Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday Random Roundup

1. Writing in Religion Dispatches, Baptist minister and PhD student Cody J. Sanders takes Christians to task for letting anti-LGBT voices dominate LGBT-affirming voices:

"The most insidious forms [of anti-gay bullying], however, are not those from groups like Westboro Baptist Church. Most people quickly dismiss this fanaticism as the red-faced ranting of a fringe religious leader and his small band of followers.

More difficult to address are the myriad ways in which everyday churches that do a lot of good in the world also perpetuate theologies that undergird and legitimate instrumental violence. The simplistic, black and white lines that are drawn between conceptions of good and evil make it all-too-easy to apply these dualisms to groups of people. When theologies leave no room for ambiguity, mystery and uncertainty, it becomes very easy to identify an 'us' (good, heterosexual) versus a 'them' (evil, gay).

...[N]o institutions have done more to create and perpetuate the public disapproval of gay and lesbian people than churches."

Christianity's role in fostering sexual prejudice is only one of my many issues with Christianity. Nonetheless, I appreciate Sanders' acknowledgment that Christians contribute much suffering to LGBT lives and the challenge to equality-minded Christians to counter the damaging, hateful rhetoric of their more exclusionary peers.

2. This one was brought to us by John. From a Lifesite article about divorce:

"'No-fault divorce, explained Dr. Baskerville, codifies 'unilateral and involuntary divorce"'and thereby permits the spouse breaking up the marriage and the divorce court to "force the innocent spouse to shoulder the burden of the consequences.'

'The innocent spouse generally loses his children, his home and property, and his freedom for literally 'no fault' of his own and for any failure to cooperate with the divorce.'"

While it's slightly commendable that Dr. Baskerville acknowledges that no-fault divorce is a "greater threat" to marriage than same-sex marriage, notice how he assumes that the man is the "innocent" spouse and proceeds to frame him as a victim who had no agency at all in the decision to get married and accept the legal consequences of that decision.

Under this male-centric view, watch how he also frames child support. It is not a means of supporting the children that a man helped bring into the world, but rather it is:

'“mostly extorted from fathers that have been evicted, again through ‘no fault’ of their own.

'It is a subsidy on divorce and single-parent homes,' he explained. 'If you pay people to divorce, they will do it more. That is precisely what child support does.'”

We already know that a socially conservative, gender essentialist take on traditional hetero marriage makes marriage all about men and their alleged sexually aggressive and promiscuous tendencies, now we also learn that divorce and supporting children is also entirely about men and their "freedoms." Specifically, women should not be allowed to divorce men without their consent because men might lose some of their stuff (stuff, being their children, women, and property).

That's going to make a great PR campaign for traditional marriage!

3. Susan Reverby, a women's studies professor at Wellesley College, discovered records indicating the the US government intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala witih syphilis and gonorhhea in the 1940s without their knowledge or consent. The US is now apologizing for these actions.

4. Well, this made me even more of a vegetarian. I try not to be preachy and self-righteous about not eating meat, but I do wish more people- especially those who are financially privileged enough to be so mindful- put more thought into where their food comes from, the cruelty to living beings that is often involved, and what their food actually is.

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