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This week’s Speak Out Spotlight (SOS) is on a group called Transparency International (TI).  Based in Berlin, the secretariat provides leadership for the movement’s international initiatives, supports chapters and coordinates regional work through knowledge sharing, advocacy and coalition building.

If you’re looking for a way to combat corruption either locally, nationally, or on a more international stage, then this might be the right way to go.  Their site provides several opportunities to report, investigate and get involved through a number of effective resources.  In addition to their site, TI also offers a Facebook and Twitter feed (links at the bottom of this page).

Transparency International is as they say in their Vision statement and Overview:

Their Vision

“A world in which government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption”


One global movement sharing one vision: a world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.

In 1993, a few individuals decided to take a stance against corruption and created Transparency International. Now present in more than 100 countries, the movement works relentlessly to stir the world’s collective conscience and bring about change. Much remains to be done to stop corruption, but much has also been achieved, including:

  • the creation of international anti-corruption conventions
  • the prosecution of corrupt leaders and seizures of their illicitly gained riches
  • national elections won and lost on tackling corruption
  • companies held accountable for their behaviour both at home and abroad.

To find out more about TI or to get involved, please click on the following link to their website:  Transparency International

They can also be found on FacebookTransparency International Fb Link

and on Twitter through:  TI @ anticorruption

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BRIAN TASHMAN | Right Wing Watch

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Last year, Ben Carson grouped gay people with the likes of the pro-pedophilia group NAMBLA and “bestiality supporters” as nefarious forces trying “to change the definition [of marriage].”

Carson, a conservative columnist and retired neurosurgeon, later apologized for the remarks, but Saturday at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in Washington), the potential presidential candidate sang a different tune, saying that he will “continue to defy the PC police who have tried in many cases to shut me up.”

“I still believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Carson said to applause, and denied that he ever compared homosexuality to bestiality. “Of course they’re not the same thing. Anybody who believes that is a dummy, but anybody who believes somebody who says that somebody said that is a dummy, that’s the problem.”

“Of course gay people should have the same rights as everyone else,” Carson continued. “But they don’t get extra rights, they don’t get to redefine marriage.”


Are LGBT people trying to vie for “more rights” or are they simply asking for the same recognition given to any other human being, or is this argument simply a guise to mask the real issue of narrow minded bigotry – are they in fact  the very ones attempting to demand the “special rights” above and beyond all others?


No, gay people are not trying to gain “extra rights”, but to the contrary, we are attempting to receive the same rights, recognition and benefits that any other “straight” or “human” counterpart is given in our society.  These bigoted comments made by so called “normal” people accusing us of claiming the need for preferential treatment is nothing more than an act put on at the expense of the LGBT community to gain “extra” notoriety from “like-minded” individuals.  After all, as the old saying goes, “there is safety in numbers” and the numbers here are thankfully dwindling in favor of a much more equitable and deeper approach.

That we’re even having this discussion in this day and age simply means one thing,  the old dragon is desperately gasping for its final breath.  It’s an old dragon created out of the fear that somehow or in someway the human race, as it is known, would suddenly vanish from the face of the earth because of sin or transgression.  The truth of the matter is that the old dragon isn’t giving up without a fight, and it’s at this time that it becomes all the more violent and malevolent.  The dragon in this case is a Christian dogma that says that the only acceptable form of marriage is their ideal of marriage as sanctioned between a man and a woman. This isn’t to say that all Christians share the same belief but rather a small but very vocal body of fundamentalists.

As much as they may choose to deny it, we are all humans made from the same fabric of creation with all the same substance of spirit, mind, and body.  Some would even have you believe that a benevolent God would never have created such a monstrosity and that we deserve to be treated as scum because they are, after all, the better species deserving nothing less than very special treatment. Failing to justify their arguments on a rational level, they have sought to engage a rather large stronghold of human emotions, namely Christianity, to protect what precarious stances they’ve chosen to defend.

After having been raised as a Roman Catholic who subsequently took to experimenting around with other Christian beliefs,  I can say one thing for sure; it is a highly charged, emotion driven human enterprise. Yes, believing in an unseen God requires a huge leap of faith, a leap not geared towards rational thought but on an emotional surrender to the idea of a higher being.  As much as someone may try to give it a sense of logic, that reasoning is largely based on an assumption, an assumption largely derived from an emotional need to belong.  The fact of the matter is that we all have that need no matter how we choose to slice it.

In a very compelling argument presented by leading Christian writer, John Shor in his book UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, he states:
If there is no clearly stated directive in the Bible to marginalize and ostracize gay people, then it is morally indefensible for Christians to continue to do so.

If there is one thing that I took away from reading the new testament of Christianity it is that we were all put here on earth to learn to love one another, not to devise bigger and better arguments on how we shouldn’t or to assume one person is more worthy than another.  The fact is that we are all created beings, with all the same intellect and emotions with the same needs.  The need for love is something we should all share, equally and without regard or prejudice.

After all, the “good book” says:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:7-8 ESV


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV

– Thank You

Courtesy of: GLAAD via The Washington Post and ABC News Poll

Embed from Getty Images

According to an AP article by Emily Wagster Pettus, a Mississippi house panel is seeking to advance a bill that in essence says state and local government cannot put a substantial burden on religious practices. (substantial burden?)

“Senate Bill 2681 is called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

It passed the House Judiciary B Committee on Tuesday and goes the full House for debate in the next few days.

In its original form, the bill was similar to a measure that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed last week.

The Mississippi bill would add the motto “In God We Trust” to the state seal.”


Is it appropriate for a religious organization to seek to impose their religious beliefs and practices upon another group of people through laws seeking to establish preferential treatment, such laws to be implemented  by a governing body, i.e.  the Mississippi House (a representative body composed of elected public officials)?


In short, the answer should not only be no but unmistakably no – period.  These so called religious zealots aren’t concerned about their own personal rights and freedoms, but rather are more interested in  restricting the rights and freedoms of others, namely people who are LGBT.

The fact of the matter is that no one has nor is in the process of impeding anyone’s rights in any form except for the religious zealots themselves.  What they are doing is attempting to justify a deep seated hatred of other men and women whose lifestyle just doesn’t happen to agree with their own concept of reality.  A reality largely based on picking and choosing what is or is not “proper”, a convenient truth at liberty to their own whims and desires.

It’s as if another person’s existence defies  who they are and what they stand for when in reality it does nothing of the kind.  Being LGBT imposes nothing on these Christians aside from what they have manufactured in their own minds as if it were somehow a disease that would infect their very state being.

Truth of the matter is that you’re either LGBT or your not LGBT and if you’re worried about yourself or someone close to you becoming LGBT; congratulations, you or they may most likely be LGBT.  Either that or extremely confused and/or repressed, in which case you’re more of a danger to other people than anyone else could ever possibly be to you.

The LGBT people aren’t asking for more rights than those already guaranteed or allowed to everyone else.   On the contrary, they want to be able to find love, get married, and perhaps have a family who will maybe love them in return, just as any other person would expect.  Of course, just as their straight counterparts, none of that is a given, one has to work to achieve it. The primary motivation of the LGBT isn’t to convert anyone, rather it is to have the same rights to live life with all the chances for success or failure granted to everyone else.  What LGBT people desire earnestly is the right to at least be allowed the chance to fail or achieve.

Being a fundamentalist conservative christian doesn’t automatically qualify one person to exist more over another person, nor does it make that person more licensed to make such assumptions.  Rather, we all share an existence, a state of being that extends out to envelop an identity as a product of creation.  Whether that creation is of a supernatural source or a product of random selection, it is all one in the same with regards to a sentient awareness.

To quote William Shakespeare,

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that”


Hillary Clinton on LGBT

LGBT_Hillary_ClintonSpeaking to the U.N. Human Rights Council, before an audience that included diplomats from Arab, African and other countries with poor records on gay rights, Clinton said religious beliefs and cultural practices are no excuse for discriminating or tolerating violence against gay people.

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