Hey there Readers! Sorry for the dead air these last few weeks, but The Girl and The Hellions and I have been working our buttocks off to make the final push to move into our brand new custom built modern house, dubbed Wishful Thinking lo those many months ago when I could still joke about it. We are tired but happy. Mad props to our builders, SMP Design, who did an incredible job translating The Girl’s notebook sketches and The Boy’s fevered imagination into a home we can be proud of. Now on to a backlog of news and links!
In the same week that Attorney General and Evil Elf Jeff Session’s Justice Department rescinded a memo protecting the rights of transgender workers, and Wicked Witch of the Midwest Betsy Devos continued to quietly erase Barack Obama’s education legacy, including rolling back protections for trans students, we got a glimpse of the real life impact of this retrograde agenda in Lebanon, Maine. Stiles Zuchlag, a valedictorian candidate at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth was told he could not return to the school he had attended since kindergarten because he is transgender.
In related news the Southern Poverty Law Center warns that the guidelines issued last week by the Justice Department for “protecting religious freedom” endanger LGBTQ rights.
Religious freedom is a treasured right in our country, and it should never be used as a guise for harming others. The guidance memo ignores this competing American value – that in exercising our rights we must and should account for the rights and well-being of others. Freedom of religion does not give us the right to impose our beliefs on others, or to discriminate.
The clear intent of this guidance is to undermine the many gains LGBT Americans and others have achieved in securing dignity and equality for themselves and their families. It is motivated by the false notion that LGBT rights, reproductive rights and other rights have come at the expense of religious liberties, an idea that is an affront to the millions of Americans of faith who reject discrimination against all people, including LGBT people. It does not reflect who we are as a nation, with a clear majority of Americans supporting laws that protect LGBT people from unequal treatment
Oh, and just in case you thought that shiny new Pope we got a few years ago was a big improvement on Ratzinger (the Nazi Pope,) Jorge Bergoglio (or Pope Francis to his fans,) has made strong statements condemning gender reassignment surgery. Thus reinforcing the notion that Jesus is more important than your doctor.
And the shitty news piles up! The Cheeto Tinted Tyrant last Friday made it easier for companies to refuse to cover birth control in their company provided insurance plans, leaving many women to have to pay out of pocket for birth control. Vox’s Tara Isabella Burton digs deep into how birth control has become a part of the Evangelical agenda and thus part of the hardcore Trump base.
Yet among evangelical Protestants, at least, birth control — and who has access to it — has only recently become a major political issue. Unlike Catholics, whose catechism denounces use of most forms of contraception as a sin, evangelical Protestants by and large do not. (Because of the disparate nature of evangelical Protestantism, which includes hundreds if not thousands of separate denominations, it’s difficult to speak of a “formal stance” in the way we can of Catholics.) But alongside Catholic organizations like Little Sisters of the Poor, it’s evangelical-led companies like Hobby Lobby that have been on the forefront of opposition to the ACA birth control mandate.
In this, the evangelical stance on the ACA birth control mandate reflects a wider issue: the increased convergence of Catholics and evangelical Protestants — hardly historical allies — on social issues in the past few decades, as issues like the same-sex marriage debate and abortion have united the two socially conservative groups. As David Talcott, professor of philosophy at King’s College and an expert in Christian sexual ethics, told Vox, “Catholic and conservative evangelicals have become allies of certain kinds,” each defending the interests of other, as theological and philosophical overlap between the two.
You might have seen this story circulating on social media, as some jerk with an iPhone snapped a photo of an exhausted mom at the airport letting her infant get some wiggle time on a blanket while she caught up on emails. His tone deaf shaming quickly went viral. Scarymommy has the whole story.
More Devos-station from the Secretary of Miseducation… Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has decided that Obama-era policies that put pressure on colleges to handle campus rape allegations swiftly and fairly are actually unfair to accused rapists.
Crap, didn’t I find any good news? Houston teen India Landry, a senior at Windfern High School is suing the school after being expelled for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. We wish her luck standing up to the authoritarian wave washing over the nation in the Trump era.
Crap again… A Sanilac County Circuit judge has granted parenting time and joint legal custody of an 8-year-old boy to a convicted sex offender who allegedly raped the child’s mother nine years ago. The victim was 12 years old at the time of the assault.
Finally some kind of good news… Sesame Street has stepped up in the face of all the traumatic news facing children these days with an online teaching program Traumatic Experiences. Here’s a great sample…
Featured Image Credit: Punch Nazi’s by The Schmoo