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I woke up last night to the sound of laughing and realized I’d fallen asleep with the TV on. It was 3 AM and I knew it was Jon Stewart but I had to fumble around for my glasses to see who his guest was. Unbelievable! It was Jesus, in his robe and all. His nose was bigger than I thought, his skin a lot darker, but his eyes were more piercing than I’d ever imagined. It was like light came out instead of going into them.
Jon was all over him with questions from the daily news. What was his take on the whole Mosque/Ground Zero fiasco? Jesus said he’d seen some newscasts on the story and couldn’t believe the drama and fear it was bringing up. “They want to build a public building for prayer, education and community gathering. That’s a good thing. A better thing perhaps, would be the construction of an interfaith building, There’s room for everyone, and it’s these distinctions between religions that’s causing all the problems in the first place.”
Jon looked incredulous. “An interfaith building??”
“Yes, a multi-tasking mosque, with a synagogue, chapel and meditation hall in it. A building where people of different faiths come together to make a better world together. That’s the point of religion right? It’s not about doctrine. It’s a plan for action, an opportunity to be a bigger force for good. Religion is just the map. Faith is the real adventure.”
“I don’t know….” said Stewart, making one of those funny mouth movements he does after hearing a strange idea.
Jesus pipes in, “What could be better in that spot than a building that represents, by its very structure, a coming together, a new vision that goes beyond religious borders? It’s like taking a good idea and making it great. The real prophets of the day know this. Where are their voices? Why aren’t you interviewing them?”
“Hmm, I thought I was,” says Stewart, tapping his pencil on the desk.
“You know why you have border issues here? Because you believe the borders are real, like they MEAN something. Muslim against Christian, Mexican against American, Republican against Democrat-all those borders are made up. You put up walls to defend your ideas-and not even your OWN, but ideas passed down to you from someone else-and then you make other people look like demons. It’s no wonder this country is in a state of collapse. You don’t even get it how connected you are. You’re like five fingers on a hand who think they’re separate and make up reasons why not to get along.”
Jon sat there with his mouth open.
“You’re like children playing war games. You spend all your time, all your energy attacking the “other side” instead of realizing you need to bridge the two sides in order to get across to a higher level of thinking. Even news shows are at war. Look at how you make fun of FOX. What light does that add to the world? All the time you could be giving to real visionaries, all the ways you could be role-modeling good behavior, showing the audience how it really WORKS to bring great and opposing minds together, and you sit there poking fun at another station. That’s really enlightened, isn’t it?”
This was the first time I’d ever seen Jon Stewart speechless. He looked like an embarrassed 6th grader. No pencil tapping now. More like a puppy with his tail between his legs.
“What in the world are you people doing? The ones who call themselves “religious” are often the most immature, the most judgmental and intolerant. What is THAT about? That’s exactly the opposite of what every religion teaches. And I mean EVERY religion,”
“All the religions say two basic things,” he said, holding up his fingers in a peace sign.
The audience laughs, but Stewart stares into those deep eyes of the Nazarene.
He goes on, ” You are the eyes, the hands, the feet of that creative force. That energy is in you. It’s called your breath.” He holds up his index finger and taps on it a few times. “That’s the first thing. Don’t think there’s some man out there pulling strings. Grow up. This civilization-if you can call it that-is YOUR creation. This earth, it is not a bunch of resources to be exploited. It is not to be owned. It is your mother, the womb that you sprang from. You are its consciousness, its neural cells. The whole earth is the organism that you belong to. You did not come down to earth, you came up from earth, as I did. Its well-being is in your hands. Can you be proud of what you’re doing? Are you going to be the ones who kill it off, after all that talk about pro-life?”
Jesus was getting a little worked up, like that day he stormed through the temple turning over the merchants’ tables. Jon cut to a commercial, “And we’ll be right back to hear the 2nd basic thing from our guest tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the Jewish prophet Jesus of Nazareth. Stay tuned…”
They were laughing about something when they returned from the commercial, Jesus stretched out in his chair with his long lanky legs covered by his tunic, his sandaled feet hidden under the desk.
“OK,” Jon says, “You were saying there were two things. Let me see if I got this right. There’s no bearded guy up there on a cloud. That God we talk about and fight over is the creative force inside us and around us? It’s invisible and we’re like….(a long pause) its shadow?”
“Not exactly,” says Jesus. We’re like the physical form of the same energy. The ice cube version of water or steam. Same elements, different form. The sea and the iceberg. You’re all icebergs in the Sea of God,” he said, half-laughing at his own quaint metaphor. “But the problem is you don’t realize that underneath it all, you’re all connected. There’s just one big iceberg with a lot of tips. The truth is, you’re Creation continuing the co-creation of Itself.”
“Oh my,” says Stewart. “Let’s leave that discussion to Bill Moyers, What about number two? What’s the number two thing we’re supposed to know?”
Jesus holds up his two fingers again, tapping the tip of his middle finger. The camera zoomed in so closely on him I could see a scar on his forehead. “It’s not so much what you need to know-that’s part of the problem, all these peoples’ belief systems. That’s what gets you in trouble. No one has to believe in me to get to heaven. A…there is no heaven to get to and B, it’s not what you believe but how you act that matters. If anyone learned anything from reading that Bible they should have picked up that one. There’s 3000 references to helping the poor in there. But let me get back…”
“Yes,” says Stewart. “The second thing..”
“The second thing is this: forget everything you ever learned in any holy book and just treat everyone like a brother and a sister. I mean that literally. If it were your brother coming across the border…your sister with cancer and no health care….your child unable to get an education….your mother with no food in her house. And even further, your brother who was gay or hated gays, your sister who was a corrupt politician, your brother who bombed an abortion clinic, your sister who got an abortion. What does it look like to love unconditionally? To bridge differences, to come together over what we can agree on? Can you get through one day without thinking you’re better or less than another? That’s the thing to strive for. That is living faithfully.”
“But…but…” says Stewart. “What about the Tea Partyers, the terrorists, what about Fox News and hate crimes?”
“If you think they are so different from you, be the opposite of what you think they are and enact that powerfully in the world. Don’t focus on who’s wrong. Just be a greater force for good.”
“Not focus on who’s wrong? How could I do my show?”
“Exactly. Remember what Gandhi said? Be the change you want to see in the world?”
“Sure. I have that quotation on my refrigerator.”
“Well, it’s time to take it further. You’re evolving as a people. You’ve come through the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the wrongly named Period of Enlightenment. You’re now in the Information Age. You are growing your consciousness. In the physical world, you have Olympic marathon trainers who run 10 miles or more a day. They spend every waking hour in training, eating the right foods, researching the right clothing and equipment, working out, following a discipline. And in the metaphysical world, the spiritual world, you have people doing the same-they are your mystics and prophets-engaging in spiritual practice, accelerating their wisdom, expanding their consciousness, transcending judgment and radiating love into the world. You might be in that category.,.”
Stewart does one of his choking, ahem things, putting his hand over his mouth. “Out of the question,” he says frankly. “I thrive on judgment.”
“Good to know yourself. You’re all evolving at different rates. In the fall, when you look at a maple tree, you see leaves that are green, yellow, orange and red. They don’t all change at the same time. And that’s what makes life exciting. You all know different things. That’s why you need each other. Like that guy Ken Wilbur said, “You’re all right, only partly so.”
Stewart nods his head in agreement, tapping his pencil on the table again.
“But back to Gandhi. I agree with what he said, but I’ll say it a different way, just to shake things up a bit, which I love to do. By the way, it’d make a great bumper sticker:
“Oh-oh, sounds blasphemous to me,” says Stewart.
“You know as well as I do, every good idea starts out as a blasphemy.”
“OK, great, we’re out of time,” says Stewart, as the camera swings over for a shot of the audience. They’re all standing, some crying and laughing at the same time, the most incredible look of collective awe I’ve ever seen. And Jesus walks over like Jay Leno and starts shaking hands with them. What a night!”
I really want to find a guy i can sleep with as well as live with i a house.
My Dearest Respondent,
Amanda assumes that your response to the I am Gay, Now What, series of questions says, “I really want to find a guy I can sleep with as well and live with in a house.”? There are all sorts of places to find someone who will live with you and sleep with you and do so in a house. Is your life so simple that that is all you desire? How about love, how about life companionship? How about mowing the lawn? All of these are very important parts of what might be a life-partnership. But Amanda guesses you really are looking for more than a roommate you can sleep with in a house.
Amanda wishes you the best of luck in your search for that person. She also encourages you to create a vision in your head of what “HE” might be like. And please do not reduce him to “blond, tall, hunky, under 24, hung.” Make him funny, caring, compassionate, honest and loyal. Find that man who compliments your life not completes it, who truly wants to share your lives together, to be there when you need him and wants and needs you to be there when he needs you. Dont settle for anything – ever. There are those days when we all feel that I better take whats there instead of seeking the right match – DO NOT GIVE IN to that thinking. They are out there – and guess what – they are looking for you – let yourself be found.
What do banning sex toys, being fired for an off-hours affair, or losing custody of a child because of sexual orientation have in common?
They’re all the result of legal rulings, thanks in part to narrow interpretations of a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eliminated criminal prohibitions against sodomy according to Laura Rosenbury, JD, professor of law, at Washington University in St. Louis.
In the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas, the high court ruled 6-3 that Texas’ criminal ban on sodomy between consenting adults was unconstitutional. The decision, which overturned similar laws in other states, was expected to broaden, not restrict, sexual rights.
The petitioners in Lawrence, two men who had been arrested for engaging in sodomy in a private home, were not in a committed, romantic relationship with each other. (It was a jealous partner who called police.) But since the ruling was handed down, scores of lower court cases have held that the case applies only to sexual activity involving emotional intimacy.
These subsequent rulings stem from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s wording of the decision, according to Rosenbury, who co-authored “Sex In and Out of Intimacy,” published in July in the Emory Law Journal.
“Justice Kennedy actually overlooked the actual facts of the case and instead reasoned that consensual sexual activity should be constitutionally protected because it’s an important part of relationships,” Rosenbury says. “And the lower courts have used that language, not the facts of the case, to protect sex only when it’s in this relationship context.”
LONG HISTORY OF CORRALLING SEX, RELATIONSHIPS
States have long protected sexual activity only when it serves the states’ own interests, typically marriage and procreation. While Lawrence has reined in that effort in some cases, the ruling has reinforced the link between sex and relationships in others by suggesting the protection of sexual activity should occur only in long-lasting, intimate associations.
“States used to be much more coercive, punishing sex outside of marriage, and have gradually become less coercive but they still maintain this idea that sex is only valuable in relationships,” Rosenbury says. “We’re trying to highlight how such practices remain to this day, and to provide arguments for really letting go of the channeling of sex into marriage or other relationships that have the potential of long-term intimacy.”
States’ constant linking of sex and intimacy diminishes not only sex outside of relationships but also intimate relationships that are not sexual. Rosenbury’s article asks: Why shouldn’t states allow people to divide the rights and obligations currently attached to marriage among a variety of others: spouses, friends, siblings and sexual partners.
The sex-intimacy connection also reinforces gender stereotypes, assuming that that men achieve intimacy primarily through sex and that women desire intimacy over sex, according to Rosenbury.
“There have long been sexual double standards, and protecting sex only when it is in the service of intimacy does nothing to change those standards,” Rosenbury says. “Although Lawrence acknowledged that emotional intimacy need not involve women, it did nothing to disrupt the idea that sexual pleasure is a male domain.”
Rosenbury, whose research and teaching focuses on sex, family, work and other everyday issues, is committed to examining ways that the law influences seemingly private relationships and conduct. “Sex In and Out of Intimacy” is her most recent examination of that phenomenon.
I work for a construction company and work with mostly straight guys. They know I am gay, and for years it has not been an issue. Recently a very handsome and young new employee was hired and somebody joked asking “Would that work for you?” I agreed that it would.
Now there are stories going around regarding proctology exams performed by me on the new employee. I am used to being the butt of jokes (sic)
however, I feel bad for the new guy and feel partly responsible for the teasing he is now getting, and of course he is not happy with me either.
What can or should I do?
My Dear Mr. Carpenter:
Goodness, how butch – a real carpenter. But Amanda digresses.
You are in a difficult spot and the solution might not be much fun at first but will, in the long run, work out very well.
First of all, I hope you now realize what you can say in response to stupid questions from your co-workers and what you cannot say. They sound pretty evolved if they accept you as you are but some of their red-necks are showing in the fact that they would take the response to the next level and put you and the newbie into the situation they have. Trust seems to have been eroded and Amanda hopes you have learned from that.
Secondly, Amanda would sit down with the new guy and explain exactly what happened and make sure he knows you didn’t mean any harm by what has transpired. He may not wish to hear what you have to say at first but it would be a very good way to mend the fence with him. At least you will have tried. Make sure he knows that what has turned into something uncomfortable really began as a compliment to him and assure him that you are not looking for anything from him except a good working relationship (and certainly not a proctology exam).
If you can pinpoint one of the ring-leaders of the rumor, Amanda would also talk with him and let him know how uncomfortable things have become for you and that it was not really fair what happened.
From this point on Amanda would recommend never talking about anyone within reach of your tacky co-workers.
Now, with all that said, how does one keep their mind on driving nails, setting beams, and snapping plumb lines with all those hunky construction workers around? Not that Amanda has ever had a construction worker fantasy – but really?
Kiss, Kiss, Amanda
“I’m 63 and I’m Tired”
by Robert A. Hall
I’m 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.
I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
I’m tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to “keep people in their homes.” Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I’m willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.
I’m tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe , the freedom of the press of China , the crime and violence of Mexico , the tolerance for Christian people of Iran , and the freedom of speech of Venezuela .
I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.
I’m tired of being told that “race doesn’t matter” in the post-racial world of Obama, when it’s all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.
I think it’s very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.
I’m tired of a news media that thinks Bush’s fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama’s, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.
I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore’s, and if you’re greener than Gore, you’re green enough.
I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don’t think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I’m tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.
I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime. What’s next? Calling drug dealers, “Undocumented Pharmacists”? And, no, I’m not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it’s been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I’m willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn’t have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military…. Those are the citizens we need.
I’m tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement- handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here’s the deal. I’ll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we’ll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.
I’m tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I’m tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the “Illinois Combine” of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama’s cabinet.
I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.
Speaking of poor, I’m tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn’t have that in 1970, but we didn’t know we were “poor.” The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.
I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.
Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.
George Carlin is known for telling things like they are. His language is harsh, but his message resounds long
after his demise. In this editorial segment from his tv special Carlin explains the real politics of mankind.
Who owns the companies, the media, the government and you? Watch this video and see what Carlin says.
By Brian Feist
First Arizona legislators passed a law that requires local law enforcement agencies to verify the citizenship of anyone they feel may be in the United States illegally. That’s a polite way of saying if you’re in Arizona and look or sound Hispanic, you’d better have your papers with you if you don’t want to get arrested. (Sounds a little bit Nazi to me, but hey, that’s just me.) “Breathing While Brown” is the new “Driving While Black,” a “crime” with which many, particularly southern, African-Americans are well acquainted. Now Arizona legislators have added insult to injury and have passed a law banning so-called cultural studies classes, or classes designed for students of a particular ethnicity, in Arizona schools.
These laws, the basis of which supporters claim is frustration on the part of predominantly white Americans at the Federal Government’s inability to control our borders, are further evidence that racism in America is alive and thriving. I can understand the frustration, especially when you consider that “terrorists” can cross our borders with impunity while law-abiding citizens can’t take a tube of toothpaste on an airplane. But an even stronger motivation for this misdirected nationalism is fear.
White Americans of European descent have comfortably dominated the culture on this continent for over 300 years, routing out the Native Americans and Hispanics and anyone else who got in the way. But as Bob Dylan wrote, the times, they are a-changin’. The natives are getting restless, so to speak, and the “minorities” are growing in numbers and political clout. Whites are on the verge of losing their edge, and they’re scared. And anyone with a lick of sense knows that a scared animal is a dangerous animal.
The Arizona laws are not new–they’re just the latest, most visible attempts being made to promote some sense of white nationalism (supremacy?) in America. For years “language purists” have been fighting the inclusion (tolerance?) of the Spanish language in the United States. (It’s the same in some parts of Canada, albeit with French vs. English.) Some people want to pass laws declaring English as the “official” language of the United States. Some municipalities have passed ordinances banning bi-lingual signage, hiding their ethnic intolerance behind claims of “budget concerns.” Their mantra is, if you’re going to live in America, learn speak English. These language purists seem to forget that if they are of anything other than Native American descent, they are the descendents of immigrants.
They also fail to grasp that few immigrants managed to learn more than rudimentary English upon arrival to America. For most it has taken at least a couple of generations for their families to become fully integrated into a “mainstream” American existence. Indeed, in some larger cities there still remain neighborhoods where citizens continue to speak their native language and retain their native cultural identities, even generations after immigrating. Further, many of our “charming” regional American dialects and accents are directly related to the ethnic backgrounds of the immigrants who settled in those regions 150-200 years ago or more.
Some of these jackasses who are demanding that every new arrival in this country immediately start speaking English ought to take their own advice and learn the language, themselves. Read the posts some of these people put online and you’ll see my point. It’s the height of hypocrisy when some idiot who clearly wouldn’t know a participle from an integer writes, “them f**king mexicans [sic] need to learn to talk f**king english [sic] or go home.” Seriously!
Which brings me back to Arizona’s new law. Banning ethnic studies courses is not only blatantly racist, it’s just plain stupid! If anything, we should be promoting broader inclusion in minority studies courses. By teaching the contributions of women, blacks, Latinos, etc. in American history, these courses not only engender pride in one’s ethnicity or self-identity, they also round out what we all traditionally learn from typical history books.
Let me give an example. When I was a child I learned that George Washington Carver was a black man who developed hundreds of uses for peanuts, and that this was a significant contribution to the agricultural economy of the South, after years of over-production of cotton had depleted the soil. End of story.
Had there been a Black Studies program I may have learned that his work with peanuts was just the tip of the iceberg for this brilliant scientist, botanist, educator and inventor who was born into slavery and rose to international renown. Had we had a Gay Studies program I may have learned that Carver was also very likely homosexual. Now maybe, whether you’re gay or black or not, you don’t care, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to know that George Washington Carver’s life was more than just peanuts. And just maybe, knowing the whole story could give someone a little different perspective on black or gay people, in general. But that might promote tolerance, and we can’t have any of that, now, can we?
Too many people are too comfortable with a one-sided view of history, and don’t want to have their perceptions challenged with the facts. If you don’t know Pancho Villa from Sancho Panza, or Angela Davis from Zora Neale Hurston, maybe your education could be a little bit more well-rounded. Mainstream history books don’t provide the full story of the Bayard Rustins and Susan B. Anthonys of the world. Minority Studies courses shouldn’t be banned, they should be required–for ALL students, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. Anything else is just bowing to fear.
This letter was recently sent in from Color of Change regarding the current plitical battle over legal discrimination.
On Wednesday, Rand Paul, the GOP’s US Senate candidate for Kentucky repeated his claim that a central piece of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong, and that businesses should be free to discriminate against whomever they please.1 Paul and his supporters don’t seem to care that without federal intervention, Black people might still be second-class citizens in many aspects of American life: where we eat, where we work, even where we live.
Then, on Thursday, FOX anchor John Stossel went even further, calling for the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that applies to business to be repealed.2 And he’s refused to back down.
While Paul may have started this outrage, he can be taken care of at the ballot box — FOX News can’t.
Stossel’s position is an affront to Black America and everyone in this country who believes in racial progress. It’s one thing to be a candidate with backwards views. It’s another to be employed by a supposed news network and to use that platform to push hateful ideas that our nation repudiated decades ago.
It’s time that FOX drop Stossel. If people like you stand up in huge numbers and FOX does not act, it will be clear that FOX stands with Stossel and his values — and we’ll go directly after the network with a public campaign unlike anything we’ve pursued to date.
Can you add your voice to the call to fire Stossel? And please ask your friends and family to do the same. It takes only a moment — just click below:
FOX has a history of providing a platform for bigoted views and race-baiting. Most recently you helped us hold FOX accountable by stripping Glenn Beck of more than 100 of his advertisers, after Beck called President Obama a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people.”3
But Stossel has arguably gone beyond Beck, echoing segregationist arguments from the Jim Crow era:
“It’s time now to repeal that part of the law because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won’t ever go to a place that’s racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I’ll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist.”
Stossel went on to argue something that history has disproved time and again — that private business will do the right thing, without being compelled by laws, because no one would patronize a business that discriminates. It’s a blind belief in market fundamentalism that just isn’t in sync with reality. In the ’60s, white-owned businesses that allowed Blacks as customers lost business. Market forces actually perpetuated discrimination; they didn’t combat it. Simply put: segregation would still be active in parts of this country if government hadn’t stepped in.
And recent history has shown that the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act is still needed. In 1994, it was used to hold Denny’s Restaurants accountable, after the chain repeatedly refused to seat Black customers.4 Just last year, it was used to go after a Philadelphia pool that prevented Black children from swimming there.5
It’s time for FOX News to make a choice. Are they going to give Stossel a platform to revive dangerously outdated perspectives? Or will they move with the rest of the nation into the 21st century? Please call on FOX News to fire John Stossel. And once you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:
Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Milton and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
May 22nd, 2010
Help us hold FOX accountable now: Click here
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. “Rand Paul On ‘Maddow’ Defends Criticism Of Civil Rights Act, Says He Would Have Worked To Change Bill,” Huffington Post, 5-20-10
2. “Stossel calls for repeal of public accommodations section of Civil Rights Act,” Media Matters, 5-20-10
3. “Beck’s UK broadcast runs without ads; over 100 companies have ditched Beck,” Jack and Jill Politics, 2-16-10
4. “Denny’s Restaurants to Pay $54 Million in Race Bias Suits,” 5-25-94
5. “Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, Country Club Alleging Discrimination,” US Department of Justice press release, 1-13-10
“Dancing with the Devil,” ColorOfChange.org, 3-14-07
Summary on FOX News and coverage relating to Black Americans
Help us hold FOX accountable now: Click here
When I consider the debate over same-gender marriage a thought comes to mind that isn’t usually part of the dialog: “Be careful what you wish for.”
First, let me say that I am a staunch advocate for full marriage equality for same-gender couples. According to pro-marriage equality organizations, such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights, civil marriage, at the federal level, provides for some 1,500 legal rights and responsibilities that are virtually ironclad and guaranteed with a $35 (or whatever the going rate) marriage license and an “I do.” The Full Faith and Credit clause (Article IV) of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that for heterosexual married couples those rights are consistent and transferable throughout the United States, regardless of where the marriage was performed. (Thanks to “DOMA,” the Defense of Marriage Act, married same-sex couples are exempted from the Full Faith and Credit clause.)
In contrast, the rights afforded by state-sanctioned Civil Unions number in the low-to-mid hundreds, while municipally-granted Domestic Partner benefits generally top out at no more than a couple of dozen. Further, neither Domestic Partnerships nor Civil Unions are recognized outside of their home jurisdictions.
Couples not covered by local, state or federal regulations can have certain documents drawn up to provide for limited protections, but the cost of these documents can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and unless carefully drafted they can be challenged and overturned by “legal” relatives.
The bottom line is that all couples should have equal access to all of the rights and responsibilities of federal civil marriage without having to incur exorbitant costs in securing those rights.
Ironically, during the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s, the “rights” of marriage were of little interest to those denouncing the “rites” of marriage. The mantra of the day was, “We don’t need a piece of paper to prove our love.” And they were absolutely correct. When a relationship is basking in the first bloom of love there is no need for the legal protections that come with a marriage license. It’s only when the relationship is threatened, whether from without or within, that the legal ramifications of marriage become important.
When most of us think of marriage equality we tend to think primarily of the rights and privileges associated with legal marriage. As soon as that marriage license is signed and notarized, your spouse is your legal heir and next-of-kin. With the stroke of a pen your legal spouse moves to the head of the line, ahead of Mom and Dad, your brothers and sisters, and any other blood relatives.
But let’s take a look at the flip side—the “fine print,” if you will, of the marriage contract. Let’s look at a few of the responsibilities that come with legal marriage.
Credit. We’ve all seen those ads on TV where the guy is singing about knowing your credit score. Well, he’s telling the truth. When you marry the love of your life, you’re also marrying his or her credit score. Later, when you go looking to buy your little “dream home,” your partner’s poor credit history can mean you can’t get a loan, even if you can afford it on your own income. At the very least, it may bounce you into a considerably higher interest rate, costing you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. The same holds true for buying a new car.
Bills. When unmarried couples have bills, each partner is only legally responsible for his or her own expenses. Not so for marrieds. If lover boy is a shop-aholic who has more shoes than Imelda Marcos and whose favorite pastime is “acquisition therapy,” you may be left holding more than the shopping bags. Maybe a few hundred dollars at Macy’s isn’t a problem, but bills aren’t limited to shopping binges. Suppose your sweetie is hospitalized with a serious illness. As the legal spouse, you not only get hospital visitation rights, you are also responsible for the expenses not covered by insurance.
Fidelity. As sexual mavericks who cannot legally marry, gay people have often crafted their relationships on their own terms. Some opt for traditional monogamy, while others prefer something more “open,” where sex outside of the relationship is permitted. Still others may even have a more communal arrangement, with three or more people involved. When someone breaks the rules the relationship may end, but it’s usually not much more complicated than picking up the pieces and going their separate ways. With legal marriage, however, things become much more complicated. Tricking with that hot number down the street can cost a lot more than a broken heart. Divorce can be messy and expensive, and if the guilty party is the primary breadwinner or there is considerable disparity in income, he or she can even be required to pay alimony.
These are just a few of the responsibilities that come with legal marriage. Am I suggesting that gays should not marry? Not at all. What I’m saying is, be careful what you wish for. Marriage equality will eventually be the law of the land, but marriage is more than a fancy wedding and Happily Ever After. It is a legally binding contract that we should not take lightly or rush into, just because it’s suddenly available. Know what you’re getting into before you say, “I do.”