July 5, 1994 That was the first day I walked into the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office building as an employee. Twenty one years ago today, I thought “this will be a breeze!”. Little did I know…
July 5, 2015
June 4, 2015
I became aware of this through the Facebook page “Sheriff Deputies“, when they posted the picture to the news feed. Disappointingly, it’s getting a lot of approval from others. Few seem to understand, or even care, why it is highly inappropriate for this kind of religious proselytizing to exist in a government agency.
Our own community has recently had issues with law enforcement lending it’s imprimatur to a purely religious ceremony, and many are defending the decision of government officials to attend. Here, they’ve dismissed the connection with the keynote speaker, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, a designated hate group, as inconsequential. The Sheriff told the Visalia Times Delta that he didn’t “get any detailed information about Perkins and his reported agenda until after he and his command staff left”. At least the Sheriff here is claiming ignorance of Perkins and his agenda, but the Missouri Sheriff is more direct in his statements.
Sheriff Arnott has unilaterally decided that his religious beliefs can be displayed on government property as he sees fit. Since most people in his area are Christians, few see any problem with the idea. They seem to view the idea of the long-established legal concept of separation of church and state to mean government cannot intrude on religion, but religion is free to intrude and impose on government.
A person who had questioned the wording on patrol cars garnered this reaction from Sheriff Arnott:
“I’m guessing she is offended by it. If that’s the case. I’m hoping that she does not use any of our currency either.”
U.S. currency carries the legend “In God We Trust.”
Many city councils, county supervisors chambers, and other government structures have “IN GOD WE TRUST” prominently displayed, and it’s pretty much impossible to find elected officials, or even bureaucrats, who are willing to challenge the placement of clearly religious wording in government facilities. The Supreme Court didn’t help matters by ruling in favor of those who want religion wrapped around their government.
I find it disappointing that so many are content to allow government to grant a seal of approval to religious dogma, in clear violation of the idea that it should be completely neutral when it comes to such matters. They’re quite happy with the mixing of church and state, as long as it’s their church. I wonder how complacent they would be if it said “ALLAHU AKBAR”? Or “IN VISHNU WE TRUST”? Changing the name of the god should make it clear why any of them are inappropriate. If the Sheriff and his deputies want such sentiments on the cars they drive, let them put them on their own vehicles. Patrol cars are not the place to, as we LGBT advocates have been accused of doing every time we talk about rights, “shove it down our throats” in public.
May 30, 2015
You’ve seen this one, right? It’s been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites recently. The message is, of course, that demanding an increase in the minimum wage will cause employers to switch to automated systems, and cause our minimum-wage workforce of teenagers working after school to simply dry up. Of course, what they don’t tell you are two very relevant facts: most minimum wage workers are adults, and automation has been taking jobs since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
May 15, 2015
Recently, a Facebook comment had me wondering at the unrecognized arrogance and self-importance of religious believers.
A woman posted a rather long comment praising Jesus and God for the gift He had given her. Her story is basically this: She was unable to be at her side when her mother died, and she felt terrible about it. Once she did arrive however, she felt her mother’s spirit pass through her as it left to ascend to heaven. This woman ascribed that as a gift from God to ease her grief and regret.
My first thought? How utterly arrogant and self-centered!
Let me see if I understand this? You are so important in God’s eyes that he felt the need to comfort you in your loss by letting you experience Mom’s spirit leaving her body? (one wonders why Mom hung around the corpse rather than heading out right away, but that’s another blog for another time.)
God doesn’t want that woman to feel bad about Mom’s passing, but it must be part of his “plan” to let thousands of children die each day from hunger and disease.
If anyone wonders how I can be an atheist, here’s just one small reason. If your God wants my worship, he’s going to have to demonstrate better priorities. Starving children come before adults not being sad.
The fly in the ointment: I have divine dispensation from natural disasters even though I’m gay and the cause of them.
May 8, 2015
“God is systematically destroying America,” chaplain John McTernan, the founder of Defend and Proclaim the Faith ministries wrote in a blog post on his website in October of 2012 (apparently now deleted). “Just look at what has happened this year,” referring to Hurricane Sandy.
Pat Robertson said the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley could be attributed to God’s displeasure with gays and lesbians, pro-choice activists, and “perversity,”
Cindy Jacobs, of Generals International, blamed the 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people in Japan on homosexuality.
God is really pissed at us for “the gay”.
But he seems to really like me. I’m both gay, and an atheist, so I’m a bit confused by the whole thing.
Why do I say he likes me? Well, according to so many vociferously anti-gay preachers, God is sending natural disasters to punish us for tolerating and accepting “the gay”. But when I went to Kansas this month to visit relatives, he missed an easy opportunity to make a point.
The week before I visited, the region around my sister’s home was hit with severe storms, and even had storm chasers out posting live video on the internet, just down the road from her house! I was watching live, here in California, as a severe storm produced tornadoes in the immediate area. The four days I was there, however, the weather was sunny, clear, and pleasant! The day I left, the bad weather started back up, and the area was again hit with tornadoes, like the one seen forming in the picture above, taken from cell phone video shot by my brother-in-law. Indeed, on my entire trip, I only got rained on a little bit, snowed on for literally seconds, and hardly needed my coat.
The only bad weather that I can see which might be directed at me is the drought here in California. The trouble is, it’s effect is the most severe in the very region that is so very anti-gay! This area is bright, bright red, super-conservative, and deeply religious. Heck, the local Sheriff (my boss!) introduced the keynote speaker at the recent Tulare County Prayer Breakfast, the nationally known anti-gay crusader and hate group leader, Tony Perkins. This region is not known for supporting the gays. (Visalia is progressing nicely, but it’s a bright spot on an otherwise dismal map)
Bad weather scares the beejeebies out of new residents in central Kansas. The Gaytheist comes to visit, and it’s gorgeous. He leaves, and the storm chasers are back out with huge tornadic activity in the area.
For a deity so allegedly worked up about “the gay”, he’s confusing the hell out of me.
April 20, 2015
Meet Katharina. Or what she might look like. Or certainly what the sender of the following email would want a man to think Katharina might look like.
“Hi babe. , Cool and nice conversation we had in that place… had some fun times there…; sure that you remember me.
want to remember me? I am at (censored URL, not giving them promotion),…
You were my knight in shinning armor :)I’d like to know if we have common interests.
I hope youre as serious as I am, I will be waiting for your response”
Every once in a while emails or Kik messages show up that make me giggle. Well, I say giggle…
more a snortle, maybe. Sometimes just a slow shake of the head. They’ve obviously done a blind scattershot of emails and messages, without checking to see if they’re actually hitting the correct demographic.
Tell me, my straight guys, is this come-on something you would respond to?
I was her “knight in shining armor”… hope my sword wasn’t rusty. I do so seldom get to rescue damsels in distress, or slay dragons. I wonder if I was gallant. Maybe she’ll write me a follow-up email, just to refresh my memory.
April 9, 2015
I should be writing, but that seems to have stopped, so now I’m wasting time with a phone camera and the editing software update that just came to my MacBook Pro. I think I still need more practice. With both. Or maybe all three.
Or maybe I just haven’t had enough Pepsi yet.
Yeah, that’s the ticket.