Protecting Our Children From Predators! (they are not the Trans you are looking for)

So yesterday the “good people” of Houston overwhelmingly rejected a measure that said:

No Houstonian should be discriminated against based on race, age, pregnancy, religion, military status, sexual orientation or gender identity

because of an ad campaign that said:

Apparently, although there are no cases of trans women assaulting anyone in a restroom, people like camohat above (who would never believe in a statistic anyhow because facts are lies) want to preemptively protect them from some dude who, after he raped a woman in a bathroom, claimed he was legally able to be in the bathroom because on that given day, said raper dude claimed protected status as Trans (discounting the fact – darned facts! – that just because you can’t be discriminated against doesn’t mean you can go around raping people).

And yet these same very worried who want to preemptively protect their helpless wimmen from a threat that has yet to occur are still sending their kids to church, where children are being abused on a fairly regular basis.

Like in Alabama:

Al.com reports Mack Charles Andrews was pastor of the First United Pentecostal Church in Thomasville and principal of Faith Christian Academy when the alleged crimes took place.

Andrews is expected to stand trial next month and is charged with multiple counts of rape, sodomy, sexual torture, attempted rape and sexual abuse.

[…]

Jane says she lost her virginity to her pastor on her father’s grave when she was just 9 years old, and explains how Andrews used religious superstition to terrorized her:

He told me if I didn’t say anything, he would come back and put flowers on the grave. If I did, he said demons would come and get me from my bed.

AL.com reports Jane was subjected to sexual torture prior to the rape, noting Andrews allegedly violated her with drumsticks, pens, letter openers, a figurine and even a flashlight, “grooming” her for future sexual abuse.

Jane reports the heinous abuse began when she was only 7-years-old, and was part of the “grooming process”  to prepare her for the rape she would endure two years later.

Oh, but this is just one case. We can’t judge all pastors and ministers on the basis of just one case (even though Trans people are judged based on no cases)

How about this in Georgia:

In Georgia, a high placed Republican political consultant and youth pastor is accused of forcing boys to perform “hundreds” of sex acts while videotaping them doing it at the First Baptist Church of Vidalia.

Jim Collins, currently a political consultant and former youth pastor at the First Baptist Church of Vidalia, is accused of telling boys in his church youth group to perform “individual sexual acts” and videotaping them doing it.

[…]

At the Bible studies at Collins’ home, Stanley says that Collins soon abandoned all pretense of Scripture study:

Under Collins’s direction, the group began to view pornography together at Collins’s home. He encouraged each boy to engage in individual sexual acts, both privately and in a group setting. On at least one occasion, Collins videotaped these sexual acts as well, causing additional harm to Matt Stanley. Collins also engaged in highly inappropriate, sexualized physical contact with many of the boys, including Matt Stanley. 29. In addition, Collins sexually abused Matt Stanley and the other boys in these ways on church-sponsored out-of-town trips during which Collins served as First Baptist Church’s adult chaperone for the boys.

Okay, you say, that’s two (this week!), but these are just a few isolated incidents. We can’t judge all youth pastors based on just a few isolated incidents…oh, wait…

In fact, there are studies that demonstrate that the faith community is even more vulnerable to abuse than secular environments. The Abel and Harlow study revealed that 93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious” and that this category of offender may be the most dangerous. Other studies have found that sexual abusers within faith communities have more victims and younger victims. This disturbing truth is perhaps best illustrated by the words of a convicted child molester who told Dr. Salter,

“I considered church people easy to fool…they have a trust that comes from being Christians. They tend to be better folks all around and seem to want to believe in the good that exists in people.”

And then of course, there are all those incidents with Catholic priests that have been well publicized, but we forget all of those because the new pope is so cool.

Now I really don’t believe that we should legislate against children being allowed to spend time with youth pastors or priests. That would be ridiculous because most of these folks are most likely not raping children with drumsticks to prepare them for being sexually assaulted on their parents’ graves. Most ministers are probably mortified by the idea of forcing young men to have sex with them. But statistics regarding the prevalence of sexual abuse of children in religious communities are pretty frightening.

As a parent, I have to extend a certain amount of trust to the adults I occasionally have my children interact with that they will not molest them. As a teacher, parents have to trust that I will not assault their children. Otherwise, we would never let out kids out of the house.

And strangely, there are laws that prohibit abusing children, or sexually assaulting anyone, in bathrooms or wherever and people get prosecuted for doing these things all the time and there are no incidents of trans women being prosecuted for these crimes and far too many incidents of youth pastors, priests and ministers being prosecuted for these crimes.

And yet camohat and his ilk just voted to keep women and children safe from violence that statistically never happens and do nothing to keep women and children safe from violence that happens far too often.

Fuck them.

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Science Projects and the Problems with Believing

For the record, I’m an atheistic humanist who holds that science will someday work everything out, including the “spirit world,” which may or may not be the result of quantum entanglements and residual energy (my current unproven/untested theory of choice). I’m not a Bright. But I get them.They make a lot more sense to me than theists.

And also for the record, I generally have no issue with theists. When they pray for me or mine, I thank them. It is a positive thought action and I’d rather the world be full of positive thought actions than negative ones.

Where I do have issues is this:

I am supposed to accept that their beliefs are as valid as my reality. I do not accept the Bible as anything other than a collection of words written by a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons, many of them synchronically political, and finally compiled by a collection of clerics to reinforce their primacy in a regressive society. Anytime anyone tells me that they believe it is infallible or the literal “Word of God,” I know who I am dealing with and act accordingly. More often than not, to disengage from conversations about religion, which are dodgy at best and mostly belligerent because even Atheists fight over what it means to not believe in a deity (see the Brights).

I am supposed to accept that they can believe I am some sort of science project or my existence as a woman in negated because their deity is infallible and made men men and women women (and we won’t ask these folks to think too long on intersex people or any other non-binary, non-image-of-deity way in which people are born). I am supposed to accept their beliefs about me and other Trans folk because they are allowed to believe what they believe and I am supposed to smile and continue to have them in my life in any manner when their belief is a fundamental denial of who I am based on nothing more than their intractable position that someone who read an old book told them the old book said something that they should believe.

Sorry. You don’t get to be in my life. I accept that you have beliefs, but I don’t have to accept you in my life.

I accept that people have superstitions and need the comfort of religion. And I love many folks who are believers in deities and it may seem like I am being a judgemental ass or that I feel that I am superior having achieved a deity-free enlightenment (for the record: I am a judgemental ass and do feel that I am superior, but not because of my lack of deity-dependencies…just because I’m particularly awesome), but I can love them and have them in my life because they do not use their beliefs as an excuse to negate my pain and what I have had to do to live as authentically as I can. I also don’t talk about religion with them. It not my job to convert people to humanistic atheism (although if you are interested, message me and I will share the good word) and as long as it is not their job to try to make me believe in whatever they do, I can enjoy their company and friendship. It’s what I love about humanity at its best.

Now let’s speak for a moment about science projects.

Is my current state of being the product of scientific advances in medicine and body modification?

Yes.

You know someone who has had chemo and then a tumor removed?

Them too.

Cataracts replaced by IOLs?

Science!

Root Canal?

Yup.

The point being that medicine is the product of scientific advances that often require body modification to achieve the desired effects of a longer, healthier, happier life.

There’s a silly meme about a rapper bringing solar power to poor folks in Africa being more newsworthy than the very public transition of a formerly feted Olympian and reality show star whose primary occupation for the last decade has been to be the subject of media attention. In that meme, Jenner is referred to as a “science project” and people were offended. I was also offended, but more because a friend of mine shared the meme (he has since taken it down). The point was that there are more important things to focus on in the world than Caitlyn’s clothing choices and hair style. We should instead focus on famous people are acting more in the service of others.

Yeah. Okay. But seriously. We live in a tabloid world that revels in distractions…where people are killed because of paparazzi and those who invited paparazzi into their lives in their quest for the benefits of fame trying to escape from those people who make a living helping the famous make theirs (don’t try to make a living from fame if you’re not willing to accept that fame comes with camera-wielding lampreys who make their living from you).

I wish we lived in a world where people were more concerned with what is actually happening than what the media is doing to distract them from what is actually happening. If the media circus bothers you… If the inconsequential lives of the famous (although to be perfectly fair, for Trans folk, the coming out of a major personality is a big deal for the non-famous among us because it brings us that much further in from the fringe and more likely to be accepted without worrying about troubling legislation…baby steps). I’d rather people focus on the very terrible lives of most Trans people, especially those without privilege…heck, the pretty awful lives of most people without privilege, Trans or Cis.

If you’re truly upset that Caitlyn Jenner is pulling pop media focus from another famous person who, in an action apparently out of character for famous people, did something altruistic, then you are spending too much time looking at pop media. And, yeah, it shows up on your FB feed, but so do adds for cars or shoes or whatever else it was you were looking at and accidentally moused over a tracking pixel. You can take the click-bait or ignore it. You live in this social media world. To paraphrase Rush:

You can choose a ready guide in some commercial voice.

If you choose not to engage, you still have made a choice.

Choose free will.

True Words from Josh Duggar

Star of reality freak show, 19 and Counting, says:

“I believe everyone deserves equal treatment under the law and that’s what we’re here standing for,” he said. “Right now in America there is an agenda to silence … those who hold a dissenting opinion. That’s not what America was founded on. America was founded on respect, tolerance, and really not discriminating against people based on their religious convictions.”

I also believe this. My religious convictions, or shall I say my convictions as a Humanist – not a religion, but a belief system none the less that is every bit as valid as whatever it is that the Duggerpeople believe in…probably more so because mine is based more on the words of Bill S. Preston Esq. & Ted “Theodore” Logan: Be Excellent To Each Other – allow for every to believe as they will so long as those beliefs do not infringe on the beliefs or practices of others. 

It is here where Mr. Duggar and I diverge because in my America, he can believe that same sex couples shouldn’t be married if it helps him sleep well at night, but same sex couples can still be married because their marriage does nothing to discriminate against his religious beliefs in any way that keeps him from having them. Whereas his beliefs display no effort to respect, tolerate or really not discriminate against people like me who just want everyone to be excellent to each other and, maybe every so often, party on, dude.

Anyone with a reality show about their parents insane fertility is not allowed to complain about an agenda of being silenced. When a family of Humanists, perhaps with two kids, gets a show about their less resource-intrusive life which does not require a school bus to get them from here to there and their beliefs about being excellent to each other and partying on from time to time, then we can talk.

The fact is, anyone can have a dissenting opinion just so long as that opinion does not infringe on the rights of others to believe and live as they will. Everyone is protected from everyone else’s religion. Not having everyone be forced to live by the rules of your religion is not silencing you or discriminating against you. You go on believing as you do and making too many babies if that’s your thing. I haven’t heard anyone trying to legislate against that (which would constitute systemic discrimination, btw).

Just saying…