959 posts categorized "International"

October 19, 2014

Headlines about the Catholic synod that miss the real news

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Check out these headlines on the failure of the Catholic Church's extraordinary synod to achieve the supermajority needed to adopt even watered-down language reaching out to gays:

All three are accurate, but the Times avoids the wrong emphasis. The real story here is that a Catholic synod voted 118-62 in favor of any slightest move away from its monolithically anti-gay position, not that there was strong opposition to it, not that it fell short this time. The effort Francis has started will not soon be completed, but his sacking of Cardinal Raymond Burke as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura shows he means business.

I left the Church long ago, but I respect those who, having chosen to stay and fight, are sticking with it. We don't all have to make the same choices (unlike in pre-Reformation Christendom). People like the folks at New Ways Ministry deserve our respect for their perseverance. As it happens, they now have a sympathetic pope. But the College of Cardinals is packed with appointees of JPII and Benedict, and the conservatives have a lot of power. It is going to be a long struggle.

October 18, 2014

Pope Francis removes anti-gay Cardinal Burke from Vatican court

Pope Francis has removed the virulently anti-gay Cardinal Raymond Burke (interviewed above prior to this development) as prefect of the Holy See's Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's supreme court. Excellent news. Timmian Massie reports at NCRM:

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a darling of conservative Catholics who is virulently anti-gay, has confirmed to BuzzFeed what rumors from Rome have said for weeks. He will be demoted by Pope Francis from the head of the Roman Catholic Church's version of the Supreme Court to a figurehead role as the Patron of the Knights of Malta, a chivalrous order known for its work among the sick....

Burke recently told an interviewer that legally-married gay and lesbian family members should be shunned from family celebrations during the upcoming holidays, asking “what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?”

Burke's strong criticism of a preliminary document that included more inclusive welcoming of LGBT community members in the life of the Church and his challenge to Francis, who is seen to have had a hand in the drafting of the document, were apparently the last straw for the Pope.

I am not a praying person, but if you are, please pray for the health and longevity of this pope. The cleanup job he faces rivals the Augean Stables.

October 17, 2014

In celebration of hermaphroditic snails

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("Snail Shell on Keys" by Garry Gay)

In an update on my earlier post regarding the new snail species Aegista diversifamilia, Manon Verchot at Treehugger.com quotes me, including my new lyrics channeling Cole Porter:

Bi-curious whales do it, quails do it,
New hermaphroditic snails do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.

Below, though sadly without benefit of my special lyrics, Billie Holiday gives her rendition. Use your imagination.

October 14, 2014

Love and snails

Snails
(Photo by Chih-Wei Huang)

Azeen Ghorayshi of the Guardian reports:

Researchers in Taiwan have taken the unusual step of naming a newly identified species of snail in recognition of same-sex marriage rights. Dubbed Aegista diversifamilia, the hermaphroditic species was so named to reflect the “diversity of sexual orientation in the animal kingdom”, said Dr Yen-Chang Lee, who co-authored the study published on Monday in the journal ZooKeys.

Today GLAA received the following media inquiry:

Hi,

My name is Manon Verchot, I am a journalist working at TreeHugger.com. I'm writing a piece about a new species of snail being named in celebration of same sex-marriage (http://bit.ly/1tZE2Jk) and I would love to get a statement from your organisation addressing what your thoughts are on this and what you think it means (if anything).

I will be publishing this piece Thursday morning, I would really appreciate it if you could get back to me before then.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Manon

I like to be helpful to members of the press, so I replied:

Manon,

It seems like a lovely tribute, though I am somewhat reticent because inevitably some confused social conservative will complain that the next thing you know, someone will want to marry his pet snail. As it happens, I have no pet snail, and do not wish to marry one. Thus what began so pleasantly ends up with my having to deny amorous feelings toward gastropods.

Rick Rosendall
President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

On a more serious note, those interested in the extensive examples of homosexuality that scientists have observed among animals should take a look at Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl.

October 13, 2014

Roman Catholic Synod points to a pastoral shift on gays

Pope-Francis-arrives-at-the-Vaticans-Paul-VI-Hall-for-the-Synod-on-the-Family-Oct.-6-2014_Credit-Bohumil-Petrik-CNA-2 (Photo courtesy Denver Catholic Register)

Here are the relevant paragraphs from the bulletin issued today by the Synod of Catholic Bishops, which, as you will see, strike a more positive tone without being everything a self-affirming gay Catholic might have hoped:

Welcoming homosexual persons

50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

Read the bulletin here. New Ways Ministry welcomes the news. Thomas Reese at National Catholic Reporter writes, "Synod document offers new style of being church." (Hat tip for NCR article: Jonathan Rauch)

Continue reading "Roman Catholic Synod points to a pastoral shift on gays" »

October 10, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi

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(Photo by Andy Buchanan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

NYT reports:

Reaching across gulfs of age, gender, faith, nationality and even international celebrity, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the 2014 peace prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India, joining a teenage Pakistani known around the world with an Indian veteran of campaigns on behalf of children.

At age 17, Ms. Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the $1.1 million prize since it was created in 1901. Mr. Satyarthi is 60.

A fine bit of news.

October 08, 2014

Diseases and Demagogues

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(Photo by Julien Harneis)

My Blade column this week looks at the right wing's political exploitation of Ebola. Here's a portion:

Obama Derangement Syndrome spiked again last week over Ebola, after a man from Liberia was diagnosed with the viral disease in Dallas, Texas.

Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham asked, "Why did Obama let the Ebola virus into the U.S.?" Another radio demagogue, Michael Savage, said Obama "wants to infect the nation with Ebola" as part of a war on white people. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said that the American troops being sent to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak are really being sent "to go catch Ebola and die." Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) managed to connect the Dallas Ebola case with ISIS, the IRS, and Benghazi. Fox News host Steve Doocy asked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tim Frieden, "Why should we believe you when you're telling us this stuff?" since Frieden works for Obama.

It is difficult enough to confront resurgent diseases without an explosion of unhinged conspiracy mongering.

Read the whole thing here.

Update: I note with sorrow that the Dallas patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, has died. May he rest in peace.

October 04, 2014

General Mills, the anti-Chick-fil-A

As Mark Joseph Stern at Slate writes, this Cheerios commercial for Canada, featuring Quebecois parents André and Jonathan and their daughter Raphaëlle, "hits all the right notes." For a major commercial brand to embrace gay families as part of its diverse customer base, in such contrast to Chick-fil-A, is a big deal, as Stern suggests.

(Hat tip: Bob Witeck)

October 03, 2014

Michael Savage: Obama Wants To Bring Ebola Epidemic To America, Should Resign

It just doesn't quit. The hate, I mean.

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

September 30, 2014

John Oliver on drones

American drones are not frightening only if you are not living under them. John Oliver of HBO's Last Week Tonight makes it real.

September 29, 2014

BBC News reports on Hong Kong protests

BBC News reports from Hong Kong:

The BBC's Carrie Gracie reports from the heart of the protest. Hong Kong police have used tear gas to disperse thousands of pro-democracy protesters near the government complex, after a week of escalating tensions. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested, with hundreds remaining in the city centre late on Sunday.

Serbia holds first Gay Pride march in four years

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The Independent reports from Belgrade.

September 28, 2014

Conservative blog: ISIS publicly crushing babies of Christians to death

A friend on Facebook posted this story from a conservative blog and commented, "What you don't want to know, but need to..." Follow the link if you want to see the photo, as I will not.

Speaking of what we don't want to hear but need to know, shall we keep track of the number of Christian babies crushed by ISIS as well as the number of babies and children of all faiths killed by American bombs? There are many horrors in the world. Are we obligated to go to war over each one? The fact is American warfare has made the Mideast less stable, not more. We must not allow ourselves to be stampeded. That is not just my opinion; it is what every damn one of you knows to be true. The neocons refuse to learn any lessons from the past decade. For God's sake, let us not emulate them.

Fox's Bolling makes second apology for insulting female UAE pilot

Media Matters shares this. Here's the transcript:

BOLLING: A personal comment before we go to break. Earlier this week I made a comment that was wholly inappropriate, and I apologize for it. The comment became during K. G.'s One More Thing honoring UAE bomber pilot Major Miriam al-Mansouri, who bombed ISIS. My remark was not intended to be disparaging of her, but that's how it was taken. I should have known better and used better judgment.

Yesterday I made an apology on this show, but it was inadequate. Fox News has received letters from viewers including from women in the military, and I have taken them to heart. Therefore, let me speak clearly and sincerely. I'm sorry for what I said, I believe that Major al-Mansouri is a hero, she's courageous, brave, and she deserves our praise, not inappropriate jokes. I appreciate that she is fighting the extreme radicals that threaten all of us. She has my admiration and my very, very sincere gratitude.

He didn't mean to offend. Pardon me, but fuck you, Mr. Bolling. Some men will die before they honestly confront their male privilege and disrespect of women.

Obama defends his foreign policy

President Obama, in demolishing a Fox News reporter's loaded question on his allegedly weak foreign policy, shows that he agrees with me on the unwisdom of launching another ground war in the Middle East. As he notes, his critics say they don't want a ground war either. So what DO they want? Other than wanting him to fail, that is.

(Hat tip: Ronald King)

September 25, 2014

HBO trailer: The War Against Gays in Russia

Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia premieres Monday, October 6 at 9PM, only on HBO.

September 24, 2014

Cute little baby bats

It's baseball playoff season, and what could be cuter than an armful of bats?

A gay-friendly mosque opens in South Africa

Missed this a few days ago. Ishaan Tharoor of WaPo reports from Cape Town.

Seriously, this is what the right wing media is obsessed about

I guess the one below was better.

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A tale of two rallies

Climate Progress

From Climate Progress.

(Hat tip: Rand Hoch)

September 23, 2014

Scaring up another war

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My first column in my new perch at the Washington Blade is on America's latest Mideast war: How often do we have to respond to distant problems by charging in and making things worse before we bloody well stop doing it?

Also, Blade editor Kevin Naff graciously welcomes me to the Blade's list of opinion writers. As I start this new professional relationship, I want to thank Metro Weekly and editor Randy Shulman for giving my work a home for so many years.

Tel Aviv party organizers slammed for ISIS spoof

Ynet News reports:

Drek – one of Tel Aviv's most popular gay party organizers – has inspired a massive wave of criticism and anger online after using imagery inspired by the Islamic State group's executions on a number of posters promoting the club's parties.

Here are a couple of the offending images.

Drek poster 1

Drek poster 2

It does seem in dreadful taste. But dark humor generally is. As I do not live in the Middle East, I am not inclined to judge the Drek promoters too harshly.

Klayman proposes nuking ISIS

Larry Klayman at right-wing site World Net Daily thinks nuclear weapons are the best way to deal with ISIS. Because sanity sometimes gets in the way of fun.

Chad considers criminalizing homosexuality

Pink News reports.

Far-Right Activist: ISIS Part Of The 'Homosexual Agenda'

Right Wing Watch reports:

Walid Shoebat took to BarbWire today to address the reports in a new documentary that ISIS is raping its recruits and using videos of the assaults as blackmail. Of course, the BarbWire columnist cited the rapes as proof that ISIS is part of the gay rights movement....

Of course, Shoebat doesn’t seem to believe that raping hundreds of women makes ISIS part of the “heterosexual agenda.”

Facts are a buffet to some people. They just pick what they want.

September 11, 2014

13 years ago today

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(Photo courtesy U.S. Public Safety News & Events)

In lower Manhattan last night, a tribute in lights on the eve of today's 9/11 anniversary. Among the legacies of that awful day have been reckless military adventures abroad and threats to civil liberties here at home. Citizen, awake!

Dispute Over Decency

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My column this week looks at indecency. Here is an excerpt:

It is amazing what indecent things some people say and do in the name of decency.

If your Christian parents throw you out of the house for being gay, and they cite Scripture, it is probably St. Paul, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Regarding the reference to homosexuality, Bible Gateway explains, "The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts." But let's not quibble over translations, nor scour the Bible Concordance for the precise connection between God's kingdom and kicking out children. The point is that some people really believe this crap, and it's causing harm, and it's time we stopped being shy about it.

After organizers of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade decided to allow an NBC-affiliated LGBT group to march, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue envisioned gay marchers masturbating in the street. Father Charles Pope, blogging for the Archdiocese of Washington, called the parade an "anal sex" celebration. These gentlemen are quieter about the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic fleeing to Rome to avoid justice for abusing shoeshine boys.

Read the whole thing at Metro Weekly.

September 03, 2014

Biden: ISIS destined for 'gates of hell'

Palestinian parody about ISIS

Thanks to MEMRI for this glimpse into Middle Eastern political humor. Charlotte Alfred at HuffPo reports.

September 01, 2014

Australian Politicians Back Out Of World Congress Of Families Event, Citing Far-Right Ties

Miranda Blue at Right Wing Watch reports:

A World Congress of Families event in Melbourne this week was supposed to feature speeches by three Australian government officials, including social services minister Kevin Andrews. Instead, all three have backed out in the face of criticism of the Illinois-based group’s promotion of harsh anti-gay and anti-choice laws around the world.

In addition, the Australian politicians had come under fire for the conference’s sponsorship by Catch the Fire ministries, a group run by far-right politician Danny Nalliah who has blamed wildfires on abortion rights and frequently lashes out against "multiculturalism." (Nalliah also happens to be an ally of bizarre birther WND columnist and RWW favorite Lord Monckton).

Andrews’ decision to back out of the WCF event is especially galling since the group had been planning to present him with its “Natural Family Man of the Year” award. In a somewhat confusing statement, Andrews criticized those asking him to back out of trying to “shut down debate” while agreeing with them that the WCF summit represented “intolerance.”

August 30, 2014

McCain and sidekick weigh in on Obama and ISIL

NYT offers a preview of the Sunday morning political shows on its op-ed page.

As predictable as the dawn. This week the President is a hapless weakling; next week, if he issues an executive order on immigration, he'll be a tyrant. It would be nice if those interviewing McCain and his closeted and overcompensating sidekick would ask them how their hawkish approach worked under Mr. Obama's predecessor. But the media has been much more interested in the President's haberdashery.

August 24, 2014

I'd call that a drive-by fruiting

In addition to being spot-on, this commentary by Aussie comedian Adam Hills is a beautiful tribute to Robin Williams. Helloooooo!

In what may spell the end times for the deranged Phelps family, they have accepted the offer by Hills to pay their first-class fare to Iraq (and pay the carbon offset) to protest anti-Christian persecution by the radical Islamic group ISIS. And just as a sweet reminder, a scene that illustrates why the late actor and comedian reviled by the Phelps loons is so beloved.

August 22, 2014

Fischer: God Will Use ISIS To Punish America For Gay Rights

Kyle Mantyla reports at Right Wing Watch on the latest lunacy from Bryan Fischer of AFA.

Don't say David Horowitz can't get any crazier

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch has the latest craziness from David Horowitz. Here's a sample:

Obama is an anti-American radical and I'm actually sure he's a Muslim, he certainly isn't a Christian. He's a pretend Christian in the same way he's a pretend American. It really is disgraceful. He's inviting the terrorists to behead more Americans when he should be attacking them with our military. His whole agenda in office has been to defeat America, he lost the war in Iraq deliberately, he created a vacuum which ISIS has filled.

Click on the link above for audio clips.

August 13, 2014

Sectarian Scavengers

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(Photo by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

My latest column is now up at Metro Weekly. It is subtitled, "Amid war and plague, right-wing Americans export religious intolerance." Here's an excerpt:

In Entebbe on August 9, more than one hundred LGBT Ugandans celebrated the first Pride Uganda since the Constitutional Court overturned the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) for being passed without a quorum. Entebbe is on Lake Victoria, and the paradise suggested by some of the photos would not make you think the revelers risked mob violence, unless you noticed the masks some wore.

A British name for an African lake is a relic of the same colonial legacy that keeps homosexuality illegal despite AHA being tossed out. African leaders are strangely selective in their outrage over Western influences. They embrace foreign laws, religions, and aid while treating sexual minorities who have always lived among them like hostile aliens. American evangelicals like Scott Lively incited the persecution with the slander that gays recruit and sexually abuse children. This pious vulture denies any responsibility for the consequences, including LGBT Ugandans being hunted like animals.

Read the whole thing here.

August 12, 2014

International Youth Day

Today is International Youth Day. Here's an excerpt from a joint statement by ORAM and IGLYO on "the perils facing particularly vulnerable young people, including young LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees":

ORAM and IGLYO call on governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, refugee professionals, LGBTQI activists, youth service providers, and youth leaders to:

1. Reinforce capacity building and LGBTQI training for service providers and refugee professionals, teaching them to utilize safe and non-discriminatory screening methods.

2. Create new networks and platforms of dialogue between youth groups, LGBTQI groups, refugee professionals and young LGBTQI refugees, enhancing experience-sharing and awareness-raising.

3. Create safe spaces for young LGBTQI refugees to express their fears and hopes, helping them embrace their identity and break the silence often accompanying internalized homophobia or transphobia.

4. Encourage states to adopt and enforce international human rights law applicable to sexual orientation and gender identity, such as, Principle 23 of the Yogyakarta Principles[2], to ensure that LGBTQI persons and youths are not extradited, removed, or expelled to any state where they may face persecution, degrading treatment or punishment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

August 09, 2014

Pride Uganda 2014

Some tweets from Frank Mugisha in Entebbe, Uganda, where more than 100 brave Ugandans celebrated Pride Uganda 2014.

What an awesome display of courage and grace, to celebrate their lives amid religious persecution and threats of mob violence.

August 06, 2014

DREAMers confront Rep. Steve King and Sen. Rand Paul

Rachel Maddow reports. DREAMers Erika Andiola & Cesar Vargas confronted Rep. Steve King at a fundraiser in Okoboji, Iowa for trying to end President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Notice how Sen. Rand Paul flees as soon as Andiola mentions she is a DREAMer. An aide to Paul claimed he had to get to another event. Sure.

Steve King is wrong and disrespectful. Rand Paul is a weasel.

Tea and crumpets

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KAL's cartoon, from The Economist.

Meanwhile, in NYT, a clear, sensible voice on Israeli colonialism that most Americans just don't want to hear.

Obamas greet Museveni in White House

President and Mrs. Obama greet Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the White House.

I could have sworn I read something about sanctions and travel restrictions.