Monday, August 22, 2011

Pope Gives Anti-Gay Speech; God Blows his Hat off

Uh-oh, up up and away goes the hat!
God: 1
Pope: 0

Hmm, I have a feeling God might be a bit upset with the pope.  If freak natural storms are a sign of the Almighty's disapproval of certain events (as many Christian conservatives believe) then the storm that hit during the pope's speech in Spain on August 21st can only be interpreted as a sign of a divine thumbs-down.

In his speech at World Youth Day's Saturday mass, pope Benedict started on an anti-marriage equality rant.  That's when the skies darkened, lightning flashed, torrential rain fell, and the strong winds began to blow.  If any of you are familiar with Spain, you'll know that A) Spain is majority-Catholic and has marriage equality, and B) rain is very rare in Spain during the summer months, let alone severe thunderstorms.  This was an extremely unusual weather event.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Spanking in the Philippines: No Spanking = No Discipline?

I have to say, I was very surprised at some most of the reactions left on my post about the Philippine House passing the Non-violent Discipline Act.  I'm of the opinion that corporal punishment in any form is an incredibly bad idea and does absolutely no good for children or for society.  In line with that belief, I wholeheartedly applauded the House's passage of the bill, and I stand by that.  It is progressive, it is important, it is timely, and it is in the best interest of Filipino children and their rights as human beings who are incredibly vulnerable to abuse and coercion.

I take issue with the notion that countries with prohibitions on spanking are producing out-of-control youth.  I dare to say that many people who say such things have most likely never spent long periods of time in the countries they claim to know so much about.  If you're judging all Western children based on what you see in American movies, you're reaching a very lopsided and uninformed conclusion.

It is also worth noting that some comments included references to the fact that American kids are disrespectful parent-haters.  The reason behind this perceived notion, they say, is because the U.S. has laws against spanking.  Sorry, but that's just not true.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homophobia in Rap Music on the Way Out

DMC against homophobia
A growing number of American rappers are suddenly becoming pro-LGBT.

Traditionally it had always been acceptable for rappers to denigrate gays and lesbians in their lyrics.  Eminem has often been put through the wringer by journalists and LGBT rights groups.  "I'll stab you in the head, whether you're a fag or a les; a homosex, hermaph, or trans-a-vest" was part of Eminem's song Criminal, back in 2000.  Disgusting to say the least.  That song was actually not allowed to be played on the radio in several European countries because of those homophobic lyrics.  They went beyond homophobia actually, and were in fact inciting violence toward LGBT persons.

But then, ten years later, Eminem did a turn around and announced that he supports the rights of gays and lesbians to marry.  In a fitting twist, today in New York state, the birthplace of rap and hip-hop, same-sex marriage is the law of the land.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Anti-spanking Bill Passes in PH House

Learning by example
(Comments below post)

I just have to give a round of applause and a thumbs-up to the Philippine House of Representatives for its recent (6 Aug.) passage of HB 4455: the Positive and Non-violent Discipline on Children Act. When it comes to Philippine politics, my posts often deal with negative aspects, bad policies and outdated laws. That's why it was so refreshing -- and a cause for praise -- to learn of this bill's passage on its third and final reading.

HB 4455 would prohibit parents, guardians, teachers, and elders from subjecting children to physical punishment and psychological threats as a means to discipline, train, or control the child.

Rep. Susan Yap, one of the bill's authors, has said that corporal punishment does little more than instill an acceptance of domestic violence in children. It confuses them because the ones they rely on for love and guidance are allowed to physically hurt and abuse them in the guise of "discipline." I couldn't agree with her more.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

(Non-)Conversations with Fundamentalists

What does it mean to be a Christian?  You may think that believing in the divinity of Jesus, accepting and trusting in Him as your Savior, and loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind would answer that.  That's what I had always believed.  Apparently I was wrong, at least according to fundamentalists.  In their view the punctum saliens of a "true" Christian is how hard you fight against "the gays" and their perceived agenda to destroy the Earth.

Christian fundamentalists are a very unique group of people.  They can be incredibly hard shells to crack in any debate or discussion.  The most likely outcome is for both sides to merely end up shouting at each others' hardheadedness, which isn't productive or beneficial to anyone.

I've been asked many times about what I think is the best way to have a fruitful discussion on gay rights with people who are very fundamentalist in their views.  Do you remember this line from the movie Avatar?:  "It is hard to fill a cup that is already full."  This can often be the case when speaking with fundamentalists (and I'm quite sure they say the same about those on the other side of the argument, too).