Secretary Clinton – “Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights”

In a very moving and historic speech at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to celebrate Human Rights Day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for the protection of rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and discussed President Obama putting into place a  U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad.  Here’s a link to the transcript if you prefer to read it.

This was a great speech, in that it didn’t shy away from recognizing that the U.S. also still has a ways to go in its path towards providing full, equal human rights to those who still suffer from abuse and discrimination thanks to bigotry and small-minded homophobia. Read the whole thing, it’s worth it for the sense of historical context it provides for the long struggle for equal human rights for all.

“The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy.”

That sounds like a great idea, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, so let’s make sure it’s not just words: let’s see a repeal of DOMA, and a formal recognition of equal rights for gay marriage at a Federal level.  Let’s have the U.S. set lead by setting a shining example, and show the world we can overcome centuries of abuse, hatred and bigotry by recognizing and celebrating our common humanity.

Texas Governor, failed Presidential candidate and Separation of Church and State denier Rick Perry immediately pandered to his religious fundamentalist conservative base by responding “This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop.”

That’s right, Perry: if you’re talking about “traditional” pre-21st century “values” like homophobia, discrimination, bigotry and hatred, then there’s an open war going on right now against them.

And you’re on the wrong side.

P.S. to Minnesota readers: Vote “No” on the Marriage Amendment next November, and you too can brag to your grandchildren that you were on the right side of history when human rights were on the line.

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Oh if we could all just get along…

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Ping!

Oh why can’t we just let people of all religions believe what they want?  Why do you atheists insist on picking fights and disturbing the peace when everyone just wants to believe what they wish and live their lives in peace, free from criticism?  Why are you atheists so confrontational and just plain angry?

If only it were that simple, or if that statement were at all true.

If everyone held their own beliefs, and could have rational, non-screaming discussions about them, could listen to other sets of beliefs and points of view without condemning every disbeliever (in their faith) to eternal damnation… and most importantly, refrain from continued attempts to impose their beliefs on everyone else in the world, we would all get along just swimmingly.  But no: every other day you hear about people using their faith to justify imposing laws and rules on everyone, regardless of whether the law has a beneficial secular purpose that is independent of the religious belief behind it.

You see, they don’t want to leave you alone in the first place: not while you believe things that are different, and while they can stir things up by trying to create laws that impose their beliefs on everyone, not just the members of their faith.  And as long as they insist on trying to force their religious beliefs on everyone, they’re the ones picking the fight.

Case in point: Minnesota’s Catholic Bishops Want to Run Your Sex Life

Stop meddling in the affairs, the relationships, the happiness, the love lives, the freedom of people who don’t believe in the same myths you do, and odds are they will return the courtesy.  But the problem arises when your beliefs aren’t designed to exist in the category marked “we’ll leave you alone if you let us have ours”: they’re designed to be imposed on everyone around you, by definition.  You can’t reconcile that with “let’s just all get along and let everyone believe what they want”, it doesn’t work that way.  You’re really saying “let’s just all compromise on living by my rules, then we can all be happy, right?”

No.

There are too many belief systems out there that depend on evangelizing, converting, meddling, interfering, imposing, disturbing, FORCING themselves onto everyone else: as long as these exist, then those suffering the proposed imposition have the right to complain, to be vociferous and angry, and to fight against it.  If that’s what being confrontational and angry means, then at least just have the honesty to admit it’s the same thing you would do if someone else’s beliefs were being imposed on you.