At first blush, a good compromise

When JFK was in the process of being elected, there was huge concern that the Vatican would be setting the agenda in Washington, and (Catholic) President Kennedy had to reassure everyone that wouldn’t happen.

Half a century later the concern is that we’re not all respecting the Pope’s position on contraception… a position that by most accounts and surveys, even Catholics mostly ignore.

My tax money goes to support these tax-exempt organizations, and I’m offended by their position. Where’s my exemption? I don’t want to support their oppression, just like they don’t want to support women having reproductive choices. As soon as I get my exemption, they can get theirs.

But now my head is spinning a bit from the White House compromise on the insurance-covered contraception issue exemption for religious institutions. While I have yet to see the details, it sounds… like a great compromise? I’m not used to hearing the phrase “Democrats compromise on…” without parsing it as “Democrats shatter their spines bending over backwards on…”, but this seems extraordinarily reasonable, and well-considered.

The President said that “no woman’s health should depend on where she works.” Thank you, Mr. President, that’s exactly the heart of this issue.

And the Catholic Health Organization AND Planned Parenthood agreeing on an issue? That’s a first.

The Catholic Bishops came across poorly, and out of touch overall in this debate: “Sources familiar with White House thinking on the matter have said the administration is convinced approval from conservative Catholics is out of reach, and is trying to win over more progressive Catholics.” No kidding.

MN AU for Separation of Church and State

I am working with a group of people to form a Minnesota chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State:  it’s a nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans. Founded in 1947, AU is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization based in Washington, D.C., that addresses issues such as religion in government and public schools, religious discrimination and free exercise, and reproductive and marriage rights. There are over 60 local chapters, but there is not yet one in Minnesota. We are starting one (in part) as a response to the MN Marriage Amendment, which we consider to be an unconstitutional entanglement of Church and State.

The first meeting of members of this chapter-in-formation will be on Thursday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m. at the Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave. S., Edina, second floor, Ethel Berry room. Come on over, we’d love to hear your views.

Check out the flyer!

Twyla Tharp-level choreography

I’ve noticed that I do not need coffee in the morning if I follow these simple steps:

1. Wake up.
2. Go into bathroom to pee.
3. While peeing, notice spider on shirt.
4. Negligent of the effects of wind currents and direction, attempt to blow the spider OFF of shirt.
5. Watch in slow-motion, Matrix-style horror as spider lands exactly in the worst place it could land under these circumstances.

Congrats to Hawaii and Delaware for becoming the two newest states in the union to allow same-sex civil unions, joining Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Not as good as same-sex marriage (see my previous postings on why), but a huge step in the right direction.

A recurring note for those of you who are still on the fence about “why can’t same-sex couples just get civil unions? Isn’t that the same thing?” Note from the article the quotes from groups like the Catholic Church who are opposed even to civil unions because they are “too similar” to marriage. If you think that everyone will be happy calling it something different, and the opposition is because of the use of the word “marriage”, you do not understand the opposition. Gov. Walker in Wisconsin asked the courts to give the state the option to stop defending the state’s new same-sex domestic partnerships against a lawsuit that claimed they were “too close” to providing the same rights as marriage, and since Illinois has a constitutional amendment declaring marriage as ONLY one man/one woman (like the one on the ballot this year in MN), therefore the same-sex unions were unconstitutional.

If the hangup were about the words being used, this wouldn’t be as contentious an issue. Don’t ever believe that calling it something different will make the opposition go away.

Minnesota: your turn is coming up very soon.

Shutting down discrimination: how to support it

A while ago I posted on FB news of the Catholic Charities in Illinois preferring to leave kids out in the cold rather than be “forced” to not discriminate against gay parents (in order to receive millions of dollars in tax money from the state).

Well, good riddance to them, as I said back then. Secular groups (that don’t feel that having two moms or two dads is actually worse than being abandoned) stepped up and took over the kids’ cases to make sure they didn’t fall through the gaps. A lot of my friends (you online folks especially) had good, interesting comments and responses to the discussion.

Here’s a chance to put your money where your “Like” is: this is the Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley, one of the groups that stepped up. I think they are worthy of a little of your consideration and thanks this year. Theirs is the kind of supportive, non-discriminatory help we should be encouraging, and the best way to help promote their cause is by donating.

It bugs me to an unreasonable degree that you can skip the wait list for a popular book at the local library by paying for it. I’m not even sure I could articulate why, either, other than some incoherent mumbling about “social contracts”. It’s like the library saying “sure, sure, we’re a public service, available to everyone… but if you give us a little extra money, we’ll let you shaft the next person in line.”