The “Poor” Pope


popegolden

This new Pope is trying to brand himself as the Pope of the people. The dangerous thing is it seems to be working. New Pope Francis was quoted a few days ago as saying,  “Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.” He also reportedly, bowed to the crowd as he was presented as the new Pope and asked for their blessing before he would bless the people. While these acts are charming on the surface and are winning the hearts of the gullible, to me they seem like shallow attempts to seem different. I see this as ‘Meet the new Pope, same as the old Pope’ (to paraphrase The Who).

This new Pope has been very open in regard to his feelings on many social issues including the four big ones, homosexuality, abortion, birth control and the rise of women in the Catholic church to positions of power. In all four cases, like the Popes who came before him, his stance is a firm NO. So apparently the old ‘every sperm is sacred’ motto is still in effect, except, of course if that sperm creates a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person.

I don’t quite understand why people are acting as if the Pope talking about how the church should be helping the poor is such a new and controversial concept. Was it not Jesus who took the poor under his wing? This idea is older than the church itself. This new Pope says he “would like” a poor church, and for the poor. He doesn’t say he will make this come to pass. This is an easy thing to say when you are literally living in a golden palace. It comes off as ridiculously insincere when he says this with the vast wealth of the Catholic Church as his backdrop.

Then there’s the quandary of women. To this new Pope, we are still seen merely as baby making machines with no say as to what happens with our own bodies. We are still second class citizens who, unless we are virgins, are either mothers or whores… both being unfit to hold the priesthood, let alone any higher status within the church. Ah, yes the new pope is of the ‘keep them down’ mindset, just like his predecessors.

So here’s to the new Pope…

Vatican Pope

a man who was called a bishop, drinks from a golden chalice, wears expensive and flamboyant clothing and keeps women ‘in their place’. Remind you of anyone?

USA World's most famous Pimp

Famous pimp, Don “Magic” Juan calls himself the Bishop, wears expensive and flamboyant clothing, drinks from a golden chalice and keeps women down too. Though he is possibly more likely to be tolerant of the GLBT community than Francis.

A Papal send off


Those of you who read me regularly may have noticed that I try not to use profanity within the confines of this blog. In this case, there is no way to express what I am feeling after hearing the news that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation without being somewhat profane. Seeing that I would like to keep my reputation for eloquence in tact, I will let someone else do the swearing for me… as his sentiments, set to music, mirror my own.

So without further ado, may I present the very talented Tim Minchin singing The Pope Song.

 

 

And, may I add, good riddance to bad rubbish.

The dangers of magical thinking.


When one thinks of the people of Papua New Guinea, one might conjure up an image similar to this.

tribalgirl

A 16 year old girl from a Mount Hagen tribe.

But Papua New Guinea is not just tribal paint, shells and grass skirts. For instance, the bystanders who watched a 20 year old woman as she was tortured with a hot iron rod, bound, doused with gasoline, then set alight on a pile of car tires and trash in the Western Highlands provincial capital of Mount Hagen, were dressed in T-shirts and shorts. Why am I mentioning what they were wearing? It makes a difference in the way people will view the act.

Papua New Guinea Sorcery

Bystanders watch as a woman, accused of witchcraft is burned alive in Papua New Guinea.

If they were dressed in tribal garb, this story might never have been made global. It might have been excused as just a barbaric act carried out by a people who don’t know any better. The fact is those, not so innocent, bystanders were educated in a place that has long been civilized. They have a police force and a government. It is a democracy and is part of the Commonwealth. The most popular religion in Papua New Guinea is the Catholic Church, with 27% of the population identifying as Catholic, followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church with 19% and a slew of Christian offshoots. I mention this because it is important to understand that, by and large, the people of Papua New Guinea are taught the same religious doctrine that the rest of the Western World is taught. Yet, Kepari Leniata, a 20 year old mother was not only accused of sorcery, but tortured and killed in front of hundreds of people who took pictures and cheered, because people believed in magic.

Or was is that simple? Were she a man, would this have happened? Accusations of witchcraft and sorcery are usually targeted toward women. Is this just another instance of a woman cut down in the prime of her life as an example to other women not to get too comfortable? Either way, if people didn’t believe in magic, or if women weren’t painted as the enemy, it would never have happened.

The good news is that the Police Commissioner isn’t having any of it. He was quoted as saying, “We are in the 21st century and this is totally unacceptable.” The Prime Minister is also on the right side of history, calling for the arrest of the killers and saying, “It is reprehensible that women, the old and the weak in our society should be targeted for alleged sorcery or wrongs that they actually have nothing to do with.”

It is unfortunate, however that the Police Commissioner wants to establish courts to deal with sorcery allegations as an alternative to villagers dispensing justice, instead of stating outright that there is no such thing as magic. I guess that would mean that the religions that have a foothold in the area might lose some members of their congregations. If the people actually come to their senses and realize that if there is no such thing as magic, then maybe, just maybe, religion’s biggest role is keeping the people from the truth. The truth that they exist solely to rob you of your money, your intellect, your dignity and your human rights.

churchmeme

One small step forward for Moroccan women, one giant leap back for American women


morocco_women_protest-300x220

Moroccan women protesting the rape/marriage law

This week, the country of Morocco finally decided to take an ancient law off the books. A woman (or girl) will no longer be required to marry her rapist. A paragraph in Article 475 of the penal code allows those convicted of “corruption” or “kidnapping” of a minor to go free if they marry their victim and the practice was encouraged by judges to spare family shame. While it is a step in the right direction, it will, hopefully be the first of many steps to come with the end goal being equal human rights. Kudos and Brava to our North African sisters for fighting long and hard for their basic human rights amid such dangerous circumstances. This is another example of how women have finally had enough and are through accepting the status quo.

CathrynnBrown

Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R),

In the United States, this week women’s reproductive rights have, yet again, come under attack. This time, in New Mexico… by a WOMAN! I cannot overstate how much of a betrayal this was, for women all around the world. A bill introduced by Rep. Cathrynn Brown (a republican, of course) who wants to make it so that a woman who is impregnated by her rapist would be forced to carry her baby to full term, or be sent to jail. House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.” The bill goes on to say, “Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.” Her reasoning is that the bill would punish the person who commits incest or rape and then procures or facilitates an abortion to destroy the evidence of the crime.

When was the last time you heard of a case in which the rapist procured an abortion for his victim in order to destroy evidence? Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but can you not get DNA evidence from an aborted foetus? So what good is this law really going to do for the victim of the crime? This smacks of yet another republican attempt to shame the victim and reward the rapist, all in the name of religious “values”. Cause, you know the bible is all for the rape of women in order to keep them from getting all uppity.

Women in the US of A need to take a page from the women of Morocco and other countries where the fight is much more dire. Those women don’t have the luxury of introducing bills into law. Those women are too busy literally fighting for their lives. If the women of the free world (when I say free world, I mean all countries where women are free and equal, not just America) need to understand that if we allow our rights to be taken away, then we are dooming women in economically underdeveloped countries. If we let our rights go, then what chance for freedom do these women have?  We must remain an example of what can be accomplished when you fight the good fight… because too much is at stake.

Can’t win for losing


melissa-nelson-cnnMelissa Nelson

This week brought us two seemingly different, yet surprisingly similar, court cases involving women. The first case is from south of the border in Iowa where a dental hygienist named Melissa Nelson was fired for being so attractive that her boss couldn’t trust himself around her. She did the only thing she could do. She sued on grounds of gender discrimination and the all male Iowa supreme court sided with her boss. Apparently it’s entirely understandable that her hornier than thou boss fired a long time employee and married mother of 2, who, from all accounts, he was in no danger of sleeping with, rather than act like a professional and keep his pants zipped. Sadly, the boss’s wife also plays a major role in this drama. When she found out that the dentist and his hygienist had sent text messages to each other, she demanded that Melissa be fired. I have news for you, lady. If he can’t be trusted around one woman, he can’t be trusted around any of them. And just exactly what does he mean that he couldn’t trust himself around his employee, who, by the way, had worked for him for 10 years? Does he mean that he can’t help but flirt with her? Or perhaps he means he can’t help but verbally harass her. Or maybe he means that, even if she says no, he won’t be able to stop himself from having sex with her. So this woman, who had done nothing wrong, gets fired because nobody bothered to consider that she actually had a say in who she decided to sleep with… or, in this case, not sleep with.

Then there was a case from this side of the 49th parallel where a Muslim woman wanted to testify while wearing a niqab.

Nahla Hashad N.S., a woman who wants to testify in court, while wearing her niqab.

The Supreme Court of Canada released their decidedly ambiguous ruling last week, basically saying whether or not a niqab would be allowed in court would be decided on a case by case basis. As a feminist, the niqab fills me with all sorts of anger. The niqab, is a garment used to cover the face of women (because the burqa didn’t cover enough) so that Muslim men are less likely to be distracted by a pesky erection in their daily lives. As much as I am entirely against the wearing of a niqab, in this case I find myself with mixed feelings. N.S. is charging her uncle and her cousin with sexual assault. She wants to wear her niqab in court. The lawyers for her attackers want her to have to remove it saying that they should be able to face their attacker in court. This seems to me to be purely a power move designed to stop N.S. from testifying. If she removes her niqab in a court room full of male strangers, she will be ostracized and humiliated by her community and branded a whore, which, to me, is basically akin to raping her all over again. Because the Supreme Court’s ruling passes the buck, N.S. might still have to remove her niqab.

There have been many countries who have banned the burqa and the niqab, including France, Belgium and even Syria. If the Canadian government had the balls to follow suit, instead of kowtow to a religion… a religion, whose text, I might add, does not say that a woman must cover her face, unless she is the wife of the Prophet, then this wouldn’t even be an issue. Even a Canadian Muslim group is calling for a ban.

So because these men won’t take responsibility for their own erect penises, two more women must pay the price.

Obsessed

A Royal Pain


Ironically, I had planned to write about the British Royal family the day before yesterday, after watching Madonna’s film W.E., then it was announced that William and Kate are expecting their first child which only solidified the plan.

prince-william-and-princess-catherine-kiss-after-their-weddingThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Now, before you start thinking that I am going to bash Will and Kate just one day after they announced their good news, let me put your mind at ease. This is not a blog about how William and Kate are spawning another mouth for the taxpayers of Britain (and the Commonwealth) to feed. They have done their Royal duty by creating an heir (a classier way of saying humped like bunnies until he knocked her up) This is a blog about whether or not the British Royal family is still relevant to society. I think not.

coronationlizQueen Elizabeth II on her coronation day.

It could be argued that the British Royals uphold a certain social and moral standard, that they represent a grand tradition and that their mere existence brings countless tourist dollars into Britain. The truth is that the Queen serves as head of the Church of England and must appear at numerous ceremonial functions as the face of England and the Commonwealth. The Church of England was created so that Henry VIII could divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, so it’s not exactly a paragon of virtue from the get go. Now, I think Queen Elizabeth II has fulfilled her duty with the utmost grace and has been a shining example of what a monarch should be. She was groomed for the position since birth and has sacrificed her whole life for honour and duty to her country. Elizabeth II has reigned longer than any other monarch with the exception of Queen Victoria (though she is only 5 years away from beating that record). Sadly, her time on the throne is nearing an end and it will soon be time to pass the crown to a new monarch.

Queen-Elizabeth-II-Celebrates-Diamond-JubileeQueen Elizabeth II celebrated her diamond jubilee

The next in line for that honour is Charles, Prince of Wales. Unlike his mother, Charles has not been what you could call a pillar of society. He has acted like a spoiled brat, consistently flouting the rules of his station and yet still expecting to keep his place in line to the throne. Unlike his Great Uncle, King Edward VIII he has not shown one ounce of regard for the import, nor the rules of his title and does not seem to understand that he has done nothing to deserve to ascend to the role of King. Instead he acts like it his God-given right to one day be King. I am sure he was groomed for the throne since birth, like his mother before him. I am sure he is aware of the rules of conduct to which he must adhere, yet, at every turn he has acted in a purely selfish manner, preferring to serve his penis rather than his title (which the taxpayers pay for him to hold). We, the public have had to endure all of the lurid details of his affair with a married woman while he was still married to the mother of his children. We have suffered through tape recordings of sexual conversations where he said he wanted to be a feminine hygiene product. All of this from a man who is paid to be better than the rest of the rabble.

Charles+Camilla+Attend+Annual+Mey+Games+C9c_1rUkb-nlChlamydia, Duchess of Corn-hole and the Man Who Would be Tampon

Support for the Royals is waning world-wide. Yesterday, Yahoo Canada had a poll that asked ‘Do you care about William and Kate’s personal life?’ Over 50,000 people responded and 81% of them voted No. Just last month, a 76 year old man in Auckland, New Zealand (a commonwealth country) was arrested just before he had the chance to throw a bucket of horse manure on Charles and Camilla during a royal visit. But, perhaps nowhere on the planet is distaste for the royals higher than in Quebec where more than 80% of the population is opposed to the monarchy. The last time Charles and Camilla visited La Belle Province, they were met by more than 1000 angry protesters who hurled eggs at their car and shouted nasty slurs at them as they drove past. Even Will and Kate were on the receiving end of a protest when they visited Montreal last year. Every time Canada (a commonwealth country) has to pay for another royal visit there are people from all across the country speaking out against the monarchy.

Prince Charles, CamillaCharles and Camilla in Montreal as protesters hurl eggs at their car.

It seems to me that if Charles is not passed over, that quite a few commonwealth countries will fall by the wayside. After all, we are no longer part of the British Empire, we are our own sovereign countries, some of whom are becoming more financially stable than England. It is my opinion that England would do well to disband their monarchy after the current Queen steps down. The government owns those castles. Why not turn them into luxury hotels? That way the staff could stay on (at a higher wage than the royals are paying them… plus tips) and the tourist dollars would likely be higher than they are now with no one being allowed so much as a tour of Buckingham Palace. Other countries have royals who are royal in title only and can be seen bicycling around town along with the rest of  population, why not England? What exactly are you holding onto? It’s different in Monaco where the Grimaldi family hold court. The Grimaldis aren’t freeloading off of the taxpayers… in Monaco there is no income tax. Income tax as we know it started, by the way, in England in 1798 by William Pitt the Younger.

monacoroyalsThe Royal Family of Monaco

It makes no sense (cents?) to keep funding an entire family to hold positions that are but figureheads in this economy when so many of your own people (taxpayers) are hurting and with so many of your allies shouting down this antiquated tradition. Even if Charles is bypassed and William becomes King do you really think that the commonwealth countries will want to continue paying for the visits and the pomp and circumstance for a 30 year old kid and his wife? I don’t think that the British people will be so keen to keep the royals on if they are the only ones funding them either. I think the world is outgrowing this quaint high school-like tradition where one group is deemed better than the rest of us just because they were born rich, who then piss it all away. We have celebrities for that.

I’d like to leave you with the following video from The Kids in the Hall because, as I was writing this post, this sketch came screaming to mind… and I know I could use a good laugh after all of this kvetching.

Sick and tired


 Image by the brilliant DonkeyHotey

The American hype machine has been running at a fever pitch this election season. Between the dog and pony show that was the race for the Republican nomination, to the game of hot potato that came before the announcement of a running mate and the actual Presidential campaign, it seems as if America has been campaigning for about a decade now.

As regular readers already know, I live in Canada. You would think that Canada is now America Junior with the way we have been inundated with every little fart that each American candidate has tooted since the beginning of this election season. You can’t get away from news about the U.S. election… it’s everywhere. It’s reported on by our Canadian news shows, in our Canadian newspapers and on our Canadian websites, thankfully the American election is never the top story on any of those venues. Unfortunately, on sites like Huffington Post Canada or Yahoo Canada (Canadian versions of American websites), unless there is a heinous killer on the loose (Luca Rocco Magnotta) or a natural disaster (earthquake of the coast of B.C. or hurricane Sandy) it’s almost always the top story. Yesterday’s top story on The Huffington Post Canada was cleverly disguised as a story about Canada. It was even titled O Canada. The story was all about how a recent poll showed that Canadians would vote for Obama over Romney by a margin of 7 to 1. How is this Canadian news?

Canadians are a fairly savvy bunch. You can’t just put the word Canada and an image of a Maple Leaf on your logo but still report mainly American news stories and expect that Canadians won’t notice. In the case of the Huffington Post, I imagine that the reason for them to have, typically, less than 50 percent Canadian content is due to the fact that most Canadian bloggers know that cachet is not French for cash and don’t want to write for free. In the case of Yahoo Canada and others like it, I assume that as they are American owned and operated, they are not bound by the same Canadian content laws that govern our media.

Canada is part of the Commonwealth, otherwise known as the British Commonwealth, and as such, we have a close relationship to Britain and the Queen, yet when there is an election held in England, we hardly hear about it. The province where I live, Quebec, is still very French in both language and culture, but when an election is held in France, it barely makes our radar. Recently Quebec held an election and the U.S. election still got more news coverage in Quebec than that of our own.

Believe it or not people who live in Canada actually want to know about what is happening in their own country. I have spoken to many Canadians who go out of their way to avoid news about the U.S. election, but still know more about it than the undecided American voters do.

America is the only country on the planet that has such a long election campaign. In Canada our campaigns range from 36 days (the minimum) to 74 days (the length of our longest campaign… just two days longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage). One could be led to believe that Americans really like campaign season, but it seems that Canadians aren’t the only ones who are sick and tired of having news of this election shoved down our collective throats.

I must say, this little girl sums it up perfectly.