Commuting By Bike

I completed my first full trip bike-only commute yesterday. My situation is right for it: I live slightly over 6 miles from my workplace, and am able to stick mostly to residential streets and avoid major car traffic. I also have a YMCA 0.1 miles from my workplace, which also comes in handy for a shower and change of clothes before going into the office. I’m not quite ready to do this every day, but I think I could do 2-3 times a week.

Did you know the bicycle is closely associated with women’s rights? It gave her the ability to move around easily, and was featured in the push to allow women to wear comfortable clothes. It’s much more difficult to ride a bike in a corset after all, since it holds your back straight and inhibits easy breathing. Nor is riding a bike optimal in an ankle length skirt. (see Fashion for the active woman, 1894 style)

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” -Susan B. Anthony (quote borrowed from http://bicycling.about.com/)

And this is not to mention the benefits of the exercise, lessening one’s one dependence on oil for transportation, and chance to spend some quality time outdoors before sitting at a desk in an office all day.

Highlights from the 2010 American Atheists Convention

This is the first time I’ve ever been to an atheist (or atheist related) convention. It was quite an exciting time, and I’ve come away with quite a lot of inspiration and ideas. What follows is not quite a full report but rather a skimming over of some of my favorite happenings at AACON 2010. It is also not strictly chronological.
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Why Comprehensive Sex-Ed is Important to Me

I’m going to tell a bit about how I learned about sex, and why sex education is an important issue for me. My hope is that my story with help other girls who find themselves in the same situation that I was in.

Some of the details here I’m not exactly certain about and I will leave out any details that I deem too personal to share on the Internet. This is roughly chronological. Continue reading

Another Saturday Morning

This morning at the the local abortion clinic was a bit different from the usual. The Kentucky Right to Life Association is having their convention in Louisville this weekend, so we were expecting a lot more protesters than usual. What we got were a lot more escorts and about the usual number of protesters. Continue reading

Let Freedom Ring!

It’s July 4th weekend! And this, along with my reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, has gotten my thinking just how wonderful the freedoms we have in America really are. It’s shocking to see how the morality police in Iran, the Revolutionary Guard, protect their society by making sure the woman do not wear nail polish or show a strand of hair.

“Can you imagine the kind of man who’d get sexually provoked just by looking at a strand of my hair?” said Nassrin. “Someone who goes crazy at the sight of a woman’s toe…wow!” she continued, “My toe as a lethal weapon!” (from pg 70)

I can’t imagine…It’s made me incredibly thankful for the freedoms I enjoy here in the U.S. I even bought a pair of red shoes yesterday. If I lived under such rules as described in “Reading Lolita” such a thing would be unthinkable. I shudder to think what could have happen if so many of the Founding Fathers had not been sons of the Enlightenment–if groups like the Puritans would have seized power over the United States.

There are groups even here in the United States who desire to enforce their religious rules and “morality” on society. First thing coming to my mind is those who would try to restrict women’s access to and education about birth control. Those who would prevent gay couples from marrying. Or trying to censor ideas by banning books from the library. I don’t care if it’s done in the name of Allah or Jesus. It’s all the same to me.

But at least here in America I still can show my individuality and femininity without being tormented by “morality police.”

And I can read whatever I want! I can meet in a book group without fear of being raided by  some form of the Revolutionary Guard. Reading was my form of rebellion, after all.

Thank goodness for freedom of religion and freedom from religion! Let’s not take it for granted.

Dr. Tiller and Satya

It’s getting longer than I like between posts so I think I should write an update.

First of all I was totally saddened and PISSED at the murder of Dr. Tiller. Anyone who has seen my Facebook page knows this well. What upsets me the most is the cavalier and even sometimes gleeful attitude of some pro-lifers. As if they are saying “well, we don’t condone murder, but he had it coming.” In response, I have pledged $10 a month to Planned Parenthood for the next year–probably longer. I am utterly convinced that it was the hateful rhetoric of groups like Operation Rescue that killed him–not just some loner with a gun. It take everything in me to remind myself that most pro-life people are good people concerned with protecting babies, even if they have been badly misinformed about the facts around abortion and filled with the fore-mentioned hateful rhetoric.

And that brings me to my next thought. One of the teachers at Yoga East has been talking about a yama each week, and recently she brought up Satya. This is usually translated as truthfulness. Here is what a quick Google search brought up on the topic.

Satya (Truthfulness)
Satya means “to speak the truth,” yet it is not always desirable to speak the truth on all occasions, for it could harm someone unnecessarily. We have to consider what we say, how we say it, and in what way it could affect others. If speaking the truth has negative consequences for another, then it is better to say nothing. Satya should never come into conflict with our efforts to behave with ahimsa. The Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, says: “Speak the truth which is pleasant. Do not speak unpleasant truths. Do not lie, even if the lies are pleasing to the ear. That is the eternal law, the dharma.” Please note that this does not mean speak lie. Keeping quiet and saying lies are two different things.

(from http://yoga.iloveindia.com/limbs-of-yoga/yama.html)
 

[I should note here that I don’t believe in holy scripture, and do not give special pleading to yoga philosophy. But just sometimes these old writings have some great concepts and this is one of those cases where I think they really got it right.]

I couldn’t help but think of Satya in the context of the debate over abortion and the murder of Dr. Tiller. I’ll give the Operation Rescue folks the benefit of the doubt, in that they really think they are speaking the truth when they call abortion murder and Dr. Tiller a murderer. I used to be on their side in the issue, too.  Abortion is a hard issue to deal with and is not something than anyone considers a good thing. Necessary sometimes, but not good. I cannot believe that they are really speaking the truth. Words that inspire people to murder and violence are not truth. Words that smear and vilify women who have found themselves confronting this horrible and painful decision do not express truth. Words that call a doctor who saves women’s lives a murderer are not truth.

Truth, whether it is pleasant or unpleasast, bring light and understanding to the subject at hand, not rage and violence. When the “truth” we speak creates more heat than light, we should reconsider our words and our attitudes.

New Chapters in Life

Normally I’ve been writing a new post every weekend. However, last week I was on my honeymoon so I skipped the blog. Yep, I’m a married woman now, to a wonderful atheist man :)

I remember a previous huge step in my life was in University, where I learned things I’d never dreamt of before, and found my view on life to be entirely different than when I went in. The most striking thing I found to be changed in this period of time were my views on religion. I had a discussion not long ago with a Christian family member about the influence of professors on my views. I think it is just par for the course for professors to challange their students to see the world from a perspective they have never considered before. Continue reading

Holding the Door

This last Wednesday the weather was gorgeous outside. I had a training meeting over lunch, so afterwards I decided to get outside and take a nice walk around the office building where I work. On the way back into the building I saw an older/middle age couple starting toward the door (not unusual, as one of the business in the office building is a home mortgage business) so I got ahead of them and opened the door. Continue reading

Evangelicalism, Atheism, and Womanhood

I think my upbringing is a bit atypical for an evangelical. My mother was the main breadwinner for the family, due to my father’s health issues. She is a bit of a feminist herself in the sense that a woman can do anything a man can, though she totally disavows the label. I think she ignores, overlooks, and reinterprets the bits of the Bible that are degrading to women. I remember reading a book called “A Woman’s Place” that she had explaining why it was ok for women to be preachers, despite all that Paul said about women being silent in the churches. She got her ordination, but then decided to stick with lay ministry anyway. I have no clue exactly why, but I do know I’ve never seen a Nazarene church with a woman in the pulpit at the regular pastor.

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