24 Jan

Kickstarter – Standing Up To The Experts by Orlando Wood

In a small room in Austin, Texas, a group of fifteen people are single-handedly deciding what is taught to the next generation of American children. The highly politicized fifteen-member Texas State Board of Education is currently going through the once-in-a-decade process of rewriting the teaching and textbook standards for its nearly 5 million schoolchildren. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas affects the whole nation.

Texas is the nation’s largest textbook market. Unlike other states, that allow their districts to pick and choose what books they buy, Texas buys them centrally – making Texas unbelievably influential on the standards that Textbook publishers use as a basis for their textbooks. Over the last 10 years, the textbook from this board found its way in upwards of 65% of American classrooms.

Over the course of the current review, the board has been focusing on infusing the school curriculum with broader conservative and religious themes. In Science, there has been an insistence on questioning the theory of evolution. And during the review of the history standards, the more conservative members have attempted to define the United States as a Christian nation goverened by Christian principles , and emphasize "American Exceptionalism," the notion that America is special and destined to lead the world.

Simply put, our goal is to shed light on this important issue and the key players in this process — we will explain their goals, explore the scope of their influence, and delve into the personal motivations behind their actions. We’ve been invited into their homes and have held intimate interviews with each of the members of the board and key decision makers and campaigners close to the issue.

via Kickstarter – Standing Up To The Experts by Orlando Wood. They’ve already reached their goal and then some but this looks like an awesome project.

03 Jan

After Americans Visit, Uganda Weighs Death for Gays – NYTimes.com

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.

via After Americans Visit, Uganda Weighs Death for Gays – NYTimes.com.

Awesome to know religion (in this case Christianity) is such a force for peace, civility and human rights. The best quote is the standard, I’m friends with Group X or know people in Group X how can I be discriminatory towards Group X:

“That’s horrible, absolutely horrible,” he said. “Some of the nicest people I have ever met are gay people.”

26 Dec

Your Rules Aren’t My Rules

Here is the problem that I see with a lot of the evangelical right. They seem to think that their rules are all of sudden my rules. Here’s a hint, they aren’t. A great example is this ad for a rentor.

The ad includes such wonderful rules as the main lights in the apartment are controlled by a timer turning on at 5:30 am and off at 11:30 pm, heat and a/c controlled, oh yeah and even a camera in your suite. Let’s not even discuss the no alcohol, no illegal drugs, no tobacco, no lighters or matches, the 2 hour, visitation period on Sunday and Saturday. You are even required to wear an id bracelet. Let’s not even get into the idea if you say have a sexual relationship pre-marriage.

This isn’t an apartment, it’s a dorm room and worse.

The worse thing is that the person who put up the said and I quote: “I am a born again Christian. Why is this a problem for people????! I have a house that’s MINE and I PAID FOR IT. I also have a basement apartment for rent. It’s a great space for I’m charing very little for it, $480 monthly, for the right tenant. I know it’s ILLEGAL to require a Christian in the apartment, against the human rights. That’s why I NEVER put this in my ad. Why then does it keep getting taken down?” The problem isn’t that you are a born-again Christian, the problem is that you are applying rules that you may live with and feel are good and normal, but for the majority of society they don’t and won’t live with those sort of rules.

How many people don’t drink alcohol, how many people desire to have their landlord control when they can sleep and wake up, or and watch them on a security camera, how many people desire to have 4 hours a week to have visitors over. I think even my family comes over to visit I want them to come over for more than 2 hours or at a different times than just 2 – 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The silly rules just keep adding more and more restrictions to a person. Is cheap rent worth the agony that a person would go through to have that apartment?

Freedom From Religion Same As Freedom Of Religion

Freedom From Religion Same As Freedom Of Religion

Let’s apply this from the micro to the macro world. America was built on the idea of freedom, the idea that people have the freedom to choose what they want to do, and what to think. The world that the evangelical right wants to create is a world where people have the freedom to not smoke, not drink alcohol, not have visitors, not choose when they want to sleep and when to sleep. That’s the problem I have with the evangelical right and a lot of other movements who want their beliefs to be enforced on other people. What people should be doing is allowing people to have the freedom to chose what they do and don’t want to do. Not everyone believes the same as they do. Even the majority of Christians don’t believe in the same rules that the evangelical right do.

America is freedom, that apartment and the evengical right is the exact opposite of freedom.

Flickr photo curtosey of: Clemente