East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Some Saturday Stuff- June 29th.

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Hello Saturday! The photo above is of a beautiful flower that K brought me yesterday from a farmer's market. It's so gorgeous. It was his anniversary gift to me. My Hunny did well.

 

So, some crazy week, huh? Parts of the Voting Rights Act got overturned, as did DOMA and Prop 8 and the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin Murder Trial introduced us to Rachel Jeantel... which introduced us to a whole lot of drama.

 


Oh, and that whole Paula Deen mess kept on rolling. I'm personally sick of it. Geez, don't want to hear about her tearful interviews, her talks with has-been Black leaders or see another meme of her serving up some pie with a creepily dubious smile. Imus moved on, and so did Michael Richards. Enough.

 

How about some (more) links? I'm really linking things up for you today! First, one of the biggest complaints I've read around the web regarding the passage of gay marriage is that it leads to discrimination and lawsuits against those who believe in traditional marriage. Particularly for small business owners like florists, bakers and photographers who refuse to do Gay weddings or civil unions. Then I read this story from Williamette Week, out of Portland:

 

Sugar, flour, eggs and water are now munitions in America’s culture war. Or so you’d think from two Oregon bakeries that recently got national attention for declining to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

 

The first incident, in February, involved Gresham’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa, whose owner told a lesbian couple that “we don’t do same-sex marriages.” Earlier this month, Pam Regentin, who operates Fleur Cakes out of her home in the Hood River area, also refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding.

 

Both bakeries cited their religious beliefs as the reason they would not make the cakes. Both describe themselves as Christian.

Jesus, of course, never commented on gay people, but did tell his followers to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Instead, the widely cited Bible verse condemning homosexuality comes from Leviticus, a book that also prohibits getting tattooed or eating rabbit.

“I believe I have the liberty to live by my principles,” Regentin told KATU in a May 15 newscast.

 

By law, that may not be true. Oregon statute makes it illegal for businesses to turn away customers based on race, religion or sexual orientation. A lawyer for the couple turned away by Sweet Cakes says they are exploring their options.

We wondered what other requests these cakemakers would decline to honor. So last week five WW reporters called these two bakeries anonymously to get price quotes for other occasions frowned upon by some Christians. Surprisingly, the people who answered the phone at each bakery were quite willing to provide baked goods for celebrations of divorces, unmarried parents, stem-cell research, non-kosher barbecues and pagan solstice parties.

 

We later contacted both bakeries to ask about these inconsistencies. Regentin declined to comment beyond asking whether she had been taped (she had not).

 

Sweet Cakes owners Melissa and Aaron Klein were upset that we “would even try to entrap a business” and contacted conservative talk-show host Lars Larson

 

Baby Out of Wedlock

WW Asks - I’m shopping around for a nice baby shower cake for my friend. It’s her second baby with her boyfriend so I’m not looking for anything too big or fancy—probably enough to serve 15 to 20 people.

Sweet Cake says - “We have a sheet cake that will feed 30, or a 10-inch cake that would feed 30 people. The 10-inch cake is $50 and the sheet cake is $52. Or we have an 8-inch cake that would feed 15 for $40.”

Fleur says - Prices vary based on decoration and frosting, but a basic cake is $3 per serving.

 

Divorce Party

WW Asks - My friend is getting divorced and we’d like to throw her a little party to mark the start of her new life. Do you ever write messages on those—we’d want it to say “congratulations!”—and how much would it be for a cake that could serve about eight people?

Sweet Cake says - “A 10-inch is $29.99. That should probably do it....We can definitely do something like that.”

Fleur says - “The price for a 10-inch cheesecake is $36 and up. So it’ll be between $36 and $45, but you’re going to have to call in advance because my schedule for June and July is very busy.”

 

Read the rest here. I do want to take issue with the story's mentioning of "the Bible verse condemning homosexuality comes from Leviticus". Although Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, Paul certainly did, so it's not just an Old Testament thing. But I definitely get the writer's point. Why the refusal to service lesbians but no problem with fornicators, divorcees (and Jesus did specifically make mention against divorce) or pagans? I had a conversation a few days ago on the blog's Facebook page with a friend after the SCOTUS ruling. She commented on how widespread the acceptance of homosexuality has become, and was upset. When I asked her about why many Christians aren't so bothered by a straight guy getting it on with a lot of women (but they will feel out of sorts by a straight woman with a sordid past), she admitted she didn't really know, but suspects it might be because homosexuality is perhaps even more wrong. When I asked her where in the Bible she found that, she referred me to a minister and Youtube testimonies. So, in other words, it's not in the Bible, it's some people's opinion, which might be valid... but it's not Biblical. So it's kind of part of some Evangelicals' traditions... yet, it's only Catholics who do the whole tradition thing, right?

 

Pardon this tangent, but it's on my mind, these traditions we Prots hold unquestioningly. Like why some churches have communion once a month, and all the women wear white. Or Purity Culture's prevalence, or how seemingly innocuous objects like t-shirts, artwork or toys, if given by the wrong person, can lead a Believer to be demonically oppressed. Sure these traditions vary from church to church and denomination to denomination, but they are very real. Why do some churches teach that truly true Christian women would never don pants? There's no explicit command against it in Scripture, and before you start in on the whole men shouldn't wear women's clothes and vice versa, just a reminder that back in Biblical days, both men AND women wore long robes. No one was rocking Levis. I grew up in a church with such a culture. Glad to be free of it.

 

My point here is, we Protestants have our own sacred traditions, we just haven't bothered to codify them. I don't even think we could since we all disagree on them, anyway. Ha! So what I appreciate about stories like this bakery case, or the defeat of DOMA, or my recent post on marriage and sex or that one on masturbation is, they force us to examine our traditions. We get a chance to hold them up to Scripture and ask, is that really in there? Catholics have their Magisterium. We don't. Time to stop pretending like everything that comes down from the pulpit is Sola Scriptura when it's not.

 

Now on to another tradition- marriage, and how very different is was back in the 1800s. From The New York Times:

 

On June 18, 1863, a woman named Elizabeth Packard rode out of a state insane asylum in Jacksonville, Ill., perched on the interwoven arms of two men. Three years earlier, she had been confined under a state law that allowed husbands and fathers to commit their wives or children to the asylum, with little legal process. All they needed was the permission of the asylum superintendent.

 

Her husband, the minister Theophilus Packard, may have believed that his wife was insane, but the evidence was inconsistent. Her personality had evidently changed, and she became abnormally talkative and irritable. She wished to withdraw from his Presbyterian congregation and allegedly failed in her wifely duties: according to her sister-in-law’s testimony, Mrs. Packard once failed to bake bread in the morning and instead served “biscuit” to dinner guests. On another occasion, she set a teacup down sharply and stalked out of the room when annoyed by her husband. We will never know Elizabeth Packard’s true mental state or the details of her family life. Nevertheless, soon after being discharged, she convinced a jury of her sanity.

 

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Packard did not retreat into her former life; instead, she took up the cause of asylum reform, and became something of a national celebrity – a striking achievement when the country’s attention was focused on the Civil War. She published an armload of books and crisscrossed the United States on a decades-long reform campaign. She fought for married women’s rights and for freedom of speech, and militated against the power of insane asylums. In an era when common social ideals dictated that middle-class white women spend their lives in private, Packard reinvented herself as a public figure. She earned enough to support her children and, eventually, even her estranged husband.

 

Packard was savvy enough to weave her story into the other great issue confronting the nation, framing her experience as a kind of enslavement. She called herself one of many “slaves of the marriage union.” In her mind, this was more than a convenient turn of phrase. Packard believed that her physical captivity, both in the asylum and at home, was a kind of marital slavery. Others agreed; her vivid story of oppression set up postwar debates over prioritizing African-American rights versus women’s rights.

Moving on, let's continue to look back. From Slate:

 

This week’s Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder overturned Section 4(b) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which mandated federal oversight of changes in voting procedure in jurisdictions that have a history of using a “test or device” to impede enfranchisement. Here is one example of such a test, used in Louisiana in 1964.

After the end of the Civil War, would-be black voters in the South faced an array of disproportionate barriers to enfranchisement. The literacy test—supposedly applicable to both white and black prospective voters who couldn’t prove a certain level of education but in actuality disproportionately administered to black voters—was a classic example of one of these barriers.

 

The website of the Civil Rights Movement Veterans, which collects materials related to civil rights, hosts a few samples of actual literacy tests used in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi during the 1950s and 1960s.

 

In many cases, people working within the movement collected these in order to use them in voter education, which is how we ended up with this documentary evidence. This test—a word-processed transcript of an original—was added by Jeff Schwartz, who worked with the Congress of Racial Equality in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, in the summer of 1964. Schwartz wrote about his encounters with the test in this blog post.

 

...

 

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Wow. And finally, a much lighter and cool story. The world's youngest Mensa member! From Express:

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In an IQ test he scored 141, bettering the Prime Minister and US President by a full 10 points. Adam’s IQ of 141 – just four shy of the Genius category – compares with the average Briton’s score of 100. At two years five months, Adam is the youngest boy to join Mensa. Only Elise Tan-Roberts, from London, who is now six, was younger, joining at two years four months. Mensa CEO John Stevenage said: “We look forward to Adam joining and expect him to have a very bright future.” He's got me by 11 points. Genius and gorgeous. Now Adam has become the youngest member of Mensa, the society for the brainiest two per cent of people in the world. The toddler was invited to join the elite group after demonstrating an ability to read Shakespeare and understand Japanese, Spanish and French. He stunned parents Dean and Kerry-Ann Kirby by spelling 100 words and mastering both his times tables and the periodic table of chemical elements. Dean, a 33-year-old IT consultant from Mitcham, South London, said: “Adam’s abilities are outstanding. While most children are just learning to stand up or crawl, Adam was reading books. His development was mind-blowingly quick. “We used to show him cards with the words hippopotamus and rhinoceros on them and he could identify the right animals most of the time.”

 

Adam’s IQ of 141 – just four shy of the Genius category – compares with the average Briton’s score of 100.

At two years five months, Adam is the youngest boy to join Mensa.

Only Elise Tan-Roberts, from London, who is now six, was younger, joining at two years four months.

Mensa CEO John Stevenage said: “We look forward to Adam joining and expect him to have a very bright future.”

 

He's got me by 11 points. Genius and gorgeous! Today's music, the very cool Mayer Hawthorne. Have a lovely day and comments are welcome.

 

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