Archive for May 2nd, 2012
Dan Savage is no stranger so controversy. At a recent conference, he attacked the cherry-picking of those who relying on the Bible to attack gays. After all, he argues, they don’t cite the Bible to justify slavery any more, and they aren’t trying to pass laws to stone women who are not virgins on their wedding nights. A group of students walked out while Savage criticized this bible cherry-picking.
In the speech, Savage, citing Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation,” said the Bible gave instructions about how to treat slaves. If the Bible erred “on the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced … What are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100 percent,” said Savage. Students are heard cheering and clapping.
After the walkout, which came after Savage made comments about the Bible, he suggested the protesting students return. “It’s funny, as someone who is the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back,” Savage said.
Here’s the report from The Onion, and here’s an excerpt:
“Tim’s the kind of guy who is forever second-guessing his behavior, as if the people in his life are constantly scrutinizing every single move he makes, and he’s completely correct about that—we are,” said Paula Ramirez, a coworker who admitted she can barely look at Gibula without a medley of his most embarrassing moments replaying in her head. “Anytime he’s been petrified at the thought of social interaction or obsessively reexamined something he’s said, his fears have been entirely reasonable, given our nonstop monitoring of his behavior.”
A few months ago at Truthdig, Chris Hedges had this to say about Canada:
What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the United States became unpalatable. No nuclear weapons. No huge military-industrial complex. Universal health care. Funding for the arts. A good record on the environment.
But that was the old Canada. I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010’s G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist.
I met 81 year old Ben Fainer two weeks ago at Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis. Ben had been invited by one of the social studies teachers to tell the seventh graders about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. As a parent of one of the students, I was also invited to attend. I found his presentation to be stunning and inspiring. One of the things that stood out to me was Ben’s admonition that, despite all he went through, he found hatred to be self-destructive.
On April 21, 2012, Ben (known as “Bendet Urman Fajner” when he lived in Poland as a boy) allowed me to videotape the story of how he survived six years in several Nazi concentration camps, from 1939 until he was rescued by American soldiers in 1945. He was only 9 1/2 years old when he was captured. Therefore, in this interview, you’ll hear what it was like to be a child imprisoned for the crime of being a Jew. At first, he was assigned special chores like shining shoes and cleaning offices for the regime. He grew up in these camps, though, and eventually he was put to work in factories alongside adult prisoners. In this video, you’ll hear that he would never have survived had he not lied about his age.