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Public Reveal: After Being Asked To Lead State House Prayer, Arizona House Representative Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) Reveals To Colleagues That He’s Atheist, Then Talks About His Atheism And Quote Carl Sagan
A lawmaker put in charge of delivering the opening prayer at yesterday’s session of the Arizona House of Representatives surprised his colleagues by using the opportunity to talk about his atheism and quote Carl Sagan.
USA Today says Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) put in a request to have Secular Coalition of Arizona director Serah Blain speak before the house during yesterday’s “prayer time,” but his request was somehow misplaced, so he decided to address the House in her stead.
“Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask you not to bow your heads,” Mendez told his fellow legislators at the start of yesterday’s invocation. “I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people of our state.”
This room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my Secular Humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love.
Carl Sagan once wrote, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” There is, in the political process, much to bear. In this room, let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness, our shared capacity for reason and compassion, our shared love for the people of our state, for our Constitution and for our democracy - and let us root our policymaking process in these values that are relevant to all Arizonans regardless of religious belief or nonbelief. In gratitude and in love, in reason and in compassion, let us work together for a better Arizona.
Mendez went on to point out several Secular Coalition for Arizona members watching from the House gallery, and said he hoped Arizona’s non-believers would now be able to “feel as welcome and valued here as believers.”
The Phoenix New Times reports that one of the Coalition members in attendance “said she was ‘witnessing history.’”
In related news, the Supreme Court this week announced its plans to review the constitutionality of holding prayer sessions at legislative meetings.
[photo via Mendez for AZ]
Props to this Arizona house representative
Why I’m lucky to know the Halmonis
First off, I just want to say how happy I am to see the 1,000th protest photos explode on Tumblr. Thanks to everyone who reblogged to spread the word about this issue. It warms my heart to know that many people have gotten to hear at least a little about these courageous women.
Next, I want to write about how grateful I am to have been able to know them for the past 2.5 years as a volunteer at the House of Sharing. These women are truly remarkable.
I’ll start with an anecdote to illustrate the attitudes these women face when they go public as survivors of “comfort stations”. On my own FB wall, an acquaintance of an acquaintance commented (one reason you should not accept just anyone’s friend request) in regards to a post I made about going to the 1,000th protest. He wrote something along the lines that these women need to stop employing “nationalistic rituals” in order to ask for free handouts from the Japanese government and stop distracting from Korea’s more “pressing issues” (North-South relations, rise of China, etc). Of course, this guy thinks he’s an expert in East Asian diplomacy, all because he lived in Japan for a couple of years. I don’t think I need to explain any further, right?
And then I remembered once again how amazing these women are. Because they hear this bullshit all the time and they are STILL fighting. I was ready to put my head through a wall after just that brief discourse on my FB wall and it wasn’t even in reference to anything that I’ve been forced to experience. These Halmonis have to listen to people casually discuss the THOUSANDS of rapes that they survived as if it’s a nationalistic plot or should be discarded in order to promote diplomatic relations. This is not a pawn for strategic relations, people. These are real women - over 200,000 - who were systematically raped, beaten, tortured, and killed. And they have to listen to dickheads like this guy flippantly reduce the rapes and torture that they experienced to political maneuvering.
He also made several references to them being similar to prostitutes, that they had volunteered to work in this “comfort stations” or were paid. Let me just make two things very clear here: First, even IF you “volunteered” to work as a prostitute (how many 11-19 year old girls in 1930’s Korea would really knowingly do that??), once they are unable to voluntarily leave their “volunteering”, once they are physically forced to stay somewhere and have sex with people against their will, it is rape. Even IF (big if), the initially went there as a volunteer, they ceased being a volunteer and became subjected to rape when they were unable to leave at their own will, unable to refuse sex at their own will, unable to avoid physical abuse and torture at their own will. Secondly, even though most of these women never saw a dime of the money being paid (in official Japanese military coupons, by the way), being paid by your rapist does not make you a prostitute. BEING PAID BY YOUR RAPIST DOES NOT MAKE YOU A PROSTITUTE. Let me say it again - if someone rapes me and then throws $100 at me, I am not a prostitute and you are still a rapist.
And even though they face these attitudes EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY, they still fight! That is why I’m lucky to know these women. They teach me that women’s voices matter. That no matter how little socio-economic power we have, if we demand to be heard, we will eventually be heard!
When they were abducted and forced into “comfort stations” they were the most vulnerable members - young, poor, uneducated females - of an already vulnerable society - Korea under forced Japanese colonial rule. And yet they have created the longest-running human rights protest in the world. These women have been fighting for 20 years to be goddamn heard. And people have listened. The US, Canada, EU, Philippines, and over 25 prefectures in Japan have passed official resolutions, urging Japan to resolve this issue. And that is powerful people. Old, poor, uneducated women - the most underrepresented members of our international community made people hear their voices.
Then this FB guy demanded that if I was so sure that it wasn’t a nationalistic issue, I’d better be doing everything I could do to stop it “in my own backyard” (Korea), where Korean women are suffering in the same ways, but this time, not by Japanese hands.
And here’s another reason why these women are amazing. They do exactly that. They stand in solidarity with Korean (and now also Filipina) women who were coerced to work in the 기지촌 (US military camptowns) in Korea. They fight with these women, they understand the connection between their issue and what is happening in Korea today. One of the 기지촌 survivors actually spoke at the 1,000th protest. Our House of Sharing International Outreach Team will be holding a workshop today with Duraebang (a shelter for Filipina women trafficked into Korea), translated by yours truly. More info on that event: http://www.facebook.com/events/181888128565648/
Finally, I want to say of the estimated 200,000 women who were forced to work as sex slaves in “comfort stations” during WWII, approximately 150,000 were Korean women but only 234 South Korean registered officially as survivors.
Of those 234, only 63 are still living. Japan must resolve this issue, but they are literally hoping that the issue will die away with the Halmonis.
** TRIGGER WARNING: TRANSMISOGYNY **
dont fucking include roseanne barr in photosets of “strong woman quotes” she believes trans* women are pedophiles simply because they want to be able to use women’s restrooms a woman who attacks other women does not deserve praise or idolization
I actually didn’t know about this, and I looked it up and uhm, yeah.
(Source)Okay childhood she-ro dead to me now…
I like that she thinks that people calling her out on her shit is being divisive. What a shitbag.
Reblogging for reciepts
WHAT THE ACTUALLY FUCK I AM SO UNCOMFORTABLE RIGHT NOW
what the actual fuck
This is actually pretty cool
its really sweet though
am i the only one who finds this really disturbing.
This is actually lovely.
that really made me feel uneasy oh my god
Wow that was absolutely not what I was expecting.
I love it! Might be graphic, but I love it.
Distinguished sociologist Erving Goffman noted that women in photographs are often portrayed in compromising or submissive situations such as having the head turned upwards to expose the neck or in a contorted stances often with light self-touching. Such poses invite the gaze of the viewer and make the subject of the photograph seem vulnerable and exposed to sexualization.
as highlighted by the image, Erving Goffman made it known that these poses were problematic because if we saw any reversal of the gender roles, we perceive it as weird or strange. this image shows a man posing in a feminine fashion… men are very rarely posing like this in professional photography.
essentially, if our instincts tell us something is strange about a person in a photograph, it is representative of the demand of gender display in advertisements.
This kind of thing is super interesting to me. Other ways women are photographed but men rarely are include;
Standing on one leg/legs crossed and weight all on one leg/leaning on someone or something - The woman is vulnerable and incapable. She literally can’t stand (exist) alone.
With their head cropped out of the image or with their eyes down - This goes back to Madonna and Child and is totally entwined with the whole subject/object problem. The (male) viewer is the active subject, the woman is the passive object. You’re allowed to look because she sure as hell isn’t going to do anything, her body exists for you. (Hello rape culture.)
Not dressed - This isn’t such a big deal if the woman is photographed alone but often photos will depict naked women and fully dressed men, often in suits. The implications of this are pretty obvious.
Cut/Bruised - Vulnerability again. To be honest I’ve seen these kinds of images more on tumblr than I have anywhere else, they don’t seem to have made it into mainstream photography quite as much. But Tumblr is super fond of headless semi-dressed women with grazed knees. I guess in some way you could agrue that these photos show the strength of women, but I personally don’t buy that. For the same reason I don’t like this theme used domestic violence ads, I think it only serves to re-victimise the women.
Obviously there are also some really great photographs of women that don’t do any of these things, and some photographs that use these themes for legitimate reasons.
Always reblog, because this is so damn provoking.
I’ve figured out one of the things I’d like to do when traveling: check out unique architecture for the particular places I go to.