Tags: abby zimet, creationism, education, right wing, roger hollander, sex education, Teen Pregnancy, tennessee, tennessee schools
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Not content with pushing creationism in schools, the Tennessee Senate has seen fit to add “gateway sexual activities” like kissing and hand-holding to sins banned under an abstinence-based sex education curriculum that has to date succeeded in raising seeing their teen birth rate. And teachers can be sued for demonstrating hand-holding. Waytago Tennessee; you and Arizona are tied for first-place lunacy. Up next: bans on pre-gateway activities like eye contact and breathing.
Tennessee Tea Party to Children: What Slaves? January 24, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Education, History, Racism, Right Wing.
Tags: abby zimet, christian bigotry, education, evangelical bigotry, founding fathers, genocide, history, moral majority, phyllis schafly, racism, right wing, roger hollander, slavery, tea party, tennessee
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by Abby Zimet, www.commondreams.org, 24 January 2012
Showing a marked aversity for anything remotely resembling the truth, Tennessee Tea Party leaders have issued “demands” to state legislators that schools stop teaching – through “neglect and outright ill-will” – all that bad stuff about our fine Founding Fathers like the “made-up criticism” that maybe they owned slaves or killed Indians or did other icky things, and that, “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens.” This, after Texas approved 100 revisions to textbooks for its almost five million kids that would rename slave trade “Atlantic triangular trade,” explore the “unintended consequences” of affirmative action,” emphasize the role of the Christian Chuch in the nation’s founding, call for studying iconic conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and The Moral Majority, and otherwise twist “history” to their liking.
“We seek to compel the teaching (of) the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”
Tenn. Senate OKs ban on teaching of homosexuality May 21, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Education, LGBT, Tennessee.
Tags: don't say gay, education, first amendment, gay rights, lgbt, lucas l. johnson ii, roger hollander, sexual orientation, tennessee, tennessee senate
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Roger’s Note: What caught my attention in reading this article was the statement that “homosexuals don’t naturally reproduce.” Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Gay and Lesbian parents around the world. The mindless implicit assumption behind this statement, of course, is that a gay person is nothing other than being gay. Gay 24/7; from cradle to coffin. This kind of one dimensional thinking is characteristic of bigotry. Bigots, of course, are no different in that they are not bigots and nothing else. Bigots can be loving parents and loyal friends. Like the good Christian that I am, I do not hate bigots; rather I love the sinner but hate the sin. Whoops, I have to take that back. First of all I am not a Christian, good or otherwise. Secondly, I do hate bigots for all the harm and grief they cause. Bigotry is indeed worthy of being criminalized, not being Gay (or teaching about being Gay). That is so obvious to me that I am astounded at the incapacity of so many to not understand.
Critics deride the chamber’s passage of the “don’t say gay” bill
A bill passed Friday by the Tennessee Senate would forbid public school teachers and students in grades kindergarten through eight from discussing the fact that some people are gay.
Opponents deride the measure as the “don’t say gay bill.” They say it’s unfair to the children of gay parents and could lead to more bullying. Supporters say it is intended to give teachers clear guidance for dealing with younger children on a potentially explosive topic.
The bill isn’t likely to be taken up by the House before lawmakers adjourn this spring, but the sponsor there has said he would push it forward in 2012 when the General Assembly comes back for the second year of the session.
Passage would make Tennessee the first state to enact such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2003, Washington defeated a proposal similar to Tennessee’s, as did California in 2005 and 2006. A Louisiana law forbids the use of sexually explicit materials depicting homosexuality in sex education classes.
Under the proposal, any instruction or materials at a public elementary or middle school would be limited to age-appropriate lessons about the science of human reproduction.
The legislation was amended from the original version, which said no elementary or middle schools will “provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.” Republican Senate sponsor Stacey Campfield of Knoxville said some of his colleagues were uncomfortable with that language.
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” Campfield said after the vote. “I got what I wanted.”
He said the language is appropriate because “homosexuals don’t naturally reproduce,” and he said it’s necessary because the state’s curriculum is unclear on what can be taught.
However, a critic said the new wording could create other problems.
Sen. Roy Herron, D- Dresden, said it “may inadvertently prevent the teaching of ethics, morality and abstinence.”
Stephen Smith, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education, also said he’s unaware of homosexuality being taught anywhere in the state. He said there is nothing in the state’s curriculum standards that allows students to be taught about homosexuality.
The War on Contraception Goes Viral May 18, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Right Wing, Women.
Tags: abortion, amanda marcotte, anti-choice, birth control, contraception, family planning, indiana, mitch daniels, planned parenthood, pro choice, religious right, roger hollander, tennessee, women's health, women's rights
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As those of us who’ve been following the anti-choice movement for years can attest, the biggest stumbling block for them has been finding a way to make a move towards restricting access to contraception while still trying to keep something like a decent reputation with the public. Attacking sexual liberation and women’s rights has always been at the heart of the anti-choice movement, but in order to sell such a radical agenda as mainstream, they’ve had to make sentimental and often bad faith claims about simply wanting to protect fetal life. While making frowny faces in the direction of pregnant women who want to terminate has been an effective strategy for restricting abortion rights, however, it has its limits when it comes to attacking women’s ability to prevent pregnancy in the first place.
Not that there haven’t been attempts at using “pro-life” arguments to fight not just abortion but contraception. Some anti-choicers have floated the idea that contraception leads to abortion—claiming that women wouldn’t have abortions if they didn’t get it in their silly heads that they should be able to have sex for pleasure instead of procreation. (Never mind that women throughout history have attempted abortion by all sorts of means, whether their cultures had contraception or not.) A slightly more effective argument has been to claim, with no evidence in support, that popular, female-controlled hormonal birth control is the same thing as abortion. This hasn’t done much to convince anyone, but at least establishes a convoluted, disingenuous cover story about embryonic life that anti-choicers can hide behind while they attack contraception. But even then, it has limits, since while the “pill is abortion” argument can be used to attack hormonal contraception, even anti-choicers haven’t been bold enough to claim that condoms or other barrier methods are also abortion.
Then, just this year, it seems that the anti-choice movement came to a nationwide realization: Their past attempts to create some logical-sounding connection between contraception and fetal life were a waste of time and energy. Successful attacks on contraception don’t have to make sense or even look like they kind of sort of make sense if you look at them sideways while ignoring history, science, and true rationality. No, all they have to do is wave their hands around while yelling “abortion” and focus their attacks on those made vulnerable through economic duress, and they would have surprising success at separating women from the means to prevent pregnancy.
True, screaming “abortion” while attacking funding for contraception and other reproductive health services that aren’t abortion didn’t end up as successful as anti-choicers hoped when the Republicans nearly brought the federal government to a shutdown trying to defund Planned Parenthood. But overall, the entire debacle was a success for the anti-choice movement, because by the time it was all over, politicians who want to be viewed as social conservatives realized that it’s no longer enough to be anti-abortion. You must also be opposed to access to contraception for people deemed to be unworthy of sexual autonomy, namely, low-income women and young women.
What this means is that politicians in conservative areas have taken a hard right turn on contraception. The biggest example so far is definitely Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels blew off the “truce” he claimed to support in the culture wars to sign a bill that defunds family planning aid to his state, which will inevitably increase the state’s budget problems in myriad ways. If this were 2010, Daniels probably wouldn’t have done that or even have been put in that situation. In the past few months, however, the last tentacle attached to the concept of attaching anti-choice lies to some semblance of truth has been released, and any politician who doesn’t want to be labeled “pro-abortion” had better start hating on contraception, no matter how many abortions it may prevent.
The pressure to move towards a more radical anti-contraception stance is quickly becoming localized, which was entirely predictable, as conservatives tend to organize on a local and state level far more than liberals do. A reader from Tennessee alerted me to this story about the commissioners at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department in the state suddenly turning on family planning, canceling a half million dollar contract for family planning services in the area on the grounds of “abortion”, even though (say it with me now) none of the funding in question goes to abortion.
The reasoning for this is scattered and nonsensical. The all-male commissioner board claims some times that the problem is that abortions are being performed in the same buildings as contraception is distributed, and some times they claim that contraception is abortion. Because of this ridiculous inability to even pretend like they’re making sense, the board has tabled the debate until this Wednesday, but it’s not looking good for the women of Chattanooga-Hamilton County who rely on subsides to pay for birth control and other forms of non-abortion reproductive health care. The arguments for cutting the funding probably won’t get any more coherent, nor will the politicians pushing them likely bother to do anything crazy like educate themselves on the realities of women’s health care before condemning it all as abortion. They don’t need to anymore; anti-choicers who are calling the shots don’t care what kind of hand-waving you employ, so long as the goal of cutting off women’s access to contraception is achieved.
Unfortunately, barring some miraculous turn of events in the courts that shut this all down, we can probably expect to see more of this on the state and local level in conservative areas. A switch has been flipped in the conservative movement, and it’s not enough anymore to simply oppose abortion rights anymore, but to move even more radically in a direction of denying women any right to control their bodies whatsoever.