McDonald’s: I’m Lovin’ It

I saw the video of this French McDonald’s ad more than a week ago, but, alas, my French goes no further than oui oui and silver plate. Now with the subtitles, I find that it’s a mini-French film all of its own.  Were they to do one like it here, the evengenitals and Focus on the Family would be crying for a boycott of Mickey D’s.  It’s time to give the French credit for more than the fries!

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Tony Alamo Update: Evangelist Sentenced to 175 Years in Jail

alamo guiltyFinally this child molester who hid behind religion will get his just metes.  Read more about the sentencing.

Tony Alamo Guilty on All Ten Counts

  The jury has come back with its verdict in the Tony Alamo case and he is guilty on all ten charges.

Tony Alamo Found Guilty of Transporting Minors for Sex

Tony Alamo Found Guilty of Transporting Minors for Sex

Latest News:

Here is the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “Jurors on Friday found evangelist Tony Alamo guilty on all 10 counts of transporting five young girls across state lines for sex.

The jury of nine men and three women found Alamo guilty of transporting girls as young as 9, in violation of a nearly century-old federal law. He was accused in a 10-count indictment. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The jury returned a verdict shortly after entering its second day of deliberations. The seven-day trial included testimony from Alamo’s accusers for the prosecution, and his common-law wife and a mother of an accuser for the defense.”

Read the entire article here.

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act Would Not Stop Anyone’s Religious Free Speech; Read the Bill, Then Shut Up!

hate-crimeFirst of all, I can’t say I am whole-heartedly in favor of the hate crimes bill in Congress. For my tax dollars spent on social issues of this kind, I’d much rather see Congress, first, get rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and the “Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The bill, which if enacted, would be called the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (Click to the bill from the Library of Congress. Read it; it’s just one page.) After reading it for myself, I’m getting sick of all the christian whiners all over the net crying that they are going to lose their ability to spew out hate. The bill does basically these things:

  • Gives the necessity for having such laws
  • Defines what hate crimes are
  • Says the support, both financial and otherwise, can be given to state and local jurisdictions, especially when the crime involves more than one state or in rural areas, basically in the form of grants
  • Gives more specifics on what hate crimes are (those involve bodily injury and death)
  • Explains in what situations the federal government can get involved
  • Explains what evidence is admissible
  • Explains that the Act follows the Constitution, which gives free speech.

In fact, the bill directly stipulates that speech, including religious speech, is still protected; read from Section 10:

    • (3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.
    • (4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

If someone says that his religious speech will be limited because of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, he hasn’t read it, or he is just lying and trying to stir things up for others who won’t bother to read it.

Hate Crimes Legislation vs. Marriage Equality

Appalled is the only way to describe my reaction yesterday when I saw the C-Span clip of Virgina Foxx, the Republican Congresswoman of North Carolina’s Fifth District during the debate of the hate crime legislation. This former college president and English professor said that the fact that Matthew Shepard was murdered because he was gay was a hoax. (She has since tried to backtrack on her words.) The fact is gay people in this country are attacked and killed because of their sexual orientation here in the U.S. In some cases, gay people are targeted because they seem to some to be “easy pickings” and the real motivation for the attack is pure harassment or robbery or even rape.

There was a rash of attacks on gay people here in Houston in the 90s, one of which was the murder of Paul Broussard, which happened near where I lived. If you’ve never read about this case, I recommend that you read this article or for a slightly different perspective look here.

It only takes reading the gay press online to know that these attacks are still happening today. I can’t say what percentage of gay people have experienced physical attacks or the threat of being attacked, but I would guess that it’s a high percentage, from attacks in schools to attacks in the street to attacks at home.

In spite of all these attacks (I’ve experienced it myself as I’ve mentioned on my about page), I don’t really support hate crimes legislation. If someone is attacked, they are attacked and the perpetrator should be punished. If someone is murdered, the killer should be tried and punished according to the law, not because of who was killed but because murder is murder no matter who the victim is.

I agree with some in Congress who ask how do we determine which groups should be covered under hate crimes. Ours is a democracy and everyone should be treated equally, no slippery slopes.

And that is the rationale of those people who are against hate crimes legislation: they do not want to have to give special treatment to certain groups.

But where is that rationale when it comes to Marriage Equality? Those who are against marriage equality certainly favor the idea of a special status for heterosexual people. And those against same-sex marriage are not just limited to the evangelicals and other Republicans.

How would all of those who voted in favor of the hate crimes bill have voted if the bill were for legalizing same-sex marriage? I doubt that the majority would have voted for it. While many of these representatives may feel they are doing the right thing, this type of legislation is not the answer to stopping the attacks and murders of gay people, nor of any other group of people. It’s no different than putting that metal plate over the construction hole in the street. You can drive over the hole, but it’s still there and eventually needs to be fixed.

The only real “fix” here is to change the attitudes of individuals and of society as a whole. It’s very hard to change ideas when they have been pounded into someone’s head from an early age.

But the government can do that by making laws that bring equal rights to all citizens. (We’ve seen this when slavery was abolished, when women were given the right to vote, when mixed race couples were allowed to marry.) I don’t know if people who have not been denied rights can understand this. I’m pretty sure that most women can understand this; I’m pretty sure that people of many ethnic minorities can understand this; I know that almost every gay person knows this. Even with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of our elected officials are still heterosexual white men, and most of them do not understand what it means to be discriminated against and do not want to understand it. Because if they were to make the playing ground equal for everyone, they might lose some of their power.

Putting specific groups into hate crimes laws does not make people of those groups any stronger. It weakens them by saying they need special protection, and in reality, is a way of keeping them second class citizens.

Instead what the government needs to do is enact and enforce laws, such as for marriage, labor, and immigration, that give all citizens their due rights under the Constitution.

We can only hope that people like Virginia Foxx, who are against giving special status to any citizens through hate crimes legislation, would also realize that by expressing that viewpoint, they are advocating equal status for all citizens and, thus, would support bills that provide that equality: legislation in favor of same-sex marriage and the elimination of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

“Love Not Laws” the Best Yet in Countering N.O.M.’s “Propaganda Storm”

OK, so I wasn’t going to get my blog involved in something that’s being done so well, both on television and on the Internet: countering the propaganda that the National Organization for Marriage (which is a total misnomer, because they’re really against marriage, except for their own special interest group). In fact, if you want to see a lot of great vids parodying NOM’s what some are calling a “cult classic” (And, yes, “cult” is the operative word here.), just do a quick youtube search for “NOM parody”, and you’ll see how creative gay people can be.

But anyway, this one is the best I’ve seen so far, and the people in it are actually who they are, unlike NOM’s agitprop.

This accompanies the video on the youtube page:

Love Not Laws is a coalition of people of various ages, races, and beliefs, who came together to show solidarity and support for same-sex marriage. In response to videos that are circulating the internet that use fear and falsehoods to promote an offensive agenda of ‘separate and unequal’, Love Not Laws created a video that was grounded in compassion, emotion, and heart.

If you oppose same-sex marriage, we hope that this video will cause you to examine your own biases. If you are in support of same-sex marriage, we hope that this video inspires you to act. And if you feel that you are too small, or that your efforts won’t matter, we ask you to remember that we were a group of people who, individually thought they could do nothing… but together, were able to accomplish something bigger than all of us.

It’s Official! Iowa Comes Out for Gay Marriage! Grainbelt State Gives Gay Farmers (and others) Chance To Get Hitched!

Iowa--Now Not Just a Land of Corn, But Even Better--A Land of Equality!

Iowa--Now Not Just a Land of Corn, But Even Better--A Land of Equality!

Now what are “they” going to say? It’s not just those New England Yankees or those West Coast liberals.

Today the state of Iowa gave equality to gay couples to marry. Iowa is now the third state in this country to put marriage on an even keel for everyone. The ruling by the Iowa Supreme court was a unanimous decision. Iowa joins Connecticut and Massachusetts to become one more state that gives marriage equality to all of its citizens. Legislation in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine is also moving in that direction, but like that of the decision of California’s Supreme Court over Proposition 8, which took away marriage rights, the outcome still hangs in the balance.

Read the entire story in the Des Moines Register, including links to the official ruling.