and our shared hope for a better future. We rise together on this day, and together we will end the scourge of violence against women and girls for all time.

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Sir David Attenborough – Why Do You Not Credit God?

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Pot Calls Kettle Black: Taliban Christian Pat Robertson Claims Islam Is ‘Demonic’ And ‘Not A Religion’ But An Economic System

Jesus hustler and scam artist Pat Robertson spews yet more bullshit.

From Huffington Post:


Controversial conservative Christian Pat Robertson doubled down Tuesday on claims that Islam is not a religion.

According to Right Wing Watch, Robertson, an elder statesman of the evangelical movement, made the inflammatory claim during an episode of his TV program, “The 700 Club.”

“Every time you look up — these are angry people, it’s almost like it’s demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up,” Robertson said of Islam. “It’s a religion of chaos.”

He went on to say, “I hardly think to call it a religion, it’s more of — well, it’s an economic and political system with a religious veneer.”

This is hardly the first time Robertson has spoken out on Islam.

ThinkProgress points to an incident, after Major Nidal Malik massacred his fellow soldiers in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, when Robertson claimed not only that Islam is “not a religion,” but also that he sees it as “a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination.”

In related comments this past September, Robertson joked that a caller to the “The 700 Club” should become a Muslim so he could be disrespectful to his wife.

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Physicist Lawrence Krauss rips creationists: It is like the Taliban

From Raw Story:

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Physicist Lawrence Krauss on Tuesday defended calling the teaching creationism a form of child abuse, saying that withholding education was harmful.

Krauss acknowledged on The David Pakman Show that teaching creationism to children was not on the same level as sexual abuse, but insisted it should still be considered abusive because it put the children at a disadvantage. He warned that teaching creationism could cause children to distrust science in general, obstructing their progress in a society that is increasingly dependent on technology.

“Sure, it is mild child abuse, but it is,” Krauss said. “We need to encourage our children to question freely and try to think for themselves. Anything we do that counters that is unfair to them.”

The leading researcher said he had no problem with parents using the Bible to teach moral lessons to their children. His problem was with parents who taught the Bible was historical truth and that the world was only 6,000 years old.

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Standards of Beauty

From The Link Newspaper:

by Oliver Leon in That Transsexual Guy
on February 13, 2013

Do you ever wonder what Medusa saw when she looked into the mirror for the first time? Did she admire her snake hair? Did she think that her eyes, which can turn onlookers into stone, were pretty? Did her snakes ever drip poison onto her shoulders, or was Medusa invulnerable to her own powers?

She was considered an ugly woman by the Greeks and the mythical hero that slew her. Her head eventually ended up on the shield of the goddess Athena, presumably to terrify her opponents.

I feel like I can relate to Medusa’s story. My body has also been feared.

There are so few studies on transsexual health that I cannot ask a doctor for information on how to take care of myself because the doctor will reply, “I don’t know how to help you.” It is only within the last decade or so that consensual studies have even been conducted with female-to-male transsexuals.

It is important to acknowledge that many of the studies conducted on male-to-female transsexuals were done with alarm on the part of the researchers (check out Dr. Viviane Namaste’s work for more information on this, or take one of her classes here at Concordia). The researchers were worried: why would a man want to give up his privileged position in life to become a woman?

I’ve had people studiously stare at me, trying to determine my gender. When I catch them staring, I stare back. People usually turn away in embarrassment. But sometimes they keep looking, judging the lines and curves of my body, glancing at my long thin hands and my pierced ears. Sometimes, I feel disappointed that my glance doesn’t turn onlookers to stone.

It’s not just me and my gender shenanigans that attract stares. It’s anyone who does not adhere to the white, assimilated, urbane, middle- and upper-class, monogamous, able-bodied, heterosexual Standards of Beauty as Defined by Dudes.

Those who look conventionally beautiful, adhere to gender roles and earn a “respectable” living can pass by, unremarked. But for those of us who don’t “pass,” who don’t get a “get-out-of-jail-free” card—where does that leave us?

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Do ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ Matter?

From Huffington Post:


So the AP strikes again. Back in November, the organization that sees its style guide as the journalist’s bible telegraphed that the forthcoming edition would discourage the use of the term “homophobia.” Now the AP is restricting the use of the terms “husband” and “wife” for legally married same-sex couples. According to the leaked internal memo quoted this week on AMERICAblog, the AP explains, “Our view is that such terms may be used in AP content if those involved have regularly used those terms (‘Smith is survived by his husband, John Jones’) or in quotes attributed to them.” Otherwise, their policy is to use “partners,” whether the people are joined in a civil union or legal marriage. This “separate but equal” terminology and its justification are ludicrous! Would the AP care if legally married opposite-sex couples did not use the terms “husband” or “wife” to describe each other? If a legally married same-sex couple preferred other terms, would the AP use those? By dressing their decision up in an insincere concern for what the couples themselves use, the AP is merely shielding the discomfort and bigotry behind their decision.

But with everything else going on in the world today, do “husband” and “wife” really matter? The answer is yes. They really do. The mutually constitutive relationship between language and society means that these types of decisions matter. Language reflects society, yes, but society is also constructed through language. Our identities do not simply exist as static, immutable and self-evident realities. Each day, in each interaction we have, and in each text we write, we talk our identities, our communities, our societies into being. When we use terms that are different for what should, legally, be the same, we are talking inequality into being — over and over and over again.

Change is hard. Change can be disorienting and uncomfortable. I understand this on a deeply personal level.

When my stepfather, who always runs into people he knows wherever we go, was confronted with the problem of how to introduce my wife Heather, who was my fiancée at the time, he introduced her as my “friend.” Later, he asked me if this was OK, and I, feeling uncomfortable and unsure, as well as genuinely touched by his concern, assured him that it was. To be fair, I had never broached the subject of what to call her with him or any of my family, and he is from a different generation that never could have imagined the changes that have taken place in recent decades with regard to marriage equality. My stepfather and my mother, as well as my father and Heather’s parents, all attended our wedding in October, and we could not ask for more love and acceptance from our families, but changing how we talk about who we are can be difficult.

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Objectification suppresses women’s desire to engage in social activism, study finds

From Raw Story:

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, February 11, 2013

A new study has shown that objectification can make college-aged women more accepting of the status quo and less likely to engage in social activism, potentially contributing to gender inequality.

“My research focused on self-objectification, which is a self-perspective that many women adopt as a primary consequence of regular encounters of sexual objectification,” the study’s author, Rachel M. Calogero of the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, explained to Raw Story.

The study, published last month in Psychological Science, found that women who were primed to evaluate themselves based on their appearance and sexual desirability had a decreased motivation to challenge gender-based inequalities and injustices.

“Self-objectification has been causally linked to a number of negative physical, mental, and behavioral health outcomes in girls and women, and even some men,” Calogero added. “My research went further to test the theoretical notion that objectifying practices sustain inequality at a broader level. I demonstrated that self-objectification is connected to women’s motivation to challenge the status quo.”

The study contained two separate experiments to investigate the relationship between self-objectification and social activism.

The first experiment tested whether female college students who valued appearance-based attributes like “physical attractiveness” over competence-based attributes like “physical fitness” were more or less likely to accept the current state of gender relations.

Calogero found that women who placed greater value on appearance-based attributes were more likely to accept the status quo. Not surprisingly, those who accepted the status quo were also less likely to speak out about gender equality or sign a petition in support of women’s rights.
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French Assembly Passes Gay Marriage, Adoption Bill

From Huffington Post:


PARIS — France’s lower house of parliament approved a sweeping bill on Tuesday to legalize gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children, handing a major legislative victory to President Francois Hollande’s Socialists on a divisive social issue.

The measure, approved in the National Assembly in a 329-to-229 vote, puts France on track to join about a dozen mostly European nations that allow gay marriage and comes despite a string of recent demonstrations by opponents of the so-called “marriage for all” bill.

Polls indicate a narrow majority of French support legalizing gay marriage, though that support falls when questions about the adoption and conception of children come into play.

The Assembly has been debating the bill, and voting on its individual articles in recent weeks. The overall legislation now goes in the coming weeks to the Senate, which also is controlled by the governing Socialists and their allies.

With Tuesday’s vote, France joins Britain in taking a major legislative step in recent weeks toward allowing gay marriage and adoption – making them the largest European countries to do so. The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Spain, as well as Argentina, Canada and South Africa have authorized gay marriage, along with nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

The issue has exposed fault lines between a progressive-minded leftist legislative majority in officially secular France, and the country’s conservative religious roots. Critics – including many Roman Catholics – have railed that the bill would erode the traditional family. Socialists, however, sought to depict the issue as one of equal rights, and they played off France’s famed Revolution-era motto of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”

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Top Papal Candidate Has Defended ‘Kill the Gays’ Laws in Africa

From Bilerico:

By John M. Becker
February 12, 2013

In the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s unprecedented announcement yesterday that he would resign the papacy effective February 28, many people took to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to express hope that the next pope would look more kindly on the LGBT community than the notoriously homophobic Benedict. However, as I wrote yesterday, I believe such hopes are sadly misplaced:

Benedict has appointed a majority of the cardinals who will elect his successor, and the vast majority of bishops around the world were named by either Benedict or his equally anti-gay predecessor, John Paul II. Given the fact that popes tend to appoint prelates who share their views, institutional homophobia in the Roman Catholic Church isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, even as Catholics in Western countries continue to drift further away from the church on these and other issues.

As the chatter within the Catholic world turns from shock over the Pope’s resignation to speculation about who might succeed him, the name at or near the top of nearly everyone’s list is that of Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana. He was appointed by Benedict in 2009 to serve as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and (surprise!) he’s incredibly anti-gay.

How anti-gay, you ask? Believe it or not, Turkson is so anti-gay that he actually defended draconian laws that criminalize homosexuality and gay sex, including Uganda’s notorious “Kill the Gays” bill. Speaking last year to the National Catholic Register, Turkson opined that while the penalties imposed by such laws are “exaggerated,” the desire of many Africans and African leaders to incarcerate or even execute their gay citizens is actually perfectly understandable, and that the “intensity of the reaction [to homosexuality] is probably commensurate with tradition.”

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Pope’s resignation ‘linked to sex abuse crisis’, says Mea Maxima Culpa director

From The Guardian UK:

Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney suggests Pope Benedict XVI’s departure stems from recent sex scandals, Wednesday 13 February 2013

Oscar-winning film-maker Alex Gibney, whose documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God details a small part of the current wave of accusations surrounding the Catholic church, has suggested that the Pope’s resignation stems from the stain of recent sex scandals.

Gibney, whose film is out in the UK on Friday, told the Hollywood Reporter that the departure of Benedict XVI had brought great solace to people who had suffered abuse at the hands of priests. “His papacy will always be saddled with the stain of the sex abuse crisis,” he said, adding that the resignation “seems to me inextricably linked to the sex abuse crisis”.

Gibney’s film, which screened in the US on the HBO pay-TV channel last week, examines the case of five deaf men who were abused as boys by one predatory priest at the St John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee during the 1960s. Despite taking their claims all the way to the Vatican in their quest for justice, they were consistently rebuffed. Benedict XVI, in his earlier capacity as Cardinal Ratzinger, was responsible for ordering all reports of sex abuse to be channelled through his office at the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, which he ran from 2001 to 2005.

Two of the men whose stories are detailed in Gibney’s film “expressed great joy that he had resigned”, said Gibney. “They felt he was a symbolic figure for them, and his resignation showed some sense of accountability from the church. So, yes, they were actually joyful.” One wrote in an email: “Finally. Many, many thanks to you and your crew for spreading our word, because we want to protect all innocent children. May the universe bless you.”

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See also World Socialist Web Site:  Pope resigns amid deepening crisis for Catholic Church

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How to Get Inspiration Into Your Daily Media Diet: Sarah van Gelder at TEDx Bellevue

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Obama: Minimum Wage Increase Will Boost ‘Rising, Thriving Middle Class’

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday night laid out a vision for a society in which everyone has a fair shot at a decent education, adequate health care and a job that pays a living wage.

“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class,” said the president in the first State of the Union address of his second term. “It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love.”

The president’s most notable proposal was to raise the minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. A worker making the minimum wage now earns just $14,500 a year — well below the living wage in many areas. Obama also proposed indexing it to inflation, so that when the cost of living goes up, so do earnings.

“This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families,” said Obama. “It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. And a whole lot of folks out there would probably need less help from government. In fact, working folks shouldn’t have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Huffington Post that he was “very grateful the president focused on income inequality.” He said he wholeheartedly supported the minimum wage increase, although believed that $9 an hour was probably too low.

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Maj. Gen. Linnington: Drop ‘Aiding the Enemy’ Charges Against Manning

From Fire Dog Lake: Justice For Bradley Manning:

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What Obama Said (and What He Meant) About Climate Change, War and Civil Liberties

From Common Dreams:

by Norman Solomon
Published on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by Common Dreams

The words in President Obama’s “State of the Union” speech were often lofty, spinning through the air with the greatest of ease and emitting dog whistles as they flew.

Let’s decode the president’s smooth oratory in the realms of climate change, war and civil liberties.

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”

We’ve done so little to combat climate change — we must do more.

“I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…”

Climate change is an issue that can be very good for Wall Street. Folks who got the hang of “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” can learn how to handle “cap and trade.” The corporate environmental groups are on board, and maybe we can offer enough goodies to big corporations to make it worth their while to bring enough of Congress along.

“The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.”

Dual memo. To T. Boone Pickens: “Love ya.” To environmentalists who won’t suck up to me: “Frack you.” (And save your breath about methane.)

“That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”

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Daryl Hannah leads celebrity Keystone XL protest at White House gates

From The Guardian UK:

Fifty people detained by police after handcuffing themselves to gates to demand that Obama shuts down pipeline project

US environment corespondent, Wednesday 13 February 2013

A celebrity roster of protesters, including climate scientist James Hansen, actor Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond and environmental advocate Robert Kennedy Jr, were arrested on Wednesday after handcuffing themselves to the gates of the White House to demand that Barack Obama shut down the Keystone XL pipeline project.

In all, about 50 people were detained. The protests, while entirely orderly and co-ordinated in advance with local police, delivered a sharp reminder to Obama the morning after his state of the union address of the enormous political challenges ahead as he tries to make good on his promise to act on climate change.

Other campaign groups vied for Obama’s attention on Wednesday. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the League of Conservation Voters released separate polls showing a majority of the American public – roughly two-thirds in both polls – wanted Obama to act on climate. Democratic senators are preparing to formally launch a new attempt at climate legislation on Thursday. None of those issues, however, are as immediately problematic for Obama as the Keystone XL project.

Obama did not mention Keystone XL in the state of the union speech. But the pipeline has become one of the most contentious issues on his second-term agenda, a touchstone for environmental campaigners. To protesters, the project has become the defining symbol of Obama’s promises to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

“The Keystone pipeline project is the purest test of whether the president is serious about doing something about climate change or not,” the author Bill McKibben, whose group has led opposition to the project, told a few hundred protesters outside the White House.

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