Randomness: Let Us List the Ways Style

10 BEST WORST – All the listy goodness fit to virtually print.

Let Us List the Ways

The Good, The Bad, The WTF?

Glenn Beckerhead

BECKERHEADS UNITE! - Glenn Beck's civil rights rally draws thousands of white people, but only 14 African Americans. Beck called the 'negro' turnout, "proof positive that America's negroes think of me as their Lord and Savior." Click photo for more >>

Not So ‘Lamestream Media’

Legal Briefs (And Boxers)

Aboard the Good Ship Weirdness Maru

Shopaholism is a Sad Disease

Robot Goodness

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Anything’s Fair in Love and Politics as Long as It’s Not Gay Love

When the news broke that former Bushinista and RNC Chairman Ken “Bud” Mehlman is gay I just thought it was an interesting news tidbit. I so readily accept the fact there are gay people in all walks of life – and that many people don’t like it one bit – that I don’t always give news like this the attention it deserves.

Then, I saw this article in which blogger Mike Rogers suggested Mehlman might make amends to the gay community for the damage he’d done to gay rights by donating his, “fabulous $3 million condo … to the cause that he worked so hard against.”

Three mill seems a bit steep for a modern day Benedict Arnold. Being a hypocrite is a free perk that comes with the First Amendment. After all, the Constitution allows free speech, it doesn’t say anything about hypocritical speech.

Ken Mehlman

TURNING A NEW LEAF - Ken Mehlman is out of the closet, but the damage he did to the gay community is largely still in there.

The Pogrom of the Grand Old Paranoids
I’m not much for outing people against their will. I figure that’s no one else’s business, regardless of their sexual orientation. But then, Mehlman wasn’t your everyday closeted gay person either. He had a position of power which he exercised against himself and millions of others at the behest of the Grand Old Paranoids.

His overlords at the party knew of his orientation, but decided that a trusty attack dog was more important to the cause than being up front with their constituency. Anything’s fair in love and politics – well, maybe not in unnatural, scary gay love – but certainly in politics.

Commander Bunnypants apparently knew of the “problem” as did The Big Dick™ who is double damned for taking a hard line against gay marriage, which his own daughter might’ve otherwise enjoyed. Of course, Dick changed his tune (with caveats) after leaving the White House, which makes him double-damned and a flip-flopper.

The subterfuge isn’t particularly unusual, every few weeks there are similar stories. What is interesting, however, is how many Bushinistas used Mehlman’s reliably straight male injunctions as proof that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a sensible policy. Mehlman even said so himself and worked closely with Team Bush to craft that message.

Now that the administration’s discordant stance is a little better known, how many of the sanctimonious, anti-moral relativity crowd will react? Will they take to their soap boxes like Mr. Mission Accomplished climbed the mountain of World Trade Center rubble? Will they have megaphones in hand, ready to denounce their former leader or renounce their still shaky moral stance?

Ironically, Mehlman Can’t Join the Military Now
Here’s a case in which the Commander-in-Chief, vociferously opposed to gays in the military, didn’t follow his own logic when it came to his minions. Instead, he placed a known gay person in charge of explaining how gays were a national security danger. It’s not clear who asked or who told, but clearly the White House knew. Even though he wasn’t in the military, and ironically can’t join now, Mehlman was certainly a bigger cog in the national machine than a PFC choking on burning Afghan dust.

Suggesting one can be both for and against gays seems like a large contradiction for a policy usually defended on moral grounds. It’s a stance that tacitly says a soldier or administration policy advocate is somehow less gay if people don’t know the truth about them.

I’m confident that most of the DADT/Prop 8 crowd will stay as mute as humanly possible about Mehlman – these things are difficult to explain away. But, in the end it may not mean anything. The Bush administration will have to live with their actions, as will Mehlman. I can have some empathy for the man, but I suspect neither will lose much sleep over it. Their long-winded, anti-gay speeches notwithstanding, morality was always just a talking point for them anyway.

As I said, the First Amendment tolerates hypocritical speech, but valid claims to superior morality … not so much.

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Can Jesus Discriminate?

Church Money

HOW MANY RELIEF WORKERS CAN DANCE ON THE HEAD OF A PIN? - World Vision wins its employment discrimination case, but the Muslims are still trying to get their community center built. As a society, we need to stop trying to find zero sum answers to difficult decisions on how to separate church and state.

Disclosure: The author is an Atheist.

There’s usually chirping when religion and hiring practices bump against each other and Monday’s Ninth Circuit decision in favor of Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is a case in point.

The 2-1 decision came from a suit contending that World Vision had discriminated by firing three employees who had been with them for 10 years and who didn’t, “believe in the divinity of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity.”

The court found that since World Vision is a religious organization, it can hire and fire because its employees directly work within the purview of its ministry and the bulk of its monies go to humanitarian aid, not proselytizing.

A Profound Sense of Religious Mission
In World View’s case, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that, “World Vision has met its burden of showing that the ‘general picture’ of the organization is primarily religious.  World Vision is a nonprofit organization whose humanitarian relief efforts flow from a profound sense of religious mission.”

In other words, World Vision’s “religious” side and its “humanitarian relief” side are one and the same. Although why the three employees would join the organization knowing that and why the organization kept them around for 10 years before firing them is a bit of a mystery.

But then, what isn’t these days?

This case is fundamentally different from one a few years back in which Pat Robertson, and what was then known as his CBN University, ran afoul of discrimination laws.

CBNU operated a hotel that did not deny non-Christians guest rooms, but did hire and fire staff based on religious beliefs. They also had similar problems hiring and firing technicians and others working for what was then the Christian Broadcasting Network in non-religious jobs.

In their case, the court found that Robertson ran the hotel and TV network primarily to make money. Most of the money was used for investments in everything from South African diamond mines to stock, but some of it was used to support various religious and charitable pursuits. They lost the suit and eventually divested the hotel and university from Robertson’s personal empire.

Religious and employment discrimination is sometimes a tough thing. Minor differences between how money is collected and spent can have a profound impact on specific cases. It’s easy to take a one-size fits all approach and either say no discrimination or no paid staff. However, when these split hairs mean the freedom to practice religion, it’s a harder decision.

All too often, people on both sides – religious and Atheist – want to make religious freedom an all or nothing proposition. Those simplistic reactions do nothing to help either side of the argument and fuel an ever-growing schism between Americans.

Ersatz Hysteria
Today’s Park51 controversy is a great example. Some want Muslims stopped from building a community center (in fact, some even want them out of the country all together). Others see no reason to stop anything. Still others would be happy if all religions just went away, which I admit is sometimes a tempting, though hypothetical, thought.

All those joining the argument deserve to be heard and all of them have good points to make, but at the end, Park51 is a simple, local zoning case run amok. “Discussion” fell apart long ago and devolved into an ersatz hysteria on both sides.

Enough talking. Let’s just get on with things and stop dancing on the head of a theological pin. Ben Franklin said something about an entirely different topic, but that fits this subject in America today, “We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.

Let’s get back to hanging together on something. This whining is giving me a headache.

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