Brattleboro Selectmen Ban Public Nudity

In a truly astounding display of cowardice and pandering to conservative whining, the Brattleboro selectmen narrowly approved an “emergency ordinance” banning public nudity on city streets today. Vermont, and Brattleboro in particular have a long history of tolerating nudity in public. The state, along with many of its towns have absolutely no law requiring that people wear cloths in public so long as they are minding their own business.

The “emergency” that precipitated the ordinance was an elderly Arizona man who decided to attend the city’s gallery walk in the nude. Apparently the conservative blowhards can handle it when nude people are young and beautiful, but they draw the line and call it an “emergency” when it’s an old saggy guy. Nice going fellas!

I can’t say that I truly understand why these people enjoy being nude in public, but I’m totally sick and tired of this country’s uptight and irrational hangups about the naked body. Many news articles covering this story have quotes from people saying things like “I don’t think children should be seeing this”. I suppose they would rather our children learn to be ashamed of their bodies and perpetuate the misconception in this country that all nudity is sexual? Don’t you think the more casual attitudes towards nudity we see thru-out much of Europe are a lot healthier for our children than America’s ludicrous, Christian imposed complex about it? I don’t have children, but if I did, I would much rather they be exposed to nudity outside the sexual context so they could realize that everyone’s body is different and that it is OK for them not to look exactly like the models in glamour magazines.

A naked body is something that each and every one of us have, but for some reason we are taught to be ashamed of it. Like it or not, most of the body-image issues and eating disorders that prevail in this country can be directly traced back to our villification of the naked body. Wouldn’t it be great to see people from all over the country descend upon the streets of Brattleboro and stage a Spencer Tunick style installation of thousands of naked bodies in protest of this draconian ordinance? I certainly think so.

Will Pat Robertson Be Extradited?

Christian radical Pat Robertson provoked outrage last week when he called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The Bush administration, who seems to have close ties with Robertson has since been trying to distance itself from the TV evangelist by playing down the statement but has thus far, failed to renounce it publicly.

This lack of action by the US Federal government has prompted calls from Mr. Chávez for the extradition of Robertson to Venezuela, where he would be tried as a terrorist. The Rev. Jesse Jackson offered support for the for Venezuelan President on Sunday, saying a recent call for his assassination was a criminal act.

Chávez said:

His government would take legal action against Pat Robertson, stressing that “to call for the assassination of a head of state is an act of terrorism.”

Robertson is known for throwing out corrosive, Christian fundamentalist propoganda. For instance, in 2003, he earned the disdain of the State Department after suggesting:

“Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off … to shake things up” in US diplomacy.

In 2001, as America reeled from the September 11 attacks, Robertson got into trouble after agreeing with comments by Christian right sidekick Jerry Falwell that

“America’s tolerance for lesbians, gays and abortionists had drawn God’s wrath.”

Earlier this year, he angrily commented on the ABC News “This Week” show.:

“I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings”

Personally, I believe that he should be extradited. This is clearly a person that is out of control, and so blinded by the irrationalities of the religious right that he is beyond the sway of reasoned argument.

I’m also excited to see how Bush dances around this fire. Given his clear ties with Robertson, I have no doubt that he will be reluctant to act, however, should Chávez Formally seek extradition, Bush’s hand will be forced, and he will have to either defend Robertson or renounce him. Given Bush’s past allegiance to the Bin Laden family despite Osama’s acts of terrorism against the US, I have every reason to believe Bush will go to the end of the Earth to defend Robertson.

Thanks to Jon Emmons for pointing this story out to me >

Robertson and the Christian Right Crusade

I got this e-mail from Jim Dean at Democracy For America this morning, and while I usually hate to just republish content, I think this one is worth putting out there for more to see.

Not only has Robertson called for the assassination of the president of Venezuela, he has repeatedly prayed for vacancies in the Supreme Court, which pretty much amounts to him praying for the death of our most respected judges, since they are appointed for life terms. It looks like this guy is looking to start a neo-conservative crusade of Christian fundamentalists.

As far as I can tell, Pat Robertson is a terrorist!

From DFA:

The Bible tells us “thou shall not kill.” And we consider it a key value to live by. It’s a shame that Rev. Pat Robertson, self-appointed leader of America’s so-called Christian right, does not.

Robertson’s fatwah, calling for the assassination of the president of Venezuela — in the name of keeping access to a “huge pool of oil,” among other excuses — exposed the warped values of many religious radicals with the ear of the president of the United States.

From efforts to squelch the teaching of sound science in our schools, to the “Justice Sunday” rallies trying to impose religion on the courts, to the quixotic jihad against SpongeBob SquarePants, fundamentalist power grabs make the news and have a huge impact.

But they don’t have the teachings of any religion we know of — and they don’t have us. That’s why we’re sending Robertson a message: “Thou shall not kill.” Join your voice with ours, and we’ll print your name in Robertson’s local daily newspaper:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/robertson

Even Donald Rumsfeld — a man we hardly ever agree with — had the sense to play down the statement. “Certainly it’s against the law,” he told the press. “Our department doesn’t do that type of thing.”

But this calls for more than an offhand comment, because the allegiance that Republicans owe to Robertson and his Christian Coalition allies lets them influence the Bush agenda. Bush and company need to condemn Robertson’s outrageous statement.

Rather than wait on the White House though, we’ll set an example: we’ll reject Robertson ourselves. Join Americans across the land in telling Robertson it’s time he learned to love his neighbor as himself:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/robertson

Your feedback — and your name — will go into an ad in the Virginian-Pilot, the Norfolk area’s leading newspaper. We’ll put you on record with thousands of Americans rightly — and righteously — angry that Robertson keeps twisting our values to serve his petty political agenda.

“I don’t want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore,” Howard Dean once told us. We don’t have to.

UPDATE: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez calls for Robertson’s extradition.