Archive for July, 2014

The Chosen and the Ignored: Gaza Genocide Edition

Obviously, you are not of the Chosen!

Obviously, you are not of the Chosen!

The increasingly unhinged right wing nutjob religious extremists who control Zionist Israel are now using their Military Industrial Complex Subsidies to the full hilt, massacring and maiming thousands of civilians. For what? Well, obvi9usly, for ethnic cleansing. They are continuing a decades long project from the Zionist far right to create a “greater Israel” and to remove Muslims, Christians, Druze, and others from “their” god given territory. It’s almost funny that the religious right in the US supports this, given that Palestine used to have a very substantial Christian minority—much larger than the Jewish population in the 19th Century (which wasn’t that fucking long ago….), and rivaling the Jews even at the point of the passage of the British Mandate in 1948. Yet, now, American fundamentalist Christians are all for sending billions of dollars to Israel to murder Palestinians and steal their land. Because, that way, Jesus will come back sooner. Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner…..

Ignoring Climate Change: Christianity and Anti-environmentalism





Ever since the 1960s when Lynn White pointed out the Abrahamic roots of anti-environmentalism, Christians have tried and failed to argue that they aren’t a part of the problem, but are instead the solution! So, they have paper drives in their churches and pick up litter on the highway. But, when it gets right down to it, environmentalism as a generalized ethic is inherently inimical to the Christian project. After all, Jesus is coming back soon, so he’ll clean it all up with his super duper Jesus powers. And, of course, all of that “environmentalism” is all fancy schmantzy scientism! Earth worship. Every good Christian knows that science is just a bunch of human arrogance designed to distract people from the true human condition, which is, of course, subjugation to the gods of Christianity.

Unfortunately, questions about climate change have been poorly approached in what few quality surveys we have remaining. The early GSS question asked whether or not respondents thought that scientists understood global warming. Notably, that’s not the same thing as whether or not respondents believe that climate change is real and caused by humans. Indeed, many people who understand that climate change is real and caused by humans may nonetheless think that scientists have a limited understanding of the processes. Another question was asked about whether respondents think that increased temperatures from climate change have an adverse effect on the environment. Another bad question, really, but still instructive in how it plays out. Above, you can see that religious beliefs play a strong role in structuring beliefs about environmental insult from climate change. ANY belief in the divine sanction of the abrahamic sacred texts reduces perceptions of the dangers of climate change. Less than half of bible believers thank climate change is dangerous, while more than one in five think it is not dangerous at all. In contrast, people who believe that the bible was written by bronze age goat fuckers tend to believe that global warming has dire consequences for the environment, and relatively few of them think it is not dangerous.

Religion and Inequality in America



It was a nice surprise to find copies of our book, Religion and Inequality in America: Research and Theory on Religion’s Role in Stratification, in the mail today. It wasn’t exactly clear when it was coming out, and a friend of mine who pre-ordered said she got hers last week….Lisa Keister did a wonderful job in riding herd and convincing people to contribute, and in the end I think we have a really nice set of original works that cover the gist of the field. It’s embarrassing to still be seeing manuscripts that are submitted for publication which are completely clueless about the large and growing literature showing the distinctive impact of religion on stratification. Key among the findings of the most important essays in the volume is that life course processes and orientations towards education and women’s roles are key for either enabling upward mobility or anchoring disprivilege. In the US, this mostly means that secular people, liberal Protestants, Catholics (especially European ones….) and non-Christians (including not only Jews, but also Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims) outdistance sectarian Protestants. It isn’t even close, and it doesn’t matter what indicator of stratification you look at (education, occupation, income, or wealth). Nice contributions by key researchers in the field including Jen’an Read, Chris Ellison, Michael Hout, Evelyn Lehrer, Fred Solt, Jim Davidson, Ralph Pyle, Rebekah Massengill, Jennifer Glass, Scott Fitzgerald, John Bartkowski, Scot Schieman, Margarita Mooney, Michael Lindsay, and many other collaborators. I was glad to do a chapter with my former student Nadia Amin looking at religion, gender, and educational attainment among US immigrants–the main takeaway being that the Hindus are the new Jews—unless patriarchy tanks them.

Hierarchical Privilege and Sexual Assault in US Colleges and Universities




He said yes, I think.

He said yes, I think.

Sexual assault is a common and violent way of degrading those in social positions beneath those of the oppressor. I always like to discuss this more generally, in contrast to the gender differentiated constructions that often prevail. It’s good to get the guys thinking about being raped. And, of course, we have ample evidence that within the structure of university education male rape is commonplace, though usually by instrument. The places that are most often the sources of the rape of women by men are also places where men are frequently subjected to violent sexual abuse. In  these settings, sociologists and psychologists have pinpointed an axis of abuse, and we know where sexual abuse thrives: (1) fraternities and sororities;  (2) Athletic clubs, particularly football and basketball; and (3) other student organizations where peer hierarchies predominate.

The war against higher education that began under Ronnie Raygun has shifted the lens of scrutiny from criminals and social organizations responsible for fostering a culture of sexual dominance to the few people who are trying to change culture to make it less violent and reprehensible—universities and their faculty and staff. We do not need more administrators to reduce rape—we already have plenty and all colleges are required to have professional staff working to reduce sexual assault. We train dorm advisers and hold workshops for students to explain to them how civilized humans are supposed to interact. We have counseling and support staff and rape hotlines to assist victims. Indeed, the “rise” in sexual assault which is supposedly happening (I have seen no concrete evidence that sexual assault is on the rise) is almost certainly a function of the fact that we have these support structures in place. More women and men who would have suffered in silence and told nobody about their assault are now speaking out and demanding justice. We are doing our job. The people not doing their jobs are police forces operating in college towns and university police departments.

Oh, and, of course, deanlets and deanlings who want to protect the image of a university, athletics programs, and powerful alumni who think rape culture in fraternities and sororities is just fine and dandy. We know how to further reduce sexual assault (which I would bet is at a historic low on college campuses). (1) Disband all fraternities and sorororities; (2) eliminate football at virtually all universities, and tightly regulate the activities of all “student athletes”—including eliminating all athlete specific dorms; (3) reinstate policies for terminating students for moral failings—we are now in a situation where rapists who don’t get convicted can come back and sue a university, and we don’t have to be in that situation. If we could simply say, “whatever happened there is a moral failing that makes you unworthy of being a student at our university” then it’s over. None of this “you can come back later” shit. (4) I hate to agree with Douchehat, but lowering the drinking age to 18 would also allow universities to supervise drinking behavior. When I started college it was the last year of 18 year old drinking, and dorms had parties and all of the RA’s were in attendance (and the Area Directors). If someone got drunk, they were escorted back to their dorm by a responsible sober person. Now, parties happen in frats and in rental properties. If someone gets drunk, a predator may rape them.