Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dennis Prager is a moron

http://townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2010/08/17/same-sex_marriage_and_the_insignificance_of_men_and_women/page/full

“The left passionately supports the most remarkable and radical change in modern social history -- the redefinition of marriage from male-female to include male-male and female-female.”


*GASP* [dies of shock]

“Marriage is the building block of society. “


Defend this assertion, please.

“Changing its nature will therefore change society. Among other things, same-sex marriage means that because sex (now called "gender") no longer matters for society's most important institution, it no longer matters in general.”


The underlying claim here being that changing society is always a bad thing? Please also defend that assertion. Additionally, you do not understand the definitions of “sex” and “gender.” Sex is not now called gender; sex is biological sex and gender is the complex system of markers associated with what gets labeled “feminine” or “masculine.” Try to keep up with the basic terminology.


“Men and women as distinct entities no longer have significance. Which is exactly what the cultural left and the gay rights movement advocate -- even though the vast majority of Americans who support same-sex marriage do not realize that this is what they are supporting. Most Americans who support same-sex marriage feel (and "feel" is the crucial verb here, as the change to same-sex marriage is much more felt than thought through) that gays should have the right to marry a member of their own sex. It is perceived as unfair to gays that they cannot do so. And that is true. It is unfair to gays. But the price paid for eliminating this unfairness is enormous: It is the end of marriage as every society has known it. And it is more than that. It is the end of any significance to gender. Men and women are now declared interchangeable.”


Are you high right now? I don’t even know where to start with this steaming pile of crazy. What “significance” are you so desperate to preserve with regard to the difference between men and women? I literally do not understand what you are trying to describe. Also, “every society” has defined marriage exactly as America defines it in 2010? Are you really ignorant enough to believe this or are you merely hoping your readers are? It’s so far from true I can’t even get to a place where I can start telling you how untrue it is. Besides which, who gives a shit? “It’s always been this way,” even when accurate, is not an argument for maintaining anything. Oh, and, by “unfair” do you perhaps mean “unconstitutional?” I give up trying to parse the last bit about men and women being interchangeable. It sounds like you’re all worked up because girls are walking around in pants instead of skirts or something?


“That is why, as I noted in a recent column -- the "T" has been added to "GLB:" "Transgendered" has been added to "Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual." "T" does not represent transsexuals -- people who choose to change their sex. No one is arguing against such people.”


Really? Golly, that’s a relief!

“Transgendered" refers to people who are members of one sex and who wish to publicly act as if they are members of the other sex, e.g., men wearing women's clothing in public. The transgendered who publicly act out are living the cultural Left's primary agenda: rendering gender insignificant. Your sex is what you feel it is; and if you feel both, you are both.”


I love your use of “act out” here, as if these people are children who need discipline. I guess you would classify me as part of this devious cultural Left (?) so I’ll tip you a wink: That’s not our primary agenda. In fact, we’re the ones who have pissed you guys off all this time by MAKING GENDER SIGNIFICANT. Jesus Christ, what do you WANT? You don’t like women’s studies or feminism or gender studies or queer theory or anything that pays attention to gender as an actual force in culture and society, and now you’re accusing us of what…DENYING the influence of gender? SPEAK SENSE, MAN.


“Gender doesn't matter.”


It really does. More than it should, in point of fact. Look how wadded up your utterly masculine shorts are about it right now, if you need an example.


“That is why Judge Walker and his supporters dismiss the argument that, all things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by a married man and woman than by two men or two women. If Walker or GLBT activists and their supporters admitted that children need a mother and father, they would be affirming that there is great significance to the differences between men and women.”


What do you mean by “need?” It’s demonstrable that children do not “need” a mother and a father to survive, or to grow up well-adjusted and happy. Why do you keep saying things that you do not make any effort to back up with evidence, as if everyone should simply take your word for it? You don’t even know what “sex” means; forgive me if I mistrust your research skillz.


“They reject that. Instead, they and Walker offer studies that purport to prove that it makes no difference whether or not a child has parents of both sexes. These academic studies are as unserious as all those academic studies of a generation ago that "proved" that boys do not prefer to play with trucks and soldiers but would be just as happy to play with dolls and tea sets, and that girls do not prefer dolls and tea sets but would be just as happy to play with trucks and soldiers.”


OK? By unserious do you mean to charge the researchers with playing a joke?

“These newer "studies" of same-sex parents are as valid as the earlier propaganda in the guise of scientific studies. Like the boy-girl studies, these were conducted by academics with agendas: the denial of male-female differences and the promotion of same-sex marriage.”


“Studies.” I see what you did there with the scare quotes. When did “academics” become a pejorative, by the way? I’m still trying to figure out what you’re frothing to protect. “Male-female differences?” Meaning what, exactly? I do make a habit of denying essentialism, I confess, because I think it’s bollocks, not because I have an “agenda” to think it’s bollocks. I also do indeed promote same-sex marriage. Guilty!


“That many Americans believe these studies -- studies that are in any case based on a small number of same-sex couples raising a small number of children, during a short amount of time (a couple of decades), based on the researchers' own notions of what a healthy and successful young person is -- only proves how effectively colleges and graduate schools have succeeded in teaching a generation of Americans not to think critically but to accept "studies" in place of common sense.”


A tangled web of wtf that I don’t want to read again, except to point out the insidious anti-intellectual rhetorical strategy of pitting science (“studies”) against personal “common sense” or “gut feelings.” AKA prejudice and bigotry and superstition. Someone has to stand up to the experts! With their data and their “studies” and their “notions!” They think they’re so smart!

“Ask anyone who supports same-sex marriage this: Do you believe that a mother has something unique to give to a child that no father can give and that a father has something unique to give a child that no mother can give?”


No.


“One has to assume that most people -- including supporters of same-sex marriage -- would respond in the affirmative.”



Shit. Did I fail? Can I take the test again?

“How, then, can they support same-sex marriage? The left's trinity -- compassion, fairness and equality -- is one reason. And "studies" and "facts" are another.”



Oh noes, not FACTS!!1111!eleventy!! OK, look, Prager, you ridiculous ass, I will only say this once: I support gay marriage because it’s right. No one has to like it. No one has to declare gender (or sex) over and go home and lop his parts off. We just have to look at our constitution, do what’s right, and go on with our goddamn lives. No, I am not the same as a man. I’m not the same as anyone, actually; your whole premise smells so foul my cats would scrape litter over it if they weren’t too smart to read this shite.


“That is exactly how so many college graduates came to believe that boys would be happy with tea sets, and girls would be happy with trucks -- compassion, fairness, equality and "studies."


Ah, the evils of college. Keep your kids away from education and facts, parents. Nothing good can come of them!


“That is also how many Americans, including a judge who overturned a state's constitutional amendment, have come to believe that never having a mother or never having a father makes absolutely no difference to a child.”


Did anyone ever say such a stupid thing? I call straw man.


“And if mothers and fathers are interchangeable, men as men and women as women lose their significance.”


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Friday, April 02, 2010

My thoughts on Easter

Up front, please understand that I'm not trying to take away anyone's happiness in their Easter holiday, whatever that means for you. I'm not saying you're a terrible person if you like Easter or if you have a Christian easter celebration, or you find bunnies soft and adorable, so please save your cries of "intolerant!" for the next time I display intolerance. You probably won't have to wait long.

But...Easter bothers me. Troubles me, like, viscerally.

Human sacrifice as a magical expiation of community guilt is a concept much older than Christianity, and it's immoral and gross. The story of Christ's martyrdom is no different from throwing a virgin into a volcano, which we all now find immoral and gross and, like, soprimitive and uneducated. Seeing normal otherwise reasonable people so happy about it and so accepting of allowing another to suffer and die for their benefits makes me cringe, every year, in a way that other religious messages and attitudes do not. It creeps me out, this Easter story.

Here's what I always end up thinking about on Easter: Sidney Carton from Tale of Two Cities.

Stay with me; it's a very simple comparison. Carton makes a sacrifice [SPOILER ALERT!] in going to the block for his cousin Charles Darnay. Some people would read this act as "Christ-like," but that would be an egregious misreading. Carton's choice presents a crucial contrast to the Christ story in that it does NOT involve an "innocent" who is tortured and murdered for the benefit of sin-ridden others; Sidney is not redeeming anyone but himself, because Sidney is not the innocent here, Charles is, and that's a major reason why Sidney makes his choice.

Sidney's epiphany is that Sidney kind of sucks, while Charles is a good guy who is about to be martyred in the French revolution's narrative of community redemption that involves purging itself of the aristocracy. The book rejects communal expiation of sin utterly, focusing instead on personal responsibility and actual moral and immoral actions by individuals, as opposed to magical effects that cannot be measured or observed and that apply to people who didn't even do anything. The effects of Sidney Carton's sacrifice are obvious and objectively real: Charles will live and he and Lucie will escape France. Carton also imagines that someday they will have a child named for him, representing his awareness that his personal choice to go to the block for Charles, this "far, far better thing," is an attempt to repair his legacy, to give the people he cares about reason to remember him fondly.

In addition--and perhaps most appealing to me in this context--Sidney has to DRUG Charles to make this happen. Because Charles is a "good" moral character, there is no way he would ever agree to let Sidney do this, and Sidney knows it, and the reader has to know it or the character of Charles Darnay doesn't work anymore. How would we feel about him if Sidney managed to convince him to escape with his pretty little wife and let Sidney die horribly in his place? We would lose respect for him as a character, and rightfully so. He has to be tricked, they all do, or they're complicit in Sidney's death, which the book codes as immoral, as it should.

My point is, the novel correctly identifies zealotry and dogma as elements of a corrupt system under which people end up sacrificed and martyred, and though characters like Sidney can achieve dignity through suffering, it would still be better if the suffering didn't happen at all, and the culprit is the corrupt system, and that system is the real Bad Guy. Why should we not look at the "system" that necessitates Christ's suffering in his story and conclude the same? Because that story ends up somehow affirming the horrific idea that violently shed innocent blood can wash away the sins of other people and is thus necessary, which is so morally disgusting I am honestly astonished every time I have to think about it, just stunned and grieved that people find this okay, that they perceive it as moral.

Which is why I dislike Easter so much, I guess.

The moral compass of Tale of Two Cities is more moral by far than that of the gospels, and this has nothing to do with atheism and everything to do with why the core narrative of Christianity, in particular, is so repellent to me. Ugh. Why couldn't we have stuck with the fertility celebrations? We could've kept the eggs and bunnies and grass and gotten excited about the return of spring and left blood and death out of it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I get annoyed about a book I haven't read

I have not read Karen Armstrong’s new book, but this Newsweek review seriously got on my nerves.

From the September 29, 2009, issue of Newsweek: The latest salvo in the war between the atheists and the believers comes from the doyenne of religious intellectual history, Karen Armstrong. Her tone is one of high-minded irritation. Her argument is compelling. To oversimplify: "faith" and "reason" are not like political parties. You don't join one after having been convinced via argument of its validity.
Well, no, you don’t; the vast majority of people “join” a religion because it’s the one in which they are raised from birth, the one they get from their parents. Political party affiliation often works the same way, of course; we tend to take on the beliefs of our immediate community. But more importantly, there is a category error here: “reason” is a process, not a conclusion, while “faith” implies a belief in something one has already decided to be true. It’s an extremely common false analogy, but an important one. Think of it this way: What people want to compare when they set up this dichotomy are two ways of arriving at an answer. The comparison is false because beliefs based on faith begin with the answer and work backwards to justify that answer; to have faith in something you have to know what that thing is FIRST. Reason, however, is merely the process one goes through to work toward an as yet undetermined answer. Thus, the application of, say, the scientific method, is not something one “joins,” but it is very much a way of arriving at answers that can be taught and demonstrated as valid, and it can be applied to many more situations, while belief-without-evidence is a position we celebrate in no other circumstance that I can think of outside of religion. Sam Harris often uses the example of someone asking, “Don’t you have faith that your partner loves you? You can’t determine that scientifically, right, smartypants?” No, you can’t, but you can certainly view the evidence in the way your partner treats you, for example. It seems to me that if you have to believe in your partner’s love based only on faith, your partner may not in fact love you.
What the Greeks called logos and what they called mythos define two different aspects of the world and our experience in it: the knowable and the unknowable. You can believe in both. The bridge between them, Armstrong submits, is not the snarky badinage or righteous browbeating that has so defined faith-versus-reason debates of late, but practice. By practice she means not the occasional yoga class but genuine, difficult, repetitive practice, which over time gives the practitioner—even the reasonable practitioner—glimpses of the transcendent or the divine. Call it God.
WHY? No, really: why? Why shouldn’t I call it neurochemistry? Or black magic? Or Jim? This is a bizarre claim that I hear all the time and I can never figure out how the person making it can be serious. Just because you might point to things that feel funky in your head or that science hasn’t provided answers for yet or that seem transcendent to you, how on earth do you make the spectacular leap from there to ergo X=The God in Which I Already Conveniently Believe? So, again, I would love to know if Armstrong has stories to tell about people who discover Jesus Christ through “practice” without ever having heard of him before.
The Case for God, which comes out this month, is Armstrong's 19th book, and it rides the crest of a wave of books meant to dismantle the arguments of the atheists Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. Armstrong is uniquely qualified to write on this subject, for having been a Roman Catholic nun, she then rejected faith. "For many years, I myself wanted nothing whatsoever to do with religion," she writes. "But my study of world religion during the last twenty years has compelled me to revise my earlier opinions…One of the things I have learned is that quarreling about religion is counterproductive and not conducive to enlightenment."
OK, ugh, I hate this so much. Questioning religious beliefs or dogma and/or their function in our society does not constitute “quarreling” or “snarky badinage” or “righteous browbeating” or meanness, and these charges, again very common, merely allow one to shift the focus and avoid addressing the actual criticisms being raised. And of course quarreling can be productive and can lead to intellectual enlightenment, if we approach it correctly and use it to hone our own beliefs in an honest way. That’s why debate has held a respected position in the exercise of intellect for so many hundreds of years.

Armstrong shows that for most of human history, "faith" and "reason" were not mutually exclusive and that even today all kinds people believe in a God that in no way resembles the God the atheists despise.

GAH. I do not “despise” anyone’s god; I do not believe such beings exist, so I could not possibly despise them.
"Jews, Christians, and Muslims all knew that revealed truth was symbolic, that
scripture could not be interpreted literally, and that sacred texts had multiple meanings, and could lead to entirely fresh insights," she writes. "Revelation was not an event that had happened once in the distant past, but was an ongoing, creative process." This critique has not been articulated often or clearly enough: the new atheists are, in effect, buying into one particular modern, Western fundamentalist notion of God in order to make God look ridiculous and knock him (or her or it) down. For them to fail to concede that what William James called "religious experience" is far more complex than what certain contemporary believers preach is extremely disingenuous.

Really? The Crusades and the Inquisition and the Holocaust and Proposition 8 were carried out by people who saw scripture as symbolic? I know that’s such a cheap shot, but come on. Yes, some religious people have seen scripture this way, but the ones with the most power and the loudest voices do not, so let’s not be “disingenuous” here. Here’s a question: If atheists are “buying into” a “notion of God,” who is selling it? What strikes me about this screed is that it should be directed at fundamentalists, not atheists, if Armstrong is being, dare I say, ingenuous in her complaints. When atheists (or theists, for that matter) complain about religious dogma interfering with medical research and civil rights and reproductive health and science education and sex ed and any number of other areas that affect all of us, we are not reacting to something that we’ve made up because we don’t like god. I understand Armstrong’s wish to disclaim her embarrassing relatives, but sorry, you can’t, not if you want to defend this plurality in scripture you’re positing, because that means their reading of “practice” is as valid as yours. But more importantly, if scripture is an ever-changing facilitator of subjective experience as opposed to an actual signifier of determinable meaning, what bloody good is it? This is all so goofy, I’m sorry, but believers do not read “sacred” texts the way they read John Grisham novels; they think there’s something magical about them. Otherwise, how are they special? How are they worthy of existing outside the frame of rationality that we place over everything else? What makes them worthy of faith?

Most provocative is Armstrong's focus on practice—on the activities that help a person engage with God: reading, singing, chanting, meditating, praying, and so on. She has a special affinity for the mystics. The yogi, the Christian mystic, the Kabbalist, the Sufi, the poet—all these, she argues, access transcendence through disciplined work, through failure, anxiety, and the redoubling of effort. By submitting to the unknown, mystics are supposed to become more wise and more loving. At its best, then, mythos has a positive, pragmatic effect on logos.

I may have to read this book, I guess, because I would love to know what it looks like when someone “submit[s] to the unknown.” Wtf does that mean, and why should I attempt it or value it? I want the unknown to become the known. That’s why I like education! And science. And the quest to cure cancer. And the space program. MRI. Pregnancy tests. (I could go on…) She talks about “enlightenment” but then describes its pursuit as “submitting to the unknown”? Sounds like a load of pseudo-intellectual baloney to me. When Socrates acknowledged that the wisest person understands that he knows nothing, he didn’t mean to suggest that we should celebrate ignorance as a virtue. Perhaps this is the main reason that what others call “spirituality” has never worked for me; I am never, ever happy about not knowing.

"The point of religion was to live intensely and richly here and now," she writes. "Religious people are ambitious…They tried to honor the ineffable mystery they sensed in each human being and create societies that honored the stranger, the alien, the poor, and the oppressed." It doesn't always work, she adds, but it's worth a try. (Critics will charge that Armstrong's affinity for mysticism leads her naively to overlook the destructive differences among religions. Like Robert Wright, whose recent book, The Evolution of God, argues for a kind of divine morality among humans, Armstrong is more of an optimistic about religion than a pessimist.)
Again: “ineffable mystery in each human being.” Don’t know what that means. Also, though, I flat do not believe this claim. A minute ago religion was individual and personal and all about each believer’s needs. Now it’s about honoring strangers and aliens? Again, what does that look like? The Christian Bible is unapologetically tribal. Oh, wait, those words in the book don’t actually mean what they say because they’re mutable and symbolic and all. So on what does she base these statements about the purpose of religion, if we can’t even take what the religious texts say at face value? I am getting so confused.
Armstrong's argument is prescient, for it reflects the most important shifts occurring in the religious landscape. In the West, believers are refocusing their attention away from creeds and on practice—on making the activity of faith meaningful in daily life.
I don’t care what people do with their own time, obviously, but when “practice” or “activity” includes attempting to inject your religion into the public schools or into the laws of the state, I will fight you every step. It doesn’t matter too much, though, because I do not believe this is true at all, that believers are moving away from creeds. It certainly is not true where I live.
Examples of this are legion: in the Bay Area, a new school called the Gamliel Institute teaches Jews in every denomination about chevra kadisha, the ancient mitzvah of washing and shrouding a dead body. In evangelical circles, Christians are turning away from salvation talk and toward helping the sick and the poor.
Bullshit. They are not. Churches have always involved themselves in ministering to the disadvantaged, which is lovely, but there is not some big movement going on—at least not in the US—toward doing so instead of talking about salvation. Sorry, no.
Pentecostalism, the fastest--growing brand of religion in the world, stresses the gifts of the spirit: healing, and speaking in tongues. In his new book, The Future of Faith, Harvard professor Harvey Cox calls this new era "the age of the spirit": "Faith, rather than beliefs, is once again becoming [Christianity's] defining quality," he writes.
WHAT? With no beliefs, what do you have faith in? That makes no sense!
For me, the most refreshing change of all is the possibility, clearly articulated in Armstrong's book, that belief in God requires uncertainty as much as certainty. Sixteen percent of Americans recently called themselves "unaffiliated," a figure that sent religious professionals scurrying for fixes and explanations. But these Americans may just be signaling to pollsters an unwillingness to choose sides.
Miller Is Newsweek’s Religion Editor.
©
2009
If a belief requires uncertainty, I’m not sure you can even call it a belief without playing very loose with that word, but what matters here is that once again she asks me to rejoice in ignorance, now called “uncertainty,” and I reject that recommendation with everything I am; the thinker, the educator, the parent all recoil from such mealy-mouthed, self-effacing resignation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

California's Proposition 8; or, Die Haters

The Obama glow was completely ruined for me by the gay hating. I am so furious I can hardly sit here without screaming and throwing things.

You stupid, stupid assholes.

I guess it's going to take a gay Malcolm X to deal with this crap once and for all. Not that morons aren't afraid of gays as it is--we know they are--but they may need to get really afraid, physically threatened, before they back down and let the civil rights on which our country ostensibly prides itself govern all its citizens. Horribly sad, but perhaps also true.

Because aside from a wholesale abandonment of ancient bullshit superstitions by the general population, I don't see what else can fix this hideous injustice. And let's not kid ourselves: No secular groups are attempting to legislate against gay rights. This is all about the stupid Bible. So we have two elements of these "defense of marriage" propositions that are transparently unconstitutional: They involve legislating from a position of religious doctrine and they seek to write discrimination into law, which, hi, America, are SUPPOSED to be illegal and anti-American and contrary to all that stuff we claim to believe in.

Oh, but, something else we all know but don't so much talk about is that no politician has the stones to confront religious beliefs and call them misguided or discriminatory or batshit crazy wrong. We're all expected to respect religion and any dumb ideas it barfs up, so when something like this gay hating travesty appears, everyone is too mired in respect to call it what it is and stand in opposition.

I think anyone--and this includes our new president-elect, though I did vote for him--who calls him/herself "liberal" but does not stand for gay marriage is a craven hypocrite. I really do. In fact, I think anyone who claims to believe in equality and civil rights but draws the line at the Biblically-villified queers is a craven hypocrite as well. Screw you. I do not "respect" your idiotic bigoted beliefs, and I hope I never do.

To all you protesters in California and the group attempting to have the Mormon church's tax exempt status revoked, you go, sisters and brothers. Go get 'em. Even Dr. King finally said enough is enough, quit asking us to wait for equality because we're dead tired of waiting. I'm not gay but I am officially tired of waiting to live in a country that meets its own hype. This is ridiculous, that we're still debating this while the ecomony implodes and our soldiers die. Ridiculous. This is a slam dunk, people. Equality under the law. Look it up.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Two Open Letters

Dear iTunes:

I DO NOT WANT SAFARI. Really. I don't.

love,
Shell





Dear McAfee:

You suck.

No love,
Shell

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This just in: U of California demands actual college coursework for transfer credit

Finally some sense in the news! Nice one, University of California.

MURRIETA: Judge throws out religious discrimination suit
Calvary Chapel attorney to appeal ruling

By RANI GUPTA - Staff Writer Friday, August 8, 2008 10:50 PM PDT

A federal judge in Los Angeles has thrown out the remaining claims of Calvary Chapel Christian School, which sued the University of California alleging university officials rejected some courses for credit because of their Christian viewpoint.

U.S. District Judge James Otero said in a summary judgment ruling released Friday that the school had failed to show evidence that UC officials had violated the First Amendment rights of the five Calvary students who sued along with the school and the Association of Christian Schools International.

Robert Tyler, an attorney who represented Calvary, said Friday night that the decision will be appealed.

"We always believed we were going to have to get up in the higher courts before we would get a ruling that would be favorable to us," said Tyler, general counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a religious liberty law firm in Murrieta.

In March, Otero threw out the Christian school's broader claims that UC policies were unconstitutional on their face. Friday's ruling concerned Calvary's claims that the policies were also unconstitutional as they were applied in the review of several classes.

Otero wrote that Calvary "provided no evidence of animus" on the part of university officials, whom he said had a "rational basis" for determining that the proposed Calvary courses would not meet the UC college preparatory requirements.

For instance, a UC professor who reviewed Calvary's proposed Christianity's Influence on America class said the course used a textbook that "instructs that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events," "attributes historical events to divine providence rather than analyzing human action," and "contains inadequate treatment of several major ethnic groups, women and non-Christian religious groups."

Another university professor agreed that the textbook from Bob Jones University shouldn't be used for a college-preparatory history class because it didn't encourage critical thinking skills and failed to cover "major topics, themes and components" of U.S. history, Otero wrote.

The judge said Calvary provided little admissible evidence to the contrary.

The court also ruled that UC officials had a rational reason to reject a course called World Religions for elective credit.

University reviewers had asked Calvary to accurately identify the book because they could not verify its existence and asked the school to show how the class "treats the study of religion from the standpoint of scholarly inquiry," Otero's ruling said. He said Calvary provided no evidence they had tried to clarify the content.

"[T]he course rejection feedback makes clear that the course may have been approved with minimal clarification," the judge wrote.

University officials have said they approved 43 courses from Calvary Chapel, which Tyler said Calvary students have used to gain admission to UC schools. There are other ways to be admitted, such as high test scores. However, Tyler said he fears schools will become afraid to teach from a Christian perspective.

"We're worried in the long term, Christian education is going to be continually watered down in order to satisfy the UC school system," he said.

A university spokesman could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Friday, August 01, 2008

This story out of Tulsa shows just how entitled the religious have become:

Islamic group files suit against Tulsa store
The Oklahoman

A religious discrimination complaint has been filed on behalf of a Muslim teen who said she was denied employment at a Tulsa store because of her headscarf, the Council on American Islamic Relations Oklahoma chapter announced today.

Razi Hashmi, the council's Oklahoma chapter executive director, said the young woman applied for a job at the Abercrombie children's clothing store in Woodland Hills Mall and was told her Islamic headscarf, or hijab, "does not fit the company's image."

Hashmi said the council filed a complaint on the teen's behalf with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in mid-July, citing religious discrimination.

He said the council is asking the store to offer the applicant a formal apology. Hashmi said the organization also wants the store's policy on religious accommodation clarified. The group also is asking for Abercrombie employees to receive workplace sensitivity and diversity training.
OK, we need to clarify something here. Religious freedom does not mean that you can have any job you want. It simply means that you can practice whatever religion you want without being hindered by the government. You are not entitled to a job at a trendy clothing store that routinely incorporates nekkidness in its advertising (for clothes, no less) if you don't look convincing in that role. They don't generally hire wrinkled people to work at Abercrombie either. Or, for that matter, ugly people. There is a certain amount of discrimination inherent to hiring practices, which is why we have these things called "applications" and "interviews." Whether you like it or not, A&F is about appearing over-priced and high energy, and there's no room for overt demonstrations of modesty in their idiom. The last thing they want is to make customers feel guilty about their vanity.

Besides, they didn't tell her she couldn't wear the stupid thing (and, yes, I meant that--I think it's stupid) just that they weren't going to hire her to wear it in their store. That's not illegal.

You're right--I am kind of dumb. Thanks, god!

I couldn't pull over to snap a photo, but I just passed a church sign that said "Trust Yourself Less and God More."

Wow, I really have a problem with that sentiment. What would that even look like? How does one accomplish it? Let Jesus take the wheel?

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