Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 2.3

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. The only anti-anxiety meds I’ve seen work on dogs (other than vet-prescribed medications like SSRI’s, buspar, clomipramine, etc.) is the “Dog Appeasement Pheromone.” It comes in a plug-in unit like an air freshener which distributes the pheromone. We used it when we moved across the country with our dogs. The pheromone used is the same one that lactating dogs emit and does seem to help. The dogs seemed much calmer and happier after we used it.

    Many swear by “Rescue Remedy,” which is a plant extract-based oral “wholistic medication.” We found it totally useless…not to mention expensive. http://www.rescueremedy.com/pets/

    Re: Star Trek themed c0logne… Just what we need. Eau du Sweaty Kirk with Ripped Shirt. Do that have one for Eau du Vaporized Red Shirted Security Guy? :-D

  2. KHAAAAAAN!- The scent for the Eugenic Dictator in everyone.

    The Scent on the Edge of Forever- Complex and nostalgic, but classic.

    Menagerie- Side effects may include wearing lame’ and growing a huge bald head.

    Kirk’s Girdle- Least. Popular. Scent. Ever.

  3. @infinitemonkey: Sad, but essentially true. Religions and sexuality tend to have each other by the throat in a death grip. The sad thing is that without sexuality, there would be no parishoners or flock to “shepherd.” Perhaps the churches would be happier if we all reproduced by parthenogenesis like microorganisms.

    I suppose under current law, there’s nothing to stop a religious organization from discriminating against people. It’s a shame, though, especially when you look at the statement the girls made about how they were approached by the principal. Nothing shows Christ’s love like treating a couple of teenaged girls that way.

  4. I don’t see how some establishments can get around laws that Buisnesses and Government must adhere to. Religion is a personal matter, and behaviors like this confirm to me that religion should be given no legal leway. If you want to see how rediculous this is, re-read this story (or any other LBGT news story) and replace “Lesbian” with “Black” and see how fair you think this is. And what is “Behaving in a manner consistant with being Lesbian”? In public? yikes…

  5. They can EXPEL them? EXPEL? That’s awful. They didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t cheat. They didn’t steal. They didn’t hurt anyone. Yet they are being PUNNISHED and this EXPULSION will be on their record forever. This is awful and should be illegal.

  6. Oh they are in college now. Whatever, that’s fucked up and outright discrimination.

    Apparently, one can’t discriminate if you’re a perfect Christian, but hey! You can discriminate if you’re not. TOTALLY makes sense, right?

  7. I’m inclined to say that very seldom is a religious exemption to a secular law (like a civil-rights act) actually justified. To quote my blogo-pal Russell Blackford,

    Even religious organisations are bound by laws of general effect that are enacted for legitimate secular reasons, rather than for the purpose, or with a primary effect, of suppressing a religion. If such “religion-blind” laws are otherwise justified (e.g. because they are necessary for some larger economic purpose or to prevent people harming each other), they are not illegitimate merely because they have an incidental effect of hindering the practice of a religion’s ceremonies or morality.

    […]

    In any event, the range of laws that are likely to have such unwanted incidental effects on the practice of religion will be relatively small, provided the state takes the Millian harm principle seriously. So much public policy goes wrong because Mill’s principle is ignored, then people look for ways of putting the blame elsewhere. Without invoking anything as strong as the harm principle, Locke made a similar point. It won’t, he said, be often that a law with a legitimate, religion-blind secular purpose will actually harm anyone’s religious practices: “if Government be faithfully administered, and the Counsel of the Magistrate be indeed directed to the publick Good, this will seldom happen.”

    Unfortunately, the analysis I’ve just given is controversial. It is often not accepted by religious organisations, which misinterpret the idea of freedom of religion to include a special right for religion to be free of legitimate, religion-blind general laws that apply to everyone else.

    So, based on my interpretation of the philosophy articulated by Mill and Locke, I’d like to offer the California Lutheran High School a big FUCK YOU.

    My favourite part of that story, by the way, is the leering principal:

    Mary Roe said, “He got very close to me and he said, ‘Have you ever touched [Jane Doe] in . . . any inappropriate ways? And he looked me up and down when he asked that.”

    Ew. Ew. Ewww. Ewww!

  8. @QuestionAuthority: The school will, of course, just take a page out of the Catholic Church’s playbook and assume that the principal acted completely appropriately. And to that California Lutheran School I would like to second Blake Stacey’s FUCK YOU.

    My “favorite” part of the story was where an online photo of the two girls hugging each other was used as evidence that they were lesbians.

    At least the girls are out of that school and are now in college. Considering how some of these stories end, they got off pretty lightly (no one died or got beaten half to death, I mean). How sad is that?

  9. While I am appalled at the actions of this school, I must say that I do recognize their right to act on their morality. Let’s face it, if they tossed out a couple of kids because they were openly espousing Klan or Nazi philosophies, we’d probably wouldn’t be as upset. But now the truth about this school is out. I’m sure there are many decent, good-hearted Lutherans who don’t have a problem with homosexuality that won’t be sending their kids to this school.

  10. For a scent, I can think of no better the Q’apla- for men.

    Also, ‘Redshirt be Gone’ would be a good deodorant, because you gotta figure those poor guys are soiling themselves all the time, especially when they go on an away mission with Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

  11. @JESherman: Intellectually, I might well be rather upset, depending on the severity of the “espousing Klan or Nazi philosophies” — a T-shirt or a bumper sticker is not nearly as severe as, say, actually beating up a Jewish classmate. I don’t have the “right” to go through life without being offended, freedom of speech has to cover speech one finds offensive if it is to have any value, etc. Also, there exist gradations in punishment: detention, suspension, mandatory counselling and so forth are all less severe than expulsion or, in the case of physical assault, criminal charges. If a school levied too harsh a punishment for what I considered a minor offence, yes, I’d be upset — that’s the kind of precedent we don’t need, thank you very much.

    Emotionally, I probably wouldn’t be as upset to see a Junior Klansman get in trouble. That reaction on my part may well be unavoidable: as a fellow who went to see Quantum of Solace in order to ogle both Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko, I have a heart and it has its own biases.

  12. @imrryr, blake_stacy: See #8. I agree. The school may well follow the Catholic playbook.
    I don’t condone or agree with what the school did – but I did say that under current law, they can do exactly what they did. I think the principal has his own psychological issues, but that’s a different topic.

    The law needs to be changed and then enforced. Whether Blake_Stacy or anyone else likes it, someone will have to take this case higher in the courts (Supreme Court?) to see if this decision will stand. Perhaps the ACLU will side with them and take the Lutherans on.

    Given the composition of the current US Supreme Court, I have my doubts that even there it would be overturned due to the previous Administration’s far-right court picks.

    @Kaylia_Marie: Sad to say, from my recent exposure to working on getting a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status for our rescue, I discovered that if a church which has nonprofit status also runs a school, that school is also considered to be nonprofit by the IRS. Therefore, they are covered under the law.

    Again I say, “The law is an ass.”

  13. @JESherman – you raise an interesting point.

    I doubt the school would have expelled a kid who they discovered to be in the KKK or neo-nazi group, especially if the kid didn’t blantantly promote it in school.

    the girls were expelled only for having a “bond of intimacy” – not for blantant lesbian activity.

    how messed up is that?

  14. The new men’s cologne from the outer reaches of the galaxy!!!

    ‘Phase-Her’

    Set our new dispenser for stun, immobilize or kill!!! Satisfaction guaranteed!!
    (Not to be used with any other sexual enhancement products)

  15. NPR had a story on last night involving sex abuse of young boys in the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn. It involved private religious schools. NPR stated something along the lines that private religious schools are not obligated to report sexual abuse to the civil or criminal court system, and that they are free to handle these issues as they see fit through there own religious tribunals.

    I have a real hard time understanding this. The particular story they were following involved in one case the rape of a boy, and in another the “clothes-on” molestation of the other. And in both case, no criminal suit has or ever will be filled (partly because they are past the statute of limitations). I’m not sure how far or to what extent religious schools are protected (child porn? Cannibalism?) but as it is, they have an astounding amount of above-the-law freedom.

    You can imagine that in any of these cases, if the victim had turned around and beaten the snot out of their tormentor, they would be in all kinds of trouble.

  16. @Ezekiel: I heard that story last night. My first thought was beat the crap out of that school principal every day of the week. A fight that doesn’t involve weapons or severe physical injury is a class c misdemeanor in most places. It’s like getting a speeding ticket. The story also talked about how insular the hassidic community was and how they wouldn’t go to the police. So beat the fuck out of the guy regularly.

  17. Private schools (religous and secular) decline students and kick out other students all the time for a multitude of reasons, including behavior problems, drug use, poor grades, drinking, physical and mental disablity, non payment of tuition, ect ect. I really don’t see why this is a big deal.

    Private Schools are social organizations and have the right to exclude who they want. Don’t like it, don’t send your kid to private school and fight to make sure your public schools are worth sending your kids to.

  18. @JESherman: The only time I’d mind is if it was outright hate speech or disrupting class or something.

    Holding hands and hugging a same sex studen tis not “espousing” anything, and indeed, I’d say someone’s sexuality isn’t anywhere near the same thing as spewing hatred.

  19. Lutheran church = private group, they can limit their membership however they please.

    Much like damn near EVERY other private group Ukranian/Italian/whatever social clubs, support groups, scholarships, national organization, etc.

    Get over the multicultural PC “we all love each other” bullshit.

    Everyone missed the fact that these girl’s parents are assholes for sending obvious lesbians to a religious school.

  20. Don’t these girls have a right to privacy? Who is the school to dictate and judge what people (and yes, I include teenagers in this definition) do outside of school if it is not hurting themselves, or anyone else, and is not breaking the law? So long as they are not showing any more affection towards each other than is normal for teenage girls/boys in school, what’s the problem?

  21. The problem is it violated one of their rules for their group.

    Next time you get the chance go to a weird nationality club, they have all kinds of silly rules & such that could get you kicked out. Same deal here.

  22. The principal was angry that his daily wack off fantasy that these girls were going to come into his office and have sex with him wasn’t going to happen so he kicked them out of school. Seems fairly obvious. Got to love those tax exempt churches and their high moral standards.

  23. @mxracer652:

    What?

    No, seriously, what?

    Based on the limited information we have available, it is entirely possible that the two young women had a close, non-sexual friendship. It is possible to hold someone’s hand and not want to fuck them, you know?

    And even if they did have a puppy-love crush on one another, why do you think their parents would have known? Yes, confessing my “deviant” sexuality is exactly the sort of thing I would do in front of my oppressively religious parents. That makes perfect sense.

    Get over the multicultural PC “we all love each other” bullshit.

    I’ve been arguing that the notion of a religious exemption is philosophically dead in the water and that minority factions are still subject to the secular, religion-blind laws of the State. The antivax lunatics who cloak themselves in “political correctness” would blanch at the thought. Why do I get the feeling that if I’d said the exact opposite — that we must cherish the peculiarities of each little denomination and allow them all to live their vaccine-free lifestyles — I’d still be accused of “multicultural PC […] bullshit”?

  24. @marilove: I agree with your statement “Fuck that noise.” as it does pretty well deconstruct the points I made in my earlier post, no, wait, no, no it doesn’t.

    Like it or not that religious institution has a right to operate its social organization however it feels like. If I start (oh, I don’t know) a home brewing club that has dues payers, and I exclude Larry because I don’t like his face, when that’s my right to do that. And the government can’t say boo so long as I’m not receiving any government funding.
    And what about all the same gender schools. Aren’t all those boys being discriminated because he can’t go to an all girls school and vice versa?

    If anything the state should strip any sort of accreditation to ALL private schools and make those students get GED’s to be officially recognized by the state as having completed school.

  25. @skepticalhippie: Your example is good, but not complete. Let’s say I want join your home brewing club and, as is my free speech right, I want to tell everyone to put vinegar into their brew, Over and Over Again! You would be within your rights to kick me out because I was promoting the pollution of the brew and/or making it difficult for you to teach the true brewing method.

    Although we don’t agree with these religionuts, they believe that even the mere appearance of lesbian behavior might lead others to a certain path to Hell. That would be both a pollution of their “brew” and an interference with their way of teaching. The message is why their school exists. To be “tolerant” of that behavior is to deny their purpose in life. We can laugh at their beliefs, but we shouldn’t suggest that they have no right to those silly beliefs.

    These girls have probably learned a vital lesson. It is probably not the lesson the school intended to convey, but useful to them nonetheless.

  26. Pull your lovers in, with Tractorbeam(TM). Or Kirk’s Curse: You’ll fall in love with them right before they die tragically.

    @questionathority,
    @marilove,

    I hate sexual discrimination. But I’m not convinced that removing private groups legal ability to discriminate against any person for any reason would be the best idea in the long run.

    Consider a female rape victim. She doesn’t want male rape victims in her support group so she goes to a sexually discriminating only female group. I think the right of such a group to exist should not removed.

    You can’t take away religious extremists right to discriminate without talking away your own, and there are rare times and places where it’s proper to discriminate.

    @skepticalhippie Remove the accreditation of all private schools and require students to get GEDs?????? Seriously? Don’t you think it is a bit draconian to throw all private school students to the curb because of a couple of highly publicized cases by a very small number of very stupid administrators?

  27. I thought about it more, and actually I think it might be a good thing to prevent social groups from discriminating. Far too long as a white, healthy, male, I have felt the sting of discrimination in terms of my scholarship search. I had always wanted to go to an all girls college but St. Kate’s had that oppressive “no boys allowed” clause. The female companionship I was denied, the horror, THE HORROR!

  28. Regarding lesbian school girls…
    Wait, need a second here…

    First off, I have no problem with private religious schools expelling students for failing to meet moral standards. That’s their prerogative. It just seems like this particular case was way too arbitrary. Their evidence against the girls amounted to an admission that they love each other as friends, and had hugged and kissed. Oh, and one girl’s MySpace page listed her sexuality as bi. No witnesses of improper behavior, and no admission of guilt. So, according to this school’s policy, it must be unacceptable for two friends of the same sex to hug and/or kiss each other. Where do they draw the line? Is it too gay if I kiss my brother on the cheek? Or would that fall under the incest clause?

  29. @Gabrielbrawley:
    Can the NAACP loss their tax-exempt status because they discriminate against white people during scholarship selection?

    Also taking away a church’s non-profit status is about the worst thing you can do. As a non-profit they can’t get to involved into politics and government, though some may disagree I think that clause is holding them back compared to what influence they might have if tax exempt is removed. SBCS is a two way street. They stay out of government, government stays away from them, and their bigoted schools.

  30. @Blake_Stacy: “I’ve been arguing that the notion of a religious exemption is philosophically dead in the water and that minority factions are still subject to the secular, religion-blind laws of the State.”

    I happen to agree with you that the religious exemption has far outlasted its usefulness and original intent, primarily because too many churches abuse it to influence elections and referenda, commit and hide crimes and violate other group’s rights.

    However, as written, the law does not agree. Religious minorities are still protected by the law as it currently stands. The only way this will change is if enough people fight to challenge it. That’s a job for a large, well-funded organization like the ACLU.

    Don’t underestimate the legal war that will result if the government ever tries to end the nonprofit status of religion. It’s one of the things the fundies cite as part of their “end times” scenario.

  31. I think many of you are over looking the benefits of religious types / social conservatives setting up their own private schools. Schools where they can enforce their own wacky social policies without imposing on non believers.

  32. Yes, I agree entirely that a private institution can expel whoever they want for whatever reason they want. Hell, my workplace can fire me for failing to live up to their standards of racial purity, religious purity, sexual conduct in private…

    Oh wait, they can’t. We have laws against that, because these things have no bearing on how good I would be at a given job. Whether I swing toward the straight side or the gay side has no effect on how well I can sell cell phones, nor does how well I tan under a hot August sun. What matters are my qualifications: experience in customer service, how I relate to potential buyers and how delicately I can handle disputes. That is what matters, and to make decisions regarding my employment using any other criteria would be idiotic and unjust.

    Likewise with schools. A school has a right to decide the standards to which its students are held, but within the limits of what is relevant to their performance as students. Making good grades and treating their classmates with respect are good examples of what makes a good student. Lesbianism, or the lack thereof, have nothing to do with what makes a student, good or bad, and thus the school has no business judging its pupils on such criteria.

    Schools aren’t anything as arbitrary or arcane as a club: they are places of education, and they are businesses. This binds them to a set of ethical and legal constraints that do not apply to “clubs.” The problem with the recent court ruling is that this school is not a business and therefore exempt from anti-discrimination regulations. This is a farce, and the only possible reason for such a ruling is to give a free pass to religion.

    A secular private school would not be given such an exemption from anti-discrimination laws, especially if we were to replace the words “behaving as if they were lesbians” to “behaving and appearing as if they were black.” In some religions, after all, just being of an ethnicity or religion other than the One True Faith is a moral sin. Do such religions have the right to enforce their noxious morality in institutions of lower education? Should they?

    Some of you would say this is nothing but PC bullshit, but that is just blowing smoke. And, given the stench it carries, I have to assume it hails from an orifice I dare not name. This is not about Political Correctness: this is about justice. We don’t have anti-discrimination laws because it would piss off the sensitive hippies if minorities were fired for being who they are: it is because being fired for arbitrary reasons is an offense against reason, against compassion, and against justice. Throwing the dread label of PC around only obfuscates the real issue, and is a dishonest tactic.

    But, of course, I would say that, because I’m a PC kumbyah-singing hippie pinko commie who wants to destroy america, who thinks we should all love each other and get along like happy little unicorns. Certainly it is unreasonable to expect everyone to get along, but those who throw about the PC label object so strongly to the notion that they imply that hatred is a virtue. It makes me wonder if some people who have been defending this Lutheran school’s actions are being less then honest in painting this as an issue of a private institution’s rights. In fact, it reminds me of The SkepticalMale’s ludicrous assertion last November that voting for Prop 8 was the right thing for a skeptical secularist to do because it kept the religious notion of “marriage” out of the California constitution, when it actually put religious language into it. Could it be that this attitude is actually a cover for homophobia?

    Of course, I have no evidence, but it does make one wonder.

  33. @Blake Stacey: Maybe they did have a platonic thing going on, don’t know, don’t care. But whatever it was, it was enough to get them kicked out.

    Religious exemption may be dead philosophically (I certaintly don’t agree with it), but the first amendment works both ways.

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