Bi Any Means Podcast #126: Social Justice and Humanism with James Croft

My guest for today is James Croft. According to his bio, “James Croft is a Humanist activist and public speaker who has swiftly become one of the best-known new faces in Humanism today. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is recently completed his Doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a leader in training in the Ethical Culture movement – a national movement of Humanist congregations – he is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James is a committed Humanist and a Humanist Celebrant, who wants to build communities which foster the development of non-religious social capital and give naturalists the space to come together and appreciate each other more deeply. To further this aim, James works as the Outreach Director of the Ethical Society of St. Louis – one of the largest Humanist communities in the world. He believes that society is desperately in need of living communities dedicated to human flourishing and freedom.” And today I’ve got him on the show to talk about why humanism and social justice should go hand-in-hand.

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An Apology

CN: Murder, Suicide

As you know, yesterday Recovering From Religion Podcast co-host Scott Smith killed his wife Jennifer and then himself. It was a huge shock to many of us, and while processing my emotions I recorded a short bonus episode of my podcast talking about it.

After listening to my Facebook friends and looking back on the episode, I realized I brushed over the fact he killed his wife, and for that I apologize. I should have waited until after giving myself time to process the tragedy before recording anything.

For now I will keep the episode online (although I did put an apology in the show notes) for accountability, but if needed I can delete it.

Bi Any Means Podcast Bonus Episode: RIP Scott Smith

*UPDATE 11/28/17: After listening to several Facebook friends and looking back on this episode, I realized I brushed over the fact that Scott killed his wife as well as himself, and for that I apologize. I should have waited until after giving myself time to process the tragedy before recording anything. For now I will keep the episode online (although I did put an apology in the show notes) for accountability, but if needed I can delete it.

***

 

I lost a friend today. This is a short unedited unscripted tribute.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast Bonus Episode: RIP Scott Smith” on Spreaker.

Bi Any Means Podcast #125: Friendsgiving with Marissa McCool and Jessica Xiao

Today’s a special Friendsgiving episode with two friends of mine, Marissa McCool and Jessica Xiao. Instead of awkward dinner conversations with your racist uncle, this conversation is going to be about some things that have been on my mind lately about social justice activism, such as self-care, perfectionism, and radical vulnerability.

I’m releasing this a few hours earlier than usual for three reasons. First, in case anyone’s traveling for the holiday you can listen to this on the ride. Second, if you’re surrounded by shitty relatives, you can listen to this to drown out their bullshit. And third, by the time I usually release new episodes, 4 pm Eastern, I’ll probably be in the midst of a food coma, so better take care of it now while I’m still coherent.

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Sexual Misconduct is a Bipartisan Problem

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken

CN: Sexual Assault/Harassment/Misconduct

Despite our currently polarized nation, recent news has taught us that the Left and the Right have one thing in common: neither is immune to sexual misconduct. On the Right, there’s Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore who, despite his facade of being a pure and holy fundamentalist Christian, has been accused by several women of being sexually aggressive towards them when he was in his 30s and they were just teenagers. As a proud member of the Secular Left, it’s easy for me to laugh at the hypocrisy of Moore’s holier-than-thou attitude and the number of Republicans who would still vote for him simply because he’s not a pro-choice Democrat. It’s easy to make fun of Moore’s attorney Trenton Garmon’s disastrous interview on MSNBC, along with the fact that he looks like Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when he reveals he’s a cartoon. Yet even a hardcore liberal like me has to face the fact that even the Left is not immune to sexual misconduct.

Last week radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden revealed that Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped her without her consent during a 2006 USO Tour. Franken has since publicly apologized, and Tweeden forgave him. Besides issuing a public apology, he also called for an ethics investigation of his past behavior to hold himself accountable. In the days following, many on the Left are debating whether or not Franken should resign. Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic says yes, while New York Daily News’ Jonathan Zimmerman argues that, while Franken was wrong, he’s not a predator like Moore. My friend Sydney offered a similar argument on my Facebook wall the other day, but now she’s having second guesses with the news that another woman is claiming Franken groped her.

Yesterday morning, CNN broke the news that Franken allegedly grabbed Lindsay Menz’s butt during a photo op in 2010 at the Minnesota State Fair. The senator claims he doesn’t remember the event taking place since he’s taken pictures with so many people, but added, “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.” Things aren’t looking well for Franken, but he’s not the first Democrat to face sexual misconduct allegations.

For starters, this past September former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner received a 21 month federal prison sentenced for sexting with a 15 year old girl. Likewise, Newsweek recently listed several politicians who are currently facing sexual misconduct allegations, including Democrats Stephen Bittel of Florida, Sen. Dan Schoen, and Tony Mendoza and Raul Bocanegra of California. And then there’s former US President Bill Clinton, who has been accused by four women of sexual harassment and/or assault. This isn’t, of course, meant to downplay the accusations against Moore and President Trump, but only to say that when it comes to sexual misconduct, no political party is innocent.

As of now, it’s still too early to know if these accusations will have any effect on either Franken’s political career or the 2018 election. One thing is for sure, though, and that’s sexism respects no political affiliation. Despite what many Red Pillers say, these allegations show that patriarchy still flows through America’s veins, and that women are still seen as sex objects to men. Only by addressing this problem can we make real achievement.

Trans Day of Remembrance 2017 — A poem

I rarely write poetry, but I wanted to write something special for Trans Day of Remembrance this year, and I came up with this:

Here’s to lying

to mothers, fathers,

sons, daughters,

friends, lovers.

Here’s to crying

in locker rooms, bathrooms,

homerooms, living rooms,

and bedrooms.

Here’s to thinking of dying.

Here’s to finding,

“There’s a word for that?”

Here’s to trying

forbidden clothes.

Here’s to eyeing

nosey dressing room attendants.

Here’s to realizing

the truth.

Here’s to crying,

“This is me!”

Here’s to realizing

blood don’t mean shit.

Here’s to eyeing

the blade, the gun

the noose, the pills.

Here’s to finding

family among

freaks, geeks,

sissies, butches,

mamby-pamby

he’s, she’s, they’s

US!

Here’s to relying

on open homes

open doors

open hands

open minds

open hearts.

Here’s to defying

the numbers, figures,

stats, bets,

odds and sods

stacked like rocks

thrown against us.

Here’s to surviving.

 

Bi Any Means Podcast #124: Confessions of an Ex-Muslim with Yasmine Mohammed

My guest for today is Yasmine Mohammed, co-host of the Secular Jihadists from the Middle East podcast. She grew up in Canada in an extremely conservative Muslim family, and was in an arranged marriage with an Al-Qaeda agent. She escaped both the marriage and Islam, and her memoir about her journey, “From Al-Qaeda to Atheism,” will be released this December. Today we’re going to talk about her story, plus a little bit about what the Left and Right get wrong about Islam.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #124: Confessions of an Ex-Muslim with Yasmine Mohammed” on Spreaker.

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