Laura G Owens ~ Writer

Humanity. Health. Happiness.

Category: Social Issues Page 3 of 4

God, Guns but no gays? My Letter to this Kentucky business owner

Image: Wikimedia Commons

I just sent the following email to this Kentucky business owner. I’m HORRIFIED his family received death and rape threats for his store policy, but I’m also horrified at his policy.

Dear Herald Owner,

I am terribly sorry your wife and children received death and rape threats in response to your policy to “refuse to produce promotional products that promote homosexuality.” I’m glad the two men were charged with Terrorist Threats in the Third Degree. What your family went through was horrific, inexcusable and undoubtedly terrifying.

I am however, deeply saddened that in this day and age a company would deny service to a citizen based on sexual orientation under the protection of “religious beliefs.” What if my religious beliefs didn’t for example, support “promoting” people of color or bi-racial children or, or, or….

I understand you allow the LGBT community in your store, but by refusing to embroider anything that reflects sexual orientation, you are indeed, blatantly discriminating.

Please don’t invoke Scripture to validate your discriminatory stance. Instead, please pause and think for yourself. Does your policy even FEEL remotely God-like?

Your policy is anything BUT in line with the Jesus and God that I know. You mention that you “have been the victim of racism” and I’m terribly sorry. I hope your children will never feel the sting of racism, or any other “ism” in their lives. Yet somehow the pain you felt doesn’t resonate with the pain you cause someone under the protection of “religious beliefs?”

You must understand it’s simply impossible to “promote” one’s born sexual orientation any more than one can “promote” being white, black, female etc. I don’t promote my “female lifestyle” I am female. I didn’t decide to be Caucasian. I am Caucasian.

How old were you exactly, may I ask, when you decided to be heterosexual?

Your refusal to create products that “promote homosexuality” is no different than if a business owner refused service that “promoted the interracial lifestyle.”

If God was against our gay citizens God would not have created people attracted to the same-sex. If you can’t use compassion to grasp these concepts, please use good old-fashioned common sense.

The God I know is shaking His or Her head and frowning. I truly hope one day you’ll sit down with yourself and realize that refusing service based on one’s sexual orientation is the same as refusing service based on race, ethnicity, gender etc. The Bible isn’t a book of conveniently held beliefs or a book to uphold discriminatory practices, the Bible is an interpretation through the prism of Man and I’d suggest, a reflection of what sits in one’s heart.

I hope your children will know true grace as they grow; I hope they will know, despite their parent’s views, that all God’s children, born who they are, deserve respect and equal service.

God, guns but no gays? Shame on your Kentucky lawmakers.

Sincerely,
Laura Owens

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Donald Sterling. When words speak louder than actions.

Image credit: Blake Griffin

Interesting dialogue about Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

As much as I’d like to see every bass-ackwards racist moron ousted from their organizational protected throne, it’s a slippery slope around freedom of speech to use personal recordings and comments to legally oust someone.

If Sterling counter sues and wins to keep the Clippers then unfortunately he wins. I lay bet however, he won’t get a big welcome home party by the Clippers and the NBA. 

Thank God the NBA made a forceful statement and threw Sterling out and are (trying) to take the Clippers away from him. (Why bigots-in-charge are allowed to continue is another issue altogether. Priests protected, systemic sheltering of the sacred establishment for fear of losing jobs and image). 

The NBA has a right to fine, suspend or boot anyone they find in opposition to their organization’s brand and so, best interest. Sterling’s actions have been discriminatory and in some instances he’s spewed blatant hate speech. Hate speech isn’t protected.

In 2009, writes The Daily Beast, former longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor sued Sterling for discrimination on the basis of age and race, during which Baylor alleged that Sterling wanted a team composed of “poor black boys from the South … playing for a white coach.” 

Wikipedia – Hate speech is, outside the law, speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of e.g. race, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.[1][2]

In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group. The law may identify a protected individual or a protected group by certain characteristics.[3][4][5][6] In some countries, a victim of hate speech may seek redress under civil lawcriminal law, or both. A website that uses hate speech is called a hate site. Most of these sites contain Internet forumsand news briefs that emphasize a particular viewpoint. There has been debate over how freedom of speech applies to the Internet.

Critics have argued that the term “hate speech” is a contemporary example of Newspeak, used to silence critics of social policies that have been poorly implemented in a rush to appear politically correct.[7][8][9]

 

Among many of Sterling’s racist gems he allegedly told his girlfriend the following…. “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you are associating with black people. Do you have to…..You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in. You can do whatever you want. The little I ask is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games….. In your lousy … Instagrams you don’t have to have yourself walking with black people.”

So let me get this straight….

The black people who hang with the woman you’re cheating on your wife with make you a mint with their extraordinary hard work and talent but you don’t want your mistress to be seen with them at the games?  Go ahead and have sex with black people if you must but don’t get all “I’m with a black-man” and cozy up with them at my games. For Gods sake woman, use some common racist sense. What would the season ticket holders think?

I can hear the Sterling supporters but.. but… butting…. he gave a boat load of money to the NAACP so clearly he isn’t totally racist, just a tiny bit. We can forgive a little racist when big money is involved.

Sometimes words just speaker louder than actions. A big check isn’t restitution for racist comments. It’s like Sterling knows he can get away with “Listen to what I do, not to what I say.”

So, when does a point of view, even one you loathe, become unlawful hate speech?  It’s not cut and dry.

Say you’re against same-sex marriage (a view) but not against gay people. Or, maybe you hate gays and lesbians with every fiber (which then I just feel sorry for you) but you keep your views inside your private life and away from your company dealings. If you don’t use or incite hate speech in your organization (“fags, perverse people, an abomination”) then you’re not directly harming anyone (accept that your soul is dying a slow and inevitable death, but that’s just me).

Maybe you secretly think people of color are inferior.  But, you keep your mouth shut at corporate dealings until one day, you start slipping up. You get cocky because your plantation mentality gets a chuckle here and there over cigars and Manhattans at the club. Despite getting sued for say, housing discrimination, none of your fawning or fearful posse has the balls to tell you to keep your mouth shut or you’re out. You’re the owner, who tells off the owner?

Anyone who can afford to lose their job, in other words, a very small list.

Chick Fil-A’s owner Dan Cathy’s views against gay marriage aren’t mine but he has every right to say them. He’s not known for spewing hate speech against the gay and lesbian community.  If he discriminated hiring gays and lesbians (he doesn’t) then we have a legal issue. 

But say Mr. Cathy spewed hate speech about the LGBT community, “perverse, lazy workers, an abomination,” yada yada nonsense I’d EXPECT Mr. Cathy to be ousted by his Board even if he didn’t employ discriminatory practices because his views are hateful which I gather wouldn’t sit will well with the Chick Fil-A family brand (that is anti-gay marriage but not anti-gay, per se).  

But, if Mr. Sterling wins his lawsuit will he still want to belong to a club that for the most part doesn’t want him? Probably. Most larger than life egos don’t care about being liked, they care about being in charge.  

 

 

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Catholics and Mormons Mass Exodus If Women Left Behind

Women still left out of priesthood Great article (linked below) on why the traditional branches of the Catholic and Mormon church can’t sustain themselves unless they reform to include women.

“The contradictions are non-sustainable.”

Some of my friends, from their polite silence, likely find my feminist, new-age, optimistic, this-too-shall-be-overcome attitude regarding social change non-sustainable.  

I’ll cop to being the annoying hippie optimist but I’m not as much Pollyanna in a peace shirt about equality and social change as I am just pragmatic.  Look back to see the future for women’s equality. The vote. The ERA. Reproductive rights. Glass ceilings. Co-ed college. Pay equity gaps closing. Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg. Women stand everywhere a man stands, except as priests.  

Our nation spins on an axis of the train-can’t-stop-now social progress. So, if conservative branches of the Catholic and Mormon church fight women in the priesthood they’ll be left behind in a pool of bitterness barking to a growing minority about the dangers of the heretics. 

The conservative grip on the male hierarchy in the church has become a paranoid rant to old ghosts because, writes Damon Linker in an article for The Week:

The churches are now largely populated by people who have no living memory of it ever having been otherwise. Living, studying, working, and voting in a world marked by ever-increasing recognition of the equal dignity of men and women, they go to church on Sunday and confront our culture’s last significant institutional vestige of inequality — when that very institution worships the God who is the ultimate source of our egalitarianism.……But in both Catholicism and Mormonism, there’s often nowhere else to go. It’s either love it or leave it.  Read more….    

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If the states don’t know any better, the Supreme Court has to.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Support for same-sex marriage is moving up in the courts and the people.

Princeton Survey Research Associates surveyed 1,003 adults and found:

“An unprecedented 55%-40%, Americans say marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights of traditional marriage. That’s the highest level of support since Gallup began asking the question in 1996. Then, fewer than half that number, 27%, backed the idea.” (1).

Still, the tide is slow to shift as with any civil right stuck in the mud by groups terrified equality-for-all will lead to the economic and moral destruction of our nation.

You saw what happened after women got the vote, after desegregation, the Civil Rights Act and the ERA?

It’s almost too horrible to think about but let’s be brave and try…

Please click here to read more…

 

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Gay marriage a serious ill of our nation? We’re sick alright, but that’s not the issue.

An Orlando Sentinel reader wrote the following opinion letter:

(Gov) Scott should stand steady

Comparing same-sex marriage and integration is like comparing apples and oranges (Letters, Wednesday, JoAnn Lee Frank).

There are many people in the state of Florida who find the subject of gay marriage to be one of the many serious ills that America faces, rather than a good thing. This is one of the issues that is tearing the fabric of this great country apart.

If Gov. Rick Scott has any morals and intestinal fortitude, he will maintain his stand against same-sex marriage and be known as a wise and prudent leader who stood by decency and left a legacy that can be admired.

~ K.B. 

My response:

I respectfully disagree with KB who wrote in her March 24th opinion “there are many people in the state of Florida who find the subject of gay marriage to be one of the many serious ills that America faces, rather than a good thing” and that this is “one of the many issues that is tearing the fabric of this great country apart.”

Sexual orientation, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is not a national illness in need of a cure. If it is, ask yourself when you first realized you were heterosexual. Next, ask yourself when you sought treatment.

The fabric of our nation weaves stronger when we’re not threatened by law abiding citizens who happen to be different than ourselves. Support of gay marriage in Florida continues to gain ground so to fight against a changing public tide is to flail against a strong and relentless undercurrent. Lawsuits against same-sex marriage bans are cropping up all over the nation’s court systems. In January 2014 Public Policy Polling found 47% of Floridians support gay marriage and 44% opposed. This the first time the company found a plurality supporting it

To ban citizens the same marital and adoption rights I’m afforded goes against the 14th Amendment for Equal Protection (states must apply the law equally and cannot discriminate against people or groups of people arbitrarily) and it throws energy into widening rather than narrowing, social divide. Gay men and women aren’t a special interest group screaming “me, me, me,” they’re citizens seeking equal protection. They deserve what I deserve. No more, no less.

What tears at the fabric of our nation is to deny gay adults the right to marry (and to adopt children who need homes) thereby denying the full legal spectrum of marriage, the joy of raising children and the dignity of sanctioned social acceptance. If a citizen can’t internalize support for gay marriage and gay couples adopting (I understand acceptance takes time and sometimes it never happens) then as a nation we must externalize our citizens’ inalienable rights through the law of the land.

To ban gay couples from marrying or adopting children is from my view ethically wrong and cruel. It’s also entirely impractical because thousands of children need loving homes. Loving a child transcends sexual orientation.

How does a gay couple who married and adopted a child in one state move to Florida on a job transfer and explain to their daughter that their life is now a legal no-no? “Your Dad and I love each other and we love you, but this isn’t quite okay enough in Florida?”

I hope through the beauty of a child’s pure mind she never understands any of this. I certainly never will.

Wake up Sunshine State. Time to see the light.

 

Footnote: Florida Public Policy Poll:  http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2014/PPP_Release_FL_122.pdf

 

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The right to have kids, shouldn’t be.

 Rachel Fryer

(Rachel Fryer, 32, made a court appearance from the jail Thursday to face the new charges: felony murder, aggravated child abuse, evidence tampering and mishandling human remains. (George Skene, Orlando Sentinel / February 27, 2014)

I once told my friend Carol no one has the right to have kids, we only have the right to want them.

She shot me an annoyed look that said I was missing the point; we all get to have kids, we just better not screw it up.

Evolution hasn’t caught up with my futuristic notion that the something outside the individual (and I’m not referring to God) should decide if we’re worthy to bear children. I haven’t thought this through, like who gets to pick and what’s the criteria, but in essence I think we need to earn the right to parent, not inherit the right.

“I think we should be born sterile,” I told my friend, “and have to prove to something to someone, somewhere that we have the basics in place to have kids. I’m not saying someone has to be rich or have a flawless life record, but parents should be at least 21, have a solid enough showing in the bank, in their current lifestyle and in their head.  This seems logical enough; for God sake not to be cliché, but it takes more paperwork to get a driver’s license than to have a kid. ”

“Fine, but what if this baby approval group rejected you?” Carol asked.

“Then they do. But here’s the thing, I wouldn’t be rejected. I know what good I had growing up. I also know what royal dysfunctional messes left their mark on me,” I told her.

When my daughter Tina was between 2 and 4 there were days I screamed all over her while she chased me down the hall. Doors slammed; I was bone tired, overwhelmed, had PMS and wasn’t giddy (although grateful) about being home full-time. I was convinced I was creating a sad kid forever but she kept smiling at me the next day, and then the next.  As Tina got older and I had more free time to myself, we both screamed less and she kept smiling, not more , but still.

She forgot the time I hid from her in the dark on my porch at 11 pm crouched out of sight.  I tried for two hours to get her to go to bed until we were both spinning out of control.  Eventually I got mean. My husband was usually my mediator during these tirades but he was out-of-town that night and so I was left to my own inner voice which was exhausted, enraged and unsympathetic.  Afraid I might shake or slap my toddler I retreated onto the porch for a couple of minutes. Tina ran around the house from room to room crying “Mommy where are you?

Take that.

Suddenly I felt like throwing up and so I went back inside. I hugged my child on my knees sobbing into the horror that I created even a second of abandonment in her life, because I’d felt more than a second in mine.

My daughter doesn’t remember that night; she seems to remember the other 20 or so days of the month across 16 years I didn’t lose my shit.

The majority wins. That’s parenting.

My Dad’s first wife Pat left our family when I was five.  She had an affair with a man she met on a time-away-from-my-father bird watching cruise.  Pat and Frank eventually got married, partnered up as world-famous wildlife photographers and left their respective kids. Parenting bushels of kids didn’t stand a chance against photographing Lamas, tigers and giraffes in Africa for National Geographic.

This is a woman who should never have had children but she wasn’t born into an era when it was acceptable to opt out, and so she kept having babies. Exist strategies for women who didn’t want to mother used to be Valium, limited career choices outside the home or to leave altogether.  Pat became a mother because at the time when my three brothers, sister and I were born in the fifties and sixties (my father and mother adopted my sister and I) having children is what couples did. Having children was the check list in a woman’s categorized life; not a choice to consider your options.

Not everyone should have children.

Some people shouldn’t dig for non-existent child longings and leanings and the stamina for forever parenthood. I had this for one child; I didn’t have it for two. My desire for a baby while I went through invasive fertility treatments was so all consuming that getting pregnant was a daily breathe prayer of absolute unrelenting certainty that nothing else mattered and nothing else would, until. And yet when my doctor told me I was just as likely to have a second baby as I was a first, my decision had already been made. I was done. 

We need to know why we want to mother. We need to know if our answer is enough to sustain ourselves and our family.

We need to stop pretending we can make some people into parents because kids end up being target practice. 

“Some people are bad parents,  writes Orlando Sentinel columnist Beth Kassab, “and no matter what we do, they won’t get any better.” Orlando resident Rachel Fryer has had seven children is pregnant again and is being held on charges of murdering her 2-year-old daughter and burying her in a shallow grave. Two years earlier she “accidentally” suffocated her daughter’s twin brother by rolling over him when he was only two weeks old while she was asleep on the couch.  Rachel was on drugs at the time.  

My life is as removed from Rachel Fryer’s as you can imagine, still as any mother, I’ve felt overwhelmed, depressed, enraged and desperate. “I’m bout to have a nervous breakdown,” read a message allegedly found on Fryer’s cellphone. “I can’t take it no more….My child is retarded, I don’t know what else to do….I need my depression medicine ASAP. This is too much, I’m about to lose it.”

Rachel’s 7 year old daughter allegedly told the police that her mom often hit she and her siblings, and that Rachel beat her the day before her younger sister disappeared.

I know the feeling of wanting to smother incessant crying or to haul off and wallop a child who hits your last nerve. And yet thank God I never did either of those things because I had internal and external options given to me by my parents. I was born into lucky circumstances and somehow maintained impulse control.

I’m not heartless to Rachel’s tragic story, but I’m not willing to give an adult the repeated benefit of the doubt where kids are concerned, when doubt has as long and obvious a tragic history as Rachel’s.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel

  • Child-welfare officials were concerned Rachel Fryer was an unfit mother and, at various times, objected to her regaining custody.
  • The 32-year-old and her children were reunited, and it wasn’t long before Fryer’s life began to crumble.
  • She couldn’t afford rent.
  • She didn’t have enough money for food.
  • Beds she rented for the kids — ages 2, 3, 4 and 7 — were returned because she couldn’t afford them.
  • Two months after Fryer and the children were reunited a court-appointed child-advocate requested a hearing over “pressing concerns” about the Sanford family.
  • That hearing was never scheduled, and the following week, Fryer’s 2-year-old daughter Tariji was dead.
  • More than 1,700 pages of documents detailing those and other elements of Fryer’s history with child-welfare agencies were released Friday, providing a glimpse of what unfolded in the years after Tariji’s twin brother died in 2011.
  • Fryer, who has given birth to at least seven children and is pregnant, has a long history with the Department of Children and Families.
  • After a drug raid at her home in 2005, Fryer voluntarily gave up her parental rights to two of her children.
  • She gave birth to several more children, and in 2011, Tariji’s twin brother, Tavontae Gordon, died.
  • At the time, authorities concluded Fryer accidentally suffocated the infant while they slept together on the couch. But Sanford police earlier this month reopened the investigation into Tavontae’s death.
  • The infant’s death prompted DCF to remove the four other children — including Tariji — and place them in foster homes.
  • DCF reports characterize Fryer as a woman with mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, physical health problems, unstable housing, unstable employment and recurring criminal behavior.
  • In mid-2013, a court-appointed child advocate said the children should remain in foster care because neither Fryer nor the children’s father, Timothy Gordon Jr., had complied fully with the reunification requirements.
  • But Fryer completed her case plan, and Seminole County Circuit Judge Donna McIntosh reunited the family.
  • After that reunion in November, problems quickly arose.
  • Case workers noted in an early December report that Fryer had no steady employment and her income wasn’t sufficient to care for the children.
  • As Fryer’s struggles mounted, she and the children withdrew. The kids missed school. When a bus driver walked up to Fryer’s door and asked to see Tariji, Fryer refused.
  • In a Jan. 30 report, the court-appointed child advocate expressed concerns about Fryer’s financial problems and an array of other issues, including her arrest in December for failing to appear at a court hearing.
  • She also took her kids out of daycare because she was “tired of everyone in her business,” even though it was a condition of her reunification with the children.

“I don’t want people to think I don’t love my kids because I really love my kids. I was scared. I was really scared,” Rachel Fryer said. 

The problem I have is with Rachel’s version of love is her version isn’t good enough. More than likely she grew up around drugs, was neglected or abused and her way is the only parenting style she knows. I could be non-judgmental except we have to judge the welfare of children when lives are at stake. Sometimes we have to judge the long and obvious history of some parents or we don’t protect the children.

This isn’t a matter of whether a mother breast feeds or not, stays home or works, all that competitive parenting chatter that doesn’t make an ounce of difference in the long run of a child’s life. We’re talking about neglect and injury and death, we’re talking about the fact that Rachel somehow keeps getting pregnant and so, is getting another chance to try parenting, again and again.   

Kids aren’t practice for get parenting right, eventually. Kids are the main event for getting ourselves right.

 

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Turn gays away bill: NOT business 101

No Shirt.

No Shoes

No Service.

P.S. If you’re a same-sex couple, take a hike.

Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey introduced a Bill which would permit persons and religious or denominational organizations  based on sincere religious belief, to refuse to provide services or goods in furtherance of a civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage not recognized by the Tennessee Constitution. 

If you can’t stomach the idea of same-sex coupling (civil unions, domestic partnership, same-sex marriage) for Biblical or other reasons then disagree without attack or taking away rights.

The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

This Bill would entitle business owners based on religious belief, the right to refuse service if a same-sex couple wants to further or celebrate their coupling. By that standard that’s everything in the store. The list of what humans use to further or celebrate their life is infinite.  Housing, food, lamps, medicine, toe nail clippers, party hats, orchids, medical care, a dog, laundry detergent, bug spray.

Go away customer; I can’t sell you Sinner-services or No Repent-ware.

My outrage is probably a waste of time. This Bill won’t pass. It’s discriminatory, arcane and laughable.

This Bill is also mean.

“I would feel like what I need doesn’t matter,” said Priscilla Majano a sophomore majoring in child development at The University of Memphis.  “Like I’m worthless,”  “State senator introduces new bill coined “turn the gays away”

But okay forget being nice. Values trump being nice, right?

Practically speaking this isn’t smart business. The gay population has weighty buying power which translates to disposable personal income or DPI, total after-tax income available to an individual to spend on personal consumption, personal interest payments or savings.

On principle you can argue losing business doesn’t matter compared to holding to one’s values. Pride comes before the fall ~ Proverbs 16:18.  I can’t imagine sending someone away who has good money to spend in my business (except sexual predators and Neonazis).

I’m curious what a Turn Gays Away scenario will look like.

A same-sex couple walks into a locally owned hardware store to buy a boatload of supplies. They want to expand their family room now that they’re living together.

“I’m sorry sirs but we don’t serve same-sex couples,”  says the store owner or clerk who discerns sexual orientation from his/her own spot on gay-dar.

“Oh, okay then,” says the couple. “Can you give us directions to the hardware store for gay people? By the way, I’m really thirsty. I have diabetes. Is your water fountain for everyone or do you offer separate spigots for straights and gays?”

For an added-value bonus some kids might be milling about the hardware store and overhear the conversation.  Kids are blind to adult idiocy until they absorb it later on. Kids ask questions about something that seems new or out of their ordinary, “Mommy, why won’t that person sell those two men a hammer?”

If this passed in Florida, (It won’t, the country hasn’t lost its mind and neither has Florida) I’d have to stop visiting heterosexual businesses with a Turn Gays Away policy. It goes against my religion.

My guess is Dan Cathy, President of Chick Fil-A who publicly opposes gay marriage, wouldn’t refuse catered chicken platters to same-sex couples who order food for a civil union or marriage reception.  Mr. Cathy disapproves but he’s not legally discriminatory.  He and gay activist Shane Windmeyer are friends so Mr. Cathy is open-minded.

Mr. Cathy and I will never agree on the foundational issues of gay rights.

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about,” Cathy said in that interview, which can be heard here.”

Indeed. I’m prideful, arrogant and audacious enough to define marriage as love between two committed adults. I don’t define marriage by a human- created and Interpreted Guide to God.  I  don’t fear judgment in the afterlife.  I believe Hell exists in the Here and Now.

More reading:  Sen. Kelsey introduces ‘Turn The Gays Away 

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These attitudes are still head shakers for me. Finding muddy love.

That’s all we have sometimes, some version of The Golden Rule and muddy love – Laura
In the category of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” topics that make you do one of those cartoon double takes in your mind and think, did I really just read that?

Dear Amy:

I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual. We are part of a church group and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child. He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay. I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years — I have a busy work schedule.
Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay. He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you.
I read this “Dear Amy” (like Dear Abby) to my husband the other day and he said it sounded like it was made up. We can hope but sadly no. I know this mom’s attitude doesn’t reflect the majority but nonsense views like this certainly swirl about, to which I’d say,
Who cares? Minority views don’t matter.
But they do. Nonsense like this hurt kids and hurt spreads.  Now, let me say that I truly understand, without caveat or conversion, why some folks can’t embrace homosexuality and gay marriage for Biblical reasons. Do I agree? Not even close, but most folks who feel this way aren’t out spewing nonsense.
This mother’s views move past Biblical loyalty into naivety, ignorance and all out cowardice.  Read more, including Dear Amy’s response…
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George Zimmerman. Vigilant or vigilante?

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I watched HLN this morning, a day after the not-guilty verdict came down for George Zimmerman. A few points came up during the HLN discussion panel that really struck me.

My view of the Zimmerman – Trayvon case:

  • Recent criminal activity in area.  Zimmerman was vigilant of strangers in the subdivision because a number of crimes had been committed in the area recently.
  • Racial profiling. What was going on in George’s head when he saw Trayvon? Did he profile a young black male? In my opinion, probably so, but only George knows his true mindset. Friends of George say he doesn’t have a history of being racist.  The act of following Trayvon and calling the police suggest he either profiled this young man or he was doing his version of color-blind due diligence for the watch dog program.
  • Vigilant or vigilante?   In my view George was justified to call in any and all suspicious behavior he noticed whether from a black, white, female or male.  But what behavior was suspicious about Trayvon, exactly? He was walking home with snacks in hand. His hoodie was up because it was drizzling.  If George was suspicious of Trayvon because he didn’t recognize him in the neighborhood so he felt compelled to call the police, George still should have stayed in his car.  He clearly overstepped his role as a HOA volunteer. Bad, bad move.
  • Scared teen turned angry. In my view Trayvon had every right to feel profiled, stalked and scared. He was simply walking home minding his own business. If however, Trayvon assaulted Zimmerman after their verbal exchange because his fear turned to anger  (Trayvon referred to George as a “creepy ass cracker” which is a racial slur) then Trayvon initiated violence, violence that Zimmerman set into motion by confronting him in the first place.
  • George’s injuries don’t add up.  The medical examiner reported that his injuries weren’t life threatening, that they likely resulted from only one blow. George’s injuries don’t suggest Trayvon bashed his head into the concrete multiple times as he claimed, or that he was brutally beaten as he claimed. And yet, the desperate cries for help? Evidence suggest they came from George.  We’ll never know.
  • Stand your ground vs. duty to retreat. This is tricky. Florida law allows citizens to “justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.” (Wikipedia).  If George even thought his life was in danger, he was allowed to pull the trigger.  I’m unsure how I feel about this large wiggle room for deadly force.

Why did George pull the trigger?

1.      He felt his life was in danger

2.     His life was in danger. (George claims Trayvon told him he was going to die that night and that  Trayvon held his hand over his nose and mouth as              he repeatedly bashed his head against the concrete).

3.    He was trigger happy and a vigilante hellbent on killing this kid, a teen, a black teen.

Where do we go from here? Commentary from political science professor

  • A black political science professor on the panel said he doesn’t have issue with HOA watch dog groups, his issue is that George Zimmerman crossed the line by getting out of his car rather than waiting for the police to arrive.
  • Racial profiling isn’t the core issue he said; it’s what you DO once you’ve mentally racially profiled someone. Don’t assume all blacks will commit a crime and then act from your assumption.

Read more….

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British study shows kids of working moms just fine. Here’s why.

Photo credit: wilpf.org

The Brits know. Quality childcare is key. Maternity leave, essential.

Studies had shown that children born to career mothers in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s did not perform as well, with their literacy and numeracy skills about two percent lower. But the latest research by Heather Joshi of the University of London’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies found children born since the mid-1990s whose mothers worked during their early years fared just as well as those whose mothers did not. – Working mothers urged to drop guilt as study finds kids do fine.  – British Study

So, the question I have is does this study translate to the U.S. given we don’t have paid maternity leave and HIGH quality childcare isn’t the norm for all income brackets?

Joshi said the most important factor that triggered this change in Britain was the Labour government’s investment in childcare in the mid-1990s.

I already intuitively knew kids of working moms are fine, at least with the parents I know, and I’ve been home full-time with my daughter since she was 9 months. So why do I care?

I’m at home so I could finger point at working mothers. I care because I don’t believe in shaming people for what is natural and that is: some women want to work, have to work, deserve to work.

Ambition is not exclusive to men despite a woman’s biological imperative to have babies. I’ve been ambitious and remained so even when my daughter was born.  I just so happened to channel my ambition at home, via writing and other pursuits, some of which took me away from her for short periods.

My daughter is 15 now. I’ve been at home as a writer and volunteer for years.  I would without a doubt, have worked part-time but I left my marketing research job due to a myriad of guilt, employer and health reasons. I was lucky to have the choice.

Formula for a happy kid? Who knows, but we sorta do.

Kids whose parents work do just fine academically and behaviorally if, and here’s the kicker, kids are surrounded by loving people who genuinely show care and concern.
I have no facts. I’m too lazy at this moment to dig them up. Seriously, I’m going instinct and obvious here. Usually I go facts, figures, stats to be heard, but obvious transcends, sometimes.  Kids need attentive, caring parents and attentive, caring caregivers. Given that, of course the kids will thrive.  Love is love which is not to say a parent’s love is the same as a caregivers, of course not.

It’s to say parental love and care + caregiver love and care = thriving kid. The embracing village and all that. Grandma, aunt, uncle, friend or really loving, attentive daycare provider. It’s all good. Switching kids all over the place, not so good. Kids really do need continuity. Crappy half-ass childcare where the person is barely paying attention or never engaging your child in developmentally stimulating stuff? Come on. No child deserves that.

BUT who can afford the best? My question is, what child doesn’t deserve the best? They all do, regardless of income.

When high quality childcare is more affordable and accessible to folks beyond the wealthy we’ve arrived.  This goes along with my safe-car question which is: Why should the safest cars be the most expensive cars? Only rich kids get to live if they get in a car accident? But that’s another post.

Changes in British maternity leave also contributed to the finding, although the US still lags.

Drop the guilt in yourself, and other mothers.

I’ve been writing for a decade about, among other things, debunking myths and shame in the motherhoodsphere (postpartum depression, mommy wars and motherhood identity are my favorites).  One of the shame-filled issues is society bashing working moms as “less” or not a full-time mother.

Poppycock.

As a stay at home mother this still, always chaps my hide and was a key reason I started the Orlando Mothers & More chapter while I was in another club who focused mainly on stay at homes (or part-time employed). I wanted a more “inclusive” message.

The fact is, finds the Brits, give parents accessible, affordable HIGH QUALITY childcare and time off with their kids, and children will thrive as well as those with parents at home.

 An analysis of six studies looking at 40,000 children over the last 40 years found there was no link between mothers continuing their careers and children achieving less at school or misbehaving.This research suggests changes in maternity leave and greater availability of childcare and the consequent increase in maternal employment have played a big role in enabling parents to balance work and family, Fiona Weir, chief executive of the single-parent charity Gingerbread, told Reuters

 

 

P.S. Picture is of World War II Rosie the Riveter.  

“Women worked during WWII when men went to war in droves, forcing childcare to the forefront. Unfortunately conditions weren’t always ideal for the little ones.Like men, women would quit their jobs if they were unhappy with their pay, location, or environment. Unlike men, women suffered from the “double shift” of work and caring for the family and home. During the war, working mothers had childcare problems and the public sometimes blamed them for the rise in juvenile delinquency. In reality, though, 90% of mothers were home at any given time. The majority of women thought that they could best serve the war effort by staying at home (Campbell 216). During the war, the average family on the homefront had a housewife and a working husband (Yellin 45).”

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