Christian conservative Allan Carlson, president of a think tank called the Howard Center, proposes lower insurance rates for married couples with children. Carlson says that “children-rich” families with a working father and a homemaker mom enjoy better health. Carlson also wants Medicaid and Medicare to be eliminated “‘so that the real benefits and advantages of life within the natural family come back into play.’”
Guantanamo Thong Song
The Bush administration recommends sexual abstinence for singles — unless, of course, you’re a Guantanamo prisoner. In that case, official policy involves thongs, body fluids, and blue balls.Paisley Dodds of AP has acquired a draft of a classified document on interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, which apparently include female questioners doing their best to get religious prisoners hot and bothered. One interrogator, for instance, frustated by a prisoner’s decision to pray instead of answer questions, took off her shirt, massaged her breasts, and began “rubbing them against the prisoner’s back and commenting on his apparent erection.” When that didn’t work, “the interrogator left the room to ask a Muslim linguist how she could break the prisoner’s reliance on God. The linguist told her to tell the detainee that she was menstruating, touch him, then make sure to turn off the water in his cell so he couldn’t wash” — the theory being that then he couldn’t pray and would have to answer questions. The interrogator went one better, rubbing red ink on her crotch, reaching into her underwear to retrieve it, and smearing it over the prisoner’s face. “‘Have a fun night in your cell without any water to clean yourself,’” the author of the manuscript reports the interrogator as saying before she left for the evening. No report on the technique’s effectiveness, although AP notes that it was allegedly tried several times. “[M]uch of the world will think this is a religious war based on some of the techniques used, even though it is not the case,” says the author of the manuscript, former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar. Right — it’s just about breaking the enemy’s reliance on God.
My Kitty, My Lord
A reporter’s work on the crime beat and on her church newsletter collide over a testimony called “My Kitty.” Faith gets run over.
It’s a Not A Cult, Silly — It’s a Coven.
Speaking at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York, The New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh, one of the best investigative journalists at work, says the U.S. government “has been taken over basically by a cult.” Hersh means the “eight or nine neo-conservatives” in charge at the White House and the Pentagon. Of course, scholars frown on the term “cult” these days. The preferred language is “new religious movement.” Audio and transcript of Hersh’s remarks atDemocracy Now.
The Well-Concealed Rub
James Dobson issues a press release to counter the SpongeBob fiasco, which he claims was reported all out of context, and to ask his followers to write five journalists or commentators who mocked Dobson. In fact, the release states, what Dobson said wasn’t that SpongeBob was gay, but that he had been co-opted by a well-concealed group advocating homosexuality with code-words like “diversity” and “unity” — clear signifiers of the We Are Family Foundation’s strong gay roots.
Adventist Ashes Get Catholic Burial
After a Catholic church in Boulder, Colorado publicized its practice of holding religious burials of the ashes of aborted fetuses, an Adventist hospital has also raised objections after hearing that the ashes of miscarried and stillborn fetuses were being similarly interred in Catholic burial grounds without the permission of the parents. The hospital, like the local abortion clinic in question, had been told that the ashes would be buried in a nonsectarian plot by the mortuary.
One DOMA Challenge Left
After a judge dismissed lawsuits brought by three gay couples in Florida, and the couples decided not to risk appealing to the Supreme Court in case the court set a precedent by rejecting the case, there is only one lawsuit left to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act. The remaining lawsuit is brought by a gay couple in Southern California who argue that denying their right to vote is a civil rights violation like slavery or denying women’s suffrage. The judge hearing the case on Thursday will also listen to two groups opposed to same-sex marriage, the Florida-based Liberty Counsel and the ubiquitous Alliance Defense Fund, which is proudly financing culture wars across the country.
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the main center of the Nazi’s “Final Solution,” with survivors meeting for remembrance ceremonies with world leaders, who warned of the growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe. Last week, the far-right German party NPD sparked anger for walking out of a minute’s silence in the parliament in remembrance of Nazi victims.
You Forgot Context
Though she’s been called “French” for it, Peggy Noonan doesn’t regret her critique of Bush’s “God-drenched” address, and adds these thoughts: words have meanings that last beyond romantic sentiment; history is quite big enough right now without more overreaching ambition; try not to “clobber the world over the head with your moral fabulousness“; and try to remember the context of the speech you’re giving: i.e., we’ve currently got trouble enough without summoning more.
Blessed Be the Fruit