The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for November 27th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for November 27th from 10:00 to 11:59:

  • Bruce Wilson: The Religious Right’s War on Christmas Began Centuries Ago – The "war on Christmas" traces back, historically, to Calvinist bans on the celebration of Christmas which began in Geneva and then migrated, with the spread of Calvinist theological views, to Scotland, where Christmas was banned in 1583, a ban that remained in force four almoast four hundred years and was only lifted in the 1950's. As Amy McNeese writes, in an article, first published in the Church of Scotland magazine Life & Work,that may be one of the best treatments of the War on Christmas.
  • Box Turtle Bulletin » “The Chilling Effect”: Did GOP Politics Stifle AIDS Prevention Research? – In October 2003, several Republican members of House and Senate committee which oversee the National Institutes of Health asked NIH director Elias Zerhouni to explain the “medical benefits” of ten NIV grants, including the five targeted by the Rep. Toomey. But the next day, the committee staffer responsible for forwarding the list of grants to Zerhouni’s office sent the wring list. He send a longer list of more than 250 grants.

    We learned later that this longer list was composed by the Traditional Values Coalition. Republicans apologized for the accidental distribution of this list, but the damage was done. Zerhouni saw the shot across his bow and ordered a review of each of the NIH grants in the longer list. The review found that each of the studies were scientifically legitimate, and in January 2004, Zerhouni wrote to Congress saying, “the constant battle against illness and disease…cannot be limited to biological factors but has to include behavioral and social factors as well”

    All of these grants retained their funding, but this episode touched off a very serious concern. Would this attempt at a witch hunt stifle sexuality research that could have potentially important implications for HIV prevention programs?

  • Citizen Crain: ENDA vs civil unions – Whereas now we have about 48% percent of the population who support marriage for us and 50% who oppose it. But of the 50% who oppose, 30% are homophobic and oppose most gay rights, whereas 20% are only hung up on the word marriage. That makes a very convincing majority that would support recognition of our relationships as civil unions — right now. This 68% support corresponds with the 66% support Chris cites. That's about the same percentage of support HRC claims for a non inclusive ENDA, in its questionable best case scenario poll. Of note is that the House of Representatives passed the non inclusve ENDA with only a 56% support level — which is probably a more realistic number for support of the non inclusvie ENDA. For the trans inclusive ENDA, the percentage falls to below 50%. They could not get a majority of the House to pass a T inclusive ENDA last year.

    So here is the problem with our current strategy. Our national organizations such as HRC and our political leaders such as Cong. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin have made it clear that the next time the only version of ENDA will be the T inclusive ENDA (the one that has less than 50% support). Furthermore, I've been told that Hate Crimes and a T inclusive ENDA will be the first two bills we bring up. And to make matters worse, many leaders are telling me that these will be the ONLY two gay bills brought up before the 2010 midterm elections. Duh?

  • Issue Number 1021 | What We Learned From an Obama Win | – The first is that the antigay culture war is winding down. The public has weighed the Karl Rove narrative (culture-war politics strengthens America by defending our values) against the Barack Obama narrative (culture-war politics weakens America by undermining our unity) and has come down on Obama’s side — certainly for now but possibly for much longer.

    Harder for us to adjust to will be this: The civil rights mind-set, with its focus on antidiscrimination laws and court-ordered remedies, has outlived its usefulness. There are still discrimination problems, of course—for example, when schools turn a blind eye to harassment. By and large, however, the public no longer regards gays as an oppressed minority, and by and large we aren’t one.

    The old civil rights model, with its roots in an era when homosexuals were politically friendless pariahs, focuses on such matters as protection from bigoted employers and hate crimes. In truth, for most gay Americans the civic responsibility agenda, with its focus on service to family (marriage), children (mentoring and adoption), and country (the military), is more relevant and important. With a comparatively sympathetic administration and Congress taking office in Washington, the time has come to pivot away from the culturally defensive pariah agenda — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, for instance — and toward the culturally transformative family agenda.

  • Box Turtle Bulletin » Today In History: Candlelights At City Hall – Harvey Milk finally succeeded in becoming the first openly gay non-incumbent candidate to win a political office for two reasons. One, he refused to hide who he was; and two, he made it his mission to build alliances with groups that other gay activists thought were impossible to reach.
  • How Sarah Palin Created a Whole New Generation of Vegetarians | | AlterNet – Posing for photographers with her felled caribou, her child inches from its bleeding mouth, Sarah Life-Is-Precious Palin is not confused about where meat comes from. So the turkey being slaughtered in full view of the camera as she conducted an interview at Triple D Farms in Wasilla this week probably doesn't faze her.

    But most Americans don't want to see the transformations their turkey went through to get to their Thanksgiving dinner table.

    How it lived, how it was shipped, who hung the struggling bird upside down on the conveyer to transport it to the awaiting blade, etc. — are not thoughts that improve the taste of the cranberry sauce.

    Nor will the economy get so bad people will have to take jobs as "live hangers" like Sam, not his real name, last year.

  • What the Bible Tells Us About Sarah Palin | Reproductive Justice and Gender | AlterNet – Palin, while lauded as a draw for conservative evangelical voters, actually fits uneasily into the theological worldview of the Christian Right. To be sure, Palin's politics are a close, if not exact match for social conservatives. She is strongly against a woman's right to choose abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. She is against same-sex marriage and for an expansive reading of the Second Amendment. She is a perfect candidate — so long as evangelicals are able to look past her gender.

    But supporting Palin's vice-presidential bid — and her possible ambitions for 2012 — requires evangelical voters to overlook the "complementarian" conception of the roles of men and women that holds sway among Southern Baptists and other evangelicals. Based on their reading of Scripture, they believe that men and women have distinctly different roles assigned to them by God. Women, in this perspective, are divinely mandated to serve as wives, mothers and keepers of the home. They are not allowed to serve as pastors, and they are obliged to submit to their husband in their own homes and in public.

  • Enough of ‘Barbituate’ Left Cynicism, Obama Is a Victory over White Supremacy | | AlterNet – At some point, the left will have to relinquish its love affair with marginalization. We'll have to stop behaving like those people who have a favorite band they love, and even damn near worship, until that day when the band actually begins to sell a lot of records and gain a measure of popularity, at which point they now suck and have obviously sold out: the idea being that if people like you, you must not be doing anything important, and that obscurity is the true measure of integrity. Deconstructing the psychological issues at the root of such a pose is well above my pay grade, but I'm sure would prove fascinating.
  • Booman Tribune ~ America the Hateful – The last time a Democrat held the Presidency, we saw the rise of the Militia movement and acts of mass murder and mayhem by right wing terrorists. And that was during a time of relative peace and prosperity with a moderate centrist President from Arkansas. Who was as white and down home as they come. Over the next four years I think we can expect increasing acts of racially motivated and/or anti-government violence from white, right wing extremists. I hope I'm wrong. I hope I'm a lousy prophet. But I also hope the Secret Service and the FBI are putting resources into preparing for the worst case scenario.

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