Different Paths to Freedom

A typical San Francisco gathering

We live in uncertain times. Corporate oligarchies run amok and regular citizens almost become numb to the sound of their rights being trampled. Toss in the fact that many local municipalities seem to be run by diseased howler monkeys and you have a recipe for fomenting rebellion. How much can one society take before it breaks apart at the seams and becomes something none of us want? Sadly, there is a part of me that thinks we will find out sooner rather than later. That old cold war bogeyman, the Communist Party, has been making a comeback here in Chicago. Race rights groups, represented by a rainbow of colors – ironically enough, spout their eugenic laced bigotry as though there was a fact hidden in there somewhere. Religious fundamentalists, of all creeds, wrap themselves tighter and tighter in their paranoia without ever realizing that their most likely support groups are the very people they fear the most.

In other words, given what’s passing for normal these days, something really over the top has to happen before I notice. Well, something did. A California family has been ordered to quit holding bible study classes in their home or face fines of up to $500.

I almost wish I could make stuff up this weird, I’d be a millionaire.

An Orange County, California couple has been ordered to shut down a Bible study in their home amid complaints from local officials who say it is operating as a church.

Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 this month for holding what city officials called ‘a regular gathering of more than three people’, according to local reports.

The Fromms will reportedly face fines of $500 per meeting for any further ‘religious gatherings’ in their home.

Stephanie Fromm told CBS Los Angeles the city will require the family to obtain a conditional use permit to hold such gatherings.

A religious legal non-profit group – Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute – has taken up the family’s cause, calling it a case of religious freedom.

The couple’s attorney, Brad Dacus, said city officials rejected the Fromms’ appeal. They will appeal the decision to the California Superior Court in Orange County.

And they are prepared to take the case to the federal level if they have to.

Mrs Fromm told CBS2: ‘We’re just gathering and enjoying each other’s company and fellowship. And we enjoy studying God’s word.’

Mr Dacus said more than 20 Bible study groups meet in San Juan Capistrano.

He said the city ‘needed some kind of rational basis to justify their rigid intolerance towards this family for having a Bible study in their home.’

City Attorney Omar Sandoval said the issue is a matter of zoning.

‘The Fromm case further involves regular meetings on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons with up to 50 people, with impacts on the residential neighbourhood on street access and parking,’ he said.

Yeah, I believe him. That’s almost the exact same excuse used when cops roust five year old’s selling lemonade.

Of course, being conservative Christians, their protests are going to take a more traditional route, which is fine. There’s room here for everyone today.

However, I know my readers and they want boobs as well as brains. Sometimes, like now, I get lucky enough to give them both. Protesters in Salt Lake City, upset with more and more restrictive laws being imposed by the local Mormons, took to the streets wearing nothing but their skivvies.

Thousands of people stripped to their underwear and ran through Salt Lake City to protest what they called the “uptight” laws of Utah.

Undie Run organizer Nate Porter says the goal of the event Saturday was to organize people frustrated by the conservative nature of the state’s politics.

An excellent use of a Bible verse.

Nudity was prohibited by organizers. Participants donned bras, panties, nightgowns, swimwear or colorful boxer shorts — and some added political messages by expressing support for causes like gay marriage on their chests, backs or legs.

Salt Lake City is the home of the Mormon church, which is a vocal opponent of gay marriage.

Porter estimates 3,000 people participated in the run, which began in downtown Salt Lake City and circled past the state Capitol building about a mile away.

Of course, no protest is complete unless somebody’s naked. And in San Francisco a whole bunch of naked people got together to protest – and, no, I’m not making this up – restrictions on their public nudity.

one such restriction that has been suggested is that naked people follow basic common sense when it comes to public health and use a towel on their chairs.

We can’t have those Nazis telling us to do that, can we?

Hanging out on a street corner has taken on new meaning in San Francisco.

Several dozen men and at least one woman took part in a naked protest Saturday in an area of the Castro District neighborhood that has become known for its nude visitors. Several carried signs that read, “Nudity is Not a Crime” and “Get Your Hate Off My Body,” as they milled around, undeterred by the brisk weather and light mist.

San Francisco generally allows public nudity, but a city supervisor has proposed regulating the practice. Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposal would require the clothing-averse to cover up in restaurants. It would also require nudists to put a cloth or other barrier under their bottoms if they take a seat in public.

Mitch Hightower, the organizer of the so-called “nude-in,” said it was not intended as a protest against the proposal. The goal, Hightower said, was to promote acceptance of the human body no matter what shape or form it comes in.

“The people out here believe there is nothing indecent or offensive about the human body,” he said.

The event, which had been scheduled before Wiener’s proposal was announced, was part of the unofficial celebrations leading up to the annual Folsom Street Fair, billed as the world’s largest leather and fetish event.

Some of the protesters say elements of Wiener’s proposal weren’t necessary. For instance, putting down a towel is already etiquette among nudists, said George Davis, 65, who wore a black fanny pack, a fake lei and sandals at the nude-in.

“As nudists, why do we have to go to a special beach or a special resort?” Davis asked. “Why can’t we just go to a park, which we’re doing today?”

Passersby mostly seemed amused by the demonstration. Some stopped to take photographs with the naked men.

“It doesn’t bother me in the least,” said Michael Zaverton, who was visiting from Cleveland.

Zaverton, 58, said he has gone to a nude beach. Still, he hesitated as he considered whether he would participate in a more public display like the nude-in.

“It takes a little more courage ’cause most of these guys, let’s admit it, are not body-beautiful,” he joked.

But Heather Flynn was not as amused. The Oakland resident, who was heading to a nearby screening of “The Little Mermaid” with her 7-year-old daughter, walked by briskly.

“When you’re at the corner of a kid’s event, I think you should cover up a little,” Flynn, 27, said.

Her daughter, Blanca, was more blunt. She scrunched up her face as she said the nudists should definitely put some clothes on.

I am about as far from being a prude as can be. I have been naked in many places, on several continents actually, and have never had a problem. Why not? Because I only do it around other consenting adults. I know, that’s silly of me and I should hang out naked in front of The Little Mermaid because ….. actually, there’s no good reason there.

Sorry protesters, I’ll support two out of three here today, but you freaks have got to toss on some togs and get lives.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yljbcRu3tiU&w=480&h=360]

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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