Posts Tagged 'news'

Concerned Women For America Issues Groundbreaking Survey Results

As reported on Right Wing Watch, CWA (shudder) has surveyed its own members and arrived at some startling conclusions about homosexuality:

Last fall, Concerned Women for America (CWA) conducted a survey of its members’ opinions about the impact of the radical homosexual agenda in the public schools. Thousands of members participated in the survey. As expected, CWA members feel strongly about these issues. They are rightly alarmed at the pervasive influence of activists whose agenda has nothing to do with education and everything to do with evangelizing young people into a dangerous and harmful lifestyle.

The results of the National Impact Survey of the Radical Homosexual Agenda on America’s Public Schools showed overwhelming support for common-sense approaches to education. Clearly, CWA members have a strong preference for schools to be free of radical politics and free to focus on the “Three Rs.” The radical homosexual agenda has nothing to do with education and no place in our public schools. (Source)

Yes, they actually called the survery ‘National Impact Survey of the Radical Homosexual Agenda on America’s Public Schools’. What kind of jackasses are running CWA? (Actually, don’t answer that – I’m pretty sure I already know.)

I also have to object to constant use of the word ‘radical’. Thankfully, suggesting that homosexuality is not a sin is no longer ‘radical’ – controversial if you’re talking to brainwashed fundies, yes, but we’re not living in the 1940’s any more.

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A Biological Joke

I’ve gone all quiet on here again, but I must issue a ‘standing order’ to anyone coming across the blog in the future (or until I update next): let me know if any Creationists take the following seriously.

A new study into the transfer of genetic material laterally, or across taxonomic divisions, has shown that evolution does not proceed as Darwin thought, and that in fact the present theory of evolution is entirely false. Instead, it transpires that lateral genetic transfer makes new species much more like Empedocles‘ “random monster” theory over 2000 years ago had predicted.

Publishing in the Journal of Evolutionary Diversions, the major journal in the field, Professor Augustus P. Rillful and his colleagues of the paragenetics laboratory at the University of Münchhausen in Germany have shown experimentally that the ability of DNA to cross species boundaries at any distance makes the origin of species a solved problem, only it is solved in a way that Darwin never envisaged. This new theory, called Empedoclean Evolution, explains why novel traits can be found in many different taxonomic groups independently. Instead of being “discovered” by natural selection and then passed on to descendants, a solution can be “found” entirely by chance and shared throughout the living world, even between single celled organisms and plants or animals. (Source)

Okay, I’ll admit it: at first I actually thought this was serious, although I was wondering why the hell nobody was making a bigger deal about it. (At the very least, I’d expect news like this to cause every biologist on Earth to collectively swoon and faint – in that order.) It’s an April Fool’s day joke, of course, but posted a bit early.

Now, how long before some Creationist starts to triumphantly declare that ‘the Darwinists are changing their story again!!!!!’? I’d give it twelve hours, maximum.

‘Gay Affluence’ May Be a Myth

A recent study has apparently killed the idea that gay people tend to be more affluent than their heterosexual counterparts:

Lesbian couples are more likely to be poor than married heterosexuals, and children of same-sex parents are twice as likely to live in poverty as those of traditional married couples, a new report shows.

UCLA’s Williams Institute, which studies gay issues, says its report out today is the first to analyze poverty among gay and lesbian couples.

The report is an analysis of the most recent data on same-sex unmarried partners from the 2000 Census and two smaller surveys that include questions on sexual orientation. Together, it argues, they debunk “a popular stereotype (that) paints lesbians and gay men as an affluent elite.” (Source)

Interesting stuff, and I have to admit to buying the ‘gays are more wealthy’ stereotype myself. I actually know several gay couples who are definitely better-off in monetary terms than their heterosexual friends, for the simple reason that they have no children to support and therefore have a much higher level of disposable income. They’re not rolling in cash, but they they’re also among the few couples in their social circles who aren’t suffering under a huge amount of debt right now. Of course, I also know of several gay people who are living under a mountain of debt, so I guess that should have warned me not to make generalisations.

This raises some interesting questions about anti-discimination laws. If a study similar to this found that a racial minority group (or women) were at a monetary disadvantage compared to the rest of society, one obvious solution would be to ensure that they’re not being disciminated against in the job market. But, as I’ve said before, homosexuals are still very much an ‘acceptable target’ – it is still seen as socially acceptable by many to hold views about gay men and women that would be considered incredibly prejudiced under any other circumstances. To those who are opposed to anti-discrimination laws, ask yourselves this: if you knew for sure that voting against an anti-discimination law would lead to an increase in poverty among gay men and women, would you still do it?

Vermont Moves Closer To Marriage Equality

The atheist blogosphere is alight with reports of a pastor impersonating an atheist by suggesting that killing people for no reason is morally acceptable. I’m assuming he’s hopping on the ever-popular ‘There are no intellectually honest atheists’ bandwagon, which means his credibility is pretty much shot right there.

The GLBT blogosphere is similarly aflame over Vermont’s progressive stance on same-sex marriage:

MONTPELIER, Vt. – A state Senate committee unanimously approved a gay marriage bill on Friday, moving Vermont one step closer to allowing same-sex couples to legally wed.

“It provides … gay and lesbian couples the same rights that I have as a married heterosexual,” said Sen. John Campbell, vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chief sponsor of the bill.

The measure would replace Vermont’s first-in-the-nation civil unions law with one that allows marriage of same-sex partners beginning Sept. 1. (Source)

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that things are still moving forward, although the many recent setbacks paints a rather disturbing scenario: in ten year’s time, will there be a sharp divide between those states that recognise gay marriage and those that don’t? The way things are going, that doesn’t seem too unlikely, and such a division would raise a number of difficulties for married gay couples who wanted to travel or move permenantly to a state with differing marriage laws.

The developments in Vermont have predictably been unpopular with the Religious Right, and I’ve seen several bloggers suggest that the issue should have been voted on. (I’m guessing they wouldn’t be highlighting this grevious injustice if the bill had been struck down.) I still mantain that it’s too early to say that legalised gay marriage is inevitable (we’re not quite there yet), but I wonder how many on the anti-equality side realise that they’re probably fighting a losing battle.

I Totally Called It

Apparently, Ann Coulter is ‘probably’ going to stop writing books.

Why? Because of ‘increasing taxes on the rich by the Obama administration’. While the world will be a better, more hopefuly place the minute Coulter stops publishing, there is a frightening undertone to the announcement: she was making enough money to consider herself ‘wealthy’.

Do we really need any greater evidence of the total amorality of the universe? No? I thought not.

Webster’s Dictionary and Wild Conspiracy Theories

Sometimes it can be difficult to look at the internet without thinking that a sizeable fraction of humanity has succumbed to a kind of mass stupidity. Gaze upon the latest atrocity to be committed against the moral majority of America:

One of the nation’s most prominent dictionary companies has resolved the argument over whether the term “marriage” should apply to same-sex duos or be reserved for the institution that has held families together for millennia: by simply writing a new definition.

“I was shocked to see that Merriam-Webster changed their definition of the word ‘marriage,’ a word which has referred exclusively to a contract between a man and a woman for centuries. It has now added same sex,” YouTube user Eric B. noted to WND.

“The 1992 Webster’s Dictionary does not mention same sex at all,” he wrote. (Source)

Why does anybody go to WND for their news? If you had a choice between drinking a glass of water and drinking a glass of sulphuric acid, why would you go for the sulphuric acid?

Anyway.

While it’s entirely possible that this is either a sinister homo-conspiracy or a show of solidarity by whoever decides what ends up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, I seriously doubt that it’s either. More likely, someone decided to add same-sex marriage to the definition of ‘marriage’ but, despite what the writers at WingNutDaily would have you believe, same-sex marriage exists. As a concept or as an institution (in some places), it exists. The Religious Right might not like the fact that ‘marriage’ does in some places refer to a legally recognised union between two people, or that the idea of such a union is commonly discussed, but that reality (thankfully) does not warp in accordance with their whims.

There will no doubt be many people bemoaning the ‘politicisation of dictionaries’ because of this, yet not including a definition for ‘same-sex marriage’ would be far more political than including it. A dictionary lists definitions, and it should refrain from defining a term just because doing so will make some people angry.

UPDATE: The dictionary people have responded:

“We hear such criticism from all parts of the political spectrum. We’re genuinely sorry when an entry in – or an omission from – one of our dictionaries is found to be offensive or upsetting, but we can’t allow such considerations to deflect us from our primary job as lexicographers.”

…”In recent years, this new sense of ‘marriage’ has appeared frequently and consistently throughout a broad spectrum of carefully edited publications, and is often used in phrases such as ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘gay marriage’ by proponents and opponents alike. Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing our readers with accurate information about all of the word’s current uses,” Stamper wrote. (Source)

Wahey, I was right.

The Pope Does It Again

My downtime lasted rather longer than I expected, but I’ll try to catch up with things as soon as I can. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), the Pope has put his foot in it again since I last checked my RSS feeds:

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI urged Cameroon’s bishops Wednesday to defend the traditional African family from the dangers of modernity and secularization and to spare the poor from the impact of globalization.

On his first African pilgrimage, Benedict also called it the duty of all Christians – particularly those with political and economic responsibilities – to contribute to the building of a “more just world where everyone can live with dignity.”

[…]

In a briefing to reporters, Lombardi also elaborated on the pope’s comments a day earlier on condom use and the fight against AIDS, which had set off criticism. The pope said that the distribution of condoms is not the answer, and that, “on the contrary, it increases the problem.”

Lombardi noted the pope was expressing a long-standing Vatican position. He said Benedict wanted to stress that a reliance on condoms distracted from the need for proper education in sexual conduct. (Source)

Using condoms is proper sexual conduct. HIV and AIDS are killing people in parts of Africa at genuinely terrifying rates, but it’s not going to stop people having sex. That’s the fundamental problem that the Vatican seems incapable of accepting – pronouncements from the Bible are not going to stop people having sex, the spread of disease is not going to stop people having sex, and a pompous, ignorant man in a white robe is certainly not going to stop people having sex. Yes, it would be wonderful if everyone could match up with an uninfected partner and never engage in risky behaviour with anyone else, but that just doesn’t happen. The Pope is in a position to speak to millions of people, and he uses that power to give advice that is grounded in neither reality nor scientific evidence. And people continue to die.

The most frightening thing about all of this is that the Catholic Church no doubt believes – genuinely, truly believes – that it’s helping people. That doesn’t make this stupidity any more excusable, only more tragic.