Morris gets noticed!

Some big organization just noticed our little school district!

Uh-oh. It’s the ACLU.

And it’s not because our schools did something good.

lookbeyond

As part of their celebration of a Day of Silence (a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools) students at Morris Area High school donned t-shirts with the slogan “Look Beyond”. The same day a group of anti-LGBT students wore shirts that said “Loud and Proud”, the dark blue shirts had an image of an American flag and a pickup truck on the front. Students who were a part of the Gay Straight Alliance efforts said that they were shouted at and harassed by the students wearing the Loud and Proud t-shirts, but school officials did nothing to stop the harassment that day.

Yeah, I heard about this, and it’s troubling — not just because some of the students were assholes, but because this was organized assholery. Somebody designed and ordered a bunch of those stupid t-shirts with a pickup truck and a flag — I guess those are internationally recognized symbols of American jerkiness — and distributed them to the students with a suggestion that they disrupt a day of silence.

But, although the school district did nothing the day of the disruption, surely they got their act together and eventually responded appropriately? You don’t know our school district.

Morris Area High School has banned t-shirts with two slogans — “Loud and Proud” and “Look Beyond” — after student demonstrations turned disruptive last Friday, April 15.

On Wednesday, Morris Area High School Principal Bill Kehoe announced the decision to ban the specific slogans on shirts or other clothing at school and school-sponsored activities.

“We will not tolerate demonstrations or any conduct by any student or groups of students that disrupts the school environment or puts the safety or well-being of students at risk,” Kehoe said in a statement read over the intercom at the end of the school day.

Morris Area Superintendent Rick Lahn said the district’s decision is designed to keep students safe.

They banned them both, of course. To keep the students “safe”, they silenced the peaceful, non-disruptive message as well as the asshole message. Which means, of course, that the assholes who distributed those t-shirts got exactly what they wanted out of it.

The ACLU is coming down hard.

This is not the solution. The t-shirts themselves are not the problem, the harassing of students who were a part of the Day of Silence is the problem.

Schools should be a safe space for all students to attend. Morris Area High School has a responsibility to address any bullying that occurred regardless of the clothing worn by the perpetrators. Instead they just chose to limit the free expression of both sides by outright banning the shirts. This won’t get rid of bullying.

Instead of banning the slogans and t-shirts the school should be focused on making the school a safe and welcoming environment for its LGBT students. This is not the first time the ACLU has heard that Morris High School is an unwelcoming climate for LGBT youth. The school should use this opportunity to talk to its students about bullying and harassment and figure out steps it can take to make it safer.

The ACLU of Minnesota sent a letter to the school district telling the school that they should lift the ban on the t-shirts and instead focus on the heart of the problem.

This is a common problem around here — every once in a while, the religious totalitarians bestir themselves and try to assert their mightiness by slapping down kids. Especially kids who are in some way slightly different.

Sightings on the road

I don’t understand these billboards. What are the people who put these up thinking? Do they think Jesus might come tooling down I94 from Fargo in a tan Ciera and be reassured by its message? Jesus is the big guy. The Holy Ghost is the little guy, kinda funny looking, and he’s driving.

Jesus: Where is Pancakes House?

Holy Ghost: What?

Jesus: We stop at Pancakes House.

Holy Ghost: What are ya nuts? We had pancakes for breakfast. I want to go somewhere I can get a shot and a beer, and a steak, maybe. No more fuckin’ pancakes, c’mon man. C’mon man! Okay here’s an idea. We’ll stop outside of Brainerd. I know a place there we can get laid. What do ya think?

Jesus: I’m fuckin’ hungry now, you know!

Holy Ghost: Yeah, yeah. Jesus. I was just saying we could stop, get pancakes, and get laid.

[As they pass the Sauk Centre exit, they see a billboard]

trustjesus

[Jesus smiles]

Holy Ghost: Hey, look at that. You ever been to Sauk Centre?

Jesus: Nope.

Holy Ghost: Would it kill you to say something?

Jesus: I did.

Holy Ghost: “No.” That’s the first thing you’ve said in the last four hours. That’s a, that’s a fountain of conversation, man. That’s a geyser. I mean, whoa, daddy, stand back, man. Shit. You know I’m sittin’ here drivin’, doin’ all the drivin’, man, the whole fuckin’ way from Brainerd, drivin’, just tryin’ to chat, you know, keep our spirits up, fight the boredom of the road, and you can’t say one fuckin’ thing just in the way of conversation? Well, fuck it. I don’t have to talk either, man. See how you like it. [Pause] Just total fuckin’ silence. Two can play at that game, smart guy. We’ll just see how you like it. Total silence.

[They pass another sign]

jesusonlyway

Jesus: Unguent.

Holy Ghost: What?!

Jesus: I need Unguent!

At least, that’s the conversation I imagine as they’re on the way to the Big City as they pass these colossal non sequiturs.

These really are billboards mounted along the freeway. I don’t get the point, other than making a display of public piety, unless they really do believe Jesus cruises around on I94.

Inshallah

This is a painfully common story: parents give child a deadly weapon as a present, child accidentally kills someone (because CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE PLAYING WITH GUNS), and everyone shrugs it off because, well, these things just happen. It’s no one’s fault. Nope, no blame anywhere. This is a rifle intended for children, so it was being used properly. Of course, it was used by a five year old boy to accidentally slaughter his two year old sister, but hey, It’s just one of those nightmares, a quick thing that happens when you turn your back, say the police, as if there was no agency involved anywhere in the whole tragic series of events. It just happens.

And then Grandma has to come along and open her mouth.

Riddle said she is devastated, but comforted knowing that her granddaughter is in a better place.

It was God’s will. It was her time to go, I guess, she told WLEX. I just know she’s in heaven right now and I know she’s in good hands with the Lord.

Fuck you, Grandma.

#UMMorris: A hotbed of Satanism!

baphomet

We’re in trouble now: one of those conservative campus watchdog groups has discovered that the University of Minnesota Morris has Satanist students. And not just ordinary, run-of-the-mill Satanists — these are gay devil-worshippers!

Actually, it looks more like a recruiting newsletter was sent out, but I’m sure our evil student body will leap on it.

“I’m looking to start a Satanist group at Morris to address the budding conservatism on this campus—which I find abhorrent,” student Reed Larsen wrote to his fellow classmates. “I’m thinking of calling the group either Gay Devil Worshippers for a Better Future OR Queer Satanists for Change.” The group has since elected to go by the moniker “Gay Devil Worshippers for a Better Future.”

Rather than merely performing its standard Satanic rituals, the group hopes to make social activism its primary purpose.

“I’m hoping the group will have a social justice platform and further such a platform through good ol’ devilish revelry,” Larsen wrote.

Lawks, I’m fain to swoon…not just gay devil worshippers, but social justice gay devil worshippers. I’m pretty sure those are the worst kind.

The City Pages, the Twin Cities alternative weekly, has now reported on it, so now the news of our university’s sinful student body has been broadcast state-wide. I expect enrollments to surge next year.

Except among the Republicans. The article also spilled the beans on another of our secrets.

According to a student at UMM who wished to remain anonymous, the “budding” conservative groups on campus are not actually budding at all. The few conservative groups on campus, including the school’s gun club, pro-life club, and College Republicans, have around 20 combined members, according to the source.

Yeah, that sounds about right. It might even be a bit high. I don’t expect our Satanist group to be that numerous either, but I wouldn’t be surprised if UMM Gay Devil Worshippers for a Better Future would outnumber our campus Republicans for Trump.

P.S. Hey, gang, if you don’t already have a faculty sponsor for your group, I’m available.

If only their crimes had been exposed 50 years ago…

More horrifying stories are emerging from the Altoona diocese. What needs to be kept in mind is that that area of Pennsylvania is perfectly ordinary and fairly conventional — it is no pit of depravity. It just happens to be a region where Catholic amorality is getting exposed.

“Father Francis McCaa was a monster,” the grand jury stated.

The investigation found 15 of his alleged victims, abused between 1961 and 1985.

“In some cases children tried to report their abuse to their parents … but were not believed … the grand jury aches at hearing the hopelessness these victims felt when being offended on by a pastor they were taught to respect and honor,” the report says. Some parents punished their children for accusing the “friendly” monsignor, the report says, though at one point the bishop at the time, James Hogan, was confronted by a group of “outraged parents” and promised action.

Hogan met with district attorney Gerald Long and assistant DA Patrick Kiniry, both now serving as judges in the area, the report says, though no charges were brought.

McCaa was removed from the diocese and replaced with a priest who is also named in the report as a pedophile.

McCaa retired in 1993 and died in 2007.

I guess he’s in heaven now. I wouldn’t be surprised if St Peter is in on the coverup.

Empirical evidence and reason demonstrate that Sam Harris is an arrogant ass

Omer Aziz wrote an article critical of Sam Harris. So, as he likes to do, Harris invited Aziz to a “debate”. Without even considering the content, we can conclude that Harris is a dishonest clown. Take a look at the conditions he set:

So I accepted his offer and every onerous condition that came with it. Once again, all the terms were set by him: I would have to read the essay word for word, he could stop me whenever he wanted, I could not record the talk, and Harris reserved the right not to air it if it was “boring”—a standard to be defined only by him, and only after the fact.

They talked for four hours. Then, later:

A few weeks later, I was surprised then to find the following email in my inbox:

I just listened to our recorded conversation, and I’m sorry to say that I can’t release it as a podcast. Even if I took the time to edit it, I wouldn’t be doing either of us any favors putting it out there. The conversation fails in every way — but, most crucially, it fails to be interesting.

Better luck next time…

Sam

[Read more…]

The “mystery of the Church and Priesthood”

The grand jury report on the Catholic sexual abuses in Altoona-Johnstown is available for reading, and I’m sorry, it’s practically pornographic. What these people were doing to the children of their community, with the compliance of the police who turned a blind eye to their behavior, is obscene.

In 1971, Father John Boyle groped the genitals of a 15-year-old boy in the basement of St. Edward’s Church in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania on numerous occasions. Boyle also kissed the boy and performed oral sex on him. The boy was confused. He could tast the alcohol on Father Boyle’s mouth. He concluded that what was happening to him must be what the Church called the “mystery of the Church and Priesthood.”

It goes on and on like that for 145 pages. I could not bear to read much of it. But it’s clear that the diocese was knowingly shuffling pedophile priests around, doing nothing about them, and basically enabling the rape of children for decades.

They even had a pay-out schedule for offenses when they were caught at it!

payout

That’s a lot of money. It’s telling that the church hierarchy was willing to fork over that kind of cash rather than actually punishing and stopping their bad priests — and that tells you the whole thing was rotten, root and branch.

Seven is heaven

Some priests in the Catholic church think that saying 7 is the “age of reason” is synonymous with declaring open season on boys above that age.

Bishop Robert Cunningham of the diocese of Syracuse, NY doesn’t think priests should take all of the blame for decades, if not centuries, of sexual abuse against young boys. According to Cunningham, the “age of reason” in the Catholic church is seven, so those boys are culpable for their actions.

We can at least get the ones who rape 6 year olds then, right?

But this argument doesn’t even make sense. We don’t say that adult women are culpable for their rapes, so being mature and rational doesn’t even come into it. They are victims. These children are victims. They didn’t choose to be abused, it was forced on them.

The only way you can legitimately use this “age of reason” excuse is to suggest that any priests who were under 7 years old were not fully responsible for their actions.

How about if you just don’t read his books, instead?

Maryam Namazie wants you all to sign a petition. Would you believe the Iranian state still wants to murder Salman Rushdie, and has put a bounty on his head?

We, the undersigned, are outraged to learn that forty state-run media outlets in Iran have raised $600,000 (£420,000) to add as bounty to Ayatollah Khomeini’s death fatwa on writer Salman Rushdie for his novel The Satanic Verses.

We condemn the Iranian regime, its fatwa and the added bounty and stand with Salman Rushdie and the many Iranian freethinkers and writers languishing in prison or facing the death penalty for exercising their right to free expression and thought.

The Iranian regime must face global condemnation for its incitement to murder.

I am opposed to state-sponsored assassination of any kind, but to condemn a person to death for writing words on paper is simply appalling. Rushdie has been under this edict of death for almost 30 years now, and it has to stop.