Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Pro-life" Terrorism

Dr. George Tiller was assassinated today because he provided couples a safe way to end a disastrous pregnancy that they most likely wanted. Couples who face such procedures in late term do it with such unbelievable grief and suffering, and nobody has the right to judge that. Carrying such pregnancies to term is psychologically awful and puts the woman in danger. Pro-lifers rarely care about the woman, as they favor laws that place the life of the fetus higher than a woman's life.

Someone who claimed to value human life, ended it today fueled by the rhetoric on the right.

While you hear statements from the more mainstream pro-life groups that they do not condone such violence, their rhetoric over the years makes this violent act inevitable. If you go to the websites like "Army of God" they say things like, "A great day for the unborn children scheduled to be murdered by Babykilling Abortionist George Tiller. George Tiller reaped what he sowed and now has been cast alive into everlasting torment and fire for the innocent blood he has shed.
Psalm 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them."

From a discussion board on Les Femmes, "The loss of Tiller himself is as great a loss to women as the death of Hitler was a loss to Jews."
From Chicago Ray, "And as sad a it is to say, his murder will save the lives of thousands and thousands of innocent babies in which he remained ONE OF THE VERY LAST DOCTORS still performing brutal late term murders of fetus's."
tankertodd a poster on, "I can’t escape the conclusion that killing Tiller was the right thing to do. I am uncomfortable with this conclusion because it’s dangerous. But nevertheless, it was the ethical thing to do."

Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions."

When you judge doctors as murderers, you open the door to people saying that they are saving babies by taking doctors out. When you continue the rhetoric after many doctors and clinic workers have been killed, maimed, and threatened you have no respect for human life. On the other hand, no pro-life person has ever been harmed. In fact, as a clinic defender I have stopped angry people from attacking clinic visitors by calling them murderers in front of their children.

They are some who are calling today assassination of this Doctor as talibanistic, domestic terrorism fueled by Christian belief system, and I do not disagree. This is one of the many reasons that I was driven away from the Christian faith. Modern Christianity is not about Christ anymore and is more about hatred and gaining worldly power, than working for the poor and working against greed.

There are progressive and moderate Christians but they have no power and enable the extremists. With their countless jihads against LGBT, Science education, Sex education, birth control, I am having trouble finding positive contributions by the Christian. The bible should never be more important than treating your fellow human being with respect and equanimity. These people just need to stop, stop hurting our country.

If you oppose abortion, do not have one and work to make birth control freely available. If you oppose birth control, then do not use it, but make sure others who do not share your views have access. Unfortunately, most pro-lifers think birth control is abortion too.

If you oppose abortion, then support single mothers who have children out of wedlock.

Don't believe the Pro-lifers who are trying to distance themselves. There is this vast network on the right that whip themselves up with plastic fetuses, photos, and fetus fetishism. There is no difference between the pro-life movement and the KKK who whip up sentiment against blacks and jews via Hitler-fetishism and then people are motivated to act on the hatred.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Exploiting Children to "Save" Marriage

Why must folks who claim to be for family values exploit children to protect their narrow and religious vision of marriage? Why do their appeals to fear always feature children? Do they have no shame?

A new way of thinking? Goodness, who thought new ways of thinking was so dangerous? If "new thinking" is that families come in many sizes and types, what is the danger in that? If "new thinking" is to celebrate differences, what is the harm in that? Promoting love and commitment between any two people is a good thing.

The only confusion is created by people who refuse mind their own business and let gay and lesbians enjoy the same rights as they freely exercise. Confusion is caused when parents think that the worst thing that could happen to a child is to either have no opinion about homosexuality, are okay with homosexuality, or becomes homosexual. They are so afraid that acceptance would turn their little darlings gay, when most gays I have known came from strict, conservative christian families.

There is no confusion when you say that many men and women meet and fall in love with each other. Some men fall in love with men. Some women fall in love with women. There is no confusion when you teach your children that there are all kinds of families. Confusion happens when a narrow view is taught to them, and it conflicts with reality. Most families are not typical, traditional nuclear families.

It is far better for our kids to be brought up respecting all parents regardless if they are gay or straight. Our kids classmates will have same sex parents, single parents, mixed race parents, foster parents, and divorced parents. All of those families have equal value, and that is the lesson kids need to pick up.

I think it is terrible to implant in a child's mind that "new thinking" or acceptance of the reality is somehow dangerous. I hope my son entertains a lot of new thoughts and challenges traditional assumptions. I hope he has better things to do than work to deny a group of citizens their rights, and will work to protect the rights of others.

One of my measurements of being a good mom is to raise my son being comfortable enough with himself to be able to make others feel good being themselves. He will know his mother supports gay and lesbian rights (as I support rights of workers, women, immigrants, children, and those of color) even though she is a straight, married mother because fighting for equal rights for all citizens is the right thing to do.

Reality-based thinking hold that gays and lesbians being able to marry will have zero effect on heterosexual marriages or the institution of marriage. The result will be more couples will choose committed relationships and that is a good family value.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

San Francisco Film Festival: Nomad's Land

By Denise K. Castellucci
Going through the San Francisco International Film Festival catalog is a daunting task when you have to choose only two films. Nomad's Land or Sur les Trace de Nicolas Bouvier (In the Footsteps of Nicolas Bouvier) stood out as one of the films that stood out to me with its evocative quote from author Nicolas Bouvier, "One thinks that one is going to make a journey, yet soon it is the journey that makes or unmakes you."

This beautiful documentary is in first person as Swiss filmmaker Gaël Métroz goes alone without a camera crew to capture the danger and beauty of landscapes and people on his journey. His goal is to trace the footsteps of the author of "The Way of the World" by Nicolas Bouvier. Bouvier was another Swiss man who traveled in a Fiat Topolino from Geneva, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, and over to Japan in the Fifties.

As Métroz traces Bouvier's trip to Iranian and Pakistan cities it is clear that much of the charm and romance recounted in Bovier's book have morphed into a violent locales unwelcoming to Métroz. Behind a gauzy curtain up in his hotel room Gaël hears endless gunshots and waits for the next jeep out.

By taking the opportunity to follow the Nomads out, Métroz veers off the path of Bouvier letting the trip take him rather than taking a trip. He takes many leaps of faith in the generosity and hospitality of the regions many tribes of nomads.

The first person point of view is extremely powerful and has the effect of immersing you in the highs and lows of his journey. You feel the exhaustion, elation, sense of awe of the enormous landscapes, and the heart-stopping remoteness.

I felt sadness at times when he would capture places like an Iranian marketplace that retains the exotic beauty, but where women are conspicuously absent. A young European treads lightly through these cities, how could I, an American Woman, ever hope to follow his footsteps? So, I am grateful that he makes this trip and captures the beauty as well as the precarious nature of the modern Middle East, butdespair that much of the planet's exquisiteness remain elusive to me because I am a woman. As a mother of a son, I hope that my son has the opportunity when he is older to embark on such a journey even though worry would be my companion.

This film works on so many levels. Technically the photography captured the colors and the features of the locals and its people with incredible sharpness and intimacy. It is possible to see and hear, but you almost could feel, taste, and smell through his lens. Competing with the incredible visuals was the poetry of Métroz's narration and Bouvier's words. I wished that I could understand French, so my eyes would not have to choose whether to watch the action on screen or read the subtitles.

Nomad's Land is also a meditation on the nature and philosophy of travel. It retains the nostalgic notion of travel where the journey tells you when it will end, instead of having an itinerary of what you will see determined by what little time we get off from work. Instead of rushing through a destination so one can say they climbed the Eiffel Tower or walked the Great Wall of China, travel can be a slow, patient surrender to the part of the world unfamiliar to you. In a time where we have Google Earth and can see almost every inch of the planet, there are opportunities to be kindred to explorers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but without the Western ethnocentric point of view of the quaintness of natives. One can explore untouched areas of the world and view its inhabitants as wise teachers, protectors, and spirit guides on your journey. It is a journey that respects the rhythms and traditions of others who follow the rhythms of the earth.

Métroz embraced and was embraced back by a part of the world where they are supposed to hate freedom. What you learn from Métroz's lens is that these people are happiest when they are free to roam away from the cities and into open landscapes and crevices of hills. The urbanized and modern parts of that world drive some to smoke hash, and feel the great anxieties in cities that imprison. It is violent and breeds extremism. It is when you are with the nomads and visit the tribes that the extremism softens, the people blossom into generous people at peace enough not only allow a westerner in their midst, but a westerner with a camera.

Métroz says, "These temptations not to return too often plagued me, convincing me to make a film which, as the writings of Nicolas Bouvier, especially recalls that "travel is not an innocent activity… it is an experience of which one never heals." When one comes back, one is never the same."

As Métroz allowed his journey to change him, the film has the ability to change you. According to this film's website, this film will be pressed to DVD. I am hoping to add it to our collection of films and recommend that you do too. The film is also a great inspiration to read "The Way of the World" by Nicolas Bouvier.