Santorum wouldn’t roll over religious freedom, he’d drown it

If that mental image disgusts you, wait until you read this part of Santorum‘s victory speech. Yes, victory speech – he just handily won the polls in both Missouri and Minnesota EDIT: and Colorado. This is my favorite bit of lunacy (transcript courtesy of Slog):

“Americans understand that there is a great deal at stake…the president does not believe that.” Obama believes “the government can give you rights…they can give you the right to health care. Look what happens when the government gives you rights, unlike when God gives you rights. The government can take them away. Santorum says he never believed we’d have a president “who would roll over” religious freedom to impose “secular values.” He continues, “We need to be the voice for freedom.”

Again, I wish I could completely disregard this guy as a fringe wacko…but thousands and thousands of Americans are voting for him. The idea that he’s the one who would uphold religious freedom is hysterical to me.

Dear Mr. Frothy Mixture: imposing a Christian theocracy on others is the exact fucking opposite of religious freedom. The only people who lap up what you spew have no concept of religious freedom, but just like hearing the promise that their personal nonsensical beliefs have the chance to become law. These are the same people who’d flip their shit if a Muslim candidate said the identical quote.

Thousands and thousands of Americans are voting for this man.

Gah.

Creationism bill passes Indiana Senate

Newflash! 28 out of 50 Indiana state Senators are still complete morons (emphasis mine):

On January 31, 2012, the Indiana Senate voted 28-22 in favor of Senate Bill 89. As originally submitted, SB 89 provided, “The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.” On January 30, 2012, however, it was amended in the Senate to provide instead, “The governing body of a school corporation may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.”

The Senate spent less than twenty minutes considering the bill, with its sponsor Dennis Kruse (R-District 14) defending it. Kruse acknowledged that the bill would be constitutionally problematic but, he told the education blogger at the Indianapolis Star (January 31, 2012), “This is a different Supreme Court,” adding, “This Supreme Court could rule differently.” The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana’s legal director Ken Falk was previously quoted in a story from the Associated Press (January 26, 2012) as saying that the bill is clearly unconstitutional and invites lawsuits: moreover, he added, “when lawmakers propose legislation they clearly know will end up in the courts, it wastes time and resources.”

[...] The bill now proceeds to the Indiana House of Representatives, where its sponsors are Jeff Thompson (R-District 28) and Eric Turner (R-District 32), who is also the house speaker pro tem. Thompson, interestingly, is also a cosponsor, along with Cindy Noe (R-District 87), of House Bill 1140, which would require teachers to discuss “commonly held competing views” on topics “that cannot be verified by scientific empirical evidence.” While evolution is not mentioned in the bill, Noe cohosted a controversial dinner at the Creation Evidence Expo in Indianapolis in 2009according to the Fort Wayne Reader (August 23, 2010). In any case, HB 1140 seems to have died in committee.

…You know, I got nothing. I dealt with this idiotic crap for the 22 years I lived in Indiana, and I’m running out of new material. Now it’s just time to get the popcorn and watch the stupidity play out.

The only reason I wish I still lived in Indiana is so I could be the one to petition for Pastafarianism.

Do not donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I am pissed off about Susan G. Komen’s decision to pull its grants for breast cancer screening from Planned Parenthood.

Komen claims the move is because their newly adopted guidelines do not allow them to donate money to organizations under investigation by Congress. But let’s cut the crap: this is nothing more than a snivelling political move to appease anti-choicers:

Komen has been under pressure from anti-abortion groups to drop its funding for Planned Parenthood, which received $680,000 from the anti-cancer group in 2011. Most recently, abortion foes forced a Christian publisher to stop printing pink Komen bibles and pressured bookstores to take them off the shelves. Groups have also called on supporters to boycott Komen entirely, and decried the group as a “lie from the pit of Hell.” But Komen says the anti-abortion groups’ activism didn’t play a role in its decision, which it claims is the result of a new internal policy forbidding it from funding for any organization that’s currently under investigation in Congress. (Planned Parenthood is the target of a congressional investigation, but that probe is led by an anti-abortion lawmaker who has sought to end all federal support to the group.)

One thing the AP piece misses, however, is that pressure to end the Planned Parenthood funding may have also come from within Komen itself. Karen Handel was named senior vice president at Komen in April 2011, and is now “leading the organization’s federal and state advocacy efforts.” But before joining Komen, she was a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia, and was critical of Planned Parenthood. “[S]ince I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” she wrote in a blog post, and pledged to eliminate all state funds for breast and cervical cancer screening to the group if she were elected governor.

Isn’t it oddly convenient that their new guidelines coincide with these events? Why, it’s almost as if they adopted those guidelines in order to appease anti-choicers, while simultaneously attempting to deflect blame onto Congress!

We can speculate on Komen’s motivations until we’re blue in the face, especially since they won’t even reply to Planned Parenthood’s requests to discuss the decision. But the motivations don’t change the result: Roughly $600,000 a year will no longer be going toward breast health education, clinical breast exams, and mammogram referrals for predominantly poor and minority women. Without these preventative measures, women’s health will suffer.

Some people will argue that this is not true because Komen will simply donate the money to other organizations. If there’s an organization that provides these services with the experience and geographical spread of Planned Parenthood, fill me in. But this means more than funding for some exams, as Amanda Marcotte points out:

The existence of breast-cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood has always been a thorn in the anti-choice side. Most of Planned Parenthood’s services are related to the choice to be sexually active—contraception, STD screening and treatment, cervical cancer screening—making it easy to write off those services as unnecessary if you follow the strict abstinence-only prescription the Christian right has for women. Breast cancer, however, can strike the lifelong virgin, the married woman who only has sex for procreation, and the dirty fornicator (i.e. the vast majority of American women) alike. Because of this, anti-choicers have tried to create a rift between women’s health advocates who focus on breast cancer and those who focus on reproductive health concerns below the waist. Today, they had a victory with Komen’s act of cowardice.

[...]In the end, the grant money is less important than the symbolism of Komen buying into the conservative myth of good-girl health care vs. bad-girl health care. In reality, women’s health care can only work if it’s comprehensive health care.

Even without this latest development, there were enough issues about Komen to give me pause:

Their removal of support from Planned Parenthood is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I will now be looking for other breast cancer foundations to support, and I’ve made a donation to Planned Parenthood’s emergency funding drive. I suggest you do the same, and inform your friends and family about this situation.

Indiana Senate committee approves creationist legislation

My dad emailed me this news report with the quote “Another reason to be glad you’re not living in Indiana.” From NWI Times (our local newspaper!):

An Indiana Senate committee on Wednesday endorsed teaching creationism in public schools, despite pleas from scientists and religious leaders to keep religion out of science classrooms.

Senate Bill 89 allows school corporations to authorize “the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life” and specifically mentions “creation science” as one such theory.

State Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, who voted for the measure, said if there are many theories about life’s origins, students should be taught all of them.

But John Staver, professor of chemistry and science education at Purdue University, said evolution is the only theory of life that relies on empirical evidence from scientific investigations.

“Creation science is not science,” Staver said. “It is unquestionably a statement of a specific religion.”

The Rev. Charles Allen, head of Grace Unlimited, an Indianapolis campus ministry, said students would be served better by teaching religion comparatively, rather than trying to “smuggle it in” to a science course.

The Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee nevertheless voted 8-2 to send the legislation to the full Senate.

What? Indiana is being backwards and ignorant? I am shocked – shocked, I say!

Dear Indiana legislators,

What you are doing is unconstitutional. That is not an opinion of mine – the Supreme court decided this in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987). Your attempt to weasel Christianity into public science classrooms is going to fail. You can either choose to vote it down now, or you can waste years of time and money in a pointless legal battle. Not to mention your continued efforts to destroy science make intelligent young people like me dying to evacuate the state and never come back. You wonder why you have a brain drain? This is it.

Indiana voters – figure out your Senate district here and send your state Senator a reminder about why creationism has no place in a science classroom.

Gee, thanks, God

According to Rick Santorum, we shouldn’t allow abortions even in cases of rape, because those fetuses are gifts from God. Yes, God’s gift to rape victims is pregnancy. Maybe this is just me, but I would kind of prefer God to give me the gift of Not Being Raped In The First Place.

It’s easy to write off Mr. Frothy Mixture as an extremist lunatic, but… Well, he is an extremist lunatic, but he’s not alone. Over 150,000 Americans have voted for him so far in the Republican primaries. Yikes.

Kentucky’s priorities

Governor Steve Beshear (D) of Kentucky has just approved the state’s new budget for 2012-2013: millions of dollars cut from education, while the Creation Museum’s $43 million dollar Ark Park still stands. The $11 million going toward highway development for the amusement park was also untouched.

I can see Beshear’s airtight logic now. If we keep Kentuckians uneducated, they’re more likely to visit that intellectual black hole, thus increasing money spent on tourism! Budget problem solved!

And to think states like Kentucky wonder why they experience a “brain drain.”

Welcome to the United States

Here a state representative thinks it’s perfectly fine to refer to his 16-year-old constituent as “an evil little thing” who is “being coerced by evil people” because she understands the concept of separation of church and state. Maybe Rhode Island House Representative Peter G. Palumbo (D) needs a few emails (rep-palumbo@rilin.state.ri.us) or phone calls ((401) 785-2882) reminding him about the first amendment of the constitution.

And don’t forget, you can donate to Jessica Ahlquist’s scholarship fund here. Random kindness from strangers has already raised almost $20,000!

Update on Canada’s gay marriage issue

The government is taking action:

The Harper government is working quickly to change the law so that the marriages of the thousands of gay couples who travel to Canada to wed are legally recognized in this country. “We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official told Postmedia News on Friday. “That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.” The legislative change will apply to all marriages performed in Canada regardless of the laws of the jurisdiction in which the couple live, the official said. The statement came in the wake of a political firestorm that broke out Thursday after international headlines suggested the Canadian government doesn’t legally recognize the marriages of foreign same-sex couples who were married in Canada because they could not legally do so in their home state or country.

This is the difference between Canadian conservatives and American conservatives. Canadian conservatives can at least recognize the great economic benefit of having foreign gay couples come to their country to get married. American conservatives pander to the religious right, damn the economic or ethical consequences.

EDIT: Apparently I know nothing about Canadian politics…though I still want to insist that your conservatives aren’t as big as whack jobs as ours. If our Republicans found a loop hole like this, they’d be jumping all over it to take away rights from gays.