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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Catholic Church & gay marriage

On September 21, Pope Benedict gave a speech to French Catholic bishops, telling them that they must do everything in their power to resist the French government's moves to legalize gay marriage. Fine - the Catholic Church is a private organization so they can say and do whatever they like. However, if they are going to advocate policies that are in direct opposition to the secular authority of the state, they should voluntarily give up all state funding and tax-exempt charity status. The Pope's address to the bishops said
... marriage and the family “must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is in fact injurious to human coexistence as such.”
The family is the “foundation of social life” but it is “threatened in many places by a faulty conception of human nature,” the Pope said Sept. 21. The defense of the family and of human life promotes “values that allow the full development of the human person created in the image and likeness of God.” It is “not at all backward-looking but prophetic.”
His comment on the "full development of the human person" has been widely interpreted by gay pundits as implying that homosexuals are not fully-developed humans, which of course is extremely offensive. This  prompted none other than gay patron saint Lady Ga Ga herself to weigh in:
What the pope thinks of being gay does not matter. It doesn’t matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the pope and follow the pope. It’s not a reflection of all Christians. It is not a reflection of all religious people. It’s a point of view of one person.
I don't normally pay attention to what the Catholic Church has to say about homosexuality - I'm not a Catholic and I have no interest in belonging to a church that thinks I'm disordered or sinful by nature. The Catholic Church is a private organization and they are free to conduct their affairs as they see fit. No one is forced to belong to the Church, and they don't run around beheading apostates and non-believers. In a free society, people and groups are free to believe and say what they want. I don't believe that any church should be forced to support gay marriage or perform gay marriage ceremonies in their buildings.

However, the Catholic Church effectively receives massive state subsidies in the form of tax exemptions and deductions available to their supporters and donors by virtue of their status as a charitable organization. Furthermore, in Ontario the Catholic Church runs a huge religious separate school system that is funded by the provincial government. I presume they are teaching their students the Church's official policies on homosexuality and gay marriage, in direct contravention of the policies of the elected secular government. In effect, I am forced to support the Catholic Church with my tax dollars whether I like it or not.

If the Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church are going to meddle in secular affairs, they should voluntarily give up ALL state support and tax exempt status. When that happens, I'll be the first person to tell Pope Benedict to "preach away, brother."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blues for a Saturday Night

Tonight's selection:  Silvan's Night Train Trip by the amazing piano virtuoso Silvan Zingg:

Let the beheadings begin

Canadian embassies should probably batten down the hatches in anticipation of rioting mobs of Baptists and Lutherans outraged at blasphemous images of their Saviour published by an Ottawa newspaper.

Xtra! , a weekly tabloid that bills itself as "Ottawa's gay and lesbian newspaper", has a cover story this week profiling poet and performance artist Danniel Oickle, accompanied by the illustration shown at right:
Pop music, avant-garde performance, video, photography and painting — Oickle is without a doubt one of Ottawa’s most prolific artists, producing work at an astonishing rate in a variety of mediums. It was just last March that Xtra called Oickle’s multidisciplinary performance work Corruption of Flesh “a piece where sexuality and religion collide to electric effect.”
Oickle draws inspiration for his work from his childhood in a strict Christian family:
Oickle was raised in a straight-laced Baptist military family. As harsh as that sounds for a creative queer kid, it was his early experiences singing in church and being home schooled by his artistic parents that sparked his interest in becoming an artist.
All I can add is the observation that it's a good thing he wasn't born in a straight-laced Shiite family in Pakistan.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"No one was murdered because of this image"

As is often the case, the satirists at The Onion have the best analysis of the turmoil in the Muslim world allegedly prompted by a YouTube video insulting Mohammed. They've published a cartoon of the Hindu god Ganesh engaged in lewd sex acts with Moses, Jesus Christ and the Buddha (you can see it at the link), plus this comment:
WASHINGTON—Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday.
Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Blues for a Saturday Night

Tonight's selection: Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean by Angel and the Bad Boys:

Gay-hating Republican politician attacks same-sex marriage, free speech

... wait, what? He's a Democrat? And he's black? Well, this is awkward, right after the Barack Obama love-in which just wrapped up in Charlotte. Isn't this the kind of thing we expect from Mitt Romney and his flying monkeys?

Last week, Maryland State Legislator Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote a letter to the owner of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens urging him to take action against player Brendon Ayanbadejo, who had recently appeared in an ad campaign supporting marriage equality for gays. The letter read:
I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player. Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other.
"Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement.," Burns wrote. "I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.
"I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing."
Mr. Burns, who is also a Baptist minister, is a prominent Maryland Democrat:
Burns has been involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland, on the impact of cults in institutions of higher education, and on entrepreneurship among African-Americans. He is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and the sponsor of the bill that changed the name of Maryland's major airport to the Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Oops. I'm guessing Mr. Burns won't be invited to address the Democrat LGBT Caucus anytime soon.

Burns' letter has prompted a withering response from Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe which has gone viral:
I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):
1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should "inhibit such expressions from your employees," more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person's right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.
Read the rest of Kluwe's letter - it's worth it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I love America

The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, San Antonio, Texas - serving your beer and taxidermy needs since 1881.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Blues for a Saturday Night

Tonight's selection:  Sleep In Late, by Canada's own Big Sugar.