Category Archives: Culture

Pediatricians turn away kids who aren’t vaccinated.

This headline comes from a story on Yahoo today by Jessica Ashley. Pediatricians in Chicago and NYC discuss their new policies on refusing to see patients whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate them. Since these markets are large enough that the parents have the option of finding another doctor, the pediatricians feel comfortable that their policies are not depriving anyone of medical care. It sounds like they would not have the rule if they were located in, say, a rural area where parents could only access one such doctor.

Personally, I think this is a good policy that will protect the health of other patients who are vulnerable or too young to have been fully vaccinated. It’s not fair for parents who decide not to vaccinate to expose and endanger other children whose parents don’t have the luxury of such a choice. I would be pleased if my own doctor’s office chose to adopt such a policy, as it would give extra protection to our kids who suffer from asthma and for whom vaccination is not complete protection against illness, and to our soon-to-be new baby who will be making all of those regular, early trips to the doctor before he or she is old enough to receive vaccines and boosters. Pertussis and mumps are both making a strong comeback in my area, thanks to the high numbers of unvaccinated children. I don’t need my newborn or asthmatic kids exposed to those germs in the doctor’s office, thanks!

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Happy Canada Day!

How can anyone deny the awesomeness of this crazy hat?

Stealing and Selling Babies

Today’s BBC reports on the raid of a human-trafficking “baby farm” in Nigeria, calling to light an ongoing problem not only in Nigeria but worldwide. Of all the many horrible things that go on in the world, this has to be one of the very worst. Thank God at least some of these children and mothers were rescued from a terrible fate. Still, according to UNICEF and other organizations that combat and study trafficking, hundreds of thousands of children each year are sold and forced into servitude of one kind or another. The United States is not immune from this modern-day slavery; more information about the problem and what can be done to help is available at the Health and Human Services website.

Why So Opposed to Monogamy?

In recent years, I’ve noticed arguments from a growing number of non-monogamy advocates. Some of them (e.g. the “Sex at Dawn” authors) make the mistake that because our species is not biologically programmed to be monogamous, this means something is wrong with monogamy. Although he is not the worst of this group, the sex-advice columnist Dan Savage is often inexplicably hostile towards monogamy. He claims that he’s not opposed to monogamy, and merely advocates in favor of non-monogamy as a perfectly legitimate choice and potential relationship-saver, but this week’s column is a typical example of his actual anti-monogamy attitude.

First, he accuses a husband who prefers to take his wife along if he were to visit a dominatrix to be spanked: “he’s either an ingrate or a bossy, passive-aggressive, domineering douchesub”. Why? Because a man who has been married for 19 years and loves his wife would prefer not to engage in sexual adventures on his own without her, even if she gives him permission to do so? Savage goes even further, though, in responding to a young man who wants to be tied up by his reluctant boyfriend, and seeks suggestions that might make this more fun and less stressful for the boyfriend. The immediate reaction is: “Outsource ’em.” Go outside the relationship to satisfy your desires! What happened to the suggestions about making things more comfortable for the boyfriend? Just ditch him and go elsewhere is Dan’s first thought.

If that won’t work, at least he recommends staying in what is otherwise a good relationship. Still, Savage never permits any compromise in satisfying sexual desires: in conclusion, he says the letter-writer should issue an ultimatum: “you’re ultimately going to explore your kinks with him—your preferred option—or you’re going to need his permission to explore your kinks without him. But you’re not going to not explore your kinks.” God forbid that all the many good qualities of a relationship could be enough, on their own, to satisfy a person! Yet if one sexual desire among many goes unmet, it’s a dealbreaker for Savage, and a license to abandon monogamous commitment. Given the advice he dishes out, one wonders why Savage bothers to pretend that he tolerates monogamy at all. He clearly doesn’t understand its appeal or the meaning of such a commitment.

Today in History, Part II

On June 24, 2011, New York state representatives vote to make gay marriage legal. This also happens to be Gay Pride weekend in NYC–what an event they are going to have now. Tomorrow is also the day of the gay pride parade and festival in Omaha, Nebraska, where gay marriage is unlikely to be legalized any time soon, but the events in New York still set an encouraging precedent for equal treatment of all under the law.

Today in History

June 24th, 1901 marked the beginning of Pablo Picasso’s first Paris exhibition, at the age of 19. Later that year, he entered his famous “Blue Period”. The two paintings featured here are from 1901. Some of the distinctive elements of Picasso’s style are already apparent, but the style is also quite different from what we see in many of his later works. It’s fascinating to trace the development of such a genius and prolific creator.

Heartland Proclamation

Heartland Clergy for Inclusion, a group of clergy in the midwest now numbering over 200, have signed a Proclamation declaring an apology for former silence, an affirmation that sexual orientation is “not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin”, and an insistence on full equality for LGBT people in religious life and institutions. I’m very glad to see leaders of traditional, organized religion stepping forward to make this public affirmation. Too often, it seems that people try to speak as if all Christians are opposed to same-sex marriage or adoption. Those who insist that being gay is a choice or something that could be cured seem to think they are speaking on behalf of Christians in general.

However, those voices do not speak for all of us who are members of Christian churches and who welcome gay members and leaders in our congregations. I would feel that something was deeply amiss in the church if it did not welcome people and accept everyone equally! This also means that LGBT people cannot be accepted as people who have faults, as happens in some churches–the “love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality. Rather, it must be absolutely clear that there is nothing wrong with being LGBT, nothing about it that is incompatible with any Christian value or doctrine.

I remember a while back, talking to a young gay man who had been raised in a very religious family. When he found out that I was a church member, and also believed gays should be able to marry, adopt, or do anything that anyone else can do in our society, he was surprised. He wanted to know if I really thought that God was okay with all of these things, and that it was possible to affirm both one’s identity as gay and one’s firm Christian faith. I said of course, yes, and I didn’t quite understand at the time why he seemed very moved by this declaration. In my own narrow-mindedness, I had assumed that it was an easy thing to reconcile those positions, and that anyone trying to do so would find the necessary support and encouragement. Yet people do not find such support very easily, and are more likely to encounter hostility from all sides: from Christians who reject being gay as a sinful choice, or from gay advocates who assume that all organized religion is hostile to homosexuality, and therefore no place for LGBT people to develop their faith.

It’s high time that this changed, and terrific to see the Heartland Clergy for Inclusion leading the way!