Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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The Work of King: A Panel in Sioux Falls

20 January 2014

If you’re local, please attend!

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The Work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

King’s politics had real depth, driven by a keen awareness of socio-economics, theology, and the human condition. Please join Sioux Falls Seminary as it celebrates the legacy of the great civil rights leader through a panel of esteemed commentators:

Mark Blackburn, Augustana College
Ceca Cooper, University of Sioux Falls
Robin Duncan, Sioux Falls Psychological Services
Christina Hitchcock, University of Sioux Falls
Gary Strickland, Sioux Falls Seminary

WHEN: Thursday, January 23, 7:30pm
WHERE: Sioux Falls Seminary, 2100 S. Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD

Refreshments will be served.

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Men Who Stop Rape

7 November 2013

Women have made considerable gains worldwide in calling attention to rape, whether it be the victims of American party-culture to Indian gang-rape atrocities to the pre-teen molestation culture in Papua New Guinea. In 2011-12 the United Nations conducted the largest worldwide study of rape, covering six nations. When taking into account non-consensual sex in marriage, or an inability of a partner to refuse sex, about one in four men surveyed reported committing some kind of rape. The issue is on the table.

But are the solutions being set forth clearly? One that must be put forward in any discussion, in my opinion, is the importance of raising up male anti-rape advocates. Because sexual force stems so much from a sense of entitlement to gratification, and because entitlement derives from cultural norms, men must be vocal in stating that rape is not normative or acceptable. More specifically, important men, “normative” men, must step up to the microphone and air this message.

A friend here in Sioux Falls was commissioned with the leadership of a domestic violence rehab group. He was surprised to find how resistant men were to admitting that they were in control of a situation involving physical or sexual violence. “I couldn’t help myself” or “She was asking for it” became common mantras to avoid personal responsibility. The leader had to walk the men through the decisions they had actually made: “Did you attack her?” “Did you choose to hit her with your fist or kick her?” “Which clothing did you try to take off her?” And so forth. Ultimately, these men hoped that male sympathy for “natural” passions would override personal responsibility. A group like this undid the hope. And it started with a strong male leader. Once multiple men took responsibility for their crime, others followed.

The same sort of thing has been happening in Nairobi, Kenya. After some rapists were released after receiving a sentence of mowing the lawn, the Men to Men program of FEMNET showed up to protest. Kennedy Otina was one of those in attendance, publicly demonstrating. “When there is a case in court,” Otina said, rapists “tend to think or assume that we [men] will be the ones to defend them, to support them in court, but you know when they get to us, we help them understand that violence against women is not acceptable.”

The crimes occurring in bedrooms start with the attitudes born in public forums. Fortunately, key men around the world are taking a stand.

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NASA’s Territorial Pissing

29 May 2012

With a blog name like “Men on the Moon,” why not talk about men on the moon every once in a while?

With the advent of commercial space flight, the old guard of NASA want businessmen everywhere to know that the moon (at least select parts of it) is their jurisdiction. In July 2011 the world received “NASA’s Recommendations to Space-Faring Entities,” a set of guidelines to private sector missions. The document included parameters for lunar explorations, namely, “exclusion zones” of historically significant areas. The Apollo landing sites, for example, should not be approached by a lander within 2km, and even rovers are prohibited within immediate vicinity.

Is it just me, or is the “preservation” line ringing a little hollow here? Since the surface of the moon is essentially a collection of powder, what is being preserved is NASA’s claims to real estate, which belongs to them by virtue of a set of footprints. One doesn’t have to go to the moon to discern the tell-tale trail they’ve spritzed into the lunar dust.

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Will Michele Bachmann Submit to Her Husband?

15 August 2011

Every politician comes to a point where she has to heave herself headlong into the paradox. For conservative evangelicals like Michelle Bachmann, that happened last Thursday night when a Washington Examiner reported asked her if she was submissive to her husband.

Whom, after all, are voters electing into office? Michelle, or her “spiritual head”?

Marcus Bachmann Gay Therapy Marcus Bachmann Gay Therapy

The reporter’s question was booed, but I think that’s a great question to pose to a woman riding the God-and-evangelical-America wave. If only reporters would have the courage to ask left-leaning politicians the equivalent question: “Why should we believe you’ll bow to the peoples’ will, when you do no more than ‘respect’ your spouse, and conceive of God’s will so amorphously?”

The Salon.com feature is well worth reading.

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Yale University and the Sexual Harrassment Case You Knew Was Coming

18 May 2011

For a number of years Yale has established itself as a university pushing the boundaries of sexual discourse and mores. In 2012 the school celebrates the ten year anniversary of Sex Week at Yale (SWAY), a conference devoted to exploration of all issues sexual. Past speakers have discussed everything from condom use to bisexuality to genital piercing to destigmatizing sex work (provided it is one’s “chosen” profession). The language of “mutuality” tends to lubricate the conversation, ethically speaking. But not entirely: a recent presentation at SWAY encouraged men to “Think of yourself as a hunter” in order to get into women’s pants.

The necessary counterpart to Yale’s licentious conference exerted itself this week as school officials banned a fraternity from campus for five years over a chant they deemed to be sexual harrassment. Delta Kappa Epsilon, the expelled organization, had included as part of October’s initiation rites the following chant in front of the Yale Women’s Center: “No means yes, yes means anal.” The misogynistic chant was followed by another about necrophilia. It was the first phrase, however, that was cited as the basis for expulsion of the fraternity from campus.  Sadomasochistic fun during SWAY week?: okay.  Sadomasochistic humor during hazing events?: not so okay.

Much as corporate capitalism requires an ever-expanding national government to stimulate and regulate it in equal measures, so Yale University’s sexual openness demands a political counterpart to baptize and chastize.  Sexual permissiveness requires increased policing, therefore it comes as no surprise that administrators orchestrated a crackdown on the first public transgression.  Delta Kappa Epsilon initiates, being libertines in the wrong way at the wrong time, will have to take the fall.

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Are Women a Class?: Wal-Mart at the Supreme Court

6 December 2010

While this blog is devoted to men’s issues, this bit of news about women is too important to pass up.

Today the United States Supreme Court agreed to take on a court case in which female employees of Wal-Mart have filed a class action law suit, claiming payscale discrimination.  The nature of court case, however, is not whether Wal-Mart has paid many of their women less than men (this fact is largely obvious).  The Supreme Court is to decide whether women in the organization can sue as a class action suit.  In other words: Does “woman” classify as a category of discrimination on this enormous scale?  Sure, a hundred female employees working in a single factory might sue for the sexual bias – but what about hundreds of thousands of women, working in thousands of different locations under different conditions and management?

While the monetary consequence of this suit might amount to billions of dollars going to Wal-Mart’s female employees, the greater significance is what this case means as a litmus test for the nation.  Is America sympathetic to the feminist concern that women are chronically underpaid?  And the significance for governmental oversight: Will sex-based discrimination be regulated much more on a federal level?

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On Male Heroism and Empire

29 October 2010

“Leif [Erickson] and his fellow sailors performed miracles… in the drift ice, in fearsome gales, in fogs like wet sheepskins – but empires have to be built of commoner stuff than miracles.”
– Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism and the Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-100, p.56