February 16, 2008
January 27, 2008
On Blogging for Choice day, the 35th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion, I wrote a post right here about anti-abortion eighth graders at a Catholic school. That post was read on the air and discussed on the Head On Radio Network, and you can hear the whole discussion here. If I’d known it was on, I would have called in!
Click to listen. Click the FREE version.
(Also, if you know how to post an audio file to wordpress, please leave me a comment! Thanks!)
December 19, 2007
What age is old enough to have sex? When are we old enough to have babies? Is statutory rape a fair law? Is a 9th grade girl with a 19-year-old boyfriend different from two high school seniors, one at 17 and one 19? What about kids who come from countries where lots of people get married and have kids at 15 or 16?
I have 2 friends that have had babies in HS. One is 16 now and already has two kids and the other is 17. The 16-yr-old lives with her 22-yr-old boyfriend and the 17-yr-old is living with her mom and her sister and the baby. They’re both Christian (one is Catholic), and neither one is married. My friend who has two kids will probably drop out of school — she hardly comes now.
I don’t know if my friends chose to keep their babies instead of have an abortion or put the baby for adoption because they are Christian or if that is just what they chose. Being Christian didn’t stop them from having sex. And what passes for sex education in Texas did not keep them from having sex, but it may have kept them from using condoms.
Are these the kind of conversations America will have now that Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant? Or will it all be about celebrity?
What is the “responsibility” that Nickelodeon is praising her for? Is that about her not having an abortion? Because getting pregnant at 16 is not very responsible.
Another Spears baby is reportedly on the way – and it’s not Britney’s.
Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old star of Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101″ and kid sister of Britney, told OK! magazine that she is pregnant and that the father is her boyfriend, Casey Aldridge.
“It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected,” said Spears, who is 12 weeks along.
After going to a doctor, she said, “I took two weeks to myself where I didn’t tell anybody.”
She broke the news to her mother, Lynne, just before Thanksgiving, the magazine reported.
“She was very upset,” Spears said, “because it wasn’t what she expected at all. A week after, she had time to cope with it and became very supportive.”
Lynne Spears, already grandmother to Britney’s two young sons, told the magazine: “I didn’t believe it, because Jamie Lynn’s always been so conscientious. She’s never late for her curfew. I was in shock. I mean, this is my 16-year-old baby.”
Jamie Lynn plans to raise the baby in her home state of Louisiana – “so it can have a normal family life,” she says.
Nickelodeon released a statement, saying in part: “We respect Jamie Lynn’s decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation.”
September 28, 2007
General Peter Pace is the chairman of the joint chiefs, making him the most elevated military office in the United States. He is not our priest-in-chief or our parent-in-chief, but he seems to think he is, and that his “upbringing” and his beliefs make him qualified to tell the rest of us, the entire military, and the United States Senate what is immoral. Why is that his job? It isn’t, but he doesn’t seem to know that!
The first amendment to the United States Constitutions says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This may be why Pace refers to his upbringing and not his religion, but it is commandments from his RELIGION that is causing him to repeatedly condemn homosexuality and adultery.
In a March newspaper interview the general said that:
My upbringing is such that I believe that there are certain things, certain types of conduct that are immoral. I believe that military members who sleep with other military members’ wives are immoral in their conduct, and that we should not tolerate that. I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts. So the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell allows an individual to serve the country, not — [inaudible] that allows individuals to serve their country. If we know about immoral acts, regardless of committed by who or — then we have a responsibility. And I do not believe that the Armed Forces of the United States are well served by saying through our policies that it’s okay to be immoral in any way, in any way, not just with regards to homosexuality. This is from that standpoint saying that gays should serve openly in the military to me says that we, by policy, would be condoning what I believe is immoral activity. And therefore, as an individual, I would not want that to be my policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that, if were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with someone’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior between members of the Armed Forces.
You can listen to that here.
Two days later, the Washington Post reported this,
The Pentagon’s top general said Tuesday he should not have voiced his personal view that homosexuality is immoral and should have just stated his support for the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in an interview that has drawn criticism from lawmakers and gay-rights groups.
The written statement by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not apologize for his stance on homosexuality. In a newspaper interview Monday, Pace likened homosexual acts to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.
But ….. the general repeated all his opinions again this week in a Senate hearing, and this time the Code Pink protesters replied by quoting (very loudly and repeatedly) their favorite bible verse, “THOU SHALT NOT KILL! THOU SHALT NOT KILL!” They are absolutely correct — if we need any religion at all mixed in with the military, THAT is the kind of morality we should be following.
Like most of my political posts,
this is cross-posted at Political Teen Tidbits
and at YouThinkLeft.
August 14, 2007
Do they REALLY think I am going to want to believe in their God and their bible if they jam creationism down my throat instead of real science?
But what about the teenagers who don’t know anything about real science? What happens to them when they get to college?
The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) on Tuesday revealed a side of “intelligent design” proponents rarely seen by the public at large. The group released a transcript and recording of an extraordinarily candid speech given in 2005 by recently named State Board of Education Chairman Ron McLeroy.
McLeroy told a gathering at Grace Bible Church in Bryan, Texas,
of his efforts to expunge evolution from the state’s high school
biology textbooks. “Back in November 2003, we finished [the] …adoption process for the biology textbooks in Texas…. I want to tell you all the arguments made by all the intelligent-design
group, all the creationist intelligent design people, I can guarantee the other side heard exactly nothing,” he said.
He went on, condemning other Christian board members for not following his lead.
“[T]he four really conservative, orthodox Christians on the board were the only ones who were willing to stand up to the textbooks and say they don’t present the weaknesses of evolution,” he said. “Amazing.”
He admonished the audience not to bicker over the finer points of creationism because they were united under a “big tent” against evolution.
“Whether you’re a progressive creationist, recent creationist, young-Earth, old-Earth, it’s all in the tent of intelligent design,” McLeroy said. “And intelligent design here at Grace Bible Church
is actually a smaller tent than you would have in the intelligent
design movement as a whole, because we are all Biblical literalists…. So because it’s a bigger tent, just don’t waste our time arguing with each other about…all of the side issues.”
“Modern science today,” McLeroy complained, “is totally based on naturalism,” thus “it is the naturalistic base that is [our] target.”
August 10, 2007
Here’s what John Edwards had to say at last night’s Human Rights Campaign Presidential Forum. It was not a debate because the candidates talked one at a time about issues in the lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender community.
June 25, 2007
We high school and middle students in the United States lost a good chunk of our ability for free expression.
The case is described here, and is summarized like this:
A former high school student has lost his case in what is the US Supreme Court’s first major ruling on students’ free speech rights in almost 20 years.
What should we do? Should we all post banners like mine on our websites and myspace and facebook? Should we make t-shirts and all wear them to school the first day? What’s best?
Please leave a comment.
6/26, 5:45 pm
UPDATE: some suggestions from my Facebook Friends:
Is there a larger issue you can tie into? I get that this isn’t about Joseph Frederick’s silly sign but a much deeper issue – how do you get at that? Or do you need to tie it in to larger issues about speech, privacy, human rights, the bill of rights, etc.?
I think if you tie it together, you have a better shot of mobilizing, IMHO.
Freedom of speech cases have had some extraordinary rulings, although probably not in this SCOTUS.
I would encourage you to dig – ask the many legal minds at FDL or your librarian – for guidance on this and write to show how more perverse cases have been ruled on differently.
When you run for office, I’m coming down to America to help your campaign !!!
Cassie … keep an eye on anything the ACLU might plan – when my son was in high school and the Communications Decency Act was in play, the ACLU sued and won … and they needed a few under 18′s to represent the people affected and Kit was one http://www.aclu.org/privacy/speech/15499prs19960318.html
I’d contact them and see if they are doing anything similar – of course, it is difficult to do anything once SCOTUS has decided.
What is the larger issue? Perhaps reading Talk Left (link: http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/6/25/132410/220) post on the issue will help ya find the way. The comments in the thread are interesting
Hey Cassie…I think you start small while you do research. Make black armbands with the number 1 stenciled in white but crossed out with international symbol for no in red over the top (mourning the death of the First Amendment for youth). Find folks who think like you do about this SCOTUS decision and ask them to wear armbands in solidarity.
I’d like to recommend a book, The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell; it will help you understand how to get an idea to catch on like wildfire. For instance you’ll need to identify the “connectors” in your school who think like you, along with “mavens” or early adopters. Once they are on board, you need to have enough armbands or whatever else you decide on short notice.
Go for it. I know I’d help my kids if they decided to do this.
Excellent project! First Amendment issues are always good to examine and dramatize. Are any of your friends into street theater? What’s jumping into my mind right now is *Mime* (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mime_artist). Maybe two teens talking to each other and the mime prancing around them providing “commentary”?
But also, maybe turn it into a class project. Ask your social science teacher (You have one, don’t you?) or maybe the Speech coach on your debate team (does your school have one?) about your interest in First Amendment issues. Emphasize this as an educational issue, and you can probably get a sympathetic hearing. You can get the focus on things that your friends care about, exploring the boundaries of what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable.
Keep us informed about whatever you come up with!
A mime artist is someone who uses mime as a theatrical medium or as a performance art. In earlier times, in English, such a performer was referred to as a mummer. Miming is to be distinguished from silent comedy, in which the artist is a seamless character in a film or sketch.
Cassie, In addition to Raynes “connectors” suggestion. May I ask if you know a few friends in your school who cross the lines of friendship… with jocks or preppies or drama /artist types etc…
Any of those folks who are interested in taking action would be who you could rally for support first and they will bring more into the fold quickly.. don’t be afraid to ask, remember its really not about you…but the ideas.. so don’t get stuck on new ideas you don’t like.. if they arent good they will most likely fall flat soon enough.. BTW I ran for office at the ripe old age of 19… so no more of that 2032 malarkey!
Also.. select one two or three causes at first and narrow it down for clearer focus as soon as your first few friends join your motivation…jmho I have watched groups spread thin quickly… marathon not a sprint etc etc
You go girl!
How about GNOB hits for Jesusa?
Maybe I should elaborate on my suggestion of Mime and street theater. Here’s an idea for a 2-person show:
*One person wears a banner saying “First Amendment”
*Second person is a mime wearing a banner saying either Supreme Court or SCOTUS or maybe “School Official”.
The First Amendment person starts off talking (making a speech) normally, while the Mime stands nearby, looking relaxed and unconcerned. But then the First Amendment student starts to say things that are a bit edgy but not over the line. At each edgy comment, the Mime perks up, listens carefully (exaggerated poses leaning an ear towards the speaker, open hand near ear to hear better, face perked up in wide-eyed attention), and then as speaker starts crossing the line, the Mime gets increasingly agitated, wagging a”no, no, no!” finger silently at the speaker. This climaxes with the First Amendment student holding up a “Boxx Hits for Jesus” sign, at which the mime throws a conniption, racing around,jumping up and down, trying to cover up the sign or trying (silently, of course) to get the First Amendment student to put his sign away.
Of course this can be dramatised further at the climax (when the sign “Boxx hits for Jesus” is held up, 1-2 people with suits come charging in, take the sign away and throw it face down on the ground, or tear it up.
It can be a lot of fun to stage this kind of street theater, and the “plot” can be ad libbed, stretched, or cycled, depending on the audience. “Stretched” means you flirt with confrontation multiple times to engage people’s interest before springing the climax.
This provides the students with an opportunity to explore the idea of “what can I actually say, or what kinds of signs can I display, in public?”
May 21, 2007
May 19, 2007
I have a boyfriend and my family does not want me to have sex with him. They say I am too young and so is he. (Kissing and hugging are fine, but hands must always stay above the waist.) They want me to be older, to be in love, and to be safe when I do choose to have sex. Maybe I will wait until I am married and maybe I won’t.
If I were to have sex at my age, they would be disappointed in me and angry with me. If I stayed out all night, I would definitely get grounded, lose internet access, and probably have a thousand new chores. But they would NOT kill me and NEVER let other people kill me because of sex, even if I had sex with a person of a different religion.
It is different in the middle east. There, girls can be stoned to death for having sex too early and with the wrong people. Look at what happened to Dua Khalil, a 17 year old in Northern Iraq. (She is the girl in the photo above.)
According to CNN:
Authorities in northern Iraq have arrested four people in connection with the “honor killing” last month of a Kurdish teen — a startling, morbid pummeling caught on a mobile phone video camera and broadcast around the world.
The case portrays the tragedy and brutality of honor killings in the Muslim world. Honor killings take place when family members kill relatives, almost always female, because they feel the relatives’ actions have shamed the family.
In this case, Dua Khalil, a 17-year-old Kurdish girl whose religion is Yazidi, was dragged into a crowd in a headlock with police looking on and kicked, beaten and stoned to death last month. (Watch the attack, and what authorities are doing about it )
Authorities believe she was killed for being seen with a Sunni Muslim man. She had not married him or converted, but her attackers believed she had, a top official in Nineveh province said. The Yazidis, who observe an ancient Middle Eastern religion, look down on mixing with people of another faith.
National Geographic estimates that thousands of women and girls are killed every year, because their families value family honor more than the lives of the women and girls.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of women are murdered by
their families each year in the name of family “honor.” It’s difficult to get precise numbers on the phenomenon of honor killing; the murders frequently go unreported, the perpetrators unpunished, and the concept of family honor justifies the act in the eyes of some societies.
Most honor killings occur in countries where the concept of women as a vessel of the family reputation predominates, said Marsha Freemen, director of International Women’s Rights Action Watch at the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Reports submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights show that honor killings have occurred in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, and Uganda. In countries not submitting reports to the UN, the practice was condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan, and has been reported in Iraq and Iran.
But while honor killings have elicited considerable attention and outrage, human rights activists argue that they should be regarded as part of a much larger problem of violence against women.
. . . .
The practice, she said, “goes across cultures and across religions.”
Complicity by other women in the family and the community strengthens the concept of women as property and the perception that violence against family members is a family and not a judicial issue.
“Females in the family—mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, and cousins—frequently support the attacks. It’s a community mentality,” said Zaynab Nawaz, a program assistant for women’s human rights at Amnesty International.
Some organizations that are fighting to stop this violence against girls and women are UNICEF and Amnesty International.
UPDATE: You can also sign this petition and find out more from STOP Honour Killings.
October 12, 2006
Why is it so hard for liberals to talk about religion?
In the political chat rooms where I hang out, most of the people seem to HATE religion and hate anyone that follows a religion. Where is our tolerance?
I listen to Air America Radio a lot, and more to Head On Radio, where the hosts and the chatters make fun of people who believe in “the invisible”.
The only show on Air America where it is OK to have faith in God or to practice any religion is State of Belief, and it is only on for one hour a week.
I think that a lot of the fundamentalists have it wrong when they judge gays or women that had an abortion, but I think liberals get it wrong too when they judge anyone with a religion as being fooled or misguided. Faith is important and it is way older than than the republican party or the megachurches or Pat Robertson.
Maybe it is time to stop judging at all?