Via reader Jeffrey P, seems the Government of Canada has provided over five hundred thousand dollars to a rabidly anti-gay religious group, Crossroads Christian Communications, to “help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014.” Given John Baird’s spoken out against the plans for a death penalty for homosexuality in that country, this seems like a rather underhanded way to promote that same agenda without taking flak for it.
Until Tuesday, the organization’s website carried a list of “sexual sins” deemed to be “perversion”: “Turning from the true and/or proper purpose of sexual intercourse; misusing or abusing it, such as in pedophilia, homosexuality and lesbianism, sadism, masochism, transvestism, and bestiality.”
Lower down the page, the group asks sinners to “repent.”
“God cares too much for you (and all of His children) to leave such tampering and spiritual abuse unpunished,” according to the group’s website.
Just hours after The Canadian Press contacted the group to ask a spokesperson about the site, the page in question disappeared from public view.
Sorry I’ve been mostly absent from the blogohedron these past few days. I’m actually hard at work on a WordPress plugin to allow for ad-free subscriptions, and over the past several days, I’ve been pouring my (sadly, waning) blogosphere time into that plugin instead of blogging. (Why my blogosphere time is waning, however, is a different story — one I may even get to tell you about shortly. For right now, suffice it to say I’m doing my damnedest to keep a bunch of plates spinning, and some things need more attention right now.)
In lieu of my writing anything of my own, I will gladly link to people who’ve written things I wholeheartedly agree with. Over at Love Joy Feminism, FtB Expat Libby-Anne has written a bang-up post on the difference between “equity feminism” and “gender feminism”, and she hit on a meme I can honestly say I actively desire to have propagated — equity feminism could be better described as “libertarian feminism.”
I’ve noticed something as I’ve watched the conflict over feminism play out in the atheist blogosphere. Rather than “equity feminism” I would call it “difference feminism” or maybe “libertarian feminism.” I don’t really have a good label for exactly what’s going on, but vjack is right that there are some people in the skeptic community who reject the feminist focus on questioning and challenging gender roles. Here is an example from prominent skeptic Harriet Hall:
I think it is unreasonable to expect that equal numbers of men and women will be attracted to every sphere of human endeavor. Science has shown that real differences exist. We should level the playing field and ensure there are no preventable obstacles, then let the chips fall where they may.
Kuhle made this same argument in his article when he argued that there are natural differences between men and women and derided the idea that gender roles are socially constructed. Kuhle’s line of reasoning is why some people argue that it’s only natural that the vast majority of engineers are men and that the the fast majority of stay at home parents are women. Men are just better at spacial reasoning, after all, and women are perfectly evolved to care for children! Based on this same sort of argument, Michael Shermer responded to a question last summer about why speakers at atheist conferences generally tilt male by saying that
it’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it, you know, it’s more of a guy thing.
It’s hard to tell when going of fairly short statements made in blog posts or comments, but the idea seems to be that if you ensure that there is equality before the law, it shouldn’t matter that men dominate in STEM fields and in leadership positions, or that that women find themselves doing the majority of the childcare. We shouldn’t bat an eye or ask why – instead, we should just accept this situation as natural and inevitable because men and women are different.
It really is something like watching a circle jerk, honestly. I feel dirty and unsatisfied and like I was denied what I actually paid the price of admission for, in having watched these two construct then tear apart a systematic listing of every trope on the Straw Feminism tvtropes page. I feel ashamed that these people think they’re intellectually curious, and even worse, that people actually consider these arguments persuasive.
Your challenge… find something in here that remotely approximates reality, and not something like “they’re using real English words”. I listened to it twice, and I’ve got nothing. Jodi threw her hands up in frustration and walked away at about the third sentence.
This is so so so wrong and so many people are sighing and crying about it.
Here’s the text:
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say,’Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse with hunk of car tire, who can make a harness out hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, put in another 72 hours.” So God made the farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to yean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the leg of a meadowlark.” So God made a farmer.
It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and brake, and disk, and plow, and plant, and tie the fleece and strain the milk, . Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what Dad does. “So God made a farmer.”
Anita Sarkeesian, the controversial feminist critic whose plans to produce a crowdfunded video series about female tropes in video games led to someone creating a video game all about punching her in the face, is almost ready to show her work.
I was hoping for more of an origin story of the alien starfish we met in this movie’s sequel, Attack from Space. Sadly, what we got instead was a handwaved-away “aliens are in orbit around our planet keeping an eye on our blundering ways and infiltrating us from time to time to destroy the technological MacGuffin that’ll be the only way to save the planet in Reel Three … keep us from destroying ourselves by inventing bigger and stronger atom bombs” backstory. It was at least in part intended as a propaganda piece at showing how quickly the Japanese economy bounced back after being all but leveled by nukes in WW2, and in part a power fantasy where Japan gets the next big weapon after the A-bomb. All this, and starfish people. Starfish people who can transform into pop idol girls, but have trouble blending in, what with the ability to do math.
CA7746 provides subtitle files for this, and continues working his way through our archives with Attack from Space, and Frankenstein (2004). Grab the files below, rename them to the same as your copy of the movie with extension .srt, and VLC will probably load them up automatically. Probably. Let me know if you have trouble with it.
There has been a stirring as of late in the blogosphere. Lee Moore, the host of a podcast co-hosted by Reap Paden, has taken it upon himself to attempt to broker a peace treaty, a ceasefire, a breaking of bread and a healing of the divide between the two sides of the Great Rift — between the feminists on the one side, and the antifeminists (and those claiming the name “feminist” for their libertarian laissez-faire cargo cult “equity feminism”) on the other. A sort of Khitomer Accord, if you will indulge the Star Trek reference. Of course, this would depend on either “side” being a cohesive unit, with leaders or any ability to encourage conformity among its self-identified members. In a leaderless movement such as ours, a movement where leaders viewed with awe and reverence by some are equally eyed with suspicion by others, such a gambit is doomed to fail.
But what really strikes me as misguided about the whole effort is that, from the outset of this conversation, everyone is using terms differently. And not just terms of art — we’re all working with different definitions on just about everything of substance! We talk of attacks, of slurs, of in-fighting, of trolls and witch-hunts and censorship and co-opting of movements. We talk of inclusiveness and privilege and exclusiveness and tribalism. And every one of these words means something completely different to one another.