Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SC legislators using the budget to punish colleges for getting students to read about gays

Disclosure alert - one of the books,Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, has a piece I wrote on the deceptions and propaganda of the religious right. How very appropriate:

From WIS-TV:

South Carolina legislators want to punish two public colleges for assigning books on homosexuality to freshmen. The House budget-writing committee on Wednesday tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Last summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, "Fun Home," to incoming freshmen. Bechdel's book describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.

USC Upstate assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," referring to South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show, for a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book. Social conservatives complained about the colleges' selections.

The proposed reductions in the budget equal what the colleges spent on the programs. Rep. Garry Smith said he made the proposal after college officials refused to give students an option to read something else. Making a point requires impacting colleges' wallets, he said.

"I understand diversity and academic freedom," said Smith, R-Simpsonville. "This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate." He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course, rather than a campus-wide requirement.
 . . .  The House Ways and Means Committee defeated by a vote of 13-10 an effort by Republican Rep. B.R. Skelton to restore the money. He argued such retribution is inappropriate.

 . . .  Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said legislators have no right pushing their own personal beliefs onto colleges. Such censorship can set a troubling precedent, she said. She warned Republicans who voted against Skelton's amendment that the punishment could negatively affect the state's image and job recruitment efforts.

Since when does a legislator butt in class curriculum? Since when should a legislator use the power of a budget as if he or she is a dictator to demand what teachers should assign students to read based on some false argument of  "academic freedom" and "debate"   which is no doubt defined by said legislator?

And please don't lay that junk on me about "taxpayers' money." The last time I checked, lgbt South Carolinians also pay taxes. Make no mistake about it. This issue has NOTHING to do with forcing students to accept a lifestyle.That phrase is just made up junk propagated to make homophobia sound more palpable.   Nor does this issue have to do with "debate" or "academic freedom."

This issue is about a legislator misusing the power of his office. This issue is about yet another attempt to symbolically emblazon a symbolic scarlet S (as in "sinner") on the persons of lgbts. This issue is about yet another attempt to communicate to lgbts that  no matter who we are or how far we go in life, the self-worth of ourselves and our families (even if our families include children) should be reduced  to the false white-hot fevered, fumbling imaginations of sexual intercourse and misappropriated Biblical verses disguised as legitimate moral concerns.

It's all a bunch of bull.

Way to go, Rep. Smith for allowing the Palmetto State to be embarrassed again!

A Fox News personality nails distortions of the 'religious liberty' argument? We must be in for another winter storm

Fox News' Kirsten Powers is a mixed bag as far as I'm concerned. Some days she makes sense and other days, she allows the Fox ill na na to take her over. Today was one of the good days. In a recent USA Today column, she nails down the fallacy behind the "religious liberty" argument used by anti-gay groups in order to create backdoor anti-lgbt discrimination:

  . . . double standards abound. Christian bakers don't interrogate wedding clients to make sure their behavior comports with the Bible. If they did, they'd be out of business. [Evangelical pastor Andy] Stanley said, "Jesus taught that if a person is divorced and gets remarried, it's adultery. So if (Christians) don't have a problem doing business with people getting remarried, why refuse to do business with gays and lesbians." Maybe they should just ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?" I think he'd bake the cake.

And of course other Fox News personalities just had to weigh in with less than two cents. You just know Todd "I'm proud to lie for Jesus" Starnes with some nonsense about churches being forced to marry gay couples. Of course this isn't true but you know telling the truth seems to be a big problem for Starnes.

Check out the full story on Equality Matters

'Pat Robertson talks about gay sex, 'Christian magazine' upset about Michael Sam, the boom-boom and vi-jay-jay' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Dear Congress, if you want to make up for being totally useless these last two years, then pass a law which would prohibit Pat Robertson to talk about sex whether it be gay or heterosexual. Just putting the words "sex" and "Pat Robertson" in a sentence is bringing me down. 

 In other news:

 Kirkwood: Michael Sam's 'Penchant For Penis' Is No Cause For Celebration - And in what self-respecting "Christian magazine" would you see the sentence "A dude, proudly proclaiming to his team and then the world that he prefers a** to vagina is now a presidential moment and enough to inspire the first couple to recognize him as an “inspiring,” “courageous,” trail-blazing “sportsman?”" Why in a new magazine created by Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber, a man whose constant comments about gay sex makes him seem as a bizarro version of Jack McFarland on Will and Grace. And the kicker? The "Christian magazine" - BarbWire has the same name as that very interesting 1996 movie in which Pamela Anderson portrayed a stripper/assassin. Now I am not saying that Barber got his idea from this movie because I'm not one for passing rumors. However, IF you feel like the taking the poster from the movie (or these pictures) and inserting - oh I don't name - Matt Barber's face in place of that of Pamela Anderson, well that would be your right. I'm not saying that you should but it IS America and satire is protected.  

Catholic 'ex-gay' advocate to high school students: Same-sex adoption is as 'similarly mean' as abortion - But behind my jokes about the religious right is a total degree of seriousness because of junk like this.

 Gay People In Homophobic Regions Die Younger Those In Accepting Communities: Study - And this. Now watch how quickly anti-gay groups will cherry-pick this study to falsely claim that gays live shorter lifespan because of the alleged "homosexual lifestyle" instead of blaming their own homophobia.

  Is Kenya Next? - After Uganda and Nigeria, some folks seem to be working on the persecution of gays in Kenya. Oh great (sarcasm alert).

Conservative Efforts To Justify Anti-LGBT Discrimination With ‘Religious Liberty’ Are Failing - Let's end today's news briefs with some good news.

Uganda's persecution of lgbts is the fault of the American religious right.

Make no mistake about it. The situation in Uganda with that awful anti-gay persecution bill (reports are now saying that the country's president has signed it into law) should be laid on the doorstep of the American religious right.  The folks on the progressive show, Young Turks, breaks it down for you.