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Saturday, June 17, 2017

News Weakly - 6/17/2017

Just When You Thought It Was Safe
Stories of bakers and florists and photographers and innkeepers and all who didn't want to be forced to violate their religious convictions and thought they were protected by the First Amendment only to find that they weren't were everywhere. We figured, given the ludicrous nature of the whole thing, it would stop. It hasn't.

In Michigan, a Catholic farmer who owns and operates Country Mill Farms and believes that marriage is between a man and a woman opted not to host a gay mirage on his property. He sent the women to a nearby farm where they were wed in 2015. In fact, where he lives, that's perfectly legal. However, in East Lansing they have anti-discrimination laws and, although the farm is not in East Lansing (or even in the same county), the city is banning them from selling produce at their Farmer's Market. (The referenced Forbes article is titled "Government Officials Try To Ban People Who Hold 'Wrong' Beliefs.")

Not to be outdone, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services have adopted "enhanced" policies for foster parents. In order to be a foster parent under these new policies, the foster parents must be "affirming", defined as "Acknowledge and support the individual's rights to self-determination of gender and sexual orientation." Now, at some point in the deep dark past there was this idea that adults were there to help the children grow, mature, and learn to navigate their world. The idea was that kids don't have the knowledge, experience, or maturity to do this and parents/caregivers were supposed to provide this. No longer. Now "It is critical to respect the child/youth's gender expression and self-determination, including the child/youth's choice of clothes, make-up, hairstyle, friends, and activities within appropriate boundaries (e.g. if a caregiver permits a cisgender heterosexual child/youth to date at a certain age, the caregiver may not prohibit a gay or transgender child/youth from dating)." That is, if you're going to let one date, you'll have to let the other (that's the boundaries that are approved), but how they dress, who they're friends with, and what they choose to do is basically outside of your purview and you'll need to be "affirming" by not only acknowledging, but supporting their choices. You can't? You can't be a foster parent in Illinois. "If your beliefs don't align with our insanity, you're out."

I Just Don't Get It
There are a lot of news items that don't make sense -- irrational, you know? I understand them; I just think they're crazy. Every so often there comes a story that I just don't get. This is one. There were protests across the U.S. protesting ... get this ... Sharia law. Now, I know that there are places Dearborn, Michigan that have a large Muslim population and are accused of importing some Sharia aspects, but, seriously, I know of no one who is actually suggesting that anyone could get Sharia into American jurisprudence. But, some of these protests turned violent because of counter protestors, so ...?

I don't get it. Counter protesters had signs like "Stop the Trump agenda of racism, sexism, bigotry and war!" What does Trump have to do with Sharia law, and why is that part of the protest of anti-Sharia protests? Some of the clashes were over the mistreatment of Muslims. The former Seattle Mayor said, "We stand against bigotry, against racism and with our Muslim neighbors in the state and beyond." I get the bigotry part, but what does "Muslim" have to do with "racism"? Muslim is not a race. I tell you, I just don't get it.

Such Hate
So great is the hate for Donald Trump that Los Angeles replaced its "Gay Pride March" with a "Resist Donald Trump March". Now that's something. When hatred for a sitting president overrides personal lust, you've really got something. Because, as we all know, President Trump is out to arrest gays.

Like I Said
You've probably seen this, but I had to point it out because it's the kind of thing I've been talking about. A woman in Plainfield, N.J., was performing the dangerous "distracted walking" maneuver. You know, she was so engrossed in her phone that she tripped over a door and fell into a basement. We know about distracted driving. Our smartphones are producing a new hazard zone called "the sidewalk" for people who can't seem to function without being totally engrossed in their phones. Are smartphones making stupid people? I don't think so.

The Latest and Greatest
You've heard of the old tradition of the "debutante ball" where parents would throw a large party to present their daughters to society. You've heard of the "quincineara", a tradition of the 15th birthday party that marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. Well, here's the latest. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy of Tampa, FL, hosted their child's "gender reveal party." Everyone was delighted when they revealed "their precious little high schooler to be a gender-fluid possum possibly having kinship with an anime character from popular anime 'Attack on Titan.'” Must be true; I read it on the Internet.

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