Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Who is watching and why it matters how we talk about homosexuality

A couple of years ago I was engaged in a discussion on gay rights on Michelle Willis's board.  The subject was the Jc Penney ads featuring lesbian mothers.  It was argument I engaged in with passion.  I supported, as I have since 1984, the rights of homosexuals to live a genuine life.  I was up against the pious and self-righteous Mormons on Michelle's board.  Trite arguments were volleyed back and forth.  I knew there was no way to "win" the argument with these people but I was still up for the fight.  In the middle of the whole mess I got a private message.  It was one of Michelle's friends who had been watching the debate.  The messages was a "thank you for the support".  'I thought Michelle was my friend.  I can see that she is not.' Was the tone.  While Michelle lost a friend that day, that person knew there was an ally who was willing to stand up.

Last Friday, a federal judge struck a fatal blow to Utah's amendment 3.  The Facebook feed blew up.  I have engaged in as many conversations as I could on those feeds.  Some might even call me a troll because I engage even when I am not invited


Because people are watching that is why.  I was reminded of this when I read a friends beautiful and eloquent response to his mother who was asking if his support for gay rights would change it it were his own child.  He of course said no... and that people are watching.  People in pain who are trying to find someone to talk to.

So when you are fighting equality in your Facebook feed who are you helping?

Are you standing up for your god?

Does he really need you to stand up to him?

Are you standing up for your church?

Are you on the church's legal team?  Do they really need you.

Are you standing up for freedom and the constitution?

Are you a constitutional attorney... and don't you see the hypocrisy?

Who are you hurting?

You are likely hurting someone who isn't vocal.  Someone who is sitting in the dark crying because they feel like there is something wrong with them.  Someone who may be your child, sibling, maybe even your own parent.  What they are is a human being who needs support, love and acceptance.  They didn't ask for this and to ask them to deny who they are is harmful.  To characterize their being as a "sin", as a "choice" as a "lifestyle" or one that is "not to be acted on" inflicts an undue amount of pain.

The LGBT community inside of Mormonism has one of the highest suicide rates.  The LGBT community in the United States has a suicide rate that exceeds the national average.   It is time we stop treating them like they are throw aways.

I am a supporter of equality.  I support the choices consenting adults make out of love. I support teaching our children how to develop healthy fulfilling intimate relationships with whomever they love.  It is not about sin.  It is about humans.

Conversely, I do not support bigotry and on this blog I will identify bigots by first and last name.  The world should know who you are.  Those who are watching should know who is not safe.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why it didn't take....

I was talking to my friend Grant a couple of years ago about Mormon indoctrination.  I offered this Jesuit quote:

"Give me the child till the age of seven 
and I will show you the man." 

He quipped back, "Well if that were true why don't we still have you?"

It is a good question.  Why?  I was raised in American Fork, Utah.  You will not find a more fundamental Mormon community.  This was especially true in the 70's and 80's.  Everything about daily life centered on the Mormon tradition.  All of my mentors, outside of the home, were faithful practicing Mormons.  I had the utmost respect for them and admired their spirituality.  So why am I now a militant atheist?

As I pondered this question it dawned on me.  Because I was never fully "in".  My parents were "Jack-Mormons".  They lived outside of the bubble.  For the first 20 or so years of my life they still believed but chose not to do Mormonism by the book.  I think their level of belief started to fall off as they aged.  More importantly they didn't accept all of the tenants of Mormonism as truth or even as what they perceived a just god would condone.  My mother would frequently ask why.  'Why can't blacks hold the priesthood?'  'Why can't women?'  'Why is this guy a bishop when the whole town knows he is crook?'  'How did this guy get to stay as the bishop when was molesting children? '

My Dad was known for saying, "Well that's bullshit."

I learned from my parents, that questioning authority, demanding evidence, and being willing to declare something bullshit when the facts didn't support the claims was a virtue.  My personality made it difficult for me to compartmentalize for any prolonged period of time.

I also think this is why many members do not allow their children to play with non members, children of apostates or children of Jack-Mormons.  Because if they find out that it is reasonable to not believe... it won't take.    

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sexism: Just another reason David Alvord is Wrong for South Jordan!

:  prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially :  discrimination against women2
:  behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

My discussion around David Alvord's candidacy for Mayor of South Jordan has been as much about temperament as anything.  Well David can't help himself.  If you are from Utah and know anything about Mormonism you have probably heard of the Ordain Women movement.  It is a feminist movement that asks the Mormon church to treat members of all sexes equally.  They staged a protest during the last LDS General conference.  They are brave women who know asking for equality means they risk excommunication and ostracism.  However David Alvord, the sexist, thinks it is fair to belittle their request.

   So he was supported by a few folks but largely criticized by others for his flippant insensitivity and sexism.  As a result, David did what he usually does... he deleted the post.  He also did what he usually does... put up another post to make his point.

  I support David's right to "BLURT".  I would just think he would use a filter knowing that he was running for political office and someone like me might write about it.  Why would he do such a thing?  Well, because he was defending the church thats why!

I think, most importantly, he thinks sexism is ordained by god:

It is becoming clearer that David Alvord lacks the temperament to be Mayor.  He has a context in which he looks at the world that makes him a poor candidate to represent the rest of the community.  South Jordan needs a leader that is fair to everyone no matter their sex or religion.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Alvord: Wrong on Housing... Still Wrong for South Jordan

Hot off the presses:

David Alvord, and now his buddy Steve Barnes, are pushing misinformation and fear.  AGAIN!

In the above photo (taken from David's campaign site) he claims there is a link between tax rates and high density housing.  He has also claimed that high density housing overburdens the schools and stress the city's infrastructure.  There are Alvords and Barnes' claims... and then there is reality.

This is one of those topics that has been studied exhaustively.  There is no negative relationship between tax rates and high density.  There is no negative relationship between high density and school size or traffic congestion.  And in communities that had low crime rates before high density there is no change by adding high density housing.

This study discusses the numerous studies on this matter:  http://www.nhc.org/media/documents/Dontputithere.pdf

I know, it is a study, it uses objective facts, it is Alvord proof.

What you might notice that they refer to affordable housing in this study.  That is really what Avlrod and his buddy Barnes are talking about.  They don't want affordable housing in South Jordan.  Affordable Housing units bring in those disgusting poor people who have poor habits.

Lets look at his argument:  "A $500,000 dollar home will pay more taxes than a $300,000 home."  This statement is true when said by itself.  This statement is inaccurate when applied to the high density housing argument.  A home worth $500,000 is not built on .19 acres of land.  It is built on at least a .25 parcel and mostly on a .33 acre parcel.  You can feasibly build two $300,000 dollar homes on the same parcel.  That means now we have $600,000 in taxable property.

Now we really aren't talking about $300,000 homes when we talk about high density.  We are talking town homes, condominiums or apartments.  In each case the density of the units equals higher property values for either the management company or each individual owner aggregated in the same area.  So we now have a $2,000,000 building occupying the same foot print as the half million dollar home.  Alvord's math just doesn't add up.

So what is the issue.  Alvord tells you.  It is about keeping the level of housing (or price) high.  By doing this you keep the "other" out.  What they aren't telling you, is that South Jordan is required to provide a certain number of affordable unit to its citizens.  It isn't allowed to discriminate by class.  The city must serve the interest of the poor with equal fervor it dedicates to the rich.

Alvord also claims that he didn't want to debate this issue with Scott Osborne's son.  He would rather debate the issues with Osborne... except that he wouldn't.  He declined to let Scott make a point in an earlier post.  This is what he said:
...But I'm not going to use my campaign page to let Osborne spread the talking points of the left. 
Because Alvord's arguments are... indefensible.

Again, Alvord is demonstrating that ideology trumps reality.  His brand of politics is just plain bad; not only for South Jordan, but for the human race.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Alvordia the new capitol of Glennbeckistan!

David Alvord is at it again!

From the last post on his Facebook page:

Mayor Osborne is not as conservative as the people of South Jordan... For example, Osborne favors the Marketplace Fairness Act. But worse than that, Osborne used his influence as Mayor to *expand* the tax-collecting ability of the government.
What the act does: is to allow government to collect taxes that it should otherwise be entitled to collect.  Taxes that local business pay but that internet business are not assessed giving them an un fair advantage.  

The real thing going on here is this:  David has cast himself as a liberal hating conservative.  This is evident in this statement: 
Secondly, it's a misnomer. Much like the "affordable care act" makes healthcare more un-affordable for many of us, 

See that.  He he warning us about the bogey man by invoking Obama (or an Obama policy).

Scott Osborne made a case for supporting the Marketplace Fairness act.  Specifically because it leveled the playing field for small local businesses.

Osborne responded on Alvord's page.  It was promptly deleted.  When questioned Alvord's responsed:
 Osborne's argument is on his page. But let me close with this: The Marketplace fairness act is widely discussed on Wikipedia and other sources.
Heritage foundation opposes it on constitutional grounds, while President Obama supports it. You can infer what you want from this information.

Read up on it. Take a position, and decide if you like it. I don't. Osborne does.

The people deserve to know where we stand. 
Read up on it. Take a position, and decide if you like it. I don't. Osborne does. 
The people deserve to know where we stand. 
But I'm not going to use my campaign page to let Osborne spread the talking points of the left. 
Again it is about the Bogey man Obama and Alvord is willing to forgo any type of reason if the words or Obama or Liberal are any where near it.  

So what is the big deal?  The Mayoral election ins a non-partisan election.  It is about supporting the voters in South Jordan.  It is not about the divisive political ideology.  David would have you believe that the Mayor's office has something to do with the passage an enforcement of federal legislation.  It doesn't he knows it but he would have you believe that the Liberals are out to destroy the country.  What he fails to acknowledge is the Conservatives have beat us to it.

The following comments, in my opinion say much:

Of course, not all of South Jordan is conservative... and there are plenty who vary from issue to issue as to what label may best suit them. I hope whomever is elected mayor will approach issues with the perspective of how they best serve South Jordan residents as a whole, and not be overly concerned with party ideologies.~Andrew Hackman
And these two:
"I'm not going to allow my campaign page to represent those in the community who may disagree with me. That's why I'm campaigning for political office, to represent my needs." 
 It seems to me he is running on a "look, I'm Mormon, conservative, and hate taxes" platform, not an informed one. ~Revrnd Skyler Dudley
A vote for David Alvord is a vote for the increasing depths of despair that divisive politics inflicts on a community.  It is a vote to make South Jordan the new Alvordia, the capital of Glenn Beckistan

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why would David Alvord's Religious Beliefs Matter to Me?

In my last post, I told you why I thought David Alvord was bad for South Jordan.  The post found itself on a Facebook page called the South Jordan On-Line News.  This link brought out many of David's supporters.  Through careful research (by quickly looking at the public feed on my Facebook page), They figured out that I don't care for religion in general and Mormonism specifically.  That makes me an ANTI-MORMON who can readily dismissed.

I was only going after David because he is a Mormon and I hate Mormons!

Now really!

Kent Money is a Mormon and I voted for him.  Brian Butters is a Mormon and I supported him.  I am willing to bet Mayor Osborne is a Mormon as well.

David, for some reason, had been banned from the South Jordan On-Line news site because of something he or his campaign or someone supporting him did with or without his knowledge...  He was not allowed to comment but several of his supporters were getting talking points from him.  David's behavior, according to them, was acceptable because he was defending the Book of Mormon

I made it clear that my objections to David Alvord's candidacy for mayor of South Jordan was about 1) His temperament makes him ill suited to be an inclusive leader of the city.  2) He isn't willing to follow ordinances in the City if they don't suit him or his agenda. 3) He knows little about what cutting taxes and increasing spending (ALA George W. Bush Economic Policy) will do to the city.  4) He does not favor and expansive South Jordan that supports all socio-ecomomic contributors.  5) His desire to limit population growth to the "Right Kind of Housing" makes business growth stagnant.

Now personally, I wouldn't vote for David BECAUSE of his religious beliefs.  Not because he has them but because of how he applies them.  His supporters were correct.  David and I were having a public Facebook debate about the Book of Mormon.  He, of course, rolled out 'it is definitely an ancient text we know that because of chiasmus'.  When challenged on this, he provided studies... from apologists and faithful Mormons.  When his sources were questioned and the non-confirming peer review was presented he became agitated and started name calling.  When the DNA evidence was presented, he said science couldn't be trusted...

What became clear was it didn't matter if it was true!  It didn't matter what the evidence showed, he believed it and that was enough.  It was enough to ignore the evidence and to behave mean spiritedly.  It is enough for him to think himself above reproach and certainly above any type of introspection.  He showed that he was a miserable human being who was justified because he was a man of deep spiritual conviction.

I could not support this kind of individual in a leadership role in my community.  He places ideology and theology above evidence.  This is fine when he is writing his tithing check.  It is not fine when he is making decisions for an entire population or representing that population as their ambassador.  You see, you cannot bring canal water to the entire South Jordan population and cut taxes at the same time.  At least, not with out damaging the operation of the city.  You cannot be pro-growth and end high density housing at the same time.    The math just doesn't support it.

Oh wait, that involves looking at the evidence... something that is not required if you're David Alvord.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

David Alvord is Bad for South Jordan

I have known David Alvord for approximately 7 or so years.  I first met him when my oldest son needed dental work.  As a dentist, David Alvord is capable and friendly.  I never had a problem getting my kids to go to his office.  The services he provided were at the market price.  He was neither inexpensive or too expensive.  I liked his office staff and he was centrally located.

'So what's your problem with Dave then?', you might ask.  My problem with David Alvord is that I don't think he has the temperament to be a successful leader in South Jordan politics.  He is not community minded.  In fact, based on my interactions with David, both personal and through Facebook, I would have to say he is "David" minded.

David entered into a Facebook "debate" with me over religion.  In this particular instance, he used his "professional profile' for this debate. This was during the Facebook period where your comments were emailed on the thread.  When he became frustrated he turned personal attacks.  Attacks like referring to me as some kind of idiot.  Now, he thought better of it and deleted the comment but not before it had been emailed to me.

David adamantly denied that science was useful saying that he was more about applied science not about everything under the umbrella of science.  In the middle of the debate he sent me a personal message to make sure that I would still feel comfortable about coming to his practice.  I mean he would hate to loose a patient over his narrow view of science because that would not be "David" minded.  I am not sure if he is aware but he did loose a patient or two who had been watching the debate unfold.

The second interaction I had with David was over South Jordan's requirement that businesses that employ over 20 people or that are dangerous or in a medical field carry an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator on the premises.  The purpose of the law is to get more of the AED's into the community where they have the possibility to be deployed.  You see, the quicker a heart attack victim gets access to an AED the higher the rate of survival.  A medical professional is the best person to deploy the device.  David of course objected to this.  He took the argument to Facebook through his professional profile.  His argument is that it was an unnecessary expense and that people would think getting a filling was risky.  He then posted a scientific study that proved you were not at a risk of having a heart attack from seeing the dentist.  You know one of those sciencey studies that he is not fond of.

You see David missed the point.  He is a man of means and privilege that could have used that means for the community good.  Instead, he looked out for David in one of the most selfish acts I have seen a medical profession engage in.  Second only to the doctor who refused to see a child, on an urgent visit, because the child's parents had to file for bankruptcy and couldn't pay his bill.

The second reason I cannot support David Alvord for South Jordan Mayor is that he doesn't really understand government.  He wants to cut taxes.  His primary opponent showed that South Jordan Taxes are in the middle.  Not hight not low.  The community enjoys an exceptional quality of life.  That quality of life is in part because of tax dollars.  If there was one thing I was impressed with in South Jordan, it was in the management and planning for the use of community tax dollars.  For most projects, they saved as to not create a debt burden on the citizens.

At the same time he cuts taxes, he also wants to bring canal or secondary water the remaining 70% of the city.  Does he not realize a major infrastructure undertaking that is?  How much money and resources it will use up?  While I think is a great idea to have secondary water to water lawns with,  He can't do both.  He also can't do this immediately.

David doesn't know what the mayor does and also seems to be missing this point: As Kent Money pointed out to me in 2005, the mayor's office is a figure head position.  It has no real influence on the direction of the city.  The city is controlled by the City Manager and the city council.

Finally, David does not favor a South Jordan that welcomes everyone and is inclusive.  He favors one that favors "David".  Limiting high density housing and rezoning the city back to single family homes only ensures that the community will be made up of the top 10% and the rest of the scale will be underrepresented.  South Jordan is already a tough place to live if your are not a home owner.  If you rent. the City doesn't consider you to be credit worthy to have your own water bill.  Under David, the unwelcome matt will be rolled out further.  I wonder how many high density residents he would deny dental service to?  I am sure its not many. You see, the policy of keeping "the other" out doesn't help business grow.  90% of the housing starts in South Jordan have been high density single family homes because that is what the economy supported.

So, given the scope of the Mayor's authority, South Jordan needs an ambassador first.  I don't think David Alvord would make a good ambassador.  He does not see that South Jordan needs to be a city that is inclusive. He is not community minded. He is "David" Minded.  The rest of you are on your own.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It'll Stunt Your Growth

This photo of a child smoking caught my attention today.   When it was taken, I am sure there was nothing wrong with putting a cigarette in a small child's mouth.  It was funny.  I mean after all what did we know about smoking back then?  Today we would consider this abuse. After all, what where her parents thinking.

I had a Facebook friend who recently suggested parents should have the freedom to raise their children in any manner they chose even if that meant exposing them to dangerous factory work at a young age.  I of course took exception with this attitude.  

I have a similar reaction when parents expose their children to religious indoctrination.  I have seen perfectly reasonable children turned into self loathing followers.  I additionally have seen them ignore important flaws in their religion.  Those flaws, when observed with a critical eye, proves the claims of the institution false.  If they don't absolutely prove it they certainly cast doubt on its validity. 

There is something about indoctrination that causes us to compartmentalize our beliefs and to shield them from critical examination.  The indoctrination as a child, carries over to adult hood and derails the critical thought process.  

I have had believers testify to me that they know of many who are religious and critical thinkers. I submit this can only occur through compartmentalizing your beliefs.  It is in this attempt I hear statements like, 'god can not be judged by physical laws' or 'we cannot understand god the way we under stand the physical world'.  As a result they come to know what they don't understand or cannot prove as evidence god.  It is fallacious but imperceptible to them.

When critical thinking is applied to those ingrained beliefs it is often emotionally painful.  For some it is too painful for them to complete the journey. Others explore other paths such as mysticism or alternative medicine or engage in government conspiracy theories because they don't really know how to fully apply critical thought.    

My mother used to tell me I should avoid cigarettes because they would stump my growth.  I see religion in the same way.  I am as apt to give my children a cigarette as I am to teach them to worship a myth.  In many ways I think the cigarette is less harmful.