"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hope You Brought a Shovel

Because the bullshit is knee deep.

The impetus is that today the Tenth Circuit handed down a ruling upholding the district court decision overturning Utah's marriage ban, and a district court judge found Indiana's marriage ban unconstitutional.

The reaction from the usual suspects is, you might imagine, apoplectic. Brian Brown, for a change, sounds almost rational. Well, as rational as he can manage these days. He must still be glowing from the success of his March for Marriage, when 20,000 -- uh, 10,000 -- well, almost 2,000 (maybe) "supporters of marriage" were bussed in after being told they were getting a free sight-seeing trip to the nation's capital.

This time, the real hyperbole is coming from other sources -- first, the always mendacious Tony Perkins:
While disturbing, today's rulings come as no surprise given the rising disdain for the rule of law promoted by the Obama administration. These latest rulings are not just about redefining marriage but they are a further attempt by the courts to untether our public policies from the democratic process, as well as the anthropological record. While judges can, by judicial fiat, declare same-sex 'marriage' legal, they will never be able to make it right. The courts, for all their power, can't overturn natural law. What they can do is incite a movement of indignant Americans, who are tired of seeing the foundations of a free and just society destroyed by a handful of black-robed tyrants.

There's more, of course -- gotta get Roe v. Wade in there, even though it has nothing to do with marriage rights.

Maybe I should explain something to Mr. Perkins: people who were being harmed by marriage laws founded on prejudice and lacking rational basis went to court, the defenders of those laws had their chance to defend, and our side won. That's the rule of law. It's a little different in a secular society than just saying "Because God says so," but that's the way things work here.

And at the risk of repeating myself, not to mention a number of Supreme Court decisions, the rights of minorities are not subject to "the democratic process."

The real prize today is Bryan Fischer wannabe Matt Barber, via Joe.My.God.:

Federal courts in Indiana and Utah on Wednesday blatantly disregarded the will of the people and subversively imposed same-sex “marriage” on the citizens of both states. The judicial oligarchy (tyranny of the few) continues flexing the muscle of its apparently unchecked power. The death of democracy is undeniably upon us. Each victory for the homosexual activists represents another nail in America’s coffin. The light of morality and freedom is being brutishly snuffed out right before our very eyes. It’s a national tragedy unfolding at an accelerating pace.

I find the idea that the federal courts are subversive to be a little beyond hysterically funny. And do note that he felt it necessary to define "oligarchy" for his readers. Someone should remind him that if he keeps using big words, he's going to lose his audience. The rest of it is fully up to Fischer standards, except he forgot to pull in the End Times.

Of course, the thread running through all three screeds is the contempt these men have for the American system, especially the very idea of an independent judiciary. But then, it seems that evangelical "Christians" are must as much control freaks as Catholics are.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marriage News Watch, June 23, 2014

And Matt Baume is still on the road -- this week in Fargo. (Fargo?)

The Problem With Blogging

Right now, at least. The news cycle is so compressed that stories have been beaten to death by the time I get to them -- there's nothing left for me to say.

Also too, I seem to be in read only mode. Even reading is hard -- very little holds my attention. Hence, I spend more time watching movies and old TV series than reading. (Grimm Season Two is much better than the first season, which was good. David Giuntoli does angry and dangerous very well, and the main story arc is much more coherent.)

I'm even a little burned out on the Zoo, and when has that ever happened?

This, too, shall pass.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Gift That Keeps On Giving (Update)

I found this little gem in a story at Pink News, uttered by none other than the Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum:

“The court has to stop being the judge and jury for the consciousness of America."

There's not a lot to say, except that he goes on, and it gets worse.

And in still another interview, he manages to blame same-sex marriage for the mess the Republicans made of the economy.

For some reason, Blogger won't accept the embed code, but you can watch the video at the link. Just to give you a sample of the word salad:
Marriage is not, Santorum said, solely about “a romantic relationship between two people.”

“It’s also about,” he added, “a unity of men and women, for the purposes of having and raising children, and giving the child their birthright, which is to be raised by their natural mother and natural father. When we have less of that in America — then society struggles and suffers. Economically, it suffers; socially, it suffers; morally, it suffers — and children are harmed.”

So we get Catholic dogma, "Save the Cheeldren!", and the economy, all in one lumpy package.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Marriage News Watch, June 16, 2014

Matt Baume is going where the action is.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Giggle du Jour: The Running of the Goats

There's really nothing more to say:

Marriage News Watch, June 9, 2014

And the beat goes on:

She Gets It (With Footnote)

This jumped out at me this morning, from U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb's opinion striking down Wisconsin's marriage ban, in response to the state's argument that marriage is by definition about procreation (yeah, that one again):

Civil marriage is a legal construct, not a biological rule of nature, so it can be and has been changed over the years; there is nothing "impossible" about defining marriage to include same-sex couples, as has been demonstrated by the decisions of a number of countries and states to do just that.

Just as I've been saying all along: marriage is an entirely human concept. (Go ahead -- try to find "marriage" among other vertebrate species.)

The opinion is a good one -- solid and tight. Worth a read.

(Via Towleroad.)

A footnote, via Joe.My.God.

It's interesting, thinking back over these decisions, how many county clerks in various states have opened their offices for extra hours and on weekends to be able to issue marriage licenses immediately.

That says something.


All the Epinions reviews pages are edited and published -- check the sidebar for the new one, "Books: Art and Nonfiction," which has some of the most interesting titles.

I think I've just about decided to turn those pages into a master index, so expect some changes as I pull in writing from other sites.


Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Religion Excuse

Recovery is coming slowly. I think it all just caught up with me and I'm just coming out of a case of severe exhaustion. But it is getting better. Better enough that I actually decided to do a post on something that caught my eye this morning.

I've been maintaining for a while that one can find in just about any sacred text from any religious tradition something that will justify doing what you wanted to do anyway. There's a very good post at Mahablog that delves into this idea in more detail. The key comment:

When we hear about violence associated with religion, we tend to think that religion caused someone to be violent. But it isn’t that simple. Most of the time, when you look closely at “religious” violence, there are all kinds of historical, cultural and political factors mixed in as well. This is true even of episodes like the Spanish Inquisition that appeared to be about doctrinal purity; much else lurked beneath the surface. Indeed, most of the time the historical, cultural and political factors are the real drivers of the violence, and religion is called in mostly to act as a moral cover or justification.

Add things like patriotism to the mix and you get a good picture of phenomena such as the Tea Party movement, for which "America" is inextricably intertwined with "the Bible" and "the Constitution" without any clear concept of what those ideas entail. There's the same tendency to cherry-pick those parts that the devout want to follow and ignore those parts that don't fit the agenda. Thus we find egregious assholes like Joe the Plumber coming out with comments like "your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

Unfortunately, in any viable society, they do.

Read the whole post at Mahablog. I may come back to this later, after I've done some more thinking.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Marriage News Watch, June 2, 2014

OK, so it's a day late. Don't ask. (I spent the afternoon trying to breathe, after going to an air-conditioned movie theater. Some days, there's no way to win.)