Sunday, September 28, 2008

African-American Gay Marriage Movie

Hmm, Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom will be opening in Los Angeles and Palm Springs October 24th, giving it two weekends to run before the Tuesday the state of California votes on the marriage amendment. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, eager Barck Obama supporters will defeat Prop 8:
Arnold Steinberg, a veteran Republican analyst, said the amendment's sponsors made a fatal strategic error in not qualifying the measure for the low turnout June election, instead of a presidential election swamped by eager Barack Obama supporters.

Why does he think Barack Obama supporters will vote against Prop 8? In terms of African-American Barack Obama supporters, will this movie help convince them to vote against Prop 8 or offend them so much they will vote for it? Here is the promo for the movie:

And the synopsis:
Noah, Alex, Ricky, Chance and their significant others travel to Martha's Vineyard for a weekend wedding getaway. Drama ensues as one-by-one their relationships start to crack under the pressure of closer examination. Newly successful screenwriter Noah looks to his friends for advice as he prepares to move his relationship to a more serious level while struggling to keep his first studio movie alive. But the friends are of little help as they juggle their own issues. Elder statesmen Chance and Eddie attempt to scratch their seven-year itch but worry their marriage has permanently lost its spark. And playboy Ricky flaunts his barely legal college student fling in the face of his monogamous friends but hides a surprising secret that threatens to rock the house. Add to the mix Alex's crazy-making wedding prep, a closeted superstar rapper, a high-maintenance studio exec, and a surprise visitor and you've got the makings of a hilarious and poignant romantic comedy.

Ten Commandments of Blogging

The English organization Evangelical Alliance will be posting their Ten Commandments of Blogging on Monday. Ruth Gledhill of the Times
has written an article about this with a slam at American conservatives:
If unwisely moderated by their owners, blogs can generate virtual wars across cyberspace, with right-wing bloggers in America among the most extreme in their postings.
Christian blogs, for some reason, generate most hate-filled comments.

I am not sure if this characterization is accurate. The worst vitriol I have seen was from Lisa Fox (for example here, and here), Anglican Scotist here and Father Jake. I am not linking to Father Jake as he has taken his site down.

Anyway, here is a preview of the Ten Commandments with my personal reflections:

1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity. Ironically, in my case, the blog is an effort to maintain my integrity in a hostile environment.

2. You shall not make an idol of your blog. Ouch! I started this blog in April of this year. There have been times when I became so focused on the blog that I lost sight of my purpose -- to write content that supported my relationship with God.

3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin. This is an issue for me as I do benefit from the shield that being Perpetua grants me. I do need to be careful not to abuse this.

4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog. Great idea!!! One way to be sure the blog doesn't become an idol is to make sure that day off is focused on my relationship with God.

5. Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes. Oh dear, maybe I shouldn't have dregged up those old posts of some of the progressive blogs. But then, maybe Ruth Gledhill shouldn't have made the accusation about conservative blogs.

6. You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings. Honor and reputation, yes, but I take issue with "feelings". It is not our job to walk on eggshells to protect the "feelings" of others.

7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind. OK.

8. You shall not steal another person’s content. I love the use of Hat Tip or H/T to acknowledge the origin of content. I think I have meant to include it and forgotten a few times. But usually, I just love to use the link function.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger. One great think about blogs is that anyone can check the other blog to confirm or deny what is written about it. For example if I were to give the false testimony that the Midwest Conservative Journal lacked a sense of humor, readers could immediately check it out for themselves.

10.You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content. I like this one because it makes the direct connection of ranking with content. The very highly ranked blogs do a terrific job of providing broad content, I couldn't possibly do what they do, so how can I envy them. And I do admire blogs that have a very particular focus. When I read about controversies regarding canons or lawsuits in the church, I wonder what Anglican Curmudgeon's will write about the legal issues and when I consider the Sunday lectionary, I wonder what Not Another Episcopal Church Blog's will write about his thoughts on the sermon at his church.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great News: Decline in Teenage Abortions

Anglican Pewster sent me an interesting article on the new Guttmacher Institute analysis of data on abortions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new analysis looks more closely at the previous news that the abortion rate has dropped 33 percent from a peak of 29 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 1980 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004.

The good news is that the teen abortion rate fell by more than half, from 42 abortions per 1,000 teenage girls at their peak rate in 1989 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004. That is the same 20 per 1,000 as for all women 15 to 44 in 2004, so now teenagers are no more likely to get an abortion than older women.

The new analysis shows that the bad news is the greater frequency of abortions for women of color and women who already have a child.

There are quite a few news articles on this analysis, some emphasizing the reduction in teen abortions and others emphasizing the disparity between socioeconomic groups. The Washington Post had a good article by Rob Stein with a powerful concluding quote:
Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama who works with the Family Research Council, attributed the drop in teenage pregnancies to a combination of factors, including increased contraceptive use, more teenagers delaying sex and state laws requiring parental consent.

"The states with the most active pro-life laws have seen the biggest abortion declines," he said.

And the Catholic News Agency has an interesting article with an emphasis on the Planned Parenthood outreach to African-Americans:
CNA discussed the study in a Wednesday phone interview with Dr. Alveda King, niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a pastoral associate for Priests for Life.

King said people “may miss the implications” from the raw data.

“You’ve got raw data that shows the abortion rate has declined among women, but there’s a disparate rate among African-American women,” she noted.

“The question should be ‘why?’

“The answer is that the abortion clinics are present at a much higher rate in African-American communities.

“Abortion is pitched to black women as therapeutic and so black women are still having more abortions, and that information is not readily apparent in a study like Guttmacher’s.”

FYI Anglican Pewster runs Not Another Episcopal Church Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Death Sentence for Conversion to Christianity

George Conger is reporting that Iran is in the process of passing a law that imposes a death sentence on Muslims who convert from Islam to another faith:
The Iranian parliament has passed the first reading of a bill that imposes the death penalty on Muslims who convert to another faith. By a vote of 196 to seven, with two abstentions, the Majlis passed the “Islamic Penal Law” bill on Sept 9.

The law, which will now be referred to committee for final drafting and possible amendment, mandates the death penalty for male adult Muslims who convert to another faith. Women converts are to be jailed for life. Those who practice witchcraft will also be condemned to death.

The law’s reach extends beyond the borders of Iran, and gives the government the authority to enforce the death penalty on any Muslim anywhere in the world who leaves the faith. While Iranian Islamic law, or Sharia law, provides for the execution of converts, the “Islamic Penal Law” would see these sanctions added to the country’s civil laws.

Read it all.
Hat/ Tip to Midwest Conservative Journal

Friday, September 19, 2008

Putting Recent Events in Perspective: Nightmare for Christian Converts in India

In a refuge camp for displaced Christians in Ghumusar Udayagiri, India, a pregnant woman recounts her nightmare:
Hearing the chanting women march by, Shyamala wiped her nose with her unwashed sari. She started to cry, again. Her feet are swollen and bloody, her stomach heavy. And she has a recurring nightmare.

"I am falling and falling down a big ditch. I see my newborn baby below me," she said, weeping. "And it is dead."

This article in Monday's Washington Post is a must read.

Conversions to Christianity have been happening fast among impoverished tribal communities in Kandhamal, a remote district with few links to the outside world or state services. The Christian population here, largely made up of traditionally nature-worshiping ethnic groups, has swelled from 6 percent in 1971 to 27 percent today, according to government census data.

The sad result is a growing violent backlash by Hindu's demanding the Christians convert to Hinduism. The Christians fear that they will be killed if they leave the refuge camp to return to their village and do not convert back to Hinduism.

The nightmare makes sense in a very real way as the woman is fearing the death or herself and her newborn baby. But on a metaphorical level, the baby may represent the new self who adheres to the new religion. Thus, the fear of the death is of the newborn faith.

Pray for the strength of faith for these martyrs.

Hat tip to Mollie at Get Religon

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Artist Admits Obama Poster Rooted in Soviet Propaganda Art

I was surprised to receive a comment on a previous post questioning my assertion that the Obama campaign art is based on Soviet propaganda images. So I am happy to see in today's San Francisco Chronicle that one of the artists, Shepard Fairey, is straightforward and clear about this. Fairey designed the poster with the word HOPE at the bottom, and now says this about that:

The image has been interpreted by critics as either capturing the inspiration Obama embodies or as just downright creepy in its propagandistic depiction of the political figure. The portrait, in muted tones, takes cues from socialist realism and is reminiscent of posters created to celebrate Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Fairey has enjoyed this debate. "The illustration does have roots in propaganda art," Fairey said. "I also want it to seem like a patriotic image, but not be seen as too countercultural. ... It needed just enough mainstream ingredients to transcend."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Funny Parody of Sarah Palin Paranoia -- And from the Huffington Post!

It looks like even the progressives are starting to make fun of the Sarah Palin Paranoia. Here is Greg Gutfeld on Sarah Palin's Murderous Web of Death:
Calling Sarah Palin a murderer might seem a stretch.

At first.

But alarmingly, Sarah Louise Heath Palin was born on February 11, 1964 - a suspicious beginning, as it is also the forty-eighth anniversary of the arrest of the free-thinking "first-wave feminist" Emma Goldman, for lecturing on the benefits of... birth control.

This "coincidence" could be easily dismissed, if poet and woman Sylvia Plath had not committed suicide one year (to the day) prior to the birth of Palin. Whether Palin was aware of this fact as a child isn't known - and whether the banning of the book "The Bell Jar" was actually discussed with her parents cannot be said for certain, but there had to be a reason why both mother and father landed comfortable jobs at various schools of learning - convenient locations that gave them easy access- not simply to books - but to bells, jars, and to children as well.

Yes: Our children...many of whom at the time were childlike - and vulnerable, like the late Sylvia Plath. If Plath could not weather the already considerable exploits of a youthful Palin - what harm might come to these young and helpless individuals?

Read it all at the Huffington Post

Hat Tip to Terry Mattingly at Get Religion

Eve Ensler Dreams of Sarah Palin

I continue to be interested in the progressive feminist reaction to the nomination of Sarah Palin for VP on the Republican ticket. The woman who wrote the Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, has posted a piece on the Huffington Post that begins with her dream:
I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I have noticed that polar bears have become a powerful symbol for many on the progressive left. Well, in Tony Crisp's dream dictionary, he writes that ice in dreams represents being cold emotionally or sexually. And a bear represents feelings about being a solitary creature, capable of living alone and surviving; danger of sudden unpredictable responses, feelings of threat.

Well that makes me think of Hillary Clinton. Clinton was perceived as a sort of "ice queen" so maybe the polar bear works in part as a representation of Hillary Clinton. Of course, it isn't Palin's fault that Obama defeated Clinton and then didn't pick her for VP. However, it does seem as if Palin is wearing the claws of Clinton as a trophy. This is how Saturday Night Live played it.

I am also thinking that Palin represents the opposite of Clinton. Palin has a large family, while Clinton had the one child. Palin's husband has supported Palin in her career while Clinton subordinated her career to her husband for many, many years.

I do like very much that Ensler shares her free associations. Almost at the end, she writes:
If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Interestingly, this is not her first mention of rape in the piece. She mentioned rape earlier here:
Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

Tony Crisp writes that rape "can mean that you are overcome by events, by other people dominating you, or by your internal rejected emotions. Rape in dreams is very different from rape in real life ..." Well, the bear also meant "danger of unpredictable response" which seems similar to me to being "overcome by events".

I think this dream is about the shocks of not getting a woman VP on the Democratic ticket and then getting the woman VP on the enemy Republican ticket. It is so outside the world view of progressive feminists that their perceived enemy, the Republicans, could possibly have a woman president before the Democrats. It so shocks their basic understanding that they even have nightmares. (They even deny Palin is a woman.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin

Continuing with my series of posts on the feminist narcissistic rage over Sarah Palin, I am calling attention to this piece from the WSJ by Cathy Young explaining why feminists went into a meltdown:

Mrs. Palin's marriage actually makes her a terrific role model. One of the best choices a woman can make if she wants a career and a family is to pick a partner who will be able to take on equal or primary responsibility for child-rearing. Our culture still harbors a lingering perception that such men are less than manly -- and who better to smash that stereotype than "First Dude" Todd Palin?

Nevertheless, when Sarah Palin offered a tribute to her husband in her Republican National Convention speech, New York Times columnist Judith Warner read this as a message that she is "subordinate to a great man." Perhaps the message was a brilliant reversal of the old saw that behind every man is a great woman: Here, the great woman is out in front and the great man provides the support. Isn't that real feminism?

Not to Ms. Marsh, who insists that feminism must demand support for women from the government. In this worldview, advocating more federal subsidies for institutional day care is pro-woman; advocating tax breaks or regulatory reform that would help home-based care providers -- preferred by most working parents -- is not. Trying to legislate away the gender gap in earnings (which no self-respecting economist today blames primarily on discrimination) is feminist. Expanding opportunities for part-time and flexible jobs is "the Republican Party line."

I disagree with Sarah Palin on a number of issues, including abortion rights. But when the feminist establishment treats not only pro-life feminism but small-government, individualist feminism as heresy, it writes off multitudes of women.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Lesson in the New Gender Reality: Sarah Palin is Not a Woman

Hmmm, the woman who wrote The Woman Who Pretended To Be Who She Was (2005) and Off with Her Head! The Denial of Women's Identity in Myth, Religion, and Culture
has now written that Sarah Palin is only pretending to be a woman. Professor Wendy Donniger denies Sarah Palin is a woman:

Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.

Wendy Doniger
Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago’s Divinity School
Wendy Doniger (O’Flaherty) is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. The “On Faith” panelist also teaches in the University’s Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations. She also serves on the University’s Committee on Social Thought. Doniger’s research and teaching center on Hinduism and mythology, with courses in the latter focusing on cross-cultural themes. Her courses in Hinduism cover a broad spectrum, including mythology, literature, law, gender, and ecology. After training as a dancer under George Balanchine and Martha Graham, Doniger earned two doctorates in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard and Oxford Universities. Before moving to the University of Chicago in 1978, she taught at Harvard, Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and the University of California at Berkeley. She has served as president of the American Academy of Religion and of the Association of Asian Studies. She holds four honorary degrees and serves on the International Editorial Board of the Encyclopedia Britannica and on the board of Daedalus. In 2000, she was recognized by PEN Oakland for excellence in multi-cultural non-fiction for Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India (1998). That same year she received the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay prize for her work on myths about sex: The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade (2000). Doniger has authored more than 20 other books, including translations of Sanskrit texts, among which are The Rig Veda: An Anthology (1981); Laws of Manu(1991) [with Brian K. Smith], and Kamasutra(2002) [with Sudhir Kakar]. She also wrote The Woman Who Pretended To Be Who She Was (2005) and Off with Her Head! The Denial of Women's Identity in Myth, Religion, and Culture [with Howard Eilberg Schwartz]. Close.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

This lecture in which Elizabeth Warren links the rise in bankruptcy to the shift from the one wage earner family to the two wage earner family is worth the time to watch. (Well, you can skip the first six minutes of introduction.)
H/T to Anglican Scotist

Friday, September 5, 2008

Three Things I Like About Palin for VP

1) We get to watch as the Republican men finally "get" sexism. This is their ticket and now they can see how women get so many cheap shots on issues that are never raised against men.

2) We get some role modeling as we watch this evangelical Christian family deal with teen pregnancy. Will the boy really marry the girl and be a role model for other teen Dads?

3) And I love to think that if McCain/ Palin win, we will get to how the family will handle the child care issues. Will we have a role model in the VP mansion of a macho guy as the "house husband"?

Executive Responsibilities and Experience

In high school civics we learned we have three branches of government to provide checks and balances: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. As I recall, the President of the United States is the head of the Executive branch of the government, responsible, like the CEO (chief executive officer) of a company, for the functions performed by the government. As I look at the the candidates in the presidential race, I notice these experience tracks:

Obama clerk in law firm, community organizer, state legislator, US Senator
Biden ??, US Senator

McCain military pilot, military officer, US Congressman, US Senator
Palin PTA, City Council, Mayor, state governor

I am thinking that there is no executive experience on the Democrat ticket, but I don't really understand the job duties of a community activist. I do see that McCain had some executive experience in the military after returning from Viet Nam. AND I see that Palin had some local town legislative experience and then two progressively more responsible chief executive experiences.