First time in a long time that I've enjoyed me some Fire and Brimstone.
Sure wish there were more pastors like this one around.
|Photo via US Uncut|
|From the Southern Poverty Law Center|
Every year the Fourth of July is marked by ringing affirmations of American exceptionalism. We are a special nation, uniquely founded on high ideals like freedom and equality. In practice, however, much of what sets the United States apart from other countries today is actually Southern exceptionalism. The United States would be much less exceptional in general, and in particular more like other English-speaking democracies such as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were it not for the effects on U.S. politics and culture of the American South.
I don’t mean this in a good way. A lot of the traits that make the United States exceptional these days are undesirable, like higher violence and less social mobility. Many of these differences can be attributed largely to the South.
But even by the standards of the English-speaking world, the U.S. appears as an extreme outlier, in areas ranging from religiosity to violence to anti-government attitudes. As we learned after the slaughter last month in Charleston, S.C., some deluded Southerners still pine for secession from the Union. Yet no doubt there are also more than a few liberal Northerners who would be happy to see them go.
Minus the South, the rest of the U.S. probably would be more like Canada or Australia or Britain or New Zealand—more secular, more socially liberal, more moderate in the tone of its politics and somewhat more generous in social policy. And it would not be as centralized as France or as social democratic as Sweden.
Religiosity is one example of American exceptionalism among English-speaking countries that is largely the result of Southern exceptionalism within the United States. “We don’t do God,” Tony Blair’s aide Alastair Campbell famously remarked, emphasizing that religion is kept out of the public sphere in modern-day Britain. In most modern English-speaking countries, voters find ostentatious piety on the part of political candidates troubling, not reassuring. But in the U.S., born-again Southern evangelical politicians like Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush who troll for votes with piety have given U.S. presidential politics a flavor more reminiscent of Tehran than of London or Ottawa or Canberra. According to Gallup, in 2014 the most religious Americans were all found in Southern states, with the exceptions of Mormon Utah and semi-Southern Oklahoma. Mississippi led the nation in zeal.
Southern violence also goes a long way toward explaining the exceptional violence of the United States in general compared to otherwise similar countries. The pre-modern “culture of honor” continues to exist to a greater degree in the South. White Southerners are more likely than white northerners to respond to insults with increased testosterone and aggression, according to social scientists. According to the FBI in 2012, the South as a region, containing only a quarter of the population, accounted for 40.9 percent of U.S. violent crime.
Compared to other Americans, Southerners disproportionately support sanctioned violence in all of its forms, from military intervention abroad to capital punishment to corporal punishment of children. According to Gallup, Southern households have a far higher rate of gun ownership (38 percent) than households in the East (21 percent), Midwest (29 percent) or West (27 percent).
The year is 1895. John Lind, soon to be Minnesota’s first non-Republican governor, is the lawyer representing Franziska in divorce proceedings against husband Josef.
The divorce is granted and 40 acres of land are to be handed over to Franziska. But alas, under law she is the husband’s chattel and cannot directly receive the land. Instead it is transferred by title to a daughter named Barbara. She in turn will deed the land back over to the mother, Franziska. That’s how marriage law worked 125 years ago.
Of course women couldn’t vote in 1895. That was still decades away.
Marriage and all its implications, legal and otherwise has changed a lot since 1895. Women are no longer simply part of a man’s property. Women vote. Still not on pay parity but hopefully that will come, the sooner the better.
Several generations slip by, offspring spread and the family tree branches.
Some 115 years later a scion of this couple dies by IED in the sands of Afghanistan. He’s an Army MP. Had he lived 24 hours more he’d been on a flight back to the states for his leave, now 10 months into his deployment. The day he was due home he was instead buried. Oh, and he was gay, and as his sister said, probably the least interesting thing about him.
Like all military personnel he had taken an oath to defend the constitution. He ended up making a payment in full.
Had he lived he may have seen the day that he had the option to marry. A right now granted by the Supreme Court under the majority’s interpretation of constitutional rights.
Like so many others, he now lies in what Obama so aptly described as the “quiet corners” of our country.
It is a slow crawl to recover what in all likelihood should never have been surrendered, by women, by our fellow citizens, all of whom live under the umbrella of that incredible document birthed in the Age of Enlightenment.
RIP Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”
|A married lesbian couple kisses in front of the Colosseum |
during Rome’s 2015 LGBT Pride celebration.
Pope Francis supported heterosexual complementarity in a speech on Sunday given to 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a pastoral conference for the Diocese of Rome.
Though he did not mention lesbian and gay couples, the timing of the speech seemed significant to some since it came a day after tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of the Eternal City to celebrate LGBT Pride and to call for marriage equality in Italy.So what is this message of complementarity? Well Religion News Service captured significant quotes from the papal talk:
“. . . [T]he pope said the differences between men and women are fundamental and ‘an integral part of being human.’
“The pontiff likened a long-lasting marriage to a good wine, in which a husband and wife make the most of their gender differences.
“ ‘They’re not scared of the differences!’ the pope said. ‘What great richness this diversity is, a diversity which becomes complementary, but also reciprocal. It binds them, one to the other.’
“Heterosexual marriages not only ensured couples’ happiness, the pontiff said, but were deemed essential for good parenting.
“ ‘Children mature seeing their father and mother like this; their identity matures being confronted with the love their father and mother have, confronted with this difference,’ Francis said.”This is sneaky and underhanded. This is a dog whistle to the faithful and quite possibly to the knuckle draggers on our Supreme Court as well. This is so disappointing and depressing. Any doubts I may have had about walking away from the Church have been washed away with this very judgmental speech. Well all I can say is thank you Pope Francis, your words confirm for me why I shall never, ever walk thru the doors of a Catholic Church again.
Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham announced yesterday that he intends to “fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community.” And as part of the effort, Graham is starting with his … bank.And that bank is Wells Fargo Bank and what set him off was this beautifully done ad:
Graham may not have done much research, as BB&T has received an 80 percent score in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and this year is the sponsor of the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade, along with the chief sponsor of Miami Beach Gay Pride’s “Legacy Couples” program, which celebrates same-sex couples in “committed relationships of 10 years or longer.”As the good Pastor is finding out, there is no escaping the "moral decay". He may want to consider pulling his money and keeping it under his mattress. He may also need to consider traveling by car instead of airplane, throwing away his tennis shoes, his computers, his jewelry, and probably most of his clothing and food. But then, who am I to tell the good Pastor what he should do. So I won't. It is too damn much fun writing about homophobic imbeciles like him. And as I have discovered over the last 12 years, these homophobic idiots really are doing the heavy lifting in our drive to reach full equality for our lgbt loved ones.
A married Army general on Tuesday introduced his spouse at a Pentagon event that featured lots of top brass, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter as the keynote speaker. What made this seemingly routine introduction noteworthy is that Brig. Gen. Randy S. Taylor introduced his husband, Lucas. “My husband Lucas is sitting up front here,” Gen. Taylor said of the man in the same row as Mr. Carter, Army Secretary John McHugh and other senior officials. He said Lucas has subjugated his own career to support the general’s frequent moves over an 18-year relationship. “We bet everything on my Army career,” said Gen. Taylor, whose 27 years of service spanned an outright ban on gays, then “don’t ask, don’t tell” and finally, the ban’s lifting in 2011. Gen. Taylor was the master of ceremonies for the Pentagon’s 4th Gay Pride celebration that showcases a month of gay-themed posters and history.Wow. What a long way we have come. I can remember so clearly how rigidly and vociferously John McCain fought the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. He was extremely offensive and completely (as usual) on the wrong side of history. His actions and his words belittled and minimized the sacrifices of so many brave gay men and lesbian women. And his ludicrous predictions of what would happen once Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed were so paranoid and ugly that one had to wonder if he did not protest just a little too much:
"There will be high-fives over all the liberal bastions of America," he predicted, from "the elite schools that bar military recruiters from campus" to "the salons of Georgetown" and the "talk shows" where people -- "most of whom have never have served in the military" -- will crow over the law's repeal.
Allowing gays to serve openly in the Marines would prove a potentially deadly distraction McCain said, quoting from a Marine Corps Commandant warning, "and I don't want to permit that opportunity to happen."
|Cpl Andrew Wilfahrt - RIP|