Screening: “The Secret History of Sex, Choice and Catholics"
- When: Tuesday, May 05, 2015 @ 5:30 pm
- Indywood Theater, 630 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans, LA view map
Please join Catholics for Choice and the New Orleans Abortion Fund for a film screening of “The Secret History of Sex, Choice and Catholics.” The film features interviews with leading experts in the fields of theology, philosophy and ethics who examine Catholic traditions, teachings and beliefs on the following key issues:
• Abortion & Contraception,
• Religion in Public Policy,
• HIV & AIDS,
• Sex & Sexuality, and
• Reproductive Health Technologies.
This event will be an opportunity for you to connect with like-minded activists, to see our film and to join a lively discussion about the role of faith communities in supporting reproductive health, rights and justice in Louisiana. Come to this event to learn more about what you can do to be a strong advocate and a clear voice for reproductive healthcare access in your community.
Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP here.
Last Supper Dinner Club - National Day of Reason
- When: Thursday, May 07, 2015 @ 6:00 pm
- St. Roch Market, 2381 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA view map
It seems only reasonable that we should make an evening of it at St. Roch Market on National Day of Reason. If the weather cooperates, we will try to sit outside in the early evening shade of the back patio.
There are many different vendors, so you can choose what you like. We can think of this as a culinary field trip to a very cool, new place.
SOC Tomb Maintenance - Jefferson Fire Company in Lafayette Cemetery #1
- When: Saturday, May 09, 2015 @ 9:00 am
- Lafayette Cemetery #1, Washington Ave. between Prytania and Coliseum, New Orleans, LA view map
NOSHA Social Aid & Pleasure Club volunteers.....this is an awesome opportunity to do some critical work on the most significant benevolent society tomb in Lafayette Cemetery #1!
Save Our Cemeteries has targeted this project just for us and is looking for 10-20 of our volunteers.
From SOC ...
"We did a big maintenance project on the Jefferson Fire Company No. 23 tomb in Lafayette No. 1 this January. I could use some folks to help me give it a second coat of lime paint."
NOLA Science Cafe
- When: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
- Neutral Ground Coffeehouse, 5110 Danneel St., New Orleans, LA view map
In the first of what we hope will become a periodic program for the purpose of presenting science in an easy-to-understand conversation!
The speaker will be Dr. Marion Freistadt with the Virology Institute of New Orleans speaking about vaccines.
Bring your old nerdy self out for a fun night of learnin'!
The Making of Radio Station WHIV 102.3 FM - "Healthcare as a human right"
- When: Saturday, May 16, 2015 @ 4:00 pm
- Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA view map
Launched on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014, WHIV 102.3 FM is a new low power radio station for New Orleans. WHIV programming is dedicated to public health, human rights and social justice.
Dr. MarkAlain Dery is a professor with Tulane Medical Center whose research interests include antimicrobial resistance, infection control, and multidrug-resistant organisms. Additionally, Dr. Dery is the medical director for the Tulane T-Cell Clinic, a community-based HIV clinic that is unique in that a majority of the clients are women and minorities. Passionate about HIV prevention and testing, Dr. Dery has been integral in producing the HIV Awareness Music Project, an annually occurring music festival that promotes HIV education, awareness and empowerment.
To spread the word about testing and prevention of HIV and other serious infectious diseases like Hepatitis C, Dr. Dery co-founded the New Orleans Society for Infectious Disease Awareness (NOSIDA). The purpose of NOSIDA is to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in New Orleans and Baton Rouge (as both cities are some of the hardest hit cities in the country for HIV/AIDS) through the use of music. NOSIDA has hosted annual fundraisers at local nightclubs in New Orleans around World AIDS Day (December 1) and also provides free and confidential HIV testing at these events.
See Calendar for more information.
HB 707 Deserves Our Attention!04/27/2015
It’s good to see various communities in New Orleans
and across Louisiana
getting organized against the proposed “Marriage and Conscience Act,” H.B. 707
. Reacting to the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will make same-sex marriage legal, even in behind-the-times Louisiana
, HB 707 ensures that the Louisiana
cannot enforce any of its state laws regarding discrimination and public accommodation, provided that an individual or business acts out of moral convictions about the institution of marriage. Supporters of the bill reach new lows of disingenuousness when they claim it would not authorize any kind of discrimination. Technically, the bill does not make discrimination legal, but in any practical sense it completely neutralizes state power to act if discrimination is motivated by values attached to marriage. It clearly sends a message that those who wish to discriminate are free to do so.
HB 707 should not be confused with so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRAs), because HB 707 contains critically different language. It prohibits the state from acting against discrimination that is motivated by “a religious belief or moral conviction about the institution of marriage.” For one thing, HB 707 does not require that religious beliefs be “sincerely held,” as many RFRAs do. Secondly, HB 707 also allows discrimination arising merely from “moral conviction,” rendering irrelevant any argument about what is or is not a “religious” belief. Obviously, “moral convictions about the institution of marriage” is hopelessly vague language, opening the door to all kinds of abuse.
HB 707 might be amended in ways that narrow the basis of discrimination that it protects. One proposed amendment would narrow protection to actions arising from beliefs or convictions “that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” This would eliminate some problems, though certainly not all. The passage of this particular amendment is far from certain, though, at least in part because it exposes the anti-gay animus that is at the heart of the bill. Such an amendment would raise the odds of an Equal Protection challenge.
Choosing up sides is already well underway. Marjorie Esman
, Executive Director of the Louisiana ACLU
, provided a scathing condemnation of the bill in a letter to The Advocate on April 21st
, pointing out terrifying consequences of HB 707 as written. Unsurprisingly, a letter supporting the bill was penned by Reverend Gene Mills
, Executive Director of the Louisiana Family Forum
, a group notorious for its anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-science, anti-woman activism. More disturbing was a screed from Louisiana
’s part-time governor and full-time presidential wannabe, Bobby Jindal
, published in the New York Times
. It’s an explicitly Christian, anti-liberal and anti-gay hit piece that is also oddly (coming from a Republican) anti-business. Mills and Jindal both try to paint Christians as the true victims of discrimination, and both shamelessly misstate the likely impact of the legislation.
If the backing of Jindal and Mills is not enough to demonstrate the theocratic impetus behind HB 707, one need only look into the background of the bill’s author, recently elected state Representative Mike Johnson
, R-Bossier City. According to Wikipedia
, Representative Johnson is an attorney, a trustee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, a senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, and a member of the Louisiana Family Forum.
There was a meeting in New Orleans this Thursday (4/24), hosted by a coalition of organizations like Equality Louisiana
, Louisiana Progress Action
, Louisiana Trans Advocates,
and others. The short-term plan is to work to keep HB 707 from getting out of committee, and with legislators worried about business backlash, this could actually happen. Those who are interested should monitor www.notmylouisiana.org
, which will provide updates on the bill’s progress.
You should also let your representatives in Baton Rouge
know where you stand. You can look up your elected representatives HERE
. The bill will next be considered by the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure, whose members are listed HERE
. One of the members of that committee is the author of HB 70, Representative Mike Johnson
Kopplin Tries Once Again To Get Senators To Evolve04/26/2015
On April 22nd, Louisiana Senator Karen Carter Peterson and education activist Zack Kopplin again led an effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). The LSEA was cleverly crafted to enable teachers and local school boards to bring anti-evolution materials into public school classrooms. It was easily passed into law in 2008, and efforts to repeal it have since become an annual event.
This year’s repeal effort was just a little bit different. While many supporters and opponents signed up to speak, the Senate Education Committee “called the question” quite early, cutting off most of the would-be speakers. The decision of the Committee came down to one vote, which is much closer than usual. But once again, the committee decided to defer the repeal, meaning that the LSEA remains in effect for at least one more year (click HERE
to see a video of the 54-minute hearing).
Cheers go of course to Senator Peterson, who introduces the repeal bill each year, and to Zack Kopplin, who organizes support each year. Kopplin has been busy investigating the creationist misbehavior of some Louisiana public schools. His quite damning findings were published on Slate.com
just the day before the committee hearing, and he summarized those findings for the committee. Special kudos go to the Lane family, who testified before the committee, and more importantly, stood up courageously for religious freedom and sound science against the proselytizing and frank creationism
at Negreet high school in Sabine Parish. Senators Claitor
, and Morrell
voted against deferral, meaning that they supported teaching science in the science classroom.
Jeers go to senators Guillory
, and White
, who once again voted against both modernity and common sense, and to Senator Appell,
who broke the tie vote in favor to killing the repeal. Particularly reprehensible was Senator Elbert Guillory’s
anti-science tirade. Scientists, he claimed, have too often been wrong, having sometimes believed that the earth was flat and the center of the solar system. According to Senator Guillory, it was scientists who labelled those who disagreed with them as heretics, and had those heretics burned at the stake (click HERE
to see a 2
-minute video clip). Apparently Senator Guillory is unaware that Ancient Greeks realized the earth was a sphere suspended in space, that scientists accepted the heliocentric model as soon as sufficient evidence had been accumulated, or that it was religious institutions, not scientists, that consigned heretics to the flames. Frighteningly, such non-comprehension of actual history comes from someone with direct power over our state’s education policy.
The situation will probably be different next year. Elections will change office holders and alliances in the senate, and that will likely result in some changes to which senators serve on the Education Committee. It remains to be seen whether or not the result will be a Senate Education Committee with a better grasp of science and science education.
BOOK REVIEW: Churchless: Understanding Today's Unchurched and How to Connect with Them04/20/2015
The Barna Group is a Christian organization that does sociological research for churches and other Christian institutions. One of their recent publications is Churchless: Understanding Today's Unchurched and How to Connect with Them. If you’re interested in how Christians see those who've left the faith and why, Churchless could be a fascinating read....continue reading
Christian organizations are painfully aware of America’s increasing religious diversity and secularism. Through reports like Churchless they get a better understanding of the large and growing percentage of Americans who have no church affiliation. Surprisingly, only about 25% of the “unchurched” are agnostics or atheists. A majority are Christian believers of various sorts, who have chosen not to participate in any formal church. The unchurched form an increasingly diverse group, slowly becoming less white and less male, while becoming more educated and more geographically dispersed throughout the country. Those leaving Christian institutions are making informed decisions, as they are experienced both with Bible reading and active church participation.
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