Rachel Ford is a programmer, and since 8:00 to 5:00 doesn't provide enough opportunity to bask in screen glare, she writes in her spare time. She was raised a very fundamentalist Christian, but eventually "saw the light." Rachel's personal blog is Rachel's Hobbit Hole, where she discusses everything from Tolkien to state politics.
When I was a kid, our Christian homeschooling textbooks focussed obsessively on the idea of persecution. It was made abundantly clear through the “lessons” in which we read and then wrote about how we’d have to conceal our faith from the authorities and hide our Bibles away (in a Communist country, no less). There was also the selective history that focussed heavily on Catholic offenses against Protestants, but never the other way around. The message was delivered with an absence of subtlety that would embarrass Mother Gothel: from Communists to Catholics, the world was chock full of people who hated True Christians™. You can imagine my surprise later, when I read actual history books, at finding out that the one-way street of Christian Persecution that I’d learned about was anything but — and that the long suffering Protestants of yesteryear were no less capable of making martyrs than anyone else. Slate has a fascinating piece along those lines — on the “priest holes” English Catholics had to build in the 16th century to protect priests (and themselves) from discovery. Read more
It’s a familiar refrain from the religious bloc accustomed to extraordinary privilege in American society: equality is discrimination, loss of privilege is persecution, and calling them out on intolerance is itself intolerant. When North Carolina passed a “religious freedom” bill targeted at LGBT residents of the state, banning anti-discrimination ordinances and forcing “transgender people to use the bathroom of the opposite sex,” decent people everywhere were predictably disgusted. What those people didn’t realize is that they were the ones actually supporting discrimination. Read more
It’s always interesting when members of an organization purportedly devoted to the greater good live in luxury on funds that could otherwise actually facilitate that mission. It’s that much worse, though, when their funds are specifically earmarked for helping people, but instead wind up supporting extravagant lifestyles. That’s what seems to have happened in the case of Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s luxury apartment. Read more
I’ve written before about the dangers of the extreme rhetoric and outright lies the right-wing employs in its anti-abortion efforts. New data detailing a dramatic increase in anti-abortion violence and threats — coinciding with the release of the discredited “baby parts” Planned Parenthood videos — lends credence to the idea. And while correlation isn’t causation, it’s not much of a stretch to think that insisting that doctors are murderers and organ traffickers might inspire something less than good will. Read more
It’s probably fair to say that you shouldn’t take health advice from someone who advocates hormone-balancing vagina steam-cleanings. Or tips from someone who advertises the effectiveness of skincare products that have been meditated over and chanted to. Still, Goop founder and actress Gwyneth Paltrow — who has advocated both — was asked to share her beauty tips in the New York Times. It went about as well as you’d expect. Discussing how she’s “the guinea pig to try everything,” Paltrow threw out yet another unusual remedy: Read more