Houston: from HERO to ZERO

Anyone know a veteran? What about a woman who’s pregnant? Any elderly persons in your family? A friend or family member who identifies as LGBT? Well, Houston just shat on all of them. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) went down in flames thanks to ignorance, fear, and hate.

What is it about equality that scares people? Is it that since you’ve been enjoying your first-class citizenship for so long, you’re entirely uncomfortable with sharing equal ground with those who haven’t been so fortunate? Do you completely lack empathy? What if it were you on the other side? Should not every human being have the same rights as every other?

I know that this loss is merely a stumbling block, but nevertheless it’s disappointing. Houston is the largest city in the country without an equal rights ordinance. Houston is also the most diverse city in the country, yet condemning those diverse citizens to remain second-class is apparently higher on the priority list than improving well-being for all.

Opponents of HERO brashly and deceitfully labeled it as nothing more than a “bathroom bill.” Their fear was that, if passed, HERO would allow any man to follow a woman into their bathroom to assault them, just by claiming that he is a woman that day. The fact that that’s what they understand about how gender identity works or how similar equal rights ordinances have worked out in other larger cities (hint: no bathroom shenanigans of the sort, ever) should tell you enough about their completely misguided position on the issue.

HERO sought to protect our veterans, pregnant women, LGBT, elderly, disabled, and others from discrimination. Unfortunately, this equality is put on hold for now, but it’s only a matter of time till reason prevails.

We can’t call a spade a spade?

Can people have bigoted beliefs but not themselves be bigots? I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately: “I believe all humans are equal, but I still don’t support same-sex marriage.” I would say this doesn’t make any sense. You cannot at the same time support equal human rights while denying a group of people the same rights that everyone else shares. Clearly you’re a bigot if you have such a belief.

Here’s the thing: you have the right to your personal beliefs all you want. Have your beliefs. Form more for all I care, that’s your right. You’re even free to share them with the rest of the world, as freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. Say you share your beliefs with others, what might happen? Maybe others who share your beliefs will agree and support you. Or maybe some others, including myself, will speak out loudly against them, as they see them for what they are: irrational, baseless, unenlightened, unjust, and an imposition to progress.

Have your rights been infringed? Not at all. You’re free to have your bigoted beliefs all you want. Nevertheless, once you choose to materialize those beliefs, whether they be whispered to someone else, shared on Facebook/Twitter, written down, etc, they will stand or fall by their own merit. You’ve now incurred the risk of people either supporting them or speaking out in opposition to them, which is also their right to do so. And just to clarify, ridiculing beliefs is not the same as censorship or persecution.

If your belief is by its own nature bigoted, then I’m doing nothing malicious by calling it as it is. If being a bigot is undesirable to you, then either rid yourself of bigoted beliefs, choose not to share them, or share them only with other bigots, and stop annoying the rest of the enlightened world.

Do you believe in magic?

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/04/the-ugly-hateful-result-of-the-anti-gay-religio/202417

I am sick and tired of this “sincerely held religious belief” bullshit excuse. It’s bullshit for a couple reasons. One is that those who use it tend to use it as a Get Out of Jail Free card for anything with which they disagree. Where does it end? We’ve already witnessed it used as an excuse not to pay taxes (spoiler alert: it didn’t work and Hovind lost big time), not to comply with federal law to provide comprehensive health care for women (SCOTUS took a shit on the U.S. constitution), and now more and more often we see religious bigots use it to defend their blatant and often boastful intolerance of the “other,” whomever they happen to hate most at the time whomever that may be.

Another reason it’s bullshit is that it only applies to religious people. What kind of magical incantation can atheists or other non-religious people utter to completely avoid responsibility like this “sincerely held religious belief” nonsense? Of course this is a rhetorical question because as an atheist I lack the need for this sort of premeditated “plan B” even if I wanted to avoid personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is one of the pillars upon which I live my life, as I would imagine many other atheists do as well. Why would I want to demean personal responsibility by decrying “but nuh-uh, you can’t tell me what to do because it offends my sincerely held belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster”? Seems like a cop-out to me.

Before you use your religion to back up hateful, homophobic, bigoted behavior, take a step back and think about if your religion is even worth a damn in the first place.

Cure for AIDS found in the most unlikely of places!

Hear ye, hear ye, family, friends, brothers, and sisters from around the world! A new age is upon us! If everyone pulls their own weight, we can rid the world of AIDS once and for all. There’s a very special way that I can help too, but I’ll get to that at the end.

It turns out that scientists and researchers were wrongly going about the AIDS crisis the whole time! I can just see it now, all those brainiacs kicking themselves as they realize that all the time and money put into research was for naught. Imagine how much further we could’ve progressed as a global society if we had just reallocated all those resources into something more useful! Did climate change denial, church-state integration, and anti-choice politics already have full budgets or what?

The lucky folks at Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona were the first to hear about this groundbreaking scientific discovery this past Sunday, November 30, 2014. Their pastor, Steven L. Anderson, discovered that the cure for AIDS is in the bible, right under our noses! “Execute the homos,” how elegant, how simple!

Now, I must sincerely apologize for the homo community. From the beginning we’ve made it harder on everyone by what Pastor Anderson describes as being “filled with the disease because of the judgment of God.” Sorry we started humanity off on the wrong foot. I guess some gods are just impossible to please.

If you’ve seen the news or read any scientific journals since Sunday, I’m sure you’re familiar with the verse that contains this newly discovered cure for AIDS, Leviticus 20:13. According to Pastor Anderson, by merely putting the homos to death, we could have an AIDS-free world by Christmas! What a sight to see on Christmas morning as a gay son opens his Christmas presents. A shiny new iPhone 6 Plus from grandpa, another pair of wool socks from great aunt Sally, and a bullet to the brain from someone who’s following orders from their Sky Daddy. I dunno about you, but I can think of no better gift to give this holiday season than a bigoted murder supporting the cure for AIDS.

To the righteous Christians among you, I’d be more than willing to play my part in eradicating AIDS by Christmas. Come on over to my house and kill a homo. In Jesus’ name.