Monday, March 22, 2010

The Dutch Respond to U.S. Retired General Sheehan's Blaming the Gays for the Srebrenica

     In an attempt to defend Don't Ask, Don't Tell in Washington last week, retired U.S. Marine Corps General John Sheehan blamed the presence of gays in the Dutch armed forces for the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre/Genocide, in which Christians ethnically cleansed Muslims by committing the largest mass murder in European history since the slaughter of German citizens in Eastern Europe after World War II.  

     The Dutch are outraged at Sheehan and have been quick to attack and discredit Sheehan's ignorant and homophobic statements.   Rachel Maddow reports on the specifics of the Dutch response below.  In short, Sheehan based his allegation on the word of a Dutch man who doesn't exist (and I'm not talking about his god) and the highest members of the Dutch government are condemning Sheehan's ignorance. 

Catholic Nuns Fight Back and Dissent from Bishops to Support Healthcare Reform Bill

     The healthcare reform bill passed last night, without a single Republican vote.  One of the groups that unsuccessfully worked to derail the bill was the Catholic Church, or better stated, the Catholic Bishops.  Catholic nun from across the country, the ones who run and actually work in hospitals, banded together to support the bill and dissented from the bishops.  Go, sisters!

     Here's Maureen Dowd in an Op-Ed from The New York Times (March 21, 2010, p.W11) concerning the dissent of women religious and why they are more qualified than the bishops on matters of healthcare reform:
     On Friday, Tim Ryan, an antiabortion Democrat from Ohio, took to the House floor to say he had been influenced by the nuns to vote for the bill.
    “You say this is pro-abortion,” he said to Republicans, and yet “you have 59,000 Catholic nuns from across the country endorsing this bill, 600 Catholic hospitals, 1,400 Catholic nursing homes endorsing this bill.”
     For decades, the nuns did the bidding of the priests, cleaned up their messes, and watched as their male superiors let a perverted stain spread over the entire church, a stain that has now even reached the Holy See. It seemed that the nuns were strangely silent, either because they suspected but had no proof — the “Doubt” syndrome — or because they had no one to tell but male bosses protecting one another in that repugnant and hypocritical old-boys’ network.
     Their goodness was rewarded with a stunning slap from the ├╝ber-conservative Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican is conducting two inquisitions into the “quality of life” of American nuns, trying to knock any independence or modernity out of them.
     The witch hunt has sparked the nuns to have a voice at last. Vulnerable children were not protected by the male hierarchy of the church, which treated sexual abuse as a failure of character rather than a crime. The men were so arrogant it never occurred to them that they should be accountable to the secular world. In their warped thinking, it was better to let children suffer than to call the authorities, embarrass the church and risk diminished power.
     Now the bishops think that it’s better to deprive poor people of good health care than to let the church look like it’s going soft on abortion.
     Under the semantic dodge of ideological purity, the bishops also are doing the bidding of the Republicans, trying to kill the bill and weaken the president. But the nuns are right when they say that “the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions” and that its protection of pregnant women is the “real pro-life stance.”
     The nuns stepped up to support true Catholic dogma, making sure poor people get proper health care.
     Crooks and Liars sums up the dissent of the nuns from the Catholic bishops succinctly:
     This is huge for a number of reasons. The nuns signing this letter are the ones in the trenches, serving in Catholic hospitals and health care clinics across the nation. They represent those who see the wreckage left behind when people are denied access to care until it's too late, the damage done when poor women cannot get prenatal care, and when the sick are left to their own devices.

Maryland Secedes from the Anti-Gay South, Goes on the Offensive Against Discriminatory-Friendly Virginia

     Our nation's two states that are named after the Virgin are involved in a dispute over the rights of LGBT persons. 

     Maryland has thrown aside all ties to the anti-gay-in-god's-name South, especially Virginia, which last month made it legal to fire people for being gay and earlier this month called for all college campuses to put an end to LGBT-friendly organizations

     The virgin Maryland on the other hand is recognizing all marriages performed in Washington, D.C. and other states, and is using its gay-friendly reputation to woo jobs from gay-friendly defense contractor, Northrop Grumman away from the discriminatory Virgin.  (Side note: so honest gays can build the items used by the military, but cannot serve in the military.)

     In response to the possible loss of jobs and an uproar on Virginia's college campuses, Virgina Governor Robert McDonnall backtracked and decided to once again make it illegal to discriminate in his state's workforce on the basis of sexual orientation.

     Welcome to the yo-yo, surreality of life for LGBT persons, where one day, the Christian god, who informs so many of our nation's politicians, allows unrepentant gays civil rights.  The next minute, this omnipotent, perfect god tells his flock to take away gays' rights.  Then when it's financially helpful, this god tells his obedient flock to support gay rights.  How Old Testament moody of this god-being-thingy!

     Here's Rachel Maddow's report on the Maryland-Virginia gay civil war.