Apr 22, 2013 Kumquat commented on You Don't Know Either, Amanda Palmer.
I don't want to speak for Megan's outrage, but since you are asking, I'll offer my own, Delirian.

I find the poem offensive because it does *not* do the thing that you are claiming it does- it does not humanize Dzhokar- it attempts to speak for him, and in a way that is incredibly off putting, and ultimately just points the finger back at Amanda Palmer. As humans who collectively experienced (at a once or twice remove, depending on who you are on this thread) something horrific, and are still processing it, it's off putting and offensive to have a public figure (which, you know, is the sort of result of being a successful artist- she is a public figure) take all of that awfulness and then just turn the spotlight on themselves. "Wait, wait, see how provacative and risque I'm being!" is what comes across from this poem. Whether that's because of clumsy artistry or that's the intent, it's still really annoying and not really useful. And, honestly, a lot of crap is offensive because it's crap. Seriously, people devote their lives to dissecting other's artistic output based on the metric of "is this crap or not".

I agree with you that it is paramount to remember the humanity of Dzhokar. You can hold that position and also hold that this poem is crap.

Apr 8, 2013 Kumquat commented on The Morning News: Margaret Thatcher Dies, Hillary Clinton Writes a Book, and Chile Digs Up a Nobel Laureate.
Was there an article I missed somehow that #4 pertains to, or is it just sort of a random comment that didn't fit anywhere else today, and just ended up here? Is it somehow linked to the Nutella one? The worst date ever one? I'm just so confused by the placement here!

Mar 25, 2013 Kumquat commented on Gaytheists.
Actually, now that I think about it, my father in law's super conservative church was *way* more on the ball- and fiercely advocating for- protection against human trafficking than anyone else I am aware of. They take in people who've been illegally trafficked, help them find housing, navigate within the immigration system, help them find employment, etc etc. They also do lots of work to try to influence local and state legislation. His church is abysmal when it comes to gay rights (or even environmentalism), but they were really at the forefront of this particular issue.

Humans: we are a mixed bag!
Mar 25, 2013 Kumquat commented on Gaytheists.
From @55: "If religion could demonstrate to us just once that it is able to take the lead when it comes to social or scientific progress (take climate change, take education - in particular science - in particular evolution, the backbone of biology -- take gay rights, take stem cell research, take space exploration and research, take women's rights especially in other parts of the world, just to name a few current issues), we'd have nothing else to talk about."

I think that Martin Luther King Jr, a Baptist Minister, did a pretty solid job of taking the lead on the Civil Rights Issues of the day.

Quakers have a solid record of taking radical stances and leadership roles around the issues of slavery and women's equality in the 1800s, and in promoting pacifism and peaceful protest for the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

I'm not super well versed on this, but it seems like I've recalled that during the Islam Golden Age, serious scientific advances were made, encouraged by the Muslim leadership of the time and place.

Anyway, none of that is to deter you from being an Atheist, or to assert that a life with religion is superior to a life without religion. I do think you are making some very broad claims while ignoring some evidence that challenges those claims.

If you remove religion from the world, people will go on being shitty to each other and they will go on being amazing and generous to each other, much the same as now. And they'll find all sorts of reasons to support or justify their behaviors and decisions, much the same as now. It's part of the complexity of being human. History seems to do a great job of demonstrating that as well!

Anyway, Blake, you sound pretty committed to your cause. I'm unlikely to join you, since I find my faith helps me be a better person, and gives me great comfort in times when life is shitty, but I wish you and yours success in getting together a like minded community. I know that I feel a lot of comfort and peace in attended services with my own (liberal, progressive, religious) like minded community!
Mar 24, 2013 Kumquat commented on Gaythiests.
I am seriously confused at who @22 is aimed at, because I can't find the comment where anyone is saying they have a problem with anyone, gay or straight, being atheists.
Mar 24, 2013 Kumquat commented on Gaythiests.
@15: I like your idea about co-opting Christian rituals to irritate Christians, but suggest that the argument "but they did it first" is a poor one to make if the ritual you want to adopt is the one of berating people for believing in things you think are nonsensical. That kind of thing just looks ugly on anyone, Christian, Vegan, Atheist, middle schooler, etc. etc.

Anyway, good on the gay atheists who want this space for making it, and power to them in making it a good community for themselves. As a Progressive Christian and someone who adheres to the idea that @7 (it's the diversity of ideas that makes the world go 'round) I hope they are able to gain traction.
Mar 16, 2013 Kumquat commented on Addedum to SL Letter of the Day.
I love this. Thank you.
Mar 12, 2013 Kumquat commented on Wait, Who the Hell Is Dr. Benjamin Carson?.
I saw him a few years ago at my brother in law's graduation from ORU, and I second what @1 said. So many bootstraps! He did get a standing ovation, which kind of just confirmed my general feeling of overall antagonism. I love my brother in law, and my in laws, to death, but ORU seemed a kind of hot mess of crazy to me.
Jan 19, 2013 Kumquat commented on "Gun advocates want to create a society governed by fear.".
Oh, this is so annoying. I'm pro-gun control- which I think is ludicrously overdue, but that doesn't mean that that somehow blinds me to the fact that people in my life who are all about the sacredness of the second amendment aren't total assholes. I have aunts, uncles, high school friends, former bosses (a father in law) who all feel pretty strongly about their right to bear arms, and none of them are scared sociopaths. The people I'm thinking about are complex people with their fare amount of fear of change and sense of entitlement, but are also good, loving, hard working, friendly, helpful social people. You know, complicated humans who hold a stance that I disagree with.

There are definitely assholes out there in the population who rally to protect the second amendment. Assholery is an equal opportunity social disease. But acting like there is a consensus among gun owners that the desired goal is to destroy society so everyone feels as scared as they do is a total break from my experience, and kind of aggravating to read about, because it doesn't seem to help the national dialogue all that much.