Saturday, September 27, 2008

Latest BOW update

For better or for worse, a solid, if somewhat uneventful Battle of Wellington today. We rallied under General Debbie of the Battalion of Radical Women, firing several a few dozen rounds of rhyming slogans against the fundies in the opposing trenches (read: sidewalk across the road).

However, what was interesting was an anti-abortion poster I saw on my way to the rally. It was called 'Voices 4 voiceless' or something similar. When I saw the title, I could feel my irony meter pounding against the inside of my skull. That's probably because
Fetuses don't have voices because they have neither voiceboxes, lungs, identifiable mouth structures, brains, brain activity or anything else that makes them an actual human being and not a translucent sack of stem cells.
Thank-you anti-choice movement for giving yourselves a name that entirely proves the point of your opposing ideology.

Sorry. I needed to get that out of my system.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Women shouldn't be held hostage to a clump of stem cells.

From the Radical Women: the next Battle of Wellington at the Fertility Control Clinic, and then a pro-abortion rights protest on October 4.

Please distribute widely

The government bill to decriminalise abortion limits a woman’s right to decide to the first 24 weeks. For a post 24-week pregnancy, the decision would be in the hands of two doctors. Yet over 80% of the population wants full, unlimited abortion rights. The bill goes to the upper house on October 7. If we leave it to parliamentarians to decide -- without pressure from those they are supposed to represent -- we won’t win this. Now, more than ever, this voice has to be heard! In this critical lead-up to the final stage of parliamentary debate, here are two important actions to support. This is our one chance to get it right.

Come out to the following actions, and bring others with you!

Defend the Fertility Control Clinic

Saturday, 27 September, 10.00 am

118 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

Rally for UNRESTRICTED access to free, safe & legal abortions

Saturday, 4 October, 1.00 pm

State Library (LaTrobe & Swanston Streets)

March to Parliament

For information about both, contact Radical Women:

or Solidarity Salon: 9388 0062

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Which reaction is better?

Recently, in the US:

Last month, Rachel Bird exchanged vows with Gideon Codding in a church wedding in front of family and friends. As far as Bird is concerned, she is a bride.

To the state of California, however, she is either "Party A" or "Party B."

Those are the terms that have replaced "bride" and "groom" on the state's new gender-neutral marriage licenses. And to Bird and Codding, that is unacceptable.

"We are traditionalists – we just want to be called bride and groom," said Bird, 25, who works part time for her father's church. "Those words have been used for generations and now they just changed them."

In May, after the California State Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal, the courts mandated state officials to provide gender-neutral licenses and other marriage forms. "Bride" and "groom" became "Party A" and "Party B."

Bird and Codding have refused to complete the new forms, a stand that has already cost them. Because their marriage is not registered with the state, Bird cannot sign up for Codding's medical benefits or legally take his name. They are now exploring their options, she said.

Bird's father, Doug Bird, pastor of Roseville's Abundant Life Fellowship, said he is urging couples not to sign the new marriage forms, and that he is getting some support from congregants and colleagues at local churches.

"I would encourage you to refuse to sign marriage licenses with 'Party A' and 'Party B,' " he wrote in a letter that he sent to them. "If ever there was a time for the people of the United States to stand up and let their voices be heard – this is that time."

So far, however, officials with conservative legal foundations, gay groups and the state say they are unaware of anyone else making a similar stand.

And Rachel Bird described her position as "personal – not religious."

"We just feel that our rights have been violated," she said.

To some, the couple's stand may seem frivolous. But others believe "bride" and "groom" are terms that are too important for the state to set aside.

"Those who support (same-sex marriage) say it has no impact on heterosexuals," said Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute. "This debunks that argument."

But those who favor the gender-neutral language say it is fair and treats all citizens equally.

"These are legal forms meant to uphold the law, changes that were meant to accommodate all Californians, which includes gays and lesbians," said Ed Bennett, president of the Sacramento Stonewall Democrats.

Bird and Codding said they didn't intend to become part of the culture debate. They didn't know about the change when they applied for their marriage license in August. When they saw the terms, Codding wrote "groom" next to "Party A" and "bride" next to Party B and submitted their license. On Aug. 16, they married at her father's church.

On Sept. 3, the couple received a letter from the Placer County Clerk-Recorder Registrar of Voters informing them that their license did not comply with California law and that the state did not accept licenses that had been altered. The couple had 10 days to complete a duplicate form.

The couple say they have no intention of signing the forms.

"We feel that some things are worth fighting for," said Gideon Codding, 29.

Officials said the law is clear.

"I can understand their frustration," said Gloria Coutts, assistant county clerk for Placer County." But their marriage is not registered with the state."

Bird and Codding say they are trying to figure out what to do next. Bird said she does not know what she will do if she should become ill and need insurance. "I really don't know," she said.

For now, they are busy with their family (she has two children from a previous marriage and he has three) and starting their new life.

"We feel like a a bride and groom," said Bird.

So they refuse to get married and then blame their refusal on teh gays? Jebus, these loons are almost as bad as the Crackpot Fundies for Autocracy. However, I'm still trying to decide who's reaction to the news-Jill of Feministe or Hank of Ethics Gradient.

First, we have Jill:

It’s so true. And you know, this whole dating-in-New-York thing totally sucks. As a traditionalist, I would really prefer to go back to the time when my father found a proper suitor for me, and then basically sold me for a reasonable price. It’s tradition, and if it weren’t for bitches getting all uppity about their “rights,” it would have never changed. We’ve gone so far down the path to Hell that now the terms “bride” and “groom” — added into marital documents specifically so that we’d all know who called the shots and who controlled all the money and assets — are being replaced with gender-neutral terms. I thought the ladies demanding their own credit cards and checking accounts was bad enough; now with The Gays getting married, the whole system is fucked. After all, gender-neutral terms implies that a marriage is a partnership between two parties, and not a hierarchy. And that, my fine friends, is unacceptable.

If ever there was a time for the people of the United States to stand up and let their voices be heard – this is that time.

Then, we have Hank:
Oh me, oh my, oh my Great Galactic Squid, the EPIC LULZ are almost too much for my mortal, carbon-based brain to withstand! In a bizarre, inexplicable, baffling display of OMGWTFBBQ, these two COMPLETE CRETINS have CHOSEN to inflict upon themselves the very situation they & their bronze-age ilk wish to (and in many cases do) inflict upon gay people across the entire USA. Read the rest of Ed Brayton's short & sweet dispatch. Pretty much sums it up!

Last thought, directed directly at Bird & Codding: mentally retarded goats who eat lead paint and live under power lines on toxic waste dumps no doubt approved by your tax & destroy Republican party have more of a clue than you, you pair of barely cerebrally evolved mental sub-mammals with whom I'm ashamed to share my DNA. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! You lackwits are voluntarily cutting yourself off from vital legal rights - rights that you were born with and never even had to break a sweat to earn - just to spite gay people who've been struggling for those very same same rights for decades. I'd admire the strength of your convictions if they weren't so completely misguided and arse-backwards and, ultimately, futile with any luck. Instead, I join the world in heaping epic lulz upon you!!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Contraception debate settled!

As promised, here is the sequel to the fictionally successful Part 1 of the RH trilogy.

What are the arguments against contraception? I googled those last three words. Unfortunately, very little other then fundies' arguments came up. One in particular was hilarious, as the fundie babbles on about how beautiful life is, and god's plan for life and contraception is evil and is anti baby. I still wonder why, if God is so pro-baby, why does he allow 25% of all pregnancies to end in a miscarriage (and that's an extremely conservative estimate; the actual figure is most likely higher)?

In fact, I really can't find any non "JEEEEEEEBUUUUUUUUSSSSSS" arguments against contraception*. Which is problematic because I was hoping to find some secular arguments to counter. I tried searching AWH and various ultraconservative blogs for some arguments, but to no avail (although that may have been because I glanced at a few posts before leaving. Trawling around in an ideological sewer system is not my idea of fun). As an agnostic, I don't believe in an magical witch creature who could heal the blind before being killed then returning as a zombie before travelling up to his meet his dad in the sky. Thankfully, I've found a couple of arguments that are reasonably secular (even if they are use by fundies).

Argument 1: That contraception is disrespectful to women
The argument is that birth-control demeans women as it helps turn into, as this poster puts so eloquantly, a 'cum dumpster.' Because women are able to have sex more often without consequences (including no threat of STDs if a condom is used), they will have sex more often. As a result, men will lose respect for women, seeing them as sex objects.
As in the Washington Post:
"A Woman's Concern is persuaded that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness," the group's Web site says.
This argument, however, is seriously flawed.
- Why are feminist groups so supportive of contraception?
- How does fulfilling your sexuality degrade it?
- How does preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs whilst still having sex inhibit "health and happiness"?
These folk have a lot to answer for. As James Joyner writes:

The ability to enjoy a healthy sex life while minimizing the risk of an unwanted pregnancy is anything but “adverse to human health and happiness;” indeed, it contributes tremendously to both. If you want to see a society that’s degrading and disrespectful to women, randomly pick one that bans or ostracizes the use of contraceptives. Women there are usually, quite literally, barefoot and pregnant, from roughly the onset of puberty until menopause. They are also virtually without power economically, legally, or politically.

The taboo against contraception remains from an culture wherein girls were married off at age 12 or 13 and had their first of a dozen or so babies (presuming they survived childbirth) a year or so later. These days, advances in health care and nutrition have sped up the onset of puberty while the move away from an agrarian economy has postponed marriage and child rearing ten, fifteen, or twenty years. In this context, the idea that people should wait until they’re married to have sex–and then only if they are trying to get pregnant–is indeed crazy.

Argument 2: It's 'anti-child.'**
In a way, this one is a bit more difficult to counter, because it's so ludicrous. How does preventing a child from being born into a family that isn't financially or emotionally capable of supporting the child being 'anti-child'? If anything, it's being 'pro-child'. These couples are only planning on raising children when they know they are capable of doing so. If they already have kids, the parents are able to place more focus on the already existing children and give them a healthy upbringing. If the parents want more children, then they know what to expect in terms of responsibilities.

Sadly, these have been more moderate arguments I've been able to find. Updates will come if I find anything new.

*If any conservatives wish to give me some secular arguments (I'm looking at you, Iain), feel free to do so.

**I'll try to find a link to this argument.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The day John cast morality out the door.

Recently, Lieutenant C. Jester pointed out that choosing Palin as VP nominee negated many attacks on Obama. To which I responded:
Dude. Never, ever, EVER underestimate how low the GOP is willing, ready and able to descend to when it comes to shameless gutter smears. F*ck blatant hypocrisy-if they can hit the dems with the "Obama's an unpatriotic pot-smoking economy-destroying muzzie!!1!" then they will.
OK. It's not exactly the Muslim/unpatriotic smear, but McCain's latest attack still sinks to that gutter-low.

...Obama supported "age appropriate" sex-education for children as a means of teaching them what was proper or inproper touching, as well as to protect them against pedophiles, his campaign has said. Used in the context of the McCain campaign ad, however, Obama's stance becomes another one of those cultural issues that seems designed to alienate the Illinois Democrat from more socially moderate voters.

In essence, the ad states that Obama supported teaching comprehensive sex ed to kindergartners. What a low, despicable smear. Kinda reminds me of another one...

Crossposted here and here, and extensively here and here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sex education debate settled!

Here is the first post of 3 that, logically, would settle the RH debates of sex ed, contraception and abortion for all eternity. Of course, ultraconservatives have never been known for their rationality, so I think I'll spell it out to them. The series will work in the order of preventing unwanted pregnancies: first sex ed, then contraception, and finally a part me, part guest post from Bay of Fundie on abortion.

First-the debate. In in the Right* corner, there is the conservative, abstinence-only ed, which is the idea that people should remain virgins until they're married, and only then should they have sex. In the Left corner, there is comprehensive sex ed, which is just that-comprehensive. It features the ins and outs of sex, (lame pun intended) the biology, STDs, and various ways of 'safe sex' to prevent pregnancies.

Now: what are the arguments against comprehensive sex education (CSE)?

1. It will cause more young teens to experiment sexually.
- The premise for this is simple: if we teach kids (ie young teens, say early secondary school) about sex-especially if we tell them that, under the right circumstances, it's perfectly alright-then logically these kids will want to have sex. Therefore, we have more kids having sex, which will increasing STDs, increase unwanted pregnancies, etc etc.

However, this argument suffers from the fact that it is scientifically wrong. On page 8, Collins, Alagiri anf Summers write
The weight of the evidence from peer-reviewed scientific journals clearly shows that some comprehensive sex education programs can reduce behavior that puts young people at risk of HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancy, and that these programs do not promote earlier onset of sexual activity or an increased number of sexual partners among adolescents. By contrast, little if any credible research exists to substantiate the claims that abstinence-only programming leads to positive behavior change among youth.
Abstinence-only programming runs the serious risk of leaving young people, especially those at elevated risk, uninformed and alienated.
Wikipedia also has information. But there you have it: CSE is more effective then then AOE at preventing pregnancies. So round 1 to the the Left.

3. It's morally degrading.
- I first saw this on Fundie Watch, where Rebecca, a spokewoman for the CWN, writes that teaching sex ed is the equivalent of saying to young people (who, more often then not ar experiencing a drop in self-esteem) “You have no self-control, and we don’t expect you to. We know you’re going to ‘do it,’ so just make sure you’re ‘safe’ when you do.”
Naturally, saying just that would probably be demoralising. Ironically, however, that's that the Right is saying: that teens have no self-control. Think about it: the whole point of abstinance education is that if you touch a guy/girl between the legs, you'll become a raging sex addict doing the nasty 20 times a day.
CSE is the opposite; it recognises that, teens, with the right knowledge, teenagers can be emotionally mature about sex and do it knowing what will happen. Besides, I still can't figure out what's so 'moral' about chasity in the first place (aside from successfully suppressing a 500 million year old instinct, which would be great if hard-Righties could also suppress that more recent instinct of hating minority groups).

So far, that's all the arguments against CSE. Certainly, there are those "IT'SAGAINSTHEBIBLE!!1!" arguments, they're so ludicrously full of sh*t and easy to counter** I don't consider them proper arguments, at least not when compared to the above ones.

Next up: the contraception debate settled!

*Yes it is inaccurate to refer to opinions on social issues as Left vs. Right when Left vs. Right is in fact about economic issues. However, most Righties and Lefties are conservatives and progressives, and Right corner and Left corner has a better ring to it.

**EG: Australia isn't a theocracy. Laws aren't made based on a book written by people who thought the

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's official: Andrew Bolt has gone off the deep end.

Andrew Bolt has officially crossed that thin line that divides the controversial and the batsh*t insane:
Catholics believe in Armageddon and the fires of hell. So do global warming believers. Just-gah, this statement is so full of wingnuttery, no wonder Bolta refused to give any links to his strawman environazis-they don't exist.
Catholics believe we must repent our sins to be saved. So do global warming believers.
No, you troll. Environmentalists think that we need to drastically cut our emissions on a global level to avert the worst of climate change. That has sweet f*ck all to do with 'sinning', which is a religious concept of personal immorality.
Catholics believe love of money is the root of evil. So do global warming believers, only they called money “industrialisation”.
This is so ridiculous it's almost self-parodying: Bolt has painted conservationists with a brush almost the size of Brendoc's forehead. I'm a "global warming believer" and I see bigotry and greed as the roots of evil-not industrialisation. Perhaps you'd like to explain why, if greenies are so anti-technology, the Greens are so supportive of more advanced renewable technology? I won't hold my breath.


Apologies to the readers below who are offended by the comparison. You are right: Catholicism is indeed more rational and benign than the green faith, and doesn’t demand forcible conversion.

OK, that is self-parodying. Why don't you name 10 people who have been "forcibly converted" to environmentalism? And benign? Like opposing both abortion and contraception despite that policy committing genocide against African women? Compared to campaigning for increasing international to developing nations (CLEARLY SUPPORTING INDUSTRIALISATION)?

F*ck off Andrew. Your pathetic attempts at smearing environmentalists are becoming more ludicrous everyday. BTW, the CEC called; your member's registration needs renewal.

UPDATE: W.O. Michelle B. Button cross-posts this, and raises some excellent points:
  • Catholicism demands conversion unless you want to be judged for all eternity in Hell.
  • Tell the kids who have been molested by priests that Catholicism is benign. Tell the people who have been killed in the name of the religion.
  • Catholicism is based on a book which, if it weren't for the mass support in it's Truth, would be found squarely in the Fantasy section of the bookstore.
  • There is no scientific basis for Catholicism
  • Catholicism wants you to believe that there is a guy in the sky who created it all and controls many aspects of the lives of people on earth.

Yep, Catholicism is totally rational.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

That was brutal

No, I wasn't killed in a weeks-long spat across no-man's land*. But I can imagine it seemed like that, given the week or so of lack of posts. Thankfully, I've had a few cunning plans for some posts. But first...a label clean-up. most of those labels are covering 1 post, which looks crap.

*Not in any way a shocker of a metaphor for doing a 2000 word assignment.

Christianity to public: we don't need ya 'rules'!

It's official: a private company run by a religious organisation can legally discriminate against anyone, no matter who, thanks to their invisible friend in the sky.

A GAY youth support group trying to meet to talk about homophobia has had its booking at a Phillip Island camp ground blocked because the resort owners, the Christian Brethren church, deplore their lifestyle.


But the law is stacked against the young people: religious groups in Victoria are allowed to discriminate against anyone as long as it is done due to "genuine religious beliefs or principles".

I'll bet the KKK and the Aryan Nations will be queing up to head Down Under. And that's no joke: what if the psych-Christian Brethren decided that miscegenation was against their Biblical principles, and so refused to admit interracial couples? Heck, what if the Brethren decided that feminism was anti-Christian, and so forbid any pro-choice or feminist organisations to use their resort? After all, it fits under their "genuine religious beliefs or principles".

Personally, I don't think discrimination should occur under any circumstances. A person's right to religious freedom does not succeed a person's right not to be discriminated against. You want to hate and loathe a particular group of people? Fine; I'm not going to try and change your opinion. But don't think for a second that you should have a legal right to parade your hatred as 'freedom'.
For f*ck's sake, haven't you heard of the golden rule? It's the idea of treating others as you would like to be treated. Y'know, something that Jesus spoke a lot of:

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."


"Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them."

AND Jesus said bugger-all on gays. IT WASN'T A F*CKING PRIORITY FOR HIM. Bloody hell, you'd think that a religion founded on the rules of loving your neighbour, treating others the way you would want to be treated and giving everything to the poor would be a little more focused on loving your neighbour, treating others the way you would want to be treated and giving everything to the poor instead of banning abortion and contraception, hating gays and getting rich.

Either the Brethren have a very selective interpretation of the Bible, or they are following the Golden Rule and don't mind being discriminated against.