Guns-Why

Guns-Why

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Tennessee Current Events: Back to the Future


Tennessee welcomes you. Indeed it does. Unless you're gay, poor, have special needs, or discriminate against Christians.

I'm at the point that when someone asks me where I'm from, I can lie like a dog without batting an eyelid. Boston, Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, Denver. Take your pick. Anywhere but Anytown, Tennessee.

Don't get me wrong. I love my state. The scenery is stunningly beautiful, but I swan you-all, something besides manure must be getting mixed in with the fertilizer because our legislators seem to be going bat shit crazy and the populace either approves or is in la-la land after sippin' too much moonshine.

Old Still
Not satisfied with pushing legislation prohibiting saying "gay" in public schools, and requiring teachers to inform parents when their kids are gay, and another bill proposing that food be snatched away from kids on welfare if their grades are unsatisfactory, Republican State Senator Stacey "Don't Say Gay" Campfield is now backing a bill that would allow graduate students in psychology to opt out of "having to counsel LGBT patients."

Tennessee Homophobe-In-Chief Campfield and his Aide-de-Camp Joey Hensley also argue that gay students should be offered so-called reparative therapy, despite the fact that the Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the American Psychological Association consider it dangerous, harmful and unethical.

Hensley - center
Campfield










Of course this august body of homophobes gets plenty of ideas and support from the Christian Right in it's drive to keep the state's citizenry straight and narrow. A bill now working its way through chambers would take away the right for Vanderbilt University police to make arrests. According to The Tennessee Family Action Council, an Evangelical Christian group led by David Fowler, "the university's nondiscrimination policy discriminates against religious Christians." How so? "Because the policy forces campus sanctioned Christian organizations to allow gay people to join them."
David Fowler
Is it any wonder that Tennessee ranks in the bottom ten for the number of high-school graduates? But wait, other geniuses in the state assembly have a solution. Let the private sector take over the running of the schools by offering vouchers. So what if the poor and special needs students get left behind?

No wonder teachers are so unhappy.

At the rate this state is moving forward - or backward - it's just a matter of time before the legislature bans teaching in classrooms altogether.

Back to the future - one room schoolhouse

ADDITION: This pending piece of legislation has nothing to do with gays or education but the impact on attracting new businesses to our state and perhaps encouraging the ones already operating to move on could prove disastrous to our already struggling economy. According to the 2010 census Tennessee ranks 8th from the bottom of the barrel among the 50 states in poverty.

33 comments:

  1. It is really remarkable how American Christianity these days virtually defines itself as excluding and hating on gays. Notice how almost everything you describe them doing in this post relates to that. Anything that discourages their expression of disdain for gays, they take as an attack on the core of their belief system -- which apparently it is.

    After reading all that, I honestly didn't realize the "teaching / enlightenment" link was satire until I reached the end of it. Nothing these people do would surprise me any more.

    The middle chunk of the old Confederacy -- Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana -- seems stubbornly and absolutely resistant to modernity. It's becoming our own little internal Third World. Rather sad.

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    1. I firmly believe this thing of thumping the bible while advocating hate has done more to harm Christianity in modern times than anything else. Really, how much different is it from the Taliban, which is exactly what Bryan Fischer called secular fundamentalists.

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/05/christian-fundamentalist-bryan-fischer-calls-liberal-atheists-the-american-taliban/

      Describing TN as a Third World is more than fitting. You'd have to visit here awhile to believe how really awful it is. The Dunning-Kruger effect that I wrote about a few posts back is epidemic. And being in the armpit of it on a daily basis, 24/7, has certainly contributed to my depression of the last few months.

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    2. @Infidel753: the satire in the "banning teaching" bit is harder to detect, since the Texas GOP ACTUALLY PROPOSED banning the teaching of "critical thinking":

      http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/1012974/texas_republicans_seek_to_ban_critical_thinking_in_public_schools

      It's not difficult to read between the lines of that proposal and see a bunch of ultrafundamentalists terrified that somebody might tell their little Bobby that the Earth isn't actually 6000 years old, or that gay people shouldn't actually be stoned to death.

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    3. You know whats sad about my adopted home of Tennessee? We moved here because it was in so many ways BETTER than my native Florida.

      But that doesn't stop some of it's natives from trying to drag it backwards.

      Damned shame.

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    4. You make the common mistake of equating conservative churches with all of Christianity. If you're in Tenn, that's probably how it looks to you, because I don't suppose there is much other than conservative churches there. Take a look at national polls -- most Americans, says Gallup, support same-sex marriage. And since the vast majority of Americans are Christian, you don't reach majority support for marriage equality without HUGE support from Christianity.

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    5. Anonymous: Texas and Louisiana seem to be competing with each other to see who can outdo the other. Possibly an appeal to the fright-wing for a future presidential run, like in 1016.

      A friendly reminder. Normally I don't publish Anonymous comments - not because I'm not interested in what you or someone else may have to say but I've had some serious problems in the past and don't want to pave the way for a repeat performance. I hope you understand.

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    6. Cthulhu: My sympathies. I was born and raised here but spent about half of my life in Denver. Coming back here really has been a huge, huge mistake. There was prejudice and religiosity when I was growing up here but it seems to have become so much worse. Maybe I was shielded because my family was connected to the university and all our friends were faculty and librarians. This has been major culture shock.

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    7. Russell King: If you're referring to me, I made it very clear that I was referring to the fundamentalists or religious right. You may be right about getting the support of mainstream Christians, but I don't think it's because of a very active role by church leadership. I just think more people are quietly voting their conscience because of personal experience, such as a family member coming out of the closet. Frankly, unlike integration in the 60s, I think church leaders have been notoriously silent for the most part - not only in supporting the LGBT agenda, but immigration, women's rights, Muslim rights (with a few exceptions), the poor and homeless. Sorry, but I just haven't been that impressed.

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    8. Russell King: And since the vast majority of Americans are Christian, you don't reach majority support for marriage equality without HUGE support from Christianity.

      Well, eighty-something percent of Americans self-identify as Christians in some sense, but among about three-quarters of those it's very superficial. The majority of American self-identified Christians give very little thought to Christian dogmas in day-to-day life, and could not even correctly state those dogmas (even something as basic as correctly listing the Ten Commandments) if asked.

      I would consider that majority -- the "Christians" outside the hard core of fundamentalists and devout Catholics -- to be in fact "Christians in name only". Their support for gay marriage is yet another indication that they are Christian in only a superficial sense. As people in the US and world-wide gradually free themselves from the delusions of religion, the comfortable self-identification is the last part of it they will cast way, not the first.

      Also, support from large numbers of Christians does not equal "support from Christianity". It means that these "Christians" are using their own judgment and ignoring their denominations' official position. A majority of American Catholics, for example, support gay marriage, ignoring the Vatican's fanatical opposition to it. So how "Catholic" are they, really?

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    9. Thank you, Infidel. I just read an article about this very thing this morning.

      And then there are these good Christians who don't mind telling a little lie or two or manipulating the facts to justify their homophobia:

      "Mark Regnerus has admitted his “family structures” study didn’t actually measure gay parenting, comparing the children of separated parents who had same-sex relationships with those of married opposite-sex parents. An internal auditor of the journal that published the Regnerus study last year concluded its findings were “bullshit” because this false comparison doesn’t adequately measure same-sex parenting. Nevertheless, conservatives have repeatedly cited the study, even to the Supreme Court, claiming same-sex couples are unfit to raise children to substantiate their opposition to marriage equality, even though medical professionals have thoroughly debunked its claims. Now, documents reveal that the anti-gay conservatives who originally funded the study conspired before data was even collected to produce results that could influence “major decisions of the Supreme Court.”

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  2. Man, I could go one about you guys not holding a candle to Florida but I won't, it makes me crazy.

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  3. Arkansas is right in that mix as well...the state is full of neo-confederate troglodytes and other knuckle dragging hominids.

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    1. there is a virus of ;dumbness' that has spread across America. Granted, some states in the south have always been more conservative that some eastern, or western states...but even in more moderate places like Wisconsin and Minnesota and Iowa......there is a "mean" kind of conservatism that has spread with a particular speed that is alarming. People are scared. The price of oil bothers them....the cost of food frightens them. Climate Change. Hurricanes. Drought. Immigration. The internet and mass media help spread the fear. It is like delivering the Black Death at the speed of light.

      Personally...... I think I will just buy a truck load of canned goods, a shit load of guns and ammunition, a whole lotta beer......and move to a safe place....like, maybe Manitoba. maybe.

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    2. The propaganda and fear factors can cause one to pause and question whether or not the Internet has really been such a good thing. Forget the MSM.

      Can you have guns in Manitoba? I have to be honest and say I've definitely considered becoming an expat, but I'd want to head south of the border where it's warmer.

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  4. It is exactly why I refer to them as the American Taliban. Sharia Law by any other name...

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    1. I don't hesitate to call them that. Of course they go into a tail spin while agreeing with Bryan Fischer. See above.

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  5. I am a native Tennessean but currently residing in NC. I was nostalgic recently when I saw the map associated with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Tennessee and NC were not included in the more closely monitored states. What a change! And not for the better. We in NC have just been taken over by the Republicans and it has been 2 months of one regressive piece of legislation after another. I used to feel a bit of relief not to be living in Tennessee right now but soon NC will be just as backward.

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    1. Oh Ruth, I know. Didn't NC just pass a law to allow teachers to carry weapons in the classroom? I can't think of anything more horrendous.

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  6. Not that catholicism is any better than protestantism, but most of our religionistas come from the "protestant uterus". Let's use our "trans-vaginal probe" to examine their overall health.

    According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of US protestants has fallen to 48%, from 53% just five years ago.

    Attrition, anyone?

    Bloomberg News, 10.09.2012:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-09/protestants-now-u-s-minority-for-first-time-pew-finds.html

    As a Tennessee resident, I am also appalled by the direction our state is heading. A look at our rebiblican-majority shows a legislature that is determined to use our buckle-of-the-bible-belt to keep our state lily-white and obedient.

    That is why my husband and I are moving to Oregon. I don't have the stomach to stick around for their death-watch. But I'm happy to see that my analogy, from 2006, is coming true: the trashing and howling we perceive from religion is just a beast that knows that it is dying.

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    1. "Not that catholicism is any better than protestantism, but most of our religionistas come from the "protestant uterus".

      Really? I'm not questioning you but, in all honesty, it seems like the church leaders - the priests, the bishops and the cardinals - who are leading the charge. It's almost like the more educated and "liberal" the congregants become, the harder these mostly corrupt old farts crack down. They aren't any different from abusive husbands who feel threatened.

      I wish you luck in Oregon. I'd sure like to head out.

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    2. That is why my husband and I are moving to Oregon.

      Welcome aboard:-)

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  7. Oops, that should be "Bloomberg News, via Alternet". Mea culpa, y'all.

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  8. Leslie, I'm convinced we have a few legislators who have grabbed the coat tails of bigotry and intolerance not because of heartfelt opposition to gays or gay marriage, but because they see it as the primary ticket to their future electoral prospects. Campfield will be "outed" one of these days, and we'll have enjoy his hypocritical fall from "grace". Until then, his self-loathing posturing keeps his name in the headlines. There are trolls of this ilk in every state legislature in America, but we seem to have more of them than most states.

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    1. I might have more optimism if I didn't have daily contact with these Yahoos in person and on other FB pages, if these bills didn't even make it through committee, and if we didn't have such a weak governor. It's not just the state legislators either; look at the people serving in Congress - especially those two abhorrent women.

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    2. Facebook? No WONDER you're ready to write off the state! Here's a tidbit of advice from someone who's divorced FB (twice!) and wouldn't go back to win a bet today: Facebook attracts good people of all political persuasions, and many of them are 'finest kind' as Hawkeye Pierce would say. But there are an equal number of trolls who seem to be lying in the weeds waiting for any excuse to pontificate on behalf of Jesus or Ronnie Reagan or Bill O'Reilly at the drop of a hat. The asshats you mentioned in our Congressional delegation (especially Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn) mirror that annoying faction of Facebookers. Everything they do is meant to appeal to those folks (and to annoy thinking people).

      If you want to have a less-stressful life, dump your FB account and abandon the field to the trolls. It's a banal wasteland, and your talents are far better suited for additional blog posts anyway!

      Seriously, FB can ruin more than a nice day. It has the potential to be oppressive, if you allow yourself to be drawn into debates with troglodytes.
      The gene pool needs chlorine, and Facebook is all the proof of that you'll ever need.

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    3. I understand all that, am cognizant of it, and agree with you for the most part. But, I actually derive some pleasure from FB. Before you spew coffee all over your computer screen, let me explain. I'm one broke cookie. I do not have cable, so only get news from ABC,CBS, NBC and PBS (but I'm not one to watch much TV anyway). I have configured my FB page so I get lots of news, most of it things I wouldn't have known about otherwise and not just politics. Biography, history, art, medical, scientific, you name it.

      My FB friends are ALL liberal. I don't even accept fright-wingers, except for some in my family but they'e mostly hidden me I suspect. I used to debate with the trolls on my friends' pages but have given that insanity up entirely. But, as you know, no matter where you go, there they are in all their infinite ignorance. You simply can't avoid them, so you have to get in the habit of pretending like you don't see them and move on.

      I also truly enjoy the friends I've made. When you're a broke senior, live alone and in a place where everyone under the damn sun is a bible thumping Teabagger, you tend to become isolated. FB can help take up the slack by offering contact with like minded folks.

      But I do hear you and I'm definitely getting ready to at least curtail my time on it - maybe get back to quilting.

      As far as blogging goes, I just feel I'm preaching to the choir and nobody's listening. There are so many folks who are better writers, funnier and smarter than this hick. But thanks.

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    4. Apologies if I sound pedantic or self-serving. Not my intent at all.

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  9. I've thought about your question as to where to have our date, Leslie, "at your place or mine?"...


    NOT your place.

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    1. Hahaha. But Tennessee is such a lovely state, if you just don't talk to the inmates.

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  10. And I thought Arizona was the most messed up state in the Union. OK, so maybe we are only 49th.

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