No tears, or thanks, for Bethany

The Pious are up in arms today on news that Bethany Christian Services, a major adoption agency headquartered in Michigan, will begin serving LGBTQ couples seeking to adopt.

Albert Mohler is typical:

The “Pivot” Away from Biblical Christianity
Bethany Christian Services Announces It Will Not Hold to Biblical Definition of Marriage

[ … ]

They have been established explicitly by Christians on Christian grounds and Christian commitment driven by Christian law. But now we’re seeing a situation in which Christians are being told, “You have to forfeit your Christian doctrine, your Christian biblical commitment, even your Christian understanding of the gospel if you’re going to continue in this childcare enterprise.”

Mohler is being at least disingenuous here, if not outright dishonest. Look at their IRS-990 forms, here.

The majority of Bethany’s money comes from the public sector, from tax revenue contributed by, among others — What do you know? — gay and transgender people. In other words, gay and transgender people were obliged to subsidize discrimination against themselves.

Almost certainly, somebody noticed, complained, threatened a lawsuit — and Bethany had to either begin treating LGBTQs equitably or lose funding. Good. Mohler presents this as “moral revolution,” but what we’re really talking about here is the deserved, long-overdue death of a superstition.

As for the complaint that he is now subsidizing a public policy he doesn’t like, perhaps he and the like-minded can find solace in the fact that, unlike gays, he won’t be injured by that policy.

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Teaching: A risky job

The First Felon’s speech at CPAC included the complaint that children are not back in school yet, adding a fillip implying that the reason is incompetence on the part of Joe Biden. But, according to Science magazine:

Keeping schools open in Sweden roughly doubled the risk that teachers would be diagnosed with the pandemic coronavirus in spring 2020, a study has found. It also raised the infection rate for their partners at home by 29% and for parents whose children attended in person by 17%, the authors reported on 11 February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Children might not be so susceptible to the Coronavirus sickness as the adults who surround them, that is, but they clearly are efficient carriers.

It is too soon for schools to re-open.

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Learn the science

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is catching a load of grief for posting an anti-transgender sign outside her Congressional office door. She deserves it.

It apparently is too complex for the fundamentalist mindset to grasp, but there is more to sexuality than plumbing; there also is orientation, and identity, and about a dozen other traits that are influenced by multiple genes. This is why there is no single “gay gene” — there are lots of genes implicated in sexuality.

Ironically, the issue of Science that the multi-phobes cite when they trumpet “no gay gene” detailed a long and hard-fought editorial dispute over whether to go to press with the piece because they knew that simpletons would misconstrue it. One editorial bloc feared the article would be used just as Greene (mis)uses it, and the other editorial group argued for the long view, reasoning that the science had to be published before it could seep into public consciousness.

I’m with the long-view group. Unfortunately, the Republican Party I grew-up with has become the party of malice-eaten simpletons.

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Evangelicals: Affirmatively dangerous

Texas is the poster child for what happens when you turn everything into politics — including science, Mother Nature and energy — and try to maximize short-term profits over long-term resilience in an era of extreme weather. The Mars landing is the poster child for letting science guide us and inspire audacious goals and the long-term investments to achieve them.

The Mars mind-set used to be more our norm. The Texas mind-set has replaced it in way too many cases. Going forward, if we want more Mars landings and fewer Texas collapses — what’s happening to people there is truly heartbreaking — we need to take a cold, hard look at what produced each.

Thomas Friedman

Friedman nails something I’ve been thinking about a lot during the past week: the Evangelical Right are driving a lot of the science denial in America — and they aren’t merely wrong; their resolute ignorance is dangerous, and in our mental filing system they ought to be classed with the White Supremacists and all the other loopy misanthropes.

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New York Review: W-a-a-a-y behind the curve

The New York Review of Books notices [pay-walled] the revival of Stoicism.

The recent revival of Stoic philosophy has stayed surprisingly true to its ancient roots while gaining popularity among executives and tech-bros.

The founding editor of the Review died a couple of years ago, and the new owners/editors are still struggling to get their footing. I picked-up the trend almost 3-years ago.

If publishing trends can be trusted, a lot of people are looking toward Stoicism, a pre-Christian philosophical movement nearly wiped-out when the Roman church seized control of the western half of the Roman empire following Rome’s collapse. Just this year has seen publication of Ward Farnsworth’s The Practicing Stoic, Massimo Pigliucci”s How to be a Stoic, and — get ready — even a book of daily devotionals by Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic.

Stoicism, a philosophical movement born more than 2000-years ago and advanced by figures as different as a former slave, Epictetus, and an emperor, Marcus Aurelius, is … in.

So … ho-hum. I’m out of optimism for the Review; the new management just doesn’t have the depth.

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