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Weekly Reads: Iceland Bans Circumcision, GOP Hates Education and Refugees Love Furries


Howdy Readers! It’s the second week of March, when we celebrate Irish Heritage (St. Patrick’s Day is this Saturday, ) The downfall of tyranny (the Ides of March) and the potential triumph of the underdog (the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tourneys tip off.) It’s also a good time to get those  man-tubes tied, or is it? We looked into that a few years ago after my own incredibly painful procedure. 

Today is also the day students around the country will stage a 17 minute walkout,  in honor of the 17 lives lost at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last moth.  first of many actions planned in response to the Parkland school shooting, including a March for Our Lives on Washington DC on March 24th.

Speaking of painful procedures, Iceland has become the first European nation to ban male circumcision, (female circumcision was outlawed in 2005) This step has come under fire from religious groups, particularly Jewish groups for whom chopping off a bit of your little pecker’s pecker has deep religious significance, and Muslim groups probably still horked off about not being able to do the same thing to little girls. As a secular parent and advocate of children’s rights I was particularly heartened by this response…

Progressive Party MP Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir is the driving force behind the legislation.

“I didn’t think it was necessary to consult,” she told The Independent. “I don’t see it as a religious matter.”

“Jews are welcome in Iceland. But this is about child protection and children’s rights. That comes first, and before the religious rights of the adult.

“Every individual, it doesn’t matter what sex or how old… should be able to give informed consent for a procedure that is unnecessary, irreversible and can be harmful. His body, his choice.”

According to a Pew Research poll, 58% of conservatives think higher education negatively effects society’s direction.  That’s up from 37% two years ago. Explains a few things?

There were two extensive articles published this week on the seeming conundrum of Evangelical Christians falling in line behind the explicitly irreligious figure of Donald Trump. Former Bush 43 speechwriter and one of the republic’s  least vertebrate intellectuals gave it a pretty good try in The Atlantic with The Last Temptation. But I agree with Liberal Evangelical and my favorite Christian Blogger Fred Clark at Slactivist that even better was the piece penned by Chris Ladd, Why White Evangelicalism is so Cruel, which Forbes pulled from their site after complaints from said cruel white evangelicals. I’ll let Fred explain why…

o if you’re going to risk having to reconfigure your browser and reinstall your apps just to read one of those essays, I recommend picking Ladd’s. He cuts to the heart of the matter:

Modern, white evangelicalism emerged from the interplay between race and religion in the slave states. What today we call “evangelical Christianity,” is the product of centuries of conditioning, in which religious practices were adapted to nurture a slave economy.

This is a necessary supplement — a necessary corrective — to Gerson’s long and otherwise fine history lesson. Ladd bluntly states the most basic fact about white evangelical Christianity, which is that it is and has always been intimately bound up with slavery and white nationalism. However else we attempt to define or describe it, “evangelical” Christianity has always been Bible Christianity — a form of popular Protestantism based on popular use of the Bible as easily accessible in translation. In the English-speaking world, this is not something that ever did or could exist before the era that simultaneously gave us the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the creation of whiteness. These things are siblings — twins born at the same time.

World renowned and beloved physicist Stephen Hawking,  died this morning at the age of 76. He changed the way we think about both the universe and disability. Vox has a fun explainer on the professor’s five best and nerdiest pop culture cameo’s.

The Toddler Feelings Helpline, from Mcsweeney’s

— If your parents provided you with toys to cultivate play-based curiosity and spatial awareness when all you really needed was senseless flashing lights and electronic sound, mash 7.

Dayanna Volitich’s was a social studies teacher in Florida. I say was because she has been relieved of her duties while the school looks into the white supremacist podcast and Twitter feed she runs.  I didn’t realize the teacher shortage was that desperate.

And finally, in happy news… Syrian refugees in Canada were housed in the same hotel as a Furry Convention. The children (and the furries,) approved.

Samantha Bee has an offer for NRA Members…

Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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