jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

... or those who can be persuaded to do things that go against their consciences, when their leaders command it. Whether in a church or in service to other ideals.

Posted on Feminist Mormon Housewives:

Um, I think there’s something to be said for mirror neurons being the basis of universal morality. In people with functioning consciences, they make us hurt too when we see others hurting.

Making someone ignore their conscience requires either mental illness, like sociopathy (where you can’t empathize at all), or indoctrination, like Mormonism (where the Other is demonized and you are given reasons to enjoy or ignore their suffering).

The reason Mormonism is becoming increasingly unpopular, these days, is not because people reject morality altogether. It’s because their consciences tell them your church’s teachings are immoral and hurtful.

I personally left, when I realized that. My commitment to kindness and love allowed me to transcend the awful beliefs I was raised with, and see others — and myself — for the valuable people we were. If my life still has fear and pain in it now, it is largely because of people like you, who believe in a sort of moral relativity where an act (like forbidding others to marry) is evil if done against you but blessed if done against someone your god disapproves of.

If you are struggling with matters of conscience as well, I strongly suggest considering that your god may be the one with the problem, and that you ought to find one who doesn’t tell you to hurt people.

Part Two:

Also, being intolerant of intolerance does in fact make sense. Functioning empathy is the basis of solidarity, and community. “If you want to hurt them, you’ll have to go through me first” is only unreasonable if you believe that you have a right to hurt others.

Or if you don’t believe your actions are, in fact, hurtful, in which case you may want to stop and listen to others explain why it is.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Please pray to whatever you worship, that justice will be done. For all of the gender, sexual, religious, and ethnic minorities whose lives are policed by the majority's cruelty, and ended through violence, deprivation, and despair.

After you are finished praying, please find those who are endangered and hurting, and help them. Not by erasing what makes them endangered, but by making it safe for them to be themselves.

My going on living, today, is a political act. Just like it has been every day, for the past few years. I shouldn't have to face the opposition that makes it political. I should just be able to take it for granted.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Not unless they no longer live with their parents, and they denounce them.

The New York Times has the story, as do a number of other major news outlets.

If Facebook and the comments section of Feminist Mormon Housewives are any indication, people are reeling from the announcement, and hearts that were already fragile are breaking. My love and sympathy go out to anyone who is affected by this, and who feels unworthy and unclean the way that I did growing up. Or scared and unsure of theirself, the way I did when I realized I couldn't stay in the church I grew up in. Because my conscience wouldn't let me.

I hope the obscene hate group that is LDS Mormonism loses all of its kindest, most gentle people. The ones who haven't already left.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Because it's not just otherkin. It never is.

Whenever there's something fantastic and awe-inspiring, someone's life depends on it. Someone needs it to express themselves, to feel alive, to escape from a terrible world. Whether they feel driven to worship it, fanfic it, fuck it, or be it, as long as they aren't hurting anyone it is fucking oppressive to shame them for it. And that shame is always going to come from more powerful people, and hurt less powerful ones.

That's from the rant we posted earlier. The point is, scratch a prejudice against therians / fictives / otherkin, and you'll find sexism, ageism, ableism, classism, theophobia, transphobia, and/or an alarming lack of disregard for the welfare of both human and nonhuman animals.

The people who believe that they have wrong reflections are all outsiders to some degree. And those people can't be allowed to have their own mythology, or they will forget their place.

If that unsettles you, examine your motivations.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Bad religion, intolerant atheism, and implied homo/trans/everythingphobia.

What do I do if I have presented these questions to bishops and leaders and anyone and everyone who will listen to me and nobody has any answers but when I go quietly in prayer to the Lord and I hear the entire and total opposite of what you are asking me to do? And what if that answer gives me relief and peace and makes me a better mom and wife and sister and friend? And what if that peace is interrupted every single time I am “called to the battlefront” for this cause? What if it destroys my family, President? That’s what I am really asking. What if “defending the family” ruins my own?

Sometimes, the people who attack bad religion (or all religion) on the grounds that it's logically abhorrent remind me of people like "Brett," in the comments on the above-linked article. Who replied to the author by telling her that "defending the family" by attacking other people and destroying their families is right, despite the obvious harm it does to her and people she cares about, because the Mormon prophets have said so and God says they will never lead anyone astray. QED.

Logic is useless or even harmful if you are operating from faulty premises. The most abusive religions, in my experience, actually rely very strongly on the kind of logic that "Brett" uses. They have no use for feelings and spiritual experiences that prompt people to abandon this logic even when they don't know how to argue with it, or hearts and minds that are open enough to listen to people they "know" are wrong about everything.

When I am determining whether or not a belief (or belief system) is harmful and abusive, I don't look at whether it's theistic or not, or at which god it worships. I look at whether or not it shuts down questioning, inoculates people against empathy and understanding, and tells them to do things that they feel are wrong.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

In the United States, there is no one state religion which people are taxed to support, the way there is in some European countries. Instead, pretty much any religious organization is treated like a nonprofit. They are not required to pay taxes, and they are exempt from a ton of laws, such as nondiscrimination ordinances and laws about fair treatment of employees.

(I am not a lawyer, but this is my understanding of how things work.)

To me, this is very obviously not okay. It has created a lot of small, personal kingdoms, where preachers and "prophets" can make their own rules and abuse people however they like. Stuff Fundies Like has a lot of examples, of the consequences of the way the States privilege petty tyrants.

If any religion is to be privileged here in the States, with things like free money (tax exemptions) and stuff, it should be ones like Unitarian Universalism, with their financial transparency and commitment to plurality. Money-making scams like Scientology and Mormonism should not be recognized as legitimate religious organizations, when that just lets them make even more cash and exploit free (or nearly free) volunteer labour. And churches where people preach hate speech, and exclude disadvantaged groups from their ordinances or their priesthood, should likewise not be considered legitimate by law or society.

Hate speech is not free speech. Bigotry does not deserve subsidy. Children should not be in positions where unaccountable adults, like Mormon bishops, can take advantage of them. And if no one in their churches has the back of exploited "volunteer" missionaries or "Sea Org" members, especially underage ones, then society at large should stand up for them, by mandating fair wages and humane working conditions.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
I cannot support any policy or belief that goes directly against my experience and my survival. It really is that simple.

-- More Reasons You Shouldn't Fuck Kids
This person is an abuse survivor, so major trigger warning for reading their Tumblr. This particular post, though, brings up "wedge issues" -- like people making rape jokes -- that lead this person to end friendships with them.

I'm trying to form a list of my own, and think about what it means. I think that in general, someone who does, says, or believes any of the things on this list, I don't want to be around. To the degree that they have or express these beliefs, that's how much emotional distance there has to be between us.

I may work with them towards a common goal I believe strongly in -- I'm going to be professional in my work on the GNOME project. But I would consider it unprofessional for someone else to continue talking about these things or bringing it up after I'd asked them to stop, and would try to report them for harassment. I will also call someone out for saying these things elsewhere, in a non-work related context, although I expect I will probably be bitten for that especially as someone who's female.

Here's the list:
Anything and everything that invalidates someone else's identity, sexuality, or spirituality; blames victims for their circumstances; makes light of things that have happened to them; absolves people who have hurt them of responsibility for their actions; or ignores the realities and necessity of social justice.
If someone says or does anything on this list, I will educate them. If they make it clear that they do not want to be educated, I will make it so that I no longer have to deal with the trigger that they present. This can be by ordering them to stop (or stop bringing it up around me), removing myself from their presence, or removing them from an online community I moderate.

The correct thing to do when this happens, if you are the one being educated and asked to stop, is to say "I'm so sorry, I did not know. It won't ever happen again." It is not to justify what you said or did in any way, or claim that it was a joke. It is not to play the devil's advocate. It is not to show how irreverent and hip you are by trolling and seeing how much you can get away with. I will not entertain you. I will cut you off immediately. Because the alternative is to let myself be hurt, and to let my friends and other abuse survivors be victimized all over again.

I do not see freedom of speech as a sacred principle, so much as a necessary evil for public spaces, without which the people who wish that I'd go away would make me stop talking about how I've been hurt. It only exists on my journal, or places I moderate, insofar as the government won't be the one to silence you.
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
What is it that makes some people progress, while others just stop in their tracks?

Hacker and Y Combinator founder Paul Graham explored that question in "A Word to the Resourceful." He was trying to figure out why a warning sign of startups that'd fail was when ...
... they all seemed hard to talk to. It felt as if there was some kind of wall between us. I could never quite tell if they understood what I was saying.
He goes on to realize the successful startups were the ones that could explore the implications of anything they learned "with fresh eyes," while "the unsuccessful founders had the sort of conservatism that comes from weakness. They traversed idea space as gingerly as a very old person traverses the physical world."

I can remember being like that. I can remember how any threatening idea, anything that interfered with what I thought my life and the world should be like, would be shut down and shut out of my mind.

Somehow, a few years ago, I started to Realize Things. I realized the world wasn't what I thought it was, and I wasn't what I thought I was, either. And it was painful, because the people around me were all trying to talk me out of it. They couldn't do so coherently, but they could exclude me and make me feel bad for needing to explore these things.

The mystic explanation I accept for this was that I was fox possessed then. I don't feel like that explanation should shut down all question-asking, though, which is kind of the point. What is this process, in my mind and the minds of others? Is this how humans took over the world? Did one primate suddenly realize she can change things? Did many, in separate places, only to be shut down or eaten or bullied?

What's keeping animals from doing this? Or are some of them doing it already?

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] avia wrote something on Tumblr:
I am just very tired of people arguing against otherkin with the argument, “Being transgender is different, because brain scans have proved that trans* people have different brains.” As well as the problem to otherkin, people think this is supporting trans* people, but it’s not. It’s actually the opposite.
She goes on to explain how this is still privileging people's bodies over their gender identities. I agree, and I think that this is related to how atheist fundies have privileged Science With A Capital S over all other methods of finding out truth. Including introspection, including when it's something only you can actually know.

If the test says a transgender person is wrong, the test needs to be recalibrated. All this is, is the same ism and phobia I deal with as an autistic person, and anticipate dealing with as a transwoman. "I don't want to acknowledge that you exist, so I'm going to make you jump through arbitrary hoops before I do so."

The hoops aren't there because of Reason or Science or Principles, they're there in spite of them. They're there to stop you, to lock you out, and to keep you from getting the disability accomodations -- or the acknowledgement of your existence and your identity -- that you need.

It's just another variety of Wite-Magik Attax (TM) designed to make Those People go away, and to blame them for how they are treated. Kudos to Swanblood for pointing that out.

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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