Tag Archive | "Bigotry"

Your Senatoriable’s Not-So-Fabulous Stance on Gay Marriage


With the Papal elections winding down in the Vatican, most pinoys are beginning to focus their attention on our very own parade of horribles: The May 2013 Elections.

The people will be voting for candidates who most closely adhere to their wants and needs, and they’ll be very interested in what the various candidates’ opinion on hot topics such as same-sex marriage.

It goes without saying that as a religiously conservative country, the Philippines has not been supportive of gay marriage, with an overwhelming amount of senatoriables voicing their opposition to the measure.

The question is, does their opposition to gay marriage hold any water? For the benefit of the people still undecided on this matter – and since I’m a mean-spirited blackheart with nothing better to do – I’ll be presenting some of the crazier reasons these people are against gay marriage…and why they’re bullshit.

“It’s against natural law. Ang lalaki, ang mapapangasawa niya ay babae, at sila’y mag-aanak at dadami ang sangkatauhan. ‘Yan ang naturang batas at hindi kailanman nagkaroon sa natural law na pwede ‘yung parehong babae, parehong lalaki… Walang pamilya! Hindi naman ‘yan magkakaanak.” – Lito David

Malayo ‘yan. Tayo’y ginawa ng Diyos na [ang] pag-aasawa [ay] para magkaroon ka ng anak, procreation, para magkaroon ka ng happiness. Kung para sa happiness lang, ‘wag na kayong magpakasal. Kung dalawa kayong lalaki, dalawa kayong babae, gusto n’yong magsama, puwede naman. So bakit kailangang magpakasal pa? – Dick Gordon

Marriage is for propagating family, but it is high time for registered partnerships. – Ricardo Penson

First off, there is nothing in our laws that makes having children a legal requirement for couples to marry. If this were the case, then marriage should be illegal for the sterile and the elderly. Strangely enough, lesbian couples can still skirt this requisite through the magic of science.

This argument was also used during the deliberations to repeal California’s Proposition 8. Prop 8 has since been repealed, with several states in the US beginning to legalize gay marriage, which goes to show you just how effective the argument was.

Furthermore, if David and Gordon are going to argue against gay marriage on the grounds that “It’s not natural,” they’re going to have to explain swans, seagulls, bonobos, dolphins, vultures, pigeons, ducks, sheep, and hyenas. All of the above have exhibited homosexual behavior in the wild.

Taking the naturalistic fallacy further, we shouldn’t be using “unnatural” things, such as modern medicine, cars, smartphones (of which David has taken to backfisting), and computers.

I’d include clothes, but do we really want to regularly see Mr. David’s junk, or Dick’s…well, you get the idea.

“I don’t think that’s a marriage. They can just live together if they want. No need to flaunt it.” – Jun Magsaysay

I think that is a joke of a proposal. I don’t know where that idea came from, but marriage is between a man and a woman so maybe the laws can be liberalized in such a way that the property relations of people of the same sex who decided to live together can be governed by law but let us not call that marriage. Madali naman yan sa partnership, we can let the government code govern that or the laws on partnership, not the family code. – Koko Pimentel

It’s more than just being able to live together and “flaunting it”. Marriage ensures that the partners involved receive the same legal protections as straight couples, such as the on the matter of hospital visitation rights. There’s also the myriad of laws under the family code that protect the right to property of both people entering a marriage, in the event of the death of the spouse.

This isn’t about granting “special” rights to the LGBT community, as Pimentel implies. This is about granting them EQUAL rights, under the same family code that protect all straight marriages in the Philippines. And on a more sentimental note, it is about two men or women who have entered a long-term relationship, being able to proudly say “We’re married!” instead a word salad like “We’re under a recognized civil union!”

Pimentel should brush up on history, so that he’ll understand why his plea for things to be “Separate but equal,” should be ignored, if not outright ridiculed. Just like his stance on reproductive rights.

“Ang paniniwala ko pa rin between man and woman yung marriage.” – Nancy Binay

Sa akin, parang ‘di maganda dahil man and woman ang marriage. – Samson Alcantara

I don’t have anything against gay people… they were probably born that way but this should not be sanctified by marriage. Some of my friends are gay but marriage to me is a sacred institution. – Bal Falcone

We are still a Catholic nation. If we look at the Bible, the marriage of two persons is always man and woman. It’s always been Adam and Eve. Wala namang Adan at Adan. Wala ring Eba at Eba – JV Ejercito Estrada

Marriage is not the exclusive property of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, it’s not as if legalizing same-sex marriage will require RCC churches to marry gay couples; The couples can always get married in churches that support gay marriage.

And really, the “some of my friends are X” defense is a crapshoot argument. Would it be any more sensible if Mr. Falcone said “Some of my friends are black, but I think segregation is a sacred institution”? Is it any surprise that most of the arguments against gays sound similar to the tired rhetoric of the proponents of the Jim Crow laws?

Furthermore, Mr. Estrada, the Philippines is not a “Catholic Nation.” While it is true that most of the people here are Catholic, that doesn’t give them the right to impose their religion on all other non-Catholics; Even constitutionalist Fr. Bernas considered this a very bad idea.

And assuming we limit our definition of marriage to consenting adults, the one-man, one-woman definition can also be disputed. Polygamy is also a widely accepted form of marriage among numerous cultures, such as Islam.

Lastly, it’s a PERSONAL belief – nobody is forcing you to have a gay marriage. However, it also follows that you don’t have a right to impose your personal belief of what marriage is on gays. It’s not your job to force your “paniniwala” on the people – it’s your job to defend their basic rights. And if you don’t understand that, you don’t have any business running for senate.

Totally against that. Equal rights are guaranteed by the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. There is really no need to expand the concept of human rights. I respect the human rights of gays and lesbians, but when you allow same sex marriage, there is no purpose whatsoever as to the objective of that. – JC Delos Reyes

JC failed to mention that as of 2011, the United Nations passed a resolution opposing discrimination or violence against the gay community.

That discrimination doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of laws that directly oppress the LGBT community. It can be as simple as denying them the right to marry the person they love, and wish to spend the rest of their life with. A right straight people like me can enjoy, and most often take for granted. JC has no business claiming to agree with the UN if he can’t even acknowledge that gays deserve to be protected by the same range of laws that protect everybody else in RP.

On a related note, he certainly has no right to be claiming to be in support for the UN charter on human rights, given his attempts to block every woman’s right to RH medicine and education, which are supported by the UN.

JC also claimed to be anti-imperialist, and against the influence of internationa groups, so what’s he doing agreeing with the UN in the first place? Fucking hypocrite.

“I am for the protection and respect ng political rights ng lahat, regardless of gender. Pero pagdating sa marriage of same sex, sabi ng Good Book, huwag gayahin ‘yung nangyari sa Sodom and Gomorrah dahil darating ang paggunaw sa isang bansa pag ‘yun ay ginawa.” – Eddie Villanueva

We saved the best for last.

The gist of Bro. Eddie’s argument is that he’s for equal rights, unless it goes against the teachings of his good book. The problem is that even a cursory reading of the bible shows that it’s anything but a “good” book. From its endorsement of genocide and slavery to unleashing bears on kids who make fun of baldies, the bible’s text goes anywhere from morally questionable, to the sort of religiously-motivated actions that would make even Kratos take pause and say “Whoa there! Isn’t that getting a bit excessive? ”

As a parting note, I advise all voters reading this to go through their favorite candidate’s stances on various social concerns before voting. It’s your responsibility, and privilege.

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Bigotymology: What it Really Means to Be a Bigot (Like Sotto, Pacquiao, and the CBCP)


Whenever I listen to Senator Sotto on the RH Bill, Manny Pacquiao on homosexuality, and the CBCP on pretty much everything, one word uncontrollably comes to mind: bigot. The impulse is almost as strong as God bless you! follows a sneeze.

In Catholic Philippines, it seems that some people can’t help sneezing, the most recent being former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao. And always, freethinkers everywhere can’t but say bigot! in response.

Recently, some conservatives have gone on the defensive, because intolerance is no longer as fashionable as it used to be back in the good old Dark Ages. Conservative cohorts of the CBCP are arguing that anti-LGBT Christians are being called bigots just because “it’s so cool” (it’s actually so mainstream that it’s not) and that their accusers are equally deserving of the accusation:

But you know, it’s so ‘cool’ these days to call Christianity bigotry… It’s funny, though, how those who scream and call for tolerance are the very same people who are the first to call ‘foul’ when their own beliefs, behaviors and/or lifestyles are challenged…

Let’s face it, anti-Catholicism/anti-Christianity is the last acceptable prejudice. Tolerance is only real when it goes both ways. The LGBT crowd have their own beliefs, let Miriam have hers.

In other words, calling out Christian bigotry is just as intolerant and prejudiced as being anti-LGBT in particular and anti-conservative-Christian in general. Thus, the critics themselves have become the bigots.

But is this true? Is harsh criticism of the Christian perspective a form of bigotry? If both progressives and conservatives can correctly call each other bigots, has the term bigot become meaningless? What does it really mean to be a bigot?

These questions are important to me because I’m guilty of being one of the first to call bigot! — sometimes even before whole sentences are formed — and I belong to an organization that recently gave out a Bigot of the Year award.

To answer them, I studied the word bigot: how it is defined, how it was formed, how it was originally used, and how related words clarify its meaning. By the end of this post, you’ll know who you can call a bigot and whether doing so makes you one.

Bigotefinition

The dictionary defines bigot as “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.”

No one can be faulted for being opinionated, but bigotry lies not merely in having opinions but being devoted to them. Obstinate devotion means you believe something “in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion.”

You might think that we’ve finally hit the nail on the head, but reason is another problematic word: everyone has their own criteria for what is rational, so it’s easy to accuse anyone of bigotry simply because you cannot persuade them with your reasoning.

When it comes to the second half of the definition, conservatives can deflect charges of hatred and intolerance with the usual excuses: “We hate the sin, not the sinner.” (Although there’s absolutely no excuse for inciting violence, the way Pacquiao recently did.)

At this point, some might think that “obstinate devotion” can equally apply to progressives, but this won’t be the case if you understand what it means to be devoted.  Devotion is more than mere commitment; it implies “religious fervor,” an act of “private worship.”

A bigot isn’t just passionate about an opinion — holding the opinion is a form of worship, a prayer to God. And as you’ll soon find out, it’s by God that we’ll separate the merely opinionated from the blatantly bigoted.

Bigotymology

There are three theories about bigot’s origin. The first is that it’s based on Visigothus, the name of a people in southern Gaul. The second is that it’s from the Germanic oath, “by God.” The third — my favorite — is that it came from the Spanish, bigote or mustache.

There’s not much evidence to support any theory, but they think the third is the strongest “by virtue of it not having any evidence against it.” (Maybe I’ll send them some articles on Sotto and pics of his signature ‘stache to cement the third theory’s position.)

Anyway, without no clear origin, we can focus on its original usage. Bigot was first used in the late 16th century to mean “sanctimonious person, religious hypocrite.” Bigotry (based on the French bigoterie) came in the late 17th century to mean “sanctimoniousness.”

A sanctimonious person is “hypocritically pious or devout” — he projects a righteous image through religiosity, a self-righteousness that is contradicted by his own actions. As hypothetical examples, consider an outwardly pious politician involved in the rape of Pepsi Paloma or a Bible-thumping boxer involved in an affair with Krista Ranillo.

Compared to its current usage, the earlier one lost this sanctimonious sense of hypocrisy, while retaining, however subtly, the sense of religiosity. In the original usage, a bigot projects a religious image through behavior; in the current one, he does so using belief.

It is this strong sense of religious belief that characterizes a bigot. This becomes even clearer when we examine bigot in relation to words with similar meanings.

Bigotesaurus

Searching Roget’s International Thesaurus (1922) online returns three words strongly-related to bigotry: credulity, certainty, and obstinateness. These words — and other related ones — illuminate how a bigot believes. As you look at the words below, think about whether it applies more or less to progressives or conservatives. I highlighted ones that are particularly revealing.

CREDULITY, credulousness &c. adj.; gullibility, cullibility [obs.]; gross credulity, infatuation; self-delusion, self-deception; superstition; one’s blind side; bigotry (obstinacy); hyperorthodoxy
BE CREDULOUS &c. adj.; jurare in verba magistri [L.]; follow implicitly; swallow, swallow whole, gulp · down; take on trust; take for -granted, – gospel; take on faith;

CERTAINTY; necessity [See Necessity]; certitude, sureness, surety, assurance; dead -, moral- certainty; infallibleness &c. adj.; infallibility, reliability, reliableness; indubitableness, inevitableness, unquestionableness.
gospel, scripture, church, pope, court of final appeal; res adjudicata, [L.], res judicata [L.]; ultimatum.
FACT; positive fact, matter of fact; fait accompli [F.].
BIGOTRY, positiveness, dogmatism, dogmatization; fanaticism.

OBSTINATENESS
BE OBSTINATE &c. adj.; stickle, take no denial, fly in the face of facts; opinionate [rare], be wedded to an opinion, hug a belief;
creed-bound; prepossessed, infatuated; stiff-backed, stiff-necked, stiff-hearted; hard-mouthed, hidebound; unyielding; impervious, impracticable, impersuasible, impersuadable, unpersuadable; untractable, intractable; incorrigible, deaf to advice, impervious to reason; crotchety [See Caprice] BIGOTRY, intolerance

A bigot is credulous: he believes things strongly, even superstition, to the point of self-deception because he takes things on faith.

A bigot is certain: he believes with such sureness the infallibility of his chosen authority to the point of dogmatism and fanaticism.

A bigot is obstinate: he believes even in the face of contradictory facts because he is married to his opinion and bound by his creed.

To a bigot, it’s not the opinion itself that has power; it’s the authority figure from whom the bigot received the opinion. Whether you believe by authority — especially religious ones — is ultimately what determines whether a believer is a bigot.

Bigotefinition Revisited;

I actually made a mistake and checked the thesaurus too early, entirely forgetting that the dictionary also provided related words: synonyms and antonyms, which can better define the boundaries of a word’s meaning. My dictionary lists the following related words:

Synonyms: dogmatist, dogmatizer, partisan (also partizan), sectarian
Related Words: doctrinaire, fanatic, purist; jingoist, nationalist; racialist, racist, supremacist; chauvinist, sexist
Near Antonyms: freethinker, latitudinarian, liberal

There’s so many here that we can use, but the first synonym and near antonym are more than enough.  A dogmatist takes dogma as fact, forming opinion based on it; A freethinker denies religious dogma, forming opinions independent of authority. Both form opinions; what differentiates them is whether they’re based on dogma. A bigot is a dogmatist, not a freethinker.

If the Bigote Fits

Let’s go back to our original question. Is harsh criticism of the Christian perspective a form of bigotry? If the criticisms are based on reason and not infallible dogma, then no. Criticizing Christianity, however harshly, is not a form of bigotry.

The term bigot has not lost its meaning. When examined closely, it correctly applies to only one side of the debate: the right (conservative) side.

Although both sides hold their opinions strongly, only one side does so because of their credulity, certainty, and obstinacy to believe the Bible and every authority that claims to represent their God.

Yet it’s not enough to call someone a bigot and just leave it at that. It’s better to explain why you think certain people are bigots — or at least hold bigoted beliefs. Doing so raises awareness not only of bad opinions but also of better opinions and the ways in which they are formed.

And who knows? Maybe someday Sotto or Paquiao or the CBCP will finally listen and learn. Even bigots deserve compassion. Remember: hate bigotry, not the bigot.

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In Defense of Miriam Quiambao


So former Bb. Pilipinas titlist Miriam Quiambao has been taking a lot of criticism from the pro-LGBT crowd for her anti-gay statements on a tv show and on her twitter. I regret that I too have tweeted some pretty angry messages about her regarding this issue. I should have taken my own advice about not tweeting when angry, because I now wish I could take back what I’ve written about wanting to take a shower after reading this Rappler article.

Miriam Quiambao (Photo taken from http://nudefilipina.blogspot.com .)

(Photo taken from http://nudefilipina.blogspot.com .)

Yes, Ms. Q has shown herself to be a homophobe. But it’s not her fault. Not really. Because she loves God — the one who says that the gay lifestyle is evil — and therefore she has to believe that homosexual behavior is immoral. She obviously doesn’t want to believe this — she says she loves the LGBT folks — but since her god tells her that gay sex is wrong, she clearly doesn’t have a choice. If a Christian saves a bunch of orphans from starvation, do we give them our gratitude for it? Of course not — you give thanks to the Chrisian God. Being a Christian, they didn’t have a choice but to save the orphans. In the same way, we can’t blame Ms. Q for her actions or her opinions. She was doing her duty. Like she said: don’t shoot her, she’s just the messenger.

This brings me to my second point: that getting angry at beauty queens for their opinions is silly. First of all, they’re not supposed to have opinions in the first place. At least not opinions of their own. Oh, I’m pretty sure a lot of of these contestants have their own views, values and opinions, and will stand up for them (I knew a lovely girl who once braved public derision in order to follow her heart, and years later she won the Bb. Pilipinas-International title). It’s just that they have to make it seem like these views come from somewhere that is acceptable, like their parents, their priests, and their gods. That’s why a lot of interview answers at pageants include disclaimers like “This is how my parents raised me”, “The bible says…” and “As a Christian, I was taught to believe…” After all, in this age of female doctors, female lawyers and female heads of state, beauty pageants are here to remind us all not just that a woman’s main role is to be decorative (that swimsuit competition is there so we can judge the size of her boobs, not her IQ) but also that she cannot have an opinion that goes against her society, her parents or her god. How many beauty pageant contestants do you know who espouse something really controversial like, say, insisting that women be not be paraded around like meat for entertainment purposes? Or that a person shouldn’t have to be skinny to be considered beautiful? Why, she’d be laughed off the stage. By taking absolutely no responsibility for her anti-gay views, Ms. Q has proven beyond doubt why she deserved to be crowned Bb. Pilipinas and declared first-runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant.

So yes, I apologize for my angry tweets. In my own defense, it was only because I have very strong opinions against people espousing prejudice and using religion as an excuse for their bigotry. Especially since I don’t agree with most religions and I’m not sure if the wars, witch burnings, child molestations and general oppression of women and gays that arise from them make religions worth having around. Furthermore, I absolutely claim these views as mine and am not blaming my parents or a deity for my views and opinions, but it just goes to show why (among many other reasons, including my unladylike fat hips) I, unlike Ms. Q, am not beauty queen material.

Tania N. Arpa blogs about being a geek in the city in The Entropy Blog. She is also on Twitter.

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Who is the Philippines’s Biggest Bigot? Cast Your Vote!


In the last few years, the Filipino Freethinkers have encountered a number of big bigots in the local scene whose words and actions truly show an unwillingness to embrace fact instead of fiction, and equal human rights instead of being selfish and dictatorial. From Senator Tito Sotto’s literal laughter in the face of maternal deaths, to Eric Manalang’s plea that our mothers should have aborted us, we’ve gotten to know quite a few bad eggs.

For the 3rd Filipino Freethinkers Forum this coming April 1, we will be handing out the 2012 Biggest Bigot Award to the person YOU think has worked hardest at being a close-minded douchebag. As our prize, the winner gets to have money donated in their name to the cause they are directly opposed to! Isn’t that nice? Everybody wins!

To vote, simply click here and cast your vote! Some of your choices include Senator Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao, Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Archbishop Teodoro Bacani, Eric Manalang and Rizalito David.

Follow your heart and vote away! Voting ends March 31, and we’ll announce the winner right after the forum. And for those interested in attending the forum, please RSVP here.

Image from cosmicsnark.com

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Why I Do Not Have School Spirit


There’s this blog entry that’s been making the rounds lately, entitled “What Ateneans Do Wrong after Graduating,” and the further I read the piece, the more dismayed I felt. And it’s not just because the author drops more cliches than Paolo Coelho writing Rick Warren a yearbook dedication. While it is grating to read someone dispensing advice like achieving success by working hard and being nice to your boss, as if this thought never occurred to anyone else in all of human history, it is unfortunately more grating that the author has the gall to address the entry to all Ateneans in general.

Among the red lights were:

“[Ateneans] NEVER would want to report to someone who came from a school which they think is too low for their standards.”

“ARteneans always expect job to be convenient.”

“He used to have the Atenean attitude of being so mayabang, complaining too much…”

“We Ateneans always want the SHORT-CUT.”

“We Ateneans, are SO opinionated that we believe so much our opinion would change the course of the world.”

“I hope I wouldn’t be bashed for this post. You know naman some Ateneans love correcting grammar and seeing faults on the opinion of others.”

She signed the end of the post with AMDG.

Spirited away

Now, if you think I’m going to continue this piece by defending the Atenean community with vigor, invoking my magises and halikinus over a blue and white flame, you are wrong.

I wasn’t irked by the fact that Ateneans were generalized so negatively. What irked me was that there was generalization going on in the first place, that some people continue to box others in according to what school they came from when, in truth, it is glaringly obvious that all people are different. No, I’m not naïve; I know full well that school spirit is a thing, and that for quite some time students from Ateneo, La Salle, UP, UST, and other relatively known schools have been bestowed with respective stereotypes. But it is the year 2012, and many undeserved stereotypes, from the impure homosexual to the hateful atheist, have become less potent.

 

Admittedly, the Philippines, in particular, does have a ways to go in terms of shedding these bigoted beliefs, no thanks to the likes of the CBCP and local mainstream media. But at least there are movements — composed of a goodly number of people, and gradually gaining public attention — that are dedicated to making such beliefs a thing of the past. Shouldn’t getting preferential treatment or being judged just because you came from a particular school — regardless of your accomplishments — be something worth eradicating as well?

Animo-sity

Some may say this is going a tad overboard, arguing that such a bias could not possibly compare with the biases against one’s gender, one’s race, one’s religion or lack thereof, etc. They may argue that school stereotypes exist to encourage students to mold themselves according to certain lofty, worthy ideals, such as Ateneo’s “man for others,” or UP’s thrust for social change. But the problem I see with this is that it is unfair to automatically brand people with characteristics they may not necessarily have. Yes, there will be a few who will truly epitomize what it means to be a Thomasian or a La Sallian or what-have-you, but what about everyone else? Last I checked, schools don’t inject an instant school spirit serum that forces them to think and behave a certain way. Do you seriously enjoy having people make false assumptions about you once you’ve mentioned where you graduated from?

 

In certain ways, school spirit is very much like one’s religious beliefs. If you’re Atenean, does it immediately mean that you get chauffeured around in your daddy’s SUV? If you’re Muslim, does it immediately mean that you’re going to bomb the next person who draws a Muhammad cartoon? If you’re from UP, does it immediately mean that you’re a Communist? If you’re Catholic, does it immediately mean that you think wearing condoms means killing babies? We need to stop thinking like this. School stereotypes may seem quite petty compared to other stereotypes, but it is still very much part of the problem. It is still very much a sign of our tendency to close our minds and insist that we shouldn’t bother getting along with certain people.

Alma don’t matter

The last thing anyone should want is the inability to think and act for themselves because they’ve been branded a certain way from the start. Schools are supposed to open you up to the world, to introduce you to all its diversities and intricacies, and not to limit you or box you in. In the end, what school you came from does not, and cannot, define you. How you dissect, analyze, and apply the knowledge you’ve gained — from your school, from your loved ones, from your life experiences — is what does.

Images from spankyenriquez.blogspot.com and rebelpixel.com

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Michigan’s Religious Bullying Bill


With the reproductive health bill still stuck in legislation, our legislators need a lesson or two about religious freedom. But I hope they don’t follow Michigan’s example.

Michigan recently passed an anti-bullying bill, but instead of discouraging bullies, the bill seems to empower them with a familiar excuse: religion. The bill allows bullying so long as it’s done in the name of God. Anti-bullying? The bill should have been named “Religious Bullying.”

Imagine the following scene:

Harvey: Teacher, teacher! Billy is calling me names and throwing rocks at me!
Teacher: Why are you doing this, Harvey?
Billy: Because Harvey’s a homo!
Teacher: Who told you it’s OK to do this?
Billy: My dad told me that God told him it’s OK, and God hates fags!
Teacher: Oh, in that case, carry on then.

Ironically, the Religious Bullying bill is called “Matt’s Safe School Law,” after Matt Epling, a bullied student who killed himself in 2002. Understandably, Matt’s father is not happy:

Matt’s father, Kevin Epling, expressed his dismay in a Facebook post after the state senate vote on Wednesday. “I am ashamed that this could be Michigan’s bill on anti-bullying,” wrote Epling. “For years the line [from Republicans] has been ‘no protected classes,’ and the first thing they throw in…was a very protected class, and limited them from repercussions of their own actions.”

Last year, in the span of around a month, at least five teens committed suicide because they were bullied for being gay. States such as Michigan are trying to respond, but I doubt that sectarian solutions such as the Religious Bullying bill will do anything to prevent incidents like this from happening. On the contrary, it gives a religious justification to actual bullies and a religious motivation to potential ones.

And Michigan students do not need a law to motivate them to bully homosexuals. They only need to follow their parents’ examples:

At the federal level, they unsuccessfully fought for the inclusion of a provision protecting religious freedom when Congress expanded the definition of a hate crime to include crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation. They also strongly oppose legislation that would prevent discrimination against gay individuals in the workplace, charging that such a law would endanger religious freedom. A report on the Christian Broadcasting Network outlined one such concern: “The special protections for gay and transgendered teachers will make it extremely difficult for [public school] districts that might want to remove them from the classroom.”

In the Philippines, Catholic bullies use religious freedom to justify kicking out unwed pregnant mothers from Catholic schools. They use religious freedom to justify denying even non-Catholics the right to remarry. They use religious freedom to justify denying homosexuals the right to marry and be free from discrimination and violence. And to block the passage of the RH Bill, they use religious freedom to justify denying Filipinos their right to plan their families, protect themselves from HIV and pregnancy complications, and choose what’s best for their own bodies.

As Amy Sullivan wrote, they’re getting religious freedom wrong:

Social conservatives believe that efforts to protect gays from assault, discrimination or bullying impinge on their religious freedom to express and act on their belief that homosexuality is an abomination…

This belief, however, relies on a warped understanding of religious liberty. Freedom of religious expression doesn’t give someone the right to kick the crap out of a gay kid or to verbally torment her. It doesn’t give someone the right to fire a gay employee instead of dealing with the potential discomfort of working with him…

The same religious conservatives who applaud the religious exemption in Michigan’s anti-bullying bill would be appalled if it protected a Muslim student in Dearborn who defended bullying a Christian classmate by saying he considered her an infidel.

Worst of all, such abuses of the concept of religious liberty undermine efforts to focus attention on serious threats to religious freedom. A Christian pastor in Iran currently faces execution because he will not convert back to Islam. China openly represses religious minorities like Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims. Christians in Syria and Egypt continue to be targets of violence, and Muslims in Europe face civil penalties for wearing religious garb in public. Next to these realities, it takes a serious persecution complex to get worked up about defending the right of a Michigan high school student to target a gay classmate for ridicule.

I hope our legislators take the time to read Michigan’s Religious Bullying Bill. It serves as a perfect example of how religious freedom is done wrong.

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RCC: Attacking our bigotry violates our human rights!


Proof once again that the Catholic Church is a big, spineless bully: Attempting to play the victim when people start calling out their anti-gay bullshit.

People who criticise gay sexual relations for religious or moral reasons are increasingly being attacked and vilified for their views, a Vatican diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said the Roman Catholic Church deeply believed that human sexuality was a gift reserved for married heterosexual couples. But those who express these views are faced with “a disturbing trend,” he said.

“People are being attacked for taking positions that do not support sexual behaviour between people of the same sex,” he told the current session of the Human Rights Council.

“When they express their moral beliefs or beliefs about human nature … they are stigmatised, and worse — they are vilified, and prosecuted.

“These attacks are violations of fundamental human rights and cannot be justified under any circumstances,” Tomasi said.

What pisses me off the most is that while this news report was written in the context of the church’s activities in Europe, it is also an issue I find close to home; One I literally found in my own backyard.

As you’ve seen in my previous article, the RCC has gone as far as attempting to indoctrinate innocent young minds with their brand of hatred, while their leaders have had the audacity to demand that matters such as women’s welfare should not be forced on their schools, because it would infringe on their religious “moral” teachings.

It’s a blatant double standard that’s become a signature of RCC apologists, and the more they try to play this game, the more I am convinced that these bigots deserve no respect.

They are, of course well within their rights to talk about their stance on homosexuality. But the same rules apply to us too. And while they may bitch and moan, they can’t invoke “blashpemy” or religious discrimination when we decide that enough is enough – at least not anymore – and actively call out these shameless motherfuckers for the cretins they are.

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It's *not* okay to be gay: A tale from a Catholic school


A few weeks ago, my sister was telling us about one of the more memorable presentations her class had in the Immaculate Conception Academy.

My sister is in high school, and for those of you who have never set foot in a Catholic school before, each school year includes a mandatory Christian Life Education (CLE) class or its equivalent, where students are taught the basics tenets of Catholic education.

Getting back on topic, sis narrated that one of the groups in class was asked to do a presentation on why homosexuality is wrong. To summarize the presentation’s points:

  • Homosexuality is a psychological problem.
  • Gays became that way because they experimented with what the media presents.
  • Gays shouldn’t be condemned for being what they are, as long as they don’t act upon it.
  • Gays should be pitied.
  • Homosexuality can be cured.
  • Gays only want to marry so they can have limes and lemons
  • Gay couples cannot be good parents
  • Marriage is only for straight couples
  • It’s not love unless it’s straight.

Granted there is plenty of data countering each of these points, but that’s not the reason I’m hunkered down in front of my laptop, and writing this short piece. My reason is simple: to illustrate the sort of “values formation” that a lot of these Catholic schools indoctrinate their students in.

It is an important point to raise, given that religious freedom is one of the more common arguments the Catholic Church uses against the Reproductive Health Bill.

That is, for their leaders, the RH Bill’s sex education program will teach people family planning methods not supported by their laws, namely contraceptive use. Practically any debate that starts up will begin with this argument from Pro-Lifers, who believe that anything contrary to the church’s teachings on sexuality is unacceptable, and is a breach of their right to teach.

And by extension, church leaders have also questioned the RH Bill with regard to how much authority it will leave with their own private schools. Recent discussions have gone in this direction, with Jesuits discussing the matter on whether Catholic schools should have the right to implement their own sex education curriculum, based on their religious beliefs.

The problem is, where does one draw the line on what Catholic schools – or schools owned by a religious institution for that matter – can teach their kids, when it’s become bleeding obvious that it’s become a platform for bigotry?

Values formation indeed.

On a parting note, I do leave with some good news. My sister also told me that virtually everybody in the class thought the presentation was bullshit, and hence didn’t believe it. Perhaps it’s worth noting that sis has also mentioned that their entire class admitted to being Gleek.

Kurt is awesome that way.

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