Alright, loves.  I've been trying to avoid doing this, but I think it's gotten to that point anyway.  Life has been kind of kicking my ass; depression's been a sneaky bastard who chose, this round, to just sap away my motivation and ability to do things, but without the usual accompanying mood shifts so I didn't recognize it right away.  (Well played, you destructive fucker, you.)  And though my usual impulse is to force myself to keep up "normal" output and soldier through, I'm learning that it's seriously detrimental to my *actual* recovery for me to do so. 

So for the time being, Witch.Words will be on official semi-hiatus.  I'll probably throw together a post about Dan Savage's epic bi-fail this week, and I plan on participating in the Shakesville/What Tami Said Planned Parenthood Blog Carnival, and I'm toying with the idea of setting up a reader survey to get clarity on some questions I've had about my readers and my blog's direction, but other than that, posting will be light-to-nonexistent for at least a week or two, maybe longer.  I'll post if I feel the urge, but I'm not going to be forcing myself to anything. 

It's time for me to rest and heal.  I apologize for the interruption but, honestly, it's what needs to happen for me right now.  I hope to be back to "normal" (where normal = my baseline condition, not some normative idea of mental health and productivity) in a few weeks, maybe a month at most.  If you need me before then, my email is in my bio on the sidebar.  

Love and light,

PS:  To those readers who are so inclined, healing energy/prayers/thoughts/vibes/spells/whatever you do would be most welcome.  Thank you.


Oh Look! Another Reason!

Specifically, another reason to STOP FUNDING RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS to perform government functions.  Cause they're allowed to use religious criteria in hiring despite the fact that they're paying those salaries with the dreaded taxpayer money.

This exception to federal anti-discrimination rules for government contracts was instituted under Bush (executive orders, how we love thee) but, surprise surprise, Obama has yet to take his thumbs out of his ass and do anything about it.  So a coalition of 52 "religious, civil rights, labor, health, women's, and other organizations" sent a polite letter asking him to fulfill yet another apparently-forgotten campaign promise, quoted in the letter:
Restoring Executive Order 11246 for all government contractors would be an important first step toward fulfilling the campaign promise you made on July 1, 2008, in Zanesville, Ohio. In that speech you stated that you would reform the Faith-Based Initiative so that “if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them – or against the people you hire – on the basis of their religion.”
 Hell, who knows.  It's campaign season again; maybe we'll actually see some response other than the cavernous absence of genuine progressive principles that has been the hallmark of this administration? 

I kind of doubt it though.


I'm Curious...

Presidential candidate Herman Cain (R-ampant Islamobigot) has said he will not allow any Muslims in his administration didn't say that at all would have to be extra-cautious about hiring Muslims wants Muslims to take a special loyalty test before being hired in his administration if he were to be elected President.

The No Religious Test Clause of the US Constitution (Article VI, paragraph 3) states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

So I'm curious.  If it's not specifically a religious test, but it is a special test selectively applied on the basis of religious belief...does that cross that line into unconstitutionality?

I'm neither a lawyer nor a Constitutional scholar, so I can't say with any certainty.  But I can certainly say it looks suspiciously like.

What do you think?

Suspiciously "Convenient"

You hear a lot of shit about how women who get abortions* are getting them "for convenience".  (Most recently brought to mind for me by this thread on tumblr.  Yes, tumblr rules my life now.)

I've been pretty open around here about how I am childfree by choice and have no interest in ever having children.  But here's the thing: even if I did want children someday, when I got pregnant five years ago, I would still have gotten an abortion.  Because...
  • I couldn't afford prenatal care or other health-care costs associated w/pregnancy;
  • I was on antidepressants which are not compatible with pregnancy, which were keeping me alive and which I'd have had to discontinue taking for the fetus' safety, which would have had the effect of seriously destabilizing my already fragile hold on life and sanity, and which could have ended with suicide;
  • I was in college and already struggling, and any further detriment to my school efforts could have been the final straw that got me kicked out;
  • The man who donated the other half of the genetic material (he wasn't a "father" anymore than I was a "mother" simply by virtue of accidentally getting pregnant, so I refuse to use that terminology) lived across the country; it was a long-distance relationship and we had no plans to move closer together in the near future, so either A: I'd have been on my own without a partner, or B: we'd have had to have rearranged some very large life circumstances to be close enough together (and no, adoption wouldn't have been an option because of the above items and also I can't imagine giving a child of mine away, so no).
Do any of these sound like "convenience" to you?  Because my definition of convenience includes things like the grocery store being only a few blocks away from my house, or a parking space close to the doors of the mall when I'm not feeling like walking much, or my local Starbucks having a drive-thru for when I'm in a hurry.  Note that major financial concerns, life circumstances (the long-distance relationship), goals/plans (finishing college), and medical issues (depression) do not appear on the list of "conveniences".  Wanna know why?


Prioritizing one's plans for life and one's ability to provide for one's self and possible or potential family over a biological "oops" moment is not about fucking CONVENIENCE.  Ask anyone who's had a child; having a baby, even if you don't parent, is a life-changing event.  Often also a body-changing event, in ways both permanent and impermanent.  It is a Big. Goddamn. Deal.

So if the fucknuggets who churn out anti-choice propaganda would please stop handwaving-away women's goals, dreams, plans, and life circumstances by dismissively referring to it as "convenience", I'd very much appreciate it and maybe not lose my shit so fucking often.  Kthx.

*Women are not the only people for whom abortions are sometimes needed medical care; all people with uteruses may fall into this category at some point.  However, the rhetoric of anti-choice groups centers on women, so I'm reflecting that in this response.


Let's Play Word Games

I'm having a thought sparked by this post on tumblr, which crossed my dash a week or two ago.  To quote the relevant bit for those who don't want to click through:
gaywitchpracticingabortion:  Here's a quick way to check if you have a right to stop an abortion:  Ask yourself, "Is it my body?"  If the answer was no, then surprise!  You don't have the right.
[some pro/anti-choice back-and-forth deleted for space]
iamabutchsolo:  A fetus relies on someone else’s body to survive and therefore the actual person with that body has the choice to carry the pregnancy to term or terminate it. It’s not my job or anyone else’s to say otherwise. 
just-smith:  I’m fairly sure newborns or older fetuses still rely on the mother. Simply because somebody is temporarily dependent (and I mean temporarily, it would only take a few more months for them to be potential survivors), that is no excuse to suggest their rights are null.
If you have to have a heart transplant, you’ll be dependent - initially on a machine, and then on the organ of another person. There are thousands of people who couldn’t live without help, but you don’t go questioning their right to life. You wouldn’t kill somebody on permanent life support simply for your convenience and against their will, and you certainly wouldn’t if they had a strong chance of recovering within the year. But when they are young and innocent, you have no qualms. So is it just the age that makes them different for you, or is it the convenience?
Emphasis added to draw attention to the bit I want to talk about.

There's this difference in vocabulary that's a staple of the movements: where pro-choicers refer to abortion as "ending a pregnancy" or something similar, anti-choicers refer to it as "killing a baby".  Mostly this just gets overlooked as rhetorical flourishes, either used to "dehumanize" the abortion process, or to falsely invoke infanticide-guilt, depending on which side you're asking.  But I would argue that there's something underlying this difference of terminology, a real, qualitative semantic difference, and I'd like to try to poke at it and see what's in there.

First, to clear the air so I don't get accused of the "clump of cells" argument or whatever - yes, a fetus is a unique being, with its own DNA and physical being, and it is alive, in some sense of the word anyway.  A fetus is "just a clump of cells" in the same way that we are all just very large clumps of cells*.  For purposes of this argument, I'll even grant the premise that the fetus is somehow imbued with the nebulous quality we call "personhood", both legal and moral.

So.  Given these premises, the logical conclusion is that abortion is killing (or murder, depending on if we're using legal terminology or emotional terminology), yes?

Well, yes and no.  When pro-choicers talk about abortion as "terminating a pregnancy", we choose those words very deliberately, for their very precise meaning.  Cause here's the thing:

Nobody enters into the abortion process because they want to kill the fetus.

Let me repeat that:  Nobody enters into the abortion process because they want to kill the fetus.

Even in cases of elective abortion, uterus-bearing people (UBP) who could/would otherwise be able to carry to term and deliver the fetus do not do it to kill the fetus.  They - we - do it to not be pregnant anymore

What's the difference, antis say.  The fetus is still dead.

Well, yes.  If we're working from a premise that counts a fetus as a living being, a person, yes.  When the abortion is over, it is dead, and the abortion has killed it.  That is inarguable.  But the abortion was not undertaken with the intent of killing the fetus.  It was undertaken with the intent of the UBP to no longer be pregnant.

And when you take into account the intent underlying the process - when you refocus the lens to bring the UBP back into the picture, instead of imagining some nebulous uterine-support-machine, a cipher with no traits of hir own - the quoted comparison to "killing a person on life support" falls absolutely flat, as do comparisons to very young infants and toddlers as being dependent on their parents just like fetuses are (with the implication that, if you believe you have a right to abortion, parents should logically have a right to infanticide). 

The only reason one would pull the plug from someone on life support is to end their life**.  Actual infanticide is a form of murder, and the act of murder is undertaken specifically to end someone's life.  Neither of these is something in which a non-life-ending aim simply has the side effect of ending someone's life.  Therefore, the comparison with abortion cannot stand, because as I said, abortion is undertaken in order to not be pregnant/continue a pregnancy/give birth.  It's just that with our current level of technology, we cannot sustain fetal life outside the uterus in which it was originally implanted.  So the process of not being pregnant anymore ends the fetus' life, but that was not the aim, merely an associated effect. 

Amazing what perspective does to an issue, isn't it?  And really, what does it say about the anti-choice position, that I can grant you the founding premises of "it's a baby/human being/alive/etc" and still show how abortion cannot legitimately be compared to murder or killing in any sense? 

Now, if only logical arguments actually worked on anti-choicers, I'd be in business. ;-)

*This is not to say that a fetus and a grown being are somehow morally equal, because I do not believe that, but I'm trying to give as much common ground as possible in establishing premises, because it doesn't actually affect the argument I'm building up to, and it gives antis less to work with in arguing back.
**Which may be done for a number of reasons, from the person having a directive requesting they not be sustained under certain circumstances, to moral beliefs about life and death, etc.  The point remains that pulling the plug is an act undertaken specifically to end a life.


Religious Freedom! (Some restrictions apply; see conservative Christians for details)

A double-standard on which religions get religious freedom and social acceptance?  No, never; not in this country.  Right?

So I'm sure there's some other, totally reasonable explanation for why religious-freedom organizations constantly have to take government entities to court in order to get Christian religious symbols removed from government buildings*, but a statue of Ganesha in a county art gallery in Idaho provoked calls to protest against "idols" approved by the "godless group of individuals" who approved the art display. 

But for the life of me, I cannot figure out what that reason might be...

*I only linked one example, but it is by far not the only one out there.  Or perhaps we could look to the atheist high school student in Louisiana who protested his high school's use of invocation/benediction prayers at the graduation ceremony, who then received death threats from fellow classmates and ended up not attending the graduation.  Just in case anyone was inclined to accuse me of cherry-picking examples and doubted the existence of Christian hegemony in this culture.


Phobia != Bigotry

You may have noticed that my posts of late do not use the terms homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, etc. anymore*.  Basically, I was informed that terms using the -phobia suffix, despite being in wide popular use, conflate mental illness with bigotry and violence, give inappropriate credibility to the "gay panic" or "trans panic" defenses when straight/cis people commit violence against queer/trans people, and, much like calling Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann "crazy", smear people with actual phobias by appropriating their disability to describe despicable attitudes and people.

Terms like heterosexism (replacing homophobia), cissexism (replacing transphobia), monosexism (replacing biphobia), and Islamobigotry/anti-Islam bigotry (replacing Islamophobia), aren't all that hard to introduce to one's lexicon and convert to general use.  Certainly no harder than learning not to use "lame", or "crazy", or other ableist slurs.  I like them additionally because they put the focus back on the dominant/oppressive side of the dichotomy by clearly noting who the problem is right there in the word.

But even if all the other reasons were wrong**, it would still be better to change from -phobia language, because it makes it a lot harder for asshats to pull shit like this.
For many people “homophobia” is actually about “having a fear of being accused of being bigoted, prejudiced or discriminating against homosexual people”. This fear, which is increasingly common, causes people to take a defensive posture in order to avoid attracting disapproval or adverse publicity. ... For people who don’t hate, dislike or fear gay people, but simply believe that sex between people who are not married (including all sex between those of the same sex) is morally wrong, we need a new term. I’d like to propose the term “homoskeptic” - a term that is not yet in common use and hence arguably open to (re)definition.
Using -phobia language leaves a nice little loophole for the bigots to exploit.  They can say "I don't fear gay people!" and thus deflect critique off into speculation of their *real* feelings about teh gayz, diverting attention from the oppression and bigotry they're perpetuating. It allows this jackass to turn the fear-connotation of using -phobia around and twist it into the Good Christian's fear of The Gay Mafia and their notorious jackbooted enforcers.  It lets him pose bigots as the victim and their ideology as reasonable, not a phobia, but simply skepticism, which is a healthy quality, right?

But the last lol came from a comment to the post on NOM's blog, by commenter Anonygrl:

I would like to suggest that people who don't hate or fear African Americans but simply think that they are morally inferior should be called afroskeptics. And people who don't hate or fear women but think that they just shouldn't get paid the same as men or have control of their own bodies should be gynoskeptics.
No matter what you call yourselves, if you are doing so to justify denying rights to another group (and that is what you are doing with homosexuals) then the correct term you should be using is bigot.

*If you have seen me slip up in this, please do let me know, either in comments or via email, and I will change it.
**However, they are not wrong, and this will not be up for debate here.  Additional commentary on the harms of -phobia language may be found here and here if you want or need further reading on the subject.

On Weiner

Because I am ridiculously sick of hearing, and correcting, Weiner's liberal/feminist defenders, who are apparently really goddamn invested in painting Weiner as a good man who just made the mistake of getting caught in his extramarital wandering, I just want to crosspost a rant I tossed up on tumblr earlier this morning. 

[In response to a post saying, basically, that what Weiner did isn't that bad, and it's not fair to be so mean to him when there are lots of other sexually immoral and otherwise unethical jackasses still hanging onto their political positions and power]
No.  No no no no no no NO.  He did not just “lie about racy pictures”.  He lied about SEXUALLY HARASSING women over the internet.  Two of the women have said that the sexual tone of the interactions was not consensual, that they did nothing to indicate they were receptive to receive sexual pictures or messages.  Weiner’s pattern in these interactions is fairly clear, that he used his position and his fans’ admiration for him to SEXUALLY HARASS women online. 
I get that the mainstream coverage of this hasn’t really focused on the consent angle.  So maybe people don’t realize this.  But for the love of all the gods can we stop fucking defending a man whose offense was not just “having an internet affair and/or lying about it”, but was instead SEXUAL HARASSMENT?  Can we stop fucking acting like Weiner’s the victim here?
I agree, too, that there are quite a number of other Congressional douchefucks who ought to be thrown out on their asses, and they have not been held anywhere near as accountable for their varying types of fucked-up behavior, as Weiner is being held for his.  BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WEINER SHOULD GET A PASS. 
I get that he was one of our heroes.  I get that he did some very good shit.  I loved his politics and his fiery speeches and his willingness to call Repubs out on their bullshit, with a flaming passion.  THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE HAS A RIGHT TO SEXUALLY HARASS HIS FEMALE FANS.  That does not mean we should defend him for doing so. 
I have had to say this I can’t even count how many times in the past few days.  For fuck’s sake, people.  It’s not about the lies.  It’s not about the “racy” pictures.  It’s about his disregard for consent and boundaries, it’s about his taking advantage of his position and the goodwill of his supporters to HARASS women.  It’s about holding Weiner to a standard of conduct that includes Do Not Sexually Harass People, and I see no reason why “But those other people didn’t get in enough trouble!” should be taken as a reasonable justification to NOT hold Weiner accountable.

Also, to the jackass on RH Reality Check who felt the need to mansplain to me that "that's not what sexual harassment is" when I made points similar to the above - according to Merriam-Webster online, sexual harassment is "uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate (as an employee or student)".  I'd say sending unsolicited pictures of one's junk to someone with whom one was having a nonsexual conversation prior to the picture-sending counts as "uninvited" at the very least, and according to at least two of the women, it was also "unwanted".  Add in that Weiner, as an elected official, was trading on political power and reputation and the admiration of his female fans who may also have been his constituents, and you have the power differential that makes it "especially" sexual harassment.

What it comes to is this: Anthony Weiner was a progressive hero.  He used the power and fame and admiration that gained him to sexually harass women via the internet.  No, that is not as bad as some other things politicians have done.  But it is still a bad thing to do.  I refuse to compromise my ethical standards around consent, simply because he who violated them was someone I really liked.  And I genuinely don't understand why so many people who purport to be feminist, are willing to just brush those principles aside in order to defend Weiner.  I really don't.  


Catholic "Charities": Our Bigotry Is More Important Than Caring For Orphaned Children

Remember what I wrote a few weeks back, about how government money going to religious organizations which insist on operating according to the dictates of their religious beliefs was kind of a Bad Idea, because it meant there would be gaps in service and people who couldn't access services that a government-run institution would provide, because the religious institution refused to offer it, meaning people not of a particular religion would be forced to live by the dictates of that particular religion in the absence of non-religious care providers?

Shit like this would be why.  Adoption by same-gender couples in civil unions is permitted in Illinois, but the local Catholic adoption groups, which rely on financing from the state, want to be able to continue their exclusionary policy of "not placing children with unmarried couples".  This is, of course, their workaround that lets them cover their anti-gay bias in a thin veneer of "it's not about TEH GAYS, it's about ALL unmarried people!"  (This is also an excellent example of why civil unions are Not Good Enough as a "compromise" instead of full marriage equality.) 

Anyway, the point is, these jerks are actually upset enough at having to treat same-gender couples almost-equally that they are suing the state of Illinois for religious infringement, and have said that they will stop offering their state-funded - state-funded!  Taxpayer money!  Let that sink in for a moment - foster and adoption placement services entirely if they don't get their Special Snowflake Jesus Said So exemption. 

This is why I am leery at best (and actively hostile toward, at worst) when it comes to the idea of Faith-Based Outreach.  I didn't like the federal office of faith-based outreach when Bush instituted it, and I like it no better now that Obama has kept and expanded and reworked it.  (My ire is bipartisan!  Are you willing to treat my objections as reasonable now, Mr. President?)  If religious institutions want to offer charity and services, by all means let them do so, but let them do so with their own and their tithers' money.  And do not treat them like a substitute for publicly-funded and government-run social services, because they are not.  Spend the tax dollars that previously went to religious charities on building the bureaucratic infrastructure necessary to provide those services.  (Yes, I realize it's a hair's breadth from COMMUNISM! to suggest that the government should spend any money providing any services, much less social services, but we all know I'm a dirty pinko leftist anyway, so.)

Look, if anti-choice extremists can get all huffy about "my tax dollars" going to fund Planned Parenthood, I'm entitled to make a fuss about my tax dollars going to fund religious organizations who would rather abandon their mission to help children in need of families, than be forced to treat same-gender couples as equal to mixed-gender couples. 

These Catholic charities apparently need to give back the taxpayer money, find a fainting couch, and lie down to have the vapors quietly for awhile, cause obviously they can't handle the idea of putting the needs of children ahead of their bigotries.  And in the meantime, why don't we see about finding those children some loving homes - no matter the genders of the adults providing them.



Presented without comment, an entry from my old Livejournal, posted Dec. 17th, 2008:
mood: hopeful hopeful

"I feel like the government's working for me. I feel like it's accountable. I feel like it's transparent. I feel that I am well informed about what government actions are being taken. I feel that this is a President and an Administration that admits when it makes mistakes and adapts itself to new information, that believes in making decisions based on facts and on science as opposed to what is politically expedient." - President-Elect Obama on what he hopes the American people will be able to say about his administration in two years, in his interview with Time magazine.

Accountability? Transparency? Decisions based on science not politics? Somebody find me a fainting couch, I am about to swoon.

This is like waking up from a terrifying nightmare to a beautiful spring morning outside your window. Excuse me while I take a brief break from cynical reality to bask in the sweet light of hope.


Rick Perry Just Needs To Stop Talking

His little hate prayer rally with the AFA - an organization designated by SPLC as a hate group for their vicious lies about non-heterosexuals - is a full-on come-to-Jesus conversion event, it seems.  The event's spokesman attempted to refute the idea that their rally is exclusionary of other faiths by telling American Family Radio that people of all faiths were welcome to attend to "feel the love...of Jesus Christ", and that they wanted to convey "that there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ." 


But that wasn't enough for Perry, who then tried to explain away his falling popularity rate in his own state (and apparently even among his Teabagger base) by saying in an interview on Faux News: "A prophet is not generally loved in their home town."

So Gov. Perry organizes a "prayer rally" by partnering with a hate group (which is also home to one of the most extreme far-right bigots in this country's media today), which has as its explicit goal "including" people of other faiths by converting them, and then tries to handwave away his unpopularity by declaring himself a fucking prophet?

Please, Rick Perry.  Just...stop talking.  It'll be better for everyone that way.


The Pagans Are Coming! The Pagans Are Coming!

I like to imagine the preshow meeting going something like this:

Ed:  Our anti-gay routine has been feeling pretty stale lately.  I mean, Bryan's compared them to Nazis like a million times, and we've worked the pedophilia, bestiality, and fecal matter angles half to death.  NOM's got the "they're coming for your children" angle covered.  What can we do to keep this fresh and interesting?  What possible tone can we take that will be something new, something they haven't heard before?
Buster:  Hmm.  You're right.  Let's see...we could try to work patriotism in there?  Paint gays as anti-American.
Ed:  But we've done that before, too.
Buster:  Oh!  I know!  We'll use the patriotism angle, but we'll make it about the Founding Fathers, specifically.  Nobody can argue about the Founding Fathers, criticizing them is totally off-limits and everyone knows it, right?
Ed:  I just don't know if that's enough, though.  It's not scary enough.
Buster:  Scary?  What could be scarier than un-American Americans everywhere?  It worked for McCarthy, didn't it?
Ed:  Yeah, but...oh!  Oh, I got it.  We're talking to a really fundamentalist Christian audience here, right?
Buster:  Of course.  We've alienated pretty much everyone else who ever existed.
Ed:  Well, what is this kind of Christian scared of?
Buster:  ...non-Christians?
Ed:  Bingo, buddy.  Bingo.  So we'll make it about being unChristian!  Not just generically anti-Christian, cause that's been overplayed too, we will make it about...PAGANS.
Buster:  Ooh, I like that!  Paganism.  It calls up mental images of the decadence of Rome...
Ed: ...and specifically, the fall of Rome.  So we associate the gays with paganism, everyone thinks of Rome and falling empires, and bam!  Scared shitless and ready to do what we tell 'em.
Buster:  Falling empires...that's deep, man.
Ed:  Thanks.  So, that's our thing, then?  Founding Fathers and paganism?
Buster:  Yep.  Let's do it.

Two middle-aged white men sit behind microphones and self-righteously mansplain at each other and the viewer.  Relevant quote from 2:03:
Buster:  Dr. Gary Gates at the Williams Institute, an arm of the UCLA School of Law, [says] an estimated 3.5% of all adults in the United States identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and an estimated 0.3% of adults recognize themselves as transgender.  Ed, your thoughts on those figures first?
Ed:  Well, 3.5%, of course, includes bisexuals in that estimate. [Yes, because they were measuring lesbian, gay, AND BISEXUAL, it was right there in the quote.  I'm not sure I see the problem here.]  Um, most of the recent surveys in this country show that those who self-identify as homosexual men or women is lower than that [with Very Serious Concern Troll Face].  It's actually closer to 2.5%.  But some people say, well, you're just arguing over a few percentage points.  [Because you are.  Actually you're not; you're arguing over a single percentage point, and it looks very much like you're doing so just to make the queer community seem as small and easy to dismiss as possible, as if bisexual people somehow don't count as part of that community.  Which makes you even more of an inane jackass.  But do go on.]  But the point of, the point we take issue with, is not the percentage, it is the ideology behind the normalization of sexuality.  It wouldn't matter if it was 20% - if it was 20% we'd be in big trouble [yes, you would be; bigger communities have more voting clout, usually, and you'd have a lot harder time trying to stuff that many people back in the closet] - but um.  We're talking about a return to pagan sexuality, a pagan view of sexuality, that says that it doesn't matter with whom you have sex, and uh, that God's laws do not apply to us and there are no absolutes when it comes to sex.  And, frankly, even if you are not a Christian, you do not believe the Bible, or you have no real Christian viewpoint in this - we are talking about a departure from the view of our Founding Fathers, who held to the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God," as it says in the Declaration of Independence! 
You know, the Founding Fathers (and can I just say, I'm ridiculously over that phrase and the patriocentrism it's got going on?  Ugh ugh ugh.  There were women involved in the founding of this nation, asshats) used the phrase "the Laws of Nature's God" to refer to freedom and self-determination as an independent nation.  IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH TEH GAYS OR TEH BUTTSECKS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.  It wasn't about sexuality at all.  Y'all have seized on this one tiny phrase, taken it out of context, twisted it, and are milking the everloving fuck out of it to try to promote your Dominionist aims.  For the record, it's part of a much longer sentence, called the preamble to the Declaration of Independence - you may have heard of it? - which goes like this:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
In this context, they're talking about more of a philosophical question of rights and freedoms and such, in contradiction to such philosophies of governance as the whole divine right of kings thing.  It's not about Christianity.  It's not about the Bible.  It's about countering the idea that the Creator (science hadn't really gotten to the point of explaining how we could come into existence without a creator being, therefore it was assumed almost universally that there was *some* kind of Creator.  This does not mean they all believed in the Bible or Christianity; most of the FFs were actually Deists.) had endowed certain special people with the divine right to rule, and replacing it with the idea that the Creator had endowed all people* with the divine right of self-determination and self-rule.


Ahem.  That aside (she says, three paragraphs and much swearing later), I am cracking the fuck up at the whole "zomg pagan sexuality" thing.  This is...meant to be a problem of some kind?  In case ye olde mansplainers were unaware, there are actual, real, live Pagans in this country.  PRACTICING A PAGAN SEXUALITY ALREADY.  So.  Shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted, and has already jumped the fence and is in its partner's paddock and they're getting it on, to stretch a metaphor uncomfortably far, is not particularly effective here.

I'm also not getting why the idea that "God's laws don't apply to us" is such a thing to be afraid of.  Shouldn't a particular deity's laws only apply to those who have chosen to follow that deity in some way?  One of my favorite fantasy novels** takes place in a culture in which there are four main sub-deities, and when a person comes of age, they choose which one of them to be a devotee of, and there are different codes of law that apply to followers of each.  Like, one character is struggling at one point with whether she should marry a guy from a different sect, because he wants her to marry him under the laws of his deity, which removes her right to divorce and makes her property his after they marry, while she wants to marry under the laws of her deity, which allow for free divorce and equitable division of property.  This makes sense to me.  I have never, and probably will never, understood why the laws of one religious tradition should apply to those not of that tradition.

Lastly, let me correct a misconception here.  Saying that pagan sexuality has no absolutes when it comes to sex is deeply incorrect.  This pagan, at least, has precisely one absolute when it comes to sex: consent.  Affirmative, explicit, overt consent (in whatever form that takes for a given partnering) must exist prior to and during all sexual activity.  That's it.  That's all.  And I even like to think this is an absolute we could agree on (although sadly I'm probably wrong)!  So I propose an experiment:  Let's try out this "pagan sexuality/pagan view of sexuality" that you're so afraid of.  Based on the single absolute I've put forth here.  Give it, say, ten years?  Of this as the sexual norm.  See if the Universe disintegrates or the Earth spins from its axis or anything catastrophic.  If so, I will personally buy billboards all over the nation proclaiming how right you were.  If not, you have to STFU and quit using my religion as a scare tactic to make people hate my sexuality.  Okay?  Okay.

Edited to add: Now that you've read the post, look at the title again.  Am I the only one who giggles and goes "Damn right, we are" at that? ^_^
*In the sense that "all people" meant at the time, which is to say, all white landowning males, more or less.
**Talyn, by Holly Lisle.  Trigger warnings for rape, sexual abuse, and torture.  It does, however, pass the Bechdel test, multiple times over, and while the main love pairing is hetero, it involves them as equals sharing their different skills to defeat the Big Bad, so.  Pretty awesome.  Magic and war and infiltration. 


Feed the Witch!

So, those who actually pay attention to blog sidebars (a minority, I know ;-) may have noticed that I've added a donate button to this little blog of mine.

Let me first say, I do not ever want to push, pressure, or guilt anyone into donating.  It's completely voluntary.  I understand how it is when money's tight (or just not there at all), trust me - that would be why I have a donate button up, in fact - and I don't ever want anyone to feel like they *have* to give when it wouldn't work out for them. 

That said, let me explain a little.  I spend a fair amount of time - averaging about an hour per post, more for ones that require a lot of sourcing or are longer/more in-depth - writing here.  I average between 3-5 posts per week depending on the week, and I'm working on upping my post frequency even further, because I love what I do here and I think it's important.  I don't want to go to an ad-supported model because ads annoy the fuck out of me, and they only work insofar as you have lots of pageviews, which is what often prompts bloggers to set their RSS feeds to snippet-only to force people to click through, and I fucking *hate* that.  So I won't ever do it.  But, as I'm trying to transition from unemployed to self-employed, I could use some support of the financial variety.

Understand this blog will always remain ad-free and free to access.  All I ask is, if you value what I'm doing here and your financial situation allows you to comfortably do so, toss a few bucks my way once in awhile. 

The donate button takes you to Paypal, where you can type in your donation amount, then use your paypal account or a credit card to send it along to me.  If anyone's interested in a subscription-type recurring donation, let me know and I can create a button for that, too. 

Whether you can donate or not, whether you choose to or not even if you can, thank you for being here, for your support in reading, pageviews, and comments.  I appreciate you, my readers.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


More Race-Based Antichoice Propaganda

Remember these?  And these, and these?  Playing on the statistical discrepancy between rates of abortion for white and black women, they set out to demonize black women for making reproductive choices other than giving birth to EVERY PREGNANCY NO MATTER WHAT.  Conveniently, they ignored the part about structural inequality and poverty and other issues which might explain why abortion is much more prevalent among black women than white women.

Welp, they're at it again.  Only now it's Latinas under fire.  Using the same phrase, "The most dangerous place for a Latino is in the womb," in both Spanish and English, with a silhouette of a child and smaller polaroid-style pictures of babies' faces and a pregnant woman's belly (curiously, the woman is headless/faceless; it's almost like they don't want people thinking about the woman, only her body and specifically her uterus), the campaign is unveiling this weekend in Los Angeles, CA. 

The group behind it, as usual, cites statistics, showing that Latinas are 2.7 times more likely to get an abortion than non-Hispanic whites.  And as usual, that's thrown out there without any discussion of racism, systemic inequality, poverty, employment problems, access to contraception, etc which might, just a tiny bit, maybe in some way contribute to a woman's decision to abort rather than carry a pregnancy to term. 

As I said before, if you really want to address this discrepancy, work on the CAUSES of the disproportionate rate of unwanted pregnancy/inability to carry wanted pregnancies to term.  Demonizing Latinas who choose to abort like this is just fucked-up, and it's not going to help*.

*You know who is helping?  Planned Parenthood and all their low-cost/free/sliding-scale contraception and other sexual health services.  Suck on that, anti-choice assholes.

Rick Perry: Still Not Getting the Difference Between Politicians and Priests

Holding one's very own explicitly Christian prayer rally - even when one is an elected official - is one thing.  Holding a prayer rally to which one invites the leaders of every state in one's purportedly-secular nation is kind of another thing entirely.

Not that that matters to Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas. 

I have sort of the impression that Perry's mental representation of governing a state looks like this:

1. Pray really hard
2. ????
3. Profit!  All the state's problems will be solved!

It's also the height of disingenuous to claim that it's an "apolitical Christian prayer meeting," when, as I said, Perry specifically invited all 49 other governors, "as well as many other national and Christian political leaders."  Does that sound apolitical to anyone else?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Protip: If you want to call your event apolitical, maybe you shouldn't feature dozens of political leaders as specially-invited guests.  That tends to blur the line a bit.

But you know what really gets me?

That fucker put his rally on my birthday.  >:-(

Rick Perry can go un-fuck himself.  Anyone know if there are term limits in Texas? 

At least we know he's gotten three no's from his fellow governors so far.  Here's hoping the event falls flat on its church-state-conflating face.



Sorry, all.  Meant to be back posting on Tuesday, but it's been a shitty week.  It seems I take longer to recuperate after a socially-intense four-day trip than I thought?  Yeah anyway.  Giving myself through the weekend for genuine mental health time (as opposed to flogging myself for not posting OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING CHECKING TUMBLR FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME TODAY YOU HAVE POSTS TO WRITE - strangely enough, that doesn't actually help me recover faster) and will hopefully be back in full form come Monday. 

(Of course, now that I've said this, tomorrow will be awesome and I'll be posting left right and center and be able to queue posts for all through next week by Sunday night.  Because that's just how my life is right now.  >.< /self-pity)

Love and light, hope everyone has an awesome weekend.  See you Monday.


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