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News AAND Notes: Power to the People

Jesus Christ, Drag Star; Hijacking Democracy; Trippin' on Medicine; and Young, Homeless and Hopeful

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Holy Cross Professor Tat-Siong Benny Liew has come under fire for statements he made nine years ago in They Were All Together in One Place? Toward Minority Biblical Criticism. Worcester Magazine reports that Liew's interpretation of John's Gospel included suggestions that Jesus Christ was a "drag king" or cross-dresser with "queer desires," and that he "had sexual fantasies of his Father during the Passion." These statements were explored in an article in The Fenwick Review, a Holy Cross publication; according to WM, the author, Elinor Reilly, said Liew's "unconventional readings of Scripture has brought a new theological perspective to Holy Cross." Reilly also wrote that Liew should "be held up as an example and a bold successor to the learned and discerning tradition" of the school and its Catholic faith.

Others are not so admiring. As of April 2, an online petition seeking his ouster, and accusing him of three blasphemies, had collected nearly 15,000 signatures. WM reports that the school said in a statement that the work had "never been assigned at Holy Cross" and was not meant for undergraduate classrooms. "It was an intentionally provocative work, not a statement of belief, meant to foster discussion among a small group of Biblical scholars exploring marginalization," the statement also read.

Hijacking Democracy

Gerrymandering is bullshit. No matter which side of the political spectrum you're on, disenfranchising voters by drawing district maps to benefit one party or the other is antithetical to democracy. It's how a political party monopolizes government and circumvents the will of the people.

That's why a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice should give us all pause-but probably mostly Democrats. According to Wisconsin Gazette, the report found that, thanks to the blatantly gerrymandered districts Republican representatives created after the 2010 census, in 2018 Democrats would need to win the national vote in congressional districts by nearly 11 percentage points-or 61 Dem votes to every 39 GOP votes-just to get a 51 percent advantage. Say it loud, say it proud: Gerrymandering is BULLSHIT.

Trippin' on Medicine

More and more, Americans are exploring the benefits of medicine grown in theground instead of the laboratory. Probably has something to do with those terrifying warnings on TV. No amount of piddling in your pants is worth a med that causes hallucinations, mm-kay? Well, according to Willamette Weekly, one Oregon couple is spearheading the cause to legalize medicinal mushrooms-the psychedelic kind. (Heads up, makers of Enablex: people like having hallucinations-but only on purpose.)

WW reports that Tom and Sheri Eckert, founders of Oregon Psilocybin Society, claim that guided shroom experiences can help people suffering with anxiety, depression and addiction. The Eckerts also envision licensed treatment centers where people trip under the guidance of a registered, trained wwi"facilitator." Ya know, a trip sitter. WW notes that the couple is almost finished drafting the proposal with the assistance of counsel, and as soon as July could begin gathering signatures to get therapeutic psilocybin legalization-plus decriminalization of small amounts for people 21 and older-on the 2020 ballot in Oregon.

Young, Homeless and Hopeful

Life on the streets is hard. It's often even harder if you're disabled, infirm, or young. There is not nearly enough help for everyone, but for disabled, sick and young people, there are some additional resources available. After they age out of youth shelters, young homeless people either go back to the streets or to adult shelters, where, sadly, many report harassment and being targeted by predators who take advantage of their relative innocence and naiveté.

According to Village Voice, advocates believe-and at least one study has shown-that homeless youth, many who were kicked out of home because of their sexuality, gender identity/expression, or who were homeless as children, have a better chance of getting off the streets and transitioning to successful adulthood if they can stay in a youth shelter past the age of 21, the age many communities, including New York City, require them to transition to the adult shelter. According to VV, young homeless people in NYC testified to City Council about their experiences to encourage them to vote to "raise the age" from 21 to 24. Three weeks later, on March 7, the bill passed unanimously.

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