Ain't I A Person?

So I was reading the discussion about the Rick Warren benediction pick and also an article about the Christian Reconstructionist ideals of gender and these bits jumped out at me:

Vision Forum's product line includes the Beautiful Girlhood Collection, which, "aspires, by the grace of God, to the rebuilding of a culture of virtuous womanhood. In a world that frowns on femininity, that minimizes motherhood, and that belittles the beauty of being a true woman of God, we dare to believe that the biblical vision for girlhood is a glorious vision."

- Frederick Clarkson writing about the Christian Reconstructionist vision of proper gender roles.


"I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."

- Pastor Rick Warren, 2008

Both reminded me of a quote that largely defines feminism and gender issues for me:

... That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman? ...

- Sojourner Truth, 1851

It was not that long ago when the blogosphere and much of the political establishment was ablaze with talk of how wrong and divisive it was to claim that certain groups of the citizenry were "real" Americans. If the class of all people who are American citizens contains a smaller subset defined as real Americans, the people outside that subset are ... wrong? anti-? inauthentic? fallen? rejected? cast out? disowned? excommunicated? imaginary? fake? What? What, we all wanted to know, (though of course we already knew,) did they mean by that?

Right wing religionists have a very particular view of what constitutes a real person, but more precisely, a real man or woman. From those definitions, ones that all of us more or less understand, follow the views of what constitutes a real relationship.

A "real" man is in control, of something at least. He is not given to womanly displays of emotion, which implies being governed by logic, but actually means giving oneself over to jealousy, easily bruised pride, a will to dominate, and disgust towards those who would live otherwise. It begets a constant need to defend one's prerogatives in a role-based hierarchy that assigns people value based on their fulfillment of certain parts in a nonstop morality play existence.

A "real" woman is delicate, dammit! She understands herself to be the rightful property of a man, an adornment and accessory for his life, and her emotions don't matter at all so long as every conversation ends in, "Yes, dear." She is structurally, perpetually, a child. Albeit a child that it's all right to have sex with and employ as an unpaid domestic. Think about this every time one of the wingnuts compares a consensual, adult relationship between two men or two women to pedophilia and consider yourself encouraged to grimace disapprovingly at said wingnut.

These definitions of "real" manhood and womanhood take subsets of men and women as being exclusively worthy and leave everyone else out in the cold. The types of relationships that these real men and women are supposed to have are then taken as the definitive "real" relationship.

There's more...

A Spit In The Eye

This must be a record, winning Time's Person of the Year and Atrios's Wanker of the Day on the same day.

Lookie here who's giving the invocation at the inauguration:

President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony will feature big names like minister Rick Warren and legendary singer Aretha Franklin, the Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced Wednesday.

Warren, the prominent evangelical and founder of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, will deliver the ceremony's invocation. The minister hosted a presidential forum at his church last summer that challenged both Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain on a host of faith-related issues. Warren did not endorse either presidential candidate.

But there was the matter of a little initiative that he did endorse heartily:

His public support for California's Proposition 8 -- the measure that successfully passed and called for outlawing gay marriage in the state -- sparked the ire of many gay rights proponents, who seized on a comment in an October newsletter to his congregation: "This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."

Memo to President-elect Obama and the whole transition team: when choosing the person to give the invocation at the inauguration, there should have been a Proposition 8 litmus test -- only opponents need apply. I agree with BarbinMD:

What a spit in the eye to the GBLT community in particular, and to anyone who supports equality, dignity and justice under the law.

Not to mention the progressive movement as a whole. The thing is, there's no shortage of progressive Christian pastors, ministers and priests who opposed Proposition 8 and are no less Christian than Rick Warren. Sure Warren may be better known, may have sold a whole lot of books and brings with him the added bonus of sending a dog whistle signal to Christian conservatives that he's their president too, but what about sending a signal to the LGBT community and broader progressive community who, ya know, actually supported him and worked our ass off for him? Reinforcing the false notion that the only real Christians are conservative Christians is NOT change I can believe in at all.

Teddy Partridge has Warren's video endorsement of the Hate amendment that makes it unequivocally clear why he is unfit to appear in any official capacity at the inaugural ceremony. Watch it if you can.

Update [2008-12-17 17:49:40 by Todd Beeton]:If you'd like to register your displeasure with the pick, calling Dianne Feinstein's office might be a good place to start. As the Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Feinstein announced the line-up -- including Warren -- today, calling it "superb."

LA: (310) 914-7300
SF: (415) 393-0707
DC: (202) 224-3841

There's more...

Obama throws the GBLT community under the bus

That didn't take long. Why is anybody surprised?  Obama has always been against civil rights.

When asked to specifically define his views on marriage, Obama has stated that he believes "that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.""Now, for me as a Christian, it's also a sacred union. God's in the mix," he added.

I guess now that he is POTUS he doesn't need teh gays. 12/17/aretha-franklin-to-participate-in- inaugural-ceremony/

Aretha Franklin and Dr. Rick Warren, an evangelical minister of the Saddleback Church, are among the select group of people who will participate in Barack Obama's inaugural swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20.

I thought Obama was a progressive. Looks like he condones homophobia and rewards people who practice discrimination against the GBLT community. This is disgusting and everybody who voted for this man should be ashamed of him.Instead of attacking me, answer the question. After you do that go to and let Obama know what you think about this sickening choice.

There's more...

The Crock Of Silence

Look, it's no shock that John McCain had been given a heads up about the questions he'd be asked by Rick Warren during Saturday night's forum at Saddleback church. The way McCain sort of stared into space pretending to really be thinking about his answers... please, he's not that good an actor. And sure enough yesterday on CNN Rick Warren admitted there was no cone of silence at all.

From Nate Silver:

Warren was just interviewed by CNN's Rick Sanchez, and apparently told him that McCain was not in the church during the first half-hour of Obama's segment. (I did not see the segment myself, nor does a transcript or video yet seem to be available). Sanchez has now suggested that Warren implied to him that he (Warren) thought McCain was in the "cone of silence" when he told the audience as much, but later learned that McCain was not.

Which was confirmed by McCain advisor Rick Davis in a diversionary tactic memo to NBC News complaining about biased reporting by Andrea Mitchell:

The fact is that during Senator Obama's segment at Saddleback last night, Senator McCain was in a motorcade to the event and then held in a green room with no broadcast feed.

Which is also now being reported by The New York Times.

The thing is, as Nate Silver points out, McCain's being in a motorcade and then in a green room hardly precludes him from having access to the questions, whether it be via cellphone, radio, close captioned TV feed, etc. But the McCain campaign would simply have us take John McCain at his word since, well, he doesn't like to talk about this much, but, you see...

"The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous," Ms. Wallace said.

This may be the most we're going to get out of camp McCain unless Rick Warren makes some news on Larry King tonight. But in the meantime, Tom Tomorrow catches William Kristol once again trying to remove foot from mouth in his column about the cone of silence.

Update [2008-8-18 11:28:2 by Todd Beeton]:More from Rachel Sklar at HuffPo:

The issue, of course, isn't whether or not he cheated, but whether he could have cheated. The cone of silence was meant to ensure that the second candidate had no possible advantage over the first. It is a time-honored tradition, from its coinage on TV show Get Smart to a reference on Everybody Loves Raymond to numerous game shows through history.

McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace, told the NYT that McCain had not heard the broadcast while in the motorcade, nor had he any of the questions. That neatly accounts for just one way McCain might have learned the content of the questions; the event was being broadcast live, and presumably his aides have Blackberries. Coaching could have taken place without McCain hearing anything directly from the broadcast at all.

This is not meant to make the claim that McCain received information relating to Warren's questions to Obama, just that he could have done, since the constraints of the cone of silence were not in effect. Those constraints were pointedly put in place by Pastor Warren to provide an excplicit safeguard of fairness, and it was reported to the audience as such. The fact that such a safeguard might not have been universally applied is a relevant fact...

There's more...

No Cone of Silence

Pastor Warren, the host of last night's forum was just on CNN.  In an interview with Rick Sanchez the pastor admitted McCain was not even at the Church for the first half hour of the event. This admission comes as a surprise to those of us who watched the event and were told many times that McCain was at the Church and in isolation.

CNN says they talked to McCain's camp and they said no one in his camp was listening.  The honor system, are you kidding me?

I think it is pretty clear at this point McCain did indeed know the questions in advance.

Video here.

There's more...


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