Irish people vote for equal marriage rights


This video from Ireland says about itself:

Vote YES to Marriage Equality

8 May 2015

Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, Councillor Emma Murphy and Mayor of Dublin South, Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to Marriage Equality on May 22nd.

Irish marriage equality supporters rejoice today

From RTÉ News in Ireland:

Ireland says Yes to same-sex marriage

Saturday 23 May 2015 18.32

Ireland has voted Yes to same-sex marriage, with just a handful of constituencies yet to declare results.

Large crowds have been gathering at Dublin Castle to hear the final official result, which is expected about 6pm.

A number of campaigners against the marriage referendum congratulated the Yes side on its campaign early today.

The first official constituency result was declared in Sligo-North Leitrim with 53.57% there voting Yes and 46.43% voting No.

The highest Yes vote so far, at almost 75%, has been declared in Dublin South East.

One constituency has voted No; the result in Roscommon-South Leitrim saw over 51% of voters there reject the marriage referendum proposal. …

Former Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore stood over his comments made in mid-2012, that gay marriage was “the civil rights issue of a generation”.

He said this referendum “was a moment where Irish people expressed their decency and their generosity”. …

Director of the National Youth Council of Ireland Mary Cunningham praised a new generation of voters for making a difference.

“It represents a victory not only for the Yes side, but also for Irish society, Irish democracy and the young people of Ireland,” she said.

“This result sends a strong message to young people across Ireland that they are valued equally; and that we want to promote respect and eliminate homophobia.”

Yes Equality spokesperson Grainne Healy said: “It’s an extraordinary day.

“We were going out not telling people to vote Yes, we were going out saying I am voting yes and I’d like to tell you why. That’s how the campaign started and that’s how it has worked.”…

Church needs a reality check – Archbishop

Speaking to RTÉ News, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that the Catholic Church [which had campaigned for a No vote] needs “to have a reality check across the board”.

He said that he appreciates how gay and lesbian people feel.

“This is a social revolution that did not begin today”, he said, adding that it had been going for quite a while.

Archbishop Martin said that the church has a huge task in getting its message out to young people.

“The church needs to ask itself if it has completely drifted away from young people,” he said.

He added that most people who voted Yes went to Catholic schools for 12 years, so “there is a big challenge for us to get the message of the Catholic church across”.

Also from RTÉ News in Ireland today:

18:30

Anti Austerity Alliance TDs Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy have welcomed the result of the same-sex marriage referendum.

Mr Higgins said: “Today is a historic day for [the] LGBTQ community in Ireland and internationally. Today’s victory is the culmination of decades of struggle which has forced this government and conservative elements in the establishment to hold this referendum.”

Ruth Coppinger said “We must now fight as a society for the full separation of church and state. Today’s result shows that the church’s massive control of health and education is out of kilter with the consciousness of the majority in society.”

Paul Murphy said “One of the key characteristics from this referendum has been the massive votes delivered by working class communities, and young people. Many people in working class areas who have never voted have become politicised over the last few years of austerity and turned out in massive numbers to vote for equality.”

Religious violence in Asia


This 2012 video is called ROHINGYA in Arakan, Burma. Al Jazeera Investigates – The Hidden Genocide.

From the International Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands:

Religious violence in South(East) Asia: domestic and transnational drivers of intolerance against Muslim minorities

Date & time
15 June 2015, 09:15 – 17:00 hrs

Venue
VU University Amsterdam, Metropolitan Building room Z-009
Buitenveldertselaan 3, Amsterdam

The seminar
The majority Buddhist and Hindu societies of South(East) Asia are not traditionally associated with conflict and intolerance. Yet recent years have seen a surge in international reports of religious tensions and violence by Buddhist and Hindu majorities towards Muslim minorities in the region. India’s political leadership since 2014 has long been associated with repressive practices and episodes of violence against Muslim minorities. In Sri Lanka, Muslims have been an often forgotten minority during the conflict, and a rise in hostilities against them has been reported since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

The government of Myanmar has long repressed the Rohingya minority, but in recent years this hostility has spread to the larger population, with Buddhist monks playing a seemingly significant role in inciting hate speech and violence against Muslims and their perceived supporters. In Southern Thailand, long-standing grievances of the Muslim population have largely remained unaddressed by the central government. In all these cases, religious diversity has been perceived as a source of nationalism and conflict, but also as a starting point for peacebuilding efforts.

While much attention is being paid to transnational networks of radical Islam, anti-Muslim sentiments in the religious and political sphere are also acquiring a transnational character, and international media increasingly report on supposed cross-border alliances between religious extremists from various sides. This seminar will analyse these developments by comparing regional dynamics and local circumstances, and look beyond the simplistic notion of religions that cannot co-exist. Historical patterns and newly emerging trends will be discussed in order to contextualize the rise in hostility towards Muslim minorities in the South(East) Asian region in recent years. What has been the role of governmental and non-governmental forces such as religious leaders and the media in this process? To what extent are these sentiments created by cross-border networking, and how are they linked to specific political transitions or domestic policy imperatives?

Download the programme and abstracts

Attendance is free of charge, lunch and drinks included.

The speakers
Prof. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Iselin Frydenlund, PRIO/University of Oslo
Dr. Matthew Walton, University of Oxford
Dr. Khin Mar Mar Kyi, University of Oxford
Dr. Alexander Horstmann, University of Copenhagen
Dr. Ward Berenschot, KITLV Leiden

Registration
If you would like to attend the seminar, please register via the form on our website by 10 June.

Contact
For enquiries about the seminar, contact Ms Martina van den Haak, m.c.van.den.haak@iias.nl

Homophobic United States preacher’s closet gay double life


This video from the USA says about itself:

Exposed Anti LGBT Pastor Resigns After being caught

20 May 2015

MIDLAND, Mich. — An anti-gay pastor in Michigan has resigned following revelations that he regularly solicited men on the popular gay hookup app, Grindr.

Rev. Matthew Makela, a married father of five, resigned as pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School in Midland, Mich., on Sunday, just one day before Queerty posted screenshots and text messages of sexually explicit conversations between the pastor and other men.

Queerty reports that Makela, who had been at St. John’s since 2010, confirmed himself as a Grindr user, and notes that Makela has a record of disparaging the LGBTQ community, posting (now deleted) screenshots of the reverend decrying same-sex marriage and stating that the “transgender movement is going to assist opportunistic sickos in preying upon children and others.”

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Anti-LGBT vicar Matthew Makela resigns after being found on Grindr gay dating app

Reverend Matthew Makela had made anti-LGBT comments in the past

Kashmira Gander

Wednesday 20 May 2015

A pastor who has expressed views against LGBT communities has resigned from his post, after he was found to be using a gay dating app.

Reverend Matthew Makela has stepped down from St John’s Lutheran church in Midland, Michigan, after he sent sexual messages to a man on Grindr.

He wrote in one message: “I love to make out naked. Oral and massage. And I top” and “I would love to mess around with a bicurious guy”, news website Queerty reported.

His contact on the app comes after he expressed anti-gay views under an article which argued that sexual attraction must be resisted like the temptation to steal or lie.

Read more: What it’s like to be a transgender election candidate

Mural of female lovers on Irish castle for gay marriage vote

‘Bert and Ernie’ cake sparks debate over human rights and religion

David Cameron hires alarmingly anti-gay Culture Secretary

Why we still need International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Revered Matthew wrote: “I love people who have same sex attraction, and so does God. The proof is in the sacrifice He made for all of us.”

The comments seen by Queerty, which have since been deleted, went on: “We don’t tell a person born with tendencies to abuse alcohol to keep on giving in to his innate desires because he can’t help it. We try to help him in his struggle.”

And as the issues which trans people face have been brought further into the fore in recent years,  Reverend Matthew labelled the rights movement as “aiding opportunistic sickos in preying upon children and others”, according to posts on his Facebook page seen by the news website.

The pastor has confirmed to Queerty that the profile was genuine, and that he has stepped down from his post.

Explaining why the website decided to publicly out Reverend Makela outside of Grindr, it explained: “If Makela made even one LGBT kid at St. John’s “Christ-based” elementary school, their parents, friends, family or anyone who ever stepped foot in the church feel like being true to yourself is shameful (and it seems all too likely that he did), then we’re glad to share his hypocrisy with the world.”

Reverend Makela’s resignation comes after an anti-gay politician from North Dakota was outed by a fellow user of Grindr, after he shared photos to the local Fargo newspaper, The Advocate reported.

Randy Boehning posted the images of himself on the app, after he voted against protecting lesbian and gay North Dakotans from housing and employment discrimination.

Ban Islam, French Sarkozy party politician says


This video says about itself:

French Muslims Fear Backlash, Increased Islamophobia After Charlie Hebdo Attack

9 January 2015

Muslims across France are fearing a backlash after Wednesday’s attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine. Several mosques have been attacked. A bomb exploded at a kebab shop in Paris. We speak to Muhammad El Khaoua, a graduate student in international relations at the Paris Institute for Political Science. He grew up in the outskirts of Paris where he was involved with different grassroots associations, including Salaam, a student association dedicated to promoting interfaith dialogue and a better understanding of Islam. Also joining us is Lebanese-French academic Gilbert Achcar, professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

French mayor suspended after calling for Islam to be banned

Robert Chardon tweeted the extreme view as part of a discussion with former president Nicolas Sarkozy

Ben Tufft

Sunday 17 May 2015

A French mayor has been suspended from his party after calling for the country to ban Islam.

Robert Chardon, the UMP

Nicolas Sarkozy‘s party

mayor of Venelles in southern France, tweeted: “The Muslim religion must be banned in France” and added that anyone practising the religion must be “immediately escorted to the border”.

He also claimed Islam will be banned in France by 2027.

The tweet was part of a discussion former president Nicolas Sarkozy began with the public, using the hashtag #NSDirect. …

UMP Vice-president Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet announced the party was suspending Mr Chardon pending a procedure to remove him from the UMP. …

Initially, it was thought the tweet had been sent after Mr Chardon’s account had been hacked, but the mayor confirmed he sent the extreme message.

Recently the mayor has been treated for cancer of the mouth and came to his radical proposals during this period.

“During my treatment, I’ve been thinking and I came to this conclusion. Islam should be banned in France, but also a Marshall Plan should be established to allow those who want to practice the Muslim religion to do so in their home country,” he told Le Monde.

Mr Chardon became mayor of the small town of Venelles in 2012 after the death of his predecessor.

USA: Former 3rd District Congressional Candidate Admits Plotting Armed Militia Attack, Firebombing Of Muslim Community In New York. Robert Doggart’s Plans Included Burning Down A School, A Mosque And A Cafeteria, According To Federal Court Documents: here.

British elections and corporate media sexism


This video about the British election campaign says about itself:

Leaders’ debate: ‘Farage should be ashamed’ on HIV – Leanne Wood

2 April 2015

The leaders’ debate first clap went to Plaid Cymru‘s Leanne Wood, after she told Ukip leader Nigel Farage that he should be ashamed of himself.

Mr Farage had been talking about the treatment of immigrants with HIV on the NHS.

By Louise Raw in Britain:

Why are we so afraid of the idea of women in power?

Saturday 9th May 2015

Women have been sidelined and written out of history due to a longstanding notion of what constitutes the ‘natural order,’ writes LOUISE RAW

IN the run-up to this election, you may have noticed the mainstream media noticing something very particular — the leaders of the Green Party, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are not men. They’ve been falling backwards off their chairs.

Excitement has been considerable, with some commentators opining that feminism can now pack up its bags and go home — its work here is done.

But is that really the case? The tone of much of the commentary suggests not. We might have expected the tabloids to take more interest in the women’s hair and clothes than their gravitas — and so they did, with the odd publication ranking the women in order of attractiveness.

But consider James Ashton on Plaid’s Leanne Wood, in the Independent (even before it essentially declared for the Tory Party): “Less fierce than Nicola Sturgeon, less shrill than Natalie Bennett, Leanne Wood has emerged from three-and-a-half hours of prime-time television as the leader you’d most likely invite around for a cup of tea.”

Shrill? Fierce? Cups of tea? Can you imagine David Cameron or Ed Miliband being rated in those terms? I’ve met Bennett, and a calmer, more measured woman you’re unlikely to meet. Nor does the Sturgeon I’ve seen and heard in the media bear any resemblance to the woad-clad Braveheart, roaring and rattling her sword at the English, who is supposed to be making my blood run cold.

Such are the workings of sexism and misogyny. Women in the vicinity of power must be reduced, made manageable, diminished. And if they refuse to, as the wonderful Ngozi Adichie has it, shrink themselves, then they are a threat, and we will demonise them.

Behind it all lies the idea that women attaining power is new. If something’s a novelty, it’s not tried and tested. It could fail, be a passing phase, a mistake — could even lead to disaster. It might also be a threat to that extremely subjective concept, so infinitely malleable to such a variety of arguments — the “natural order.”

Naturally, this is a crock. As socialists, by definition somewhat at odds with the system we live under, we should find it easy to accept and challenge that kind of cant (not a typo). And yet ideas about the dodginess of women in power seep into all our consciousnesses.

How can they not, when every other billboard tells us women are here to ornament, to compete with each other for men, and at the mercy of hormones, periods and other bodily unpleasantness?

The history of women’s lives is fudged, blurred, ignored, not taught. No wonder some believe its chronology was essentially: Dawn of time; babies; cooking; cooking; nothing much… (millennia pass) … 1960s! Miniskirts! The pill! Working women (secretaries, etc)!

If you skew the facts like this, it’s easy to think nature has been usurped, and that this explains all modern social malaise. It’s feminism — boys no longer know how to be men, women feel they have to have careers and are unhappy in them, kids are neglected, you can’t even open a door for a woman without being arrested, political correctness gone mad, yada, yada.

Just as we’re messing up the environment, we are messing — at our peril — with the essential nature of men and women.

Whereas in “the old days…” This would all have been music to John Knox’s ears. The Protestant preacher and reformer pulled no punches when he titled his 1558 polemic The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women. By “regiment” he meant “rule” — there wasn’t some 16th century marching army of uppity women, sadly. What really got Knox’s goat was Catholic queens like Mary of Guise. To rail against them, he went straight to the “it’s not natural” box (“monstruous” means “unnatural” here). “For who can denie but it repugneth to nature … that the weake, the sicke, and impotent persones (yup, that’s women) shall norishe and kepe the hole and strong, and finallie, that the foolishe, madde and phrenetike shal gouerne … and such be al women.”

Foolish, mad, frenetic — ringing some shrill, fierce bells? Like any modern Twitter troll, Knox published anonymously, but authorship quickly became known and shot Knox stupendously in the foot. That same year, Protestant Elizabeth I took to the throne. She took umbrage at Knox’s insults to female sovereigns and put a complete block on his involvement with the English Protestant cause after 1559.

But if men were arguing against women’s power in the 16th century, clearly there’s nothing new about the concept. In fact, we can go back much further — anthropologists have shown us women hunting and fully involved in “pre-historical” societies. The evidence is there, should we care to see it, for ancient Egyptian women working, including as brewers, medieval women in every trade from fine art to construction and powerful in the guilds, militant women weavers on strike in 1788 — it’s a long list, covering every historical period imaginable.

But there’s profit in “othering” women and keeping all of this quiet. If you tell people for long enough that they’re not capable, it will sink in. Though they know, intellectually, that it’s not true, some of that will be internalised.

Companies make millions telling women they are unacceptable as they are, and must constantly improve every physical aspect of themselves. Wax that body hair, be thinner, prettier, younger-looking — and then we just might treat you nicer. Black and Asian women are sold skin-bleaching products and must straighten or otherwise Westernise their hair.

Mothers are told their most important new job is getting “their body back” post childbirth (where did it go? Who is snatching the corporeal form of new mothers? We should be told).

This is women’s true life’s work, and a handy distraction from that pesky pay gap. Rape, domestic abuse, street harassment, FGM? Nothing a new pair of shoes can’t make better.

It has been capitalism’s most successful trick to make the majority of citizens of the world feel unequal to holding power — from the divine right of kings to “scientific” treatises on the inadequacies and lack of full humanity of black women and men, women generally, and the working class, it’s been done relentlessly and well.

We can’t do better than writer and theorist Bell Hooks here, who has long warned against the interconnectivity of race, capitalism and gender both creating and perpetuating systems of oppression and class domination.

But few white feminists are introduced to Hooks’s work. Even those who fight for liberation are made to feel they can only operate in their own limited spheres — class, race, religion, gender — all are absolute divides we cross at our peril, we are made to believe.

So white feminists can talk about their Muslim sisters, but not to them — they’re “naturally,” or at least culturally, anti-feminist, aren’t they? Also we’d probably offend them somehow. No wonder the marvellous Sara Khan of Inspire Muslim Women, who challenges gender discrimination in Islam, is writing a book on how the left has failed Muslim women.

All the mainstream parties, and all of us as individuals, need to utterly and publicly reject divisive thinking right now. The protests, opposition and strength under impossible duress of our sisters and brothers in Gaza, Ferguson and Baltimore and the young mothers fighting enforced homelessness in Britain cannot but impress and teach us that we must talk to Muslim women, black women, working-class women — and, yes, men — not just when we want their votes, but constantly.

As socialists — especially if we’re white — it’s incumbent upon us to do this, too. Yes, we might misunderstand, tread on cultural sensitivities, get it wrong — so we will learn, listen, fight our own privileges, and do better. We cannot be silent any longer and we must no longer allow ourselves to be divided. We need to remember that “divide and rule” carries within it an equal and opposite potential — unite and conquer.

Louise Raw is the author of Striking a Light: the Bryant & May Matchwomen and Their Place in History (Bloomsbury). The 2015 Matchwomen’s Festival is on July 4 in Canning Town. Discounted advance tickets now available at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/matchwomens-festival-2015- tickets-16082194276. Children’s tickets are free.

United States religious fundamentalist blames gay people for drought


This video from the USA is called Crippling Drought in the Golden State: California Soul.

Not so long ago, in January 2014, there was flooding in Britain. Then, a politician of the far right Ukip party blamed LGBTQ people for those floods.

Now, there is an extreme right religious fundamentalist in USA, also blaming LGBTQ people for natural forces. This time, not for too much, but for too little water.

From EcoWatch in the USA:

Gay Marriage to Blame for California’s Epic Drought, Bill Koenig Claims

Anastasia Pantsios | May 8, 2015 10:56 am

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges. The decision in that case, expected in June, could legalize marriage equality across the country in the dozen states that have not done so on their own.

But as that possibility inches closer, opponents have become more desperate and outlandish. Blaming gay marriage for everything wrong in the country seems to be their go-to explanation, even when things are wildly disconnected—such as climate change. When they’re not busy denying climate change exists, they just say it’s happening because God is angry that gay people aren’t being persecuted enough.

The latest to step forward with this explanation is commentator and White House correspondent Bill Koenig of the conservative World Watch Daily, which lists its beats as “wars and rumors of wars, economic news, military buildups, terrorism, political situations, difficult relations between countries, famines, natural disasters and drastic or record-breaking weather.”

It’s the last that Koenig recently connected to the move to assure equality rights for LGBT people. Talking to hosts Jan Markell and Eric Barger on the evangelical radio show Understanding the Times, which pushes the idea that all the conflicts and controversies in the world are part of God’s plan for what they see as the Biblical “end times,” Koenig claimed that gay rights in the U.S. are angering God so much he created the drought in California.

Breaking: rain in southern California: here. Also because of LGBTQ people!? [sarcasm off]