There was a lot that went on in the world this week. Here are some stories you might have missed. The Vanderbilt University rape trial concluded and I have the details of this landmark case for you. Plus, the Church of Latter Day Saints has conflicting policies regarding the LGBTQ community and a new report explains why you are going through rolls of toilet paper so quickly.
What do you think of the Mormon Church’s contradictory policy? Any funny customer service stories? Thoughts on the Vanderbilt rape case? Discuss this or any other news story in the comments or tweet me directly @AmandaLauren
Mormon Church Says They Are Taking a Balanced Approach To Homosexuality
Rarely does the Mormon Church hold a press conference, but earlier this week they did, to declare what they called a “balanced approach” regarding the LGBTQ community. They basically said they’re cool with LGBTQ rights when it comes to discrimination laws for things like housing and jobs, but at the same time, they support the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people if it’s for religious reasons. If you’re confused, you should be.
How does this exactly help protect the rights of the LGBTQ community? Neill Marriott, a member of the church's Public Affairs Committee, explained:
“Ultimately, most of society recognized that such treatment was simply wrong, and that such basic human rights as securing a job or a place to live should not depend on a person's sexual orientation.”
But, when it comes to things that members of the church find morally objectionable, as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, explained, discrimination is A-Okay:
“For example, a Latter-day Saint physician who objects to performing abortions or artificial insemination for a lesbian couple should not be forced against his or her conscience to do so, especially when others are readily available to perform that function.”
Elder Dallin Oaks also explained how discrimination against people when it comes to housing and job protection is just like discriminating against religious people:
“When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser…Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender.”
The Mormon Church has a problem with public outrage against people who are anti-gay for religious reasons. One example they cited was when last year, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was pressured to resign because he had donated money to support the passage of Proposition 8.
Utah State Senator, Jim Dabakis, who is openly gay, supported the church’s announcement,
“I am proud that the LDS Church has seen fit to lead the way in non-discrimination. Now, let's roll up our sleeves, get to work and pass a statewide nondiscrimination bill.”
Vanderbilt Rape Victim Gets Justice
Former Vanderbilt University football players, Brandon Vandenburg, 21, and Cory Batey, 21, were found convicted of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery by a jury in Nashville. According to NIDAA, approximately 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year, yet a recent study shows 80% of sexual assaults on college campuses go unreported. Because the victim feels justice has been served, this will be considered a landmark case.
In June 2013, Batey, 21, and Brandon Robert Vandenburg, 21, along with two other men who are currently awaiting trial, dragged an unnamed victim, who was also a student at the school, into Vandenburg’s room, while she was passed out drunk. Then they sexually assaulted her. Vandenberg documented the crime on his phone with video and pictures, later sending it to some of his friends.
The victim woke up the next day in Vandenburg’s room without any recollection of the event. According to court documents, Vandenburg told her she had “gotten sick in his room” and “he had to spend the whole night taking care” of her. She apologized to him and later realized something was wrong when she found bruises on her body.
In court, Batey claimed he was too drunk to remember what happened and couldn’t recall the horrific events of the night before, until he saw the photos on his phone the next day on his way to church (you can’t make this up).
The defense tried to blame the crime on college culture, binge drinking, and the victim.
The unnamed victim remained in court throughout the trial and released the following statement, grateful for the prosecutors, victim’s advocates and detectives for their support:
“You are my heroes and I am so proud of and grateful for each of you. I am also hopeful that the publicity this case has received will lead to a discussion of how we can end sexual violence on college campuses. Finally, I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame.”
District Attorney Glenn Funk hopes the outcome of the trial encourages the reporting of sexual assaults:
“This case gives our entire community an opportunity to talk to each other and to our children, especially to our boys, about the way we treat women, both with our actions and with our words. No one deserves to be violated. Further, if you see someone who is being sexually assaulted, the right thing to do is to report it and try and get the person some help.”
Vapers Gonna Vape Vape Vape Vape Vape in California
Vaping, smoking an e-cig or whatever you would like to call it, has been declared a public health risk in the state of California. Dr. Ron Chapman, State Health Officer and director of the California Department of Public Health said that smoking devices aren’t just emitting water vapor, as commonly believed, but are also emitting, “a toxic aerosol.”
What’s in the “toxic aerosol?” Several carcinogens including benzene, formaldehyde, lead, and nickel.
Chapman also feels the public isn’t properly informed on the risks of e-cigs:
“There are myths and misinformation about e-cigarettes and many people do not know that they pose many of the same health risks as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. The public needs more facts, not more fiction.”
He also explained that there’s not enough current research regarding second-hand vape. Another concern he addressed is that children and babies could accidently poison themselves by ingesting the e-juice, either by drinking it or even dermally because the packaging isn’t childproof.
- Airport officials in Colorado really need to relax and smoke some legal weed because they’ve banned marijuana themed souvenirs at Denver International Airport. Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said, “DIA is certainly a gateway to Denver and Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, and we don't want marijuana to be the first thing people experience when they arrive. There’s a lot more to our state than marijuana.” The word marijuana and pictures of the infamous plant leaves are banned, but Montgomery says people who really want to buy green-themed souvenirs at the very last minute don’t need to worry, “…people are creative ... and they will find ways to express that innuendo… people will skirt the rules.”
- Have you ever tried to cancel your cable and found customer service extremely rude to you? Well, they couldn’t have been as rude to you as they were to Comcast customer Ricardo Brown. After his wife attempted to cancel some of the services they use used, he discovered a big change on their bill, but it wasn’t the amount on the invoice. The first name on the account had been changed to Asshole. Stephen Kipp, a Comcast’s VP of Communications apologized, refunding two years of service charges. “We have zero tolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what happened.” Comcast has been under fire for their lack of customer service when a hilariously awful call went viral last summer. It is one of the most hated companies in America, according to the American Customer Satisfaction index.
- Do you always feel like you’re running out of toilet paper? It turns out you’re probably not wrong. And the reason isn’t what you might be thinking. It’s actually due to an overall decrease in paper towel sales. Hand dryers and touch free paper towel dispensers (which never quite dispense enough paper for you to really dry your hands) have been on the rise. Napkin sales have also decreased 7% since 2009. The paper companies don’t want this to wipe up their profits, so they’ve made up for it by decreasing the number and size of toilet paper sheets and making the roll narrower. Oh poo!