Saturday, July 14, 2012

More July Internet wading

Here are few more things on the Internet that caught my eye over the past week:

Bishops in the USA’s Episcopal Church have approved a measure to form a liturgy to bless the unions of same-sex couples. This isn’t actually performing same-sex marriages, apparently, but progress nonetheless. It comes after the Presbyterian Church USA’s General Assembly narrowly (338 to 308) rejected a proposal to define marriage as a union between "two people" (rather than only a man and a woman).

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Anglican Church branch, meeting in its General Synod, was faced with considering whether to bless same-sex unions and ordain gay and lesbian priests. However, on Wednesday NZ’s Anglican Archibishop, David Moxon, declared that nothing will happen on these issues until an official report is submitted—in 2014. NZ’s Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church are both part of the “Anglican Communion,” the worldwide church based in England, which is the face of rising conservative church in Africa opposes the UK’s enacting marriage equality.

On the secular front, 132 Members of the US House of Representatives filed an amicus brief against the constitutionality of the USA’s “Defense” of Marriage Act (DOMA). The brief makes clear that the Republican-controlled “Bipartisan” Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the US House does not speak for all Members.

Well, what do you know? It turns out that the centre-left in the USA opposes the “Trans Pacific Partnership” trade deal for the same reason Kiwis and Aussies on the centre-left do: The loss of national sovereignty to shadowy extra-national “courts” to be created to adjudicate corporations’ claims of having been wronged, even when the complaint is based on a corporation not liking a country’s laws. In New Zealand, the super-secret agreement is being opposed by everyone from Tech firms to pork producers. That last one kind of puts a new spin on “capitalist pigs”, eh?

All of which may help explain why Robert Cruickshank risks breaking Godwin’s Law to suggest on AlterNet that the USA is following in the footsteps of Wiemar Germany: “Four Major Ways We're Following In Germany's Fascist Footsteps”.

Ah, but there’s always rugby to brighten things! Well, maybe not. While many Kiwis apparently have an opinion on Sonny Bill Williams’ decision to abandon New Zealand and rugby, TV One’s Peter Williams was perhaps more strident than most. Personally, I don’t care about SBW leaving, but I certainly don’t believe him, that it was about “honour” and some supposed handshake agreement years ago. I’d respect him a LOT more if he’d said simply, “Look, professional athletes have short careers, so I need to make as much money as I can while I can.” I could believe that, and I’d be fine with it. Instead, everything he said seems like banal, insincere chatter so, though I wouldn’t have put it quite so strongly, Peter Williams isn’t wrong.

And that’s a small sample of what caught my eye over the past week.

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