News and Announcements

September 18, 2014 9:35 AM

When you consider the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson sagas, it’s not difficult to come away with the impression that the NFL has a violence problem. It’s a disturbing dilemma for a league whose product is predicated upon controlled mayhem. Whether it’s violence against women or children, the NFL has over the years clearly condoned and coddled players who can’t restrict their predilection towards violent behavior between the lines. Simply put, the NFL enables bullies- those whose victims are unable to fight back or defend themselves on level terms. This season isn’t the first time it’s been revealed that the NFL is home to criminals and thugs (I’m shocked- SHOCKED!!- that there’s criminal activity taking place.). It IS the first time this problem has come to light in a manner demanding something be done to address it instead of the usual wink and nod of acquiescence.

The Minnesota Vikings (Full disclosure: I grew up in northern Minnesota, and I’ve been a Vikings fan since I was old enough to know what a football was) have a problem on their hands. A mediocre team under the best of circumstances, Adrian Peterson has for years been their best player- a Pro Bowl running back with an electric, game-changing style that gives them a chance to win every week. Now that it’s come to light that he’s beaten two of his children (That’s just how he was raised), the Vikings still desperately need him on the field. The team’s management just hasn’t figured out how to handle the revelation that their star is a child abuser.

When Peterson’s indictment for beating one of his children came to light, the Vikings were in a bind. They need him on the field in order to have any chance of being anything other than a guaranteed “W” for their opponents…but the PR nightmare wasn’t about to go away anytime soon, and it quickly grew to epic proportions. They finally had little choice but to suspend Peterson for this past weekend’s loss to New England. After the game, it was announced the Vikings were reinstating him so he could be in the lineup when they play at New Orleans on Sunday.

Then the $#!& really hit the fan….

September 18, 2014 8:40 AM

September 18, 2014 8:17 AM

Seth Andrews of the blog The Thinking Atheist responded - not with an acceptance of the challenge - but with a video of his own, entitled, “The Feuerstein Fallacy.” It’s a perfect and concise takedown of the tired and debunked thinking that Feuerstein is trying to resurrect…. “Josh, science called and said, ‘You’re doing it wrong!’” Andrews started out. “Scientists and non-scientists alike with any cursory understanding of the burden of proof, know that you don’t start with anything and everything that cannot be disproven….By that standard, fairies exist. The Boogey Man exists. Plush time-travelling Teddy Bears in outer space exist - prove they don’t exist,” he continued.

I know; this is just WAY too easy, but every now and again I like having a bit of fun with those who can’t fathom that there are those who don’t believe in God. As difficult as it is for some Christians to understand, some folks just lead an evidence-based intellectual life. Before they believe something, they expect it to be proven, to be tangible and/or visible- in other words, something their common sense and intellect can grasp as real and verifiable. Seems pretty simple and straightforward, no? If you want me to believe in something, show it to me. Prove that it’s real, that it exists. THEN perhaps I might be able to wrap my head around it and acceptance its reality and existence.

September 18, 2014 7:45 AM

September 18, 2014 7:22 AM

Airmen who enlist or reenlist in the United States Air Force will no longer have to say the phrase “so help me God” as part of a required oath, the agency announced on Wednesday.

According to USA Today, the Air Force faced pressure to change the policy from the American Humanist Association, which threatened to sue them on behalf of an airman who was not allowed to reenlist because he would not say the phrase. The Air Force allowed those who took the oath to omit the phrase until late last year, but then began requiring all airmen to take the full oath, the Washington Post reported.

In a statement, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said the changes to the Air Force policy were effective immediately.

“We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Lee said in the statement. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.”

Both the Army and the Navy allow soldiers and sailors to omit saying “so help me God” from their oaths when they enlist.

September 18, 2014 7:08 AM

September 17, 2014 8:42 AM

September 17, 2014 6:15 AM

Article 347 bis of the Cameroon Penal Code punishes “sexual relations with a person of the same sex,” with sentences of prison terms as long as five years in addition to fines…. [G]ay and lesbian stereotypes alone are often enough to warrant charges…. Once an accusation of homosexuality is made, police make arrests based solely on how individuals present themselves. For example, if a man is found to be cross-dressing, that could be used as proof that he is gay in court. If somebody has a job that doesn’t fit their gender, like a male hairdresser, that too could be used against them. A judge convicted one of Togue’s clients for feminine mannerisms and for drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream, which he felt only a woman would drink.

Consider it for a moment: drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream means you’re guilty of having gay sex. At this very moment, there’s a bottle of Bailey’s in my freezer, so…

OHMIGOD!!! I had NO idea….

I get that much of Africa is extremely conservative and lives in mortal fear of things that most of us in the West think absurd. Cultural differences should for the most part be respected…unless they’re used to justify hating and mistreating other whose lifestyle, beliefs, and/or sexuality you find offensive. Many Cameroonians will use the old, careworn excuse that they’re trying to protect children. That may be convenient, and they may have even convinced themselves of it, but it’s a crap argument. They justify their hatred and homophobia by blaming the LGBT community for being different and not living by widely accepted societal norms.

Sometimes it can be just plain silly, as in convicting someone of the “crime” of homosexuality because they drink Bailey’s. It’s easy to laugh at the absurdity of that, but there’s a darker side as well. Uganda’s “death to gays” law, while currently in limbo, is something many Ugandans fervently support. Simply being gay is a capital offense in some parts of Africa. There are few legal protections afforded Africa’s LGBT community, and beatings or worse are distressingly common. Being different- being gay- may be looked down upon by some in this country. In Africa, it can be enough to get a person killed.

Think about that: a person can be killed merely for loving someone of the same gender. Making matters worse is that the American Taliban has discovered Africa to be a target-rich environment when it comes to sowing hatred and homophobia. It’s not about spreading the Gospel or God’s love. It’s about teaching Africans that homosexuality is a mortal sin worthy of death. Hate the sin, kill the sinner.

Ironically, catching two members of the same gender engaging in sexual acts is in itself a crime:

September 17, 2014 5:51 AM

September 17, 2014 5:34 AM

In its endless quest to seem edgy, Urban Outfitters has gone too far once more. The store offered a one-of-a-kind Kent State University sweatshirt splattered with red coloring for $129. The tactless garment is a clear reference to the 1970 killing of four students protesting the Vietnam War by the Army National Guard at the Ohio school. As of early this morning, the Urban Outfitters website said the item was sold out.

I’m normally loathe to devote column inches to stupid, classless, and insensitive corporate behavior- particularly when it comes to Urban Outfitters. Sometimes things are so far beyond the pale that…well, words fail me. Perhaps they thought that, since the Kent State Massacre occurred in 1970, kids wouldn’t get the reference…and perhaps they didn’t. The adults certainly did, though.

To refer to the sweatshirt as an obscenity and disrespectful to the Kent State community (full disclosure: I have two friends who are Kent State graduates) would be an understatement. The fact that so much attention is being devoted to this travesty can be taken as proof that outrageousness can be good for business. Urban Outfitters has traveled this path previously…and frequently. In the past, they’ve sold clothing referencing the Holocaust, anorexia, addiction and racial stereotypes.

Stay classy, eh?

“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit,” read a Kent State University statement posted on Monday. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

Then again, if you’re trying to differentiate yourself in a crowded and increasingly competitive marketplace…well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, eh?

It would be nice to think that Urban Outfitters could develop a business model that didn’t require occasionally (and gratuitously) pissing off segments of the population, but who needs an advertising budget when you’re all over the Internet…even if it’s for all the wrong reasons? Sure, it’s all about the outrage generated by the sweatshirt…but you have to know that there are people out there just sick and classless enough to buy and wear it, right? Even at $129, which seems obscene before even considering the design.

The pity is that the sickos too often seem to be Urban Outfitters’ target demographic.


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