Something has to stand in the gap between (ir)religion and state

Reading this post by Winnifred Sullivan on the Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College decisions, I got the gist of her argument: that we, no matter our political persuasion, have extended the legal “religious freedom” idea to its logical point of absurdity.

But something caught my eye in this paragraph:

But when the church and the state went their separate ways—when the church was disestablished—the intimate articulation of political, legal, and religious fictions lost their logic on a national scale. They no longer recognize one another. The legal and religious fictions of religious freedom have become lies designed to extend the life of the impossible idea that church and state can still work together after disestablishment. There is no neutral place from which to distinguish the religious from the non-religious. There is no shared understanding of what religion, big “R” religion, is. Let’s stop talking about big “R” religion.

This perhaps best articulates the disconnect between religion and the state in which organized religion – and the various means of power which it can assume – is much more free to run amuck over the rights of individual human beings.

I think that, rather than being content with this current separation of religion and state, in which the two “agree” to separate from each other (which has stopped applying in many places), something should stand in the gap between the two. Some sort of fiction – not just an institution, but an entire legal fiction – should act as a buffer between religion and the secular state, in such a way that the state would be able to eliminate any reference to the words “religion” or “faith” from documented law and jurisprudence.

In fact, for any institution or fiction which considers itself secular or nonsectarian (such as education), something should stand in the gap between religion and such-and-such nonsectarian institution.

But what could be strong enough, conducive enough to hold together that wall of separation?

Can the interfaith/intervalues coalitions – those organizations which classify themselves specifically as explicitly welcoming of multiple religions – be part of that wall?


FW: Will a restaurant franchisee support Georgia’s License to Discrimate?

So its very important that some questions be answered! I am making this blog post to ask our LGBT activists, organizations and LGBT media to be that loud voice asking several questions of several people.

1. What are State Representative Allen Peake’s views on the legislation? Does he support it? Will he vote for its passage?

2. Will State Representative Allen Peake abstain from voting for this legislation and realize the conflict of interest because his business will be affected by the new law if it passes.

3. IF State representate Allen Peake does support this legislation and votes for its passage, what are the views and what would the course of action be by any of the parent companies that franchise restaurants to Allen Peake’s company, C&P Restaurants.

via Edric Floyd: Telling It like It is!: Will a restaurant franchisee support Georgia’s License to Discrimate?.

Oregon: A State for Women

Two things I noticed today:

I find it gratifying that women in Oregon are making such strides, particularly to enshrine such “equality under the law” on the basis of sex into their constitution.

Unfortunately, even after the unsuccessful fight for the federal ERA in the 1970s and after so long since the Nineteenth Amendment’s passage in 1920, these 22 states (and their various extensions of protection from mere employment to full equality under the law) stand alone out of so many states which have not constitutionally-enshrined gender anti-discrimination law. We don’t have such protection which could greatly benefit the future of half the U.S. population enshrined into the majority of constitutional documents in this country.

Why can’t we in the other 28 states spell out equality in the sexes to our states’ residents through the second highest laws of our states? Why are we so reticent to spell out gender equality? Do we even believe in the government recognizing our equality, or are we still ruled by people who represent the interests and privileges of half the population of our states?

And then we wonder why New Hampshire can’t bring forward a constitutional amendment to define equality for all sexual orientations?

Our collective mindset is our most potent enemy. We must change that mindset at all levels.

Congrats to Oregon and Gov. Kate Brown!

‘Big Hero 6′ Director Talks Sequel, Key to Film’s Success

Harry Underwood:

“No sequel will ever get made unless the directors want one and feel strongly that there is a story that needs to be told. No sequel will ever get made unless the directors want one and feel strongly that there is a story that needs to be told.” Hopefully, with all that they had to cut out in order to center the film, Disney Animation will have enough left to be a platform for a sequel. I just wonder what it will be titled.

Originally posted on Variety:

Oscar nominee “Big Hero 6” is on track this weekend to become the No. 3 all-time domestic earner for Walt Disney Animation Studios, passing the $218.9 million of “Beauty and the Beast” (after “Frozen” and “The Lion King”). One factor in the film’s success is the new approach at Disney Animation, says president Andrew Millstein, “which is about elevating storytelling and putting filmmakers at the center of the process.”

It sounds like a no-brainer for a film company to focus on filmmakers. But in the past, Disney Animation was often administrative-driven, with layers of notes from executives that dictated content and bogged down the creatives.

“Big Hero 6″ provides a one-two punch for the studio after last year’s “Frozen.” “Big Hero 6″ boasts flashy work in the San Fransokyo setting and the action sequences, but the center of the film is the relationship between inflatable robot Baymax and tech prodigy Hiro. “It’s the absolute key to the film and the reason the…

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The colonization counterfactual

Harry Underwood:

An alternative map of Africa to consider, particularly if European colonization/settlement hadn’t happened. #SwordAndSoul

Originally posted on Rachel Strohm:

One of the questions I’m often asked by friends who haven’t studied African history is what might have happened to the continent if it hadn’t been colonized.  It’s interesting to look at the following map of African politico-tribal units circa 1844 by Swedish artist Nikolaj Cyon in the light of this question:

Alkebu-lan[click for full size – it’s worth it!]

I haven’t been able to find any firm documentation on the origin of the name Alkebu-lan, although a variety of questionably sourced websites suggest that it’s an Arabic phrase meaning “land of the blacks” – supposedly an original name for Africa.  Cyon notes in a presentation that the map represents the culmination of an alternate history where the Black Plague killed significantly more Europeans than was actually the case, presumably reducing the amount of early colonization which would have occurred.  Thus, while many of these territorial groupings appear feasible to…

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Musings of Harry Underwood


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