Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Pig in a Poke... or Compromise Candidate?

So, the president has nominated John Roberts as the justice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. This was followed by the predictable onslaught of socially conscious spam to my inbox from leading liberal groups on how unsuitable the candidate is, and the potential damage to my rights as a woman, a lesbian, and a non-Christian.

In comparison to Bush's nominees to the lower courts, though, this guy almost sounds like a moderate. I was expecting Dubya to name someone to the right of Roy Moore as his 'balloon payment to the religious right' (term coined by a CFK member). My first discomfort actually came from the term 'corporate lawyer', as opposed to his meager record on social issues. Roberts may be a payoff to Big Oil or the other megacorps that are the real string-pullers in the White House.

The only major social issue stand by Roberts that I know about is his signing a government brief that promoted overturning Roe V. Wade. On the other hand, he has made other statements that make his views on abortion much more ambiguous. Another possible black mark: he used to work for Ken Starr. I consider this a bad influence, because Starr turned an investigation of possible Clinton malfeasances into an expose of Bill Clinton's sex life. Baaaad training for a future Supreme Court judge.

My suggestion to the progressive members of the Senate is to grill Roberts on all of his views - not just the 'hot button' issues, but things like eminent domain, environmental protections, and corporate liabilities when products like toxic waste or tobacco hurt people. I'd also get a cadre of investigators to learn everything they can about him, right down to his underwear size. We know very little about him, which is justification enough for putting him under close scrutiny before confirming him to our highest court.

There is a good chance, though, that even if Roberts is a right-wing pig in a poke, he will get rammed through like Bush's other nominees this term. If that happens, we can draw comfort from's reminder that the Supreme Court is not the final stop for social justice. It is up to us, collectively as citizens, to keep pushing for fairness and accountability in our society. No one is going to hand it to us, no matter which direction the Supreme Court pendulum swings.

Sarah G

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hmmm... Typecasting?

A Brazilian friend's blog directed me to the 'What Halloween Figure are You?' page. I filled out the quiz, and lo and behold...

Shh...everything must be quiet around you,
secretive one. What customs are you doing now?
Your strange ways may cause you to be some kind
of an outcast, but you don't mind that. The
things from the 'other side' fascinate you.
Sounds good. Who knows why you took this quiz?
Happy Halloween, O Powerful One.

What Halloween Figure Are You? (MANY RESULTS WITH SIX ALL NEW ONES!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, July 08, 2005

Myth: US Xians suffer persecution

The decisions the Supreme Court made on displays of the Ten Commandments on public property are being hailed as either victories and/or losses by both Xian fundamentalists and church-state separationists. Unlike Solomon, the court actually did cut the baby in half, deciding that some displays were okay and some weren't.

Would-be martyrs will soon be squealing about a less-ballyhooed decision the Supreme Court made this term, though: not to hear a Great Falls case involving a Wiccan priestess. They will be screeching to the highest heaven (if you believe in heaven) that they have been forbidden to use the word 'Jesus' in public. What they will not disclose is that the alternative to just using the generic term 'god' was letting clergy of other faiths take turns giving the opening prayer before the city council meetings. In other words, the government should give a public place for Christianity, but other faiths shouldn't be acknowledged.

Despite their claims of a society 'hostile' to Christianity, Christians have a place of privilege in our society, with contacts and passports that bypass other citizens. In a recent Frame Shop article, Jeffrey Feldman runs down an entire list of ways in which Christians enjoy exceptional benefits in America.

When my parents were missionaries in the Philippines, I heard from friends and relatives every time a Christian missionary was kidnapped there. There have been missionaries killed in Iraq during the current 'holy war' there. These folks suffered real persecution based on their faith.

Xian Fundamentalists here, however, are generally complaining because:
a) They are losing the special favortism they enjoyed in previous years,
b) Judges have been ruling that symbols of other faiths must either be included in the public square, or no religion's symbols should be displayed,
c) They aren't being permitted to treat other people badly any more.

Talk about feelings of entitlement! I don't know how many times I have read a letter to the editor, an article in the paper, or watched someone on TV announce that, because they are a Christian, they have the right to fire gays, deny Pagans employment, or deny services to non-Christians. If I were to insist that, since I am a Pagan, the government and businesses should both be closed on Samhain or demand reparations from the Catholic Church for The Burning Times, it would show up in the 'Weird News' columns instead of being taken seriously.

Isn't it time some folks got over themselves?

Sarah G