Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dad, may I have your kidney?

The United Nations Human Rights Comission has approved a resolution opposing anti-gay violence and discrimination. It passed by a vote of 25-14.

There was some doubt South Africa would support it, though they eventually voted yes. South Africa was the first country to put protections for sexual minorities in its constitution, but lately it seems to be turning away from full inclusion. The South African Ambassador noted he felt squeezed between protecting rights and a desire to preserve relationships with homophobic African countries.

A commenter breaks down the vote of the 39 countries in the commission. In the nay column are Africa (except South Africa), all Islamic majority countries, and Russia. In the yea column are North and South America, Europe, and Asia (except for Indonesia, which has an Islamic majority).

Another commenter said we should thank Christians because all the countries that voted for this resolution are Christian majority. That got a storm brewing. Several responded by saying these countries approved the resolution not because they are mostly Christian, but because they are mostly secular.

The organization Freedom to Marry has launched a nationwide ad campaign highlighting the states that still don't have marriage equality and saying "It's Time," America is ready. The ad shows an interesting map of the states without equality but no outlines of the states who already have it.

The International Olympic Committee has said it will add a non-discrimination clause to the contract it signs with host cities. The hosts must uphold Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, which states, "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement." Some commenters are pleased. Others say it won't prevent a repeat of the mess around the Sochi games because Principle 6 doesn't explicitly mention sexual orientation and gender identity.

A few days ago NPR did a feature on Sister Theresa Forcades, a Catholic nun in Spain. She has become an outspoken darling of progressives in that country. What caught my attention was her comments on abortion. Her first issue: decision-making in the Catholic Church is linked to ordination and ordination is linked to gender.

When she spoke of supporting abortion rights she got a swift reprimand from the Vatican. In her response she posed a philosophical question:
So let's imagine you have a father and the father has a compatible kidney, and you have a child, an innocent child, who needs the kidney. Is the church ready to force the father to give the kidney, to save the child's life? That the right to life of the child takes precedence over the right to self-determination to his own body, of the father?
To that question the Vatican did not reply.

A little bit of fun: Cirque du Soleil created a film showing how quadcopters might be used in dance (and might be used in an upcoming live show).

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