Texas is reviewing its science standards, specifically with the desire to remove them altogether. Skepchick has a great discussion of exactly what this means, but here’s the short version:
Now: what you can do:
Just to drive home the point that we need to actually educate our children, not just indoctrinate them, here is a recent BBC documentary (in 6 10-minute segments) about a 13-year old girl, Deborah, who lives on her parents’ farm with some of her 10 brothers and sisters (the ones who haven’t yet left home to spread the Good News.
Deborah and her siblings have been home schooled and rarely leave the compound. When she does, it’s to give tracts out to her peers while they’re waiting for the bus. Her oldest brother has moved out and is working toward a chef’s degree. Deborah leaves home to go visit him in the fourth segment.
The whole thing is worth a watch, even though it’s long. My favorite part (besides the general creepiness and the “omg, it’s my sisters!”-ness of it) is that her brother is specifically turned off by flirting women. I can’t wait for the follow up documentary after that one hits.
I’ve been listening to this recently and it’s kept me going as law school ties me up in its basement, feeding me only bread and water, and negotiating a ransom exchange with my
family husband. I keep getting the feeling that the majority of my family would like me to settle down and start having children, rather than dicking around with this law school rigamarole. My parents seem entirely nonplussed by it and most of my sisters are just baffled by the fact that I might want it. So I feel like it’s an uphill battle, not just in the classroom, but on the couches of my family and in conversations with them.
Enter this song. I remember hearing this as a kid and identifying with the need to “get out” of something, of being trapped in an insular community (in this case, not a “town” but a religion, a family, and a path of life that included marriage and children and nothing else).
To spend my life here
Is more than I can do
I know somewhere down the road
My dreams will come true
And so they are.
If I stay here forever,
What will I have to show?
But if I make it over?
Well, then everyone will know!
It’s Blog for Choice Day and I encourage everyone to visit the blogroll of bloggers taking part and to visit their blogs, if only for this one post. Also, feel free to revisit my posts from ’07 and ’08. This year’s topic is “What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress.”
I always find these kinds of things difficult. I don’t have a favorite band/book/movie, but I could give you a top five. So I think I’ll take that approach. These aren’t in any order except the order they come in, but they’re all up there.
1. Repeal of the Bush doctrine of the “conscience clause”. This is near the top of my brain right now because I recently read (and was subsequently incensed by) this, the story of a woman whose IUD was removed by a religious nurse, who then proceeded to lecture her about why she was morally opposed to it and then refused to put it back in. The nurse stated, “Everyone in the office always laughs and tells me I pull these out on purpose because I am against them, but it’s not true, they accidentally come out when I tug,” which suggests to me that she’s a serial assaulter.
The medical profession is different from most professions (it’s usually lumped in with the legal profession) in the sense that certain things are required of medical professionals that are not required of anyone else. I’ve likened conscience clauses before to a vegetarian working at Subway and refusing to serve meat. That was probably a wee bit flippant, but I do believe that, since the medical profession is so specialized, when one goes to an doctor, one is entitled to the best medical care that doctor can provide. Having an surgeon refuse to provide a patient with an appendectomy because the surgeon is a Christian Scientist should be illegal. Sure, where it is possible, allow the surgeon to find another surgeon who can provide this (often emergency) procedure. Where none can be found, the trained surgeon employed in the capacity of a surgeon at the hospital the patient has been admitted to may be expected to provide that surgery, regardless of the surgeon’s religious beliefs. The fact that it’s even being considered is repulsive and baffling to me. We require attorneys to provide legal service to criminals, regardless of the attorney’s belief of guilt or innocence. Where attorneys don’t want to face that kind of situation, these attorneys choose a different area of practice.
Replace “appendectomy” with “abortion” and my views do not change.
2. Codification in some way of the right to reproductive health services nationwide. This probably involves both the Congress and the President, since we all know Bush would have vetoed anything that allowed women to have a shot at doing anything for themselves. Roe v. Wade objectors are working their way up the courts inch by inch in an effort to get it repealed. Many states have laws-in-waiting that will go into effect as soon as it is repealed. With a Supreme Court stacked against reproductive rights and a rabid base who routinely files cases intended to make it to that Court regardless of the success of the last case, having a statutory law, rather than a common law, is a necessity.
The oft-quoted fact that Viagra is covered by many insurance companies that do not cover birth control pills is proof positive that there is a problem in this country with treating women as full humans when it comes to health care. Codification of this right would solve the insurance issue as well as the access issue. It may even solve the education issue, since more and more medical schools are removing certain reproductive health care procedures from their required curriculum making them instead optional.
3. Age-appropriate sex-ed classes that have a medical, rather than a religious, basis. How are we even having this conversation?! If I want to learn about god, original sin, or hell, I will go to a religious teacher. If I want to learn about oil, the periodic table, or sulfuric acid, I will go to a chemistry teacher. This is not rocket science, folks: if we want our children to learn about penises, ovaries, and menstruation, what is required is a biology course. Perhaps a sociology course to cover things like “no means no” and the etiquette of being sexually active in a world of STDs. And yes, abstinence should be included in a sex-ed course; but not exclusively. Options and consequences should be truthfully (I know that’s hard for religionists…and some parents) and openly discussed, explored, even debated. Each person will then be able to decide for him or herself what choices will be made. But choices cannot be made if options are not given.
And yes, as indicated above, I think that a rudimentary course in how men and women should act toward one another in a sexual context (“no means no” and epithets like “slut”) should be included.
4. Support for parents in the workplace. Note the plural. Women may well need some physical time to recover following childbirth, but the child itself requires more attention when it is first born than later in life. Whether the parents are two gay men adopting, a het couple having a natural child, or a lesbian couple with a sperm donor (or any of the myriad other options and combinations), both parents should be assured of paid leave to care for the new addition to their family. And, upon returning to the workplace, they should be assured that they have a job.
I’d like to work into this some sort of acknowledgement that often, one parent quits their job and returns to the workplace some years later (above I was thinking more in terms of months), to find that her (it is most often a woman) marketability as a worker has vastly decreased, but I can’t figure out how to work this into legislation.
5. Repeal of the Global Gag Rule. I would hope that, if the above hopes come to pass, this would be an obvious inclusion. If we secure reproductive rights internally, we have no call to presume to infringe upon them externally. But it may slip through the cracks. Not only does the Gag Rule reek of imperialism and I-know-better-than-youism, it is inherently dangerous to men and women alike, especially in regions beset by an AIDS epidemic. People in need of medical care are entitled to the best medical care that society and current medical knowledge can give them—not the best care that the United State wants them to have (how is it that these are two separate things?!). Not only has the US no right to impose religiously-based medical care upon its own citizens, it has no right to do so for citizens of other countries.
Finally, as an aside that I don’t think either the President or Congress has much, if any control over, I think that (daily) birth control pills should be over-the-counter, since there’s no LD50 for them. For morning after pills, an argument may be made for keeping them behind the counter in the same way that cigarettes are.
Jane Doe is standing up to the social stigma attached to having been raped and the attendant indignities she discovered were involved in attempting to report it. In Japan. Although it is both a different culture and legal system, I don’t think there’s any culture that deals with rape without social stigma or the indignities involved in reporting it. Her refusal to be silent and her desire to bring national and international attention to the situation in Japan may help us all look with criticism at our own cultures.
On being a quiet feminist. (Something I’ve never understood, but I have heard the arguments that Kevin espouses and been incensed by them myself.)
Bad advertising. Or, sex sells.
I had to log into WordPress a few days ago so I could comment. This impresses upon me exactly how long I’ve been radio-silent. A week before finals, we had a Let Us Tell You How Unprepared You Are for Finals Assembly in which we were told to apologize now to our friends and family since we wouldn’t see them for a month. Pshaw!, I thought, I’ve had big-ass tests before! But never quite this big nor quite this ass, I eventually learned. I haven’t done dishes in three weeks; I purposely took showers the evening before each test (since I had no time the morning of); I have run out of teacups (quite a feat, let me assure you). I had two major break downs: one before the first (and easiest) final and one before the last (and hardest) final. I feel good enough about how they went to mention that I’m in law school on our xmas cards, although I did go through a stage where I was so sure I would fail that I didn’t want to even tell anyone, lest I have to explain the following year what happened. What I feel best about, however, is that they’re over.
I have my life back and everything is beautiful. I went to brunch with my best friend, who remarked that we’d not seen each other since Hallowe’en; and the only time we talked was when she called because she had a cold and wanted my chicken soup recipe. While driving to what was essentially my first xmas shopping of the season a few days ago, I looked up at the hideous hills that surround my
fair city and thought how beautiful they looked! Truly, everything is better, now.
I’m sorry that I’ve been gone for so long, especially because it was apparently predictable by everyone but me. I’d feel marginally guilty about missing Music Monday (usually on Tuesday) or Fucking Friday (usually on Monday), and was only able to check in about once a week.
In an effort to be back in my (online) life, I’m trying to catch up on challenges past (they haunt me) at A Certain Slant of Light. I quit doing challenges long before I had the excuse of finals because I just didn’t feel that creative. But I do love photography (it’s in my blood and I cannot deny that) and I’m feeling the need for a creative outlet after three weeks of indulging my acreative side.
I also now have the time to muse on John’s desires for the direction of this blog. As much has he assures me that this is as much my blog as his, I still think of it as his space (one which I happily share). I know I’m in a better place, religiously, than I was when I first discovered MoF, but I don’t think I’m quite where he is yet. That said, this has been a place of profound healing for me; an amazing place where I’m accepted regardless of (rather than because of or in spite of) my religious proclivities, and that’s something I’m unaccustomed to.
Law school is not Apple. Apple was fun, filled with interesting people, and nearly completely devoid of intellectual exercise. Law school has its occasional spark of an interesting person and is fun for the intellectual effort that is necessary. I blogged a lot about Apple because I felt that the stories I had were worth sharing. I don’t feel that way about law school—which may be an indication that it’s not for me. At Apple, the word “blog” was said daily and I shared mine with a few coworkers (who I hope still lurk). I cannot count the number of times I’ve had to explain Twitter to professors and students alike and while most people know what a blog is, very few have one. Since law school doesn’t give me time to do a whole lot other than study, I don’t feel that I have as much fodder for blogging as usual. But I look forward to the outlet that it gives me—to the ability to put my thoughts in a (mildly) coherent order and get insight on them from close friends.
Thank you all for welcoming me here and for giving your insight.
Obama’s first YouTube-Side Chat. I’d love to get the audio in podcast, since I have more time to listen than to watch. I’m so glad that he’s doing this (I’ve been saying for some time that the Fireside Chats need to be brought back, to increase trust and transparency; in this case, also to increase hope). I don’t think that this first one was very substantive (certainly he can’t really have done anything yet), but I do think it’s important as a gesture. via.
Education and Religion.
Two stories of interest, each proving the importance of the other.
In the first, an English Catholic bishop blames educated members of the Church for sowing dissent among the rest. He clearly has a low opinion of his own faith, that it is so easily thwarted; or a low opinion of his faithful, that the best of them are uneducated boobs.
[Third story, more of an aside: Letter to the Red States outlining the differences in the voting public for Obama and for McCain (as well as some others. Not sure where this started, I got it in an email. If someone would like to track down the true author, I'll link to that instead).]
The second, a horrifying story in which the Taliban agrees with the Catholic bishop above: education is a threat. Education of women an even greater threat, one that they are actively discouraging by acts of violence and terrorism against the women who teach, the girls who wish to be taught, and the parents and family members of both.
Education is a threat to faith. One Catholic bishop and a bunch of terrified Afghan men agree: only unthinking members of society will stay in their place and allow the power to maintain their stranglehold upon truth and freedom.
On a lighter note, a quick reference guide for religions, the Big Religion Chart. From Aladura to Zoroastrianism, it breaks down religions by name, origins & history, number of adherents, god(s) and view of the universe, human situation & life’s purpose, the afterlife, practices, and texts. It also provides helpful links to learn more. Christianity gets one entry, a fact which should sober all those people lobbying to enforce their world view upon the rest of the country (although outliers like Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons, and Unitarians, who are only arguably Christian do get their own entries). I know I’ve got some additional research to do (after finals!, I have to remind myself) to learn more about religions I’ve never heard of as well as to see where I fit.
Final quick hit: Another (do we need another?) Argument for the ERA.
I just had tea with the female faculty at my law school. It was fascinating to discuss their experiences of sexism and inequality in the workplace. It was also heartening to see that two men showed up as paying members of the Women’s Legal Association (apparently there’s a third who simply couldn’t make it for tea). The faculty advisor for the WLA is a woman of color, and her experiences were even more interesting (she apparently wrote down each sexist and racist remark and posted it on her wall—when the wall was full, she quit. That is a disheartening, painful story. I wish it wasn’t so easy to believe). One of the professors said, “My hope for you [young women] is that it’s easier than it was for us.” She went on to explain that sexism still exists, we will still experience and have to deal with it, but she hopes that their paving of our way made it slightly easier.
First of all, I would like to thank all the feminists (including the women-who-don’t-consider-themselves-feminists-but-still-are) who went before me, from the bottom of my heart, for myself and for my sisters (literal and figurative) and daughters.
Over at Feministing, the subject of “first wave”, “second wave”, “third wave”, and “post feminism” comes up often. There is a difference. My experience of sexism will not be (has not been) anything like the experiences of these amazing women. And sometimes I wonder if those differences keep us from being able to discuss our experiences (it certainly did not at the tea, I mean generally speaking).
Feministing highlights an interesting discussion of this as it pertains to Hillary and Palin. One that is worth a read and a brief mulling over.
I just started Law School (yesterday!) and one of the major focuses of the first classes in each course was this question. We were asked to define the law in our own words. What is the purpose of law? This question received answers like “civilizing of society”, “justice” (which was further defined as incorporating concepts like mercy, order, peace, punishment, equality, and truth), and “serving the public”. I found that I was always answering “protection of the weak.”
When I read the link I gave you in today’s Spark, I wept. Not just for the position this woman was in, and not just for the position so many of my fellow Americans, fellow humans, are in, but for her loss of faith in “the process”. Read more >>
Yesterday was my first day in the midst of the koolaid-drinking Pepperdinians. (Aside: I told my Apple-coworkers that I felt that the Pepperdinians were a little koolaid for me and one responded, “Didn’t you find that when you came here…?” I hadn’t, but I’ve been drinking the Apple koolaid for a while, so hadn’t noticed.) And I have to say, I was quite impressed. These are Christians that I can hang out with. They are dedicated to what I feel are liberal causes: environmental stewardship, social justice, and loving thy neighbor. There was more Bible study than I felt was necessary for a law school orientation, and the library doesn’t open until noon on Sunday because they hope we will be going to church (they actually said that…), but the people actually seem to take the teachings of Jesus to heart.
On the way home, I listened to the a Christian and an Atheist podcast (which is not worth it, since they have horrendous distortion on their mikes), in which they argued about how, if God exists, then Christians should be noticeably or substantially different than non-Christians. However, if you take a group of people, even a group of Christians, you will find some people who are nice and some people who are not. The atheist’s argument was that, if God exists, there should be a greater number of nice people in the Christian group (or a smaller number of un-nice). The Christian’s rebuttal was essentially that people who self-identify as Christian could be anywhere from “not Muslim” to “made a commitment to Jesus that is still important to them today”.
I do not know the religions of many of the people I met yesterday (although two were Jewish, one who hasn’t been to Temple in years and one who goes every Roshashana; and one Catholic), but I can say that there is a higher proportion of nice people at Pepperdine than I usually encounter. Since I’m a cynic, I’m not sure if this is the right place for me, but the optimist in me says that it is.
Aristotle says that we should surround ourselves with the kinds of people we want to become. This will be a good place to learn.
As a voting member of a “third” party, I am often annoyed by the assumptions of non-third party voters. First, I’d like to take issue with “third”. In general, yes, this is a two-party system. But “Green” is not synonymous with “Third”. Especially since there are some really whacked-out “thirds” that deserve to be called “third” as tho they’re not really a real political party.
That said, I still have faith in this system of ours. I believe that I, and everyone else, should vote for the candidate that they want to see win; that every vote counts; and that every vote is a positive one (I’ll get to that in a moment). So it really grinds my gears when I hear people say ignorant things like this:
I’ve seen quite a bit of email traffic where some are, you know, encouraging us to look at other candidates, third party candidates, or what have you, independent candidates. My concern with the third party issue is simply this: that if you do not vote for McCain, it would appear as though you’re casting a vote for Obama. And if you don’t support Obama’s policies, then it seems like you’re handing the campaign to him, or the election to him.
And I’m sorry, but I have to call “bullshit”. (That was the motto of the day at work today, by the way: “Down with the bullshit!” I love my job.)
A vote for a candidate is simply that: a vote for a candidate. It is a positive vote in that it is not a vote against another candidate. If you want Candidate A to win, you vote for Candidate A! If you want Candidate B to lose, then you’re not looking at the right factors: you need to vote for the candidate that you want to win, even if it’s Candidate T.
The Simpsons has an episode where Kodos and Kang take over the bodies of Bob Dole and Bill Clinton, guaranteeing that they will rule the world regardless of who wins. When Homer exposes them, they cry, “It’s a two party system, you have to vote for one of us!!” Which to a large extent is true. No matter how hideous and alien I may find one of the two major-party candidates, I would probably give each candidate 50/50 odds of winning. But I still believe that my vote (for a different candidate) means something. If nothing else, it’s a warning to each party that they’re losing members on the fringes. I know very few major-party members anymore. Many are in what I consider the “third”, the Libertarian Party; some are Greens like me; others are Peace and Freedom, which as I understand it is for conservatives who think that Republicans are too liberal; still others are American Independent, whose platform I’ve never quite discovered. Votes for these minor parties are warning shots across the bow of the USS Two Party; a warning that they can’t just parrot at each other forever; a warning that we’re watching them; a warning that we’re voting.
So I encourage you all, now and forever, to vote your conscience. Vote for the candidate you want to see win. Don’t vote against the ones you want to lose. If you don’t know enough about the candidates (or issues), educate yourself! There are plenty of websites dying to tell you just what to think about each issue or candidate. And if you find that your views are not exactly in line with the candidate or party you thought they were, consider the fact that there are many political parties, even in this country. You’re bound to find one you like. And if you don’t? Start your own! Run for political office, even if it’s just in your township. Who knows where it might lead!
But don’t tell me that a vote for any candidate is a vote against another. Don’t tell me that anyone who votes has “thrown their vote away”. Don’t tell me that third party voters are simply “spoilers”, as though they spitefully grant their votes to the flavor of the third-party month. This is the land of the free: the land where your vote counts. I believe that.
I’ve been collecting emails since the success of the last Fun Quotes post. Without further ado:
A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.
-James Kern Feibleman, philosopher and psychiatrist (1904-1987)
This is definitely something I’ve believed in for awhile. It’s just nice to hear someone with authority say it (in this case, the authority of having been learned and being dead).
When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.
-Thomas Carlyle, historian and essayist (1795-1881)
I know that I can feel acorn-like about my affect on the world. Me driving or biking to work: does it really make a difference? I suppose I just have to have better faith that I am one of a thousand acorns.
When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.
-Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the U.S. (1809-1865)
Now there’s something to shut up the “Founding Fathers wanted it to be a Christian Nation” people…even if Lincoln isn’t a founding father per se, he is still on our money.
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
-Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)
Nothing is more humbling than to look with a strong magnifying glass at an insect so tiny that the naked eye sees only the barest speck and to discover that nevertheless it is sculpted and articulated and striped with the same care and imagination as a zebra. Apparently it does not occur to nature whether or not a creature is within our range of vision, and the suspicion arises that even the zebra was not designed for our benefit.
-Rudolf Arnheim, psychologist and author (1904-2007)
And finally, a note to creationists. Have you all any quotes to share?
Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Griswald v. Connecticut, which ruled that Americans have a right to privacy under the Constitution (based upon the fact that things like “unlawful search & seizure” violate your privacy). Specifically, that married couples could practice contraception in the privacy of their homes and the State (of Connecticut) has no right to impede that practice. This is generally sited as one of the first legal rulings supporting contraception in the United States.
Tired of the same-old lame protests outside of abortion clinics? Looking to impose your religious beliefs in other people’s lives in a new and exciting way? The pro-life movement would like to expand your horizons. [...]
The national day against contraception, Protest the Pill Day ’08: The Pill Kills Babies, was started to convince the American people of a simple and imaginative idea: attempting to prevent abortion is abortion too. These arguments have been confounded by diabolical scientists and experts who insistently point out there’s no evidence to support that the birth control pill works the way these groups claim. As we all know, however, if ideology waited for science to prove scientific points, our ancestors would have never have spent all those years wandering the then-flat earth.
What honestly confuses me about “pro-life” organizations is that, although they loudly claim that they’re “pro-woman”, there is no form of contraception that is acceptable to them (oh, except abstinence, and we know how well that works): not pills, not condoms, not diaphragms, well maybe anal sex… So while their stated goal is “saving pre-born babies”, their actual goal seems closer to “barefoot & pregnant in the kitchen”.
So I would like us all to celebrate Stupidity Kills, Too Day and remember that abstinenceonly education causes more harm than good and that the majority of the information provided by these kinds of groups is medically inaccurate.