Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The LayMAN Whines Again

I wonder when the homophobians at the LayMAN will finally give it up.

Carmen
"The Millstone" Fowler is crying about Apple Computer. Apparently, the iPhone and the iPad have discontinued an app for the Manhattan Declaration. (The Manhattan Declaration is a statement of bigotry that seeks to deny marriage equality using religious freedom as a cover for prejudice).

According to the Millstone, enough people made noise and Apple peeled the app. Now she is asking her tribe to complain to Steve Jobs and get the app reinstated.

I have no love for corporations, including Apple. I am happy they have no app for bigotry. Now that could change. Apple will do what is best for its bottom line. The truth is that prejudice against gays is becoming less profitable as rational, reasonable, everyday people see through the ignorance, nastiness, and religious intolerance of the LayMAN and its comrades.

What the LayMAN and its band of bigots don't get is that the wind is not blowing in their direction. Second class status for gays is ending in America. The ones holding up the banner for prejudice (like the LayMAN) will only become more marginalized as they become more shrill.

47 comments:

fjorab said...

Actually, i think in a way they do realize their time is coming to an end. I think they're scared that their "ownership" of the ways of the land is in danger.

Tony and Mike said...

When will they ever discuss a topic that they actually know something about?

Alan said...

I would be pretty shocked if Apple decided to reinstate that stupid app.

They've already got enough fart apps on the App Store, they don't need another one.

Alan said...

BTW, I love watching phony conservatives fall all over themselves crying "Censorship!" when the market makes a decision they don't like. (Though I do wish they had some notion of the definition of censorship, but that would, I'm afraid, probably be too much to ask.)

Pastor Bob said...

Irony: I believe Apple recognizes domestic partnerships in their pension and medical plans.

One of the problem with lists of apps (I have an android phone) is that I suspect the companies don't review the apps before they are added to the list. Apple got stung before when there was an app that had pics of naked children. Clearly all companies need to review apps before they are added to the list. Of course they would have to PAY people to do such a job.

Alan said...

"I believe Apple recognizes domestic partnerships in their pension and medical plans."

Of course they do, like nearly every other Fortune 1000 company out there.

So it isn't irony at all that they rejected this piece of crap app about the Manhattan Declaration, which was, I'll remind you, written and signed by people who strongly support the Ugandan effort to institute the death penalty for LGBT people.

It isn't irony, it is good corporate policy. Apple knows where its money comes from.

DairyStateDad said...

No sympathy for the Layman and no endorsement here for the Manhattan Declaration.

But while I might like this outcome as a religious liberal and as a supporter of Marriage Equality and of reproductive rights, it also reflects why I want an open-source e-reader.

I resent a corporation telling me what I can read with the machine.

See this: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/06/jobs-apple-satire-ban/

Apple has its terms and can do what it wants, but...

...corporate censorship of discourse still sucks.

John Shuck said...

Corporations do not operate by conscience, only profit.

They analyze numbers and sales and dividends for their shareholders.

It doesn't really matter when we think they should care about lofty ideals such as justice, freedom of speech, discourse, censorship or whatever.

My point is of course that Apple has likely calculated that it will make more profit by not having the Manhattan app than by having it.

There is nothing moral about any of this. That could change. They could redo the numbers and realize that they will make more profit by having the crap app. I doubt it. But who knows.

When corporations that operate strictly by profit decide in a direction on a social issue they know what the future holds.

Bigotry against gays at least for Apple is not profitable. That should be a sign that the LayMAN is on the losing side.

John Shuck said...

...corporate censorship of discourse still sucks.

Given what I already said about corporations who don't care about that ideal or any other (even though they may say they do--they only care about profit), this idea of "discourse" is intriguing.

I don't think the Manhattan (cr)app is discourse anymore than I think the manifestos of Fred Phelps are discourse or of the KKK. Then again, maybe they all are.

I don't think censorship is an appropriate word for what corporations do. The laws that we have passed have made corporations greedy and exploitative by definition. They have no conscience. They have no morality. They are monsters who either grow by eating or they die.

We cannot appeal to their conscience as they have none. We can only force them (if we can) by
reducing their profit. They only engage (ie. Apple refusing some apps and allowing others) on behalf of what appear to us to be social or moral issues because one side may prove more profitable than another.

Shaming however is a good tactic because how they appear does affect their profit so they do care about that.

I will happily shame them so that they will do things that fit my understanding of morality even if their motivation is solely profit.

So...I don't frame the Manhattan (cr)app-gate issue as censorship at all but refusing to endorse bigotry.

Even though in reality it is neither. It is Apple doing what it does to make profit.

Snad said...

Yes, censorship is the wrong word. We have the right to publish whatever we want, dreck, or not. Therefore, it is not censorship - until the time comes when corporations own all the means to publishing, distribution and ownership of reading materials, right down to the back-alley tattoo parlor.

Pastor Bob said...

Alan

My comment on irony was meant to say that it is ironic that the app ended up as a possible download from Apple when the Corp. offers such benefits to its employees.

I say again that Apple, Google and other Corps. that maintain such lists of apps have the responsibility to review the apps before they are placed on the list. At the very least the Corps. should recognize that they have a potentially serious liability problem if they don't check the apps on their lists. Some, like that earlier one on the Apple list, promote illegal behavior.

Alan said...

Bob,

Gotcha.

I agree the real problem here is not that it was removed, but that this hate-screed was ever approved in the first place.

Alan said...

(The problem for Apple though, is that the app itself probably doesn't specifically state that the writers and signers support murdering gay people, so it takes an outside group to inform the company of the background.)

Michael_SC said...

"The truth is that prejudice against gays is becoming less profitable..."


The market for superficiality and ignorance is still quite large (though perhaps shrinking). The existence of the Layman and other 'evangelical' 'minstries' is evidence of that. But once people discover what has been learned in the past few hundred years, their game is over.

Joe B said...

What the LayMAN and its band of bigots don't get is that the wind is not blowing in their direction.

Actually I think folks at the Layman do get it, just as I think Lot and his two visitors at some point realized the wind wasn't going their direction either. Democracy prevailed...Hooray! Good thing Lot and company saw where the wind was blowing and got out of town in time!

John Shuck said...

I hope the LayMAN gets out in time, too, to leave the rest of us sinners alone.

Will Shetterly said...

Alan, Apple is not "the market." It's a corporation that decided to pull a product which, given the cost of storage, it could've kept available.

It's a despicable product.

But what Apple did is simple censorship. Corporate censors are no better than government ones.

Alan said...

"But what Apple did is simple censorship. Corporate censors are no better than government ones."

We'll have to agree to disagree on that. Censorship is, by definition only something a government can do.

I don't believe corporations should be forced (by whom? The government? Seriously?) to provide goods or services, particularly goods or services designed to spread a message of hate and death.

It wouldn't cost me a dime to allow the KKK to set up an information booth on my front lawn, but I won't be doing that either. And if that's "censorship" so be it. I prefer to think of it as ethical judgement, but either way I (and corporations) are in no way obligated to do provide such services.

Alan said...

(BTW, the fact that this so-called Declaration is available all over the web is clear evidence that this isn't censorship. It is freely available. It is widely available. Booting this app out of the App Store didn't affect either its price nor availability one iota.)

So, censorship is not only the wrong word, it isn't even true if it were the right word.

Will Shetterly said...

Check some of your favorite dictionaries, and look at cases that the ACLU has taken on. Government censorship is only one form of censorship. Academic censorship, for example, is equally reprehensible, in my opinion.

I agree that corporations should be free to choose what they buy and sell. But corporations, like governments, have a responsibility to be very cautious when silencing speech they disapprove of.

Will Shetterly said...

As for your second point, this is from an ACLU letter about Clark University canceling Norman Finkelstein's talk: "The existence of an opportunity to speak at another time or in another location does not remedy the wrong of censorship."

This is especially true when major venues say, "But they're free to speak where no one might notice them."

John Shuck said...

Again, corporations will do whatever they want, because the consequences relate to their profits. They will even do illegal stuff if the profit from doing it will outweigh the cost of breaking the law.

Since a corporation is really an individual, to accuse a corporation of censorship is no different than accusing an individual of censorship.

John Shuck said...

But regardless of what we think of corporations, I find it disturbing that hatred of gays and denial of their civil rights can calmly be regarded as "discourse."

Would a "biblical values for women" app that advocated for a restoration of women not owning property, not allowed a vote, etc. be "discourse"?

How about a "biblical values for white people" app that required all who couldn't prove 90% European ancestry denied the vote and property ownership. Is that "discourse"?

Regardless of where we stand on the censorship issue, I think those who advocate for discourse when it comes to gay rights wouldn't be so free speechy when their rights were at stake.

John Shuck said...

Bottom line:

Even though Apple doesn't give a crap about anything except its profit, I yet applaud its "CENSORSHIP" of bigotry. I would hope other corps. will do likewise.

Will Shetterly said...

John, if I remember correctly, the stupid app links to a site with 50,000 signers, but Apple pulled it after getting a petition from about 7000 people. Offending 50,000 for the sake of 7,000 is a novel way to do business.

As for individuals, while I recognize your joke, yes, individuals can censor, too. Many bloggers censor comments. When a popular blogger censors a minor blogger, there's an imbalance of power.

Yes, many people support censorship that advances goals that I support. This does not make censorship right. Support the goals; oppose the censorship, sez moi.

John Shuck said...

At the end of the day, 50,000 signatures versus 7,000 signatures are not the numbers that matter. Apple will do what will make a profit for Apple. It has no morals or social conscience. They can only pretend to have these things. They care about profit only and projecting an image that will make the most profit.

The point of my blog post wasn't censorship at all. It is simply that bigotry against gays is a losing cause as seen through the barometer of profit.

Corporations do not care about ideals. Censorship therefore has no meaning for a corporation. They have proven time and time again that they don't even care about the law.

However, if stopping "censorship" is important to you and you want to shame Apple then that is an avenue open to you. They are sensitive to any publicity that may threaten profit.

Stopping hateful bigotry is important to me, so I applaud Apple for taking a stand against hate (even if Apple's motivation is profit).

Will Shetterly said...

Forgive me for pointing this out, but you're making the same argument that Ron Paul and just about all segregationists make, that businesses should be free to do what they want, and their choices are only based on what's most profitable for them.

Stopping hateful bigotry is important for me, too. But I don't believe the means justify the ends. I think businesses have an obligation to serve all customers, and businesses that handle information have an obligation to offer all views.

Alan said...

"Check some of your favorite dictionaries"

Thanks. I did. They also think you're wrong. :)

"Offending 50,000 for the sake of 7,000 is a novel way to do business."

I'd wager there are more potential Apple customers among the 7,000 than the 50,000.

While I too am against censorship (and here I'm talking about real censorship, not the fake kind), I'm even more against a fascist police state that forces companies or individuals to support agendas with which they do not agree. You don't suggest how your "no censorship ever!" ethic should be enforced, but as far as I can tell there's only one entity that has the power to do so .... the government.

I note, BTW, that you have no problem suggesting Apple "censor" the opinions of the 7,000 people who complained by continuing to carry the app. So perhaps censorship only goes one way? What about the "imbalance of power"? How do you propose that Apple protect the "rights" of the 7,000 vs. the 50,000?

(Note: I don't actually think that either the 7000 nor the 50000 have any rights at all in this case, but you apparently do, and apparently you believe only the 50000 people should have those rights.)

John wrote, "I think those who advocate for discourse when it comes to gay rights wouldn't be so free speechy when their rights were at stake."

Indeed John. Strict black-and-white ethical rules (no censorship ever!) are great as goals, but here in the real world, we need to recognize distinctions (eg. government vs. individual vs. corporation.) Nuance is key. And, as we can see from my arguments above, when someone has clearly not thought out the ramifications and implications of their strict rules, we run into even bigger problems.

And let's remember we're not just talking about rights. The authors and several of the notable signers of this Declaration actively support churches and politicians in Uganda which are actively working toward making homosexuality a capital offense.

So, this comes down to a business making a decision for whatever reason that it is completely within its rights to make. Period. If this had gone the other way, I'd be ticked, but I wouldn't make specious claims about censorship.

John Shuck said...

I am not saying what businesses should do or be. I am saying what they are. I think they should be shut down. Corporate capitalism is a monster and it is destroying life on Earth because it is based on the fallacy of infinite growth. We have reached the planet's limits and are headed for disaster beyond any disaster we have seen before. That is a whole other topic.

You have place a value on censorship. I place a value on ending bigotry. Neither are absolutes. I tell my youth group that they are not allowed to say hateful things to each other. That is censorship. Praise be it.

Alan said...

"but you're making the same argument that Ron Paul and just about all segregationists make, that businesses should be free to do what they want, and their choices are only based on what's most profitable for them."

No, we're really not, which is at the very heart of your confusion about this issue.

Alan said...

"I think businesses have an obligation to serve all customers, and businesses that handle information have an obligation to offer all views."

So Apple should also be forced to offer an app that breaks my iPhone? They should be forced to offer child porn videos in their iTunes store? They should be forced to carry Microsoft products that compete with their own? They should be forced to sell Dells on their website?

Will Shetterly said...

Alan, if you want to think only governments can censor, that's cool, but most dictionaries (I checked the American Heritage and Random House most recently) have a broader take on that, as does the ACLU.

Publishing or selling work that you disagree with does not imply that you agree with it. It merely means you believe in free speech.

How would Apple be "censoring" the 7000 who complained by not capitulating to their complaint? Do you think Huckleberry Finn should be pulled from every library where someone complains about it?

I'm pointing out the 50000 supporters because some people were saying this was purely a commercial decision.

John, I'll go further than agreeing that corporate capitalism is a monster: capitalism itself is a monster.

But there's one market I will always value: the marketplace of ideas, which is only meaningful if all ideas can compete equally there.

Alan: An opposing idea is not equivalent to an app that'll break your iphone, though if I was running the app store, I would take the position of putting warnings on products, which would include something like, "This app will break your iphone." As for child porn, it's illegal and supporting the Manhattan Declaration is not. Your last two points have to do with monopoly practices, which also don't strike me as relevant here. The app in question was not illegal, it did not break your iphone, and it didn't compete commercially with Apple. Therefore, it should not have been censored, sez me with my Free Speech hat on.

Alan said...

"Do you think Huckleberry Finn should be pulled from every library where someone complains about it?"

:) Check. Mate. Thanks for playing.

Last time I looked libraries were government organizations (otherwise they're called bookstores.) When the only real examples of censorship you can come up with are government examples, you prove my point. Thank you. :)

So you draw lines too. You just draw different ones.

Will Shetterly said...

Alan, was the ACLU wrong to comment on the Finkelstein case? (See the bit I quoted above.) No government involvement there.

Pastor Bob said...

Alan

>"I think businesses have an >obligation to serve all >customers, and businesses that >handle information have an >obligation to offer all views."

>So Apple should also be forced to >offer an app that breaks my >iPhone? They should be forced to >offer child porn videos in their >iTunes store? They should be >forced to carry Microsoft >products that compete with their >own? They should be forced to >sell Dells on their website?

I don't think that censorship is the right word for this but should a florist be legally allowed to refuse to do flower arrangements for a gay wedding? An apartment owner refuse to rent to an unmarried heterosexual couple?

In other words where do corporate rights end and civil rights begin?

Will Shetterly said...

Pastor Bob, excellent question! Here's another example:

http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief-reproductive-freedom/hospitals-must-provide-life-saving-care-despite-pressure-do-oth

Alan, is the ACLU wrong to take this position?

John Shuck said...

Will, now I am not sure what you are asking. Are you suggesting that Apple be taken to court and by legal means forced to put the Manhattan (cr)app on their machine?

Or is it a matter of an abstract ideal you hold so they "should" do it?

As far as the other questions, sure I have answers, but none are absolute.

Hospital--ACLU is correct. Medical Care is high priority.

Flowers--I think florists should be required to sell flowers for gay weddings. Should there be a law? Should they be taken to jail for not doing so? Probably not. I think the market and a good shaming will take care of it. Flowers aren't life and death.

Housing--more important than flowers. That I might say is a civil matter.

Every law is human made. Every ethic is made up by us and they often are in conflict. We may have some ideals that we prefer over others and we may be in tension with ourselves regarding them.

Will Shetterly said...

John, I'll go with your answer for the flowers: they should not censor, but the government should not force them to take everything that's submitted to them. But that's a tentative answer. In the corporate age, corporations control speech at least as effectively as governments do. For example, the equal-time rule should apply to all parties that get on a voting ballot, and not just to the two wings of the Biparty. I could imagine supporting a law that required major commercial information sites to carry everything legal that was offered to them.

John Shuck said...

Will, I just don't see the Apple issue about censorship. It is the wrong word.

Apple made a choice. They chose to discontinue bigotry. Good for them. So to you, I say, "Support free speech, but oppose bigotry."

They made the better choice.

There are no absolutes. Sometimes you do the right thing, weighing one value against another.

Given all I have said about corporations, for argument's sake, let's say Apple did this despite a loss of profit. Let's say they stood up for the principle of no bigotry even at the cost of loss business and of good folks like you accusing them of censorship.

Then I am even more proud of them.

Will Shetterly said...

I say, "Support free speech, and oppose bigotry." It doesn't have to be either/or. Let's hope that the next time a corporation chooses to discontinue a book or a petition, it's not something that matters to you, because you won't have ground to complain about the principle.

For now, it's time to agree to disagree. If we're lucky, this is all academic.

Peace,

Will

John Shuck said...

Will,

You answered my question to you, and I didn't respond adequately. In this case with Apple, you suggest:

I could imagine supporting a law that required major commercial information sites to carry everything legal that was offered to them.

You make a good case. I am going to have to think about this some more. You bring some good insights. I am thinking especially in regards to media carriers. I see what you mean by the power issue. For instance, it sure pissed me off when radio stopped playing the Dixie Chicks because they criticized Bush. We have a lot of censorship issues (re: the corporate ownership and subsequent censorship of news).

A parallel issue came up recently with Amazon. They sold some how to book about pedophilia. Anderson Cooper had a broadcast about it. I don't know whatever happened to that. According to your statement, Amazon should be required to sell that book as it is a major commercial information site and the book itself was legal (according to the lawyers on the Anderson Cooper show).

Good stuff to wrestle with. Thanks for commenting!

Will Shetterly said...

John, thank you, too. I wouldn't have gotten so far in my thoughts about corporate censorship if you and Alan hadn't made me examine how far my principles go.

I hadn't heard about the Anderson Cooper vs. Amazon story. The quick google says Amazon finally pulled the book. Yes, my position is that they shouldn't have if the book wasn't illegal--but I hate that being a free speech absolutist means I have to support the right of free speech for people who write about things I really don't want to read.

Well, more for me to ponder now!

Alan said...

I would agree with John that there are certain public accommodations that should not be allowed to discriminate. But the difference in this particular case is serving a customer vs. selling (or offering) a product. People who put apps on the app store are not customers, they are sellers (even if their app is free, they are not the customer, the person who downloads it is.)

Now, if Apple decided that homophobes could no longer download apps from the app store, I'd be against that. But that's very different from forcing them to offer products that conflict with their corporate goals.

Housing, banking, hospitals, restaurants, etc., have long been required to serve anyone. I'm less inclined to think florists or wedding photographers should be held to the same standard to which realtors or banks should be held. And of course, if a school, hospital, etc. is receiving federal funds (such as the ACLU situation you cite) then they must be required not to discriminate in offering services to customers.

Several years ago my partner and I had some major landscaping done at our home which included the construction of some new porches. The first subcontractor that the landscaper hired to do the construction refused the job because he didn't want to work for fags. The second contractor he hired did an outstanding job doing the work quicker and cheaper (and higher quality) than the first contractor would have. We gave him a bonus and the landscaper now uses him as his primary contractor.

I didn't sue. I didn't whine or stamp my feet. Instead, I did what any satisfied customer would do and pointed out to the landscaper what good work was done by the contractor. We also recommend the contractor to our friends and neighbors. We've heard that the other contractor's business has declined considerably. My money is just as green as anyone else's and I put it to good use with someone who doesn't see the building of a porch as some sort of stupid moral statement about the gay lifestyle.

I don't, as it turns out, have the right to never be offended by stupidity. I've learned to live with that.

Will Shetterly said...

Alan, a friend of mine lumps all the isms together under stupidism. I agree that we don't have a right never to be offended by stupidity, and that we should always work against it in the best way we know.

I tend to see the law as a flawed way to deal with problems, and your contractor story is a perfect example. God only knows what shoddy work you would've gotten from a contractor who was forced to work for you. I'm glad that situation, which had to be horrible at the time, worked out well.

Jodie said...

"For example, the equal-time rule should apply to all parties that get on a voting ballot, and not just to the two wings of the Biparty. "

The equal time rule was abolished under the Bush administration. How do you think Fox and Rush Limbaugh get away with their one sided diatribes?

Regarding censorship, it really is about government control of the media. The right of free speech to individuals is also the right to refrain from speech. And since corporations are the same as individuals per the right wing dominated Supreme Court, then corporations are free to not say anything they want to to not say.

But even if corporations were not individuals, I still think the principles of private enterprise and freedom of the press mean that a private enterprise is free to deny service to any customer (unless it can be shown that to deny service promotes a greater harm - like bigotry and racism), or not publish anything they wish to not publish.

The airwaves are a different matter. No private enterprise should be allowed to use commonwealth property exclusively for their own profit or to promote their own political propaganda. The principle of equal time should apply to broadcast stations because broadcast stations use public property. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are using my property to unilaterally promote values and ideas and people I reject.

They should have to pay me for that.

Will Shetterly said...

Jodie, if Wikipedia's right, it wasn't abolished; it was merely weakened: "Since 1983, political debates not hosted by the media station are considered news events, thus may include only major-party candidates without having to offer air time to minor-party or independent candidates."

All commerce is done in the commons--Apple, Amazon, and Google sure don't own the internet. But if people don't find what they're looking for at those sites, they rarely go further. So I would say businesses should be answerable to society. After all, access was at the heart of forcing businesses to serve people of all races and genders.

Jodie said...

It was 1987 under Reagan, as part of repealing the "Fairness Doctrine".

See "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine"

But the "personal attack" rule and the "political editorial" rules remained in effect until 2000.

Democrats keep trying to re-instated them, but Republicans keep killing those attempts. Sometimes by presidential veto.

They interfere with the Right Wing agenda of controlling the media. Ironic since part of that agenda is to make it seem it is the liberals who control it. But if they did, they wouldn't be calling for equal time, would they?