Monday, November 24, 2014

Via JMG: Fischer is a Kidnapping Advocate

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: The Legal Golden Ratio On Marriage

Via the New York Times:
The Constitution is not a math problem, but numbers can play a role in the Supreme Court’s calculations. When the court struck down bans on interracial marriage in 1967, such unions were still illegal in 16 states. When the court struck down laws making gay sex a crime in 2003, 13 states still had anti-sodomy measures. Should the court take up the question of same-sex marriage this term or next, as it seems likely to, the unions will be against the law in no more than 15 states. “The coincidence is hard to miss,” said Susan Sommer, a lawyer with Lambda Legal who has been litigating same-sex marriage cases for more than a decade. In a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear a same-sex marriage case from Ohio, lawyers for several couples recited the history and pushed the comparison. “The current landscape for marriage recognition for same-sex couples,” the brief said, “looks much the same as it did in 1967 for interracial couples and in 2003 for same-sex intimate partners.”
The above-linked article notes that it was largely state legislatures, not courts, that had whittled down the number of bans on interracial marriage by the time the Supreme Court acted.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

JMG HomoQuotable - Michael Sam

"If I had it my way, I never would have done it [come out] the way I did, never would have told it the way I did. I would have done the same thing I did at Mizzou. Which was to tell my team and my coaches and leave it at that. But since I did tell my team, word got out.  People think the word didn't get out. It did. Or it did and it didn't. They kept it confined within our family. But the recruiters knew, and reporters knew, and they talked to each other, and it got out. If I didn't have the year I did, nobody would have cared. But I did have that year. And a lot of people knew. Someone was gonna ask me, 'I heard you told your team a secret.…' Well, I was comfortable with who I was, and I wouldn't have denied it. And then I wouldn't have been able to control the story. But I have no regrets. Some people can argue that I had the potential to go higher in the draft. But I think everything happens for a reason. It looks good to see me in the position I'm in now, because I can show the world how good I am and rise up the ranks. I'm at the bottom now. I can rise up, show I'm a football player. Not anything else. Just a football player." 
- Michael Sam, speaking to GQ Magazine.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: OREGON: Ninth Circuit Court Denies NOM's Appeal For En Banc Rehearing


Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via Satipañña: 5 Ways for the Removal of Distracting Thought

Substitute: reflect on a different object, which is connected with skill… Like an experienced carpenter or carpenter’s apprentice, striking hard at, pushing out, and getting rid of a coarse peg with a fine one, should the bhikkhu in order to get rid of the adventitious object, reflect on a different object which is connected with skill.
Reflect: ponder on the disadvantages of unskilful thoughts thus: Truly these thoughts of mine are unskilful, blameworthy, and productive of misery.

Ignore: endeavour to be without attention and reflection as regards them.

Remove the cause: one should reflect on the removal of the source of thoseunskilful thoughts.

Suppress: If evil, unskilful thoughts continue to arise in spite of reflection on the removal of a source of unskilful thoughts, one should with clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate, restrain, and subdue the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. (Suppression used as a last resort so one does not act out one’ s anger/hatred)

Via Satipañña: The Five Subjects for Daily Recollection

There are other recollections which one can make and which help one to understand the human condition. People tend to be in denial about decay, disease, and death while remaining greatly attached to sentient beings and insentient objects. Some people try also to neglect moral responsibility for their actions. The recollections below bring these subjects to light and make us face them squarely. 

Thus, the Buddha has said we should reflect daily upon these five recollections.
  1. I am of the nature to age.
    I have not gone beyond aging.
  2. I am of the nature to sicken.
    I have not gone beyond sickness.
  3. I am of the nature to die.
    I have not gone beyond dying.
  4. All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will become separated from me.
  5. I am the owner of my karma,
    Heir to my karma,
    Born of my karma,
    Related to my karma,
    Abide supported by my karma.
    Whatever karma I shall do, for good or for ill, of that I will be the heir.

An Evangelical Changes His Mind On Gays

We’ve featured the work of Matthew Vines many times before, and want to highlight a speech given at a conference recently held by his organization, The Reformation Project. A keynote speaker, David Gushee, one of the foremost evangelical ethicists in the United States, used the occasion to announce his support for the full-inclusion of LGBT Christians in the Church. The above video of Gushee’s remarks is longer than we usually post, but it’s worth watching in full. (You can read a transcript of his remarks here.) For a sense of why this matters, Jonathan Merritt sketches Gushee’s place in the evangelical world:
It is difficult to overstate the potential impact of Gushee’s defection. His Christian ethics textbook, “Kingdom Ethics,” co-authored with the late Glen Stassen, is widely respected and was named a 2004 Christianity Today book of the year. He serves as theologian-in-residence for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a coalition of 15 theological schools, 150 ministries, and 1,800 Baptist churches nationwide.
While other pro-LGBT Christian activists — including Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network and Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian” — have been dismissed in some circles as wet-behind-the-ears youngsters without formal theological training, Gushee, 52, is a scholar with impeccable credentials. He can add intellectual heft to what has largely been a youth-led movement, and is not someone who can be easily dismissed.
Gushee summarizes his approach to the issue this way:
Since the 1960s, when the gay rights movement began in America, Christians and their leaders have struggled to figure out how to respond to the growing tolerance of same-sex relationships. Most in Christianity have responded by offering endless debates over how to interpret that handful of biblical passages. Books erupted. Congregations fought. Denominations split. 
For me, the answer to this debate has become simple: There is a sexual-minority population of about 5 percent of the human family that has received contempt and discrimination for centuries. In Christendom, the sexual ethics based in those biblical passages metastasized into a hardened attitude against sexual- and gender-identity minorities, bristling with bullying and violence. This contempt is in the name of God, the most powerful kind there is in the world. I now believe that the traditional interpretation of the most cited passages is questionable and that all that parsing of Greek verbs has distracted attention from the primary moral obligation taught by Jesus — to love our neighbors as ourselves, especially our most vulnerable neighbors. I also now believe that while any progress toward more humane treatment of LGBT people is good progress, we need to reconsider the entire body of biblical interpretation and tradition related to this issue.
Put simply, it finally became clear to me that I must side with those who were being treated with contempt, just as I hope I would have sided with Jews in the Nazi era and with African Americans during the civil rights years.

Flower of the Day: 11/24/14

“I am working steadily so that you can identify the part of your personality that plays against you and sabotages all of your efforts towards self-realization. I call this aspect negative intentionality. This is your ‘no’ to life, to love, to prosperity and pleasure. If there is constant anguish and negative repetitions happening in your life, identify the voice within you that says, ‘I don’t want everything to work out. I want to be weak; I want to be rejected and humiliated.’ While this may seem absurd, I invite you to put into practice this teaching and discover for yourself what I am saying.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma

Developing a Healthy Body Image | November 24, 2014

Because the modern obsession with impossibly perfect body images has taught so many people to hate their bodies to a pathological degree, we’ve come to identify all positive body images as psychologically healthy, and all negative body images as psychologically sick. . .  From the Buddha’s perspective, though, this attitude is radically deluded.

- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "Under Your Skin"