Monday ReadsPosted: January 16, 2012
Wow. I almost feel human this morning! I spent the last few days with a terrible flu. First, I couldn’t get warm, then I couldn’t cool down. My joints and muscles hurt like crazy. I also had congestion and stuffiness everywhere possible. I gave up on trying to accomplish anything on Friday and just took to bed. Watching TV was too much effort even! Hope you can avoid whatever that was because it made me miserable.
There is one bit of new news. Huntsman is quitting the GOP race for President.
Jon M. Huntsman Jr. informed his advisers on Sunday that he intends to drop out of the Republican presidential race, ending his candidacy a week before he had hoped to revive his campaign in the South Carolina primary.
Mr. Huntsman, who had struggled to live up to the soaring expectations of his candidacy, made plans to make an announcement as early as Monday. He had been set to participate in an evening debate in Myrtle Beach.
It looks like I missed a lot of theatrical politics for the benefit of the American Taliban this weekend. I did enjoy hearing about the Broncos-Pats games. The Saints outcome was gut and heart wrenching. Tewbow’s endzone piety leads to a good question, imho. Can’t we have at least one area of our lives where we don’t have to be subjected to endless shows of self-righteousness? Do football players really have to wear hairshirts on the field? We certainly would take see many folks take issue with football players insisting on prayer rugs and bowing to Mecca down there on the field. Wouldn’t people fight the idea that we stop playing games on Friday night so Jewish football players don’t disrespect the Sabbath? This is getting worse than those nasty Mel Gibson movies.
Sports used to be a refuge from the division and hatred which permeates the media nowadays. Not anymore. This all began in 2010 when Tebow and his mother starred in a controversial pro-life commercial sponsored by FOTF during the Super Bowl aired by CBS. What made it so controversial is that CBS had already turned down ads from left-leaning organizations like PETA and MoveOn.org. There was no room for their message on Super Sunday, but just like last night CBS has no problem airing evangelical right wing messages.
Of course the reason the FOTF commercial was aired in the first place was because Tebow was playing in the game. The Tebowization of the NFL will continue in this year’s Super Bowl as Randall Terry (Who is running as a conservative Democrat challenging President Obama) plans to air a gruesome commercial featuring aborted fetuses. The Right has found their savior in Tebow and the NFL, which is obviously willing to turn Denver Bronco games into Christian recruiting lovefests.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure that Tim Tebow is a nice guy. However when you make the decision to wear your religion on your sleeve, you are pushing your beliefs on people who do not want to hear or see them, especially during an NFL playoff game. I don’t begrudge anyone their own personal beliefs. When you push them and use your position as an NFL player as a platform to foist them on the public, that’s out of bounds. Tebow also energizes the evangelicals who see him as a vessel to push their political agenda. (Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have already co-opted the Tebow mystique.)
Thanks to CBS and Tebow’s followers, we are headed down a slippery slope. Would it be too much to ask that sports be declared a no-religion zone?
You just can’t get away from the sanctimonious these days. Our local ABC affiliate has now picked up the slogan “God Bless Louisiana”. They’ve got it festooned on billboards and TV. Why this sudden urge to play Pharisee every where I look? I refuse to watch the entire line up now on that station. It’s like an assault. Sorry ABC. I don’t care what you run. I’m not watching until you tell your affiliate to put a sock in it.
I couldn’t even watch TV news this weekend with out enduring the Christian Taliban Hate Fest down there in Texas. We’re fricking infested with these pests! Somebody grab the Constitution and swat them please! At least, remove take tax exempt status away from these guys so they have less money to throw around!
Right now, there’s a somewhat frantic effort among some on the Christian right to corral their movement behind Santorum, who has already proved to be the favorite of evangelicals in Iowa. Many religious right figures are still haunted by their failure in 2008 to rally to Mike Huckabee, which they feel enabled the victory of John McCain, who they distrusted even more than they do Mitt Romney.
On Saturday, more than 150 leading religious conservatives gathered in Brenham, Texas, to see if they could agree, this time, to coalesce behind a single candidate. Perry was eliminated on the first ballot. By the third, when some attendees had already left, Santorum won the group’s imprimatur with 85 votes, compared to 29 for Gingrich. In a conference call about the results, Tony Perkins, head of The Family Research Council, said we could expect fundraising drives and other sorts of activism on Santorum’s behalf from the group’s participants.
Gloria Hein, one of my prayer breakfast tablemates, said the Texas group’s Santorum endorsement made her more likely to vote for him. “I’ve been rooting for Santorum, but I thought he didn’t stand a chance,” she said. “I think that’s a great encouragement that they’re behind him. I’m getting chills right now!”
Maybe she’s just got the flu that I had.
So, today is MLK day. It seems we have a long way to go on all fronts of civil rights. The current discussion over FLOTUS is just one example. Women get the bitch and anger labels whenever they have strong opinions. The usual suspects lined up to point fingers.
The political downsides for both of the Obamas are clear enough. In using the words she did, she risked reactivating an entire narrative that had surrounded her in 2008. This idea that she was in some nebulous way radical and less-than-fully American had been a corrosive one, buttressed most powerfully by her now-infamous campaign trail statement that “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.”
That image was one that it took a great deal of time and work to undo — beginning, perhaps, with her ostentatiously patriotic address to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and continuing with her signature White House initiatives on the most uncontentious of issues: childhood obesity and the welfare of military families.
Last week’s remarks opened the door for ideological opponents of Obama to argue that she was up to her old antics. They needed no second invitation to march through it.
“She comes from a very angry, black nationalist background,” David Webb, a conservative radio talk show host and Tea Party activist who is himself African-American, told The Hill.
In Webb’s view, Obama had emerged from a family of modest means, had been afforded “enormous opportunities” and had gone on to the crowning heights of the White House. Given her official role, he said, she ought to realize that “you have to couch your views, because you’re representing the nation.”
Webb added that the danger in Obama’s remarks was their capacity to turn off even the ideologically uncommitted.
“It’s un-American,” he said, referring to her raising of racial issues. “The majority of Americans do not like that approach, this underhand way of doing things.”
So, here’s a great story from The Christian Science Monitor that highlights 8 peaceful protests that usheredin civil rights laws. One of the most effective was the Montgomery Bus Boycott that
lasted a year.
The protest began, on Dec. 1, 1955, after African-American Rosa Parkswas arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. The next day, Dr. King proposed a citywide boycott of public transportation at a church meeting.
The boycott proved to be effective, causing the transit system to run a huge deficit. After all, Montgomery’s black residents not only were the principal boycotters, but also the bulk of the transit system’s paying customers. The situation became so tense that members of the White Citizens’ Council, a group that opposed racial integration, firebombed King’s house.
In June 1956, a federal court found that the laws in Alabama and Montgomery requiring segregated buses were unconstitutional. However, an appeal kept segregation intact until Dec. 20, 1956, when the US Supreme Court upheld the district court’s ruling. The boycott’s official end signaled one of the civil rights movement’s first victories and made King one of its central figures.
This made me think about the gender-segregated buses in Israel. I think the US should refuse to fund any country that allows this kind of thing. Here’s a link to the New Israel Fund that is committed to democracy, justice and equality for all Israles. It’s hard to believe a modern democracy could do this to women, isn’t it?
- Israel’s High Court of Justice has given Transport Minister Israel Katz (Likud) until December 27 (update: the deadline has been extended) to present his position on gender- segregated bus lines. The order followed a report by a special committee set up by the Ministry of Transport, which ruled that these bus lines are illegal because they humiliate and discriminate against women passengers.
- The Ministry of Transport committee was set up following a petition in 2007 by veteran New Israel Fund grantee Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) for Progressive Judaism (Reform) and novelist Naomi Ragen against the gender-segregated bus lines. The court ordered the committee to consider, rule on and regulate the matter.
- More than ten years ago, the ultra-Orthodox (haredi) community asked Israel’s public bus company, Egged, to provide segregated busses in their neighborhoods. By early 2009 more than 55 such lines were operating around Israel. Typically, women are required to enter through the bus back doors and sit in the back of the bus, as well as “dress modestly.”
- Some buses operate in or through mixed neighborhoods and are the only buses running on particular routes. In Jerusalem, the segregated buses actually charge lower fares than ordinary Egged busses. Women who refuse to sit in the back of the bus are frequently threatened verbally and physically by haredi men who “enforce” the segregation system.
- In October, the special Ministry of Transport committee recommended a year-long trial in which men and women could choose to enter the buses by separate doors and sit separately, but stressed that all seating on public buses must be voluntarily and no coercion must be used. The committee further stressed that there is no separate, publicly-run bus system for haredi communities, and every member of the public has the right to use buses in accordance with basic human rights and the principle of equality.
- Many Israelis fear that the right-wing governing coalition, which includes all but one of the major religious parties, will pressure the Minister into rejecting the committee report and supporting the continuation of segregated and discriminatory public transportation.
It seems that a lot of countries are having problems with their fundamentalist religious sects who are demanding that discriminatory, hateful, and unreasonable practices be enacted. Our country must respect the right of each individuation to practice their beliefs, but our laws, civil rights, and culture should not be skewed to bow down to these narrow beliefs.
Happy MLK Day! I can hear the parade going down Claiborne as it goes through the Ninth Ward to Down Town. Let’s remember the dignity of no person should be limited due to the narrow views of any religion.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?