• You Can Have Your Homophobic Policies, And We’ll Oppose Them

    Listen up, Boy Scouts of America. Feel free to hold to an unjust and bigoted policy of denying membership to gay troop leaders and scouts.

    We’ll feel free to point out the injustice and the bigotry.

    And see here:

    NEW ORLEANS (RNS) For nearly a decade, hundreds of local Boy Scouts have learned the virtues of the Ten Commandments on an annual Thanksgiving holiday hike to churches, synagogues and mosques, where clergy and scholars explained their faiths’ take on the ancient code.

    But this year, Touro Synagogue, a major Reform congregation and a longtime partner, has told the organization it’s no longer willing to take part because the Scouts deny membership to gay troop leaders and gay Scouts.

    For Rabbi Alexis Berk, who used to host the Scouts at Touro, it’s a clear justice issue that mirrors the civil rights struggle of a generation ago. She sees public dissent to Scouting’s membership policy as a moral duty.

    Elsewhere around the country, Jewish organizations are similarly pushing back against Scouting’s membership policy, especially since July, when Scouting reaffirmed it after a two-year study.

    “This position has taxed Scouting’s relationship with the Jewish community,” said A.J. Kreimer, chairman of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting. “Our committee’s motto since 1926 has been ‘Scouting Serves the Jewish Community’ — and that relationship has been strained.”

    The decision from Scouting headquarters also distresses Alan Smason, the founder and engine behind the local Ten Commandments hike. Smason is a former Boy Scout, the father of a former Scout, and an advocate for Scouting. And he’s Jewish.

    “My personal opinion is the Scouting policy in place now is wrong. They’re discriminating, and there’s no way to justify discrimination in this day and age,” Smason said.

    But he favors changing Scouting from within. “It’s like protesting Mardi Gras by refusing to catch beads. You’re not going to stop a parade by refusing to catch the beads.”

    Smason said this year’s event of 200 or more Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts includes a presentation by Orthodox Rabbi David Polsky of Congregation Anshe Sfard, representing Judaism’s traditionalist wing, as well as Christian and Muslim speakers.

    The Scouts will have lunch at a Mormon meeting house. Islam does not have the Ten Commandments, but the Quran enjoins the same sins at various places throughout its text, said Rafiq Nu’man, a frequent project participant as imam of the Masjidur Rahim mosque.

    Berk said she participated in past years despite her discomfort with the Scouts’ membership policy. That discomfort has been evident across the Reform Jewish landscape for years.

    Support for qualified gay men and lesbians as Scout leaders was already full-blown in 2001 when the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism recommended that Reform synagogues refrain from sponsoring Scout packs or troops.

    Under internal and external pressure, the Boy Scouts of America reviewed its membership rules last year. In July, it announced that after a two-year internal study it would keep its policy:

    “While (Scouting) does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the (Scouting) mission.”

    Deron Smith, the spokesman for Boy Scouts of America, said Scouting was not pursuing an agenda or making “social commentary.” Rather, he said Scouting had chosen to defer to what it sensed were the wishes of most Scouting parents.

    “The vast majority of parents Scouting serves value their right to address issues of sex and sexual orientation within their family,” Smith said in an email. ”They do not sign their children up for Scouting to expose them to this topic.”

    That decision galvanized Berk.

    “Maybe it would be one thing if this were a long-standing policy and they’d never revisited it – but the fact that they freshly revisited it and rendered a freshly bigoted opinion, well, I freshly feel like I can’t participate,” she said.

    “I can’t participate in religious experience that uses religion as a hook on which to hang bigotry.”

    (Bruce Nolan is a contributing writer for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans).

    Category: What's Happening


    Article by: Larry Tanner

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    • frisbee_kid

      Hi Larry,

      I see you posted a comment on Kevin’s CSI and ID blog entry- He won’t let me post there because I expose his lies and ignorance, so here is my response to his diatribe:

      Kevin says:

      So, here’s the concept of CSI, in a nutshell. If the probability of something happening is greater than 1:10150 then it’s too improbable for it to come about by chance and therefore it was designed. 

      Bad start. Complex Specified Information is just complex Shannon Information with meaning/ function. The complexity level is set to 500 bits, even though the evidence says it, the amount of specified information blind and undirected processes can produce, is much lower.

      What that means wrt biology is there are 4 nucleotides, 2^2 = 4, therefor each nucleotide has 2 bits of information. (Take the lower case alphabet plus six other characters, for a total of 32, then each character would have 5 bits (2^5 = 32)).

      OK so each nucleotide is 2 bits, which means each codon is 6 bits. And that maps directly to amino acids, each which has 6 bits (64 codons = 2^6). Given that, a protein of 100 amino acids has the information carrying capacity of 600 bits.

      But anyway, back to Kevin:

      Anyway, it should be pretty obvious that there are a number of major problems with this notion of CSI.

       The first is that the ID proponents are saying that either something (protein, organism, rock, whatever) is randomly constructed or it is designed.

       Not quite. Either it arose via blind and undirected processes, ie necessity and chance, or, if not AND it meets the criteria, it is designed.

      Kevin continues:

      This, however, is wrong, there is another possible answer. That is random mutation, natural selection, and descent with modification.

      That has been considered and it has failed, miserably. For one no one seems to be able to tell anyone how to test it to see if it can produce CSI. For another if you have natural selection it is a good bet that you already have CSI, ie the very thing that you need to explain. And finally even given living organisms natural selction, a result, doesn’t do anything.

      On a roll with his spewage, Kevin sez:

       I bet if one really thought about it, one could come up with a few more notions like this. So, that right there destroys the entire premise of CSI.

      LoL! Really?!

       No Kevin, it takes actual EVIDENCE, not imagination to destroy the premise of CSI. But unfortunately for you all you have is imagination and absolutely no evidence to support it.

      The moron goes on to say:

      The ID proponents claim that this whole enterprise is ONLY about detecting design.

      Nope. We claim the whole enterprise is about the detection and study of design in nature.

      However, when presented with a sequence of random proteins and an actual protein sequence, they refuse to try and determine which is which. Then they claim that my request has nothing to do with actual CSI.

      It doesn’t have anything to do with actual CSI. Obviously kevin is totally ignorant of how science is done. We observe functionality, Kevin. We observe proteins and enzymes actually doing something. And then we investigate and try to figure it out.

      Also, as I have told the asshole many times, archaeology and forensic science are also in the design detection business. Therefor by Kevin’s “logic” they should be up for Kevin’s “challenge”.

      Second, the ID proponents are assuming that all possible amino acids are equally likely to combine with each other in a sequence.

      Back up moron- NUCLEOTIDES, and yes they are equally likely to combine with each other in a sequence. Ya see kevbo, can’t get proteins without first having the nucleotide representation and a compiler to make the changeover.

      Third, and most importantly, the IDist is assuming that all modern proteins and the living things that they are made from all appeared randomly from a great pile of amino acids.

      Bullshit. Pure bullshit. Notice he doesn’t provide any references for his tripe.

      How do modern proteins form? By the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology, which is that DNA contains the codes for proteins, which is translated into mRNA and transported through the nuclear membrane to a ribosome, which reads the mRNA strand and uses tRNA to construct a chain of amino acids to form the protein.

      Earth to Kevin- Your lame-ass position cannot account for that central dogma, which BTW needs to be edited to include prions- heredity by contact.

      So to sum up we have Kevin’s inability to grasp a concept, coupled with delusions of science proceeding by imagination rather than actual evidence, smothered with lies and misreprentations and topped with an ending his position cannot account for.

      But in his little-bitty mind he has destroyed ID….

      LoL! Kevin posted a comment. In it he spews:

       I’ve had a ID proponent use a dictionary definition of aardvark, calculate the probability of those letters combining randomly (in binary), and claim that it’s an example of CSI.

      What a complete dipshit! No Kevin, a dictionary definition is an example of Specified Information- ALL dictionary definitions are examples of SPECIFIED INFORMATION, you moron. All I did was figure out how many bits were in the definition of aardvark- ya know via Shannon’s methodology- and determined CSI was present.

      It was an EXAMPLE of how to calculate/ measure CSI. And nice to see that you are too fucking stupid to grasp that simple example.

      • lartanner

        frisbee_kid, do we have any information on how relatively simple organisms and early life forms make proteins?

    • BSA membership is a privilege, not a right: Upheld by the Supreme Court. (Dale vs. BSA) Why is no one attempting to overturn the decision or start their own all-inclusive group? The answer I expect is to be called a “homophobe,” “bigot,” “racist,” etc. by those who can’t come up with a cogent and intelligent argument. (Common tactic of the Liberal Left). So there, I’ve done your work for you! Why not start your own group instead of badgering the BSA? Pure numbers. The pro-gay/atheist plan is to 1. Infiltrate, then, 2 Indoctrinate. The BSA knows this, and maintains their stance. Yup..they’re on to you!

      • lartanner

        Thanks, Frank. So BSA gets to hold any policies whatsoever for membership, and those policies should never be questioned, challenged, or even brought up. They should just be obeyed, and that’s that. How quintessentially American!