Thursday, December 30, 2004

Conservative Bowdlers

Now, I guess you have to save those students from themselves.

Wayland Town Crier

So what is so terrible about saying "Good God" and "Who needs gay rights?" It's nice to know that there are publishers out there willing to protect us from such insidious thoughts.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Protesters Surprised at ACLU Washington Office

You gotta admit, the ACLU has a sense of humor.

"A contingent of protesters from the religious-right arrived at the Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, DC only to find the bulk of the office's staff waiting outside with cookies, coffee, soda and Christmas carols.

"Some may have come to our offices today expecting a 'grinch,' but instead found a warm welcome," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Office. "Fact is, I have a lot of people in the office looking forward to the holiday season. We understand and respect that there are people that disagree with us about the best way to protect religious freedom in this country, but we hope that we can open a dialogue and continue to search for common ground."

Murphy and her staff wanted to highlight for the protesters the extensive efforts on the part of the ACLU to defend religious free exercise claims across the country. "Though we often get a bad rap for our efforts to keep government from endorsing one particular religion over another," Murphy said, "the fact is we all come to work every morning to make sure that everyone is free to worship as he or she sees fit."

ACLU Online Newsletter - December 23rd, 2004.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Boy Scouts and the Pentagon

The Pentagon has had to back off from supporting Boy Scout Troops because of the BSA's practice of religious discrimination and their insistence on taking an oath of duty to God.

American Civil Liberties Union

" In response to a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the Defense Department today agreed to end direct sponsorship of hundreds of Boy Scout units, which require members to swear religious oaths, on military facilities across the United States and overseas.

"If our Constitution's promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based upon religious beliefs," said Adam Schwartz of the ACLU of Illinois. "This agreement removes the Pentagon from direct sponsorship of Scout troops that engage in religious discrimination."


"The settlement... does not prohibit off-duty government employees from sponsoring Boy Scout troops on their own time. The Boy Scouts will still also have access to any military facilities that are currently made available to other non-governmental organizations."

I think it is a shame that the BSA does not allow athiests and agnostics to be members of troops. I think it would go a long way to teaching tolerance and mutual respect to those who have a faith, and to those that do not.

Scouting for All is attempting to make Scouting more inclusive and diverse.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Even more from the Slippery Slope

It would appear that the FCC no longer cares about the public interest... it only cares about the prurient interest.

"And yet, the standards of what's considered objectionable on television have shifted so far and so fast in 2004 that it's not hard to imagine some cultural crusader taking offense. Indecency is in the eye of the beholder; Tom Coburn, a man whom Oklahoma voters are sending to the U.S. Senate next year, famously blasted NBC for airing "Schindler's List" unedited a few years ago. Coburn wasn't offended by the brutal violence or the piles of dead bodies in the film, but by the fact that the concentration camp prisoners being ushered into the gas chambers weren't wearing clothes."

The Capital Times

CBS and NBC wallow in cowardice

"(Cleveland, Ohio) CBS and NBC are refusing to run television commercials for the United Church of Christ calling the ads "too controversial".

As reported first by, the 30 second commercials are aimed at attracting gays and others who feel alienated by other denominations. (story)

The 30-second commercial features two muscle-bound "bouncers" standing guard outside a picturesque church and selecting which persons are permitted to attend Sunday services. Written text interrupts the scene, announcing, "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." A narrator then proclaims the United Church of Christ's commitment that: "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."

You can find the full article at

I'm of two minds about this. As private companies, CBS and NBC have the right to air what they like and to prohibit the airing of what they do not like. However, they have the exclusive use of certain frequencies on the PUBLIC airwaves. I think we need to get the FCC to start requiring that TV and Radio Stations that want to reserve a particle bandwidth for their commerical use to be willing to acknowledge that their stations are, at the very least, limited public forums. They need to have well thought out rules for declining advertisers for reasons better than being "too controversial." Their statment that:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."

... is just downright scary. I don't even blame the Bush administration for this. They are not responsible for the fact that the executives of CBS and NBC are craven and cowardly. Please note that even FOX, which gets dumped on by Libs all the time, has accepted the ad.

For two networks that are supposed to be "Liberal", they sure don't act like it.

One further note... of pride. My Grandfather was a minister for the UCC.