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Switzerland, long known for its neutrality, its direct democracy, its defense of human rights and its key role in negotiating international conflicts, for being home to the Red Cross and the WHO and other United Nations agencies, for being a model multi-lingual country at peace, has just voted against religious freedom.

Though there are only four minarets in Switzerland, 57.5% of Swiss voters on Sunday agreed to a ban on the construction of minarets in their country. Voters ignored the pleas of major political parties and instead caved into the fear-mongering presented by a right-wing splinter group. The group plastered offensive posters throughout the country (except for in several cities that banned them, as in Basel) showing black minarets rising up out of the Swiss flag, looking like missiles. Nearby, stands a menacing-looking women in a black burka.

Der Spiegel  predicts important international consequences for today's vote:  Swiss banks and the Swiss economy are intimately tied up with the Arab world. Tourism could suffer, especially from rich Arab tourists. Likewise, the trust given to the Swiss in negotiating international conflicts could be damaged heavily. And, for course, what of the integration of the some 400,000 Muslims who live now in the country, most of whom are from hardly orthodox places such as Kosova, Bosnia, and Turkey?

And what is perhaps most disturbing about this vote is how it mirrors the propaganda going on in the US with Fox News and the extremist Republicans. According to Der Spiegel, much discussion in the media had little to do with minarets. Rather, the talk was about the coming of Sharia law, burkas--which are not a common sight in Switzerland--, and the supposed oppression of women in Muslim countries. Even a prominent Swiss feminist, Julia Onken, advocated voting for the ban.

In many ways, we here in the US seem better equipped in dealing with diversity, even though we've been seeing a rise anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment. Whatever the case, this vote should remind us just how important the fight for the freedom of religion and for the separation of church and state are in our country.

http://www.spiegel.de/...

Originally posted to Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 08:58 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  BBC has world leaders' reaction (4+ / 0-)

      Religious leaders across the world have criticised Switzerland's referendum vote to ban the building of minarets.

      The Vatican joined Muslim figureheads from Indonesia and Egypt, as well as Switzerland, in denouncing the vote as a blow to religious freedom.

      France's FM Bernard Kouchner expressed shock at the ban which, he said, showed "intolerance" and should be reversed.

      More than 57.5% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons - or provinces - voted in favour of the ban on Sunday.

      The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People's Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which said minarets were a sign of Islamisation.

      The Vatican on Monday endorsed a statement by the conference of Swiss Bishops criticising the vote for heightening "the problems of cohabitation between religions and cultures".

      Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa described the ban as an insult to the feelings of the Muslim community in Switzerland and elsewhere.

      ...

      Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims and has just four minarets.

      After Christianity, Islam is the most widespread religion in Switzerland, but it remains relatively hidden.

      There are unofficial Muslim prayer rooms, and planning applications for new minarets are almost always refused.

      Supporters of a ban claimed that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system - Sharia law - which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.

      But others say the referendum campaign incited hatred. On Thursday the Geneva mosque was vandalised for the third time during the campaign, according to local media.

      Amnesty International said the vote violated freedom of religion and would probably be overturned by the Swiss supreme court or the European Court of Human Rights.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

      Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

      by amk for obama on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 04:40:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Swiss ban minarets but allowed a pedophile (4+ / 0-)

        like Roman Polanski to go free

        shameful

        Republicans secret dream = the impeachment of Bo the Dog LOL

        by LaurenMonica on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 04:44:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Headline of Neue Zürcher Zeitung, (5+ / 0-)

        the most important Swiss newspaper, this morning: This is not the last word by far.

        The Swiss government, according to the article, has long said that this initiative was against human rights laws that Switzerland agreed too. Specifically, it goes against articles 9 and 14 of the Convention of Human Rights, which protect religious freedom and against discrimination, respectively. Switzerland could be taken to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg if they try to implement this vote.

        Indeed, some experts in Switzerland argued that this initiative should never have even been allowed to be voted on, so much did it go against human rights.

        Switzerland, according to the article, might even face sanctions and be kicked out of the European Council. This could have grave consequences for its reputation as a state of law, for its relations with other countries, and for its cooperation with international organizations.

          http://www.nzz.ch/...

        ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

        by Anak on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 05:13:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is a message (12+ / 0-)

    They are particularly angry that Islam has been singled out, since Sikh temples and Serbian Orthodox churches have recently been built in Switzerland, while synagogues have been present for more than a century. From the BBC.

    The posters used were awful, designed to look like missile silos against a woman in a chador /burqa.

    Looks nasty to me.

    If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

    by ohcanada on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:04:15 PM PST

  •  Architecture (12+ / 0-)

    How does the lack of an architectural element inhibit religious freedom? The Swiss have not banned the construction of mosques or in any way hindered the practice of Islam.

    90% of everything is crud - Sturgeon
    90% of blogger time is narcissistic dicking around - grannyhelen

    by 1918 on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:07:39 PM PST

    •  So, it's ok by you if we ban the Star of David (7+ / 0-)

      on buildings? Or the cross?

      ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

      by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:09:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those are symbols directly related (4+ / 0-)

        to their respective faiths, minarets are not. Nice try, but please go ahead and answer my previous question - How is religious freedom abridged by the lack of minarets?

        90% of everything is crud - Sturgeon
        90% of blogger time is narcissistic dicking around - grannyhelen

        by 1918 on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:21:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are mere decorations (6+ / 0-)

          according to your warped logic. There is no reason why a Christian can't practice Christianity if crosses were banned. That is what you are saying.

          But since you insist on architecture: How about a ban on steeples of any sort?  What kind of sane society would ban such a thing?

          ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

          by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:24:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not they are not decorations (0+ / 0-)

            they are directly related to their faiths, minarets are not. One more time, and this is important because you chose the title to your diary - How is religious freedom abridged by the lack of minarets?

            90% of everything is crud - Sturgeon
            90% of blogger time is narcissistic dicking around - grannyhelen

            by 1918 on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:33:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How is the Star of David (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, anotherdemocrat

              directly related to the Jewish faith?  That is a relatively recent association. The six-pointed star has been around for a long time with no relation to Judaism.

              In any case, please explain how the symbol of the cross is special because it is "directly related to the Christian faith," unlike the minaret. Who decides what is directly related to any faith?

              ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

              by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:39:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Last try. (0+ / 0-)

                Your diary. Your declaration. How is religious freedom abridged by the lack of minarets?

                90% of everything is crud - Sturgeon
                90% of blogger time is narcissistic dicking around - grannyhelen

                by 1918 on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:42:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Uh, see my FIRST reply, lol! (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  capelza, LV Pol Girl, FudgeFighter, Darmok

                  How does the banning of the cross, or the Star of David, or representations of the Buddha abridge religious freedom? I can pray to God without a cross in my room, after all. So why not ban crosses?

                  ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

                  by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:45:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They didn't ban those things did they? (0+ / 0-)

                    Just a particular type of architecture.

                    So, please answer the question.  How is religious freedom abridged?

                    Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                    by Demena on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:00:10 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  The character of the campaign (8+ / 0-)

                    See the campaign poster to see what the character of the anti-minaret law is.

                    This is a law designed to stir up xenophobia and fear in the population. This is a situation which always diminishes the rights of the people targeted.

                    Religious freedom is not just the ability to practice your religion. Religious freedom is also the ability to participate fully in society at the same time you practice your religion.

                    The law isn't really about minarets. It's about stirring up hatred and sending a message to the Muslims in Switzerland.

                    --Austin Texas Democrat

                    by pdrap on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:55:18 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Aren't minarets primarily used to call the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego, wu ming

                  faithful to prayer. Maybe that's the problem? But then, it would be equal to bells in a church's steeple.

                  It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

                  by auapplemac on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:12:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  If a similar referendum passed anywhere in the US (9+ / 0-)

                  Would you expect it to be challenged and overturned on First Ammendment grounds?  I think it is obvious the answer is "yes".

                  •  Except the Swiss (0+ / 0-)

                    don't have a First Amendment.  Funnily enough, they don't even have an American Constitution at all!

                    Why do so many people seem to think American laws should be applied world-wide as a matter of course?

                    In this case, only Swiss law, European agreements and international law have any bearing.

                    •  The lack of a Swiss 1st Ammendment is irrelevant (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Darmok

                      The point is that the First Ammendment is a good litmus test for whether or not this should be considered something that infringes on religious freedom, which was the question I was answering.  

                  •  yes in Ireland for one... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    greatdarkspot

                    the in mosque in south Dublin (Goatstown) (up higher than the rest of Dublin AND all the churches down below) was built without a standard minaret. No calls to prayer loudspeakers either (cell phones can be used...) sort of a non-working compromise cupola mini-ret on top...

                    and there are storefront "mosques"/places of worship in the US and plenty of other places that do not have Minarets...

                    And what about the reverse situation? Is this all some sort of competition for religious suppression or tolerance? It often is....

                    Consider that churches and/or steeples and bells are banned in a number of places in the Islamic world...

                    Building permit problems for churches if anything are even more of a problem in most Islamic countries...

                    And attempts to build churches are not in their face, high profile mega church projects proposed to change the skyline and tower over neighboring historic mosques... but the reverse has happened in the West...

                    And why is that? (check out the problems the Coptic Christians have in Egypt even just getting permission to repair an existing church).. It seems to do with whose prayers are higher up or something... and not having the shadow from a church fall on a mosque...

                    They seem have a thing about Altitude for places of worship... The World Trade Center had a chapel way up high...think about it... The blind store-front sheik in New Jersey who encouraged the first attack in the early 80's... could not abide the arrogance of the unbelievers having any prayers emanating from a higher vantage place...etc... And elsewhere in the world it seems to be very important to have the "Tallest Building" located somewhere in the Islamic world.... and not just for economic bragging rights.

                    And why did they have to have a Saudi Astronaut (a Saudi Prince by the way) on one of the Shuttle flights a while ago?... He did his daily prayers in orbit... can't get prayers done any higher than that so far... so that's taken care of...(but keeping the timing and direction not to mention strapping to the "floor" was problematical... velcro woven in?) but back on earth... far from settled...

                    Minarets were also a symbol in earlier times of showing who was running things in new territories that still had a large number of unbelievers... sort of religious kind the hill game... and all religions do it actually... take over the previous guys high holy place or tear it down...

                    Most Muslims these days (at least in the West) probably do not buy into this sort of symbolic one-upmanship... but the crazies still do.

                    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

                    by IreGyre on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 05:39:44 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  We have a lot of mosques in the Bronx (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    capelza, ignatz uk, Anak

                    but I haven't seen a minaret. The Muslim community is mostly composed of poor immigrants; I hope that they can build themselves a beautiful mosque with a minaret soon.

                    (And I am an Orthodox Jew who prayed yesterday at a synagogue that was targeted in a foiled bombing plot by a Muslim terrorist group. Unlike some of the bigots here, I distinguish between religious adherents and people who use religion as an excuse for terror.)

                    All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

                    by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:54:05 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Saying steeples are related to religious (10+ / 0-)

              freedom for Christians but minarets are not for Moslems is pushing the envelope. In both cases, it's all about symbolism and, of course, you can practice your religion as you please without them. However, if you ban one but not the other, it's discriminatory by the very definition of the word.

              Britain spends half as much per capita on healthcare than the US for a system which covers everyone.

              by FudgeFighter on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:39:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, both of them were expressions of power (0+ / 0-)

                they took a lot of skill, a lot of time, and a huge amount of money to build.

                It was a good way for a local noble to flaunt his wealth and power if his steeple or minaret was bigger than the neighbors.

                The functional aspect was only secondary.

        •  Oh come on. You can't be serious. (9+ / 0-)

          Of course symbolism is somewhat accidental to the religion that it is used by.  But once it gets going it is meaningful to the practitioners.  If they want to ban all towers over a certain height that is at least content neutral. (Not that this sensible idea as used to interpret our first amendment has legal standing in a foreign country.)  To ban minarets is clearly aimed at a certain religion as practiced and where there is no special harm from a minaret (this isn't an otherwise harmful practice that has religious significance for some).

          •  From the article on MSNBC (5+ / 0-)

            The referendum by the nationalist Swiss People's Party labeled minarets as symbols of rising Muslim political power that could one day transform Switzerland into an Islamic nation.

            The country's four standing minarets, which won't be affected by the ban, do not traditionally broadcast the call to prayer outside their own buildings.

            The sponsors of the initiative provoked complaints of bias from local officials and human-rights group with campaign posters that showed minarets rising like missiles from the Swiss flag next to a fully veiled woman. Backers said the growing Muslim population was straining the country "because Muslims don't just practice religion."

            "The minaret is a sign of political power and demand, comparable with whole-body covering by the burqa, tolerance of forced marriage and genital mutilation of girls," the sponsors said. They noted that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has compared mosques to Islam's military barracks and called "the minarets our bayonets."

            Through all your faults and all my complaints, I still love you.

            by jayden on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:34:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I will ask you the same question (0+ / 0-)

            that I asked Anak. Keeping in mind the title of the diary - How is religious freedom abridged by the lack of minarets?

            90% of everything is crud - Sturgeon
            90% of blogger time is narcissistic dicking around - grannyhelen

            by 1918 on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:36:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You don't think building a minaret (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, Anak, charliehall

              is a religious act?  I really don't get your logic.

            •  It's an overt act of discrimination (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, Anak

              Assuming that the facts are stated correctly in the diary, it's a very specific and overt act of discrimination.  As someone else pointed out in another comment, if the same law had been passed in the United States, it would clearly violate the First Amendment; in effect, it tells Muslims that their religion is valued less than all others.

              Granted, not all trapping of religion are guaranteed to be allowed.  But this does not seem to be a general limitation without discriminatory intent.  In fact, it appears that discrimination was the very intent of this law.

            •  If we're banning X because it is a symbol or a (0+ / 0-)

              particular religion then it is abriding religious freedom.  And all accounts seem to make that interpretation of the Swiss vote the right one.

        •  minarets are not directly related to islam? (9+ / 0-)

          are you honestly that ignorant, or just playing at it to apologize for bigotry?

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:46:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Minarets are an integral part of the masjid (9+ / 0-)

          Your ignorance is distributing. I am actually disturbed by your comment and the uprates it got from members of this community who have been veering to the right when it comes to Islam.

          Switzerland was my home during my childhood -- I no longer recognize it or most of Europe since they too have moved to accepting religious bigotry. Canada, the UK and the US are the only Western nations who embrace religious freedom. If you can think of others let me know so I can tip my hat to them.

          "...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." -- Edward M. Kennedy 1980

          by LV Pol Girl on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:15:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Corwin Weber, createpeace

        .. a secular democratic society has no right to keep religious edifices from marring its skyline?  

        •  Then ban church steeples as well. (9+ / 0-)

          ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

          by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:31:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They do in Saudi Arabia (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Radiowalla, IreGyre, GrannyGeek

            Proselytizing for converts to Christianity is a death penalty offense (at least for converts) and even practice of the religion or display of its symbols it illegal.

            Saudi Arabia allows Christians to enter the country as temporary workers, but does not allow them to practice their faith. Foreign Christians generally only worship in secret within private homes. Items and articles belonging to religions other than Islam are prohibited. These may include Bibles, crucifixes, statues, carvings, items with religious symbols such as the Star of David, and others.

            Your argument that the Swiss should allow unlimited freedom of religion while Saudi Arabia has no such obligation is itself a racist statement: against Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

            This doesn't mean the Dutch should embrace depictions of the Prophet which offend the faithful of Islam. On the other hand you are advocating "religious freedom for me but not for thee".

            It is stupid arguments like this that give pluralism a bad name and so validates the attacks of the Christian Fundamentalists on modernity generally. It is exactly parallel to the arguments often heard in the seventies that blacks by definition cannot be racist because the preferred definition of 'racism' by black activists built in the notion that it was essentially a power relation and so those who were typically on the losing end could therefore not be guilty of racism when it was directed up.

            Bullshit special pleading is what that was and that this is.

        •  A law aimed at towers this is not. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, Anak
        •  In fairness.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, lazybum, spyguy999

          ....look at some of the Christian churches in this country.  A lot of them are bizarre eyesores that wouldn't get a building permit if they weren't churches....

        •  They don't have the right if (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, lazybum

          specifically religious edifices are targeted. At least in this country, I would expect the ACLU would take a stand against it.

          Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

          Your argument is not Scottish.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:23:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But there could be zoning restrictions (0+ / 0-)

            that if shown to be non-discriminatory could have some effect on siting and appearance and height...

            Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

            by IreGyre on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 05:43:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  But that is only an American right (0+ / 0-)

            are we arguing that American rights should automatically apply around the world?

            In the UK, where I grew up, there is absolutely no concept of the freedom of religion such as here in the US.  In fact, religious discrimination is written into the law, and that's the way it is.  For now.  They also don't have the right to freedom of speech in the same way.

            In other countries they have different rights, like right to health care, that we do not.  But that's why we have our country and they have theirs.

            •  I am arguing that it should be a right (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, unspeakable

              around the world. Obviously, from a legal standpoint, this right isn't recognized universally. I think certain rights should be universal. We often complain when other countries violate basic human rights. What constitutes universal human rights isn't something we all agree on.

              Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

              Your argument is not Scottish.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 08:09:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  From the Universal Declaration on Human Rights: (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, ignatz uk, unspeakable

              Article 18.

                 * Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

              Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

              Your argument is not Scottish.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 08:33:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not sure that extends to steeples. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AaronInSanDiego

                The freedom to manifest one's religion or belief in worship almost surely implies the freedom to have and build a temple; I'm not sure if it guarantees the right to build a steeple, bell tower or minaret.

                That being said, regardless of what rights people have, there's no denying that the campaign against the building of minarets targeted xenophobic sentiments in the populace.  Regardless of who has what rights, I think the campaign was a bad idea, and the decision, whether ultimately good or bad, was made for the wrong reasons.

                •  If the referendum were against (0+ / 0-)

                  tall tower-like structures, without reference to a particular structure used by a particular religion, that would be different. Or if it referred to a particular architectural feature in a religion-neutral way. Of course, one would then have to ask the motivation for the law. In any case, the campaign reveals that the primary purpose is discrimination.

                  Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

                  Your argument is not Scottish.

                  by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 08:59:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  You'd be surprised. (4+ / 0-)

        I'm an atheist of the non-believer variety---I don't believe in the supernatural.  

        This as opposed to the anti-believer variety, those who actively rail against believers, confront them, insult them, and consider their very existence some sort of personal attack.
         
        I have often argued with people in this second category, and many do think crosses should be banned from buildings, along with church signs and steeples.  Apparently they think this is an assault on their religious freedom because they are forced to be in the vicinity of unwanted religious expression.

        •  There are more than two types (10+ / 0-)

          you are making an artificially polarized distinction, and thus playing into the hands of those who would paint any atheist who speaks up about their beliefs as part of your "second category".

          You also fail to distinguish between theism and religion, and between anti-theism and anti-clericalism. They are by no means the same thing. Most of our founders were anti-clerical, but not atheists, let alone anti-theists.

          And many atheists who consider organized religion harmful to society, have much less of an issue with God belief itself.

          And, final point - many of us who speak out against religion and who also think that believing in supernatural phenomena is a drag on progress in medicine, in dealing with the effects of climate change, in science and science education in general, nontheless strongly and consistently defend individual rights to practice beliefs AND religion without undue restrictions by society.

          As for your crosses bit, the overwhelming majority of atheist I know and know of, who object to religious symbols, object to them being placed on government buildings and on public land - not on private property, even if visible from the street. Objecting to ever seeing a cross anywhere is ridiculous, and I am hard-pressed to find any evidence of that. Sounds more like a red herring to me.

          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

          by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:43:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no, really. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm telling you, I routinely argue with atheists who oppose crosses on private land, who consider them a visual assault on passers-by.  
             
            And in that argument, I am not the one playing into the hands of those who would caricature atheists.  Clearly if anyone is responsible for the stereotype of the angry anti-believer, it's the people who embody it.
               
            Although I secretly think those people aren't true atheists.  They're just reacting angrily to the religion of their upbringing, a reaction that often includes a phase of vocal atheism before they settle down and become pagans.

            •  I think you could be confusing (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, RandomActsOfReason

              their expression of dislike for seeing the symbols, with a desire to have them banned.  One does not necessarily lead to the other.

              •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

                I do know people who simply react negatively to religious symbols, having some kind of hang-up about them; but I also encounter people who explicitly say they should be forbidden, even if on private property.

                Any group of people has its fools, atheists included.

            •  Hm. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RandomActsOfReason

              I'm telling you, I routinely argue with atheists who oppose crosses on private land, who consider them a visual assault on passers-by.

              Then I suggest you cite-and-link for us an actual reviewable example of these atheists you "routinely argue with" who think that crosses erected on private land by private parties should be banned.

              I'll add my voice as a person who spends all kinds of time among multifarious atheists and who has never, ever heard anyone suggest anything of the kind. I suspect you're either (brutally) misinterpreting or fabricating matters to support a very common prejudice you hold.

              Find us something these atheists have written or said or done, publicly. Outside of your recollection. Otherwise, they seem a whole lot like your "girlfriend in Canada" who conveniently is never around when we'd like to meet her.

              •  Why all the astonished disbelief? (0+ / 0-)

                Our people can be dumbass fanatics too?  Impossible!  That conversation must be recorded, published, cited and peer-reviewed!  There's no way we can be 10% idiots just like every other group on Earth.
                         
                But every ideology has its morons, even the ideology you think is rational.  And no, I'm not making this all up as some sort of nonsensical prejudice against my own self.
                     
                In fact, atheism has a curious and unique relationship with idiocy.  On the one hand, atheism tends to attract intelligent and rational people.  On the other hand, it is also a popular phase for young adults rejecting their religious upbringing, and/or finding their ideological bearings.  

                In that respect, atheism is very much analogous to a college town:  it has permanent residents---which include a disproportionate number of scientsts and scholars---and then a shitload of kids who pass through over the course of a few years, on their way somewhere else.  This is why atheists seem to have a weird, bimodal distribution of personalities:  steady nonbelievers who don't talk much, and excitable vocal types who occasionally express half-baked opinions.  
                 

                •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RandomActsOfReason

                  Our people can be dumbass fanatics too?

                  Excuse me?

                  As I said, I spend an enormous amount of time among a large and diverse number of atheists. On occasion I have heard the odd atheist say stupid things. I have heard some atheists say inaccurate things about religion. I have heard a few atheists say insulting and unfair things about religious believers. Earlier this year I was in a dust-up on this very blog with an atheist commenter who argued that theists should be barred from voting in elections, because theism is a mental illness. ("To my mind any one espousing a belief in an irrational god should not have the legal right to vote any more than any other insane person does.")* I need no lecture from you about facing "dumbass fanatics."

                  But, as I (again) said, I have never met an atheist who has argued that private religious displays on private land should be banned. And yet you claim you "routinely argue with" such people--an assertion that has all the hallmarks of fabricated nonsense. Especially when combined with your broader point, which serves only to tar atheists generally with mud from your phantom Canadian girlfriend.

                  Put up or shut up. The question is not whether atheists can say stupid things. The question is whether it's common ("routine") for atheists to argue that particular stupid thing.

                  You've made an extremely dubious assertion that bears a striking resemblance to majority bigotry. You've provided no evidence for the assertion. There's just no apparent reason to believe you.


                  * See how easy it is to back up an assertion with a citation to evidence?

                  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                    But, as I (again) said, I have never met an atheist who has argued that private religious displays on private land should be banned. And yet you claim you "routinely argue with" such people--an assertion that has all the hallmarks of fabricated nonsense.

                    By the same token, I have never met an atheist who said that religious people should be banned from voting---that one is completely new to me---and yet I don't stidently demand documented evidence that you actually had that conversation.  If you couldn't provide it (if you had this conversation in a coffee shop instead of online,) I wouldn't call you a liar.
                       
                    Even if you heard the same sentiment from multiple people, I'd have no reason to doubt you.  It's something I never experienced, but nevertheless believable.  Thus I am confused by your doubt, your angry tone, and your suggestion that I am lying because my real-world conversations are not indexed by Google.
                       

                    * See how easy it is to back up an assertion with a citation to evidence?

                    Yeah, when you argue with someone on the Internet.  
                         
                    Applying this same standard to people's real-world conversations is asinine.  And to declare something nonexistent unless there is a hypertext link to it, well, that just borders on solipsism.

                    •  It is your constant reference to "most atheists" (0+ / 0-)

                      That is troubling, along with your insistence that there are only "two kinds" - the wise ones who are silent, and the obnoxious, irrational ones who speak out.

                      Were you simply to confine your comments to personal anecdote, and not claim that this mythical group of atheists that none of us seem every to have encountered comprises "most" atheists; and, were you to stop stereotyping atheists with those two extreme caricaturizations, I doubt either Reiux or I would have had any comment at all about your comments.

                      This is a fairly consistent thing with you - you insist that any atheist who speaks out about their convictions is of a particular extreme type that you describe in the most pejorative terms imaginable, and you also tend to assert that the most irrational and dogmatic extremists are the norm.

                      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 04:27:21 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My constant reference that I never used once? (0+ / 0-)

                        As far as I can tell, the phrase "most atheists" only occurs in your posts.  
                         
                        I have not made a single reference to "most atheists," and certainly not constant references.  Either you are quoting someone else by accident, or deliberately attributing a fabricated quote to me.

                        I think you are reading far too much that isn't there.  For example, I spoke of two types of atheists, but never said that there were only two types.  

                        Were you simply to confine your comments to personal anecdote, and not claim that this mythical group of atheists that none of us seem every to have encountered comprises "most" atheists; and, were you to stop stereotyping atheists with those two extreme caricaturizations, I doubt either Reiux or I would have had any comment at all about your comments.

                        So, ... if I didn't say this thing I never said ... then you wouldn't be saying this stuff.  And yet here we are having this conversation.

                        Also, not to nitpick, but the word is "caricature."  "Caricaturization" doesn't even make sensitudeness.

                        This is a fairly consistent thing with you - you insist that any atheist who speaks out about their convictions is of a particular extreme type that you describe in the most pejorative terms imaginable, and you also tend to assert that the most irrational and dogmatic extremists are the norm.

                        My posts are the most pejorative terms imaginable?  Imaginable by whom?

                        Seriously, are we reading alternate versions of this thread?

                        •  Do you actually read your own comments? (0+ / 0-)

                          I spoke of two types of atheists, but never said that there were only two types.  

                          What about here:

                          I'm an atheist of the non-believer variety---I don't believe in the supernatural.  

                          This as opposed to the anti-believer variety, those who actively rail against believers, confront them, insult them, and consider their very existence some sort of personal attack.

                          Or here:

                          atheists seem to have a weird, bimodal distribution of personalities:  steady nonbelievers who don't talk much, and excitable vocal types who occasionally express half-baked opinions.  

                          Or here:

                          atheism is very much analogous to a college town:  it has permanent residents---which include a disproportionate number of scientsts and scholars---and then a shitload of kids who pass through over the course of a few years, on their way somewhere else.

                          Or here?

                          In fact, atheism has a curious and unique relationship with idiocy.  On the one hand, atheism tends to attract intelligent and rational people.  On the other hand, it is also a popular phase for young adults rejecting their religious upbringing, and/or finding their ideological bearings.

                          I'm hard-pressed to find you making a NON-binary argument, one that doesn't reduce the complexity of opinions into two simplistic polar caricatures.

                          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                          by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:10:22 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I think you misread all of these. (0+ / 0-)

                            In none of those quotes to I say atheists are exclusive to these two categories.  I said that these two groups do exist, which is true.  
                             
                            Perhaps you can highlight the specific sentence where I said that there are only these two groups.

                            I am, however, happy that you are now quoting things I actually said.

                          •  "Bimodal", "on the one hand... on the other hand" (0+ / 0-)

                            come on.

                            I misread them?

                            Read what you wrote.

                            Perhaps you were imprecise and consistently left a mistaken impression?

                            I'm not the only one who read it that way.

                            And I note that you still have not responded substantively to any of my substantive rebuttals of your assertions.

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:10:59 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm reading what I wrote... (0+ / 0-)

                            come on.

                            This argument, while compelling in a Peter Griffin sort of way, doesn't really make up for something that isn't there.

                            I'm not the only one who read it that way.

                            But, how would you know?  If you misread my comments, how do you know you haven't misread theirs?

                            And I note that you still have not responded substantively to any of my substantive rebuttals of your assertions.

                            That's because those assertions were falsely attributed to me, by you.  Seriously, what the Hell?

                          •  Sigh (0+ / 0-)

                            Whatever. Inability to ever admit error is the kiss of death to constructive conversation. Good night.

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 10:16:25 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  pot, kettle (0+ / 0-)

                            n/t

                            anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                            by chopper on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 07:29:28 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  ur doing it wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                        claim that this mythical group of atheists that none of us seem every to have encountered comprises "most" atheists;

                        he made no such claim. he did say that about 10% of atheists are nuts. unless somehow math has redefined 'most' to mean 'about 10%', you're pissing on a shoddy strawman.

                        reading comprehension has a sad.

                        anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                        by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:25:22 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Ech. (0+ / 0-)

                      I don't st[r]idently demand documented evidence that you actually had that conversation.

                      Meh. I never realized that my practice of substantiating severe accusations I make against people made me so special. Pulling libels of broad categories of people out of one's ass must be so much more fun.


                      Even if you heard the same sentiment from multiple people, I'd have no reason to doubt you.

                      How about that atheists are by several measures the most despised minority in the United States?* Or that our perspectives on religion and society are constantly misunderstood and misconstrued, often maliciously, by people who don't give a shit what happens to us?*

                      How shocking it is that a member of a hated minority is skeptical of Canadian-girlfriend-flavored attacks on broad swaths of said minority?

                      (* I could link you to evidence underlying these assertions--but apparently that would be gauche.)


                      Yeah, when you argue with someone on the Internet.

                      Oh, yeah, "the Internet." It's not like that's the repository for vast quantities of publicly reviewable atheist expression and advocacy stretching back decades or anything.

                      You claim that the ban-crosses argument is "routine," but that it's too much of a burden on you to find someone on--of all places--"the Internet" making that argument?

                      Shit, my counter-contention is that it's a tiny handful (far less than your after-the-fact "10%" ass-covering) of random crackpots who have ever made such an argument, and that you're disingenuously blowing that vastly out of proportion to slime atheists broadly. Even so, I'm confident that I could find one or two of them spouting off to that effect on that spooky "Internet" thing. How lazy are you?

                  •  this is funny (0+ / 0-)

                    so, you've seen atheists say stupid things, you've argued with atheists who have stated that believers should be considered mentally ill and not allowed to vote, yet someone else having argued with atheists who wish to ban religious symbols on private land, that's just unpossible.

                    i'm sure lucky i have a stenographer midget tied to my back who records all of my conversations just in case some guy on the internet demands proof that the cabbie who nearly ran me over yesterday called me a 'kike'. i've got the whole transcript right here.

                    anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                    by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:32:07 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ignoring your hostility, (0+ / 0-)

                      no one has argued that atheists who wish to ban religious symbols on private land don't exist. The argument has been with two things Caj has asserted:

                      1. that atheists who make this argument are anything but the rare exception, and
                      1. the strong and consistent implication that atheists who speak out about atheism and atheist rights equal the obnoxious, irrational group of haters he consistently highlights as representative of the "speak out" atheist. Related to this, he or she seems to argue that the only good atheist is a silent, accommodationist atheist.

                      Now, you can, and, based on your track record will, continue to ignore the substance of the argument and resort instead to childish ad hominems, but that is your problem, not mine. Continue in that vein and folks will tend to add you to the list of people no one wants to discuss anything with.

                      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:05:59 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  yeah. (0+ / 0-)

                        i see at least you're backing away from this 'most atheists' thing you were accusing him of saying, which he never said at all. that's nice.

                        The argument has been with two things Caj has asserted:

                        that atheists who make this argument are anything but the rare exception

                        10% is pretty exceptional to me. i mean, 10% of all people are at least nuts. i'll gladly admit that 10% of jews are batshit insane, in this country i consider that to be a win for the culture.

                        and the strong and consistent implication that atheists who speak out about atheism and atheist rights equal the obnoxious, irrational group of haters he consistently highlights as representative of the "speak out" atheist.

                        not really, at all. he said that the excitable talkative ones occasionally espouse some half-baked ideas. this should not be a surprise to anyone. i'd go so far as to say that this is true of any philosophy or religion.

                        Related to this, he or she seems to argue that the only good atheist is a silent, accommodationist atheist.

                        it 'seems' that you should reread his posts.

                        anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                        by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:21:28 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I said 10% because (0+ / 0-)

                          We keep seeing polls where even the craziest option is picked by at least 10% of the responses.  

                          Admittedly, this could just mean that 10% of people like to wind up the pollster.

                        •  I posted a whole list of binary quotes by Caj (0+ / 0-)

                          one after another, posed clearly as if there are only two options. I don't need to copy and paste them over and over, read the thread.

                          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                          by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:08:24 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                            they're 'binary' because you read them that way (you should look up what a bimodal distribution actually implies). if caj were a conservative and said 'i'm a christian conservative, not one of those libertarians' it'd be silly to accuse him of asserting that those are the only types of conservatives out there.

                            there's a lot of 'seems' and 'as if'-s in your posts. maybe instead of assuming so much, you should have just asked him instead. you wouldn't end up looking so daft.

                            anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                            by chopper on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 05:24:18 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  No. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RandomActsOfReason

                      that's just unpossible.

                      Since you have utterly ignored what I actually asserted, I'll copy it for you again:

                      I have never met an atheist who has argued that private religious displays on private land should be banned. And yet you claim you "routinely argue with" such people--an assertion that has all the hallmarks of fabricated nonsense. Especially when combined with your broader point, which serves only to tar atheists generally with mud from your phantom Canadian girlfriend.

                      It is not "unpossible" that Caj has run into a random crank arguing that crosses should be banned. It is, however, severely dubious to assert, as Caj did, that his/her run-ins with such people are "routine"--that is, that such idiocy is common among atheists. It is not, and the case (s)he was making in that assertion is a bullshit slander of millions of innocent people--the after-the-fact "10%" ass-covering notwithstanding.


                      i'm sure lucky i have a stenographer midget tied to my back....

                      If you aren't capable of finding citable evidence that anti-Semites use the word "kike" (even "routinely"), it's hard to see why you should be taken seriously, either.

                •  Again with the simplistic binary stereotypes (0+ / 0-)

                  atheists seem to have a weird, bimodal distribution of personalities:  steady nonbelievers who don't talk much, and excitable vocal types who occasionally express half-baked opinions.  

                  Because it is impossible for an atheist to have a nuanced position that is neither silent nor half-baked.

                  I note that, at least, you seem to be backing down from the "most atheists are" fundamentalist extremists bullshit you were peddling just a couple comments ago.

                  Ah, but you do it one better with this crap:

                  In fact, atheism has a curious and unique relationship with idiocy.  On the one hand, atheism tends to attract intelligent and rational people.  On the other hand, it is also a popular phase for young adults rejecting their religious upbringing, and/or finding their ideological bearings.

                  "Atheism" is merely a term for not believing in gods. There is no "curious and unique relationship with idiocy" any more than any other belief group. As ARIS 2008 notes, there isn't even any particular demographic or geographic distinction any more, as Nones, and atheists, are found in every segment of American society.

                  As for it being a "popular phase" that young people supposedly go through, the evidence refutes you there as well. Just check out ARIS 2008's sub-report on "Nones".

                  For someone who claims to be one, you have a very prejudiced, pejorative, stereotyped view of atheists. And your view is outdated by at least 20 years.

                  One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 04:24:03 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  uh (0+ / 0-)

                    Because it is impossible for an atheist to have a nuanced position that is neither silent nor half-baked.

                    yeah, i think the fact that he speaks of people who only occasionally bust out a half-baked idea, or who don't talk much (but are obviously not 'silent') kinda makes that clear.

                    I note that, at least, you seem to be backing down from the "most atheists are" fundamentalist extremists bullshit you were peddling just a couple comments ago.

                    yeah, i'm sorry to break this to you, but he never said that.

                    seriously guys, lay off the sauce. the knee-jerk defensive 'misread everything' shtick doesn't look good on you.

                    anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                    by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:38:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                      seriously guys, lay off the sauce. the knee-jerk defensive 'misread everything' shtick doesn't look good on you.

                      The irony is that this shtick embodies the very stereotype these folks are trying to combat.  These responses are strident, combative, and convey a grossly inflated sense of persecution (for example, my remarks on atheists apparently comprise "the most pejorative terms imaginable.")

                      •  As opposed to "lay off the sauce" (0+ / 0-)

                        and all the ad hominem, sexting-induced infantile insults of the commenter you are supporting.

                        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:54:55 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

        •  I think there should not be religious (5+ / 0-)

          symbols on public property, which is what a well known case locally involved, but I am also against the government making laws about religious symbols on private property.

          Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

          Your argument is not Scottish.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:26:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I would like to agree with you, but I don't want (6+ / 0-)

          to make this about atheist/non-believers/secularist. I have been experiencing this as a secularist with ties to Europe for some time now. Europeans don't want to admit it that they are bigots to Islam. I have European friends who are to the left of me on all social issues (that is saying a lot since I consider myself left wing), yet stand to my right when it comes to Islam.  It is a deep seated prejudice that Europeans have and they need to deal with it by coming to terms with their xenophobia.

          I recall the ban of wearing the hijab in school in France and how I could not find one of my French left wing friends to protest with me against the law banning the hijab. None of them saw wearing the hijab as religious freedom -- they only saw the hijab as oppression of women. It was then I realized that when it came to Islam Europeans on the left were just as xenophobic as those on the right. So, I am not surprised that Switzerland sided with the right on this referendum.

          "...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." -- Edward M. Kennedy 1980

          by LV Pol Girl on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:45:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What would you expect (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder, sortalikenathan

            Six million Jews died in Europe because they were Jews. Why would we expect that Europeans would be any more hospitable to Muslims?

            All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

            by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:57:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  and most of it was the fault of my country (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, RandomActsOfReason

              but you dont seem to think that some things may have changed a little over the last 70 years.and you should not confuse germany with all europe
              at least we are not out to start the rapture like some of your cracys

            •  Unfair. (0+ / 0-)

              There wasn't anything particularly European about that anti-Semitism.  It could very easily have happened in the USA or anywhere else, if the seeds of fascism had landed differently.

              In fact, many Jews fleeing Europe could not enter the USA because the state department was extremely anti-Semitic and instituted strict quotas on incoming Jews.  On top of that, they tried their level best not to meet the quotas.

              A European could just as easily point to our history of slavery, followed by our racial segregation laws (which persisted for two decades after WWII) and draw  the same conclusions about us.

          •  I live in Europe now (4+ / 0-)

            Germany, to be specific, and it amazes me the kinds of things so-called liberals will openly say here about their Muslim minority. The kind of stuff that you'd find the right wing in the US saying. I meet self-styled leftist anarchist types who go off on how Turks don't contribute anything to society. And they say these things to me, an Arab!

            It's been a real eye-opener living here.

            •  i am sorry for your experience and offer (0+ / 0-)

              you an exuse in my name(which is close to nothing i know)
              but i totaly disagree with your statemant about the german left .

              •  this is (3+ / 0-)

                a very observable trend among the German left; I hear such things all the time, and I experience it even more as an Arab here. So as much as I admire the left's commitment to certain progressive principles, when it comes to their attitudes to Muslim immigrants, I must say I was not expecting the level of open racism that I've heard and experienced. And I am in Berlin, supposedly the most progressive city in Germany. I will simply say that the idea of "progressive Europe" may be true when it comes to things like health care and the environment, but certainly not when it comes to minorities and immigrants.

                •  America generally has a 2-D opinion of Europe (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gerald 1969

                  Because Europeans are generally not so terrified by the thought of government, Americans often think Europe must be left/progressive.  But one's opinion on government is only half the story, if that.  It's what you want your government to do that counts.

                  Berlin sounds like a great city, hope you ultimately enjoy the place.

          •  Making generalizations about "Europeans" (0+ / 0-)

            is no more defensible than making generalizations about "Muslims".

            It is the same kind of prejudice.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 10:24:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I don't want to see those... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KathleenM1

        ...in public either.

        Especially as architecture.

        How bout if I want to put up huge models of flying saucers all over town? Would everyone be cool with that?

        Or giant penises?

        Or huge crab monster statues?

        •  And then you could claim... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rex Manning

          ..that not being able to inflict your giant penises (or crosses or crescents or septagrams or whatever symbol your superstition favors) on the skyline was a violation of your religious freedom.  

        •  HIS noodly appendages ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greatdarkspot, Rex Manning

          ... would be a marvelous addition to religious-ism.

          We could have them draping from lampposts in such a way that noodly tips lightly graze passers-by endowing them with pasta-grace; no minarets or steeples required.

          And that is just about how silly this whole conversation is. Why we feel we have the right to denigrate the choice of the Swiss people, regardless of who/what instituted this whole idiocy.

          Switzerland is a democracy. The Swiss people voted. The majority decision to ban further minarets was passed. Period.

          Peace y'all.

          •  Read the federalist papers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ignatz uk

            one of their biggest concerns was the tyranny of the majority -- the ability of a democratic majority to infringe upon minority rights.

            How would you like it if I moved to have a referendum on whether to revoke your citizenship? That is what could happen if you take your nonsense to its logical extreme.

            All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

            by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:59:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Democracy = rule of the majority. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greatdarkspot, Rex Manning

              Deal with it.

              How would you like it if I moved to have a referendum on whether to revoke your citizenship? That is what could happen if you take your nonsense to its logical extreme.

              I see.

              It makes it just hunky-dory for a minority to dictate what my kid learns in school? or be told I'm evil because my beliefs are not the minority's beliefs? or be a categorized as a second class citizen because I am black or hispanic or female or not 'normal'? [although I could go with the not normal part]

              Nope I would not like it ... and that is why I have voted in every.single.election. ... period.

            •  Even cities have asthetic codes. (0+ / 0-)

              Try going to your city council to get a permit to build a tall worship tower in the middle of town. They won't give you the permit, bet on it.

        •  You've been to Las Vegas! :P (0+ / 0-)
    •  I watch some French TV (17+ / 0-)

      Which has covered this in much more detail than we get here.  And it's overwhelmingly clear, that while the letter of the law is about this one architectural element, the nature of the campaign and the motivation for the vote was overwhelmingly about a hatred and fear, not so much of Islam per se, but of Islamic culture and people.  The massage of the campaign was that our country is being taken over by foreign hordes.  Not all that different than the anti-immigrant fervor we see in the US.

      "I was asked what I thought of the mainstream media. I said I thought it would be a good idea" - Amy Goodman.

      by Chico David RN on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:16:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, there was nothing anti-Islamic (25+ / 0-)

      about this campaign...

      Nothing at all.

      The minarets are as incidental to the practice of Islam as church steeples, but the campaign wasn't about architectural considerations.  It was an ideological war built on fear of Muslims, and a reaction against Gaddafi holding Swiss hostages in Libya.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:47:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure... (16+ / 0-)

        ...but the Swiss have already banned the call to prayer at mosques.  The Swiss are not, and were not, any bastion of religious freedom in the first place.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:51:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, agreed. I'm just surprised (8+ / 0-)

          that there are people who think this was a strictly pragmatic response to architectural considerations.  From what I understand, most Muslims living in Switzerland are pretty secular, anyway.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:53:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no idea (8+ / 0-)

            I don't know that much about the modern Swiss - I was watching the BBC news earlier and learned that the Swiss had banned the call to prayer.  FWIW, my brother lived and worked for a period in Geneva and stated that he was shocked by the extent of Swiss anti-Semitism as well.

            That said, I find most of the sentiments on both sides of this issue to be rather self-serving.  We here rarely come down on the side of true religious freedom, whether it be for Mormons or Christian Scientists or many other religious sects.  At the same time, we as a nation are indulgent of some religions (hello Catholicism) to a point which goes well beyond any reasonable definition of religious freedom.

            All in all, I find this a difficult direction for us to address this subject with any common foundation based on religious freedom.  What the Swiss did today is deplorable - it is a form of oppression of a vulnerable minority because the majority disfavors them, and that is always wrong.  To say that it is wrong because either the Swiss or us as American Democratic activists have a fundamental belief in the import of religious freedom, however, is something else entirely.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:01:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Before you say that; (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              charliehall

              What the Swiss did today is deplorable - it is a form of oppression of a vulnerable minority because the majority disfavors them, and that is always wrong.  

              I would ask you what percentage of Swiss muslims voted for and against.  Do you know?   I think it would make a big difference if we knew.

              Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

              by Demena on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:04:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                capelza, pico, jfromga, Anak

                In 2000, 5.78 million residents (79.2%, compared to 93.8% in 1980) were Christian (Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Orthodox 1.8%). 809,800 (11.1%, compared to 3.8% in 1980) were without any religious affiliation. 310,800 (4.3%) were Muslim (compared to 0.9% in 1980), 17,900 (0.2%) were Jewish. These numbers are based on membership in a congregation, not on direct statements of belief.

                I'm not sure, given those numbers, whether the votes of the Swiss Muslim minority are particularly relevant.

                (Statistics from Wikipedia)

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:07:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think Demena's point (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Demena

                  Was that if the Swiss Muslims voted overwhelmingly in favor of the ban it would undercut the claim that this was done to oppress them.

                  •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

                    Or going the other way it might provide some soft support the notion it was bigotry.

                    Me, I would have voted against it but I am an atheist and sick of seeing "threatening" messages everywhere.  I'd vote against any ostentatious religious display.  I just don't think we need more religion and am not particularly willing to encourage it.

                    As for minarets in particular, well, I have two daughters.  Why should they not sun bake as they please in my otherwise private back yard?  No, minarets do not belong in a residential area.  I live in a residential suburb, that means low-rise.  Yes, suburban residential areas seem to be where they want to place them so that the call to prayer can be heard.

                    So, No.  No steeples either.

                    Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                    by Demena on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 12:04:54 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's a local planning issue (0+ / 0-)

                      not a national ban.

                      •  That might be so. (0+ / 0-)

                        But I don't know how the system works there to that level of detail.  Remember it is a small country.  It's national government would only pass as a regional government in the USA.

                        Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                        by Demena on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 03:16:18 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's dissembling (0+ / 0-)

                          Switzerland is small, so a national policy of pre-emptively banning minarets is kind of the same thing as local planners responding to individual applications?

                          Come on, you can do better than this.

                          •  Dissembling id lying. (0+ / 0-)

                            And I am not doing that and do not like the imputation.

                            Remember they have "direct democracy".  I know a little about how it works but not enough.  Do you?

                            Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                            by Demena on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:34:38 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  You know better than that. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Rieux

                          This is one of those issues where people's commitment to principles is tested.

                          Banning minarets would be unamerican, and I'm happy knowing that such a bill would not become law here.

                          Opposing them locally, placing limits on height, sight-lines and observing noise ordinances, are all legitimate local concerns dealt with on a community level.

                          National legislation targeting a particular religion is not legitimate. There is no way to spin it otherwise. The fact that it was propelled by a clearly bigoted, fear-mongering campaign makes it worse, but even without the offensive propaganda posters, it would be wrong.

                          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                          by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 12:01:48 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Most of the Swiss Muslims (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    MattR, capelza, unspeakable

                    are not citizens. It is very difficult to become a naturalized citizen in Switzerland.

                    All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

                    by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 07:01:01 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Their history... is of a small country (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greatdarkspot, Catesby

          attempting to not be swallowed up by the Germans or the French or the Italians... or anyone... with a history of fending off outsiders one way or the other.

          Is it a surprise that they are leery of future dominance by any other large and powerful influences?

          Are they any different than a tribe in the upper Amazon or the Pashtuns or any other smaller group with a history of invasion or threat from the outside even one that is more diffuse and slower?

          When does wariness and defense of self identity become racism and xenophobia? Most people would probably claim to know the difference but equally no one seems to be able to agree where the border is or should be....

          When is racist paranoia not... and when is it informed prevention... I cannot tell in a lot of cases... when is wariness not actually unreasoning hate and when is it closeted polite hate or fear or even outright xenophobia?

          If you went back to Australia a couple of hundred years ago and interviewed the original people there on their views of the British encroachment you would have found that a lot of now vanished tribes were attempting to fight.... they are all gone and the survivors are the ones who had to relent and try and survive in other ways... And I guarantee that they hated the newcomers...And everywhere in the world it is not much difference... One person's freedom fighters are another's terrorist bandits....from all or most of the first peoples in the Americas to the last few members of a vanishing tribe in the Amazon or some religious conservatives in Yemen or Somalia or Afghanistan... (or Oklahoma) who see the Modern world as a threat to their religion... there is the question how much is any resistance or reluctance reasonable or not? Some are seen as tragic victims of change while others are seen as evil terror-philes or dangerous kooks... But all are fearful of what will come or might come or what will inevitably come that they cannot adapt to or want to adapt to. Change is not always good and not always bad and not always total or inevitable or intended.

          What tends to matter is: "Who is in charge of the change"... and even deciding what the change is and who has the clearest understanding of what it is now and what it may become.

          The Swiss are somewhere in the middle of all of this... their identity will not be wiped out by arms or disease but they are wary of displacement and becoming a minority in their own country... like any "identity" now or before. What is Swiss... because we can say they are an amalgam of many different neighboring people's their identity is a fiction that we can tell them to let go of...do we say tough beans... if it happens...? do we hold up say, the native Hawaiians as a shining example of what they might get to look forward to if their fears are in any way rational? They can always sell Halal Swiss chocolate and Islamic coo-coo clocks to tourists...  There is a lot of Islamic money there already with a lot of influence... do they ever get to say some sort of no to changes that might effectively erase their identity?

          Will they or have they already chosen the wrong issue? Do they or any group have the right to want to cling to who they are...? or is that only to be allowed to some people and not others... and who decides for others? Maybe they are paranoid or maybe they are just wary... and despite the alarmist posters I do not think that is the best symbol of their reluctance to evolve into a much less Swiss Switzerland. And I do not completely reject and denounce their decision just as I quite understand a typical Afghan who would like Afghanistan to not change too much too soon... or at all.. even though I think it would be better for them to get some change...

          For some only non-western identities are real and/or defensible.... and likewise some that still have a post colonial superiority complex for anything advanced or Western... For some, First world countries have no identities within them unless they originated from outside or are of earlier "First peoples"... while others disparage the culture and history of "undeveloped or Browner peoples...

          It is easier to just have an either or take on these kinds of things... Swiss bad, non Swiss good or the other way round... and any other combination with other groups or nationalities or identities inserted in place of "Swiss"... I cannot tell if they have just made life more complicated for themselves or been stampeded by fear or rationally (mostly) decided to symbolically (and maybe pointlessly) draw some kind of line or make a statement. It might have no effect on future demographics at all or just attract some unwelcome Jihadist incidents...

          Good luck to everyone in Switzerland...

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:48:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good point. (0+ / 0-)

            I take back what I said earlier.  

            If I lived in a small country right at the nexus of everything, for centuries at risk of invasion and annexation, I guess I'd be paranoid about any external pressure, be it political or cultural.

            I still think the anti-minaret campaign was misguided, but  I shouldn't have said that it was driven by xenophobia.  It could be a fierce devotion to the preservation of national identity, something I cannot really understand by living in a continent-spanning  meganation whose identity is never seriously at risk.

    •  because it tells a religious minority (5+ / 0-)

      that they are not swiss, that they are not welcome, that they are considered to be a dangerous, foreign threat to switzerland. while christian bell towers are allowed, and other religious buildings allowed to be built with spires that stand out visually, only minarets are singled out for banning, on the grounds that they - and they alone, among vertical or noisy religious architecture - are somehow a political threat and oppression of everyday swiss.

      how can you say with a straight face that that does not inhibit religious freedom?

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:45:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't minarets serve a particular function (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, lazybum, unspeakable

      in a mosque as a high point from which the call to prayer can be made? Why target minarets specifically rather than any tall structure if the goal is not to target Muslims?

      Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

      Your argument is not Scottish.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:20:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  More xenophobia than anything. (8+ / 0-)

    My read of the mood of the right across Europe - and it's a mood that finds a receptive ear beyond the right - is that in many European countries the population has been comparatively homgeneous - white, Christian, speaking the same language, etc.  Now they find themselves confronted with a fairly large influx of immigrants who are just different.  And many of those immigrants are not assimilationist.  They are often in Europe, not so much because they want to be but because the conditions in their home countries became intolerable.  So, unlike some past immigrants, they have relatively little interest in adopting the mores and culture of their new homes.  They'd like to maintain some of the culture they know from Africa or the Middle East in the European country.  It's a clash of culture not all that different from what a lot of xenophopes in the US are experiencing with Hispanic immigration here - fear of the "other".  Exacerbated by the fact that Europe is closer to a much wider mix of much more diverse cultures than we are.

    "I was asked what I thought of the mainstream media. I said I thought it would be a good idea" - Amy Goodman.

    by Chico David RN on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:12:46 PM PST

    •  Now? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, Kimball Cross, Gatordiet

      Dude, Germany invited large numbers of Turks to come to Germany after WWII because they needed cheap labor. This is not a new influx.

      And how did the Germans deal with it?  They labelled them "Guest Workers," as if they would soon return to their home country. I.e., there was no effort put out by the Europeans to try to integrate such populations. Why integrate them if they are only brief guests in Germany?

      ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

      by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:21:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Substitute Latino for Muslim ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... and you have the US.

      Until we welcome all comers with open arms [yeah, fat chance] we cannot use our self-righteous bully pulpit to slam decisions made by other nations.

      Funny we don't go around making big noises about intolerance in Saudi Arabia [non-Muslims], China [Uighurs], Turkey [Kurds], ad infinitum. Those are business and strategic partners, heavens forbid we should criticize them; they might cut off our military bases, cheap consumer goods, oil pipe lines; take your pick.

      I get so friggin disgusted at the selective criticism we indulge in. We have no right to tar Switzerland as religiously intolerant while we wallow in that same intolerance.

      Peace.

  •  Here's a look at the billboard. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, pico, Anak

    Through all your faults and all my complaints, I still love you.

    by jayden on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:22:03 PM PST

  •  Good (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auapplemac, milkbone, IreGyre, GrannyGeek

    I am happy to see the spirit of Charles Martel is still alive in parts of Europe.  The fact that the majority of the SWISS of all people voted for this should tell you something.
    I'll worry about it when I can go to church in Saudi Arabia.

  •  Religious Freedom in Saudi Arabia (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greatdarkspot, IreGyre, iceweasel

    Is it true that Saudi law prohibits the public practice of any faith other than Islam? Just asking. Isn't the penalty for violating that law death?  If it is, then perhaps the home of Mecca could lead the way with a show of religious tolerance of it own. When in Switzerland do as the Swiss do. Xenophobia, to various degrees, exists everywhere.

    Until then, Muslims can peacefully practice their faith in Switzerland, and it's a good idea to respect the wishes of one's hosts. One's religion shouldn't be dependent upon mere buildings anyway.

    Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

    by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:02:16 PM PST

    •  Are Swiss Muslims not Swiss? (13+ / 0-)

      When in Switzerland do as the Swiss do.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:03:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good catch. (6+ / 0-)

        Europe still faces way more problems than the US in integrating minorities.

        ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

        by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:09:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are Saudi Christians not Saudi? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre

          Well actually no they are not.

        •  can you explain a bit (0+ / 0-)

          question from germany.

        •  Sorry ... but BS (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greatdarkspot

          The EU is way more integrated and has been for a longer time. One of the issue at the moment is the massive influx of immigrants from Muslim countries and the toll on social services. Unlike the US, even immigrants get free health care and, depending on the individual EU member state, other social services as well. Like the Hispanic populations in the US, the immigrants from North Africa, Middle East etc., often have extended families which follow the breadwinner as soon as he is able to get citizenship.

          I lived in Greece for 25 years and saw up close what 'opening' the borders does to a country. Greece went from a safe, no one locked their doors, walk on the street at night unmolested, financial sturdy country to a major outpost of the Balkan and Russian mafias, social services system overloaded and financially insolvent with a debt now 103% of GDP.  

          So ... as far as I am concerned, the Swiss have voted and made their decision. They voted for what they believed was right for them.

          •  so shouldn't (4+ / 0-)

            the solution be to restrict immigration than to adopt discriminatory measures once the immigrants are there?

            You can't have it both ways. Europe benefits economically from having a labor force of Muslim immigrants. Either it affords them with dignity and human rights, or it chooses to restrict their rights, as Switzerland has done. But if it goes down that path, let's no longer pretend there is anything "progressive" about the way Europeans deal with questions of citizenship and immigration.

          •  I can't reply (0+ / 0-)

            since I have no idea what even your first sentence means. How is the EU "way more integrated" and for a longer time than the US?!  

            ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

            by Anak on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 05:33:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't that a Saudi Death Penalty? (3+ / 0-)

        Let's say a Hindu is practicing a sacred Hindu ritual in public in Saudi Arabia. That Hindu could do his/her ritual in Switzerland all they want to, but in Saudi Arabia, isn't it illegal? Isn't there a death penalty on the books for that sort of religious behavior by non-Muslims?

        Seems like a one-way street. Do you hear complaints from Muslims about any hindrance given to other religions that are practiced in Muslim-dominated lands? No, rarely, if ever. Given that state of affairs we shouldn't be surprised if countries, such as Switzerland, copy the Saudi model. What goes around comes around.

        Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

        by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:12:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um (13+ / 0-)

          What does the Kingdom of Saud have to do with anything?  And for that matter, what evidence do you have of religious freedom for Hindus in Switzerland?

          I really fail to understand the point you are making.  In the Saudi kingdom, no one has anything resembling rights.  Period.  It is an absolute dictatorship.  The policies of the Saudi kingdom are in no way reflective of the will of its citizens, much less reflective of the will of all Muslims.  Further, Muslims are neither a monolith nor a body politic.  Comparing the Swiss, who are in some form an ethnic group and in another form a sovereign nation with a republican government, with Muslims, which is a term encompassing over a billion people, of hugely varying religious sects, national identities, and ethnic and cultural groups, is akin to comparing apples and superconductors.

          Finally, I'll point out that if one cares to, one can easily find individual Muslims who complain about each and every aspect of the governance of Muslim-dominated lands.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:23:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um . . . so that's a Yes? Death! (0+ / 0-)

            With 3 slow strokes of the sword?  Sounds plenty xenophobic to me.

            Equal standards for all. Maybe Muslims in Switzerland will get their minarets when they show that they value the religious freedom of others. Perhaps as those millions of pilgrims meet in Mecca, that great center of Islam, they can pray for that wonderful, fair tomorrow.

            Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

            by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:33:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I grow bored of this (11+ / 0-)

              Equal standards for all. Maybe Muslims in Switzerland will get their minarets when they show that they value the religious freedom of others.

              This is a statement utterly without substance, as no evidence has been shown by you (or anyone here) that Swiss Muslims don't value the religious freedom of others.  Swiss Muslims are not responsible for the views of all Muslims, nor of particular Muslims in other places.  As such, the practices of Muslims in other places have no relevance, unless you wish to express bias towards anyone of the Muslim faith based on the actions of individuals who share that faith.  

              By which logic, I'm equally justified in saying that perhaps I won't treat all Christians as child rapists when the Catholic Church cleans up its act.  Perhaps when those millions of Christians are opening their presents under their trees in a few weeks, they can receive the gift of no longer being a bunch of despicable shits who rape kids and then cover it up for decades.

              Good night.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:39:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  May Religious Freedom Exist EVERYWHERE (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                createpeace

                And who could disagree with that?  Perhaps even bored people will wake up and agree?

                Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

                by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:48:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Most people disagree with that (9+ / 0-)

                  Few people support the religious freedom of Mormons to be polygamous.  Few people support the religious freedom of Christian Scientists to prevent their children from receiving medical care.  Few people support the religious freedom of Hindus to enforce a strict caste system.  

                  Most people oppose unfettered religious freedom.  Most people support a degree of religious freedom, one which does not abridge other forms of freedom.

                  The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                  by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:53:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  qwerty (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Jay Elias, IreGyre
                    "Few people support the religious freedom of Hindus to enforce a strict caste system."

                    You seemingly imply that Hindus would actually want to "enforce a strict caste system"; if that's what you meant, then that would be an utterly false implication for you to make or state. If you dsiagree, then please provide a link to any poll (of Hindus or Indians) where 50% or more expressed support for enforcing "a strict caste system."

                    In reality, a mostly Hindu leadership of India put in place a quota system that allocates at least 27% to 75% (depending on the state) of jobs, seats in prestigious and other schools and universities, etc, to "lower" castes and minorities, to lift them from the state where imperial and colonial regimes left them in, after India attained self-rule following a 1300 year occupation and subjugation by foreign invaders, during which time those invaders and proselytizers abused the caste system (which was originally an occupational classification in what was a rural-agrarian society, not unlike how occupations were passed on from generation to the next by heredity in the rest of the world in 800 AD, i.e. before universities and technical schools came to exist) as divisive political football to further their respective nefarious agendas. Also, it's the mostly "upper" caste Hindu teachers that lifted a 5-10% literacy rate among "lower" castes (overall literacy was 5% in 1901 and about 17% in 1947, and 65% in 2001) at the time of the departure of the British up to 55-60% in 2001.

                    This Hindu (a "lower" caste one, actually. My father became an engineer thanks to the quota system. I became an engineer and then a scientist without any help from the quota system. I not only did not face discrimination from "upper" caste folks and teachers at any time during my schooling in India, but I wouldn't even have known about India's prestigious IIT's that I attended, had an "upper" caste Brahmin family friend not told me about them and helped me with some initial tips on how to study for the entrance exams that the IITs have. Back in India, I had friends from every caste, religion and creed. Even as a school kid (but a topper in school), I helped a Dalit buddy of mine with his schooling which helped him pass exams and move on to higher studies) would vehemently oppose if anyone were to even float such a nonsensical proposition as enforcing "a strict caste system."

                    Whatever remnants exist in India of caste based discrimination (mostly found in less developed villages) must be eradicated (as should discrimination of all kinds that exist in just about every country out there), but at the same time, temptation for non-Indians to caste-bait about Hindus and the Indian society, while lacking any in-depth understanding of the history and the ground realities in India, must also stop.

                    Here is a very interesting article for one to read. Relevant because Brahmins get pilloried and castigated for the caste system by people that know very little about India.


                    Are Brahmins the Dalits of today?

                    Francois Gautier
                    May 23, 2006

                    At a time when the Congress government wants to raise the quota for Other Backward Classes to 49.5 per cent in private and public sectors, nobody talks about the plight of the upper castes. The public image of the Brahmins, for instance, is that of an affluent, pampered class. But is it so today?

                    There are 50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi; all of them are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins (this very welcome public institution was started by a Brahmin). A far cry from the elitist image that Brahmins have!

                    There are five to six Brahmins manning each Shauchalaya. They came to Delhi eight to ten years back looking for a source of income, as they were a minority in most of their villages, where Dalits are in majority (60 per cent to 65 per cent). In most villages in UP and Bihar, Dalits have a union which helps them secure jobs in villages.
                    ..
                    According to the Andhra Pradesh study, the largest percentage of Brahmins today are employed as domestic servants. The unemployment rate among them is as high as 75 per cent. Seventy percent of Brahmins are still relying on their hereditary vocation. There are hundreds of families that are surviving on just Rs 500 per month as priests in various temples (Department of Endowments statistics).

                    Priests are under tremendous difficulty today, sometimes even forced to beg for alms for survival. There are innumerable instances in which Brahmin priests who spent a lifetime studying Vedas are being ridiculed and disrespected.

                    At Tamil Nadu's Ranganathaswamy Temple, a priest's monthly salary is Rs 300 (Census Department studies) and a daily allowance of one measure of rice. The government staff at the same temple receive Rs 2,500 plus per month. But these facts have not modified the priests' reputation as 'haves' and as 'exploiters.' The destitution of Hindu priests has moved none, not even the parties known for Hindu sympathy.
                    ..

                    The Indian government gives Rs 1,000 crores (Rs 10 billion) for salaries of imams in mosques and Rs 200 crores (Rs 2 billion) as Haj subsidies. But no such help is available to Brahmins and upper castes. As a result, not only the Brahmins, but also some of the other upper castes in the lower middle class are suffering in silence today, seeing the minorities slowly taking control of their majority.

                    Anti-Brahminism originated in, and still prospers in anti-Hindu circles. It is particularly welcome among Marxists, missionaries, Muslims, separatists and Christian-backed Dalit movements of different hues. When they attack Brahmins, their target is unmistakably Hinduism.

                    So the question has to be asked: are the Brahmins (and other upper castes) of yesterday becoming the Dalits of today?

                    These facts are also important to note:
                    1. It's mostly Brahmin mathematicians who invented the number system and most of the other Indian Mathematical inventions which you can read about from the link in my sigline.
                    2. The authors of Hinduism's greatest epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were written by "lower" caste Hindus (i.e. not Brahmins), namely Vyasa and Valmiki, both of whom became accepted as sages, and their works adopted as as definitional epics of Hinduism. What that shows is the caste system was not a rigid one and that it permitted upward mobility within the contexts that were present in those ancient times.

                    I am not a Brahmin (as follows from my earlier remark that I was a "lower" caste Hindu), but I have come to firmly view the rampant anti-Brahminisim as being exactly like anti-Semitism. Both are hateful and inhuman vilifications of very successful groups of people (who made many valuable contributions to the human society in the forms of science, culture, arts, languages, etc) for positively no justifiable reason.

                    Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

                    by iceweasel on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 12:18:53 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I no more believe... (5+ / 0-)

                      ....that a majority of Hindus would want to enforce a strict caste system than I believe that a majority of Mormons would like to engage in polygamy.  The point wasn't that these views are uniformly or widely held among members of a particular faith, but that these views are not tolerated by many people despite their ostensible belief in religious freedom.

                      Your reply to me is excellent and highly detailed.  But such was not intended to be my implication, nor did I make that comment out of any negative sentiments towards Brahmin.  The point was merely that tolerance of religious practices only goes so far, even among those most committed to religious freedom.  I apologize if my comment displayed any further sentiments beyond that.

                      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                      by Jay Elias on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 12:26:55 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Sir you know nothing of Switzerland (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GrannyGeek

            "Comparing the Swiss, who are in some form an ethnic group"

            Well no they are not. Switzerland has four separate official languages each representing a particular ethnic group: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Obviously there has been some admixture over time but really there is no major European country that is actually made up by one ethnic group.

            Over the last five hundred years or so Switzerland has learned to get along by recognizing and respecting cultural boundaries in a democratic society. Insisting on special rights for a particular ethnic or religious minority is not what the country has ever been about.

            And not that it is important but Saudi Arabia is not an absolute dictatorship either, their are significant power centers outside the royal family, but apparently your history books are written in crayon.

            •  Ugh (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, unspeakable, Anak, soysauce, Kandy

              I'm not about to debate ethnography with you, but you aren't telling me anything new.  Despite language differences, there has been a uniquely Swiss culture and people which is not German nor French nor Italian.  Meanwhile, I'm not saying that the Swiss are about pluralism, nor am I saying the Swiss should be about pluralism.

              Meanwhile, you seem to know little of absolute dictatorships as well.  There are always significant power centers outside of the monarch or despot - even in Nazi Germany the Fuhrer was not the sole center of power.  Holding absolute political authority does not grant one a monopoly on all power.  

              You have an impressive UID, and although I've been here a long time and know nothing of you, I have no wish to fight with you.  But you're being a douche to me, and I'm not going to put up with that either.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:58:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah maybe you shouldn't use words like (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AaronInSanDiego, valion

                "ethnic' quite so loosely next time. And I would like to see some evidence that there is really some inherently 'Swiss' culture apart from its national components. Certainly there is a shared understanding of the importance of democracy but even there there have been some cantonal variation.

                Many, perhaps most major European nations made determined attempts to create national identities in the 18th and 19th century mostly without success, Bavaria doesn't see itself as identical to Prussia, or Brittany to France, or Catalonia to Spain, or Sicily to Italy, or for that matter Scotland to England, variations in culture, language, and yes ethnicity persist to this day. And historically Pan-Hellenism and Pan-Slavism were not exactly total successes, you can ask the people of Yugo (lit South) Slavia how that worked out. Or the Soviet Union.

                And Jay you have not exactly been a model of civility here yourself. Perhaps you should take your own advice, say "Ugh" and "I'm bored" and get some sleep.
                _______________________
                I have not spent a huge amount of time at dKos in recent years having followed the famous advice of Yogi Berra: "Nobody goes there any more, it is too crowded". But really the only reason I have a three digit number is because I slept in the Sunday they introduced Scoop registration, if I had gotten up when I usually did I would be tucked in at most just a couple of dozen slots behind Meteor Blades.

                •  Perhaps I shouldn't (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  capelza, unspeakable, Mariken

                  That said, the Swiss federation dates back to the late 13th century.  While Switzerland is certainly an amalgam of German, French and Italian cultures as well as Rhaeto-Romanic culture, the interaction of these cultures has led to a shared cultural identity where the varying aspects have interplay and overflow.  A good comparison could be the various regional cultures of the US; while there are deeply distinct cultures of, for example, New England and the American south, there is shared cultural awareness.  Neither are identical, of course, no more than Bavaria and Prussia are.  But Bavarians and Prussians both consider themselves German.

                  To be sure, I am not the model of civility.  It is a failure on my part, and I do apologize to you.  And to all.  That said, all my initial statement attempted to demonstrate is that the Swiss and Muslims are not equivalent groups, a point that I consider self-evident.  Cheers.

                  The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                  by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:36:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Ethnography? (0+ / 0-)

                I just had a discussion with my sister the other night about this word. I do not think it means what you think it means, unless I'm misreading you.

                Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

                Your argument is not Scottish.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:38:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  The Swiss Muslims are a very small minority (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, Pluto, pico, amk for obama, Anak, Gatordiet

          and are mostly there as refugees from various parts of the former Yugoslavia. I refuse to view them as a threat to Swiss society, for that reason.

          As for Saudi Arabian religious intolerance, I dislike it enough that I don't want to imitate it.

          Revelation speaks of "those who claim to be Jews and are not, but are liars." I've always wondered how many American "Jews" are of this group. -- A RW blogger.

          by Kimball Cross on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:28:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Probably not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza

        it is very difficult to become a naturalized Swiss citizen. (I was told by one naturalized Swiss Jew that large amounts of money can help speed the process along.)

        All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

        by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 07:03:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  See the first paragraph of my diary. (6+ / 0-)

      Saudia Arabia in no way enjoys the reputation for democracy, human rights, and international neutrality and evenhandedness that Switzerland does. You are basically saying that it is a good thing that Swizterland is a bit more like Saudia Arabia now.

      ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

      by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:08:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Missing the point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        auapplemac, IreGyre, GrannyGeek

        If you act like a doormat, you will get walked on.  Glad to see some places in Europe standing up for themselves, that's all.
        Btw, I used to have the Church of God of Prophesy next door to where I lived.  They put a speaker in their steeple to broadcast their service to the surrounding area.  Me and some others complained and got the damn thing silenced.  I'm not into anybody being in-your-face with their religion.  If you are polite to me, I'll be polite back.  This is something that many people of all faiths need to learn.  Including many who practice Islam.

        •  Don't see the point in replying to you... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, lazybum

          but see my post above. Gastarbeiter. You know what that means? Europe needed and invited cheap labor in.

          ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

          by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:17:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I find it difficult to understand how having (8+ / 0-)

          minarets erected in my country takes anything away from me. It neither breaks my leg nor steals my purse.

          Revelation speaks of "those who claim to be Jews and are not, but are liars." I've always wondered how many American "Jews" are of this group. -- A RW blogger.

          by Kimball Cross on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:29:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well if you were tourism director (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            createpeace, GrannyGeek

            Of some Alpine village that drew most of its visitors because it had preserved authentic historical detail from the middle ages, a big hulking minaret in the middle of town might indeed steal your purse.

            Should be allow minarets in Colonial Williamsburg? Or smack dab in the middle of New Orleans' French Quarter? How about next to Stonehenge? At what point does preserving your historical and cultural heritage cross the line into racism?

            •  There are exactly 4 minarets (7+ / 0-)

              in Switzerland, as I wrote above. One of them is a tiny little thing in an industrial part of town.

              You are assuming, like Swiss voters, that a minaret anywhere equals a total distruction of the native culture. There are no minarets hulking in the middle of any Swiss village. That you just assume it is the case is rather scary.

              But don't let the facts get in your way.

              ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

              by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:09:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not assuming anything (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GrannyGeek

                There has been a very aggressive campaign funded by wealthy Saudis to promote the establishment of traditional mosques and traditional religious authority everywhere that there are Muslims. Since there are to date probably few significant Muslim populations in Alpine villages the threat to traditional architecture and culture are fairly limited.

                On the other hand we have seen a similar development in Israel where the Haredi are increasingly demanding that all secular Jews adapt themselves to the Haredi rather than historically the other way around.

                I don't have anything against Muslims, but when as in Phoenix recently they decide to import honor killings I think I want to draw the line.
                http://www.google.com/...

                Equally I am not anti-Semitic, but when recent immigrants (mostly) start rioting in Jerusalem because somebody operates a new parking lot on Saturday I think authorities should draw the line there.
                http://www.jpost.com/...

                When I was a little boy there was little to no non-Christian programming on Sunday morning TV or AM radio in the United States and most stores were closed. Really it was only the introduction of televised football, golf and car racing that broke down that taboo. Not only don't I want fundamentalist Christians to take me back there, I don't want Ultra-Orthodox Jews, traditional Latin Rite Catholics, or Sharia advocating Muslims to insist on the same deference that white Protestant churches did back then.

                Secularism generally is under assault on many fronts in many countries. I really don't want to have to refight the Enlightenment.

                •  Oh, so your argument is against religion per se. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  capelza, lazybum

                  So do you think this new policy against minarets should have included church spires?

                  •  While I do not answer for the person above, (0+ / 0-)

                    Personally, yes!  I would absolutely support such a measure, applying it equally to all religions.  I live in England and Christian architecture has become part of the fabric of this country over a thousand and more years, therefore it would be difficult to reverse that situation. A law, however, similar to the Swiss one, applied to ALL modern religious architecture, of any faith, absolutely.

                    Religious architecture is about projecting power and authority. It shouts "I stand here as the sole arbiter of truth and wisdom, bow down to me."  This can be seen now in the modern skyscrapers, temples to the worship of the modern god, WEALTH.

                    I would also advocate another reform, removing the tax exempt status of all religions.  Frequently nowadays the 'church' be it Islam, Christian or other uses it's position of authority within the community to peddle a political view, while claiming a special right of protection from criticism.  No more should this be tolerated, if religion wants to play in the political arena then it should pay it's taxes and to use an American euphemism 'take it's licks'.

                    In all the problems of the world, religion has never been the solution.

                    •  So where do you draw the line? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      capelza, Anak

                      Do we stop at architectural regulation or should we go a bit further?  Should we prohibit people from wearing anything that identifies a religion?  Or maybe prohibit anyone from publishing religious materials?

                      No offense, but religious hostility isn't a very democratic position.

                  •  'Should have' (0+ / 0-)

                    Well I would certainly go with 'could have'. And to the extent that a new church was architecturally out of scale or design with some particular city or town would not object.

                    My main point is that cities and towns bar all kinds of structures and uses and often enough architectural features for all kinds of reasons.

                    In Europe and American cities and towns grew up often enough centered on a cathedral or church, it is a little late to unring that bell. But these days it is just not true that you could just build a church anywhere you wanted with a steeple or not. On the other hand trying to ban minarets while allowing steeples probably wouldn't pass constitutional muster.

                    On my website I put up a post called 'A Minaret at Stonehenge' asking if people would take religious freedom quite that far in their own back yard with their own cultural icons. Or would that be different somehow.

                •  I'm disgusted with the charedi rioting (0+ / 0-)

                  in Jerusalem. But this is actually more parallel to the situation in Switzerland: The Ashkenazic charedim have been in Jerusalem for almost 200 years, long before any of the secular or national-religious Jews.

                  All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

                  by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:49:24 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  If your argument is supposed to be a defense (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              capelza, Kimball Cross, Anak, charliehall

              of the Swiss model, that'd be tantamount to saying "Because minarets shouldn't be allowed in the middle of the French Quarter, we need to ban the construction of minarets in the state of Louisiana entirely."  

              That's just ridiculous.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:35:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  No Surprise if Swiss Copy Saudis (0+ / 0-)

        Same standards for all, right? That's what equality means.

        Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

        by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:13:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Underlying tension (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greatdarkspot

      Here in the Netherlands. Sure they invited Turks and Moroccans to work here, but when they started marrying the Dutch women they allowed their families to live here also. They really thought they would all go home.

      The Dutch fear loosing their identity.

      It is quite intimidating to walk some places here amongst women with long coats and head scarves, sometimes all in black. It is a feeling of loosing my rights as a woman. That is my fear.

      •  Get over it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, Anak

        I live in a US county with a huge number of Muslim immigrants. They are settling in quite nicely. The women mostly wear headscarves -- but guess what, my wife likes to wear headscarves and long skirts, too! None of the Muslim immigrants has ever been accused of a hate crime against an American. But here in NY we know that we are a multicultural society and benefit from the diversity.

        All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

        by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:47:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But she doesn't live in the US (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre

          the US was built on immigration and people coming from all over the world.

          Switzerland was not.  Just because something is right for the US doesn't make it right for everyone.

          The US was also built on foreigners coming in and taking over from the native population.  That is the Swiss' fear.  You would probably have a very different attitude were you a Native American.

          Look at the fact they are still fighting over assimilation, religion and power in N Ireland after almost 1000 years since the English started to move in.

  •  What a depressing diary... (13+ / 0-)

    and how sad to read so many hateful comments here.

  •  Nice to see bigotry in teh librul left here. (7+ / 0-)

    Neocons will be so proud of their propaganda.

    Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

    by amk for obama on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:48:14 PM PST

  •  Won't make a difference (0+ / 0-)

    Swiss banks and the Swiss economy are intimately tied up with the Arab world. Tourism could suffer, especially from rich Arab tourists. Likewise, the trust given to the Swiss in negotiating international conflicts could be damaged heavily. And, for course, what of the integration of the some 400,000 Muslims who live now in the country, most of whom are from hardly orthodox places such as Kosova, Bosnia, and Turkey?

    My guess is this won't change anything. Indeed after the Dubai fiasco, people will be even more attracted to Switzerland as a financial capital, ESPECIALLY those from the Middle East.

  •  People want to be free (0+ / 0-)

    from religion in the modern world. good for the Swiss

  •  yes, but. . . (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, sandbox, RandomActsOfReason
    Hidden by:
    charliehall

    . . .we all must be wary of sharia "law". I am all for religious freedom, find the ban on minaret construction unbelievably stupid but, I will lay down my life before I live under sharia "law".

    Hope revolves around a future where religions are regarded as the frauds they are.

    •  my dear friend (4+ / 0-)

      500 years ago those "sharia laws " where active in the swiss and it was called Calvinism.
      the old christian version of todays wahabis and taliban. so when somebody talks about traditions
      it would help if you know them a bit .

    •  HRd for slander on all religions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anak

      I'm as big a supporter of religious freedom, but to call all religion "fraud" is beyond the pale.

      All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

      by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:41:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh well excuse me! (0+ / 0-)

        Here are the facts:

        No one on earth knows one damned thing about God.

        That is the way it has always been and will forever remain.

        If you have a problem with those facts, then it is YOU that has the issue, not me.

        You should HR yourself.

      •  Should be for thread jacking (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne, Darmok

        And trying to conflate any expression of Islam as alliance with Sharia law.

        The Obama administration has fired 532 soldiers for being gay as of 11/29/09.

        by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 10:25:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You've never been a supporter of religious freedo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rieux

        on Daily Kos, not if by "religious freedom" you include freedom to criticize religion.

        You can't slander an idea or a belief, you can only slander people.

        You continue to deliberately perpetuate confusion between criticism of ideas and beliefs - which is what this site is all about - and attacks on people.

        Religious ideas and beliefs are no different than political or ideological or cultural ideas or beliefs.

        You would hardly HR someone for commenting, "all ideologies are frauds" or even "all political parties are frauds".

        All religions are frauds.

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 08:32:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Is banning minarets an appropriate way to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, capelza, anotherdemocrat

      "be wary" of Sharia law?

      The Obama administration has fired 532 soldiers for being gay as of 11/29/09.

      by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 10:29:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  NO!!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomActsOfReason

        It's a stupid act of ignorance

        •  however. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomActsOfReason

          . . .we should not forget, either, the heinous quotations within the Quran. When it is claimed the Koran is a "religion of peace", that message really is for fellow Muslims only. We should remember that the Koran says "hide in the shadows for the infidels" and that it says "thrust the hot iron into the belly of thy enemy" and that the world is divided into two parts: that that is Muslim and that part "not yet conquered".

          I have Muslims within my family. They are peace loving and are very 'westernized". But are they really following what the Quran truely says?

          On the other hand, I am certain the Catholic church divides the world the same way, into two parts. And those learned in the history of the church are fully aware of the horrendous atrocities committed under it. The difference, however, is that those atrocities were not supported by the "holy" book behind them.

          Final thought: no books are holy, nor water nor lands. All religions are frauds.

          •  Not helpful (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza

            You're basically encouraging bigotry against Muslims.  Anti-religion hysteria is just as bad as religious extremism.

            •  No it's not nearly as bad (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RandomActsOfReason

              With three major religions all insisting they are the rightful owners of the "holy" lands, and with nuclear armeggeddon (pardon the religious nutbaggery) hanging in the balance, only by diminishing the power and especially the pretige of all of these religious organizations will there be any hope for a sustainable future. Until we end the strangle hold of "be fruitful & multiply" upon the procreation of our species will the world have a chance to heal itself from 6000 plus years of absolute religious insanity. Six and 3/4 billion people is enough already!

              We desperately need a "new enlightenment": I hope you'll reconsider and join me.

          •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

            I am certain the Catholic church divides the world the same way, into two parts. And those learned in the history of the church are fully aware of the horrendous atrocities committed under it. The difference, however, is that those atrocities were not supported by the "holy" book behind them.

            Whaa?

            Have you read the Bible?

            •  Oh yeah, I have read the bible (0+ / 0-)

              The bible didn't tell the catholic church to yank the sleeping Protestants from their beds and draw and quarter them. The bible also did not tell the Vatican to enter the Cathars castle and drag them out, tie them to a funeral pyre and set them afire. It also did not tell the vatican to begin the Inquisitions. As bad as the bible is, most notably passages from the Old Testament. . .nothing in the bible couseled to commit those acts.

              •  Er... (0+ / 0-)

                The bible didn't tell the catholic church to yank the sleeping Protestants from their beds and draw and quarter them.

                Oh?

                But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

                - Jesus, in Luke 19:27


                The bible also did not tell the Vatican to enter the Cathars castle and drag them out, tie them to a funeral pyre and set them afire.

                No?

                I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

                - Jesus, in John 15:6


                It also did not tell the vatican to begin the Inquisitions.

                Really?

                If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

                And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

                If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

                - Deuteronomy 13:1-10

                (And one cannot possibly approach the Inquisition honestly without recognizing the ample support for anti-Semitism that Christian anti-Semites have always found all over the New Testament.)


                As bad as the bible is, most notably passages from the Old Testament. . . nothing in the bible couseled to commit those acts.

                Says you. Apologists for Islam say precisely the same thing about the Qur'an, with similarly little attention to, or indeed cognizance of, the passages that give direct support to horrors. As I gather you understand when the topic is Islam, violent fanatics are not wrong about scripture just because liberals are willfully blind to (or, at best, ignoring on obscurantist grounds) the violent scriptures the fanatics take inspiration from.

                In point of fact, both the Old and New Testaments are drenched in violence, injustice, and horror; in the latter, it's often from Jesus' mouth. The Bible does indeed not specifically counsel drawing and quartering Protestants, but the phrase "shooting spree in Texas" is nowhere to be found in the Qur'an, either. The inference from the many ugly passages in the either book is an obvious one to draw, however, to anyone bloody-minded enough to take it seriously.

                There's a whole lot of ugly stuff in the Qur'an. But you seem to be ignoring the fact that there's an awful lot of insanity in the New Testament, as well:

                But the children of the kingdom [guess who that is?] shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

                - Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12


                The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

                - Jesus, in Matthew 13:41-42


                Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. ... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.

                - Jesus, in Matthew 25:41, 46


                And that servant [slave], which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

                - Jesus, in Luke 12:47


                And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as [Jesus] sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

                And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

                And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

                - Mark 14:3-7 (italics added)

                Skeptical critiques of religion have considerably more credibility when they're even-handed.

  •  Switzerland is long known for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, Kimball Cross, ignatz uk, Anak

    xenophobia, religious intolerance, willingness to rationalize away any ethical quandry, and ability to profit from the hardships of others.

    Sorry, but the process of becoming a naturalized citizen there is one of the most difficult in the world. It took in almost no Jewish refugees from the Nazis and helped fund the genocide machine. Survivors of the holocaust couldn't access their family assets for decades. The country's bank secrecy laws allow the wealthiest of the world's wealthy to escape their obligations as citizens. And it banned kosher slaughter longer than anyone I can remember. I am completely unsurprised that it is now taking on its Muslim minority.

    All my IP addresses have been banned from Redstate.com.

    by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:39:54 AM PST

    •  Yes, the first paragraph (0+ / 0-)

      of my diary wasn't an attempt to give an objective account of the progressivness of Switzerland. Rather, it was just to set out the popular, international image people have of the country and how this new vote threatens that image.

      So, yes, I agree with you.

      ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

      by Anak on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 05:20:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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