To push the pope and the bishops

The New York Times reports on the Whistleblowers.

Although they know they could face repercussions, they have banded together to push the new pope to clean house and the American bishops to enforce the zero-tolerance policies they adopted more than a decade ago.

The group began organizing quietly nine months ago without the knowledge of their superiors or their peers, and plan to make their campaign public this week. Most in the steering group of 12 have blown the whistle on abusers in the past, and three are canon lawyers who once handled abuse cases on the church’s behalf. Four say they were sexually abused as children. [Read more...]

They asked about the statute of limitations

The other day On the Media had a segment talking to a Catholic nun, Sally Butler, who is part of a group who founded Whistleblowers. Guess what that’s about.

It was interesting, what she said. The three priests she and the other nuns worked with, in housing projects in Brooklyn, all molested the children. She thought Bishop Daly would take care of it, but no; to this day she has never met him. They got to see an underling of the bishop’s, Otto Garcia.

Butler: And we discovered that he and his lawyers were not at all alarmed, or surprised.

Brooke Gladstone: They asked about the statute of limitations.

Butler: [with emphasis] All they cared about: the dates. And that was a shock to us; we couldn’t believe it. [Read more...]

To protect their chastity

Via Mona Eltahawy on Twitter – a Saudi writer urges Tweeps to sexually harass women to make them go the hell back home where they belong.

A Saudi writer has urged his Twitter followers to sexually molest women hired to work as cashiers in big grocery stores, the latest backlash from conservatives who want to roll back limited social and economic reforms launched in the world’s leading oil exporter.

Abdullah Mohamed al-Dawood, who writes self-help books including one called The Joy of Life, has stirred fierce debate this week via the internet microblogging service with the use of the hashtag #harass-female-cashiers, to press for Saudi women to be forced to stay at home to protect their chastity. [Read more...]

It’s voluntary, but don’t you dare

Chris Moos pointed me to an article in the Guardian yesterday on the complications of trying to make policy on gender segregation.

Following the March event that upset some students at UCL, the university banned the IERA from campus. The vice-provost, Rex Knight, points to the form of words agreed by UCL that is now sent to anyone wishing to book rooms on campus. While enforced segregation will not be permitted, UCL states that “it is acceptable for individuals attending  events to choose to sit with members of their own gender. If individuals attending an event wish to segregate themselves on a voluntary basis, it is not acceptable for other members of the audience to compel them to mix, and to do so may constitute harassment.”

But that is enforced segregation. It means that other members of the audience are not allowed to sit in a segregated area, so hey presto, there is your enforced segregation again. [Read more...]

Multiculturalism v child protection

If you’re in London June 11 there’s a thing you can go to. (Funny how much I advertise events in London, isn’t it. I don’t know – I have contacts there. I see stuff.)

Multiculturalism and Child Protection – Sharia Law and Other Failures

London School of Economics, STC.S75 in St. Clement’s Building, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE at 6 p.m.

Anne-Marie Waters and Baroness Cox will be speaking about their newest report on the state of children’s rights in Britain. The talk is going to be chaired by Professor Eileen Munro, CBE and review the effects of state multiculturalism on the matter of child protection in Britain. [Read more...]

Why a nym

Objection, your honor.

Yesterday, when lecturing me on how I should put up with the bullying she and her friends dish out every day, “Skep tickle” replied to my objection that it’s easy for her because she hides behind a nym.

Some people on both “sides” of “the rift” do know my RL name and where I live, for what that’s worth.  I maintain semi-anonymity because of my job, as do many atheists, including (presumably) some of your regular commenters.

That implies that she hides behind a nym because she’s an atheist. That’s not true. She’s on the board of an atheist group under her own name.

So why does she hide behind a nym then? Well it’s obvious, isn’t it. She hides her identity when she’s engaging in harassment and bullying, and she does that because she doesn’t want people to know what a vicious hobby she has. She’s ashamed of it, or if she’s not ashamed of it, she at least realizes that other people would think what she does is shameful. I know that’s what I think.

It can’t be done

Chris Moos has a good article at the Huffington Post about gender segregation at UK universities.

Mind you, I disagree with him on one thing.

While there should be agreement on the fact that it is the right of students to voluntarily self-segregate, it is also clear there is no right of any campus group to force students to segregate, either by creating social pressure on students by advertising the events as “strictly segregated”, signposting “male” and “female” entrances and seating areas, or by verbally and physically enforcing segregation on the audience, as it occurred at UCL in March, as reported by the Guardian. Worryingly, this widely publicised case where students were refused entry through the “female entrance”, and subsequently intimidated and manhandled when they refused to comply is omitted from the discussion.

I disagree with the first clause. You can’t really have a “right” to self-segregate without segregating others, so there really is no such right. Segregation is from certain others, so it’s not a “self” thing.

He expands on the idea later.

Whether or not students want to segregate, in a liberal and democratic society the right to practising one’s faith stops where one starts imposing it on others. Contrary to what some assert, there is no right of the religiously observant to impose their sensibilities on others. For those who agree to segregate voluntarily, there is no need for advertisement, signposting, social pressure, intimidation or violence. Of course, if the segregation in these 40 cases had indeed been voluntary and agreed-upon by all attendees, the organisers would not have needed to promote or enforce it in the first place.

How could you do that though? How could you get all attendees to agree to segregate, and how could you do it without the risk of pressuring them? Imagine trying that with race. “Do you all agree to separate into white seats and black seats?” It’s not on. “Do you all agree to separate into believer seats and infidel seats?” Also not on. If those aren’t on, it’s not clear why the gender version should or could be on.

No I don’t think so; I don’t think the idea can or should be salvaged. People can sit where they choose to, within reason – but that naturally means that other people can’t tell them where to sit. People can get up and move if they don’t like someone who sits near them, but that’s all they can do. Self-segregation is an oxymoron, unless it just means staying home.

In this state because of our clergy

All right, a nice story for a change.

Two former Birmingham students have defied death threats to make legal history by becoming the first Muslim lesbian couple to get married in a civil ceremony in the UK.

Rehana Kausar, 34, and Sobia Kamar, 29, from Pakistan, tied the knot at a registration office in front of their solicitors and two Pakistani friends earlier this month.

Great. Two people who want to be together are together. A happy thing. I like happy things. [Read more...]

Threatened with disciplinary action

The ANU student newspaper has a response.

As many of you will be aware, the “Advice from Religion” infographic on the back page of Woroni, Edition 5 2013, caused a flurry of activity.  However, what you might not know is that over the course of a week, the Woroni board was twice summoned to the Chancelry, individually threatened with disciplinary action along with the authors of the piece, and informed that Woroni’s funding allocation could be compromised.

Threatened with disciplinary action…for what? It would help if we knew more about the cartoon, but so far I don’t. [Read more...]