Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

Why I Won’t Be Playing “Ender’s Game”
October 31, 2013

Writer Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is, by all accounts, a terrific science fiction story. As a comic store manager for a year and a half, I saw how popular the comic adaptation of the novels was to our customers. As a proud geek and lover of all things nerd, you would think I’d be lining up to see this.  The trailer looks excellent, and stars Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley are definite pluses for any movie.

But I won’t be seeing “Ender’s Game”.  I won’t be buying the books, the comics, or any other work by Orson Scott Card.

By now, you may already know why.  There have been lots of articles already written as the film approaches about Card’s anti-gay views. But just in case you haven’t read any of them or were not aware, Orson Scott Card is as homophobic and bigoted a person as you are ever likely to find.

I’ll be linking you to a site that has several quotes and sources for his statements expressing his hate and fear, so you can familiarize yourself with just how awful a human being he is.  But let me just say that if it were ONLY his views, I might not boycott the film.  After all, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, we live in a nation where the right to free speech is cherished, and though I disagree with someone, I don’t try to silence them.

It’s more than that, though.  Card is an activist, a very wealthy and prominent activist, who has sat on the board of anti-gay lobbying groups and campaigned not only against marriage equality but for the outright CRIMINALIZATION of homosexuality across the country and the WORLD.  Every dollar he makes from the purchase of his works has the potential to fuel anti-gay campaigns literally everywhere.

There has been a post spread at the last minute by Lionsgate that Card is listed as a producer but will receive no profits from the film.  Even if this IS true (and if so why is it suddenly being said in the final hour?) the success of the film will CERTAINLY lead to greater sales of his books, and so the success of the film is directly linked to money in the coffers of hate groups. So that’s not an excuse to contribute to it.

Bottom line: I don’t want my money going to hurt people I care about. Point blank. No, thank you.

Each of us has to make their own decision. I won’t judge anyone who decides to see it. But I encourage you to avoid the movie, books, or anything by Orson Scott Card. Here’s a link to a great site that gives more information and also has a petition to sign. Please help spread the word!

Skip Ender’s Game



Quote: Socrates
January 18, 2013

Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.

Why Can’t Atheists Stop Talking About Atheism?
December 19, 2012

I hear this all year ’round, but it’s particularly well-used around the holidays, when Christians in the US start to really feel their own privilege and attack just about anyone that doesn’t have Jesus tattooed on their face.

“Why can’t atheists just stop talking about atheism? Why do they have to be “in your face” about it all the time?”

I have several actual answers to this question, and then a follow-up answer on how you’ve imagined the whole damn thing.

Now personally, I live in Texas, where atheists are few and far between and we live in very hostile territory.  But even nation-wide, atheists are a rare breed.  Since we are so rare, it can be difficult to find others to talk to about our philosophy of following evidence and reasoning over superstition and ancient dogma. In fact, many of us believed when we were kids that we were the only ones.  I can remember getting kicked out of Sunday School because I kept asking questions and pointing out that the answers given made no sense.  Because of this loneliness and isolation, when we do find others who think like us, in person or in internet forums or social media, perhaps we overcompensate.  But it’s very nice to find you are not alone in what can, at times, seem like a crazy crazy world.

Some atheists are former believers who have come to realize that what they have been taught all their lives is simply a glorified mythology.  Those atheists experience a kind of conversion fervor, and just like religious converts, they feel so happy and right about it that they want to share that with others.  They want to talk about it and try to help others see what they have seen.  I can’t blame them for their enthusiasm, but I can see how it might annoy believers, just as believers trying to convert me would irritate me.  Look, I sympathize, but trust me, they’ll calm down eventually and settle in to their new outlook on life.  Be patient.

So there you go, a couple of reasons why you might hear atheists talking about atheism a lot.

Only you won’t really hear that.  More than likely, you’ll almost never hear it.  The reason you won’t hear it is because it’s drowned out by the non stop expressions on belief given by believers all day, every day, everywhere they go, and in every single thing they do.

When I wake up and check Facebook in the morning, I get to read the daily religious affirmations of every believer I know.  I turn on the television and am greeted by television shows with religious themes, commercials for Christian services, news showing political figures who are all believers and all discuss the effect of God on their lives.  Every radio show is brought to me believers who tell me every good thing that happens is by the grace of God.  This includes morning shows and musical broadcasts.  I pass churches on every street, with Biblical quotes and other affirmations.  Bumper stickers on a vast majority of cars are emblazoned with expressions of belief.  When I enter a business there are Christian samplers and religious symbols on the walls.  My local donut shop has an open Bible on the counter, turned towards me.  People wear religious t-shirts or carry expressions of belief.  They talk about it openly everywhere.  If someone sneezes, another person will say “GOD bless you”, sometimes putting a strong emphasis on the word ‘God’.  When I leave, I am told to have a blessed day.  Recently, I gave a co-worker of mine some advice she thought would really help her.  She told me I should be a minister.

I never stop to ask any of these people why they feel the need to be so “in my face” about their beliefs or why they talk about God non-stop.  That is considered normal and perfectly accepted behavior in society.  It is I who am the odd one.  I am afraid to talk about being an atheist or to let people know it.  I would never wear clothing that proclaimed it, and I wouldn’t DARE to show it on my car.  When my co-workers talk about God or church as they do every day, I can only smile and nod. I dare not give my opinion.  I don’t know any other atheists in my daily life, and it’s possible this is because others are afraid to say anything either.

Trust me, we are not going around talking about atheism all the time.  We bend over backwards to never be “in your face”
about it, while tolerating a never-ending onslaught of religion every day.  So if you happen to have found a tiny pocket, a safe haven where a few atheists feel comfortable finally lowering their guard enough to give their opinion on something, give them a break please.  We only want a tiny semblance of the comfort you have every day.  We’re not trying to take it away from you, and clearly, we couldn’t make a dent in the mountainous privilege you enjoy, even if we tried.

Sound fair to you?

Knocked Up White Dudes: How Gender Inequality Can Be Defeated By Science
February 9, 2012

Somewhere, a bell just rang.

The recent controversy over regulations on insurance providers has again brought to light the issue of the availability of birth control. The Catholic Church, despite the fact that the vast majority of its membership (at least here in the US) use birth control, is against it, and doesn’t want to provide it to the employees it insures.

At the same time, the fight over abortion remains at a fever pitch, with a major topic in this year’s Republican primaries being the candidates’ stance on abortion rights. Rick Santorum, the current front-runner, is on record as saying he is against abortion even in the cases of rape and/or incest.

The persistent lie in these cases is that this is a moral issue, that these people and institutions are fighting against sin. But let’s look at this honestly. The Catholic Church (and let’s ignore for the moment the truly heinous things we know of it) still does not allow women in positions of leadership. Of course it advocates they not use birth control or get abortions. The more unwanted pregnancies women have, the more they will have to shift plans from careers, or getting an education and learning how to recognize that the Church itself has been keeping them down for centuries and doesn’t plan on changing that anytime soon!

These are clearly positions created by men and fostered by men. Men don’t like it when women are able to enjoy sex more, know more, or make more money than they do. In short, men don’t seem to want women to have the same opportunities that they do.

It’s about power.

They don’t want women to have the power that has been the exclusive province of men for thousands of years. And the fact of biology has provided them a major tool in their cause of keeping women beneath them. Women have the babies, men don’t. They are able to walk away from an unwanted pregnancy and go back to living their lives, where women are denied that privilege. And unless you’ve given up a child for adoption lately, please spare me the speech about how that is the solution to all life’s ills. That doesn’t erase the nine months of pregnancy, the time away from school, or work, or the judgment women face from those around them. And in most circumstances, its horribly difficult to give up a child. The parenting bond is strong, and most women will stay in poverty rather than abandon a child.

Men have also used the perception of women to leverage things in their favor, branding women as “sluts” for enjoying sex, and shaming them into accepting their status as homemakers, caregivers, and willing objects of men’s desires. And I am not saying that women choosing to be ANY of those things is wrong. I’m saying that the strategy of men is to make it the default position, so that women don’t end up there as a matter of choice. Women should have the same opportunity to choose that men have, then if they choose to stay at home, so be it, but they could also choose to be CEOs and Presidents and Archbishops, the same way men do. Right now, not all those choices are available to them.

Women have been trying to right this inequality for a long time, and on many fronts have succeeded in making great strides. After all, our Founding Fathers, about whom you often hear people talk as if they were deities to be worshipped, didn’t want women to have the vote. They didn’t want women owning property or holding political office. But women do all those things now. (Don’t often hear politicians talking about rolling that back to the way the Founders intended either, do you?)

The main way women have been fighting this is by attacking the financial responsibility of men for their children. That’s been largely successful, changing divorce laws and branding “deadbeat dads” as a major societal ill. These are important shifts in perception and policy, and should rightly be lauded. But it doesn’t solve everything. What about the fathers who can’t be found, or held to account?

Women have been gradually moving into more and more positions of political power, which is the main reason we have seen laws change. But they are still held out of positions of power within the Catholic Church, to name one, and many other religious institutions. Until they can reach those audiences, religious restrictions will not change, and that seems a long way out. Women dying in back alleys from botched abortions can’t wait that long.

I propose that women attack the problem from a new angle, one where they already have the needed skill to begin to see it through: science.

Figure out a way to get men pregnant.

I don’t mean to change their DNA so they have female reproductive organs, no. I’m talking about a way to surgically allow a pregnancy to be transferred to men and have them carry the child as women do.

I promise you, if men could be pregnant, the entire controversy would vanish. Every argument about sin would dry up and disappear. Companies would jump on producing birth control with the same fervor and television marketing zeal that they currently apply to Viagra and Cialis. You’d see morning after pills advertised during every prime time show. You’d see abortion clinics run in franchises like car dealerships and fast food chains. The day a copy of “Knocked Up White Dudes” is available at your nearest adult video store, birth control and abortions will be available at the gas station next door. One pregnant white man would change the worldwide landscape of gender inequality overnight.

Women are already working as scientists and chemists, operating labs and advancing the frontiers of the human race. I’m saying to all of you, take this struggle into your laboratory. Figure out a way to do this, and no one ever need worry that men and women will have unequal protection in this country again.

Politics started this fight, now science can finish it.

You heard that bell, right? Now fight.

Court Strikes Down Ban on Gay Marriage in California
February 7, 2012

The 9th Circuit Cour of Appeals handed down its decision today. This is a huge victory for LGBT rights, marriage equality, and human rights in general. We need to make it clear that we will not stand for religious groups trying to make their ancient tribal superstitions the basis for law in our country, and we will not allow good men and women to be denied their constitutional right to pursue happiness with one another. They deserve to fall in love, get married, grow old together, and not do it in fear or hiding in shame. Their love deserves to live in the light of day along with any other human being’s.

So congrats to my LGBT friends. You are one step closer to a better world.


Read the article here.