Mormons’ reactions to LGBT video reveal the LDS Church’s mixed messages about gays | Religion News Service

With my parents, I feel like [coming out to them in a private Facebook message] was the best way. They could read it, they would be able to think about it in their minds and have their reactions without me seeing it.” – Xian Mackintosh

It gave me time to take it in, to get rid of all the anger.” – Scott Mackintosh

Last Thursday, the Mormon Channel released a new video to Mormonandgay.lds.org: “The Mackintoshes’ Story – A Son Comes Out and a Family Loves.” (The video is embedded at the bottom of this post.)

While this family’s story beautifully exemplifies how Mormon families often react in love to gay loved ones who come out, leave the church, and have romantic partners, Mormons’ diverse reactions to this video reveal tensions in LDS attitudes—not just toward homosexuality, but also toward religious authority and change. The resulting confusion can tell us a lot about the mixed messages the church is sending to members.

Some of the first reactions were gratitude, relief, and surprise. One commenter remarked, “This is so refreshing. It’s even put out by the church I believe.” And another said, “I was so surprised when I saw the church’s logo at the end!” (Yes, this is really from the church, as this direct link to LDS.org itself proves.)

Other reactions were along the lines of “this could have been my story”:

Source: Religion News Service

Fresh polling shows Britain doesn’t want a hard Brexit

One of the consequences of Britain lacking a functioning opposition is that politics within the Conservative Party have outsized influence. This is surely the best explanation for the fact that, as Theresa May takes one last deep breath before triggering Article 50, the country is in real danger of a disastrously hard Brexit.

People don’t want this: GQRR polling published today shows that despite the referendum result Britain clearly prefers a Brexit deal that keeps us in the single market even with continued free movement of people. But the Conservatives’ electoral incentives could well land us outside the single market all the same.

With Labour effectively mute, the Liberal Democrats diminished and Ukip still frighteningly appealing, we lack clear strong voices in favour of economic pragmatism. It may fall to those outside politics to take up the fight. We have found several things they can say that would make a difference.

Source: Politics.co.uk

“Tough-minded, abrupt, likable, human: Martin McGuinness” The Guardian

Asked recently to pick just one great memory from my time with Tony in Downing Street, I went for the coming together of the Good Friday agreement that laid the foundations for peace in Northern Ireland. It was magical. A lot of that was about the collection of personalities from across politics that came together to make history – and Martin McGuinness was a big part of the success it became.

Those early talks with Sinn Féin after Labour came to power in 1997 were a risk for both sides. It was a risk for Labour politically, but it was in many ways a bigger risk for Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams.

Read more The Guardian

Public Policy and the Past: British social democracy in crisis

Most politics commentary is impoverished in two ways. It is geographically parochial and temporally anachronistic. It can see neither the big view nor the long view. It is obsessed with the latest rivalries, the newest personalities, the most novel ups and downs. So the Labour Party’s deep travails focus on the struggle between its MPs and leader. On the latest reshufflings within constituency parties or in the National Executive Committee. Whatever today’s latest bit of shouting involves.

But zoom back, and Labour is actually in the grip of an acute crisis within social democracy itself. And these apparently-insoluble dilemmas are not happening in Britain alone. The Greek Socialists were wiped out by that country’s financial crisis. The Dutch Labour Party took a tremendous beating last week. The French Socialists are about to lose the presidency, either to a charismatic centrist or to the far right. At its base, social democratic coalitions have always tried to reach out to everyone (above) – professional people, working people, the young, the old, men and women, all nations within a state – because social progress is thought to benefit everyone. More recently, this has increasingly come to mean finding the glue that will stick the instincts of liberal urban dwellers to more socially conservative voters in small and medium-sized towns. For a number of reasons – large-scale immigration, rapid cultural change, a yawning age gap in the attitudes of the generations, stagnating wages, you name it – those links are coming apart.  It may not be possible to hold them together for much longer.
wages, you name it – those links are coming apart.  It may not be possible to hold them together for much longer.

Source: Public Policy and the Past

BBC – Future – ‘I am gay – but I wasn’t born this way’

“You can’t be gay.”

She was on top of me.

It wasn’t a command — it was a challenge. You so obviously cannot be gay, was her implication, because this is good sex.

It was 2006, a full five years before Lady Gaga would set the Born This Way argument atop its unassailable cultural perch, but even then the popular understanding of orientation was that it was something you were born with, something you couldn’t change. If you happened to engage in activity that ran counter to your sexual identity, then you had two options: you were lying to yourself and everyone else, or you were just experimenting.

Source: BBC – Future 

BBC – Future – The invention of ‘heterosexuality’

The 1901 Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defined heterosexuality as an “abnormal or perverted appetite toward the opposite sex.” More than two decades later, in 1923, Merriam Webster’s dictionary similarly defined it as “morbid sexual passion for one of the opposite sex.” It wasn’t until 1934 that heterosexuality was graced with the meaning we’re familiar with today: “manifestation of sexual passion for one of the opposite sex; normal sexuality.”

Source: BBC – Future

“Pilot project to introduce a basic income in Ontario gets strong public support” | Toronto Star

A proposed provincial pilot project to give some people struggling on poverty-level welfare payments and low-wage jobs a basic income with no strings attached, received a thumbs-up during recent online and public consultations.

Ontarians are also keen to know whether this type of support would impact health, housing, food and work habits, according to a report summarizing public feedback on the initiative.

“There was strong agreement that the basic income amount should be set at a level that will lift recipients out of poverty,” says the report, released Thursday.

The three-year pilot project, announced in the 2016 budget, is expected to be launched this spring.

Source:  Toronto Star

Review: Basic Income, by Philippe van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght | THE Books

This is a book about multiple emancipations. What would it take for all women to be free – by unshackling the countless numbers who are financially dependent on men? What action would free up enough people, men and women, to care for others who might otherwise live in fear, especially in countries where much more social care will be needed in the very near future?

Philippe van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght, an economist and a political scientist, respectively, explain how the academic arguments for a basic income have been growing in strength since they were first made in the late 1700s. Since then, it has become clear to a still small (but growing) group of people that with so many of us no longer able to earn a subsistence income from the land, and with growing automation and ecological limits to sensible consumption, social progress without a basic income cannot be sustainable. Today the vast majority of our food is grown and harvested through automation, and robots make more and more of our goods; but we cannot use machines to care for each other. Not yet – and, if we are to stay sane, hopefully never. A concern with sanity in a book on economics is refreshing

Source:  THE Books

“Self-employment: Who’s dodging the tax?”

Rick at Flip Chart Fairy Tales asks “Who’s dodging the tax?”

As I understand his post, the answer is – the employers, who can get away with taking on regular staff, but describing them as “self-employed”. That removes the obligation to pay national insurance charges, depriving HMRC of income, and also places the obligation on the worker, to pay their own expenses and “benefits” (such as sick leave).

The proposed changes in NIC did nothing to change that. There is tax avoidance here, but it’s by the employer, not the workers.

It should not be possible for businesses to hire people for what is effectively regular employment, but classify them as self-employed, to avoid paying tax and benefits. What is needed is not changes in tax rates, but tighter control over what constitutes “self-employment”.

Are lots of people going self-employed to avoid tax?

That suggestion comes through in the reporting of the widely expected increase in national insurance for the self-employed. The Independent, for example:

‘dramatic increase’ in number of people registering as self-employed to cut tax bill

And that was the general tone of the chancellor’s speech:

People should have choices about how they work, but those choices should not be driven primarily by differences in tax treatment.

Source: Flip Chart Fairy Tales

(See, for instance this graph in Rick’s post):