Say anything critical of a Christians or Christianity today, and you'll be accused of discrimination. It doesn't matter if your criticism is valid; your point of view will be dismissed as bigoted. If we are to believe Christian demagogues--TV preachers, Christian lobbyists and neo-con lapdogs--Christians are suffering under a wave of horrible anti-Christian hatred.
It's a strange situation when the majority of a nation's population is being forced to endure bigotry and discrimination. Usually, such torments are saved for the minority. But not in the United States in 2005. These days it's the 76.5 percent of all Americans who identify as Christian who are being abused.
Take a look at the Air Force Academy if you want to see anti-Christian bigotry in action. At the Air Force Academy, more than 50 cadets have filed complaints alleging that Christian students have bullied and verbally abused them for not being Christian. One Jewish cadet reported being called a "filthy Jew" and being told that the Jewish people were responsible for killing Christ. Others report having been told they would burn in hell if they weren't "born again" or being spammed with e-mails telling them to come watch Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.
The above is from Pamela White's "Who's the bigot?" (Boulder Weekly) and was e-mailed in by KeShawn.
Polly e-mails to note Amy Jenninges' "Pregnancy Scare Tactics: Teens Sound Alarm on Anti-Choice Clinics" (Seattle's The Stranger):
"They give evasive answers about their services, they're unwilling to answer if you can make an appointment with a doctor, they delay giving back a [pregnancy test] response," ostensibly to keep women in the clinic, says Blythe Chandler, a NARAL Pro-Choice Washington spokesperson, and adviser to the young protesters, ticking off just a few of the problems she sees with crisis clinics in general. Many of the crisis clinics even get federal funding. (According to tax returns, Life Choices does not. Federal law prohibits federal funding of abortion services, like those Planned Parenthood provides). According to a May 15 NARAL report on crisis clinics nationally, some employ graphic photos of aborted fetuses, or falsely tell women that abortions increase the risk of breast cancer and sterility. "Lies, tricks, manipulation available here," claimed one protest sign.
Most of the young protesters said their peers are often unaware that places like Life Choices are anti-abortion organizations in disguise. That's why they're turning the tables and protesting, much as anti-choice activists have been protesting abortion clinics for decades. Thursday's protest was a first against Life Choices.
On the topic of choice (yeah, I used the word, I don't think it's a dirty one, nor has anyone in this community e-mailed to complain about its use), we'll note Kim Gandy's remarks at the Take Back America Conference which Lynda e-mailed on:
KIM GANDY: Thank you. That's great. What a great conference. I think I've never been the filling in a minister sandwich before. (Laughter.) Not sure whether I'm the sweet, gooey stuff, maybe I'm the meat or the cheese. I don't know, one of those. You know, Congress has been out on the Memorial Day recess this week, so it’s been a good week. (Laughter, applause.)
But I think last week, they fit in at least two weeks worth. Think back to last Monday. Remember what that was? The nuclear option averted by a compromise. Some compromise, huh? It was a lot like a mugging, where the mugger says, okay, I'll compromise with you. You give me everything I want and I won't shoot you. Or at least, I won't shoot you right now. That's a compromise, right? (Applause.) And of course, the victim does indeed feel relieved for the moment, but has been victimized nonetheless and may yet be shot.
The very next day, I was on Hardball with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. (Boos.) Now, you know him from the Family Research Council and you may recognize him as the architect of Justice Sunday, but I remember him from our home state of Louisiana and from the era of the David Duke campaign, where he was fined $300 by the Federal Elections Commission for paying $90,000 for the few thousand names on David Duke’s campaign list – a thinly-veiled contribution – and hiding it from the election authorities. This fine, upstanding moral example of family values Tony Perkins was asked who he though George Bush ought to name to the Supreme Court. Guess what he said? Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown were the two names that he specifically named as stellar candidates – two of the clearest judicial activists and two of the most intemperate nominees of the many George Bush has sent us.
Now the very next day – this is all last week – the very next day, doggone it if the Senate didn't go and confirm Priscilla Owen, as if to just line her up at Tony Perkins' request. Something to look forward to – Priscilla Owen, another notch in Karl Rove’s belt. How many of you knew that he plucked her out of relative obscurity as a Houston lawyer and ran her for the Texas Supreme Court? Ran her campaign personally, Karl Rove did, raised nearly a million dollars for her campaign and has guided her career ever since. What do you think he has in mind? I think maybe Tony Perkins knows something that we don't.
You know what else happened that day – Wednesday? Three crosses were burned in Durham, North Carolina. I'm sure it wasn’t related. Also last week, Wal-Mart topped another list. They top a lot of lists. This time it was in Wisconsin. They topped the list of companies that have the largest number of their employees enrolled in the state health insurance program for people who are too poor to have insurance. And also last week in Indiana, a judge allowed the state attorney general to subpoena the private medical records – including psychological profiles and sexual history – of all the women who had had abortions at the Planned Parenthood clinic there. From the nuclear option to private medical records, abuse of power has been a hallmark – has been a defining element – of the party that says it wants to keep government out of people’s lives – except when it suits them. (Applause.)
Kim Gandy is, of course, the president of NOW. As noted last night, we have used "privacy right" here. Of course we would, it's a feminist term that can be traced by for decades. The "geniuses" who seem to think they just coined it are mistaken. Here we've also used "pro-choice." We'll continue to use those, "reproductive rights" and any other term we choose. We won't run from a term because someone's decided it has to be abandoned (along with, let's be honest here, support for reproductive freedom). No member complained about the use of terms (nor have they ever). So if it bothers you, this isn't the site for you. So thanks for stopping by, now walk on, walkon.org.
Sam e-mails to note Chris Calef's "Why 23 Years?Sentence for SUV arson didn't match the crime" (Eugene Weekly):
Why 23 years? It's really the only question worth asking in the case of Jeff "Free" Luers. Some people might want to ask, "Why did he do it?" but for people who've been paying attention to the climatologists, I think it's pretty obvious.
Global warming is here. Peak oil is here. We're at war in Iraq to maintain control over an oil supply that is only getting smaller. And meanwhile, the economic elite in America still love their SUVs. Some people just won't get it until you do something that makes them pay attention, and that's what Jeff Luers was trying to do. That's why he did it.
But why did he get 23 years? He damaged three SUVs, causing $40,000 in damages. No one was injured or even put at risk. How did this crime result in a sentence exceeding that of most murderers? What logic could possibly motivate a judge to inflict such a sentence on a 23-year-old man with no prior felonies, no history of violence or drug abuse and no intent to achieve personal gain from his actions?
Jeff is not alone.
The answer to this question is not to be found in the details of his crime. Compared to sentences received for comparable crimes, Jeff's sentence blows them all completely out of the water. Nobody gets 23 years for arson. Even people who burned down houses with people still in them don't pull that kind of time. To make sense of it, it is necessary to understand that the authorities are afraid, not just of Jeff but of people like him. He got 23 years because they decided to "make an example" of him.
There's an article in Clamor's latest issue that we'll highlight tomorrow. It's not available online and I apparently left the issue on my desk at work so we'll note it tomorrow.
What we can do is note what Marci e-mailed, "Weekend of Resistance for Jeff "Free" Luers"
Weekend of Resistance for Jeff "Free" Luers:
Local Video Showing at Traditions Fair Trade and Cafe
(5th and Water downtown Olympia)
June 11, 2005 7 PM Admission is FREE
Supporters of anarchist, environmentalist, and anticapitalist political prisoner Jeff "Free" Luers will show two films about Free and his case. Films are a new release from Cascadia Media Collective: 22/8 The Jeffrey Luers Story and Green With a Vengeance
People will be able to donate to Free's legal defense, write letters of support, sign the statement of solidarity, read some of Free's writings, view a few prints of Free's art, view and purchase copies of Heartcheck, a new 'zine by Free and anarchist political prisoner Rob Thaxton ("Rob Los Ricos"). In June 2001, 23 year-old forest defense activist Jeffrey "Free" Luers was sentenced to 22 years and 8 months in prison for the burning of three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) in Eugene, Oregon.
To make a statement about global warming, Jeff and his codefendent, Craig 'Critter' Marshall, set fire to three Sport Utility Vehicles at a Eugene car dealership. Their stated purpose was to raise awareness about global warming and the role that SUVs play in that process. No one was hurt in this action nor was that the intent. An arson specialist at trial confirmed that the action did not pose any threat to people based on its size and distance from any fuel source.
Despite the fact that this action hurt no one, caused only $40,000 in damages and the cars were later resold, Jeff was sent to prison for a sentence considerably longer than those convicted of murder, kidnapping and rape in Oregon state.
Jeff is a political prisoner and continues to write and agitate for his release while imprisoned at Oregon State Penetentiary. Go to the Free Free Now! Website: http://www.freefreenow.org
Eric e-mails Adam Bulger's "Total Anarchy! Anarchists flock to Hartford, trade skills and (don't) cause mayhem" (Hartford Advocate):
For an event billed as an anarchist convention, Outgrowing Capitalism was surprisingly well organized. The three-day event began in the evening Friday, May 28, with a bike-riding event, and ended the following Sunday with a discussion about the loose coalition´s future.
The weekend had been planned out months in advance, and mostly kept to the schedule the planners had posted on their website (outgrowingcapitalism.org). Even Saturday's 10:45 a.m. workshop on urban gardening/composting -- which involved tools like shovels, hoes and a huge mulch pile -- was finished and cleared up in time for the 12 p.m. "How to Talk to the Press" seminar scheduled to take place in the same outdoor space. The "skill share" workshops covered a diverse range of subjects. The instructors seemed prepared and knowledgeable.
Art Space, the arts center and apartment building on Main Street in downtown Hartford that hosted the event, buzzed with activity. The classes, which ranged in length from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes were conducted concurrently. There were sign-up sheets for each of them at the registration table. Interested out-of-towners could get acquainted with the capital city by checking out the official Hartford downtown activity guide maps among the informational pamphlets and fliers.
Everyone was well behaved. Not a single window was shattered. Nothing was set on fire. People barely even raised their voices. Nearly without exception, people were downright polite.
When I cornered two of the event's organizers, Dave Rozza and Win Vitkowsky, in a stairwell, one of my first questions was, "What the hell kind of anarchists are you?"
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