Minister for Putting Single Mums in Their Bloody Place Kevin Andrews, among other Team Australians, has recently learned that the people of Australia don’t particularly like that the “World Congress of Families” is run by well-known slavering extremist anti-choice homophobic bigots Catch The Fire Ministries and has decided not to open their adorable little Hatesturbate For Jesus for them after all.
Catch The Fire Ministries, whose head douche Danny Nalliah infamously linked Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires to that state’s abortion laws (and will now have to find other high-profile fundamentalist scenery-chewers to mix the green cordial [red is SINFUL!] and run the games of “pin Satan’s pitchfork on the eternally burning lesbortionist,”) have since thrown K-Drews under the bus for being a sad wuss. Because how dare any public official in a secular democracy respond to public outcry over lending explicit government support to a pack of fringe-dwelling cultists whose lunacy is only exceeded by their self-importance.
I suspect that, much like a pair of cling-wrap Y-fronts, this is a transparent arse-covering on the part of Kev and his fellow Tory wingnuts, Eric “I Am The Politican Every Sketch Show Bases Their Politicians On” Abetz and Cory “Looky, I Wrote A Book Just Like God Did” Bernardi, who would surely have gone along had the public not had something of a issue with members of our government explicitly validating the dark-ages lunacy of extremist evangelist hooligans.
Not Catch The Fire but close efuckingnough, amirite?
Anita Sarkeesian, the woman behind the “Tropes Vs Women” series of videos, had her life threatened – not for the first time – by someone who disagreed with her analysis of sexist video game conventions (which are legion). Along with graphic rape and death threats (which I won’t link to), the stalker also posted her home address and that of her parents.
Lewis’ Law states that the comments on any article on feminism justify feminism. What happens every time Sarkeesian releases a new video in her series is 100% confirmation of that law.
Although I don’t agree entirely with all of her analyses, most of Sarkeesian’s observations about sexist tropes and lazy stereotyping in games are insightful and many match my own experience, having played games more or less non-stop for three decades. But apparently there are “men” out there who feel the correct response to a disagreement with a woman is to threaten her and family’s lives. These brave anonymous dudebros have apparently not heard of The Streisand Effect, in which your efforts to censor something on the internet only give it ALL THE CLICKS.
In Arizona, there’s a place called Bullets and Burgers where you can have a hamburger, ride a monster truck and then go and shoot a .50 calibre sniper rifle or a machine gun.
In Viet Nam there are shooting ranges you can visit where they have available AK-47s, M-60s and other war-era weapons to try out. Pay a little cash, shoot off a handful of rounds, the locals earn some money from the legacy of beating America’s arse out of their country, you get to live out your favourite ‘Nam-movie fantasy (or, perhaps & hopefully, get some perspective and insight on the war), everyone’s happy, noone’s dead.
Yesterday, a 9 year-old girl visited Bullets and Burgers with her family and tried out an Uzi at the range. After a single successful shot, the instructor set the weapon to fully automatic. When the girl pressed the trigger the weapon recoiled, sending a bullet into her instructor’s head and fatally injuring him. The video at this Raw Story article shows the instructor did not have his hands on the weapon at the time.
The difference between those places and this tragic scene out of a Paul Verhoeven movie? Most of those Vietnamese ranges have the guns on short chains or mounted with a very narrow firing arc available, both to prevent theft and to prevent precisely the kind of recoil accident that happened when this small child was given an Uzi and told to let rip on full-auto. An Uzi isn’t large but (contrary to what every movie hero of the 1980s taught me) it’s still a two-handed weapon, even for an adult – spitting out 9mm bullets at a rate of 600 per minute produces significant recoil. With the weapon completely unsecured, that kid should’ve been watched like a hawk and the instructor should have had a hand on – not under – that weapon at all times. It’s the least you’d do, even with a kid using an air rifle for the first time.
Of course, aside from the carelessness that cost a man his own life, the existence of a family restaurant with an attached firing range where fully automatic military weapons are as unsecured as laser-tag guns is the base problem, and which needs to be urgently addressed. I am not confident any meaningful action will occur in response to this, however; the American NRA and their fanatical cadre of barrel-polishers routinely show that there are no depths whatever to their depravity when it comes to defending their right to be well-armed, deluded little toy soldiers with invasion fantasies (and, in the specific case of the NRA, their right to be bukkake’d with cash by the craven sociopaths who own gun companies and wish to sell their products as freely as toothpaste and crayons). They’re certainly not above scapegoating a traumatised 9 year-old girl.
It appears the Abbott government still wants to exclude secular workers from the School Chaplaincy program, despite widespread opposition and two High Court challenges.
Religious people have numerous avenues available if they wish to seek spiritual guidance for themselves or their children; this constant push by some of them to have exclusive access to other peoples’ children while in school is distasteful and extremely presumptuous (and possibly even un-Constitutional – while Section 116 has historically not been applied to state funding of religious schools, implementing exclusively religious programs such as this in state schools might be a different basket of loaves and fishes. While the Abbott regime might be able to use the general term “religious” to escape being accused of favouring of one faith over another, the very term “chaplain” has an exclusively Christian origin and I doubt very strongly that we’ll see a great many imams, rabbis or whatever those used-god salesmen-for-Xenu call themselves counselling state school students).
Apart from the blatant discrimination involved in barring secular counselors from consideration, kids with serious problems (or even mild ones) don’t need Divinity lessons, they need trained professionals. Religious exceptionalism of this sort is highly likely to expose vulnerable children to inappropriate proselytising and unhelpful advice – when compared to the likelihood of a properly trained secular counselor attempting to proselytise their philosophy, it’s practically a stone-carved certainty.
If a counselor is appropriately qualified and experienced they should be hired; their religious status, just like their age, marital status and orientation, should be irrelevant to their practice. It’s not legal for the Commonwealth to refuse employment in any other area of operation on religious grounds; how such a proscription wouldn’t apply to state school counselors escapes me. This appears to be yet another example of a government operating by ideology and working off a checklist, with pragmatism, fairness and perhaps even legality being secondary concerns.
Evangelising students in school is not only preying on an audience that’s legally compelled to be there, it’s also based on the offensive and arrogant presumption that the evangelists have the right (God-given, of course) to undermine whatever religious traditions those kids’ families may already observe in their own homes or places of worship or whatever non-religious philosophies they may subscribe to.
Not only that, but those churches that evangelise more often than not subscribe to fringe conservative and flat-out fundamentalist interpretations of Scripture which have absolutely no place in our public schools, where there frequently is a plurality of ethnicity and culture.
I’m sure we can all imagine the outcry from decent Christian folk if Islamists or JW’s or Mormons were given privileged access to state school students (even if ostensibly to use their powers for good and explicitly not for the purposes of conversion attempts); it’s much better for all concerned (chiefly the kids who’ll need professional advice and support) if preachers (or preachers-by-other-names) stay in the pulpit.
Frequently, in the godless heathen circles of the internet that I frequent, theologians can be seen berating non-believers and non-theologians for criticising religion the way the vast majority of believers practice it, then recommending their own proprietary version of God be studied and apprehended fully before atheism (or even moderate faith) is a viable, intellectually honest option. The gods of many theologians however, far from being well-researched fleshed-out three-dimensional deities, might as well not be called “God” with a capital “G” as demanded by Christianity, so deist and impersonal and generic are they. Some might as well not exist at all, having been thrust even further from the realm of testability or even plausibility than the old fire n’ brimstone Hell-maker they apparently think nobody worships anymore (in which case they should visit Kentucky. Or Queensland. Or freakin’ Uganda).
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, analogise this: an attack by a theologian is pretty much like me saying “I don’t like this game called tennis” and then some sophisticated tennologian comes up and says “Stop attacking this easy-meat low-hanging fundamentalist tennis where everything is about hitting a ball with a racket over a net in attempt to get it past another person and reach a score of 40 before they do! You need to understand tennis properly before you can criticise it; here, engage with my highly rarefied and totes intellectual “Ground of Tennis” in which one simply places any spherical object on a table and appreciates its perfect ball-ness, attempts to ascertain the interrelated ballity of all spheroids and understands that the single quality of sphericality is all that is needed to appreciate the goodness and greatness of Tennis. The net, the lines, the ball-children and the tennis bats are all frippery and extremism and by criticising those elements, you’re not only ignorantly missing the point of Tennis but are behaving just like the fundamentalists you decry.”
It shouldn’t need pointing out that if we’re just discussing balls, we’re not talking about effing tennis anymore – and you, my dear sohpistry-coated spherologian, are just talking bollocks.