Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday In San Francisco

We were in San Francisco Friday morning, and some of the group were even shopping at the stores that surround Union Square. We thought it was our patriotic duty to ensure Black Friday was a success, and thus help restore confidence in our economic system. But somehow, we missed all the drama.

Actually, this seems in very bad taste given the what was going on in Mumbai, etc.

Media Reporting on Muslim Violence in Jos

Update: I no longer believe the Muslim rioting against Christians was spontaneous. See here and here.

Original Post: There have been three Islamic attacks against those of other religions this week: in Mumbai India, in Jos Nigeria, and in Cairo Egypt. While the horrific attack in Mumbai appears to have been carefully planned, the rioting in Cairo and in Jos seem to be spontaneous outbreaks of religious/ethnic hatred by Muslims against Christians. For the reporting in Jos, I noticed that the news stories seemed to be shifting shape over time to obscure the Muslim instigation.

The early Reuters report of the rioting in Jos attributed the outbreak of violence to Hausa youths, but did not explain that the Hausa are Muslim until the final paragraphs of the story:
JOS, Nigeria, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Youths with machetes hacked to death a policeman and burned tyres in the central Nigerian town of Jos on Friday in protest over the outcome of a local government election, witnesses said.

Demonstrators from the Hausa ethnic group began protesting overnight after a rumour spread that their ANPP party candidate had lost the local government chairmanship race to the ruling PDP party.

As the death toll escalated, a later AP report began by attributing the violence to both sides:
JOS, Nigeria (AP) — Feuding Muslim and Christian mobs burned homes, churches and mosques Saturday as the death toll rose to 35 in Nigeria's worst sectarian violence in years.

After a night of assault-rifle fire and explosions, 20 bodies with fresh wounds arrived at the city's main mosque for quick burial in keeping with Islamic precepts.
The article in today's New York Times began the report at the location of a mosque so that the story begins with the Muslims as the victims:
JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) — More than 200 bodies have been brought to the main mosque in Jos in central Nigeria after ethnic and religious clashes, and the final death toll is likely to be higher, the Red Cross said Saturday.

A senior Nigerian Red Cross official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that 218 bodies were lying in the main mosque here awaiting burial.

“There are many other bodies in the streets,” the official said. That death toll did not include hospital figures, victims already buried, or those taken to other places of worship, meaning the final count could be much higher, officials said.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

20,000 Muslims Riot at Cairo Church

From the AINA:
One thousand Christians were today trapped inside the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in West Ain Shams,Cairo, after more than twenty thousand Muslims attacked them with stones and butane gas cylinders. The Church's priest Father Antonious said that the situation is extremely dangerous.

The Muslim mob that attacked the church blocked both sides of the street and encircled the church building, broke its doors and demolished its entire first floor. The mob were chanting Jihad verses as well as slogans saying "we will demolish the church" and "We sacrifice our blood and souls, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Islam", while the entrapped Christians chanted "Lord have mercy".
The incident started on the occasion of the inauguration of the Church today, when the Muslims hastily established a Mosque in the early hours of this morning, by taking over the first floor of a newly-built building facing the Church and started praying there.

Read it all here

Two videos are posted here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Torching free speech in the name of tolerance

There was a thoughtful op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle today by a very brave high school student, David McDiarmid. He points out that:
In attempts to create a climate of tolerance at Acalanes, we have promoted certain types of diversity at the expense of others, and in doing so, we have given up an essential component of education.
and that
In our attempts to create a pleasant learning environment, we have veered from our drive for an educational environment in which beliefs are debated, assumptions questioned and original thoughts developed.
I was not surprised to read that although some sort of secret ballot indicates that 20 percent of his school's students and faculty supported Prop 8, very few were willing to express their views publicly. And when the school newspaper wanted to print a pro 8 article, (I presume to balance a No on 8 article), they could find no one to write it unless they could be anonymous, lest they be branded as homophobes.

I decided to look at the comments as I was preparing to post this and the first is from last night, so I guess this article went online last night. Anyway, of the first three comments posted on line at, two were:
11/24/2008 8:57:20 PM

Wah wah wah, those awful people wouldn't let me spread my hateful agenda wah wah wah. Gosh, how does it feel having to hide? LIKE I DID ALL THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL. At least you didn't get the cr6p beaten out of you.
11/25/2008 6:58:14 AM

So the writers in support of Prop 8 felt the need to remail anonymous, lest they be branded homophobes. Funny, that reminds me of another group who wears white hoods and robes to remain anonymous.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Op- Ed Editor of the SF Chronicle Gets It

Thank you, Jon Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle for having the courage to write this:
A supporter of Proposition 8, fed up with what he believed was the gay community's and "liberal media's" refusal to accept the voters' verdict, fired off a letter to the editor.

"Please show respect for democracy," he wrote, in a letter we published.

What he encountered instead was an utter lack of respect for free speech.

Within hours, the intimidation game was on. Because his real name and city were listed - a condition for publication of letters to The Chronicle - opponents of Prop. 8 used Internet search engines to find the letter writer's small business, his Web site (which included the names of his children and dog), his phone number and his clients. And they posted that information in the "Comments" section of - urging, in ugly language, retribution against the author's business and its identified clients.

"They're intimidating people that don't have the same beliefs as they do ... so they'll be silenced," he told me last week. "It doesn't bode well for the free-speech process. People are going to have to be pretty damn courageous to speak up about anything. Why would anyone want to go through this?"

Diaz goes on to give his credentials as a card carrying supporter of gay rights and to reassure gay readers that they will eventually prevail. And he concludes with the "both sides" talking point I have noted before seems to be required of the media by the GLBTQ activists:
Intimidation, through attempts to chill free speech or an independent judiciary, should have no part in this debate. The leaders on both sides should have the honesty to recognize it within their camps - and the courage to condemn it.
But don't blame John Diaz for reciting the required words. The Chronicle would have picketers and his own job would be on the line if he didn't.

In the news section, the Chronicle reported that the anti-Prop 8 rally at the California capital in Sacramento fizzled yesterday, only 5,000 showed up while organizers had intially forecasted 20,000. And their leaders were spouting the ugly rhetoric Diaz cautioned against. One of the speakers was Robin Tyler, one of the plaintiffs in Supreme Court case that resulted in the brief institution of gay marriage.
Tyler, a longtime activist for lesbian rights, argued that same-sex marriage opponents have no right to complain about any physical and verbal attacks they've encountered since election day.

"Get over it," she said. "It's easier to wash a paint stain off a church than to take off the stain they left on the California Constitution."

And comedian Margaret Cho sang a rather ugly song:
Cho, whose comedy routines are anything but G-rated, provided a song she wrote slamming Mormons for their support of the measure, ending with a chorus suggesting that voters not let the Mormons get away with what they did.

Well, the Chronicle published the 5,000 estimate, but the Sacramento Bee is putting it quite a bit lower. In a story published 22 hours ago, one reporter wrote "Thousands of gay rights supporters," but an article by a different reporter published 15 hours ago says:
It drew between 1,500 and 1,800 people to the Capitol's west steps.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What the Prop 8 Exit Poll Results Tell Us

The GLBT activists promoting gay marriage have argued that marriage is about romantic love. I think marriage is about heterosexual procreation and family formation for child rearing. Let's look at the exit poll results to see what married people with children thought about Proposition 8:
Married w/ Children (31% of voters)
Voted Yes: 68%
Voted No: 32%

Not Married w/Children (69% of voters)
Voted Yes: 45%
Voted No: 55%
We can see that married people with children voted overwhelmingly, 68%, for Proposition 8. This is because they have lived the experience of marriage with children and know that marriage is about something more important than romantic love.

When we look at the exit poll results by age, we see that for every age category over 29 years old, the majority supported Proposition 8.
18-24 (11% of voters)
Voted Yes: 36%
Voted No: 64%

25-29 (9% of voters)
Voted Yes: 41%
Voted No: 59%

30-39 (17%of voters)
Voted Yes: 52%
Voted No: 48%

40-49 (22% of voters)
Voted Yes: 59%
Voted No: 41%

50-64 (26% of voters)
Voted Yes: 51%
Voted No: 49%

65 or Over (15% of voters)
Voted Yes: 61%
Voted No: 39%
Young people tend to conflate marriage and romantic love. Those with more life experience tend to know better.

It is particularly important to look at the exit poll results by gender and race:
White Men (31% of voters)
Voted Yes: 51%
Voted No: 49%

White Women (32% of voters)
Voted Yes: 47%
Voted No: 53%

Black Men (4% of voters)
Voted Yes: N/A
Voted No: N/A

Black Women (6% of voters)
Voted Yes: 75%
Voted No: 25%

Latino Men (8% of voters)
Voted Yes: 54%
Voted No: 46%

Latino Women (11% of voters)
Voted Yes: 52%
Voted No: 48%

All Other Races (9% of voters) 49% 51%
Voted Yes: 49%
Voted No: 51%

While the media has been reporting that 70% of Blacks voted Yes on Prop 8, when further broken down by gender, we find that 75% of Black women voted Yes on Prop 8. Remember that about 70% of Black children in the USA are born out of wedlock. While the media has been presenting the Black vote as a Black church issue, I think we should see it as a call for help by Black women. They need society to help them get their men back into marriages and supporting their children.

Friday, November 21, 2008

FBI Investigating Vandalism of Mormon Churches

The FBI is investigating a list of nine church related crimes in Utah that have occurred over the past two weeks (since the passage of Prop 8) as possible civil rights violations.
H/T The Salt Lake Tribune

Study Shows Minor Rule Breaking Encourages Social Disorder

Science magazine has published the results of some Dutch research showing "that when people observe that others violated a certain social norm or legitimate rule, they are more likely to violate even other norms or rules, which causes disorder to spread." Littering, trespassing and stealing all increased when people saw evidence that others had disregarded social norms.

Supporters of gay marriage often say they can't understand how their marriages could affect others. The answer is that those around us really do respond to social cues. Disorder breeds more disorder, and not necessarily of exactly the same kind. In the Dutch research, one sign of disorder would lead to a very large increase in another form of social disorder. This Dutch study would seem to support the idea that, as gay marriage is seen as a violation of social norms, it could lead to increases in divorces and in children born out of wedlock.

An AP article summarizes the study:
In normal behavior most people try to act appropriately to the circumstances, explained lead author Kees Keizer of the faculty of behavioral and social sciences at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. But some tend to avoid effort or seek ways to gain for themselves.

Things like littering an area or applying graffiti change the circumstances by indicating that others are not behaving correctly, which weakens the incentive for people to do the right thing.

So the researchers were not surprised that people littered more in messy area, for example. But, added Keizer: "We were, however, surprised by the size of the effect."

Here's an example.

The researchers found a tidy alley in a shopping area where people parked their bicycles. There was a no-littering sign on the wall.

The researchers attached flyers for a nonexistent store to the bike handlebars and observed behavior.

Under normal circumstances, 33 percent of riders littered the alley with the flyer. But after researchers defaced the alley wall with graffiti, the share of riders who littered with the flyers jumped to 69 percent.

They did a half-dozen similar experiments, all with similar results.

The other experiments of the Dutch researchers that the AP article provides clearly show that when people saw that rules were not enforced, they generalized this and broke other rules. In one case a sign was posted forbidding locking bikes to a fence, but bikes were locked to the fence. In another case a sign said to return shopping carts to the market, but many carts were left around the parking lot. When people saw that the rules weren't being enforced, they then broke another social norm or rule to avoid the minor inconvenience of following the rule or to obtain a benefit (stealing).
While the study seems to deliver a negative message, Keizer pointed out that "it also shows that municipal officials and the public can have a significant impact on the influence of norms and rules on behavior."
Of course, this also applies to church leaders. What happens when people see rules in the Prayer Book disregarded by the ministers of the church, e.g., gay marriage or, for example, open communion. Ministers think they appear generous by offering open communion, while, in reality, they may be signaling to congregants that rule breaking is accepted in this church. (Hmmm, I wonder if in this circumstance more people would be apt to steal from the collection plate?)

AP summarizes some of the tests:
Test Two:

A fence partly closed off the main entrance to a parking lot. There was a narrow gap and a no-admittance sign that pointed out a new entry, 200 yards away. A second sign prohibited locking bikes to the fence.

When the fence was clear, 27 percent of people heading for their cars ignored the no-admittance sign and squeezed through the gap in the fence. But after several bikes were locked to the fence in defiance of that ban, 82 percent of people going to their cars squeezed through the prohibited entry.

Test Three:

Flyers were placed under the windshield wipers of cars in a parking garage next to a market. A sign on the wall asked people to return their shopping carts to the market.

When the lot was clear of shopping carts, 30 percent of drivers littered the lot with the flyers. But when a few carts were left in a disorderly state around the garage, 58 percent of people littered.

Test Four:

Two weeks before New Year's Day researchers visited a bicycle parking shed near a train station and attached flyers to the handlebars. Under normal conditions 52 percent of the riders littered the shed with the flyers. Then the researchers set off fireworks outside the shed — which residents know is illegal in the period before New Year. Hearing the fireworks, 80 percent of riders littered the shed.

Tests Five and Six:

An envelope with money visible through the address window was placed sticking out of a mailbox.

Under ordinary conditions 13 percent of passers-by stole the envelope.

When the same mailbox was defaced with graffiti the percentage taking the money jumped to 27 percent.

After researchers cleaned the mailbox, but messed up the area around it with litter, 25 percent stole the money.

Conclusion: If leaders want people to "do the right thing", leaders must maintain social norms and enforce the rules.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shariah Law in Britain as told to the New York Times

The New York Times had an article today on how Shariah law is being implemented in Britain, primarily in cases of divorce and inheritance. Women who want to get along with family members and be considered Muslim are being pressured to allow these Shariah courts to decide cases, although Islamic law does not grant equal rights to women.

Women who are being physically abused are being encouraged to stay with their husbands and women who would get an equal share of the inheritance under British law are accepting the one third share assigned to women.

“We do not want to give the impression that Muslims are an isolated community seeking a separate legal system in this country,” said Shahid Raza, who a“We are not asking for criminal Shariah law — chopping of hands or stoning to death,” he continued.

“Ninety-nine percent of our cases are divorce cases in which women are seeking relief. We are helping women. We are doing a service.”

So why are ninety-nine percent divorce cases in which women are seeking relief? Because:
Under some interpretations of Islamic law, a woman needs the blessing of a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence to be divorced, while a man can simply say three times that he is divorcing his wife.

Sounds like a scam to me. Are these women paying these "Islamic scholars" for this "service"?

The article is written to emphasize that if a woman can get her father to support her position ... then the decision may swing her way. Great. Men don't need the courts to get a divorce, men get a larger share of the inheritance and their voices count more in court.

Here's the link to the New York Times article.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Video of Girl Attacked By Gays in Castro District Riot

As well as the KTVU story and raw footage showing the police in riot gear, and the written testimony, there is now posted at Youtube this video that opens with the direct testimony of one of the Christian girls. She says they were repeatedly told "We're going to kill you."

How the 38 Primates of the Anglican Communion Regard the New North American Province

UPDATED 12/05/08

This list is based on the list provided at The Official Anglican Communion Website. I'm allocating them to the categories based on published information as indicated after each name. I'll be updating this list as more information is released.

Those Who Are Expected to Approve of the New North American Province

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (See Stand Firm In Faith 11/17/08)

The Anglican Church of Kenya The Most Revd Benjamin M P Nzimbi ((Member of GAFCON Primates and also see Stand Firm In Faith 11/17/08)

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) The Most Revd Peter Jasper Akinola DD (Member of GAFCON Primates)

L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda The Most Revd Emmanuel Musaba Kolini (Member of GAFCON Primates)

Church of the Province of South East Asia The Most Revd Dr John Chew (See Baby Blue Online 12/05/08)

Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America The Most Revd Gregory James Venables (Member of GAFCON Primates)

The Anglican Church of Tanzania The Rt Revd Valentino Mokiwa (Member of GAFCON Primates)

The Church of the Province of Uganda The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi (Member of GAFCON Primates)

The Church of the Province of West Africa The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi (See Stand Firm In Faith 11/17/08)

Those Who Are Not Expected to Approval of the New North American Province

The Anglican Church of Canada The Most Revd Frederick J Hiltz (See here)

The Episcopal Church in the USA The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori

Those Whose Intentions Are Unknown regarding the New North American Province

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia The Most Revd William Brown Turei

The Anglican Church of Australia The Most Revd Phillip John Aspinall

The Church of Bangladesh The Rt Revd Paul Sishir Sarkar

Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil The Most Revd Maurício José Araújo de Andrade

The Episcopal Church of Burundi The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi

The Church of the Province of Central Africa Vacant (awaiting details)

Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America The Most Revd Martin de Jesus Barahona

Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo The Most Revd Dr. Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle

The Church of England The Most Revd Rowan Douglas Williams

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui The Most Revd Paul Kwong

The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest

The Church of Ireland The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper

The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan) The Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu

The Anglican Church of Korea The Most Revd Francis Kyung Jo Park

The Church of the Province of Melanesia The Most Revd Sir Ellison Leslie Pogo KBE

La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico The Most Revd Carlos Touche-Porter

The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma) The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo

The Church of North India (United) The Most Revd Joel Vidyasagar Mal

The Church of Pakistan (United) The Rt Revd Dr Alexander John Malik

The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea The Most Revd James Simon Ayong

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines The Most Revd Ignacio Capuyan Soliba

The Scottish Episcopal Church The Most Revd Idris Jones

The Church of South India (United) The Most Revd John Wilson Gladstone

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa The Most Revd Thabo Cecil Makgoba

The Episcopal Church of the Sudan The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak

The Church in Wales The Most Revd Dr. Barry Cennydd Morgan

The Church in the Province of the West Indies The Most Revd Drexel Wellington Gomez

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gays Riot, Chase Christians from Castro District

2nd UPDATE: To watch the video of the testimony of one of the Christian girls go here.

UPDATE: Some details from the Daily Kos. (I don't link to this because the post is gloating about it.) "Every available police car in the district and some from outside of it were dispatched to deal with the resulting melee. It took a squad of 15 or 20 police officers with batons at the ready to escort the group of preachers several blocks to their cars, while the crowd dogged their heels every step of the way, chanting "Bigots out of our neighborhood" and "Don't come back".""

KTVU has some amazing raw footage from last night --- a mob of gays chasing Christians out of San Francisco's Castro district, with the police in riot gear trying to keep the gays back. I can't embed the video, so you need to go here to see it. Here's the story, but I hate to post it as it starts with the usual "both sides" falsehood. (I wonder if that is an official gay "talking point"?)
In San Francisco's Castro District, people on both sides of the same-sex marriage controversy confronted each other on Friday night, as police tried to keep the peace. Proposition 8 passed in a close vote and eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Members of the gay community said that almost every Friday night, a Christian group meets at the corner of Castro and 18th Streets. They try to convert gays and lesbians into a straight lifestyle.

This Friday night, the message didn't go over well. Some gays and lesbians reacted by trying to chase the group out of the Castro.

"Their rights were respected," said Joe Schmitz, an opponent of Prop 8. "They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood."

San Francisco Police officers in riot gear formed a line and escorted the religious group into a van to safely get them out of the area.

Members of the gay community insisted that their reaction to the Christian group was spontaneous. "It was not an organized thing. We're tired of it. It's not religious. It's not a racial thing. It's about hate. We're trying to send a message across the world that we're standing up and we don't want this to go on anymore," said Adam Quintero.

So watch the raw footage of the police in riot gear and the crowd. At the two minute mark, or so, one gay man speaks into the camera:
“It’s our neighborhood! … And we don’t ever want them coming back! Ever! Do you understand that, other Christians? Do you understand that, other Mormons? I’m talking to you people! Yeah, you! Stay out of our neighborhood if you don’t like us! Leave us alone!”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gay Plans for Church Protests This Sunday

Gays activists have made the following plans for protests this Sunday according to Queers United. Some are clearly churches and some may be gathering first at the locations listed with plans to march to churches nearby. The website also list plans for protests on other days:

Sunday, Nov. 16th

Lake Forest, CA
Saddle Back Church 10:00AM
1 Saddleback Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA 92630

Long Beach, CA
Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints [Silent Protest]
10:30 AM, 1140 Ximeno

Los Altos, CA
11:00am - 2:00pm
1300 Grant Rd

Oakland, CA
11:30am - 2:00pm
Foothill Missionary Baptist Church
1530 Foothill BLVD

Philadelphia, PA
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Independence Hall
143 South 3rd Street

Long Beach, CA
3 p.m. | Intersection of PCH/7th/Bellflower
Contact: Brittney at

San Clemente, CA
3 p.m. | 242 Avenida Del Mar
Contact: Edson McClellan at 949.584.6084 or

How To Blacklist Your Neighbor (Who Supported Prop 8)

The recent efforts to destroy the career of Scott Eckern were so successful that if is worth considering the tactics:

1) Identify a target.
Per the Sac Bee Wednesday story:
The composer, who is openly gay, said he read about Eckern's contribution to the campaign on the Web site, and he felt he had to do something.

Per the Sac Bee Tuesday story:
Potential targets can be easily found on the websites provided by gay activists.
Links to Eckern's official donation information began appearing Thursday on sites such as the gay political activism site and the more informal conversational forum www.datalounge.

You can use the official "Anti Gay Blacklist".
Or you can always use the nifty site provided by the San Francisco Chronicle to find anyone in a zipcode or city who contributed to support Prop 8.

2) Start the blacklist boycott by emailing all your friends and colleagues to let them know you will not longer work with this person:
Per the Los Angeles Times:
Shaiman said Tuesday that he phoned Eckern on Friday to protest, then e-mailed more than 1,000 contacts to alert them about the donation.

Per the Sac Bee
Shaiman sent an e-mail which has reverberated through the national theater community and backed the CMT's leaders into the unusual position of doing damage control. He wrote he wouldn't allow his work to be done at California Musical Theatre, and theater workers around the country have followed his lead."No one should be surprised in 2008 at how fast information can be spread, and that's of course a doubled-edged sword," Shaiman said.

Susan Egan, star of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Cabaret," followed with a similar e-mail.

Theater professionals flooded CMT's offices over the weekend with phone calls and e-mails decrying Eckern's actions.

And from Jeff Whitty, whose "Avenue Q" is scheduled to play the Sacramento theater in March, was among those alerted by Shaiman's e-mail, and wrote on his blog:
I'll work to prevent CMT from producing any of my future shows with Mr. Eckern at the helm. To me, he's one of those hypocrites who profits from the contributions of gays, whose soul is fed by us and pockets lined by us, but thinks of us as ultimately damned. And I support anyone who’s moved to cancel subscriptions and tickets and write letters and express their feelings about Mr. Eckern’s actions.

3) Be careful with your wording. You are not asking that he be fired, merely refusing to work with him.
See how cleverly Andrew Sullivan put it in his Atlantic Monthly blog post:
The artistic director of Sacramento's Musical Theatre donated to Yes On 8. He should not be fired, in my view. But I can't see how he can work with any gays any longer. Which might limit his professional options.

4) Know when to let it go.
See how gracefully Jeff Whitty backpedaled as the boycott gained momentum and a real career was at stake:
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My thoughts on the Scott Eckern situation are below. Well, they're yesterday's thoughts, anyway.

Yesterday Scott made an apology that I find convincing and sincere. He backed it up with a donation to HRC. During our phone call, I sensed that there was some real ambivalence, even regret, over this issue, not necessarily related to his future at California Musical Theatre. While my activist side is saying, "Make an example of somebody!", I also would rather hold an unrepentant bigot's feet to the fire. Scott Eckern isn't that.

Scott has been taking calls and exchanging/enduring dialogue at a time when I think most people would have keep their heads firmly planted in the sand. I applaud him for not shutting down, and instead keeping himself open to an overwhelming degree of criticism. He has engaged in dialogue with some of his angriest critics, which speaks volumes.

I look forward to working with the California Musical Theatre in the future. While I think their artistic director made a grave mistake, it was a mistake he then addressed in an honest and human way.

That's all from me.

5) Or you can just be a jerk and babble incoherent spin as your ugly game is exposed to the world.
Per the Sac Bee
Shaiman hopes the episode leads to better understanding of gay people.

"I love God. And this is how God made me," he said. "How people can say this is a choice? Unless you are – you don't know."

Global Blasphemy Laws?

This op ed piece from the Christian Science Monitor says that the special session of the UN being held this week was initiated by Saudi King Abdullah to develop a global law to punish blasphemy and apostasy.

The UN session is designed to endorse a meeting of religious leaders in Spain last summer that was the brainchild of King Abdullah and organized by the Muslim World League. That meeting resulted in a final statement counseling promotion of "respect for religions, their places of worship, and their symbols ... therefore preventing the derision of what people consider sacred."

The lofty-sounding principle is, in fact, a cleverly coded way of granting religious leaders the right to criminalize speech and activities that they deem to insult religion. Instead of promoting harmony, however, this effort will exacerbate divisions and intensify religious repression.

Such prohibitions have already been used in some countries to restrict discussion of individuals' freedom vis-à-vis the state, to prevent criticism of political figures or parties, to curb dissent from prevailing views and beliefs, and even to incite and to justify violence.

If this analysis is correct it will give UN sanction to the complaints from India that Christians disparage Hindu gods with their conversion materials. And it will give sanction to Islamic countries for prohibiting conversion and punishing apostasy from Islam with death.

H/T Little Green Footballs

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blacklisting Works -- Artistic Director Quits

The Sacramento Bee has posted on line today the latest installment on this story of the Artistic Director who was black listed in an internet swarm. It begins:
The California Musical Theatre found itaself caught in a dramatic conflict between free speech and civil rights, a situation that ultimately led to today's resignation of artistic director Scott Eckern.

Eckern quit this morning. He became the target of strong criticism after it was learned he donated $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign to ban gay marriage.

In an industry long considered gay-friendly and tied to causes such as AIDS research, Eckern's donation outraged theater workers across the country.

In Sacramento, a number of the musical theater's supporters contacted The Bee to rally behind the embattled Eckern, stating that he was now a victim of intolerance and persecution himself.

Playbill and other media have said he issued an apology and plans to donate $1,000 to a nonprofit committed to achieving equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Can you believe the last words of the article were given to the creep who engineered this, Marc Shaiman, the composer of "Hairspray,":
Shaiman hopes the episode leads to better understanding of gay people.

"I love God. And this is how God made me," he said. "How people can say this is a choice? Unless you are – you don't know."

I don't even know what he means.

More on the Blacklisting of Scott Eckern

From yesterday's Sacramento Bee:
Gay and lesbian artists called Monday for an artistic and audience boycott of California Musical Theatre after learning that its artistic director donated $1,000 to a campaign that backed banning gay marriage in California.

Scott Eckern was not available for comment Monday as the revelation has gained stunning momentum on the blogosphere. The California Musical Theatre produces the Music Circus, presents Broadway Sacramento, and recently opened "Forever Plaid" at the capital's newest performing venue, the Cosmopolitan Cabaret.

Richard Lewis, the organization's executive producer, said the board of directors will conduct an emergency meeting on the matter this afternoon. He said it was too early to tell how this would affect Eckern's 25-year employment with California Musical Theatre.

In a statement released Monday, Lewis said: "Any political action or the opinion of Scott Eckern is not shared by California Musical Theatre. We have a long history of appreciation for the LGBT community and are truly grateful for their longstanding support."

Links to Eckern's official donation information began appearing Thursday on sites such as the gay political activism site and the more informal conversational forum www.datalounge. The measure was Proposition 8 on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Cleverly Worded Black Listing Over Prop 8

Andrew Sullivan's Atlantic Monthly blog post:
11 Nov 2008 07:01 pm
Dumbest Man Alive

The artistic director of Sacramento's Musical Theatre donated to Yes On 8. He should not be fired, in my view. But I can't see how he can work with any gays any longer. Which might limit his professional options.

I believe the appropriate phrase for this is "butter wouldn't melt in his mouth".

H/T to DoubleThink

Veterans Day in Berkeley

Zomblog has a some powerful documentation up today, photos and videos of what the World Can't Wait people thought was appropriate for the week we honor our veterans.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Black Pastor Says Gays Take Our Language and Add New Meanings

I found this in an articla on a protest in Salinas California against the passage of Prop 8:
The Rev. Chauncey Killens, an associate minister at Soul Church of God and Christ in Prunedale, carried a sign saying "Adult with Child Sex is Okay." Killens said he was trying to show the "natural progression" of what might happen if the state allows gay marriage.

Killens said he believes gay people should be treated humanely, but he opposes what he calls "special rights," such as gay marriage.

Proposition 8 is not a civil rights issue, said Killens, who is black.

"They keep taking our language and adding new meanings," said Killens, referring to the black civil rights movement. "They keep hijacking our terms."

Veteran's Day

I was at a "church" on Sunday that did not acknowledge Veteran's Day. There were veterans in the congregation and some members of the congregation have children in the military now. But the minister chose to ignore this.

The minister devoted his sermon to his disappointment that Proposition 8 had passed. He wanted his mother to approve of his same-sex relationship. He thought that if his relationship were a legal marriage, she would have to finally approve.

Well, he possibly acknowledged Veteran's Day in a negative way in the choice of a closing hymn. He had chosen Down By the Riverside with the refrain "I ain't gonna study war no more". I was sad because I am so grateful for the US military. When I read about the Shariah Law being imposed in Somalia and Iran, I am so grateful to the US military for studying war so that they can protect our freedoms.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coming to a City Near You

Plans for protests against Prop 8 across the country on November 15th. Find your protest location here.

A Girl Who Knows How to Dress for a Fight

From last Friday night in San Francisco. You can skip ahead to 1.03 minutes to when she starts her talk.

Priorities at All Saints Episcopal Pasadena

Susan Russell has called attention to the Voter's Recommendations provided by All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena California. As someone who voted on the California ballot propositions, I was very interested to see the priorities of All Saints Pasadena.

All Saints took no position on proposition 3 to approve bonds to fund children's hospitals. This measure received 54.8% of the vote, no thanks to All Saints.

All Saints opposed proposition 4 to require Parental Notification before minors were given abortions. Why support funding for children's hospitals if you can just get them all to abort their babies. Over the next 20 years, the number of children in California is projected to jump by 35 percent, according to the state Department of Finance, but that won't happen if we can just up the abortion rate, right?

All Saints opposed proposition 6 which was designed to give police resources to deal with the gangs in California. To understand the extent of the gang problem, please see this article in today's San Francisco Chronicle which begins:
San Francisco's 98 homicides last year, the highest number in 12 years, were anything but random. According to a new study, the violence was concentrated - routinely involving the same gangs and featuring suspects and victims with long rap sheets.

Nearly three-fourths of the 38 suspects arrested so far in the killings had criminal records, according to the study by the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, a research and policy group at the UC Berkeley School of Law. The average suspect had 12 previous arrests.

OK, so if we can just support abortions and keep the police from stopping the gangs from killing each other, we won't need the children's hospitals.

All Saints also opposed proposition 8 which eliminated same-sex marriage. Remember, California had a domestic partners law which provides all the benefits of marriage without the name. So all Prop 8 does is preserve a separate concept of marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

The only other proposition that All Saints took a stand on was for Victim Rights, Prop 9. Once again, All Saints opposed it.

Create Your Own Prop 8 Black List

(UPDATE Due to the large volume of traffic to this page, I wish to clarify my intent. I was appalled that the San Francisco Chronicle had provided this feature, but expressed it through sarcasm. Please see my more recent posts on the sidebar for ongoing coverage of blacklisting over Prop 8.)

I see the San Francisco Chronicle website has provided a nifty feature.
Search the database below to see who has contributed money to the campaigns supporting and opposing California's Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage.

To perform a narrow search, enter a person's name below and click the "Search" button. For a broader search, select from one or more of the drop-down menus to see a list of contributors by state, city and ZIP code.

Just think of all the fun they will have:
Create your own black list
Sort by zipcode to decide which neighbors' houses to egg

Now They're Blaming the Roman Catholics

I have not been posting as I watched the response to the passage of Proposition 8. First the gays and lesbians were blaming the African-American turn-out. Blacks voted 70% for Prop 8. The gays and lesbians were shocked that African-Americans had not bought into the civil rights analogy being pushed by the LGBT activists. But they soon realized it was better to drop that story as it undermined their own arguments. And criticizing a disadvantaged minority looked bad.

So they went after the Mormon Church. Individual Mormons had made individual contributions that added up to a large percent of the total donations to Yes on 6. Targeting the individual who made the donations looked like harassment, so they started protesting outside Mormon churches. But actually, that looked like harassment, harassment of a small minority religion.

So in today's San Francisco Chronicle we can see they have found a new target of blame for the passage of Prop 8 is the Roman Catholic Church:
Months before the first ads would run on Proposition 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to a group he knew well, Mormons.

Niederauer had made critical inroads into improving Catholic-Mormon relations while he was Bishop of Salt Lake City for 11 years. And now he asked them for help on Prop. 8, the ballot measure that sought to ban same-sex marriages in California.

The June letter from Niederauer drew in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and proved to be a critical move in building a multi-religious coalition - the backbone of the fundraising, organizing and voting support for the successful ballot measure. By bringing together Mormons and Catholics, Niederauer would align the two most powerful religious institutions in the Prop. 8 battle.

You see, the problem wasn't the Mormons -- it was the Roman Catholic Church behind the Mormons.

Maybe this will work. They have been getting away with lewd and vulgar parodies of Roman Catholic nuns for years.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rape Victim Stoned to Death in Somalia Was 13

There are two reports on this. The New York Times is carrying a Reuters report today that the woman was a 13 year old girl who had been raped by three men:
NAIROBI, Kenya - The United Nations said Tuesday that a Somali stoned to death by Islamist militants after she had been accused of adultery was a 13-year-old girl who had been raped while visiting her grandmother.

In the first such public killing by the militants in about two years, she was placed in a hole and stoned to death on Oct. 28 in a rebel-held port city, Kismayu, in front of a crowd, after local leaders said she was guilty under Shariah, the legal code of Islam based on the Koran.

Witnesses said at the time that the victim had been a 23-year-old woman.

“Reports indicate that she had been raped by three men while traveling on foot to visit her grandmother in the war-torn capital, Mogadishu,” Unicef, the United Nations children’s agency, said in a statement.

“Following the assault, she sought protection from the authorities, who then accused her of adultery and sentenced her to death,” Unicef added. “A child was victimized twice — first by the perpetrators of the rape and then by those responsible for administering justice.”

The BBC has quite a bit more, including this:
A young woman recently stoned to death in Somalia first pleaded for her life, a witness has told the BBC.

"Don't kill me, don't kill me," she said, according to the man who wanted to remain anonymous. A few minutes later, more than 50 men threw stones.

Human rights group Amnesty International says the victim was a 13-year-old girl who had been raped.

Initial reports had said she was a 23-year-old woman who had confessed to adultery before a Sharia court.

Numerous eye-witnesses say she was forced into a hole, buried up to her neck then pelted with stones until she died in front of more than 1,000 people last week.

and this:
Cameras were banned from the stoning in Kismayo, but print and radio journalists who were allowed to attend estimated that the woman, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, was 23 years old.

People were saying this was not good for Sharia law, this was not good for human rights, this was not good for anything
However, Amnesty said it had learned she was 13, and that her father had said she was raped by three men.

When the family tried to report the rape, the girl was accused of adultery and detained, Amnesty said.

Convicting a girl of 13 for adultery would be illegal under Islamic law.

A human rights activist in the town told the BBC on condition of anonymity that he had received death threats from the Islamic militia, who accuse him of spreading false information about the incident.

He denies having anything to with Amnesty's report.


Court authorities have said the woman came to them admitting her guilt.

She was asked several times to review her confession but she stressed that she wanted Sharia law and the deserved punishment to apply, they said.

But a witness who spoke to the BBC's Today programme said she had been crying and had to be forced into a hole before the stoning, reported to have taken place in a football stadium.

"More than 1,000 people arrived there," he said.

"After two hours, the Islamic administration in Kismayo brought the lady to the place and when she came out she said: 'What do you want from me?'"

"They said: 'We will do what Allah has instructed us'. She said: 'I'm not going, I'm not going. Don't kill me, don't kill me.'

"A few minutes later more than 50 men tried to stone her."

'Checked by nurses'

The witness said people crowding round to see the execution said it was "awful".

"People were saying this was not good for Sharia law, this was not good for human rights, this was not good for anything."

But no-one tried to stop the Islamist officials, who were armed, the witness said. He said one boy was shot in the confusion.

According to Amnesty International, nurses were sent to check during the stoning whether the victim was still alive. They removed her from the ground and declared that she was, before she was replaced so the stoning could continue.

California Prop 4 and Prop 8 Results

With 94.6% ( 24,073 of 25,423 ) precincts partially
or fully reporting as of Nov. 5, 2008, at 6:43 a.m. the two ballot measures in California are

Proposition 4 - Parent Notification Before Terminating Minor's Pregnancy
Yes 4,566,066 47.6%
No 5,020,847 52.4%

Proposition 8 Marriage Between a Man and a Woman (renamed by Atty General "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry")
Yes 5,163,908 52.1%
No 4,760,336 47.9%

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No on Prop 8 Ad Accuses LDS Church of Taking Over Government

This new anti Prop 8 ad shows LDS missionaries invading a house, rifling through drawers, etc. and concludes with them leaving the house with these final words:
LDS missionary 1: "That was too easy."
LDS missionary 2: "Yeah, what should we ban next."
Then the voiceover says, with matching words on the screen: "Say no to a church taking over your government. Vote NO on Proposition 8."

Courage Campaign
has this to say about the new ad:
"No on Prop 8: Home Invasion" (60 seconds): A provocative people-powered netroots-produced TV ad that we will be airing on CNN, MSNBC and Comedy Central in selected markets on Election Day. Two of our friends in the progressive movement -- netroots activists and brothers Dante Atkins and David Atkins -- produced this 60-second ad that satirically skewers the Mormon Church's dictation of public policy to Californians. It has been featured on Daily Kos, AmericaBlog, Calitics, and Wonkette in the last 48 hours, garnering tens of thousands of views.

Thank you to A. S. Haley, the mind behind the Anglican Curmudgeon website, for the email alerting me to this outrageous ad and directing me to the Hedgehog Blog.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bark for Barak: Yes We Can

TM, Metrodog 2008. All rights reserved. Design by Timbuktu Design and Alexander Rodchenko. ; )

This image is being sold by MetroDog as posters with the website address at the bottom

Rodchenko was a Soviet artist and the image is derived from this poster:

For a more serious discussion of the relationship between Obama poster art and Soviet poster art see here.

H/T to Zomblog

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Police Close in on Death Threat Suspect in Fresno

Follow up to this post about the death threat emails to the Fresno Mayor and the Fresno church pastor:
Fresno Police have served two search warrants in regards to the email; one on a company to get the suspect's IP address, the other was on the suspect himself.

Police say they've seized evidence from his home and are confident they'll make an arrest in the very near future.

Chief Dyer also says they believe this is an isolated incident.

If charged, the suspect could face time in prison for making a terrorist threat, which is a felony.

From here.