Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nate Phelps: Leaving Hate Behind

A public service message for gay-genocide supporters in my community from the estranged son of "God Hates Fags" pastor Fred Phelps of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church:

Nate is on the board of directors of Recovering from Religion, a “nonprofit organization dedicated to providing multi-dimensional support and encouragement to individuals leaving their religious affiliations.” For those in North Carolina who would like to connect to a local group, there is a Raleigh area chapter.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Most people are not usually irredeemably stupid

Or if they are, they can become self-aware of their own ignorance by learning something about what they are ignorant of. On this point, Chris Lee has an interesting piece in Arstechnica about the Dunning-Kruger effect that ends with some advice that I have found helpful in dealing with my own ignorance (or lack of a certain skill) from time to time:

It is also important to confront people with their own failings. "There is also some thought that perhaps we should give people experience with their overconfidence," Dunning noted. "That is, get them to make an overconfident display, and then expose it for what it is, so that people are more on guard for such an issue. For example, in some areas, people learning to drive are exposed to horrible driving conditions, but not taught how to handle them. Instead, they are given enough frightening experience that they would never think to drive in icy or snowy conditions. I would not consider this a negative approach to education. As Anatole France said, a proper education isn’t what you know, it’s being able to separate what you know from what you don’t."

Standing up against a gay-genocide pastor for Memorial Day

The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
- Carl Sagan
On Memorial Day, Americans honor the men and women who died while serving in the Armed Forces. As Lincoln noted in his Gettysburg Address, “the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

As the son of a World War II veteran, the task before me this Memorial Day weekend was therefore clear. An independent Baptist preacher from my home town (Maiden, NC) recently suggested genocide as a solution to the “homosexual problem” -- perhaps in jest, but he has yet to unambiguously repent for using these words. In response, over 1,000 people gathered on the lawn of the Catawba County Justice Center in Newton, North Carolina on Sunday. The protest was organized to provide a message of love and tolerance in response to these hateful words. Some say it was the largest protest in the history of Catawba Country.

A Georgia preacher and counter-protestor told the Hickory Daily Record that "the preachers that hate these people are at home." I suspect Martin Niemöller would agree on this point. But there were no restless dreams and no one walked alone in Newton on Sunday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why I keep harping on Pastor Charles Worley's words

Because I was raised as a "good Protestant" in...Maiden, NC. Because silence is consent. Because I don't want to have to visit my LGBT friends in an ICU. Or the gay teacher from my days at Maiden High School.

So I will keep harping and protesting against what he said, until he repents. However, based on my past experience with the Worley family, I fear this will not happen.

If Baptists can put queers in electric fences,
can Muslims put sluts in burkas?

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
 - Statement by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

Monday, May 7, 2012

The same old arguments for Amendment One

Permalink: http://j.mp/Arguments4One

Most of the arguments that I have heard for North Carolina’s Amendment One from grass-root supporters generally appear to ultimately fall into one of the following two categories, albeit with less inflammatory language:

1. Archie: “I never said a guy who wears glasses is a queer. A guy who wears glasses is a four-eyes. A guy who is a fag is a queer.”

2. Dick (on how this ‘All in the Family’ episode glorified homosexuality): “Homosexuality destroyed [Greece]. Sure, Aristotle was a homo, we all know that. So was Socrates….The last six Roman emperors were fags…And let's look at the strong socities. The Russians. Goddamn it, they root them out, they don't let them around at all. You know what I mean? I don't know what they do with them…You see, homosexuality, dope, immorality in general. These are the enemies of strong societies. That’s why the Communists and left-wingers are pushing the stuff: they’re trying to destroy us.”

But we already knew the bigots and “left wing” conspiracy theorists were voting for Amendment One didn’t we?