Archive for religious freedom

Lauren Mayer: 'Religious Freedom (Doesn't Mean the Freedom to Discriminate)'

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Lauren Mayer is a singer/songwriter/pianist who writes comedy songs about everything from Supreme Court decisions to the Kardashians. She proudly supports leftist causes including equal pay, reproductive choice, fair minimum wage, addressing climate change, and marriage equality.
Note: Check out Lauren's CDs, including her latest, "If My Uterus Were A Gun (And Other Musical Rants From The News)" - available at "http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/laurenmayer8" as well as on iTunes and Amazon. Her website is laurenmayer.com. She's on Twitter at @laurenscomedy
Lauren's podcasts are on IndieMediaWeekly.

From YouTube:

(A musical rant from an exasperated Jewish-mother-for-marriage-equality

Come on, people! Homophobia is so last millenium!

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Slave Labor -- If It's Good Enough For The Bible

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holy bible

Some people get carried away with the literal workings of the holy bible. One such extremist is Cathedral Bible College President Dr. Wayne Miller. It seems that he's leading this South Carolina bible college in taking advantage of foreign students, forcing them into slavery. Police have just arrested Dr. Miller after a federal investigation.

You might expect his defense to be "The devil made me do it." But Miller's taken a more academic approach. He blames the "good book" justifying his actions with bible passages from the new and old testaments, accepting slavery.

Somehow, that just doesn't sound too "Christian" to me.

Certainly the practices of the bible have got to be tempered with a sense of modern morality and translation. Remember, the old and the new testaments were NOT written by God. They were written by men, (sorry ladies...). Mere mortal men and these stories and legends are just that -- hand-me-down anecdotes or as Bill Maher is wont to say, "fairy tales." Belief in them is fine, but literal translations must be tempered with reality and common sense.

So back to South Carolina and Cathedral Bible College. Here's some interesting tidbits to consider. For instance, the background of its president. From Raw Story:

miller1

Miller was arrested in 2006 on charges of lewdness and prostitution after he exposed himself to an undercover officer in a bathhouse at Myrtle Beach State Park. Records indicated that Miller participated in a pre-trial intervention program, allowing his record to be expunged.

Maybe President Miller has rehabilitated himself. If so, good for him. Or did he just trade his sexual violations for human rights violations?

Then there's his true purpose at the school. Was it bible education? Picking up chicks? Dudes? Or was it something quite different -- yet still nefarious and evil? What was Miller doing to these students?

Students told investigators that classes at the school “were not real,” and that the real purpose of the school was to force them to work over the maximum of 20 hours per week that federal law allows for student visas. The students alleged that Miller often forced them to live in substandard conditions without hot water, heat or air-conditioning.

The complaints said that students worked over 50 hours a week, and often received no pay, even though some had been promised $100 a week. Several students said that they were paid $50 a week for 40 hours of work or more.

Who was profiting from all of this? It certainly wasn't the kids who came for a Christian and bible-based education. Doesn't it make you pause and wonder what else might be going on in this country under the cloak of right-wing evangelicals? Funny how they're the first one's to accuse states of possibly approving Sharia Law, but hold up King James when justifying their actions. Slavery seems much more in keeping with Sharia beliefs than Christian.

Hopefully this situation gets straightened out soon. But it does make me question the real ethics of the bible-thumping world. I think everyone should have the right to believe or not to believe in whatever they wish. But when it infringes on human decency, I have to ask questions.

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Alabama Chief Justice Moore Interprets Constitution According To Pharrell Williams' 'Happy'

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Pharrell Williams Happy

If Alabama didn't already have enough problems with poverty, racism, storms, oil spills and other disasters, they now face one on the bench of their highest court, the Supreme Court of Alabama. And the problem is with the leader of this highest court in the state, Chief Justice Roy Moore.

This week Justice Moore made known his interpretations of the US Constitution while speaking at the Pastor for Life Luncheon, which was sponsored by his neighboring Pro-Life Mississippi Organization. And the Chief Justice had some eye-opening remarks which might explain some pretty screwed up thinking about the South. It seems justice, like a fish, stinks from the top. And is this the kind of judge you'd like to see adjudicating any case you were part of?

Raw Story:

...declared that the First Amendment only applies to Christians because “Buddha didn't create us, Mohammed didn't create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures” who created us.

Holy Scriptures? Doesn't that include the Old Testament? That's the book the Jews and Gentiles both believe in, so why aren't Jews part of this first amendment coverage?

It  looks like Chief Justice Moore feels that the Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, who's beliefs predate the New Testament, were all wrong and therefore their beliefs aren't protected under our US Constitution, especially the bill of rights. Wow.

When looking for his answers, Moore relies on an obscure interpretation of law, from an Englishman who died in 1780.

Chief Justice Moore later defined “life” via Blackstone’s Law — a book that American lawyers have “sadly forgotten” — as beginning when “the baby kicks.” “Today,” he said, “our courts say it’s not alive ’til the head comes out.

But Justice Moore's ignorance doesn't stop there.

He later said that “you can’t be happy unless you follow God’s law, and if you follow God’s law, you can’t help but be happy.”

Now's it's all becoming clear to me. The Chief Justice is channeling Pharrell Williams and his "Happy" song for his rulings. After all, we know that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the only thing the Declaration of Independence (which led us to ultimately draw up our Constitution) is really about. Those lyrics appear to be the judicial tenets from the Moore bench in which laws are weighed and interpreted in Alabama. So let's all clap our hands and get happy.

I think the people of that southern state are in for a whole mess of troubles with a guy like Chief Justice Moore leading the way. But at least with him in the lead seat on the bench, we're all gonna be "happy."

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Pastor Rick Warren's Not So Kosher Healthcare Plan

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Kosher

Here's the thinking of Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical Christian leader and shallow religious zealot, according to TPM:

Requiring employers to provide insurance covering contraception is no different than forcing a Jewish deli to sell pork, evangelical Christian pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren said Wednesday.

It's catchy. On the surface it almost seems to make a point that could be an eye-opener -- unless you happen to take the time to analyze this analogy.

"In other words, if all of a sudden they made a law that said every Jewish deli in Manhattan has to start selling pork, I would be out there with the rabbis protesting that. Why? I don't have a problem with pork, but I believe in your right to not have to sell pork if it's not in your faith."

He doesn't seem to get his own point, but being gentile, I don't expect him to get the nuances of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Hell, I'm a Jew and don't know half the rules. But the issue here that Rick W is missing is that nobody is making you eat the pork, or stopping you from eating it. It's personal choice.

With healthcare, nobody's forcing you to use every provision in your policy. Abortion and contraception are provided to those who, to borrow from your own analogy, don't "keep Kosher/sell pork products."

If you're a large employer and must, by law offer health insurance. That's not a choice you get to make. Also, you have to let your employees make their own "religious" choice. Refusing would be considered imposing religious beliefs on another, an apparent violation of the first amendment to the bill of rights.

Of course that's what the Supreme Court will determine in June. Picking and choosing is when it becomes imposing company beliefs on it's employees. It should not be a company mandate unless that company specifically caters only to those of a particular religious affiliation. Public companies are not religious by definition. They cater to all.

Rick Warren's problem is really this: Health insurance is not really an ala carte business. Generally you can't say I just want to buy insurance to be covered for broken bones and Meningitis. Nothing else. No other diseases or injuries. No gall bladder, kidney, liver, cancer stuff. Just the broker bone and Meningitis coverage. How much will that be?

It's not done that way. Generally in a health policy all medical issues are now covered except for death. (That's what life insurance is for.) The options are the deductibles and percentage of coverage.

But what the Republicans and more specifically the Christian evangelicals are fighting for is to turn health insurance into a strictly ala carte business. And according to them, if you're an employer who must provide healthcare insurance for your workers, you should be able to pick and chose what's covered and what's not.

They don't mind paying for your appendicitis or your treatment for migraines. They just don't want to contribute to total health care if it involves something they don't approve of -- in this case, contraception and abortion. They prefer to treat these matters after the fact, after there's an unwanted newborn, or perhaps the mother dies during the pregnancy or delivery. Caring for unwanted children or funerals for mothers with foreseeable complications is the acceptable way to go.

To create a pick-and-chose healthcare menu would make certain coverages too costly and other services not at all within a consumer's reach. So all medical issues get bundled together to bring down the price for the total coverage. Splitting out certain care issues would destroy the pricing model. And that seems to be the goal of the Republican obstructionists. They can't beat the law, so they'll work any angle to make sure it doesn't function.

Back to the the Kosher Deli analogy: In his equation, the Deli are employers. Pork is abortion/contraceptives. He says you shouldn't make the Deli provide insurance it finds contrary to  their religion or doctrines. And I agree. But insurance isn't pork. It's not against anyone's religion -- except perhaps Christian Science who don't subscribe to using doctors at all.

What may be contrary to one's religious beliefs is but one part of the picture of healthcare insurance. And nobody's making you "eat the pork."  Insurance policies serve a larger population than just one religious belief. So if you don't want pork (abortion) don't order it at the Pink Pig Baconarium for lunch. But don't stop others who love their bacon cheeseburger or their link sausages from eating there. That's taking away their choice.

When you make that decision, Pastor Warren, you're not letting others make theirs. You're taking away my rights. So don't eat or sell pork if you don't want to, but don't stop those from getting access to it if they have such a desire.

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