July 27, 2012
It’s no secret that Chick-Fil-A recently got into a lot of hot water both from people who think the LGBT community is made up of human beings whom deserve the rights and dignity of every human being and people who like the Muppets.
That’s a big demographic to upset.
Chick-Fil-A’s president went on the record to state that he and his company stand for Biblical family, for traditional marriage, and oppose gay rights. That is his opinion to make. He has every right to believe that. Everyone can believe this if he or she wishes it.
Just like, you know, I and actual compassionate human beings have the right to not buy his product in order to send more money to anti-gay groups. It’s as simple as that. It’s called a boycott, and it’s a very simple, effective way to show your disapproval of a company. It helped get Glenn Beck off the air, for example.
However, over at The Atlantic, it seems that boycotting Chick-Fil-A is the first step towards… something. Something sinister that may (gasp) hurt businesses and is therefore and attack on capitalism and babies will explode and the sky will BURN.
Maybe the article doesn’t go into those depths, but it’s close.
Should [customers] swear off the legendary chicken sandwiches to support gay rights? Or could they eat one of the filets anyway, knowing their dollars would be but a drop in the bucket for a chain that has more than $4 billion in annual sales and donated a pittance to groups they may disagree with?
One person is not going won’t change anything, the author says. Yes, he’s right. One person doesn’t change a company’s policy… but thousands or millions certainly do change things. Even if the company donated just 1% of that $4 billion to anti-gay groups, that’s still forty million dollars.
On another note, the fact that these sandwiches are “legendary” and are therefore more important than gay rights is a bit offensive. No chicken sandwich… no SANDWICH, is worth more than basic human dignity and freedom.
I’d argue the latter — and this has nothing to do with my views on gay marriage. It’s because Chick-fil-A is a laudable organization on balance, and because I refuse to contribute to the ineffective boycott culture that’s springing up across America.
Uhm, okay? So you’re boycotting boycotts?
I actually like how smugly he justifies his contempt for the boycott. Chick-Fil-A is a business with a great business model and is therefore shielded from your petty worries. Everyone knows that being great at business means you’re morally beyond reproach.
Kneel before Zod!
First of all, Chick-fil-A is not a hate group. In a statement released yesterday, company leaders made their commitment to equal service clear, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
So the company admits that it will sell to anyone, at any time, and treat them well? That’s not an argument for them being nice people so much as it is an argument for them being savvy businesspeople. In such a multicultural world, you can’t afford to alienate anyone. Plus, money talks. Every person is a potential customer.
The company may not be in the same league as the Klan or other heinous organizations, but it’s campaigning against people in an effort to deny them rights. That makes them morally reprehensible to a lot of people.
Additionally, the organization gives millions of dollars each year to charitable causes — and not just to “pro-family” groups. It funds a large foster care program, several schools of a higher learning, and a children’s camp. It has provided thousands of scholarships for Chick-fil-A employees to attend college and grow past the service sector where they got their workplace start. (On Friday, the company provided free meals for Aurora, Colo., policemen.)
Foster care and children’s camps are not some liberal cause. Neither is providing food to law enforcement. Scholarships to employees? That’s just having awesome benefits. Somehow, the fact that the company donates to charities that EVERYONE can like is somehow supposed to make up for the money that goes to groups that want to keep several of my friends from marrying their partners.
Rush Limbaugh donates to charities, too. He’s still a pompous dingbat with a massive disconnect from reality and an ego with its own gravitational pull. Helping one person doesn’t excuse treating another like crap.
In a nation that’s as divided as ours is, do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed? And is this really the kind of culture we want to create? Culture war boycotts cut both ways and are much more likely to meet with success when prosecuted by large groups of people, such as Christian activists, who are more numerous than gays and lesbians and their more activist supporters.
Actually, there’s a wonderful article right here on why Christians SHOULDN’T boycott. It’s anti-Christian. It’s coercion. It’s a sinful use of power.
Now go ahead, Christian Right. Boycott. Because nothing draws in the heathen crowd like seeing a bunch of fundamentalists picketing. It’s like chum for the heathens and hedonists out there. It must mean fun is trying to be suppressed.
Gay and lesbian groups were famously rankled when pro-family activists reacted against Kraft for posting a photo of an Oreo cookie with rainbow-hued filling last month in honor of Gay Pride Month, and also when similar groups protested JCPenney for announcing lesbian talk show host Ellen DeGeneres would be its next spokesperson.
So should the 45 percent of Americans who oppose gay marriage opt for Chips Ahoy! instead of Oreos? Should they begin shopping at Belk instead of JC Penny? If they did, it wouldn’t make any more sense than the endless failed calls for liberal consumers to boycott Urban Outfitters, because its owner is a conservative and Rick Santorum donor, or to not order from Domino’s Pizza, because it was founded by a Catholic conservative who helped fund anti-abortion causes.
Actually, yes, they can boycott. They’re making their voices heard. If I believe someone is going to use my money to fund causes I am against, I’m certainly not going to give them money.
In one breath, the author states boycotts don’t work, and in the next, he threatens a boycott that he insists would work. It’s an amazing feat of logical gymnastics that would get a high score in the BS Olympics.
On both sides of our latest culture war divide, we must learn to have level-headed disagreements without resorting to accusations of hate speech and boycotts. As Josh Ozersky argued on TIME Thursday, “businesses should be judged by their products and their practices, not by their politics.”
That’s not how life works! If the pizza shop down the street makes the best pizza in Chicago and New York combined but the money goes to fund Glenn Beck, you bet your life I’m not going to go. When I give someone money, I’m doing it with the expectation that the money is going to pay wages, materials, administrative costs… etc. If someone who works at a great bar makes the best drinks in town but is an avowed racist, you bet I’m not going back until that person is fired. That’s one great thing about capitalism. You don’t have to write a letter to get someone’s attention. You can just do NOTHING and get a result. The company’s job is to make money. Making statements like this and donating to groups that are fighting against a segment of the population will be detrimental to business one way or another.
As far as I can tell, the author seems to think corporations and businesses are somehow different from the people who run them. Chick-Fil-A is a company, after all, and the company didn’t say these things. It was one man!
I don’t care how my dry cleaner votes. I just want to know if he/she can press my Oxfords without burning my sleeves. I find no compelling reason to treat sandwiches differently than shirts.
This is really just like saying, “I don’t have any convictions or opinions of my own and wish to be deaf to the funding for causes that may affect me in the future.”
Basically, the author is advocating social laziness.
From a business standpoint, some might say Cathy’s comments were imprudent if not downright dumb. But in a society that desperately needs healthy public dialogue, we must resist creating a culture where consumers sort through all their purchases (fast food and otherwise) for an underlying politics not even expressed in the nature of the product itself.
If white meat’s not your thing, try the Golden Arches. But if you want a perfectly fried chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A, will be happy to serve you — gay or straight. In this case, those who boycott are the ones missing out.
And there it is. How dare we deny ourselves a perfect chicken sandwich? It’s so much work to look through our purchases or pay attention when someone makes a very public declaration that they use consumer money to further ideological agendas. Why can’t we all just give in and throw our money at the corporations so it can eventually trickle down to us?
Long live the corporation!
Okay, so maybe I stretched it out, but my point stands: this is social laziness. Boycotting is not always successful, but companies are not entitled to our money. We buy a product because we like the product, but if the company supports causes. If I have a choice between a Neo-Nazi burger joint that uses 100% angus beef and home-made condiments and a McDonald’s-like crap burger, I’m going with the crap-burger.
Not every Chick-Fil-A employee is homophobic, but the money’s going to homophobic causes. I won’t support that. Neither should you.
And now, to cleanse the palette, let us laugh at dumb people hurting themselves.
June 13, 2012
Caiden Cowger explained his views on homosexuality, why he thinks it’s immoral, and the injustice of not being able to preach to homosexuals. He capped it off this week by explaining why he believes homosexuals are evil and yet he himself does not hate them, just the sin.
He sounds like a bigot three times his age. Let’s break this down.
May 17, 2012
Maybe it’s me. Maybe I don’t get the big deal about wanting to ban gay marriage. If a gay couple wishes to get married and live together, how does that undermine my own coming marriage or the marriages of everyone else? I’ve bene doing some thinking and I have a few questions to everyone who opposes gay marriage or is otherwise against LGBT individuals having rights or being able to express themselves in the public forum. If you can answer these questions, you win. It’s that simple. And they’re not trick questions.
If you believe the Bible dictates we must shun homosexuality because it is a sin, should we also shun divorcees, people who eat shellfish, and people who do not worship in a Judeo-Christian way?
Much of the core argument against gay rights in any way, shape, or form, comes from Judeo-Christian readings of the Bible. It clearly states in Leviticus 20:13 that man lying with man is an abomination.
Of course, as I pointed out last year, there are other things in the Bible we seem to not pay attention to even though they are clearly commandments: paying taxes, not tattooing, wearing gold, etc. The problem with this justification is that it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. It’d be like police arresting everyone who jaywalked but ignoring murders and rapists and focusing on only a single law.
Either enforce ALL the laws in the Bible or admit you’re cherry-picking.
If pro-LGBT groups wanting marriage for these individuals have declared “war” on traditional marriage, does that mean that North Carolina redefining marriage rights for a very narrow segment of the population is a war on heterosexual couples as well?
Buzzfeed put together a great list of all the consequences of passing Amendment 1. It’s not just that it takes rights from gay couples. It also takes rights away from ANY couple that is not married. Medical and financial decisions, for example, may now only be made by married individuals for another person. Likewise, domestic abuse laws no longer apply unless the couple is married. Oh, and domestic partner insurance benefits? Those are gone, too.
This is like when Texas was in such a haste to ban gay marriage that it banned marriage IN GENERAL. That’s right. North Carolina has taken rights away from straight couples, too, kind of like a doctor trying to remove a tumor with a shotgun. Straight couples will suffer and be discriminated against because of Amendment 1.
Why isn’t THAT being called a war, either?
If the whole point of Amendment 1 in North Carolina was to protect traditional marriage but you can still marry your first cousin, does that mean we now consider marrying your first cousin is “traditional” and morally right?
There’s a Deliverance joke in there. Nothing more to say. Moving on…
If people who are pro-gay rights are “demonizing” so-called traditional marriage by disagreeing with it, does this mean that Christians are “demonizing” Jews by claiming the Messiah has already come?
This one is part of the conservative attack plan on gay rights. If someone wants gay marriage, then that person must therefore think people who believe in “traditional” marriage are monsters.
Well, yes and no.
Playing the victim is not an argument. Being upset or shocked that someone has the gall to disagree with you and acting all butt-hurt because you’ve been called out for bigoted views is not evidence that you are correct. For example…
Mother: “Steve, eat your vegetables while Mommy drinks her special water.”
Steve: “But Mom, isn’t that your third glass of vodka… this hour?”
Mother: “How dare you!? Are you saying I’m a drunkard? Just because you’re twelve and don’t rink you think I’m wrong?”
See the similarity. Being hurt someone disagrees with you is not an argument. End of story.
If Bristol Palin truly believes traditional marriage is the only way to raise children, why did she engage in behavior that led her to her teen pregnancy and why didn’t she stay with her baby’s father?
Bristol Palin was quite vocal in her disbelief that the President of the United States would endorse gay marriage. She endorses the view that only a mother-father family is good for raising kids.
I’m sorry, but isn’t she the most famous case of out-of-wedlock teenage motherhood in the last… however long we’ve been caring about this? Bristol Palin could not believe President Obama saw the need to speak to his children about gay marriage and would endorse it in order to expand their world view.
Maybe it’s me, but her saying traditional marriage is the only way to raise a kid stinks of hypocrisy. After all, if she truly believes that, she would have married her kid’s dad at the first opportunity.
If you are against gay marriage because you believe it will force citizens to be gay or invalidate straight marriage, do you actually understand the law?
Pat Buchanan is the perfect example of how the Right sees gay marriage. In their minds, making gay marriage legal will invalidate straight marriage because gay marriage will now be the norm? He also does a nice job of showing the fake outrage at being called out for being bigoted I mentioned earlier. You really have to see this to admire how Buchannan manages to stuff nearly everything I’ve talked about until this point
You got all that? He can’t believe someone would say we’ve been wrong up until this point. He can’t believe someone is challenging marriage. The only rational way gay marriage will invalidate straight marriage is if it supersedes it. Which is NOT the plan.
It’s like being afraid your favorite band is going to play a large venue or reach out to new fans. It’s like geeks being scared because more people are liking their hobbies.
Buchannan is a marriage hipster. There. I said it.
If you believe only gays support gay marriage, do you then believe half the country is gay or bisexual?
The statistics for gay marriage approval are hovering around the 50% mark, give or take 10% and depending on which poll you use, but it’s still pretty high. However, according to the Paul Cameron, head of the Family Research Institute, Obama has sided with gay marriage because he himself may be gay.
Following that logic, does that mean almost half of America is gay?
You don’t have to be part of a group to advocate for that group, but the Right can’t seem to grasp this. Obama reaches out to Europe? He must be a socialist. He wants good relations with Muslim countries? He must be a Muslim! He supports gay marriage? He must be gay!
That’s weird. I support feminism but am not a woman. I support gay rights but am straight. I support welfare and social safety nets for the less fortunate yet haven’t been in those situations myself. Am I a gay unwed mother?
No, I am a Hispanic straight male. And one that has empathy, something the Right seems to forget exists.
There you have it. If homophobes and everyone against LGBT rights can answer these questions in satisfying manner, if they can justify the cognitive dissonance inherent in making these arguments, then they win.
They can have all the straight marriage they want. And… go!
And now, let’s enjoy some levity by listening to Ahnold’s greatest hits. Remixed!
May 8, 2012
I think I’m starting to realize that a lot of religious people seem to be confusing “religious persecution” with “I’m not the center of the universe.” Case in point…
A school in Lenoir City, Tennessee has found itself in some controversy. Atheist students have complained that it’s very difficult being a non-believer in a school where teachers and students are encouraged to pray and Judeo-Christian worldviews are expected of everyone. Obviously, a place so entrenched in religious fundamentalism would not be a comfortable environment for… well, anyone who was not Christian. Did I mention this was in the context of a public school?
Well, as you can imagine, the fine folks at Lenoir City saw right through these heathens’ plot. By asking to be treated as equals and for the First Amendment to be enforced in a public building, they were obviously looking to ban Christianity from the world.
A public institution cannot show preference to any single belief system. That means government bodies, schools, and others cannot make religious practices part of their official policy. However, individual members can still practice their religion as long as they don’t encroach on the rights of others to practice, or not practice at all, whatever they believe. For some reason, Christian conservatives take this to be an attack on religion when they’re free to worship as they see fit. They just can’t force others to do so.
I have a question for all these fundamentals. Do you think that not making something mandatory will force people to do it? Will making gay marriage legal make us gay? Will allowing others to practice their faith and not feel persecuted make them leave Christianity?
Actually… that may be it.
Church attendance has dropped in recent decades. At the same time, religious fervor has increased. It’s the death throes of a wounded, dying animal. As secularism and multiculturalism take hold, religious bigots see that behavior they once saw as taboo is becoming accepted and their fear they may give in to their own urges. Maybe they really don’t believe and make religious claims out of social pressure. Maybe they want out. Maybe they’re really gay and that self-hatred gets projected.
Maybe they’re just idiots. Actually, this reminds me of when Hannity was appalled that liberals had the audacity to speak out and fight back against conservatives. If these religious idiots are right, the atheists are going to spend an eternity in hellfire. What el
Whatever the case may be, they’ll lose in the end. With that being said, enjoy the weekend, I’ll see you Monday, and stay tuned. “Élves With Shotguns” will premier as soon as it gets the go-ahead from RPGNow.
Here’s the cover, for anyone interested.
April 10, 2012
Characters are funny.
I’ve been writing since I was in fourth grade. And by that I mean stories, not just writing in general. I can’t for the life of me remember the names of any of my early characters, but I can certainly remember the ideas and images that made e want to use them. Characters, I found out early enough, need to be able to breathe. They must feel real and alive.
A character does whatever a character does.
I found this out playing Dungeons and Dragons, too. Most monsters are faceless and nameless thugs, thieves, demons, and occasionally fey who are there to provide a good combat challenge. For the big dogs, though, the characters that become recurring villains, I have to do a little more work. The same thing goes for Charcoal Streets. I need to sit down and figure out what makes these guys tick. Once I do that, I can put them in a situation and see what they do.
It’s an interesting thought exercise, but it’s not something out of reach for most people. If you don’t have time to make up your own characters, try to figure out what two established characters would do in a situation. What would happen if you put Richard Riddick in a maze trap designed by Jigsaw? All the people he could just let die and not care… but what WOULD make someone like that care? How could you raise the stakes?
When I designed my current D&D campaign’s primary villain, I set to make her something that would resonate with everyone and just let the interactions color future installments.
Her name is Keyleth Greymoon. She was a paladin of light until her xenophobia and paranoia made her leave her unti with several dozen soldiers in an attempt to gather power to “properly protect” her realm. This included trying to free a fallen angel and killing every non-fey in an isolated valley.
At first, she was just a xenophobe. She was particularly sickened by our half-elf rogue whom she called a half-human and, infamously for my players, a “half-breed bitch.”
Two and a half years later and they’re still steamed at her about that.
And that’s when I knew I’d made a memorable character. The line was ad-libbed. It sounded like something Keyleth would say, but it struck such a chord among my friends, all of whom abhor any sort of racism or elitism, that Keyleth is still around and the mere mention of her makes their skin boil. There are other incidents, but they all started with a few background notes.
I have similar notes for the characters of Charcoal Streets. Miguel, Carmen, Luz, Father Flores… if you think I don’t know their favorite drinks, hobbies, and hang-outs. You’re sadly mistaken. I know why Carmen prefers Glock pistols. I know what Father Flores’ tattoo means. I know why Miguel lives in that crappy apartment.
It’s all in the details, in the little things that nudge a character. Make sure you know what your characters do. Let them breathe. Let them have a drink, a smoke, and go to bed with whatever or whomever they want.
Characters are trees. You can’t tell where the branches will go. Just let them grow.
And now, until the next post, please enjoy dumb people this month.
December 9, 2011
I hate Rick Perry, but he can always be counted on to follow in Dubya’s footsteps and say something utterly stupid.
Even though Fox recently declared victory on the War on Christmas, they’re not letting up. After all, not everyone is saying “Merry Christmas” and schools are getting rid of Christmas parties during school. People keep insisting on calling Christmas Trees “holiday trees.” Next thing you know, Obama will order NORAD to track Santa and shoot the fat bastard out of the sky when he flies over restricted airspace.
However, Perry is about as honest as he is pro-gay.
Students are not being banned from celebrating Christmas. Schools are moving celebrations to afterschool activities so as not to cut into precious classroom time. Trust me. Every minute counts when you have to teach kids. It’s a matter of priorities. What is more important for children? Getting to sing Christmas carols during school or actually getting an education and having the party AFTER school?
Kids are NOT being banned from celebrating Christmas. The school has no authority over what religion they practice outside of the classroom, but the school DOES have a responsibility to teach children. And guess what? You CAN pray in school. Oh yes. If a school ever banned someone from praying, it would get in trouble with the ACLU and the whole alphabet soup. The thing conservatives are mad about is the ban on school SPONSORED prayer.
A school can’t make children pray or participate in religious-themed activities any more Congress can make its members start the day with prayer.
Oh wait, they do that already.
And it’s illegal. So are religious tests for public office, but that hasn’t stopped some states, including my own, from having them.
The War on Christmas should be renamed the “War for Christmas.” Conservatives want to make sure everyone follows their own brand of Christianity because if other faiths are allowed, that means NO one will want to be Christian, right? It’s kind of how making abortion legal made every woman want to get an abortion. Or how making same-sex marriage legal suddenly turned everyone gay in a couple of states.
Oh, right, that didn’t happen either.
Just remember this. Whenever a conservative wines about a war on religion or a war on Christmas or Halloween or anything like that, it’s because conservatives have a very weird mind-set. If something is legal, then it must be mandatory. It’s why they’re so scared of gay marriage. Rick Perry seems to think gay sex will be mandatory and he won’t be able to put up a Christmas tree if the liberals get their way.
Hey, Perry? We’re okay with you celebrating Christmas. And you don’t have to have gay sex. Just, for the love of all things good and decent, shut the fuck up.
PS: Your own staff thought this was a terrible idea. Asshole.
Let’s enjoy a puppy fighting with an ice cube just to wash all that out of our heads, shall we?
August 30, 2011
People still believe the sun revolves around the Earth. And no, these aren’t some loony fringe group in some backwaters compound. This is an actual splinter group of the Catholic Church. They held a conference at the University Of Notre Dame. And if this story is to be believed, it is growing in numbers.
Really? That’s what we’ve come to? The sun revolves around the Earth?
Let me break it down for everyone. If a book written during the Bronze Age says one thing, but centuries of observation and data say something else, if the OBSERVED information contradicts said book, the SCIENCE is still right.
A theory, in scientific terms, is not a “guess.” That is a “hypothesis.” Something cannot be called a theory in science unless it has stood up to decades, often centuries, of scrutiny and testing. The “theory” of gravity doesn’t mean we’re guessing gravity exists. It means we’ve observed that objects tend to gravitate towards each other and larger objects create much more pull. Maybe it means planets and moons love each other and want to be close together, but we have no evidence for that, just evidence for the mechanics that govern the motions of stars and galaxies and everything else.
You know what? I’m pissed. Whenever one of these backbirth groups pops up, they usually take to radio, or television, or the internet in order to broadcast their ignorance. I guarantee you these groups are shooting videos and getting the words out electronically.
You know what made those technologies possible?
If you have no respect for scientific advancement, for the fruits that science has given us, get off the internet and go back to the Pony Express. This is a place made possible by scientific discoveries, everything from the electron to the microprocessor. It is engineers and scientists reaching to make the most of the knowledge they have. Science has cured diseases. Science has extended our lifespans. Science took us to the moon and makes it possible for me to stream Hellraiser while I type this.
Science is the act of observing the world and discovering the rules that govern reality based on those observations. It is impossible to “prove” something, but highly possible to “disprove” it. All it takes is ONE piece of evidence. Something we can all measure equally.
If you want to dispute said observations, fine. Science welcomes your challenge. Scienc change as new observations come in. This is not a weakness in the process, but rather a strength. Religion doesn’t do this. It has to get dragged kicking and screaming to accept change. Old theories don’t just vanish. Relativity didn’t overthrow Galilean physics. It supplemented them, much like quantum mechanics didn’t replace relativity.
All I’m saying is…
Just don’t walk up to science with snot in your nose a juice box in your hand. If you want to argue, come with something better than, “Magic book from desert nomads says so.”
And people wonder why fundamentalists aren’t taken seriously…
And to wash that taste away, here’s a short film based on Portal 2. Enjoy!
Winners: Youth Ministry, OCD, A Dive Bar
“Three is three and three is holy,” he mumbled. Spittle and a drop of beer hit the bar. With all the sticky spots on the beaten wood, no one noticed. Most people were too drunk to notice Emil tearing a napkin with the precision of an expert surgeon. The waitress stopped to ask him if he wanted more beer until she finally called the manager over to talk with Emil. When he asked if Emil had enough, Emil grabbed the mug, smashed it on the counter, and swung the jagged glass remains at the manager’s throat.
Even with the music filling the bar with Top 40 country, people outside heard the screams from the waitresses. Emil didn’t blink while he took his broken mug and jammed the end into the manager’s chest and stomach until it finally broke off and all he had was a stubby piece of glass.
The bar was empty and Emil sat against the bar and the convulsing manager’s body. Police arrested him with no further incident.
Across town, Ethel walked into a 7-11 and called the attendant’s attention long enough to get past him and grab the shotgun he kept behind the counter. After she fired all three shells, she waited for the police to pick her up. She smiled and held the empty Mossberg as the three customers and the attendant filled with buckshot crawled towards the door.
“Three is three and three is holy,” she said.
Police saw the gun and she smiled when handing it to them, but she pointed it at the officers barrel-first. They fired their Berrettas. She was dead before she hit the ground.
Erik walked into church and locked the doors with bungee from his emergency car kit. After he carefully poured the gasoline around the windows and the doors, he lit a match and walked back to the parking lot. The twenty or so teens inside stopped rocking for Jesus and tried to escape. They trampled over each other and clawed at the doors. Erik listened to the screams and whispered, “Three is three and three is holy.”
The firefighters arrived in time to save three of the four walls. The police put him in holding with Emil. Newspapers wondered why they did what they did.
What was the point, the town asked?
“Three is three and three is holy,” they repeated.
No one knew what they meant. People gossiped after church. Children told stories in the dark. Every year, on the anniversary of the tragedy, men and women placed flowers on the sites of an old church, a closed-down dive bar, and a gas station. Priests prayed and children dozed off during the sermons.
The murders became a sort of local mystery. The national media soon moved on to more pressing stories like celebrity weddings and sex scandals. Erik and Emil spent their days in a pair of cells. The town moved on. The blood washed off. In the end, years after the fact, a few people asked “Why?”
No one cared when they weren’t answered.
August 26, 2011
Beck finally held his much-lauded rally in Jerusalem. He had a few hundred people there, judging by the photos. He went into full televangelist mode. He said he’d be bringing his message to other continents and that anyone who chose to follow him in his quest might be killed by the liberal progressicommunazi conspiracy.
The weirdest part, though, was his unveiling of his Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities, a manifesto that just begs a closer look. It’s 1,227 words that, well, tell us so much about this man and the people who think like him. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
I’ve taken the liberty of copying it word for word so you don’t have to go to his site and give him more page hits.
As the American Declaration of Independence clearly states, when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to band together and collectively declare their rights and responsibilities to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle and bind them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should disclose the causes which impel them to such.
Okay, so like any manifesto, we’re going to outline how we got here. Makes sense. After all, Beck seems to be the only one who sees the vast web of conspiracies in everything from skin cream to schools. Let us continue.
Therefore let us declare that we still hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But with those rights come responsibilities.
Nice historical allusion. Okay, I’m with him so far. We have rights. True. We also have responsibilities. We have to go to jury duty. We have to pay taxes. We have to vote. Nothing crazy so far.
In order to continually experience life, liberty and happiness as promised, nature’s God demands obedience to His law to protect those rights. This is where we have fallen short and therefore, in order not to lose the blessings of freedom, the people of the world must turn from the sole focus on rights, and recognize the inherent and required responsibilities that we have.
Aaaaaaand hello, Crazy Town. Rights come ONLY from God, folks. That’s the argument. Our rights are not simply there. God can take them away. Let that sink in for a moment. That right to worship as you choose, read and say what you want, and not be a slave? That’s from the same God who made the infidels drink gold, has followers who wish to censor literature, and advocated the owning of slaves won in times of war.
Among the responsibilities to which we must adhere to maintain our God given rights are honor, courage and vigilance.
You know, what? I’m going to say it. He missed a hyphen.
Over time, we believe that these basic human responsibilities have been trampled, and replaced with degradation, fear and apathy.
And this is a passive sentence. Who or what replaced these responsibilities? Also, you put an extra comma after “trampled.”
But when a long train of abuses of the people and conscience by the media and by other segments of society, pursuing the same path of reducing them to ridicule, scorn and even sub-human status, it is their right, it is their DUTY, to peacefully, but vehemently take a stand.
Men want to be king, and the more we concentrate on our rights and the more we are told not to worry about our responsibilities, the more we lose our rights.
Actually, the more we focus on our rights, the more we see when said rights are abused. As it stands, we really don’t have to do anything to keep our rights. Even Beck himself has admitted that the Civil Rights Movement is over since we in the West have all the rights we want. They cannot be taken from us unless the Amendments themselves get rewritten, so what does Beck mean by “the more we lose our rights?”
He and the Right in America have been constantly called out for the bigoted, anti-science, anti-progress, anti-poor myopic idiots that they are. They want to bolster the rich and crush the poor. They want to make it possible to once again treat people like crap just because you worship one god and they worship another. They want the right to treat employees like servants. They want the right use religion to dictate law.
But moving on…
Just as physics show, for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. The time has come to declare that at least for the western world human rights are generally accepted and moving in the right direction however a new movement is required a movement of human responsibility.
Punctuation punctuation punctuation… *headasplode*
The media, politicians and large institutions both academic and political have been lying to us, and we must demand the truth be told.
With that demand, comes the responsibility that we tell the truth first, in ourselves. Too many of us delegate our responsibility to the media…and too many believe there is no personal responsibility at all.
Okay, I think I’m nitpicking now, but does ANYONE working for Beck know how to use a fraking coma?!
By the way, the line about people delegating their responsibility to the media? Guess which network continually boasts to be the top-watched network in the country? I’ll give you a guess. It’s the same network that doesn’t know the difference between journalism and opinion and couldn’t care less about journalistic integrity.
Political correctness has polluted our language and clouds our every discussion.
What was once accepted as good and right, is now considered bad and evil, and that which was bad and evil is now presented to the world as good and decent.
I could not follow on a boat. I could not follow with a goat. I could not understand you, Glenn. I want to stab you with a pen. You cannot use a comma. Your rants are full of drama.
Doctor Seuss, I ain’t. I hate when people make a blanket statement like this. I’d like to know when evil became decent, for one. I’d like an example. What was the point in which we thought, for example, that murder was acceptable? Theft? Racism? Anything? Anyone?
Opposing thoughts or opinions are referred to as crazy, insane, non-factual and utterly without merit. Furthermore, we are told, they should not even be heard.
Who said this? Who said we should not have ideas out on the field? If he’s talking about creationism (and he has), then he’s right. It should not be taught as a science because it is a religious idea.
Of course, he could also be referring to the fact that his own attacks on progressive policies have constantly been debunked by the simple fact that Beck refuses to use simple things like research.
Now, the time has come to take a stand by exhibiting the traits – honor, courage and vigilance.
What is honor? It is being honest in all of our dealings. It is showing loyalty and fairness, and being a beacon of integrity in all our beliefs and actions. It is showing respect for others.
Ruth honored Naomi when she told her that she would not leave her. That she would go wherever Naomi went, that she would live where Naomi lived and die where Naomi died. Her God would be Naomi’s God.
To be fair, that’s not honor so much as it is loyalty.
Courage is the ability to face danger, criticism or scorn – not without fear, but while overcoming fear to deal with that which comes our way.
When no one else in the Kingdom wanted to face the mighty giant, Goliath, young David was willing. David must have felt fear at the sight of his foe, but overcame it, and courageously vanquished his enemy.
Vigilance is being watchful for all forms of treachery and tyranny, lies and deceit. The person in the watchtower, waiting all night, suddenly sounding the alarm that the enemy is coming. The careful observer of the markets and economies who proclaims to the world, all is not well, there is trouble ahead and the outspoken critic of the powerful, going against societies’ grain, warning that all is not as we’re being told. These are the vigilant.
So the people who call you and others like you out because you’ve poisoned the political discourse are vigilant? They’re not, you know… your enemies?
This is actually kind of funny. Beck is asking people to pay attention to the world around them and tell others what they are doing. At the same time, Beck has asked his own viewers to look at progressive websites and monitor them. But not conservatives, because that would be wrong. The problem is that they don’t call out Beck himself when he almost causes an international incident. They don’t call him out when he is part of an effort to keep health insurance from the hands of 98% of the population. He wasn’t called out when he said things so offensive that he galvanized the Jewish community against him.
So, if his viewers are so vigilant, why do they keep missing all this?
We implore all people to stand with these characteristics – honor, courage and vigilance.
To that end, we must restore honor in our own lives. Seek after the truth. Declare right now, that no longer will we simply accept what is told us by the media or anyone else.
The media has the responsibility to tell the truth, we have the responsibility to learn it.
Stand with courage, even if it means the end of our jobs, the end of our positions in life…or even the end of our very lives.
Here we go…
We are not at some point where we must risk life and death to tell the truth. You want truth? There are actual journalists out there covering news around the world. Anyone with an internet connection can report what is seen and heard around the world. Are there tyrannical regimes and groups that would kill to suppress the truth? Of course.
But Beck is not in danger. Neither are we. We live in a country where we can say what we want.
The only people in danger are the people Beck targets with his rhetoric. No, really. His theories and monologues have gotten people killed.
We must have the courage to be peaceful, while recognizing the courage to defend and respond to threats and/or attacks when necessary.
Turn the other cheek when possible.
I want someone to find me ONE instance of Beck doing this. Please.
We must be vigilant. We must think the unthinkable. The holocaust occurred because no one could imagine it, but evil never sleeps, and neither must we.
No, Beck. The holocaust occurred because Germany was looking for a scapegoat and Jews were, historically, a minority blamed for everything from economic strife to the theft of Christian babies. It occurred because we didn’t have instant media like we do today and could not know what was happening on the other side of the world. It occurred because fundamentalist radicals got power and pushed a Right-wing agenda that focused on war and the delusional belief that their patriotism made them right. They believed they were doing God’s work.
As Edmund Burke said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” We must DO something. Stand watch. Speak up. Become involved.
“Sign up! Buy gold! Follow me! Give me your money!”
Thus, we the people do hereby declare not only our rights, but do now establish this bill of responsibilities.
1. Because I have the right to choose, I recognize that I am accountable to God and have the responsibility to keep the 10 commandments in my own life.
Religious rules that should apply to the rest of us? Sign me up, Glenn!
2. Because I have the right to worship as I choose, I have the responsibility to honor the right of others to worship as they see fit.
Okay, so now it’s clear. This is only for Christians. Just Christians. Got that? All you dirty heathens can go now.
3. Because I have freedom of speech, I have the responsibility to defend the speech of others, even if I strongly disagree with what they’re saying.
Exhibit A. Beck yells at a caller to shut up.
4. Because I have the right to pursue happiness, I have the responsibility to show humility and express gratitude for all the blessings I enjoy and the rights I’ve been given.
Exhibit B. Beck goes on, and on, and on about he is an anointed prophet of God.
5. Because I have the right to honest and good government I will seek out honest and just representatives when possible. If I cannot find one then I accept the responsibility to take that place.
Exhibit C. Beck insists politics in this country have divided us… yet he’s never expressed a desire to seek office.
6. Because I have the God given right to liberty, I have the personal responsibility to have the courage to defend others to be secure in their persons, lives and property.
Exhibit D. Beck has attacked groups that help the poor and less fortunate.
7. Because I have the right to equal justice, I will stand for those who are wrongly accused or unjustly blamed.
Exhibit E. This is the same as an earlier link, but Beck smeared Nivea because he thought the company was siding with Palestine against Israel. When confronted with an explanation, he continued to smear them.
8. Because I have the right to knowledge, I will be accountable for myself and my children’s education…to live our lives in such a way that insures the continuation of truth.
Exhibit F. Beck’s “university” is filled with instructors who wouldn’t be able to pass basic logic tests for lab rats. He actually touts self-education as something on par with an actual education where you interact with people who, you know, have spent their lives studying something.
9. Because I have the right to pursue my dreams and keep the fruits of my labor, I have the responsibility to feed, protect and shelter my family, the less fortunate, the fatherless, the old and infirm.
Exhibit G. Beck wants to defund FEMA and basically roll back every major social welfare program of the last century.
10. Because I have a right to the truth, I will not bear false witness nor will not stand idly by as others do.
Exhibits H through Z… I just don’t have the time to summarize them all. Beck is a master of the falsehood. Do you want to know how to know when he’s lying? He opens his mouth and words come out.
Unconditionally, while maintaining my responsibility to compassionately yet fiercely stand against those things that decay the natural rights of all men. And for the support of this declaration, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
Okay, I am officially exhausted. The only reason I talk about him is because, even without Fox, he still has a huge base. He’s losing sponsors and stations, but people still buy his books, go to his rallies, and he’s still a voice on the Right that can move mountains. It’s not about shutting him up. I hope he keeps talking so people have more evidence to show just how much of a manipulative bastard he is. Just reading through his declaration shows everything that’s wrong with conservatism and the Tea Party.
Actually comparing its goals to Beck’s actions?
It shows that his audience either just responds “yes” to everything he says, they can’t read, or they have a twelve-hour memory. Either way, they should go back to playing with crayons and wearing diapers.
He and his audience are so full of shit they must change undies ten times a day.