Rare Common Sense: December 2003 Archives

December 31, 2003

Using Intelligence Instead of Arrogance

Iraq: The US has a lot to learn in the way it allows its officers to conduct business with the citizens of Iraq. The officers arrogance has done much to antagonize the people. Fortunately, there is one beacon of light, Lt Col Alan King is a man who is not only prepared to sit and listen, but does his homework beforehand.

December 30, 2003

A Lesson in Language

Canada: Michael Neumann, a teacher of philosophy at Trent University in Canada, eloquently argues the problem of the term anti-Semitism being co-opted for political gain by both sides of the fence.

December 27, 2003

Exchanging make-up hints

United States: Former televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner will headline a drag bingo benefit for an AIDS charity next month.

But Messner, whose ex-hubby, Jim Bakker, did five years in federal prison for fraud, said her AIDS work is nothing new: Everyone has a right to be who they are. I believe that, she said. I think people are just people. God does not put labels on people. People put labels on people. And it's none of my business what goes on in people's bedrooms.

BINGO FOR A CAUSE -Sun Herald (scroll down a bit), 22nd December 2003 (thanks Steve).

Church leader condemns homophobia

The moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland used his Christmas sermon to challenge homophobic attitudes among Christians.

In his sermon at St Machar's Cathedral, Prof Torrance said that in 2001-2002, there was a 200% increase in cases of syphillis among those having gay sex but that sufferers were still too afraid to seek help.

That fear in turn testifies to a persistent homophobia in society at large.

It is almost 2004 but gay young people in Scotland are four times more likely than others to report a serious suicide attempt, his sermon continued.

We all require a change of heart because the church not least has contributed to the prevailing homophobic mindset.

Perhaps he was thinking of Roman Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who used an interview with The Scotsman to attack homosexuality, saying that people who tolerated it were getting away with murder. 'Homophobic' church slatedBBC News, 25th December 2003; Cardinal attacks society's 'plummeting' moral standards The Scotsman, 22nd December 2003.

December 23, 2003

Diverse Families Exhibit Attacked by Pastor

United States: Despite the protestations and threats of fire and brimstone from Steve McCracken, local Bapitist pastor and resident foaming fundie loony, Beaverton School District will press ahead with its plan to present a family diversity photo exhibit that includes images of gay parents.

December 20, 2003

Jihadi Blues

Pakistan: Fanatically committed jihadis are supposed to awe the infidel with their headlong kamikaze ardor. But what if you've been around the block a couple of times, and you accidentallly survive somehow, and you become a bitter, disenchanted, cynical, grumpy jihadi?

December 5, 2003

Contraceptive Equity

United States: Religious groups are battling it out in the courts over whether health insurance plans that provide prescription drug coverage must also include coverage for prescription contraceptives.

December 1, 2003

Thailand: A Buddhist monk has set up an AIDS temple in an attempt to both shock people out of complacency, and to fight indifference towards and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.

The first stop on a tour of Wat Phrabaht Nampu temple is a glass-windowed room where 12 formaldehyde-preserved bodies lie exposed on wooden slats. Their dark brown, leathery skin is stretched taut over bones. Snapshots next to each body remind viewers that the remains in front of them were once healthy people, living ordinary lives. They include a sex worker infected by a customer, a woman infected by her husband and a child born with the disease. All were former patients who donated their bodies.

Misunderstandings about the ways HIV is transmiitted has led to families refusing to accept the bones of their relatives, something the temple has dealt with in an interesting manner:

Outside the museum, visitors see a row of sculptures made from the crushed bones of those who have died at the temple. Crafted by an artist whose brother has AIDS, the metre-long sculptures depict various modes of transmission, from a couple having sex to a mother with her child.

The project was a way to deal with the temple's growing collection of bones. Hundreds of boxes with names and identity numbers are still stored in a meditation hall and 7,000 cream-coloured bags are kept outside near a Buddha image. We usually send the bones home to their families, but only 10 percent keep them. They are afraid the bones have AIDS, said Kongkiat

"AIDS" temple aims to shock complacent ThaisL'Express, 1st December 2003.

Don't Tell the Pope

El Salvador: Despite of the foolish waffle of an eccentric old cross-dresser in a silly hat, some of the Catholic Church's troops on the ground are more interested in helping people than committing murder in the name of religion.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Rare Common Sense category from December 2003.

Rare Common Sense: November 2003 is the previous archive.

Rare Common Sense: January 2004 is the next archive.

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