The Guardian had a good story today about the cancer of home schooling in Britain. Home schooling and fundamentalist schools are bad for democracy all over the world. They brainwash children and make them unable to function in a free society. While most of the world has focused on Muslim hate schools, we also need to look at the way right wing Christian programs destroy harmony and civility. Sadly, those in the United Kingdom leading the home schooling movement turn to the U.S. for moral support.
The future is likely to see more of this debate, since most of the people I interviewed believed that independent fundamentalist education is set to spread in the UK, partly because of the inspiration evangelical Christians seem to take from what's happening across the Atlantic. Ben Pike talked wistfully to me at Maranatha School about the way that evangelical churches in the US have managed to bring so many children into their independent schools and home-schooling networks. "America provides us with a vision for the future," he says.
Remember the days when America used to export liberty? Now, we are looked at as an exporter of fundamentalism, just like Saudi Arabia. It is important that we have a larger debate on the deleterious side effects of home schooling. As the U.S. gets more diverse, scientific knowledge grows and the world gets smaller, the last thing we need are new hordes of brainwashed bigots undermining free and civil society.
The New York Times had a good editorial calling into question the ethics of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who is killing off programs in Central America to fight AIDS because they help prostitutes. It must be difficult to be poor Tom - always getting offended.
I've been screaming this from the roof tops for months and now the proof is in. Alan Chambers, head of the ex-gay ministries is going after young people.
"anyone who's smart these days would focus on the young because the truth is those who influence the young influence the future."
According to the Christian Post, Chambers plans to launch a nationwide campaign to brainwash the young, their parents, and youth workers through distributing literature on campuses, and by having three sets of conferences: one for the youth, one for their parents and youth workers, and one for pastors.
"Our nation's young people should understand what is healthy sexuality, understand why homosexuality isn't healthy for them," said Chambers, "and at the same time, understand what's good about sex."
It is time our major gay organizations wake up and counter this threat. If five years from now youth support for gay rights takes a nosedive, don't say that I didn't tell you so. Let's fight back and not allow the far right to indoctrinate tomorrow's leaders.
The Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays put out a united statement today to announce opposition to the nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court.
"Judge Roberts has such a narrow view of what the courts can and should do, it's a wonder he wants the job at all," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "Ultimately, this is about an individual’s right to privacy. From women's rights to religious freedom to civil rights, there is powerful evidence that Judge Roberts would rule against equality."
"For his entire adult life, John Roberts has been a disciple of and promoted a political and legal ideology that is antithetical to an America that embraces all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "He has denigrated the nature and scope of the constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection and due process as well as federal government's role in confronting injustice. I have no doubt he's an accomplished lawyer and an affable dinner companion, but that doesn't make him any less a mortal danger to equal rights for gay people, reproductive freedom and affirmative action."
I'm conflicted about this. While our GLBT groups have offered solid reasons to oppose him, the questions are: Do they think we can do better if his nomination is defeated? Can one expect but a pig when the pool of potential nominees is chosen from a pig pen?
From talking to a lot of gay people, there seems to be a consensus that Roberts is about the best we can expect from Bush. If so, isn't opposing him futile? My hats off to our groups for doing the research and hard work to educate Americans on Robert's record. However, I think opposing him is an uphill battle. Hopefully, he will not turn out to be a Bork, Scalia or Thomas. It is difficult work to be an activist when presented with no good options.
The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that both members of a lesbian couple who plan for and raise a child born to either of them should be considered the child's mothers even after their relationship ends.
Rev. Pat Robertson called on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a "terrific danger" to the United States.
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
Here is what I don't understand. Robertson was in bed with Liberia's brutal dictator Charles Taylor and even owned a gold mine in that country. So, the televangelist loves bloody dictators - as long as they are putting money in his greedy pocket. Perhaps Robertson is angry because Chavez won't give him a cut of the oil revenue.
One has to wonder how out of touch President George W. Bush is these days. Maybe he is light headed from the mountain air. After all, he has spent the entire summer on his tricycle. Indeed, he is now in Idaho mountainbiking. If he takes any more time off, he could probably collect unemployment.
Yesterday he took a break from his holiday to say that the U.S. will stay in Iraq and finish the task. The problem is, that no one in America really knows what the task is. Is it wiping out terrorism? Is it an Iraqi constitution that treats women like dogs? Ask 20 Americans and you will get 20 different answers. This is always a sign of muddled failure.
In Bush's mangled speech he offers no specifics on how we are going to accomplish whatever the hell it is we are supossed to be accomplishing. Anyone who is following Iraq knows we are short a couple of hundred thousand troops. Absent these warm bodies, Iraq is going nowhere fast. Once again, the President spoke but said nothing.
"One of the rules of science is, no miracles allowed," said Douglas H. Erwin, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution. "That's a fundamental presumption of what we do." (New York Times)
For the rest of the month I will be posting from beautiful Vancouver. This is one of the most amazing cities on earth. The scenery is spetacular, the people are friendly, the food is delicious and gay life is fun. Since I am on holiday, I will not be posting as frequently, however, I still plan to post each day. Enjoy the rest of the summer! I'm just thrilled to get out of the awful Brooklyn heat.
The Washington Postreported today that Democrats are split about what to do in Iraq. Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., broke with his party leadership last week to become the first senator to call for all troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by a specific deadline. Feingold proposed Dec. 31, 2006.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) -- all disagree with Feingold, believing that success in Iraq is critical and that the U.S. can't bolt. Notice that these folks are all likely going to run for president and want to look hawkish.
The issue here is not pro-war vs. anti-war, as the media has made it out to be. Thanks to Bush, the issue is Slinking Away in Defeat vs. Another Vietnam. Neither option is good. The only way we win this thing is to double the amount of troops, which we are unable to do without a draft. The public does not want a draft (send their spoiled kids to the desert? Hell, no) and any politician who suggests one will likely need a new job in a couple of years.
So, of course, the Democrats are split on what to do. No one wants to give the radical Muslim extremists a victory. (And make no mistake, leaving Iraq now is a genuine U.S. military defeat.) Yet, how many brave young men and women can we sacrifice for an unwinable war?
My job is to opine and tell people how the world should be. Yet, I have no constructive advice to offer on Iraq. It is a lose/lose situation that Bush got us into. He lied from the beginning and now America is suffering. To expect the Democrats to be able to unite and solve this bloody riddle is fantasy and folly. This is Bush's monster and he must be the one who puts a stake through its heart.