Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Save Fawza Falih!

Wiccans, Druids, and other Pagans are part of an international coalition of religious leaders and others who have signed a letter to King Abdullah bin Abd al-'Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia pleading for the release of a Saudi Arabian woman, Fawza Falih, who has been condemned to death for "witchcraft." She was accused for "bewitching" a man and making him "impotent." She was imprisoned and beaten, her confession was coerced, the limited appeals process is now exhausted, and she is awaiting execution, a public beheading.

The coalition seeking her pardon and release also includes Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Native Americans, Buddhists, and those of other faith traditions. The letter will be delivered soon to the Saudi ambassadors to the United Nations and the United States.

ACT NOW -- sign the petition to save Fawza Falih's life:

NETWORK -- Please circulate this request for signatures and support. Time is of the essence. Post this email to lists, blogs, websites, elsewhere.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Call to Activist Women in the US

Hello, Sisters,

There's a conversation happening among a circle of women about how disappointed we are in our options in this election. From this has grown the idea for a women's congress that would function independently from the government in a form similar to the Iroquois women's council.

The working title is the Women's Security Council and we have a wiki where we are debating and developing the idea. We want to involve sisters in every part of the country, from every background and walk of life. The idea is to give voice to those who have no voice in the current system of government.

If you think you might be interested, please come check out what we have so far, and feel free to add content or comment on what we've already done. If this is going to work, we need a vast web of women working together. I hope you'll consider being a part of it:

http://womenssecuritycouncil. wetpaint. com


Morgaine Swann

Sunday, November 18, 2007 God's Not Pro-Life

God's Not Pro-Life

I was doing some research after someone on Yahoo Answers pissed me off, and I found this site that lays it all out in great detail. I'll be brief so you can go there and read more.

The biblical Commandment that says "Thou Shalt Not Murder", and all the rest of them for that matter, only applies to Jews about Jews. "God" takes great pleasure in the slaughter of "his" enemies, and even specifies that pregnant women are to be torn to pieces and babies' heads dashed upon the rocks.

Learn a few of these verses, and pull them out the next time some pie-eyed anti-choice crusader starts telling you that abortion is murder:

Numbers 31:
17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

I Samuel 15:
2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Hosea 13:
16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Psalms 136:
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
[note that "mercy" didn't apply to the Egyptian children. -MS]

Psalms 137:
8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

How can anyone think that the 'god' of the bible has forbidden abortion? The only time anything of the sort is mentioned is when pregnant women are being ripped apart, and it's always the biblical heroes doing the ripping. There's one mention of what should happen if someone causes a woman to lose a fetus, and it only recommends a fine. It isn't considered murder.

I'm so sick of these idiots that don't even understand their own religion trying to force that religion on the rest of us.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

O'Brien: Abortion debate b/w rationality and fanaticism...

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK:

Barbara O'Brien of Mahablog has an excellent post on Alternet about the false dichotomy the media promotes in the abortion debate. She points out that the inaccurately labelled "pro-choice" side is only trying to preserve legal protections established by Roe V. Wade, while the also inaccurately named "pro-life" lobby is peopled with religious fanatics who are completely out of step with the will of the majority of the American people.

In a democracy, it's a slippery slope to tout the will of the people, lest it impose a "tyranny of the majority" that limits the rights of a minority group. In this case, however, it's appropriate because the rights opposed by the anti-choice movement are not their own, but the rights of others. No one is advocating that a woman who doesn't believe in abortion must have one. People simply need the option to terminate an unwanted pregnancy if one occurs.

The reasons are many, the result is that a pregnancy simply does not proceed to birth. You can ascribe any spiritual significance you want to the process of fertilization and gestation, but so can I. Ultimately, I still think that we have to take the focus off the fetus and put it on the woman impregnated. That woman has the right of self-determination - to choose how she will live, what will happen to her body. That's why I created the Women's Sovereignty Movement (WAM) site, and I wish more bloggers would focus on the simple concept that a woman has a right to her own body.

A woman is not the property of the state, of her husband or her father. That would seem an obvious statement, but the law hasn't fully embraced that simple reality yet, nor has the proponents of patriarchal religions. This is why it would have been nice to have an ERA amendment which would clarify things for the monotheists, who can't be reached with reason. They are in the habit of setting great store in things that are written down by some authority or other. (I think men should be glad women are willing to settle for equality, but that's another post for another time.)

If the focus is put on the woman, the debate changes. It moves away from mystical theories of "ensoulment" to the dangers faced by women in the American society of the 21st Century. A woman in an abusive relationship who becomes pregnant will be tied to her abuser for the rest of her life by law. A girl with an abusive parent is in danger of a beating, or worse, if a pregnancy is disclosed. A woman who is forced to seek a back-alley abortion is likely to die in the hands of a butcher. A woman who is ill can die as the result of a full-term pregnancy. These women need the protection of the state, and there's no way to determine who is and isn't in danger. No woman should have to face a court or a legislature to make a decision about something that can endanger her life, and that will most decidedly change her life if she isn't given sovereignty over her own person. The self-evident rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness can all be limited by an enforced birth - how hard is that to understand?

Monday was Blog for Choice day, and I'm sorry that I missed it. There was plenty to read in the blogosphere, though, and I hope you cruise around and find it. I wanted to join in, but I was dealing with some personal demons that prevented me from being around Monday. I do believe solidarity is important, though I'm sure my readers have no doubt as to why I support legal abortions.


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

When Prudishness Costs Lives

New York Times

Published: December 19, 2006
"Here in Poipet, I met a 27-year-old woman with AIDS, Tem Phok. She had been a prostitute in a brothel, so I assumed that that was how she contracted AIDS. "Oh, no" she said. "I got AIDS later, from my husband," who has already died.

"In the brothel, I always used condoms," she said. "But when I was married, I didn't use a condom. ... A woman with a husband is in much more danger than a girl in a brothel."

That's an exaggeration, but she has a point: It doesn't do much good for American officials to preach abstinence and fidelity in places where the big risk of contracting H.I.V. comes with marriage. In countries with a high prevalence of AIDS, just about the most dangerous thing a woman can do is to marry." [emphasis mine]

What is it going to take to get these Republicans and priests to understand that withholding information about condoms is tantamount to murder? Every policy they advocate regarding reproduction results in women's deaths. I'm sorry, but I don't think a teenager should pay for doing what teens are built to do with her life. 38% of girls and 46% of boys know nothing about birth control at the time of their first sexual encounter. That's appalling. And deadly.

A woman with an unplanned pregnancy doesn't deserve to risk death through birth or an illegal abortion. Married women don't deserve to die for the infidelities of their husbands. People have sexual contact for many reasons, and some of those reasons involve violence and oppression. This is a violent, misogynistic world full of women who don't have choices and risk being murdered for even the suspicion of "dishonor."

The United States should be leading the way in the fight against AIDS. We should be leading the campaign to stop violence against women, and forced birth, as well as making it clear that withholding information and access to condoms is violence against women. A live human's rights comes before a theoretical human life every time.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Eight states had ban-same-sex-marriage amendments on their ballots.

That's the bad news. Take heart, though - any laws that result will be struck down. All rights not enumerated or limited in the Constitution are reserved to the people. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives anyone the right to pass legislation regarding marriage. That's the approach the movement should take - it's none of anyone's business, and the government shouldn't extend privileges or limit rights in that area because it isn't authorized to fuck with an unalienable right - in this case, the pursuit of happiness. Being able to define the parameters of one's own family is essential to freedom, to free association and to freedom of religion.

Neither the government nor the Constitution can alter our unlienable rights. They don't come from a piece of paper or a power structure - we're born with them. They are inherent, implied, assumed. Government has traditionally limited our arrangements because the people allowed it. All we have to do is say stop. We don't have to accede a right to the government just because someone somewhere wrote a law. The law is based on nothing - it has no constitutional basis and the right is reserved to us. We are limited by neither English Common Law nor Judeo-Christian rules.

The American people have let a lot of things slide for a lot of years - we've allowed the government too much power over our lives and our property. We need to shake the American legal system to its foundations and insist that we be allowed full freedom unfettered by straight jackets constructed of out-moded customs and mores that aren't relevant in the 21st Century. There's no power for the government to tax us, to define our relationships for us or place limits upon them.

It's time to get down under what it means to be an American, and refuse to settle for this mediocre assortment of restraints designed to keep us obedient and servile. Like the Age of Enlightenment that gave birth to this country, it's time for Americans to free our minds from the tyranny of tradition and our behaviour from the tyranny of the majority. Let the 21st Century be the dawn of real freedom, unlimited by ancient parables, passé traditions and false presumptions of power.

No one has to give LGBT community the right to marry - we have it, and how dare anyone suggest that we don't? The onus is not on us to prove we should have it - the burden is upon government to prove it has the right to limit it, and there is no such authority in the Constitution.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ask the Pope to lift the ban on condom use!

Catholics for a Free Choice - Action Alerts

I got a request to share this information with you all, and I hope you'll take the time to sign the following letter at the link above:

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
Vatican City

Your Holiness:

Today, we are writing to you in solidarity with the approximately 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS and out of concern for the more than 15 million children who have been orphaned.

We know you share our concern and have supported the many Catholic health and social service agencies, who have treated those with HIV and AIDS. In so many ways, the Catholic community has been an international leader in providing compassionate, nondiscriminatory treatment to those living with HIV and AIDS, and we applaud those efforts.

We write to you today to express our support for your decision announced 23 April 2006 for senior theologians and scientists to prepare a document discussing the use of condoms as a means of preventing the transmission of HIV. But we urge you to move forward quickly to set new guidelines for the prevention of this disease that would enable all agencies that collaborate with the Catholic community to educate those at risk of the option of using condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV and AIDS and to actually provide condoms to those it serves whose conscience leads them to choose to use them.

For years, Vatican spokespersons and other church officials have made clear the church’s moral objections to condoms as a contraceptive. However, the extension of this position to HIV and AIDS prevention has resulted in dangerous practices that have contributed to the spread of HIV and AIDS. There have been public burnings of condoms, gross distortions of the statistics on the efficacy of condoms
as a preventive and disregard of the very real human toll of this pandemic by some whose ecclesiastical objections outweigh concern for the common good and the promotion of a culture of life.

Indeed, since you became pope on 19 April 2005, 5.5 million people have acquired the HIV virus. And 3.7 million people have died of AIDS-related causes.

As people of faith, both Catholic and not, we urge you to pay special attention to those bishops and health care workers who have witnessed the devastation firsthand and who have courageously spoken out in support of the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV as a stand for life:

We think their witness demonstrates that a culture of life requires support for a full array of prevention methods, including condoms.

We know that condoms are neither 100 percent effective nor a simple solution to a complex problem. They remain however the only hope for those who are sexually active, either voluntarily or in forced circumstances, such as women who do not have the right to say no to risky sex.

We believe the world community must offer compassionate quality care to those already infected with HIV/AIDS, as well as fully support integrated prevention programs that incorporate women’s empowerment, sexual education, condom counseling and distribution, monogamy and abstinence— without discrimination or stigmatization. We maintain that the most ethical approach to combating HIV and AIDS is a comprehensive and balanced approach that meets the varied needs of all people while upholding scientific and medical integrity. To that end, we believe in and support a comprehensive range of methods by which to stem the spread of this pandemic, such as:

o the ABC method that equally emphasizes abstinence, fidelity and condom use, and
o the SAVE approach that emphasizes safer practices, available medication, voluntary counseling and testing, and empowerment through education.

As concerned and compassionate people of faith, we are bound together by moral and ethical values that call on us to address the global AIDS crisis with compassion and respect for the dignity and conscience of each person. Most of the world’s religions have recognized that support for condom education and use freely chosen reflects those moral values. We call on you to bring the Catholic community into this
religious consensus and support condom use as an important part of the international strategy to save lives.

We thank you for your consideration.

At the end of the letter there's a place for you to tadd your own text as well.

The letter is not perfect, and I certainly would never address a man as "Father" let alone "his holiness" but I'm signing that letter because people are dying. People who don't have to die are dying when they could be saved by simple use of a condom.

One unnecessary death is one too many. In this case, deaths number in the millions. This pandemic is decimating an entire continent, Africa, and it reaches every corner of the Earth. It's not a "gay" disease - the largest number of infections currently occurs in women, many of whom believe that they are in a monogamous relationship. No woman should have to die for her husband's infidelity and their children shouldn't be orphaned for it. Children don't deserve to be orphaned in the millions when there is a simple, effective method of prevention available.

Please sign the letter, and send the link to all of you mailing lists. Lives depend upon it.