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Damon Fowler, an atheist student at a high school in Northern Louisiana, had the courage to promote the Constitution (the establishment clause specifically) in a backwards bible thumping region of the country.  Unfortunately, the Constitution and the Bible are often times like water and oil as he soon found out...

The Freethinker gives a pretty good run down of the incident:

On the eve of his graduation, the atheist student contacted the school superintendent to let him know that he opposed the inclusion of a prayer at the graduation ceremony. He pointed out that government-sponsored prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional and legally forbidden – and that he would be contacting the ACLU if it went ahead. The school agreed to substitute it with a moment of silent reflection, which was subsequently scuppered by a Christian student.

Then Fowler’s name, and his role in this incident, was leaked. As a direct result:

1) Fowler has been hounded, pilloried, and ostracized by his community.

2) One of Fowler’s teachers has publicly demeaned him.

3) Fowler has been physically threatened. Students have threatened to “jump him” at graduation practice, and he has received multiple threats of bodily harm, and even death threats.

4) Fowler’s parents cut off his financial support, kicked him out of the house, and threw his belongings onto the front porch.

Such a peaceful religion.  Oh and they went through with the prayer anyhow at their rehearsal:

and at graduation itself:

You can expect a lawsuit to be forthcoming.

And what is the school's response to all of this?  To bash the student for standing up for the Constitution:

“And what’s even more sad is this is a student who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates,” Quinn said.

How "Christian" of her.

Anyhow, despite his pretty awful parents Damon can be thankful he has the support of his siblings.  Here is his brother's response to that nasty teacher:

I am Damon's Brother.

Here is an update: My brother has been cut off from all communication by my mother. He is not allowed to speak to me and I live 6 hours drive away from him. There's nothing I can do. My sister is supposed to go pick him up tomorrow and he will no longer be living in that town or with my parents. He's coming to Texas with me.

Regarding Quinn's comments. I was one of her students in high school. This is the letter I wrote to her this afternoon:

Hello Mrs. Quinn,

My brother is Damon Fowler. I recently heard by proxy that you stated some pretty hateful and incredibly biased remarks in regard to him confronting the school about its illegal prayer at graduation. It's insulting and upsetting to me because I honestly considered you one of my favorite teachers in high school. It was because of you and Mr. Horton that I went on to the [privacy edit] and got my BFA in New Media Art and I'm currently [privacy edit].

The quote I am referring to is this:

“[In the past, non-religious students] respected the majority of their classmates and didn’t say anything,” [Bastrop High School staff member Mitizi] Quinn said. “We’ve never had this come up before. Never…And what’s even more sad is this is a student who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates.” (Bastrop Daily Enterprise, http://www.bastropenterprise.com/...)

The last sentence is what I am referring to specifically. This is extremely unprofessional and unbecoming of a teacher. I am requesting that you both personally and publicly apologize to my brother for your remarks and if I do not hear that this has happened by the end of the week, I will be taking this to the superintendent and to the school board. If the school board does nothing, I will take this even higher.

I need not remind you that a specific and lengthy school prayer is illegal in the state of Louisiana. My brother is in the right here. The will of the majority does not rule all in this case. In other words, in this case, the majority is in violation of state and federal laws. This is why the school board backed down.

Of all people I saw you as a person who stood up for the weak and hurting. I remember a story where you told me you were instrumental in desegregating BHS. This is no different. By dismissing Damon's emotions/feelings/beliefs, you ignore him (and other religious and non-religious). You marginalize other religious and non-religious students. By not standing up for him and the law, you are hurting who my brother is and what he's trying to do, without any care for his emotions. You're advocating to have this little ritual performed illegally at graduation, with blatant disregard for anyone who isn't Christian. Instead, what you should be doing is supporting all students and the law by supporting a brief moment of silence, not prayer, but moment of silence. It's the law.

Sincerely,

Jerrett Fowler

You can support him on Facebook and contribute to his scholarship here.

Update: The ACLU has also issued a statement a few days ago.  You can read it here.

6:16 AM PT: On the rec list already?  Thanks guys!

7:23 AM PT: Just FYI this is the last day you can contribute to his scholarship...

Originally posted to Romo2Austin on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Religion Watchdogs, and Louisiana Kossacks.

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  •  recovering christian (93+ / 31-)

    This is why I'm a recovering christian.  There'll be no reasonable christian response.  No christian in the deep south would dare stand up to the hypocrisy of this.  Which is one of the reasons I left.  No balls in the christian community.  The deep south is christian w/o the Christ.

    as far as I'm concerned christians are a terrorist group who are bent like Al quada to take over our lives and install theocratic justice all over the land.  Quite frankly a pox on their house

    •  That's a step way too far. (110+ / 0-)
      as far as I'm concerned christians are a terrorist group who are bent like Al quada to take over our lives and install theocratic justice all over the land.

      Replace "Christians" with "Jews" and see how many HRs you get for that comment.

      Hell, replace "Christians" with "Muslims" and see how many HRs you get for that comment.

      Some Christians are assholes. Some Christians do engage in acts that I would agree are terrorist in nature, and would like to install a theocracy.

      But "some" Christians are not all Christians—not by a longshot.

      Many of us use our religion as motivation to do real justice in the world—to fight against poverty, inequality, oppression, war, hate, intolerance. Many of us believe that the separation of church and state protects the church as much as the state, and would go to the mat to protect it. If I were in Louisiana, I'd be standing with this kid.

      Just as we wouldn't say that all Muslims are like al-Qaeda, we shouldn't say that all Christians are. In doing so, you denigrate and silence those of us Christians who are working for justice and peace in the world. Please be a little more careful with your phrasing in the future.

        •  People aren't born Muslim. (19+ / 0-)

          If the above commenter had written that all Muslims were terrorists like al-Qaeda who want to take over our lives and install theocracy, do you think he/she would have received uprates or HRs?

          •  HRs, (30+ / 0-)

            but she'd be a bit right on that one, too -- the proportions are similar.  The vast majority of both Christians and Muslims want their religious prejudices to have veto power over this country's laws.  Witness Catholic hospitals and the "debate" over Intelligent Design.

            The difference is that the white lie we say about Islam is to prevent violence, while the same white lie enables violence from the majority Christian population.

            But make no mistake -- secularism is not a particularly popular position, especially in places like the Deep South.

            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

            by Punditus Maximus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:06:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  really? (7+ / 0-)
              The vast majority of both Christians and Muslims want their religious prejudices to have veto power over this country's laws.  Witness Catholic hospitals and the "debate" over Intelligent Design.

              So why is there majority support for at least some minimum amount of abortion rights, despite the Catholic Church and many other relious sects being against it? Why is support for same sex marriage increasing, and becoming more of a reality despite Church teachings to the contrary.?

              •  Because Christians reinterpret their laws (25+ / 0-)

                to match what they want.  Remember when divorce was un-Christian, until high-status Christians started wanting to sleep with younger women as they got older?

                Same with Catholics and birth control.  Doesn't change the basic dynamic.

                The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                by Punditus Maximus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:26:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Because of secular Americans. nt (0+ / 0-)

                The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:38:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Most Americans aren't secular (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Seamus D, susans, TofG, pgm 01, tikkun

                  So that cannot possibly explain it. Even in places like Massachussetts, where there are tons of Catholics, abortion is quite legal.  

                  •  Many people who say they are affiliated with (15+ / 0-)

                    some religion don't actually practice it.

                    The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                    by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:24:15 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is true (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      revsue, TofG, arpear, tikkun

                      But the overwhelming majority of Americans, as polled, believe in God, for example. It's also possible not go to Church at all and be highly religious. Many Conservative "Christians", for example, don't actually practice their religion, so are they "Secular?"  The Late Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said of Ronald Reagan, that he believed that Reagan was in fact against state mandated religion, because that would actually require him to attend services. OTOH, many Catholic politicians like John Kerry do attend services and don't vote to impose their beliefs re: abortion on others. I find this explanation  wanting.

                      •  I'm only talking about my experience. (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        yaque, StrayCat, neroden, blueoasis

                        But I see a lot of people who answer that they are Christian only because they think it is the correct label to affiliate with. Maybe it's a get out of jail free card for them. Or maybe they just feel its the label that signifies they are a good person. I met a Jewish woman who argued with me that all people not born Jewish are Christian. There is a lot of confusion I have seen about what that label actually conveys.

                        The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                        by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:01:59 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  What She Was Trying To Say Was (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Renee

                          that we non Jews are all gentiles.  Jewish folks aren't always all that knowledgeable about their culture either.

                          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                          by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:43:49 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't know which I am...no joke. (5+ / 0-)

                            My mother is not a practicing Jew, but her mother's family line is most definitely Jewish. Hidden Jews, at that. My mother's aunt researched her family and when she found out that her own maternal line was Jewish, stopped researching because she was really anti-Semitic. Too bad, because now that whole generation of the family is dead and I can't ask them anything about my own ancestry. All I know is that my maternal line and my mother's and my maternal grandmother's were Dutch Jews, but Ashkenazim rather than Sephardim - we can prove that latter by being Tay-Sachs carriers.

                            My paternal line is mixed Christian, including German Protestants and French Hugenots. I know that the crest for this particular branch of the family is a Crusader crest - the last name, which is not an uncommon one, was carefully researched by someone knowledgeable and reputable and of all the Curtis families, was narrowed down to this particular branch.

                            Me, I'm a practicing, believing Pagan.

                            Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

                            by Kitsap River on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:13:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If your Jewish background comes from your mother's (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hayden, Dallasdoc, Kitsap River

                            mother's mother's line, with no break (father) being the carrier of the Judaism, you are a non practicing Jew.  If you are a practicing Christian of Jewish matrilinial decent, you are considered to be an apostate Jew though I'd get definitely get a Rabbinical decision about that if it concerns you since you had no control over the situation.  The history of the hidden Jews is an heartbreaking, if interesting, chapter in the Americas

                            Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                            by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:27:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's true of Orthodox and Conservative Jewry (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, blueoasis

                            It's not true of Reform Jewry.  Then again, we can't count on getting into Israel either, let alone bringing our wives and kids.

                            Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

                            by Seneca Doane on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:32:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't think you accurately represent (0+ / 0-)

                        John Kerry's beliefs with that statement. Unless he's just dishonest it seems he believes free will re: abortion has a higher value than it's banning, even if he thinks it's wrong.

                        I'm sure he believes banning other activities has a higher value, morally or civilly, than leaving them to individual discretion.  

                        To each his own. You don't need to tell anyone why you vote a certain way, whether you justify it on religious grounds or otherwise, and it doesn't matter.

                        •  What is inaccurate about it? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          tikkun

                          With the caveat that we can't truly know anyone's beliefs, even if they say something is their belief, what do you feel is inaccurate. He belongs to a denomination that does not allow for abortion, yet his voting record on the issue as measure by groups like NARAL is usually 100% or very close to it. He is not alone in this regard. So I think that is is convenience for religious politicians who want to protect their own personal needs, as was suggested above, is an unsatisfactory explanation.

                          •  The assumption that a demoninational (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tikkun, Cassandra Waites

                            association is determinative of an individuals specific issue beliefs is specious. It's a false standard.

                            That assumption is convenient to a weird argument that people ought to remove themselves from their own religious beliefs in the civic arena, for the sake of invalidating religious considerations.

                            Every individual has the right to his or her religion or lack there of and the right to vote based on whatever their beliefs. Self interest, sadism, religion, whatever.

                            Kerry's beliefs, for whatever reason, are balanced in favor of abortion choice. If you think he's a liar, call him a liar. But he votes the way he votes.

                          •  well (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            July4rocks, Sue B

                            The point is an anti-abortion stance is mandatory for Roman Catholics. Kerry is a Roman Catholic and a practing one at that. He should, if the poster above was correct,  be trying to legislate the Catholic view on abortion upon all of us, but he does not. Maybe a better example is Mario Cuomo, who has expresssed his personal opposition to abortion, but remained pro-choice politically. There are lots more where he came from. I know many of them personally.

                            As for this:

                            Kerry's beliefs, for whatever reason, are balanced in favor of abortion choice.

                            This is really unknowable. None of our beliefs are truly knowable, even if we say so (like Cuomo, above. We can say "I believe X", but no one other than ourselves know if this is true) His ACTIONS are balanced in favor of choice.

                            For what it's worth here's Kerry on his beliefs:

                            :

                            I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many. I can’t legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn’t share that article of faith. I believe that choice is a woman’s choice. It’s between a woman, God and her doctor. That’s why I support that. I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade
                            .
                            To me that suggests, at least a belief that abortion is wrong, consistent with the Catholic Church that he belongs to and has called an important part of his life.

                            http://www.ontheissues.org/...

                          •  I don't know of a "pro-abortion" stance. (0+ / 0-)

                            Being anti-abortion and pro-choice are not incompatible.

                          •  ???? (0+ / 0-)
                            Being anti-abortion and pro-choice are not incompatible

                            They supposedly are if you are a Roman Catholic, like John Kerry and Mario Cuomo and any number of pro choice Catholics are. Yet abortion rights remain legal, even in places with large numbers of Catholic politicians and voters.

                          •  You've just illustrated exactly (0+ / 0-)

                            why that supposition is wrong.

                          •  For which I am grateful (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            blueoasis

                            Sometimes it's best to just say, "thank you" and then shut up.

                            Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                            by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:47:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  True. But (6+ / 0-)

                      that includes people who persecute people like the student who stood up against illegal activity.

                      What makes anyone here think that people who harrass and threaten a kid (or anyone) are practicing Christianity?

                      •  Because they loudly say they are Christian. (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        tytalus, BYw, Dallasdoc, neroden, blueoasis

                        I mean, this all gets confusing. But what I meant was not "oh those guys say they are Christian but they aren't acting like it." I meant some people say I'm Christian and don't mean anything like "I go to church" or "I read the Bible" or "I consider my actions in the frame of what Jesus might have advocated."

                        At some point, if a person is doing all those things and acts in hateful ways, I can't say they aren't a Christian. Because it's not my call. I'm just sticking with what they self report.

                        The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                        by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:31:58 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Actually you can fairly hold their behavior (0+ / 0-)

                          up to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and compare them.  Of course that requires a little sophistication about what is actually in the the Gospels which is not a given in the general population, nor for that matter, in the general population of Christians.  It's one reason why a knowledge of the general ground of culture is fairly useful even if you don't agree with it.

                          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                          by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:52:10 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  That is what I wish the liberal Christians were (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tikkun, Dallasdoc, neroden

                            doing on a large scale. And I think can see that starting to come together.

                            I was brainwashed with what was in the gospels and Paul's charming writing in my youth. I deliberately ditched it.

                            The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                            by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:56:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  At a certain level (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dallasdoc, AaronInSanDiego, neroden

                            all wisdom book are read by knowledgeable people as insights into cultures of the past. The Bible is actually a library that reaches back into iron age culture and maybe even into bronze age.  Read and appreciated as the ancient set of document it is, we can get a better understanding of how our oldest ancestors understood their relationship to their world and their culture.  When I read the bible, I'm ingesting them as literary, political, social, and religious documents.  Actually the two characters that keep me inside the church are 2nd Isaiah and Jesus, especially 2nd Isaiah who absolutely knocks my socks off.  I love those crazy old poets...  Thanks for listening!

                            Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                            by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:39:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Darn you! You had to go and mention crazy old (0+ / 0-)

                            poets. I'll have to dust off the book for that one.

                            The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                            by Renee on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:10:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeesh. If you do that comparison, NOBODY (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Renee

                            follows the teachings of Jesus.  Well, actually probably someone does, but they don't call themselves Christian.  Because they pray in secret in their closet.  They've also given away all their worldly goods.

                            So that's really unhelpful.  I think Christian cannot be usefully defined as people who follow the teachings of Jesus, it just doesn't fit common usage.

                            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                            by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:39:26 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I adore you for this comment. nt (0+ / 0-)

                            The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                            by Renee on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:17:41 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Scriptural Debate Between Atheists? (0+ / 0-)

                            There are many examples of Christian doctrine and practice not following the prescriptions contained in the supposedly sacred texts, certainly. As a Jewish atheist, I'm reluctant to venture into Christian scriptural analysis, but your characterization of the passages I believe you're referring to seems unfair to me.

                            I don't read the passage (I'm guessing you're referring to Matthew 6:6) to mean that Jesus was saying that folks should only pray in private. According to Matthew 6:5, what Jesus is complaining about are "hypocritical" people "who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them." Presumably, if one wasn't praying hypocritically, just to be seen among the fashionable set, it could be okay to pray in public.

                            Similarly, Matthew 6:19 and the following passages seem to warn against putting more emphasis on wealth accumulation than on spiritual uplift, but not necessarily say to give away all worldly possessions.

                            I think one could make a very strong case against get-rich televangelizing and megachurch Christian Prosperity preaching using these passages, but not necessarily against all Christian churchgoing.

                          •  By that logic, (0+ / 0-)

                            the Teabaggers are against TARP, not racist choads.  Usage defines meaning.

                            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                            by Punditus Maximus on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:22:21 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Because when it comes to Christianity, (0+ / 0-)

                        the actions of any individuals or group who claim to be Christian is a blanket reflection of the nature of the entire religion.

                        •  Crackpot self-proclaimed Christians speak for all? (5+ / 0-)

                          When an Islamic individual acts with hate, does he reflect all of Islam? When a Jewish individual acts with hate, does he reflect all of Judaism? When an atheistic individual acts with hate, does he reflect all atheists?  Is Stalin an accurate reflection of atheism?

                          Isn't stereotyping a form of bigotry?

                          Christ predicted many bad things would be done in His name, but He also told us how to spot the false prophets and antiChrists - by their fruits, ie their acts and the consequences of their acts.  The fruits of the crackpots are hate and division. By Christ's own test, they are not Christian.  That teaching is almost 2000 years old - and it still stands.

                          Which side are you on?

                          by wiseacre on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:17:36 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  All Christians are self-proclaimed (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            alizard, neroden

                            did you get a special membership card from the Lord Almighty himself?

                            The people you call 'crackpot' are a much bigger part of your religion than you seem to understand.

                            And Jesus was very much about division.

                            Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

                            He called a woman in pain a goddamned dog!  Note that not only did he refuse to treat her because she was not of her race, he ONLY accepted her and helped her as a dog that eats crumbs from the table.

                            He never told her she wasn't a dog.  He never took back what he said.

                            He just said that loyal dogs deserve some kindness.  Sweet.

                            There's your Christian division right there.

                          •  sarcasm sry, should have tagged it as such (0+ / 0-)

                            under this diary.

                        •  Just like that? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          bushondrugs

                          Just as the actions of any one person who claims to be gay is a reflection on the nature of all gay people? Or the actions of a person who is white, Black, Asian, or female is a reflection on the nature of all white people, all Black people, all Asian people, or all women? I guarantee you that if you had posted any of the above instead of talking about Christians, your comment wouldn't have remained untipped; it'd be HRd into oblivion. And I'm a bi Pagan woman! Do all of my actions reflect on every single Pagan, every single bisexual in all the world, or every single one of the world's women?

                          Wow, talk about your stereotyping...

                          Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

                          by Kitsap River on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:18:10 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  They are practicing something (0+ / 0-)

                        that certainly is not reflected in the teachings of Jesus

                        Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                        by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:47:59 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes, telling a woman whose daughter is (0+ / 0-)

                          sick that she is an unworthy dog because she's not Jewish is not reflected in your understanding of his teachings.

                          •  I wasn't aware that I'd done that (0+ / 0-)

                            Are you referring to something irl and not connected to me or are you referring to something I said here.  I'm at sea, I'm afraid.  If I implied in any way that anyone was unworthy due to their religion, I certainly didn't intend it and I'm usually pretty careful about such things.  

                            Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                            by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:41:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Christians burned people at the stake (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        alizard, Dallasdoc, supercereal, neroden

                        other Christians - just because they did not believe the exact same doctrine as they.  Christians are very good at deciding for other people who is and who is not a True Christian.  And punishing those they find not worthy of the name.

                        You are making the same judgement.  Luckily you don't have the inclination or the power that some other people in your position have had.

                        So I don't think it's that hard to swallow Christians would harass and threaten a kid.

                        You may not like it, you may disagree with it vehemently, but this type of behavior is very much a sizable aspect of the broad Christian religion.

                        Jesus compared a woman to a dog because she wasn't Jewish and wanted to turn her away.  The fact that he was later persuaded to change his mind does not negate the fact that he even had the original impulse.

                        And that impulse has been carried down through Christianity to this day.

                        •  Jesus claimed (0+ / 0-)

                          only two commandments: do unto others as you would have done to you; and love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.  He also said we would know those who follow him, by their acts.

                          It's not that complicated a theology.  

                          There are many people we may disagree with, but to disagree by harrassing and threatending a child is about as clearly a non-Christian thing to do as I can imagine.  

                          Unfortunately, catesby, many Christians act in such a way that they drive people like you away, instead of encouraging you.  They'll answer for that, but not to me.

                          •  Jesus also said, pray in your closet (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Renee

                            in secret and alone, not in groups on in public.

                            The moment I find a Christian group which refrains from group prayers, I'll believe I've found one which is serious about the teachings of Jesus.  Haven't seen one yet.

                            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                            by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:42:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Or, rather, practice a different version (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Renee

                      than what the leaders of their particular denomination claim the entire group believes.

                      That's not the same as not practicing that religion.

                      Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                      by Cassandra Waites on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:31:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Christians, especially liberal campus ministries, (12+ / 0-)

                  were certainly involved in the drive to legalize abortion. I was there and I remember, tho I'm not Christian.

                  Christians, particularly the"Welcoming" churches, have been significant supporters of GLBT rights and marriage equality.  The integration by liberal churches of GLBT people as members, as leaders, and more recently as clergy, has been one step in the process of public acceptance and respect for GLBT people.

                  Other Christians have been obsessive, hysterical enemies of GLBT rights and marriage equality.  Both are real; both count.  

                  I don't know of any social change struggle in this country in the last 150 years that's been carried out purely by secular Americans.  If you have examples, I'm willing to learn.

                  Like it or not, if you're a liberal activist, liberal CHristian activists are among those also working on the same causes.  That's certainly true here at DKos.

                  •  Christian activists were deeply involved (6+ / 0-)

                    in the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 60's, as well as indigenous movements in Latin America since. You have to be completely ignorant of the Christian ideological spectrum to believe that what happened at this school is representative of all Christendom. Although I'm not a Christian myself, I know a lot of progressive activists who are. It's not very productive to generalize based on what happens in one Louisiana parish, even about what all southern Christians might believe.  

                    I never liked you and I always will.

                    by Ray Blake on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:33:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you. Rec x 100. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ana Thema, samdiener

                      My entry into activism came through the civil rights movement.  ANd some of the most admirable activists I've ever known were involved in support work for strruggles in Latin America.  I suppose it influenced me a lot that even as I was leaving behind the limited church influence of my childhood I came to know people for whom Christianity was such a deep and powerful personal spiritual path.  It didn't make me a Christian, but it got it through my head that Christian progressives are not only part of this community but a part we would be very foolish to waste our energy attacking.

                      We need to be able to fight the religious right without generalizing their wrongdoings to all people of faith or all Christians.

              •  The support for abortion services is (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PsychoSavannah, Steve84

                from individuals, not the churches.  The churches, all churches, when close to power, seek to force everyone to abide by their edicts by governmental rule.  When the Episcopals and Presbyterians were a majority, the Baptists supported separation of church and state vigorously.  Now that they have a larger membership, they seek power and the ability to use the government to impose their edicts on everyone.  Catholicism has been a handmaiden of states and Empires since Constantine, the Lutheran church has been a state church under different names in Germany and the Netherlands.  Arabic nations have theocracies of different degrees, and have had for thousands of years.  Hindus and Muslims fight over control of territory and of governments.
                It is an historical fact that religions and state partnerships have led to mass murder, torture, economic depredation and the more subtle destruction of the peace and of lives.

                Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                by StrayCat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:44:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Tell that to the countries that have laws… (0+ / 0-)

            …banning people from converting away from Islam.

            Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com

            by DemSign on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:51:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think nailbender was just bing snarky. n/t (0+ / 0-)

            Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

            by rebel ga on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:14:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And it would imply that those born to Jewish (18+ / 0-)

            parents could not leave the religion.

            It's true that people "born" Jewish often consider themselves Jewish, even if they don't practice the religion as adults. I could say that about myself.  But I could say the same about my ex, who still considers himself Catholic, even though, like me, as an adult he's a non-believer.

            •  it's strangely both (4+ / 0-)

              yes, not all jews are of jewish descent, through conversion and what have you.

              but there are distinctive jewish genetics.  it's why tay sachs disease is disproportionately represented in the jewish population.  same as people of african descent are more prone to sickle-cell anemia.

              It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

              by Cedwyn on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:29:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This place is dangerous... sheesh (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rebel ga, Cedwyn, Ana Thema

                IIRC, you got it:  Jewish by lineage or religion or both.  

                Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

                by SoCalHobbit on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:42:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Sephardic Jews prone to Tay Sachs? (6+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Plubius, susans, Tamar, kpardue, Pintlala, Ana Thema

                Hmm no. No more than the general population. Which is more than you can say about French Canadians:

                Incidence and Carriers
                Both infantile and adult forms of Tay-Sachs Disease occur more frequently, though not exclusively, in a defined population. A person's chances of being a Tay-Sachs Disease carrier are significantly higher if he or she is of eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent. Approximately one in every 27 Jews in the United States is a carrier of the Tay-Sachs Disease gene. There is also a noticeable incidence of Tay-Sachs Disease in non-Jewish French Canadians living near the St. Lawrence River and in the Cajun community of Louisiana. By contrast, the carrier rate in the general population as well as in Jews of Sephardic origin is about one in 250.

                http://www.mazornet.com/...

                Cedwyn stop digging, that hole is already over your head.

                Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

                by Bruce Webb on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:39:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  No, there are not (16+ / 0-)

                Tay Sachs is NOT ""disproportianately represented in the Jewish population"  It occurs in Ashkenazim.  

                There is no "the Jewish Population"  There are, historically, several different populations of Jews, who share more with their surrounding populations than with each other. I.E Polish Jews share more dna with Poles and Germans than they do with Iraqi Jews, who in turn share more dna with Iraqis.

                You are simply ignorant about this matter.  I would like to disagree more agreeably, but you simply do not know what you are talking about. And since the notion that Jews are a race has caused serious problems for Jews in the recent past makes your parading your ignorance all that more objectionable.

                •  Do you have a citation for this? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Plubius, Cedwyn
                  There are, historically, several different populations of Jews, who share more with their surrounding populations than with each other. I.E Polish Jews share more dna with Poles and Germans than they do with Iraqi Jews, who in turn share more dna with Iraqis.
                  Because from what I've read, the situation is not that clear-cut. IIRC, in several Jewish communities, there are distinct differences in the frequencies of certain genetic markers from the nearby non-Jewish populations. Also, there are certain haplotypes and haplogroups that are more common among various communities of Jews than among European populations, and are also common among people in the Middle East.
                  •  Try Goldstein's (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AaronInSanDiego, BYw, JVolvo

                    Jacob's Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History.

                    A good example of how much, and how little, we can talk about the genetic basis for the Jewish People.  

                    For what it is worth, my brother happens to be a biologist. Not a geneticist, he does worth with many.  Sometimes I meet them. They all tell me the same thing their data tells them, and I offer it above.  One went so far to say: If you've met any Iraqi Jews,  or Yemeni Jews, well, you don't need a degree in genetics to note the obvious"

                    That Jews from Europe share more with their surrounding European populations that with Jews from Iraq does not mean that there  aren't common genes shared by many Jewish populations.  The Jewish communities stayed in contact, and sent of brides and grooms throughout the whole period.  

                    That is to say, there can be so-called Jewish genes, but that does not make Jews either a race, or mean the bulk of my Ashekenazik dna does not have its immediate origins Europe.

                    As an important aside, Goldtstein, has not id'd any Jewish gene. Indeed, he id'd what he believes is a Cohanim gene. Two very interesting things about that: first, it means the Cohanim have been a sub-population going back millenia, (they were the priestly caste) AND it is shared by a population of Bhantu!

                    •  Thanks for the reference. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Plubius, BYw

                      I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, but I've had some interest and have read some articles. Yes, it's important to recognize that there is not a "Jewish gene", and I agree with you that Jews cannot properly be described as a race. The Cohen modal haplotype was one such marker I was thinking of, and groups such as the Lemba in southern Africa have shown a high frequency of this marker, and also claim Jewish ancestry. But what it indicates isn't exactly clear, to me anyway. I'm curious if Goldstein discusses the Y-chromosomal haplogroup J2, and other haplogroups, and there relative frequencies in different populations. In any case, genetic genealogy appears to be an evolving area of research, so I'm sure there is more evidence to be discovered. The question of "who is a Jew" seems to have different answers, depending on whom you ask (insert joke about 2 Jews and 3 opinions). Personally, I think if a person identifies as a Jew, they're a Jew.

                •  why don't you just scream KHAZARS (0+ / 0-)

                  and get it out already?  Since that seems to be where you're going - Askenazim aren't "real Jews" because...

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:25:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  WTF? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rebel ga, Seneca Doane
                    •  The whole thing with the Khazars... (0+ / 0-)

                      as far as I understand it, says that the original Israelites were either wiped out or all migrated to Western Europe, specifically Britain (and became practicing Christians), some time before or after the nation of Khazars converted to Judaism. Therefore, the descendents of the original Israelites are the true Jews, while the descendents of the Khazars - descendents of Esau who sold his birthright for a bowl of stew - are deceptively pretending to be Jews (or honestly duped into believing so by the Elders of Zion Khazaria).

                      This is basically the foundation for the Christian Identity movement, a very strongly anti-Jewish and white supremacist group of conservative Christians originally founded by the KKK. I think the official name of the church is "Church of Jesus Christ, Christian", which poses a bit of a conundrum: given that Christians are defined as those accepting salvation through Jesus, wouldn't that mean Jesus was a saved by himself? And what does that even mean? It gets painfully recursive.

                      It's as silly as objecting to statements like "since Islam didn't exist before Muhammad, Muhammad's parents were not Muslims", which I believe is considered blasphemy in some countries.

                      "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

                      by Shaviv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:05:33 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Is this the real Cedwyn? Who took his/her (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AaronInSanDiego, tikkun

                name and replaced it with a bigot? If you are Jewish, shame on you. If you are not, shame on you. This is hateful rhetoric.

              •  Actually, the genetics are not all that clear (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pintlala, LucyandByron, JVolvo

                since there are Jews who lived in different parts of the world and have different genetic traits.
                When I was in public health school, I learned that a particular feature of my teeth is of Asian ancestry.  Am I therefore Asian?  (My parents and grandparents were Eastern European Jews).

                We're planning to do the DNA test that gives you some sense of your genetic heritage.  But everything I've read about it suggests that many, if not most, people are a mixture of genetic ancestries.  

                Being Jewish is a choice as is being Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or Atheist.  A person can have a heritage of any of those or other religions/non-religions, but that doesn't make them that religion unless they choose to view themselves that way.  

                If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

                by Tamar on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:07:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It is a choice (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mortifyd

                  but it's not necessarily a religious choice. A great many people who identify themselves as Jews are completely secular.

                  We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                  by denise b on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:05:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I agree that it's not necessarily religious. (0+ / 0-)

                    In fact, although we belong to a synagogue, no one in my family is religious and we tend to view it as a cultural heritage and the origin of some of our values.
                    When people talk about spirituality, I zone out.  It's just not part of my makeup.

                    If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

                    by Tamar on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:50:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nor mine (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tamar

                      Personally, I don't see a need to pigeonhole what the nature of Jewishness is. It's something that connects Jews with each other. It doesn't have to be defined as either religious or cultural or racial (especially since we seem to have decided race is a cultural construct anyway).  it is what it is.

                      We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                      by denise b on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:43:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Israel Is Considered To Be Asia Minor, Tamar (0+ / 0-)

                  All Jewish People Are Supposed To Originally Be From Israel.
                  Displaced by the Jewish diaspora.

                  Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

                  by rebel ga on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:29:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Nazis don't care (8+ / 0-)

              if you live the religion.  They'll round you up all the same.  Judaism is not a set of "beliefs", though it CAN be that too.  I know this is hard for Christians to wrap their heads around insofar as they see everything in terms of belief.

              •  The Nazis are coming? (0+ / 0-)

                AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Oh wait, the Nazis were defeated in 1945 and I'm pretty sure the neo-Nazis don't have the power to round up anyone these days.

                Yes, all Christians see everything in terms of belief.  

                You have to love the absolutists who poke their heads in here every so often.  Makes me wonder why they aren't simply hanging out with the good ol' folks at Drudge, Malkin, or that bow-tied asshole's website.

                "Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together" - James Madison

                by SierraDrinker on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:14:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  To be sure, Judaism is more (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JVolvo

                orthoprax than orthodox, but Judaism is religion, with a set of beliefs.  Which is why the Orthodox Jews call themselves such.

                FYI Orthodox mean orthos correct + doxa belief

                •  It is much more than a set of beliefs (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rebel ga, Philoguy

                  It is also an ethnic group.  One's practise or lack of practise does not change that.  There is no de-Jewing no matter what you say or do.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:28:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Judaism is a religion. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AaronInSanDiego

                    I spoke to the issue of Judaism, which does indeed have a set of beliefs.  Well, to be more precise, has a bunch of sects, each with their particular sets of beliefs.  Here is one core belief shared by all those who practice Judaism:

                    שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד

                    or (in one common translation)

                    "Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God! Adonai is One!"

                    You speak of Jews.  Both you and Philoguy conflate the religion with the people.  While they depend on each other to exist, they are distinct.  Case in point: I, a Jew, do not believe in Judaism.

                    That Nazis conceived of Jews as a race means little re: the nature of Judaism as a religion.

                  •  You generally can't decide, (0+ / 0-)

                    through ritual and study, to convert into a different ethnic group.

                    That's where the likeness fails.

                    "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

                    by Shaviv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:11:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Some rabbis take exactly that position (6+ / 0-)

              -- that if you're born Jewish, you can't leave the religion, or at least can't leave the 'tribe' no matter how atheist you become.  
                   Somewhere I read a story by the resident rabbi for the students at Oxford or Cambridge about a student who was 'born Jewish' but who was agnostic, if not anti-religious.  The student chafed at the idea anyone might feel he had obligations he wasn't fulfilling.  He asked, in essence, to be excommunicated and discharged of any putative obligations.  At first the rabbi wouldn't do it, but after being asked several times he drew up papers of some sort to separate the student from the religion -- and asked for a fee from the student.

                   As I remember, on further discussion, the rabbi waived his fee.  

                   I wish I could find the thing I read.  It was an interesting discussion, especially considering it centered on completely unenforcable obligations someone just might perceive.

              We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

              by david78209 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:15:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Even if true, that doesn't make Jewishness a race. (8+ / 0-)

                All it means is that many Jews -- rabbis, observant Jews, and even those from Jewish families who are now non-practicing (such as myself) -- believe that being Jewish is a heritage.  That doesn't mean it's a race.

                In fact, people from many religion traditions tend to believe that you can't leave what you're born into. Shortly after I met my ex, he told me his family was Catholic.  I asked if he was still Catholic.  He told me he's a non-practicing non-believer.  Still, he said, "if you're born Catholic, you're always Catholic."

              •  But That is a Religious Belief (5+ / 0-)

                The idea that you can not stop being a Jew is a religious idea. It does not change the fact that somebody can stop being part of the faith, but rather descirbes this Rabbi's ideas about how to consider what that means to the Rabbi himself.

                The idea that somebody would need "papers" to leave their faith is pretty funny to an Atheist, like me. It is giving the religion a legitimacy that Atheist claim to not believe in. Excommunication is for believers.

                Race is a scientific concept, based on a person genetic makeup and is unchangable (with the exception of gene therapy, still in its infancy).  

                •  "Excommunication is for believers." (0+ / 0-)

                  Very well put.

                  Still, though, I think the student had some justification in asking to be acknowledged as free of any obligation, even if the putative "obligation" were unenforcable.

                  We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

                  by david78209 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:18:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Race is certainly not a scientific concept (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego, Catesby, david78209

                  Race is completely a social concept.  The way we determine what race someone is in does not have to do with scientific reasons, it has to do with social reasons.  Yeah, there are certain phenotypes that we use on a social basis to categorize people, but race is not at all scientific.

                  I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                  by AoT on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:47:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Excommunication is not just for believers. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  david78209

                  Of course, non-believers may or may not observe a ruling of excommunication, but one might ask: what was a person excommunicated [i]for?[/i] The most common things I can think of as causes for excommunication are for (a) refusing to remedy one's grossly dishonest business dealings, which leads also to civil suit or criminal charges, and (b) refusing to grant one's wife's request for a writ of divorce. Of course, back in the day, (b) would have been dealt with not by excommunication but through physical coercion. It is the only case I know of in which a legal document produced under duress is considered valid.

                  "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

                  by Shaviv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:20:44 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  It would be a bit crooked to charge for that, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                david78209

                as the document is meaningless by most interpretations of the [i]halacha[/i]. If you aren't observant of the laws regarding you and the way you live, then you aren't observant for one of two reasons - either because you don't know, or because you know and choose not to observe. Personally I would say it's better to be in the latter group, to understand what the rules are and why, and knowingly and intentionally say, "I will not observe this stricture, obey this commandment, or treat this time as a Sabbath" than it is to do so out of ignorance. Unfortunately there's a certain degree of misinformation out there on what many of the rules actually say - witness the hole-in-the-sheet myth, or the tattoos-disqualify-you-from-burial-with-your-family myth.

                "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

                by Shaviv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:15:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  religion = animosity (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dfe, StrayCat, PsychoSavannah, tikkun, JVolvo

            Even here, on this supposedly progressive site, where diversity of thought is not only welcome, it's expected, the subject of religion brings out the worst in everyone.  The Fundamentalist's (Christian, Jew, Muslim, whatever) work is done.  

            Most of us "inherit" our religion (or lack thereof) from our family, which has an ethnic tinge (i.e., those born into an ethnically Jewish family are likely to grow up attending a Synagog and those born into an ethnically Eastern European (non-Jewish) household are likely to attend
            Sunday Mass.  What we choose to do regarding religion upon reaching the age of reason then becomes choice.  

            Some of us will continue in the religion in which we were raised because it's what's expected and we never give it any thought.  Others of us may begin to question the tenants of the belief system in which we've been indoctrinated since birth.  Either way is fine, as long as no one takes an evangelistic attitude.

            The other issue occurs when a church decides to advocate for a political candidate.  Example:


            Please note in the above image that the catholic church has a sign on its property advocating the re-election of a county court judge.

        •  That's completely missing (33+ / 0-)

          the point. There is, indeed, a particularly nasty and bigoted strain of evangelical Christianity active in the U.S. I think it, and its practitioners are far, far removed from the central teachings of Christ and I have argued that point on many occasions. To take the part (hateful evangelicals) and refer to it as the whole (the Christian world) is shortsighted, offensive and insulting.

          •  I refer to those individuals as "Christianist" (5+ / 0-)

            They are not simply practicing a religion, they are actively pushing it.  It's important to make the distinction.

            They only call it Class War when we fight back.

            by lineatus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:11:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I seriously dislike this terminology (8+ / 0-)

              Look up Christianism on Wikipedia.  Now look up Islamism.  Notice the difference in the degree to which those terms are defined?

              To me, "Christianist" is a bit of a cop-out for not knowing more about the problem areas.  Basically, mainline denominations aren't a big problem.  They all have enough people with reasonable attitudes that the denominations can't be made to subscribe to hateful agendas like what you often see mentioned in the media.

              In my opinion the problem stems, largely, from nondenominationalism and the charismatic movement.  The first creates a number of churches with no controls to ensure they stay sane.  Denominations can take actions against member ministers or congregations who don't act in accord with their rules.  Nondenominational churches can do whatever they want.  And most of the really hateful ideas stem from the charismatic movement, or more properly the neo-charismatic movement.

              The term Christianist doesn't really help to localize the problem; it just identifies that there are some people calling themselves Christian who don't deserve the name.  But these people appear regularly in certain settings, and I think we're all better served by identifying the particular groups creating this problem, instead of making up new labels and trying to shove everything into them.

              •  Andrew Sullivan has been using the (5+ / 0-)

                term "Christianism" to refer to those who would impose a theocratic government here in the US.

                There's something to be said for that usage.

                •  So just because... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pozzo, Onomastic, kpardue

                  Andrew Sullivan has been using the term, I have to support his using it?

                  Like I said, these problems - basically all of them - can be localized to a couple particular "Christian" movements of the last century or two.  I don't see how it helps us to make up a new word instead of doing some research and just identifying the people who are causing a problem under the existing terms.

                  Moreover, like I said elsewhere in the comments, it doesn't help the problem when we use labels or arguments that make all Christians out to be the enemy - that just breeds resistance to listening to the arguments among most Christians.  Who bothers listening after being called a terrorist?

                  It's helpful to CHRISTIANS to identify the particular movements in Christianity that are causing the problems.  It's not terribly helpful, in my opinion, to make up new terms that sound so generic and similar to 'Christian' that most Christians who don't decide to go look up the term online assume it probably applies to them.

                  •  I don't think that's getting at the point (9+ / 0-)

                    I'm trying to make: there is a large and growing group of people (ostensible Christians) who see a separation of church and state as wrong and are busy revising history to reflect that view.

                    Read the Texas State GOP Platform.  It's as Christianist a document as you're likely to see.  

                    It's not about blaming all Christians, it's about blaming those who propose a theocracy...

                    •  I agree, but... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Marc in KS

                      What I've been trying to say is that these people primarily come from one particular strain of Christianity.  To be fair, I'll admit that you can find them in all denominations - but a lot of the impetus for this crap has a common origin.  I just think we should spend our time identifying that common origin and trying to cut this off at the root.

                      But I suspect that this may be a point on which we're just going to disagree.  I'm fine with that.  I'm not saying "nobody can use this terminology", I'm just saying I don't personally think it's the best way of labeling the people who are the problem.

                      •  Personally, (6+ / 0-)

                        I think it's political.  

                        I think the really wealthy (the people that Congress works for) are using religion to enrich themselves.  I don't think they give a rat's ass about whether this is a theocracy or not, except that if it were, it would be easier for them to continue to fleece people.

                        I think the theocratic Christians are being used.  Yes, I think they believe what they say, but they're being fed what to say and believe.

                        This is new.  That's why I think it's political.  To my knowledge, in neither of the other three great religious revivals in the US was the separation of church and state threatened.

                        And yes, I see your point.  "Dominionists" is perhaps more accurate.   Maybe I'll write Andrew and suggest it.  (And yes, he does read his email and respond!)

                    •  I'm Christian and the Term Christianist (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Marc in KS

                      for domionists and hard right evangelicals is fine by me.  I use the term because it's covers a little more territory than the names of the various groups of trouble makers.  In a discussion you can't always do a finely tuned break down but you still need a term that indicates the gulf between mainline and peace churches, and the power hungry....well...Christianists.

                      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                      by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:35:44 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  So Anglicans fall under "Christianism"? (0+ / 0-)

                      After all, it is the official religion of the UK.  

                  •  It's not just evangelicals. (5+ / 0-)

                    Catholics are awful on sexual politics, women, gay equality, contraception, abortion, and issues of justice (the child molestation scandel).  They're playing a huge role in the spread of AIDS throughout Africa.  These are widespread proboems throughout a varieety of different branches of Christianity.

                  •  I think the term is ok (0+ / 0-)

                    Look, it's like "Islamists" or "Scientism" (making science a virtual religion with theological truths rather than strict science). On the other hand in some circles being a Christian or talking about Jesus is really looked down on and is, in my view, culturally impoverishing. I have to use Eastern religious terms to describe spirituality -- if I use Christian terms (which are just as valid in many ways) I get a rude look.

                  •  And yet again (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Rebecca

                    you inadvertently pinpoint the problem:

                    Moreover, like I said elsewhere in the comments, it doesn't help the problem when we use labels or arguments that make all Christians out to be the enemy...
                    Here's the problem: if some Christians are "the problem," first, define what the problem is and second, tell me how we can objectively determine which Christians represent "the problem."

                    But you can't.  Why?  Because there is no objective authority on religion and there cannot be by the very nature of faith itself, which means belief in something for which no evidence exists.  So there is no authority to say that "some" Christians are wrong.  Who are you to say that the fundamentalist extremist Christians don't have it exactly right and that you are the one that is wrong?  You can't say that, again, because there is no legitimate objective authority that can make that determination, which is why even moderate Christians enable the extremists.

                    As I said in another comment, they are both sides of the same invisible coin and so long as both "sides" concede that the coin exists despite a complete lack of evidence, it is necessarily impossible to objectively determine which "side" is correct.

                    The real problem is that neither "side" is correct, there is no coin and as long as religion exists to insist that there is despite all evidence, and as long as there are people gullible enough to accept a belief in something despite the evidence, we will continue to have the same problems.

                    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                    by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:04:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  One Can Very Well Define Groups Dangerous (0+ / 0-)

                      to secular society based on their own definitions and descriptions of their organizations.  As an American and as a Christian, I can make a very clear distinction between groups that respect the civil rights of others and those that seek to destroy the civil rights of others;  those that respect the distance required between church and state in a secular state and those which consistently try to either blur or destroy the line.

                       I also know when someone disrespects me as a person by referring to me as "gullible".   Whether or not you believe you are being disrespectful, the term "gullible" is a pejorative term. which I can't stop you from using.  On the other hand, when you use such language to describe me, I adjust accordingly the depth and dedication of my willingness to stand up for your civil rights.

                      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                      by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:50:28 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'll state again (4+ / 0-)

                        that even the moderately religious such as yourself enable the religious extremism that you wish to distance yourself from.  But for that very reason, you can't distance yourself from it.  You enable it.

                        On the other hand, when you use such language to describe me, I adjust accordingly the depth and dedication of my willingness to stand up for your civil rights.
                        How does this square with this:
                        As an American and as a Christian, I can make a very clear distinction between groups that respect the civil rights of others and those that seek to destroy the civil rights of others;
                        You are putting yourself in the group that "seeks to destroy the civil rights of other" because you are doing so conditionally.

                        You may find "gullible" objectionable but I find faith, i.e. the belief in something for which there is no evidence, objectionable.  And if you believe in something for which there is no evidence, that makes you gullible by definition.

                        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                        by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:11:52 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We all make choices about how we use our limited (0+ / 0-)

                          time.

                          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                          by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:46:52 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm not "moderately" religious (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm extremely religious. You simply don't know enough or care enough about the arc of theological thought within Christianity to who we are and what our differences are. The fact that I probably wouldn't go across the street to get in a fight on your behalf has more to do with the fact that I'm also just petty enough to use my limited time to back friends, allies and supporters.  That has everything to do my being human and nothing to do with Christianity.  On the other hand, there are atheists I'd defend in a HNYM because they are generous spirited, tolerant, and pretty damn decent allies. It takes an effort on my part but I try to avoid blanket condemnation.

                          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                          by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:01:10 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You may or may not be "faithful". (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            democracy inaction

                            One of the things about Judaism is that "faith" has never been a prerequisite.  Unlike most versions of Christianity.

                            The fact is, like democracy inaction, I know that there is ample evidence that "faith", belief without and despite evidence, is a problem, and a dangerous problem.  If as an extremely religious person you position yourself against faith, we will probably get along with you just fine.  

                            But a religious person who believes in faith is against the Enlightenment methods of empiricism, and really is enabling the most dangerous of the right wing religious brainwashers.  Though I feel more sorrow than anger, as such people are practically always brainwashed themselves.

                            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                            by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:55:41 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "theological thought" (0+ / 0-)

                            is an oxymoron.

                            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                            by democracy inaction on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:26:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  And the thing to be said for the usage... (12+ / 0-)

                  ...of "Christianist" is that there are Christians who think using it to refer to the assholes within the Christian religion some how absolves the Christian religion of those assholes and their behavior. The "they're not really Christian" does not make them not Christian, no matter how much any decent Christian wants to exclude them.  They are a part of the Christian religion, and they do evil things in its name, and trying to label them as something else does not get rid of that.

                  •  Indeed, perhaps it is time for all Christians (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rebel ga

                    to take responsibility for them and do something about it.

                    The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                    by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:44:52 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not sure... (7+ / 0-)

                      ...that there is necessarily anything particular they can do to stop the asshole-style Christians from doing their assholish activity, but they can at least stop pretending that the assholish Christians aren't a part of the religion of Christianity when discussing what those assholish Christians do.

                      •  I think they can do a lot. (4+ / 0-)

                        They can point out where in the bible these jerks are failing. They can put together a media campaign and get the word out that fundamentalist types are not following what they see as Christianity.

                        This is a battle. The fundies are not just out there trying to legislate their morality on all of us, they are proselytizing their asses off to people who are vulnerable to their propaganda. If there are Christians out there who feel their religion deserves to be seen as a moral position, they need to present that position so that we can all see that the fundies don't have standing.

                        The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                        by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:22:20 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  800 Pound Gorilla (10+ / 0-)

                          So many of the comments in this thread entirely miss the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room:

                          They can point out where in the bible these jerks are failing. They can put together a media campaign and get the word out that fundamentalist types are not following what they see as Christianity.
                          I am sure that the extremists are able to point out where in the Bible that the moderates are failing, which is the problem.  The Bible is not an objective authority on religion, there is no objective authority on religion by the very nature of religion itself.  Faith is a belief in something despite a lack of evidence and as there is no evidence, there is no way to determine who is and who is not correct.  You mention that the fundamentalist types are not following what the moderates "see" as Christianity but again, why is what they "see" as Christianity any more legitimate than what fundamentalists "see" as Christianity?  Both visions are based on the same fraudulent root fantasy that has not and cannot be proven and as such, there is no authority to determine who is right and who is wrong.

                          If there are two groups that are arguing, one says that invisible unicorns are green and the other says that they are purple, how do you settle it?  You can't because there is no evidence of the existence of invisible unicorns in the first place.  That's the same problem here and it is why even religious moderates enable religions extremism.

                          Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                          by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:18:15 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  sort of like truthiness. Not really true/not real (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tikkun

                  Christian -- but a misuse of the concept to further selfish and greedy goals.  
                  I'm Jewish, but I've met plenty of religious Christians who believe in the same values I have and who support separation of church and state.  

                  If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

                  by Tamar on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:16:38 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

                    This is the value of the Interfaith Dialogue.  We become more deeply educated about each other and we develop greater respect for each other.  We also understand where the real differences are and we aren't afraid of them.

                    Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                    by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:55:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Excellent points, but... (5+ / 0-)

                ...there is a need for an easy-to-use term.

                I added "Christianists" to the tags, but also added Christian Nationalists.  I prefer the latter.

                I wish people had the more in-depth understanding of the issues that you do, but they don't.  When we object to people using the broad term "Christian" — which unfairly smears a lot of people — we need to give them an alternative that is reasonable terminology, and fits their understanding.  Otherwise, they won't use it.

                Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:52:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ...reluctantly, I think I have to agree (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Red Pen, myboo, tikkun

                  ...yeah, it is a vast improvement over just saying "Christian", and in that context I'd MUCH rather have people saying "Christianist" than - what I do see a lot of - people just not specifying anything beyond the whole religion.

                  •  The "whole" religion (7+ / 0-)

                    How do you know that your beliefs as a Christian are any more "right" than a fundamentalists' beliefs?  Just because you disagree with them does not make their beliefs wrong.  So what criteria can we use to objectively make that determination?  A fundamentalist can back up their belief system using the Bible just as you can, so how can one objectively determine which is the "right" type of Christian and which is the "wrong" type?

                    This, BTW, is a loaded question.  There is no way to make that determination objectively by the very nature of religion itself.  Therefore, if you are a Christian, you cannot legitimately distance yourself from Christian extremism because even Christian moderates enable the extremists.  And you have no more authority or legitimacy to say that the fundamentalists are wrong than they do to say that you're wrong.

                    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                    by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:27:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We don't have an established authority to (0+ / 0-)

                      objectively determine that liberal values are superior to reactionary values, either.  Common sense tells us it's so, a strong sense of social connection and empathy tells us it's so, concern for peace and the environment and the general welfare pushes us in that direction -- but there's no established authority to objectively declare that being progressive is better than being the Koch brothers.  Many philosophers will tell you there is in fact no provable, logical basis for moving from objective description to ethical prescription, period.

                      But HERE AT DAILY KOS, the glue that (sort of) holds us together is that liberal/progressive values are better, truer, more grounded in reality that reactionary values.  So we procede on that belief, and work together toward creating a more progressive society, both more rational and more compassionate than now.  

                      Many liberal Christians and people or other faiths are part of this liberal coalition, and ALWAYS have been. Always. They're permanently part of the landscape. And they don't have to prove to us that their values are truer or more right than the Dominionists before they can join in the conversation here.  They're here because of shared values.  If we have the sense God gave a goose, and/or Evolution gave an emu, we WANT them here, because the liberal coalition would be seriously weakened without them.

                      You repeatedly argue that all Christians look alike, all are indistinguishably the same, liberals and Dominionists. But it really doesn't hold water.  

                      •  Wrong (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Rebecca
                        We don't have an established authority to objectively determine that liberal values are superior to reactionary values, either.
                        Yes we do, we have something that called evidence.  I can understand why a Christian would not be familiar with the concept of evidence but the fact is that there is empirical evidence that liberal values are superior to conservative values, for example, the studies that George Lakoff cites in Don't Think of an Elephant that show, empirically, that liberals are better parents than conservatives.
                        You repeatedly argue that all Christians look alike, all are indistinguishably the same, liberals and Dominionists.
                        I really don't care for any of your strawmen, not the one you started your comment with that I address above and not this one.  That is not what I have argued at all so you either aren't actually reading what I've posted or you are willfully misrepresenting what I've said.

                        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                        by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:40:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We have evidence for our beliefs, and (0+ / 0-)

                          conservatives have evidence for theirs. Is our evidence better?  I certainly think so.  But it is not an established fact in anything like the methodology of science.  Lakoff is hardly an established authority, to anyone except a subset of already-convinced liberals.

                          It's true that we can make a pretty strong case for liberal values being better. But we can also make a pretty strong case for liberal Christians having a better -- more ethical, and more Jesus-like -- interpretation of CHristianity.  Your argument that liberal Christians enable Dominionists because they can't objectively show Dominionists are wrong is weak.  To show almost any modern American that Dominionists are wrong, all you have to do is get some accurate information to them, such as the Dominionist arguments for stoning unmarried teenage girls to death for having sex, or punishing "unreformed homosexuals" by death, or allowing only Christian men to vote.

                          By the way, as I've mentioned before, I'm not Christian. My objection to your kind of comments is that they further pointless division in the progressive community.  Note that I'm not saying you shouldn't oppose reactionary, authoritarian, and abusive Christians. But you should not attack other progressives merely for being Christian.  Saying "I can understand why a Christian would not be familiar with the concept of evidence" is an example of the kind of "argument" that I consider non-productive at best.

                      •  Yes, but here at Daily Kos (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Dallasdoc, Rebecca

                        we are by definition more supportive of those values.  And judging by the number of atheists on this site, it appears those values have nothing to do with religion.

                        I would argue that you are of a liberal bent in spite of your religious background.  As much as fundamentalists have to ignore large parts of the bible to get it to fit with their pre-existing worldview, so do you.

                        Everyone picks the religion that suits their personality - not from any external evidence that it is truth.

                        But as Christianity has been throughout the centuries, there have always been the True Believers and the Heretics.

                        Obviously no two Christians are the same.  But to say that a certain sect of Christianity is not REALLY Christian, even if they describe themselves that way takes us right back to the horrors of the Reformation.

                        •  Hi, Catesby. I know there are many (0+ / 0-)

                          atheists, agnostics, undecideds, etc here on DKos, and I welcome that.  I certainly never meant to imply that progressive values belong in some particular way to CHristians (I'm not Christian by the way).  I have stressed several times, however, that Christians and other believers -- Jewish, Muslim, Deists, Pagans, Buddhists, etc -- are part of the progressive community, and have been for generations.  So taking broad swipes at Christians, especially speaking as if they were all alike in negative ways, or as if liberal Christians are somehow guilty of allowing the Dominionists to exist -- that's not a good thing in terms of the functioning of the progressive community.  It's untrue and pointlessly divisive.

                          I agree that people's beliefs are affected by their personality. I know that's true of my own personal spiritual beliefs.  However, I don't believe that the concern for truth is negated by that.  In any realm of thought that involves subjective perceptions (art, psychology, and religion being some of those), the aspects of truth that we focus on are partly determined by our personality. We can still seek to avoid nonsense and lies.

                    •  I don't get how you don't get this. (0+ / 0-)

                      But then again, I'm a Catholic.  We actually DO have a way to determine whose beliefs are more 'right' than others, because we have a hierarchy.  I've alluded to this elsewhere in the thread - that one of the greatest problems in Christianity is the number of people who seem willing to accept your point.

                      And I don't feel at all bad saying my beliefs are right and the beliefs of the Westboro Baptist Church are wrong.  Sure, they can try to quote the bible to justify hate, but the fact of the matter is that there are 2000 years of established theological work grounded in philosophy, and when you explicitly reject that work, you lose the defenses it offers.

                      I understand how many people might not understand the nuances of Christian belief and doctrine, but I - and I suspect many of us - would appreciate it if you'd at least educate yourself about these things if you want to try to tell us what we do and don't believe, the degree to which we do or don't use logic and reason, or our ability to judge the orthodoxy of our beliefs or the beliefs of others.  Otherwise it's like listening to Jerry Falwell try to lecture on theoretical physics - both useless and embarrassing.

                      •  I don't feel bad saying my beliefs are right... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        tytalus

                        and yours are wrong, either.

                        And I do understand the nuances of Christian belief and doctrine.

                        All of 2000 years of established theological work, particularly the Catholic tradition, has been quite comprehensively shown to be... well, the polite term is "methodologically unsound".

                        If you do accept logic, reason, and empiricism, the methods of the Enlightenment, the ones which have given us all of science, the ones which you must use every morning to get out of bed, then you will eventually, after doing sufficient research, find that the Christian God does not exist.  To a better than 99% confidence interval.  :-)

                        The one of the "logic, reason, and empiricism" traditionally rejected by Christians is empiricism.  This is a really bad one to reject, but Christianity has a long tradition of Platonism, believing that this world is not important and there is some other "more real" world, which leads to the rejection of empiricism.  This is actually a pernicious attitude which set back knowledge for thousands of years, but there you go.

                        Your basis for "accuracy" in Catholicism, as you say, is fundamentally what-the-hierarchy-says, which is not a good basis, especially considering the hierarchy's track record.  The basis I use is empiricism, which is a good basis, by defintion.

                        In fact, you believe what you believe not because of what the hierarchy says, but because of the pattern of brainwashing you received as a child.  The Catholic church, like most Christian churches, is well documented to use techniques which are actual brainwashing techniques.  (Though they discovered them before scientists discovered them and named it 'brainwashing').  Brainwashing techniques are pretty much necessary in order to convince people to believe contradictory and immoral doctrines, such as those which litter Catholic history.

                        I don't expect you to believe me.  Actually, since you've been brainwashed, I expect you to have a hostile and angry reaction, but please read this as simply a calm comment, which is is.  If you are ever curious, the book Leaving the Fold contains a catalog of brainwashing techniques used by Christian groups with the way in which they work spelled out.

                        I got a lot less comfortable with Christianity after I read it all laid out in black and white like that.  (And had it confirmed by friends exactly which ones had been used on them as kids.  Different churches use different subsets of the list.)

                        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                        by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:09:42 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Fletcher, some of it is intentional (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Fletcher Christensen

                    Those who are actively hostile to Christians will continue to indulge in group blame, and name calling.  We see the same behavior in some people who blame All Germans for the Shoah.  Yes it was a German phenomenon but group blame completely disregards and disrespects the Righteous Gentiles of Germany few though they may have been.  

                    Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                    by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:03:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  A lot of this discussion amounts to (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BYw

                  trying to put lipstick on a pig.  All of the christian religions are no more than the longest lived and most successful of the pagan religions of Greece and Rome.  They have all of the earmarks.  1) God in the image of man 2) a man who is god.  3) local saints and images to which the faithful pray.  4) Ascent to semi godhood by beatification and sanctification.  5) Local adoption of local semi deities for various places such as Fatima, etc.  6). Rituals that are claimed to be effective in this world to change outcomes. 7). Magical transformation of material and gods into other substances.
                      All religions seek to convince their flock that their view of the Universe is the only true one, and all the allegedly moral teaching is for purposes of control.  And the closer any religion gets to secular power, the more hypocritical they become, and the more damage they do to people.  Despite this, these organizations have a right to exist and to preach their word.  But you believers, keep your grubby hands off our laws!

                  Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                  by StrayCat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:08:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  It's not just nondenominal (19+ / 0-)

                Christians.  Catholocism has similarly reprehensible positions on women, abortion, homosexuality, women, etc.  I'm really getting tired of progressive Christians endlessly trying to suggest that these attitudes are fringe or marginal in christianity.

              •  Really? I believe I heard Mormonism is the fastest (6+ / 0-)

                growing religion. Catholicism is pretty mainline.

                Both of them are putting money and institutional weight behind hateful agendas.

                The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:42:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Chicken or the Egg? (0+ / 0-)

                One can make a pretty reasonable argument that a religious group, not matter what the teachings of their wisdom literature, will reflect the culture in which the group resides.  Many Episcopalians from working class backgrounds will incorporate the resentments of their original social group onto their religious beliefs, same goes for old line, traditional Episcopalians.  (I use the Episcopal church because that's the denomination of which I am a part.)  

                We're seeing a ground swell of "Episcopalians" in upstate New York whose beliefs and liturgical form very like Churches of God in Christ or Free Will Baptists than like Episcopalians.  Most of them come from working class backgrounds with a minimum amount of education.  Some have moved into the actual middle class by virtue of becoming well recompensed skilled tradesmen or by attaining applied science college majors,  but their tastes, prejudices, fears and general world view remain in sympathy with their original backgrounds.

                As a consequence, the Diocese of Albany is a terribly backward and ultra conservative diocese.  It predictably reflects the social fabric of the region which become increasingly conservative and backward as well educated young people leave to find better economic opportunities elsewhere.

                Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:30:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Um... (0+ / 0-)

                you seem to be coming at this from a Christian apologist perspective.

                I'm coming from a different point of view.  To the extent that "mainline"  churches are unproblematic, it's the extent that they are administratively paralyzed and unable to brainwash.  Their doctrines are often just as pernicious, and I've seen them really mess people up.  They aren't "sane": instead, they teach a high degree of cognitive dissonance.

                The nondenominational churches often actually arise out of a good motive, the motive of fighting the inconsistency and intellectually dishonesty of the mainline churches, but then they usually go off in a stupid direction -- they follow through the evil doctrines of the mainline churches to their logical conclusions rather than maintaining cognitive dissonance; or, if they abandon doctrine, they use the "direct personal relationship with Jesus" to excuse whatever crimes they want to commit.  On the other hand, if they decide to abandon the evil doctrines, or to define the "direct personal relationship with Jesus" as a way to call to their better natures, they can turn into really nice groups.

                The charismatic movement is of course inherently bad, as leader-worship always is.  It's no different from Catholic Pope-worship, though, and it's a recurring problem with any organization.  It's not the fundamental problem, it's merely an amplifier for the fundamental problem.

                The fundamental problem is that most versions of Christianity are based on brainwashing people into believing dangerous absurdities.  Once you start doing that, it becomes very easy for it to go off the rails and lead to atrocities, and very hard to keep it under control.  :-P

                Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:51:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  In the strictist linguistical sense... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lineatus, Fiona West, Dallasdoc

              The roots "-ian" and "ist" are redundant, as they both mean 'one who practices.'

              Probably the best phrase would be 'Christian extremist' or 'Christian zealot', which doesn't necessarily imply that they adhere strictly to the Bible - as a fundamentalist would - and is less likely to upset live-and-let-live Christians.

              If that's what you were going for, anyway. ;-)

              "If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going." - Professor Irwin Corey (1914 - )

              by CaelanAegana on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:44:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Oh please. These aren't (28+ / 0-)

            marginal or small groups.  They have huge numbers.  Likewise with Catholics who also have a number of atrocious beliefs.  Quit trying to play like this is some fringe phenomena.  It's progressive christians that are a small fringe minority in christianity.

            •  Have you read the New Testament? (0+ / 0-)

              It's about as radical as 2000 year old documents get.  The core of Christianity is certainly progressive.

              Also, you seem to have a somewhat jaundiced view of denominational Christianity.  As a Catholic, I'll freely admit that they're slow on some current social issues - but they're a multi-millenial organization, so of course they're slow to change.  They wouldn't be where they are if they just jumped on every new social idea as soon as it showed up.  Some of them have proven to not work out so well.  Communism, for example, is very nice in theory.  Not so much in practice, so far.

              Other issues, like abortion, I think deserve a bit more fair consideration than they sometimes get.  Guttmacher reports about 1,200,000 abortions in 2008 alone.  Some of us think that maybe there IS something to this "life is sacred" argument.  Many of us, myself included, do NOT think that abortion should be outlawed - but we do think that there's a problem when more than a million pregnancies a year, roughly 20% of all of them, are getting aborted.  Maybe we should be, I don't know, working to create a society where it can't destroy someone's life economically to choose to have a kid?

              •  I don't care what your damn holy book says (23+ / 0-)

                The problem is that everyone interprets something else into it. And extremely few people live up to those allegedly progressive ideals.

                I'll give you that not all Christians are extremists. But very few are progressive. Most are in the middle and just want to have things stay as they are. No change either way for the vast majority of Christianity.

                •  Do you live up to all of your ideals? (3+ / 0-)

                  When  you have achieved perfection within your own moral system, then you can demand perfection from others.

                  Hmmm, where have I heard that before?  Oh yeah, Jesus Christ:  Remove the plank from your eye before you try to remove the speck from your brother's eye (Matthew 7:5).

                •  That's the problem right there (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BYw, FutureNow, Steve84, supercereal

                  The "holy book" is the only authority on religion and it is vastly open to interpretation.  So there is no objective authority on religion.  There is no authority that can validate the extremists or the moderates and neither has the legitimate authority to question the others' beliefs.

                  Going back to my unicorn analogy, if there are two groups arguing, one saying that invisible unicorns are green and the other saying they're purple, since there is no evidence of invisible unicorns in the first place there is no way to settle the argument.  And if we concede despite the lack of evidence that invisible unicorns exist, we enable both "sides" to make their claims because there can be no objective authority to determine who is correct.

                  One cannot both believe in unverifiable invisible unicorns and then say that others that believe in unverifiable invisible unicorns are wrong about them.  Because it is unverifiable, neither "side" can legitimately make that claim.  Yet with religion, it not only happens all the time (see the comments in this very thread), it is socially acceptable.

                  Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                  by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:39:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't care about invisible unicorns. Of course, (0+ / 0-)

                    they're actually a sort of luminous gold. :)  But other people can have their illusions; what's that to me?

                    I care about progressive values.  Say, separation of Church and State.  I note that among CHristians there are some who firmly support this value.  There are some who know they should support it because of the Constitution, but they don't think it should be pushed too far.  ANd there are some, like the Dominionists, who what to totally abolish the separation, establish biblical law, subject women to the authority of father or husband throughout their lives, and make non-belief a crime.

                    If I concede that invisible unicorns are at least possible -- or if I wholeheartedly believe in them -- that does not in any way keep me from clearly differentiating between the various groups of CHristians mentioned above, and judging some as right, others as wrong. My judgement isn't based on an objective view of religion, but on my political and social values.  I can clearly see that the first group of Christians are allies of the progressive movement.  The second group -- well, we need to keep talking to them.  The third group are our enemies and the enemies of everything good about this country.

                    Who needs an objective authority on religion?  It's not our concern to decide whether transubstantiation occurs, or whether God is trinitarian or unitarian, or the energetic properties of crystals, or whether unicorns have wings.

                    As long as we stick to our shared turf -- progressive values, analysis, and action -- we'll do okay.  We'll still have plenty to argue about, but those debates will rarely break down along religious/nonreligious lines.

                    •  What's it to you? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Steve84, Rebecca
                      But other people can have their illusions; what's that to me?
                      As but just one small example, depending on where you live, you can't drink alcohol on Sunday.  That's just one of many, many laws that are based on religion so the effects of others believing their illusions are quite profound for all of us whether or not we share belief in the illusion because Christianity is the overwhelmingly predominant religion in America.

                      When laws are passed like the law in TN that you can't say "gay" in the classroom, that law is based on religion, or more accurately, religious-based bigotry.  To say "what's it to me?" is to betray a profound misunderstanding of how far other people's religion reaches into your life and the lives of others.

                      It's not our concern to decide whether transubstantiation occurs, or whether God is trinitarian or unitarian, or the energetic properties of crystals, or whether unicorns have wings.
                      And why not?  Is it not your concern to know the truth?  It is my concern.  And as far as God goes, I don't get into debates about trinitarian, unitarian, theist or deist because they are all based on a concept that I do not believe, i.e. that there is a God in the first place.

                      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                      by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:48:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The Tennessee law against saying "gay" (0+ / 0-)

                        matters to me because it violates progressive values of tolerance and inclusiveness.  As I said above, there are some Christians I consider to be political enemies, and I work poliltically to defeat them.  My allies in that process include other Christians.  I don't have a hard time telling them apart, and I don't have a hard time saying which ones of them are right -- in terms of political values.  So I don't sit around castigating liberal CHristians (on a site like DKos) because their beliefs somehow validate the Dominionists. They don't.

                        What I object to is your argument that liberal CHristians somehow justify and are complicit with Dominionists, because they "believe in purple unicorns," and that somehow helps the Dominionists go on being the noxious tyrants-in-waiting that they are.  No, the Dominionists don't need permission from Episcopalians (whom they hold in contempt) to be what they are, nor are the Episcopalians extending permission to them.

                        •  You misrepresent (0+ / 0-)

                          what I've said, and of course you must build a strawman because you cannot refute the truth, and it remains the truth whether or not you refuse to accept it.  That truth is that even the most moderate religions enable the extremists (not "justify and are complicit with" as in your strawman).  This is well documented in, for example, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and again, there is actual evidence to back it up, unlike the entire concept of an almighty creator.

                          So you keep on believing that for which there is no evidence and denying that for which there is.  I really don't care if that's how you want to live your life but don't expect for me (or any other rational person for that matter) to validate your lifestyle choice.  Do, however, expect hostility and contempt should it infringe on mine.

                          Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                          by democracy inaction on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:45:06 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Re: (0+ / 0-)
                      Who needs an objective authority on religion?  

                      No one. Religion should be more subjective. But everyone claims that it's objective. That's THE problem. Every sect things they have the right interpretation and treat it as the absolute truth, aka dogma.
                      •  You illustrate (0+ / 0-)

                        the problem:

                        Every sect things they have the right interpretation and treat it as the absolute truth, aka dogma.
                        You say that religion should be subjective but you are claiming that the problem is that every sect is subjective.  Who are you to say that any of those sects are incorrect to treat their beliefs as absolute truths?  Some of those beliefs are beliefs that you and all religious people share, like the very foundation of it all, the belief that there is a God.  And there is no evidence to believe any of it.  So how does one make a distinction about what the correct beliefs are?  How do you know what to believe and how do you know that what you believe is more correct than what some fundamentalist sect believes?  What is it based on?  It can't be based on reason and logic or anything objective by the very nature of what it is and that is my point.

                        So long as you all believe in the same myth that is at the root of it all, you have no more authority or legitimacy to say that any religious sect's beliefs should not be treated as absolute truths than any of those sects would have to tell you the same thing.  Such is the problem with a belief system based on mythology.  The differences between what you believe and what any other religious sect believes are a bit like the differences between ancient sects that thought the chariot that pulled the sun across the sky was pulled by 2 horses and those that were adamant that it was pulled by 4.  And of course those extremist radical heathens that believed that it wasn't pulled by horses at all but by minotaurs.

                        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                        by democracy inaction on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:53:30 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Every code of ethics and wisdom book (0+ / 0-)

                    not to mention most political ideology relies on belief. There may be all kinds of evidence, even for religious principles, but no final objective arbiter. And yet we persist in the belief that progressive ideas are better than conservative ones, despite the absence of an absolute authority to lay down the law. The fact is, we rely on many layers of belief just so we can get up in the morning and go to work.  

                    I never liked you and I always will.

                    by Ray Blake on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:54:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wrong (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Steve84, Dallasdoc, supercereal, Rebecca
                      Every code of ethics and wisdom book not to mention most political ideology relies on belief.
                      Belief is not the issue here, faith is, and faith is defined as belief in something for which there is no evidence.  I have no problem with belief if it is based on evidence and with respect to ideology, there is evidence that you deny exists and you deny it (just as another commenter did) in order to justify your strawman argument.

                      There are studies that show that, as just one example, liberals make better parents and raise better kids than conservatives do.  You sound like you don't have the conviction of your ideology, in your mind, the only reason it is better is because you just happen to think it is.  That's BS.  There is evidence that it is better, which is why I am a liberal.  That's unlike religion, which offers no evidence to support faith.

                      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                      by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:55:46 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Right, you're a liberal because you (0+ / 0-)

                        read a study somewhere that said liberals make better parents! Look, I'm a progressive for all kinds of reasons, including that I was raised in a family of Democrats, who took to heart the teachings of a well-known Jewish prophet. Said teachings emphasized taking care of the least among us and treating others as we would have them treat us. And he didn't even have a sociological study to back himself up!

                        I never liked you and I always will.

                        by Ray Blake on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:37:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We know not all our beliefs are well-founded. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Rebecca, democracy inaction

                          Nobody has ever had enough time and energy to properly test the empirical foundation of all his or her beliefs. A methodological empiricist, however, is always willing to test his beliefs.

                          Of course, there are some things which are not beliefs about reality -- they are value choices.  What we want, what we shoud do, is not something which can be objectively tested or based on evidence.  (Though we can study why we want that, and it's an interesting question, with interesting neurobiology and evolutionary answers.)  If someone else decides that their goal in life is the extermination of humanity for the benefit of the dolphins, I can only conclude that they have different goals and values (and get them locked up as dangerous), I cannot argue about whether they are "correct", because to do that we would have to have a shared goal.

                          But a lot of arguments are really about questions of fact.  Does legalizing abortion make women healthier and happier?  (Answer: yes.)

                          If strong evidence came out that corporal punishment of children actually led to them growing up to be happier, healthier, and more open-minded, as empiricists, we'd start using corporal punishment of children.  In reality, the evidence goes entirely the other way, so we try to stamp it out.  Now, the "happier, healthier, and more openminded" are goals, "shoulds", not questions of fact: but the method of getting there is a question of fact.

                          Liberals advocated for solitary confinement for prisoners, monk-like, 150 years ago, because liberals thought that that was the best way to reform people.  Well... turns out it wasn't, for most humans it's torture, so empirically-minded liberals now advocate against solitary confinement.  The belief was tested.

                          Liberals argued for alcohol prohibition in the late 19th century, because the evidence seemed to indicate that it would reduce the dangerous consequences of alcohol drinking.  We tried it, It didn't, it made them worse.  Empirically-minded liberals now advocate against prohibition, because we have more evidence.  Those who are not empirically minded, on the other hand, continued to advocate for prohibition, and still do.

                          Should we strive for "greatest happiness for the greatest number"?  Question of values.  Thankfully, most people agree that we should.  How can we obtain the greatest happiness for the greatest number?  Question of fact.  Religions routinely disagree markedly from the empirical evidence.when it comes to the "how", and this is a problem.

                          "God" is a reasonable hypothesis, and a shallow viewing of the evidence would make one believe that "there's someone out there" running the universe.  Unfortunately, it falls apart the more evidence you look at.  Religions keep people "believing" through brainwashing -- and even so, the most functional "religious" people often have severe cognitive dissonance, and live most of their lives as if there is no God.

                          The really big problem is that religions are routinely loaded with brainwashing techniques, making them substantially resistant to inroads from empiricism, a.k.a. reality.  Deprogramming is not a well-developed science, so people have to break out of the brainwashing on their own.

                          Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                          by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:27:01 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Nice strawman (0+ / 0-)

                          but that's not what I said.  That was but one example of the myriad of actual evidence that liberalism is a more sound ideology than conservatism.  But keep twisting my words to suit your agenda, it does wonders for your credibility and it is soooo Christian.

                          I have no problem with the teachings of Jesus, just the part about him being the "son of God."

                          Said teachings emphasized taking care of the least among us and treating others as we would have them treat us.
                          You need neither religion nor Jesus to have those values.  Those aren't "religious" values, they're human values and they are not unique to people of faith.  In fact, people of faith tend to be more hypocritical with their values than most of the atheists that I know.  Like the Christian commenter that told me that he makes a distinction between those that respect civil rights and those that seek to destroy civil right, and then in the same comment told me that his willingness to stand up for someone's civil rights is contingent upon whether or not he feels insulted by them.  I am sure that Jesus would see it exactly the same way, you know, love your enemy unless they say something about you that you don't like.

                          As a progressive atheist, I live by the values that Christians claim to live by and I likely adhere to them more so than most hypocritical Christians.

                          Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                          by democracy inaction on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:49:27 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  This is patently untrue for Catholics (0+ / 0-)

                    I won't speak for other denominations or individuals, but it is established doctrine that the Bible is NOT the only authority on religion for Catholics.

                    Again, as I said above, it's hard to argue with someone who doesn't actually know enough about the topic to make factually accurate statements.

              •  The problem is that while larger institutions are (9+ / 0-)

                slow to address current social issues, they are creating a world of hurt for the people they are marginalizing. Children for example. Glbt children who grow up fearing damnation and social ostricization because the church is slow to realize the immoral stand they are taking in their bigotry.

                The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:49:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Children (7+ / 0-)
                  Glbt children who grow up fearing damnation and social ostricization because the church is slow to realize the immoral stand they are taking in their bigotry.
                  Children should not be indoctrinated into religion, period.  They are too young to make up their minds about matters as complex as religion and efforts to indoctrinate them are akin to psychological child abuse.  The effects may be more acute with kids in families with LGBT members but no child of religious parents is immune.  Fearing damnation is integral to religious faith.

                  Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                  by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:50:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Renee, Excellent Point (0+ / 0-)

                  that is something I can address within my denomination because you have given me clear information about the wrong that needs to be addressed.  I can fight to make sure my church, and my denomination makes itself clear that such damage to others is horrific and unacceptable behavior both outside and inside the church.

                   Of course I actually know such heinous behavior exists within the christian community and I know many Christians who spend a good deal of their lives working to root it out in the church and in society at large.  What I'm asking for from those who are not Christian is the recognition of faithful Christian people of good will who do the required work of brotherly love instead of the wholesale condemnation of Christianity and Christians that I encounter here all too often.   We're part of DK, not because we are spies for the enemy but because DK represents what we believe to be the work to which Jesus calls us.  

                  Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                  by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:25:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hi Tikkun, I appreciate your response. (0+ / 0-)

                    It is because of Christians I have met online I try to remember that there are people of strong Christian faith who do not spread evil in the name of their religion. I don't often meet people like you IRL.

                    I am glad you are here doing your work. I am sorry if I offend liberal Christians, but I sincerely think our society needs to look at religion in a different way than we currently do. It shouldn't be a sign that someone is morally beyond reproach if they label themselves as Christian. As Neroden keeps mentioning, there is the praying in a closet bit in the Bible. Mainly of course, we hear of the loudmouths and it isn't a surprise that many of them are not doing good works. But we need to honestly address the shadow side of Christianity.

                    The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                    by Renee on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:28:13 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Also, honestly, I have met a tiny number of (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Philoguy, Steve84, tikkun

                people IRL calling themselves Christian who embrace the radical and progress reality of the New Testament. Speaking solely from my experience most people listen to what their relatives or other religious leaders say about their religion.

                I'm not saying progressive Christians aren't out there. I have met some really respectable people online. It is because of these people that I restrain myself from bitterly attacking all of Christianity.

                The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

                by Renee on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:59:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Really? The Epistles of (5+ / 0-)

                Paul and Revelation are politically progressive?

              •  Neither the New Testament nor Jesus (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BYw, Steve84, Dallasdoc, Brooke In Seattle

                has any relation to Christianity.  By the time of Ambrose of Milan and St. Augustine, the practices called Christianity were all about power and property, who got to spend the collection money, and on what.  Jesus was not a Christian, and were he alive today, would probably not be one, as the actual practice of Christianity denies and violates every one of the precepts spoken by Jesus, to the extent that we know what those speeches were.  All of the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church were dictated by the hand chosen and politically corrupt bishops sent by Constantine.  Since then, the clergy have spent all of their time and their parishioners' money throwing stones.

                Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                by StrayCat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:20:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Gross generalizations with a grain of truth (0+ / 0-)

                  Jesus wasn't a Christian, nor could he have been. Christianity depends on his execution. The principles of the Catholic Church were and are still based largely on the NT which predates the Catholic Church by a hundred years or so. They did spin out a unique ideology from it all, but it's interpretative rather than arbitrary. True that as Jesus himself emphasized, the world is full of sheep in wolves' clothing.

                  I never liked you and I always will.

                  by Ray Blake on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:00:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't say they're marginal (4+ / 0-)

              or a small group, uh, at all. I just said they're hateful, bigoted, and that I disagree with them.

              Now, quit trying to convince me that my own beliefs are atrocious and reprehensible just because I happen to be Christian as well. It's obnoxious.

              •  Meh, being a Christian is (7+ / 0-)

                like being a southerner that flies the confederate flag amd tries to claim its about southern pride and has nothing to do with slavery and racism.  Your religion has an absolutely horrific history and causes massive suffering throughout the world daily.  I am not suggesting that you believe these things, but I do question the moral judgment and taste of anyone who associates him or herself with such an ugly, vile thing.

                •  Oh, please. (8+ / 0-)

                  The U.S. has a pretty damn horrific history and has caused and is causing massive suffering throughout the world. I still pay taxes and I still support American political candidates. I still think the Constitution is a pretty amazing document and that democracy, though not ideal, is the best possible form of government. While I am deeply ashamed for some it its actions, I don't hate America and I don't reject the basic tenets upon which the republic is built--I just want to improve it, to build something better. I fully admit and accept that the United States has been responsible for some awful, awful, sins, yet when I hear somebody say something like "all Americans are amoral, jackbooted rapists" I call that statement out for the preposterous, insulting generalization it truly is.

                  •  Wow, talk about a false (0+ / 0-)

                    equivalence.  America isn't a set of beliefs that people elect to follow, but a place where people are born.  Completely different.

                    •  "American" is not an ethnicity (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pozzo, tikkun

                       Your comment contradicts what many observers have said makes America different from other nations.  Rather than being bound by a common ethnicity, Americans are bound by a set of ideals, ideals that are enshrined in the Constitution.  Yes, many citizens were born here.  But a vast number of Americans are immigrants or only 1 or 2 generations removed from immigrants - people who adopted the beliefs and ideals of the nation.

                      •  Bull, while it (0+ / 0-)

                        it is true that american is not an ethnicity, your point about ideals is bs.  We were just born here.  Some people endorse those ideals, some are opposed, and many are just plain indifferent.  You don't elect to be an American, you just happen to be here.  The same cannot be said of Christianity.  Moral people and people of conscience are free to abandon their christianity based on its history of brutality and continued persecution of the marginalized throughout the country and world.

                        •  People can abandon their citizenship (0+ / 0-)

                           That's what happens during naturalization.  A person gives up citizenship in one nation to aopt another.  Sure, it's a big change, but people do it all the time.  Look at our history.  People have come to the U.S. in part because of the ideals.  But the point about ideals is not just mine, it's been said more than once by people much more respectable than me.  Ideals actually do move some people.  Apparently they move you, too.  You appear to be quite passionate about you believe in and want to take action in support of it.  So do other people

                •  Because you are to bigoted to seperate (0+ / 0-)

                  the actions of individuals from a group they claim to identify with.

                  •  Sorry but if you're giving (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gsenski, BYw

                    money to these churches you're supporting these positions.

                    •  Which would be one of many reasons (0+ / 0-)

                      some Christians like me stopped putting things in the offering plate on Sundays.

                      I stopped when I was in the SBC but hadn't left the congregation yet, years before I decided that leaving was going to be eventually inevitable.

                      When I attended a Catholic church for a while as a 'what do these people do' cultural experience, I only gave when they were specifically collecting for the local retired priests fund, and that only because one of the men supported by that had helped me personally through a rough time while I was there before he retired.

                      I gave at the Disciples of Christ church I went to afterwards, because I knew it was going to go to the utility bills or the church food pantry.

                      I haven't given yet at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship church I'm attending now. The CBF was created as a way for SBC churches to work together without funding the fundamentalist positions, and later the churches who had been using it got kicked out and made a denomination of themselves. I haven't had a chance to make sure that congregation doesn't have any SBC ties left, and I'm not joining or giving until I find out they don't.

                      Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                      by Cassandra Waites on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:45:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Not bigotry (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Philoguy, BYw

                    With respect to religion, there is no way to legitimately separate the actions of individuals on behalf of a group and the group they claim to identify with because even moderates enable religious extremism.  That isn't bigotry, it is the nature of faith because there is no objective authority to determine whether it is the moderates or the extremists that are" correct" and neither "side" has the authority or legitimacy to say that the other "side" is not correct.

                    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                    by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:01:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  The Rev. Martin Luther King was comparable (0+ / 0-)

                  to a confederate, flag-flying racist? I'm crushed.

                  I never liked you and I always will.

                  by Ray Blake on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:04:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Evangelical Now Largest Demo (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat, Philoguy, arpear, BYw, supercereal

            I agree with you, but the looming problem for the US is that the Evangelical movement is now a bit more than a quarter of the American population. Granted that term covers a very diverse group, but as a whole they are exactly the sort of people  this Diary describes.

            PEW recently published their survery on American religioun.

            http://religions.pewforum.org/...

            Interestingly Catholics are the next biggest group at slightly less then a quarter of the population. Together these to groups are more than half of the population which goes a long way in explaining how when they unites on certain issues, like banning abortion that are so very successfull.

          •  Again (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BYw, Rebecca

            since there is no objective authority on religion - and by the nature of religion, there cannot be an authority - there is no objective way to determine who is and who is not "right" in their beliefs.

            So who are you to say that the hateful evangelicals are not the ones that actually have it right and you've got it wrong?  You ca no more legitimately say that about them than they can legitimately say the same about you and because of this, even moderate Christians enable the extremists.  They are two sides of the same invisible coin and as long as both "sides" concede that the coin exists in the first place despite a complete lack of evidence, no one can say that the other is wrong about what the coin represents.

            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

            by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 01:49:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because you didn't read very closely: (0+ / 0-)

              "I think it, and its practitioners are far, far removed from the central teachings of Christ and I have argued that point on many occasions." I think, not I know. In that I was expressing my opinion, not what I held to be fact.

              •  But that's just it (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BYw, pasadena beggar, Rebecca

                You don't know, they don't know, no one knows.  Once you accept a belief in something for which there is no evidence and no objective authority, you open the door to the worst extremes based on that belief and you enable them by accepting their underlying premise without evidence.

                Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:49:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Jewishness is not a race (29+ / 0-)

          It's true that some people do use the term "race" for Jews, and Jewishness is generally considered matrilineal.  However calling it a "race" has been tied up in some very frightening things in the past, and many Jews consider it offensive.  Seeing it in your comment was disturbing to me in a very primal and visceral way.

          I know you don't mean any harm by using the term "race" to refer to Jews, but please don't do it.

          •  I am completely with you on this. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Onomastic, Pintlala, StrayCat, rebel ga

            Well said.

          •  recognizing black as a race (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalHobbit

            has also been tied up in some very frightening things in the past.  are black and white not distinct races?

            if jewish is not a race, why are most cases of tay sachs disease among the jewish population?

            It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

            by Cedwyn on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:34:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Seeing as how (12+ / 0-)

              "race" is a fairly ridiculous social construction--there's more genetic variation between certain African ethnic groups than there is between Africans and Europeans--no, "blacks" and "whites" are not distinct "races."

              •  beloved potato, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GDbot, Nowhere Man

                we also share some 98% of our genetics with chimpanzees.  there are, obviously, gradations of variance.

                one can argue that making race distinctions is artificial, arbitrary and hurtful.  or recognizing racial differences can be a celebration of this crazy amazing world.

                It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                by Cedwyn on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:20:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This is where allowing people to define themselves (0+ / 0-)

                  works best.  It's one of the rules of good dialogue.  I, the Christian or atheist, do not deign to define what a Jew is for  Jews.  I, a Jew do not deign to define for a Christian what  a Christian is, or a Communist to a Communist, or an African American to an African American.  Of course it's a rule for dialogue and not a rule for debate.  

                  Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

                  by tikkun on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:10:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  no. blacks and whites are not distinct races (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy, susans

              as any person with two eyes can see. An Italian is not of the same race as a Norse, and some people from India are darker than some from Africa.

              "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

              by azureblue on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:07:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Tach Sachs is only carried by Ashkenazi Jews, (5+ / 0-)

              not by Sepahardic or Ethiopian Jews, or among the Jews who've been in India for thousands of years.  Doesn't the existence of those other Jewish lineages undermine your contention that Jewishness is a race?  My heritage is Ashkenazic, and I'm guessing I have more in common genetically with non-Jewish Euopeans than I do with Jews who trace their lineage to those other Jewish groups.

              Plus, French Canadians and Cajuns also carry Tay Sachs (although a different mutation) - does that make Cajun a racial classification? And several genetic conditions are prevalent in Amish communities. Is Amish a race?  The fact is, genetic conditions are more common in communities that tend to reproduce within themselves, whether those communities share a religion (or are actually defined by that religion) or not.

              If you still insist that being Jewish is a race, what would you say about the fact that my father is from a protestant family with roots in Germany and Great Britian. Does that make me biracial?

              Look.  Calling Jewishness a race is anachronistic at best, and at worst extremely offensive (not because the term "race" is inherently offensive, but because linking race and Jewishness has a terrible history, as I noted above).  Please stop justifying it and doing it.

            •  Simple as black and white. Not. (4+ / 0-)

              Cedwyn just give it up.

              Do you believe that all world populations that would by most Americans be identified as 'black' are really related?

              How about Australian Aborigines?
              Solomon Islanders?
              Indian Dravidians? (actually a strong source of debate)
              How about the claims often made by certain modern African-Americans that the original Egyptians were black?

              The study of biological 'race' among humans was fatally contaminated by European racialist ideas of the 19th and 20th centuries (it wasn't all just Germans or even Fascists) and probably will never be untangled. And it is not my field. But there are cases to be made that the Bushmen of Southern Africa have despite surface similarities to the Bantu and other 'black' populations of that continent are distinct from either them or the caucasian populations of Eurasia.

              That is the idea that all of the 'pre-human' hominids died out only to be replaced by a single source Homo Sapiens Sapiens unmixed with Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis and other populations descended from the various varieties of Homo Erectus is pretty much being relegated to the Three Sons of Noah category of race explanations, you seem to be hearkening back to a day when people seriously talked about the Sons of Shem, Ham, and Japheth here. In reality we are more likely looking at a complicated weave of populations alternatively isolating and then mixing in very complicated ways. It just doesn't reduce to Brown, Red, Yellow, White, and Black (and if we include John Carter's Barsoom Green).

              Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

              by Bruce Webb on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:00:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Foolish as it may be (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cedwyn, catfood

                I'm going to wade in here.

                First, and I can't say this enough, I agree with you. There cannot be any clear definition of "race", if indeed such a thing exists.

                And I entirely understand, and sympathize with, that any discussion of race, no matter how intended, can bring up negative feelings like fear, anger, and hatred. I've lived it enough myself.

                But that said, I'm personally not uncomfortable discussing the idea of race, depending on the context. Most importantly, I refuse to allow the possibility that any "race" is "better" or of higher "worth" than any other.

                The fact that it's hard to define doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. It's impossible to strictly define what makes a person a "liberal", and yet we're comfortable assuming that liberals exist.

                Call the Jewish people what you will -- a "tribe", a "race", a "family" -- it's hard to deny that there are traits that we Jews tend to share. That doesn't mean that we all share them, nor does it mean that only Jews share them. Similarly, people from certain parts of Asia, people from certain parts of South America, etc. tend to have certain traits in common. And that doesn't mean only they have those traits in common.

                In fact, if I found out I had genes that were more common among (say) East Asians or South Americans than among Ashkenazi Jews, my reaction would be: Cool! Not because I think of those groups as being "better" (or "worse") than my Ashkenazi heritage, but because it would be awesome for me to imagine that sometime in the last few thousand years, some of my ancestors might literally have gone great distances to become my ancestors. There's history in them thar genes, and we deny ourselves a source of awe and wonder if we don't acknowledge it.

                I'm with cedwyn on this: I see recognition of racial heritage as "a celebration of this crazy amazing world."

                I don't need anyone to agree with me on this; I only ask that no one should assume that I'm somehow hateful or racist for holding this point of view.

                Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                by Nowhere Man on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:36:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Corrective not hateful (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Nowhere Man

                  Cedwyn whether he or she got off on the wrong tangent.

                  I am fascinated by the studies of pre-historic European populations. That is quite apart from discussions about various populations leaving Africa tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago and genetic interactions between remaining populations of Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis and intrusive populations of Homo Sapiens Sapiens who may or may be not identified with Cro-Magnon man. Frankly I can leave all of that to the anthropologists who examine Europe before the last Ice Age.

                  But for people like me that are interested in comparative mythology and linguistics and population transfers in the immediate pre-historic period in Europe and North Africa in the thousand years prior to the modern era (C.E. or AD according to your taste) there is a lot to digest here. And worrying about who is related to what son of Noah obscures the point.

                  We know that the Indo-European peoples who now dominate Europe (and indeed much of central and south asia) are relative new-comers, coming in waves in times just barely beyond the the historical horizon. That is the heroes of the Trojan Wars and the heroes of the Irish Legendary Tales though separated by some centuries represent the conquest of the horse and chariot people over the indigenous populations. And there is pretty damn good evidence that the population of Europe prior to the incursion of the Hellenes, Italics, and a little later the Celts were of a fairly uniform group of curly headed, dusky skinned, blue eyed folk whose ritual revolved around some version of the Earth Mother. That is if you want to recognize the original population of Europe all you need to do is go to the uplands of Wales, the west of Ireland, the Basque country and the Berbers of North Africa. None of that fits into the biblical typography of the three sons of Noah or the nineteenth century division of white, black and yellow but reality is where it is.

                  The spread of 'races' maybe can never get separated from modern history, but there are reasons why Richard Burton the Welsh actor could blend in your typical Basque community in Spain or Berber community in North Africa, Indo-Europeans and much later semitic Arabs conquered but never quite suppressed the populations which came before them.

                  And although I don't have a brief in for Wiccans etc they aren't coming from this out of nowhere, the Earth Mother has a couple of millennia spotted on the I-E and Semitic Sky-Father.

                  But all in all it makes simplistic ideas about race just that. History is hard, and pre-history more so.

                  Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

                  by Bruce Webb on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:00:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Because Jews started out as an ethnic (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pintlala, k8dd8d

              group, and in some parts of the world have remained fairly distinct as an ethnic group.  

              There is at least one disease (having to do with metabolizing iron) that's more common in the Irish than in most ethnic groups. That doesn't mean the Irish are a race unto themselves.  There are certain cancers more common among some Eastern European ethic groups than on average, probably for genetic reasons. Et cetera.  There are many such examples.  Of course, diseases aren't the only things in common.  There are all those tall blonds in Norway, the narrow faces and dark hair of Romanians, etc.

              An ethnic group is a group that has history and culture in common and is more likely to marry each other than marry people outside the group, so that they develop a higher level of genetic commonality than with randomly selected "others."  Still, ethnic groups are pretty fluid. Not all Romanians have dark hair, not al Scandanavians are tall and blond.  Etc.

              Races are broader categories, which originanally were believed to reflect broad, consistent genetic differences.  In fact, the sense that races have broad consistent genetic commonalities seems to have been an illusion.  Actually, races seem to be conglomerations of ethnic groups, grouped together by color.

            •  Black people are regarded as a race (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Philoguy, tikkun

              because of socially constructed ideas, mainly because of racist theories that were used to justify their enslavement.  There is no real biological basis for dividing people into races in this manner.

          •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            For purposes of Section 1981 of the 1866 Civil Rights Act which provides for a cause of action for racial discrimination in the making of contracts (basically it's one of the major employment discrimination statutes), Jews are most definitely a distinct "race."  But then again, so are Germans, Finns, Swedes, Greeks, Italians, Hungarians, etc.  

            •  Yes, but the Supreme Court has recognized (5+ / 0-)

              that Jews are no longer considered a race.  In Shaare Tefila Congregation V. Cobb, 481 U. S. 615 (1987), the defendant argued that even though Jews were intended to be covered under the 1866 Civil Rights Act when it was passed, Jews could no longer sue for discrimination under the Act, because Jewishness is not now a racial classification.  The Supreme Court rejected that argument, even though it noted that "Jews today are not thought to be members of a separate race." Basically, the Court said, in 1866 Congress wanted to protect "persons who are subjected to intentional discrimination solely because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics," and since in 1866 Jews were considered to belong to a distict race, Congress included them under the designation race, rather than adding a religious protection clause, as well.

              As I said above, calling Jewishness a race is anachronistic.

              •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tikkun

                Considering "Hispanic" is not a race either, but is a protected class.

                 Is "Jewishness" as a race any more anachronistic than other racial classifications, of which we have an official but flexible and very limited list?

                One of these days we're going to have to clarify our beliefs about race. At the moment we are confused and contradictory.

                We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                by denise b on Tue May 31, 2011 at 01:50:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hispanics are generally considered a protected (0+ / 0-)

                  class based on national origin.  Depending on the situation, they may also be protected from discrimination based on "race or color."  

                  "Protected class" is not synonymous with "race." It's much broader (includes not only race, color, national origin, but also religion, disability, gender, and more).

              •  For purposes of 1981 (and 1982 and 1983) (0+ / 0-)

                That was my point - that from a legal standpoint that is still in practice, Jews constitute their own race such that any intentional discrimination against jews that does not necessarily correlate to a specific belief is considered racial discrimination.

                The way in which we define race for the majority of purposes has certainly changed since 1866 but it is still a racial classification for this specific purpose, and there is a good reason for it.  If the 1866 Congress had included a religious protection clause that somehow altered the meaning of race at the time, then a non-practicing Jew would have no recourse if he or she was subjected to intentional discrimination.  Nor would Christian Arabs or Roma.

                I suppose it is anachronistic, and perhaps we should just refer to ethnicity or heritage, but the point - and I think it is a positive one - is that race is not just defined by skin color or other common physiognomical traits.  Victims of intentional discrimination based on cultural differences should be able to find redress and the Supreme Court's interpretation of the 1866 Act (see St. Francis College v. Al-Khazraji, 481 U.S. 604) provides the mechanism for that redress.

                •  No, that's NOT what the Supreme Court said (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  catfood

                  The Court was not saying that, from a legal/civil rights standpoint Jews are a racial minority.  It was saying that even though Jews are not a racial group, they are still entitled to protection under the 1866 Act because Congress intended to protect Jews under the Act.  The Court was saying that Congress's use of the term "race" was irrelevant,and Jews need not be considered a race to be protected.

                  You're also wrong about Jews being entitled to protection as a racial minority apart from their religious beliefs.  Any discrimination claim based on Jewish identity would have to be brought as a religion case, not a race one.  Of course, if a Jewish person belongs to some other protected class (s/he is disabled, e.g., or actually does belong to a racial minority as the term currently would be defined -- which does not include being Jewish), then s/he could also claim discrimination on that ground, as long as membership in the protected class was actually the motive for the discrimination.

                  The case you cite doesn't change this analysis at all.  No matter how much it broadens the definition of "race," it doesn't support the notion that Jews could be considered a race for any legal purpose.

                  •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't know what else to say except that because of Shaare Tefila and St. Francis College, Jews and Arabs are entitled to bring racial discrimination claims under 1981 et al.  Those statutes ONLY provide for racial discrimination claims (not religious or nation of origin claims), so the most important interpretation that the court can provide is what is meant by racial discrimination.

          •  need advice then on how to respond (0+ / 0-)

            to my sister who emailed me some winger video about how Muslims are having too many babies in a plot to take over the world. Besides being simply overblown bullshit, I want to condemn it as racist because it generalizes about people who are a member of a group mostly because of circumstance rather than choice. But to do so would suggest Islam is a race, which it isn't.

            If we substitute Jews for Muslims in that context, we would condemn it for being "anti-semitic," which to me carries the same negative weight as "racist." But if I say she's being "anti-islamic" or "islamophobic," she'd probably think it's a compliment.

            So if the effect is racist, even if it's not about race, can I call it that? What other language/terms are available to me if I want to condemn her for promoting that kind of garbage?

            •  Two things. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pintlala, brakejob

              Actually three.

              1. If the effect is racist, then it's about race. There's no such thing as well-intentioned racism.

              2. You know and I know that Islam isn't a race. But Islam is being used as a code word for "scary Arabs" in this context. So yes, it's about race.

              3. I think "bigoted" covers it.

          •  The problem is that Jews themselves do this (0+ / 0-)

            Consider the case of so many atheists who grew up in Jewish households so they still call themselves Jews too despite not believing in the religion.  (Using terms like "atheist jew" or "non practicising jew".)  The really weird thing about this particular misnowmer, of calling Jews a race, is that it actually comes from the Jewish religion itself that does this.  According to Judaism itself having a Jewish mother automatically makes you Jewish too.

            I agree that it doesn't make any sense, but what's strange is that it's the group that you'd think would least want the mistake made that is the group that is most responsible for causing it.

          •  I am NOT sure he/she doesn't mean it. It's (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tikkun

            plain old bigotry.

        •  I'm an atheist (18+ / 0-)

          And even I say that's not really true.

          Most people end up following the religion they are born into as default so it's not exactly a choice in most cases.

        •  That's the dumbest thing I ever heard! (11+ / 0-)

          Call them a political, religious , or ethnic group but they are not a race in the sense we know and understand race.

          THE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW..........OR THE ONE!

          by Diamond Jim55 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:16:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, "race" is a weird concept (8+ / 0-)

            When you look at very distinct people like "whites" and "blacks," it seems like race is a logical concept.  It really isn't.  Outside of the most obvious examples, "race" proves itself to be rather subjective.

            That doesn't mean it's not useful for some purposes, but we should be aware of its limitations.

            I had a friend from Puerto Rico who lamented, "When I lived in San Juan, I was white; now I'm Hispanic.  Did something happen to me on the plane?"

            Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

            by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:56:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  my husband is caucasian, but (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rebel ga, tikkun

              born in Argentina, and by the US govt definition, that makes him Hispanic, and my children half hispanic.  The definition of Hispanic is being descended from someone from a country where Spanish is the native language.  That really screws with the ethnicity/race/culture issue., but if it puts my kids in a better place for scholarships, I'm going with it!

              Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. ~Thomas Jefferson

              by k8dd8d on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:14:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Religion is no more a choice (7+ / 0-)

          than the language you think in.

          You will think in whatever language, and believe in whatever religion, that you are raised in.

          By great effort it is possible to learn to think in a new language, and by great effort it is possible to overcome one's childhood indoctrination ( note the root doctrine).

          It will never occur to most folks to try.

          •  You will (9+ / 0-)

            tend to maintain the religion into which you were born, but you are certainly not determined to keep it.

            Religion really is a choice; many people convert from one to another, go from belief to non-belief (and sometimes the reverse), and so on.  

            Most people don't see it as a choice, however.  But it really is, otherwise people wouldn't be able to change it, and may do.

            •  Nope (0+ / 0-)
              Religion really is a choice; many people convert from one to another, go from belief to non-belief (and sometimes the reverse), and so on.
              The bolded part is not true.  I know there have been some documented cases of atheists turning back to religion but I contend that those folks never actually lost their faith.  You can't unlearn something and if someone of faith claims to have been an atheist, they simply have no credibility to make that claim and I call BS.

              It would be like a climate scientist suddenly deciding that they reject the idea of climate change.  If any legitimate scientist rejects the idea of climate change, then they are simply not a legitimate scientist just as if an atheist suddenly rejects the idea of requiring evidence for belief, then they were not ever really an atheist.

              Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

              by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:13:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  This is racist (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat

            I've always found the tendency to treat religion like a genetic trait to be racist.  I am very opposed to Islam and yet at the same time am quite angry at all the people who use Islam as a proxy for racism and presume I would agree with their white supremicist views just because I don't like the religion.  They don't understand the difference between a learned trait versus an inherent one.  It's a tremendous insult to the struggling freethinkers from the middle east to pretend that their ethnic background determines their religin.

        •  People are born Hebrew. Jewish is a religion.* (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Onomastic, Debby, Cedwyn, neroden

          Yes, we refer to the Hebrew ethnicity as Jewish because for most of history it was a distinction without a difference.  But let's do a thought experiment around that difference.

          I eat lunch at a kosher cafe sometimes.  While there, I'm surrounded by men where skullcaps, some sporting scraggly beards and whatnot.  No one is born wearing a yarmulke.  No one is born with a need to eat only kosher foods.  These are part of the practice of Judaism.

          I have plenty of friends (and a wife) who are descended from the Hebrew tribe who do not practice Judaism.  Some consider themselves "Secular Jews" (let's face it, "Hebrews" sounds odd) and some have converted to other faiths.  Nevertheless, "looking Jewish" or having a name from a Jewish family can expose you to antisemitism regardless of whether you practice Judasim.

          That is the racist aspect of antisemitism, but you see that aspect in racism against Obama who is claimed to have been "born Muslim."  Racism is irrational at its core and doesn't need to follow any kind of sensible logic.

          Judaism, however, is the most visible trait of the Hebrew ethnic group, and the people most likely to be harassed are the people like the ones I see in the restaurant.  If I were to practice Judaism — wear a yarmulke and all that — I would be harassed right along with them, despite having no Hebrew lineage.

          Is that OK because I wasn't born into it?

          Rather than practicing some kind of "genetics are destiny" approach, shouldn't we just say that the we are born with the right to express our spiritual beliefs as we see fit (with standard caveats about not hurting other people).

          The only reason it is OK to label people terrorists is because they've chosen to be terrorists, not because they share a religion with other people who are terrorists.

          Period.

          * Don't flame me for this definition.  I got it from Rabbi Michael Wyshogrod.  It's a technical distinction.  I'm not trying to deny anyone from considering themselves Jewish.

          Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

          by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:50:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Don't be ridiculous (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrayCat, Pintlala

          Judaism is not a race. That's the Nazi position and it is stupid.

          I could become a Jew if I wanted to, or a Muslim. They are religions.

          "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel

          by Inventor on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:30:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yep no differences (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrayCat, Pintlala

          between Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Ethiopian Jews

          "people are born jewish (18+ / 0-)
          it's actually a race."

          Even if you grant the concept that 'Jewishness' is matrilineal and discount conversions, the application of 'race' to 'Jewry' is frankly nutty. A couple of common genetic markers often found in Jewish populations world-wide doesn't translate to 'race'. It just isn't a productive way of addressing any of the questions here. Why not whip out the calipers and start measuring skulls length vs width?

          Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

          by Bruce Webb on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:33:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have always found this rather confusing. (0+ / 0-)

          My two nieces will have to formally convert if they wish to practice Judaism, because their mother (my sister) is not Jewish, even though their father is Jewish.  So it's a race if your mother was/is Jewish, but a religion if only your father was/is Jewish? And if I decide I want to practice Judaism does that mean if I convert I am still not Jewish? Very confusing. I understand that the majority of Jews are of  particular ethnic groups (Ashkenazic, Sephardic etc.), much like Hindus and Sikhs are also of a particular ethnic groups, but the thing that binds them together is, at its core, belief, yes?

          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

          by marleycat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:09:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Jews are not a race (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rebel ga

          While you may not realize it, to say to is to promote an anti-Semitic meme.

        •  Judaism is a Religion not a Race (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sure you meant no insult, but please know that I along with many of the people who were born into the Jewish faith find that a highly offensive comment. The notion that Jews were a race rather then a religion was used by Nazi's to justisfy the mass murder of those who held to the Jewish faith.

          Race as scientific idea is based on our DNA and clearly there is no scientific evidence to characterize Jews as a race. In fact there are long standing Jewish communites in Asia, India, Africa and Europe who genetically are no different then their cummunites and share with Jews in other parts of the world only their faith.

          The Supreme Court ruled in the 1980's that Jews could bwe considered a "race" for certain catagoires of discrimination under the law which deeply offended many Jews. There are small segments of the Jewish population who call themselves part of the Jewish race, but that is not a widespread belief, especially in the US.

          I was born into the Jewish faith. I not consider myself an Atheist who is culturally Jewish. Please note that culture and race are entirely separate things. Culture describes the enviroment we are raced in, while Race descirbes our genetic makeup. For example one of my daughter's friends was adopted by White Jewish parents from China. That means she is culturally Jewish, her religion is Judaism, but her race is Asian.

        •  Jews are not literally a race. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plubius

          You can't analyze tissue samples to determine that someone is Jewish.

          I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

          by labradog on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:19:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, kiddo. You are so wrong. I am a 'gere', a (0+ / 0-)

          convert to Judaism. Your comment is ignorant, in all senses of the word.

        •  I gave you a donut. I am disappointed in you (0+ / 0-)

          and the people who rec'd your ignorant comment.

        •  It's not a race. You need to do some (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rebel ga, Plubius

          reading and not make offensive and absurd comments like that.
          My daughter from China originally, she's also Jewish, she's also American.  
          Her race is Chinese
          Her religion is Judaism
          Her nationality is American

          Ethnically (culture, heritage), she's all three simultaneously.  

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:53:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "her race is Chinese"? Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tamar

            I think someone else needs to "do some reading."

            •  you're right. Her country of origin (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rebel ga, Plubius

              is Chinese.  We're not sure what type of Chinese (there are a number of different ethnic groups).  
              I have trouble with the concept of race anyway.  I should have left out the term race  -- I never use it and don't know why I foolishly put it into my comment.  

              If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

              by Tamar on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:47:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  p.s. I rec'd your comment for catching me in this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              brakejob, rebel ga

              absurdity.

              If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

              by Tamar on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:48:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  There are Han Chinese (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden

              Insofar as there are 'races' Han Chinese is just as good as a 'race' as any other.

              If we are comfortable using the term Black/African American or Hispanic, Han Chinese is just as operable.

          •  Thank You Tamar! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Plubius
            My daughter from China originally, she's also Jewish, she's also American.  
            Her race is Chinese
            Her religion is Judaism
            Her nationality is American

            Ethnically (culture, heritage), she's all three simultaneously.  

            Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

            by rebel ga on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:01:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes Tamar, That Is More Correct. (0+ / 0-)
              Her country of origin is Chinese.

              I rec'd the other comment anyhow. I too am not up on the race thing. It's something I never think about.

              Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

              by rebel ga on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:07:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  if the separation between church and state (0+ / 0-)

          means anything, it's that people of faith and atheists alike can agree that religion should be a private, personal matter.  So, treating religion as a "choice," such that it's seen as an implicit endorsement of someone else's political views should be out of bounds.  

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:20:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm Half Jewish (My Father), His Maternal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plubius

          Grandfather was an Orthodox Rabbi in Latvia,
          Some Jewish people have told me (not my relatives, to them
          I'm Jewish), I'm not Jewish. That being Jewish is a religion.
          That one is only Jewish if their Mother is Jewish.

          I personally think those people are just jealous because my Great-Grandfather was a Rabbi and thus, I can trace my ancestry and prove my Jewish heritage when they can't!

          People are born Jewish it's actually a race.

          Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

          by rebel ga on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:08:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually it's the Semitic Race, Heritage, Culture. (0+ / 0-)

            Semitic
            I could be incorrect though, being only half Jewish.

            nazis used the term in a genetic way to claim Jewish people were different biologically than Europeans.
            The old divide and conquer trick!

            nazis hated everyone and any excuse would do.
            I try not to spit when I hear the word nazi!

            Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

            by rebel ga on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:16:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Won't give a much-deserved HR for (0+ / 0-)

          both intolerance and a peculiar form of socio-religious illiteracy, but Judaism is, at best, an ethnicity.  It is more commonly thought of as an ethnoreligious group - in part because converts can be included in the group.  One can convert to Judaism; one cannot convert to any of the racial groups that were the original Children of Israel...

          "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

          by Jack K on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:25:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A race? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plubius

          You're treading in deeper waters than you may understand.

          My grandmother and my sister-in-law were both non-Jews who converted.  Their "race" was unchanged.

          Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

          by Seneca Doane on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:29:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  that was quick response (46+ / 0-)

        from the "don't persecute us christians" crowd.

        Shoot the messenger much?

        It is way past time you christians cleaned up your house. Yeah, you. It's your Christ and it's your Church that have been hijacked by the crazies, who now speak for you in the Public Square, the Public Face of "Christianity".

        Take your complaints to them, not to those of us who watch this horror unfold.

        don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:48:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you know all Christians? (19+ / 0-)

          I will not bother listing the number of atheists who perpetrated mass murder, ethnic cleansing, etc. against 10s of millions -- and I won't attribute their vile acts to all atheists.

          " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

          by gchaucer2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:00:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nobody is saying tha no atheist is an asshole (31+ / 0-)

            The point is that war and mass murder is not committed in the name of atheism.  Stalin starved millions of Ukranians because he believed that would help advance the Soviet Union economy, it had nothing to do with atheism.  That would be like saying anyone with a mustache is a mass murderer.

            However, violent actions are committed in the name of religion.  People kill each other BECAUSE of religion.   That is a fact.

            •  Stalin did it in the name of Communism (5+ / 0-)

              The point being made is that any belief system with sufficiently fervent followers creates opportunities for these sorts of abuses.

              Real atheism may - MAY - be largely immune from this sort of fervent support.  But I've seen very little real atheism in all the years I've known atheists.  Most of it is just anger at Christianity, hidden behind an unrelated name.  I've met very few atheists who have a problem with Hindus.

              •  What a load (43+ / 0-)

                Atheists have their own beliefs, which are entirely separate from judgments of religious believers of whatever stripe.  Most atheists I know would be just as disapproving of both sides in the Hindu-Muslim religious strife on the subcontinent as they are of similar religiously motivated behavior by Christians.  

                We criticize Christians more because we live in a Christian-dominated society in which we are frequently and actively discriminated against.  This is the point of the diary, in case you'd like to refer back to it.

                Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:22:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  No he did it to advance the Soviet economy (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Marc in KS, volfied, Rebecca, BYw, neroden

                that is a historical fact.  And even by your own admission, he didn't even do it in the name of atheism.

                •  The Question (4+ / 0-)

                  We weren't talking about WHY he did it, we were talking about the NAME under which he did it.  The crusades weren't fought BECAUSE of Christianity - they were fought BECAUSE of convenient sociopolitical reasons.

                  I don't actually see how this is under debate.

                •  Your Ignorance - (0+ / 0-)

                  Is only surpassed by your prejudice.

                  The Bolshevik regime was avowedly atheist, but on paper guaranteed religious freedom.  It's official policy was to end the influence of the Orthodox Church in Russia - as exemplified by the League of the Militant Godless.  What began as repression eventually turned into extermination under Stalin as tens of thousands of clerics were executed or shipped to gulag camps such as Solovki.

                  Dan Peris, Storming the Heavens: The Soviet League of the Militant Godless.
                  http://www.amazon.com/...

                  Alexander Yakovlev, A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia.
                  http://www.amazon.com/...

                  To name but a few sources.

                  •  The orthodox church worked hand in hand (6+ / 0-)

                    with the czars to oppress the millions of serfs in imperial Russia.  The Soviet's hate for them little to do with religion, and everything to do with workers' revenge.  Talk about ignorance.

                    •  Logic - Fail (0+ / 0-)

                      First you said it was about the economy.
                      Now you say it was about revenge.
                      Those are significantly different reasons.

                      The fact remains - the Soviet government killed and imprisoned hundreds of thousands based upon religious reasons - whether you defend the prior actions of the Orthodox Church or criticize them.

                      Please - read some Russian and Soviet history.
                      And get back in touch next Tuesday.

                      •  I specifically stated starvation of the Ukranians (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Dallasdoc, Cali Techie, Philoguy, BYw, Rebecca

                        was about the economy.  Reading is fundamental.

                        And if you knew a modicum about Russian history you would know that the reason the Bolsheviks despised the Church is because if its support for the feudalistic society in imperial Russia.  They saw the Church as the enemy of the serf, which it was.

                        •  Romo - (0+ / 0-)

                          Here's what you said -

                          The point is that war and mass murder is not committed in the name of atheism.

                          You are wrong.

                          I'm a history prof at a small college - American History is my current area - but my undergrad focus was in Russian/East European at Chapel Hill.  I studied with some of the top Russianists and Sovietists - including Joel Schwartz, Samuel Baron, and Willis Brooks.

                          Your core premise was that there is no evidence of groups motivated by atheism that have attacked people of faith.  In the case of many communist regimes - that is simply false.  Although there were multiple reasons for attacks on the church in Soviet Russia - its reactionary social views, its land holdings, its support of the Whites - one of the core reasons was the fundamental ideological difference of theism and atheism.

                          The person who shows a lack of a modicum of knowledge of the subject - is you.

                          PS - There is a smallness and an ugliness in your diary and in many of your comments.  Sadly, it is reinforced by more than a few here.  Yet it shows not only a lack of knowledge, but more importantly, a lack of tolerance.

                          •  That wasn't atheism (8+ / 0-)

                            It was anti-clericalism, a reaction to the long support the Orthodox Church gave to the Czar.  Stalin and Lenin took advantage of centuries of resentment of an oppressive ruling class, in which the Church had a comfortable front-row seat.   The same thing happened during the French Revolution, and the anti-clericalism evident in that chapter of history had plenty of warning signs in the writings of Enlightenment figures such as Diderot and Voltaire.

                            Anti-clericalism is not atheism per se.  It is a reaction to the actions of a dominant church hierarchy, and thus to its modes of social control.  Dominant religions are always and everywhere methods of social control, meant to keep the masses subservient and docile.  It's how they become dominant religions.  That's the basic Marxist critique, and it's not wrong.

                            As a history prof you certainly know all this, so I wonder why you're conflating those historical facts with resentment at the diarist's pointing out how atheists are ostracized in this country.  Your knowledge doesn't seem to prevent your own confusion.

                            Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                            by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:42:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I Don't Know Why I'm Bothering to Repond - (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pozzo

                            Yeah - I know Marxist theory.
                            And I am aware of historical and sociological critiques of the church and society.

                            I was simply responding to such whopping blanket statements as "Atheists have never killed people like all those religious nuts have."  The history of the 20th century suggests that atheists - once in power - are as capable as any others in slaughtering those with whom they have profound ideological differences.  And while many of Stalin's, Mao's, or Pol Pot's victims were "class enemies" (in all of its possible permutations) or even "bourgeois nationalists" (in the case of Ukrainians or Uighurs) significant numbers were clericals of the lowest positions to indicate the anti-religious nature of the executions.

                            It is unfortunate that so many people who define themselves as non-believers cannot accept this simple fact.  It doesn't mean that non-believers are, by definition, genocidal - - but then it also doesn't mean that believers are, either.

                            And that is the basic flaw in much of this diary and thread.

                          •  You're confusing things again (7+ / 0-)

                            Please link to the quote you cite, I haven't read it here.  Atheists can certainly kill people in pursuit of power.  But they don't invoke atheism to do so, at least not in the absence of some other religion-like belief system like Communism.  And that religion-like belief system -- Communism, in this case -- is the vehicle for power seeking and the attendant murder.  Not atheism.  

                            On the other hand, Christians have certainly proved themselves talented at killing people in pursuit of power, despite the teachings of the founder of their religion.  The difference is that they have done so precisely in the name of their religion.  

                            Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                            by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:07:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You Logic - (0+ / 0-)

                            Is similar to saying that since the Jews were the primary targets of Nazi genocide, the there was no genocide against the Roma and Sinti. Perhaps corollary damage at most.

                            In the case of Orthodox clerics as well as lay people in the 1920s and 1930s - they were executed and shipped off to the gulag by Communist Party officials because of their religious affiliation.  And with the opening of the Soviet archives - there is little question about intent.

                            And, if you are unable to acknowledge that simple fact - then it is obvious that you have a lot more to be concerned about that the Rapturists.

                          •  You're fond of straw men, aren't you? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden

                            You've made several arguments trying to muddy this clear message, and none of them hold any water at all.  You're trying to confuse particular atheists' actions with atheism in general, and that's bullshit.  You're trying now to muddy the difference between Communist crimes and atheism generally, despite my drawing a clear difference you choose to ignore.

                            Again, I'll call you out for perpetuating the McCarthyite smear of conflating atheism with Communism, which is despicable and shameful.  If you're incapable of seeing the difference you should just stop posting.  If you can see the difference and insist on doing it anyway, all I can say is fuck you.

                            Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                            by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:37:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My, My, My, My (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pozzo

                            And now it's gotten to obscenities.
                            Just goes to show - -

                          •  Goes to show that Christian apologists... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dallasdoc, tytalus

                            never argue honestly.  You should try actually reading the arguments made rather than throwing out grab-bags of McCarthyite slurs.  Just for a change.  :-)

                            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                            by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:41:31 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Christians slaughtered Orthodox clerics... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dallasdoc, tytalus

                            Christians who weren't Orthodox killed 'em as fast as they could for centuries.  So the Communists did exactly what the Catholics did.  What's your point?

                            I don't think you get it.  Faith-based belief systems are dangerous.  Atheism doesn't prevent someone from being part of a faith-based belief system, but avoiding faith-based belief systems does force you to be atheist.

                            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                            by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:40:33 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Stalin did it to further his own power (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dallasdoc, neroden

                and nothing else.  communism was a mere vehicle for him just as Christianity has been historically for any number of power junkies, and if Hinduism had given us any maniacs that fit that bill then this atheist would sure as hell have a fuckin problem with it.

                blink-- pale cold

                by zedaker on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:31:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Cultural bias (14+ / 0-)

                The reason most atheists you will interact with have a problem with Christians and not Hindus is because they aren't in India.

                Hindus have no power in the United States therefor they aren't the ones who are constantly trying to legislate their religion on American atheists. Christian's on the other hand are constantly trying to enshrine their beliefs into our law as such yeah American atheists generally have more problems with Christians.

                Duh.

                That doesn't mean we think that Hindus or Muslims are any less crazy just that their actions don't generally affect us as directly.

                Atheism is no more a belief system than theism is. Atheists have all sorts of belief systems from Secular humanism to Objectivism and any number of isms in between but atheism is not and can not be a belief system.

                Because it only describes a single characteristic of the atheist, and a belief system is by definition a system of beliefs, so when someone tells you they are an atheist the only thing you know about their beliefs is that they aren't a theist of any flavor, unlike when someone says they are a Christian where there are a large number of additional beliefs associated with that statement.

                Think when someone says they are a Christian they are not simply saying they believe in a god, they are saying they believe in a specific concept of god with a large body of mythology and philosophy tied to it.

                When someone says they are an atheist all they are telling you is that they don't believe in any god(s) hell it doesn't even follow from that that they are automatically dismissive of all other irrational concepts. I've seen atheists who believe in ghosts and an afterlife too they just didn't' believe in any sort of "supreme" being.

                 

              •  LOL at this (10+ / 0-)
                I've met very few atheists who have a problem with Hindus.

                When we get a sizable and politically unstoppable population of Hindus who insist on passing laws that put "In Krishna we Trust" on our currency, trust me, you'll start seeing a lot more criticism from us Atheists.  

                •  More like banning hamburgers (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc, sargoth

                  And blowing up McDonald's to protect cows.    Holy Cow, Batman!  That's un-American!  

                  "To protect cows" is the #1 reason given by Hindu extremists for attacking Muslims et al.  

                  "A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds a purchaser!" -King Jugurtha of Numidia

                  by LucyandByron on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:55:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Amazing -- truly amazing (16+ / 0-)

              Ok -- fine -- all religious people are murdering thugs in your world.  I'll take my Catholic nun friend any day over all atheists.  She saved thousands of lives in Liberia during the civil war -- as a nurse, not a proselytizer.  That's just one.  I'll take the liberation theologists and practitioners of liberation theology in South America over most atheists if you want me to talk about social justice.

              You sentence re: anyone with a mustache is a mass murderer is ludicrous on its face.  Perhaps you should do some reading about Stalin's religious purges; Mao's religious purges and try and connect the dots in your head.

              " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

              by gchaucer2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:23:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gchaucer2

              •  China is not against religion as long is it is (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RockyMtnLib, Steve84, Rebecca, BYw, neroden

                state sponsored.  So these nations are not anti-religion, they are against any organization where one would hold a separate allegiance from the state.  These countries could very well support religions as long as they pledge allegiance to the state, and in fact they do.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

              •  On balance, Christianity (13+ / 0-)

                has destroyed and taken far more lives than it's helped and healed.  Of course it's not true that all Christians are murderous thugs, though I am perplexed as to why anyone would support a religion that's had such a murderous history.

                •  How can you possibly pretend to quantify this? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happenstance, happymisanthropy, Pozzo

                  "On balance, Christianity has destroyed and taken far more lives than it's helped and healed"

                  Please, if you're going to make statements like that, have something to back them up.

                  •  The crusades, the inquisition, (21+ / 0-)

                    the genocide on indians, the burning of thousands of women for witchcraft, the setbacks in science and medicine due to religious belief, the transmission and intensification of the plague due to flagellents going from village to village, millions of people living in terror and guilt over sexual morality, the oppressions of women and homosexuals throughout the world, the proliferation of AIDS in africa because of positions on contraception, etc?  Seriously, how can any good person be complicit or a part of this?

                    •  Sorry (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lieblingskartoffel, Loge, fisheye, Pozzo

                      I have better things to do than respond to this at length - but I'd really hoped for better than you've shown in this thread from a philosophy professor.  Gives me hope for my best friend in his philo grad program, though.  He can certainly argue better than this.

                      The point I was trying to make was that you can't possibly have any way to quantify the good Christianity has done.  For that matter, I doubt you can counterfactually identify which of the supposed evils which you attribute to Christianity would have been absent in its absence, and I think you're on shaky ground saying Christianity 'caused' these evils without at least strong counterfactuals.

                      You're also ignoring things like the fact that up until Galileo, the Church WAS the scientific community in Europe, the Spanish Inquisition was perpetrated by Spanish monarchs as a replacement for the Church's far less evil inquisition, etc.

                      Respond if you want.  You can have the last word.  Like I said, I have other things to do today, and I don't really think there's much point to arguing with someone like you anyway.

                      •  shorter fletcher: "I got pwned (9+ / 0-)

                        now I'm taking my ball and going home."

                        •  That's not at all what he said, (3+ / 0-)

                          and to the argument that good people cannot be Christians, all you have to do is find good people who are.  The inevitable counter-argument, then they're not good people is nothing more than a tautology.  If individuals find comfort in religion, that's fine as far as I'm concerned.  It doesn't mean they agree with every aspect of the doxology, and it doesn't mean they are ratifying every act done in its name after the fact.  Consider patriotism -- does patriotism mean apologizing for every sin committed in a country's name?  Further, every example of such sin, in the case of religion and politics, can plausibly be explained as a perversion of the true meaning.  Tautological, yes, but defensible on the grounds that religious ideals are meant to be aspirational.  

                          Your comment, in contrast, is just a pile-on.  Instead of a serious discussion about church and state, you and your cohorts have hijacked it into a two-minute hate.  Now, consider whether or not that's going to convince religious people in Louisiana to follow the Constitution, assuming you see them as worth convincing.  Prayer services at graudation aside, I do not see anything to indicate the smartfolk here on Kos are actually smarter than they are.

                          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                          by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:39:53 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No. That is *exactly* what Fletcher said. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tytalus

                            He said "I don't have time to argue and I'm going to badmouth the arguments without substantively responding to them".

                            He's a Catholic, so he's actually backing a current criminal operation.

                            It's the brainwashing.  It makes people unwilling to actually listen to argument; once brainwashed, they have an emotional investment in not believing accurate arguments.

                            I'll be clear, Fletcher did have two real responses, both of which are WEAK:

                            For that matter, I doubt you can counterfactually identify which of the supposed evils which you attribute to Christianity would have been absent in its absence, and I think you're on shaky ground saying Christianity 'caused' these evils without at least strong counterfactuals.

                            And he's wrong.  It's easy to identify which of the evils which are the fault of Christianity really would not have happened without a faith-based belief system.  (It doesn't have to be Christianity; I agree that Islam or Maoism would have served just as well.)  You have to be able to brainwash huge numbers of people in order to commit atrocities like the Crusades, the permanent oppression of women, etc. Is this really in dispute?  And the brainwashing vehicle is religion.

                            Number two:

                            You're also ignoring things like the fact that up until Galileo, the Church WAS the scientific community in Europe,

                            And disastrously crap at it it was!  The Islamic world had the world lead on science until the stranglehold of the Church was broken in Europe.  This is one case where Christianity is specifically, historically worse than other religions!  For whatever reason, the Islamic hierarchy was less hostile to empirical research than the Christian ones, for hundreds and hundreds of years.
                            the Spanish Inquisition was perpetrated by Spanish monarchs as a replacement for the Church's far less evil inquisition, etc.

                            That one is essentially false and is fundamentally Catholic apologism.  The Catholic Church delegated the Inquisition to locals in every country, and showed no particular complaints about the Spanish way of carrying it out.

                            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                            by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:54:41 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Two things: (0+ / 0-)

                      Bach's St. Matthew Passion; Mississippi John Hurt's version of "Will the Circle be Unbroken."  

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:09:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Truly amazing (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fisheye, BYw

                Yes, Mao, Hitler, and Stalin all killed in the name of atheism.  I know as an atheist I'm every day tempted to lash out at anyone who I suspect as believing in a deity or higher power.

                It's a fact that murderous atheist dictators are motivated not by power or political ideology, but by their desire to make sure no one believes in a god.

                And this rock prevents tiger attacks.

                There are a lot of good and exceptional Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists.  

                There are a lot of so-so ......

                There are a lot of evil......

                and the list goes on, and on, and on.....

                Romo2Austin is absolutely wrong about the mustache comment.  The murderous thing is limited to those with those freaky Ron Swanson push broom mustaches.  Those with the John Waters pencil thin mustaches are ok.

                "Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together" - James Madison

                by SierraDrinker on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:39:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nonsense (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Philoguy, pasadena beggar

                  none of the people you mentioned killed in the name of atheism.

                  Yes I have no doubt that many people who were atheists have killed or ordered the killing of thousands even millions of people. But none of them ever did it in the name of atheism.

                  Hell it wouldn't at all surprise me if some of the so-called Christian's who ordered or committed such acts in the name of Christ were in fact atheists.

                  There just isn't enough to atheism for it to be used as a justification for anything.

                  geeze I thought it was bad enough that conservatives don't know what communism actually is now we got purported liberals and even supposed atheists who don't understand either.

                  Hint, Objectivism is also an atheist political belief system and it's pretty much the antithesis of Communism.

                  •  should have put in a snark tag (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tacet, Dallasdoc, BYw

                    But, I thought the whole "rock keeps away tigers" comment might have tipped you off.

                    I read the God Delusion too, which is where the previous commentor's mustache analogy is from.  

                    "Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together" - James Madison

                    by SierraDrinker on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:26:49 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, atheisim is infallable (0+ / 0-)

                    sound familiar?  

                    Atheism is intellectually justifiable based on a view in scientific determinism.  And things like eugenics were done in the name of scientific determinism.  Communism, itself, was "scientific socialism;" its only flaw was in being bad science.  

                    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                    by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:41:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  More nonsense (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      BYw, LucyandByron, Rebecca

                      What is infallable? That's a religious concept and is irrelevant to what I said.

                      Atheism just doesn't have enough to it for it to be the basis of anything. It's just a description of the lack of a certain property like saying that dryness is a lack of wet.

                      The only reason it even exists as a word is because the concept of a sky daddy is so ingrained in human culture that we needed a term for those who don't believe in deities.

                      Listen I know it's a hard concept for more religious people to get but atheism is a minor part of my my philosophical beliefs that is only magnified in significance do to the constant efforts of the religious (primarily Christians) to push their nonsense onto me and my family.

                      Unlike a Christian my atheism does not define me, it's of no more consequence than the fact that I have an A- blood or am male.

                      Yes my lack of theism may influence some of my other beliefs but it does not define them.

                      BTW atheism is imminently falsifiable all it would take is for the big sky daddy to get up off its metaphorical backside and manifest itself in a way that is undeniable (don't ask me how, it's the all powerful creator of everything I'm sure it can figure something out) and end the debate once and for all.

                      But no we're supposed to believe that some unimaginably powerful and complex being created everything then took great pains to hide it's own handiwork, but we're supposed to believe anyway just based on magical thinking. oh yeah and this being despite going through great pains to hide its existence is going to punish us with eternal suffering according to some.

                      Talk about infallable.

                      •  I'm an athiest, (0+ / 0-)

                        for what it's worth.  

                        What I object to is not athiesm (obviously) or religion but the line that's crossed by both the Louisiana community and in this thread from discussing (or even attacking) beliefs into attacking the people who hold those beliefs, and the correlative moral and intellectual superiority.  

                        You are right that atheism, by itself, doesn't even reach the level of being a workable theory about the world, but that doesn't defend it.  The choices are either radical skepticism, which collapses under its own weight; or to find something to replace the role of God, whether it's science, reason alone, post-structuralism, or something else.  But those theories, like religion, are not immune from abuse.  If atheism isn't succeptible to this abuse, it's because, as you note, it doesn't do any intellectual work.  But that's hardly a defense, and it's certainly not a basis to condemn particular misapplications of religious concepts.    

                        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                        by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:24:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm sorry but that's all that much more nonsense (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Rebecca

                          one it is not necessary to find something to replace the role of God the fact that civilization has gotten along fine and dandy for thousands of years with this God(tm) only existing in peoples imagination is proof enough of that.

                          I don't see anyone using atheism to condemn misapplications of religious concepts. The actions of the religious are more than sufficient to justify such condemnation.

                          What I've seen is a single individual who got a little overly bombastic in describing Christian's as terrorists then a lot of people trying to create some false equivalence between belief systems that have been used to excuse atrocities and atheism by pretending that communism and atheism are the same.

                          I agree that describing all Christians as terrorists is a bit over the line. But the nonsense that followed wasn't much better.

                          No one ever claimed that the belief systems that atheists subscribe too are immune to potential abuse we've simply been reminding people that atheism is no more a belief system in and of itself than theism is. Hell just look at the damage caused by Ayn Rand's fans.

                          •  nonsense does not mean what you think it means (0+ / 0-)

                            first, the fact that religion has persisted for so long probably has a bit to do with its pretensions to (a) explain "the big questions," and to (b) provide a neutral justification for morality.  So, yes, God needs to be replaced with something, which is not to say these questions cannot be answered except thru superstition.  Atheism is, at best, the first step in the process, and I agree with you that it doesn't say much else, standing alone.  Atheism can lead to communism, but it can just as well lead elsewhere.  Even communism is not necessarily synonymous with bigotry, though I suspect it wasn't purely accidental the Soviets didn't want actual independent churches around.  

                            So, given that nobody really knows anything with complete epistemological certainty, if the choice is between faith and atheism, standing alone, the choice is unsatisfying.  For one, faith can manifest itself in a variety of ways, not all of which are murderous.  Like atheism, it's a starting point, not an end point.  And if we must get into pure body count, it's (a) irrelevant, (b) not entirely fair given religion's head start, and (c) something of a category confusion.  

                            But if atheism avoids the pitfalls of certainty that afflict religion, Marxism, or literally any system of belief (including pure nihilism), it's not necessarily to its credit.  It's not enough to answer the question of whether or not the concept of God makes sense, without a further account of why the concept was invented in the first place, and what else might explain (or justify leaving unexplained) the further questions God purports to answer.  

                            The irony is is both theistic and non-theistic concepts are at their most dogmatic when they stop being about the individual quest for truth.  

                            Which is a long way of saying that both sides should really stop with the No True Scotsman arguments.  It might not be a fallacy in these specific cases; I can sort of see how communism is a perversion of atheism and violence a perversion of religion.  But it's annoying.  There's a 1st Amendment violation or breach of basic decency or there isn't.

                            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                            by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:04:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm sorry I know you mean well but (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dallasdoc, Mathazar

                            this is a bunch of gobbledygook.

                            Philosophy and politics function perfectly fine in the absence of god belief as does science.

                            Life is not about clean solutions and simple answers to complex problems. and frankly a all inclusive worldview is never going to be the answer.

                            You are way over complicating the matter. Let me see if I can break it down in easy terms.

                            All these beliefs and social structures that you attribute to religion do not and never have depended on the existence of religion.

                            Don't you think it odd that different societies separated by vast gulfs of time and space have ended up with certain behaviors that are considered acceptable and unacceptable? I can't think of any society that has ever condoned and approved of murder.

                            Sure there have been plenty that condone killing under certain circumstances but none that condone outright murder.

                            Theft is another that is generally anathema to society same with assault and save for some funky religious exceptions rape.

                            Have you ever considered that the fact these traits are pretty much universal might actually call into question this notion that morality is derived from religion?

                            In fact most of those things that we today consider immoral are those that tended to be unique to the religions in question. Doesn't that say something about this silly idea that you are promoting?

                            The reality is that through most of human history the majority have gotten along just damned fine with very little moral guidance from any "authorities" or "philosophies" or even belief systems. Most human beings were too busy trying to survive to spend any time in deep contemplation of such matters.

                            Almost universally it's when the authorities have tried to apply this belief systems on a large scale that the atrocities begin.

                            The Europeans thought that god favored them so they felt justified in "civilizing" (read ethnic cleansing) natives in the America's, they thought for the same reasons that Slavery was justifiable and they rationalized their colonialism on the premise that they were "saving" all those indigenous people from the savagery whether they wanted to be saved or not.

                            I do not believe that magical thinking will always lead to atrocious behavior the problem I see is that there is no check to prevent such.

                            A rational person may reach an erroneous conclusion but they have a process for correcting said if they've made their decisions based on empirical study of the evidence at hand. They can adapt and change those beliefs to suit the results of experience.

                            Religious thinking on the other hand presupposes the accuracy of the it's assertion it assumes as fact the very things that should be evaluated to determine if an idea is worthy of consideration, it dismisses as irrelevant any empirical evidence and as such resists adaptation to change if the beliefs turn out to be less than accurate.

                            The reality in the end is that magical thinking requires one lower the mental filters that should be used to evaluate an idea and once you've lowered them for one set of idea's you are vulnerable to other erroneous ideas further since you don't have good empirical filters you are lacking in the ability to correct those ideas.

                            In the end religion is ultimate and worst manifestation of confirmation bias. Since one starts by accepting it's base premise confirmation bias will generally reinforce the original error and render a person effectively immune to ever seeing the error in their thinking.

                            At which point one stops believing things because they are demonstrably true but because they want them to be true.

                            Just look at all the cries of oppression from Christian's in the US. Part of their core belief is that Christians get oppressed because of their beliefs to they see every incident where they don't get their way as confirmation of that oppression and completely ignore all the cases where they are oppressing some other group.

                            Oh and why do you keep coming back to communism? It was a failed experiment that has next to nothing about atheism. In theory the US government is secular as well so why don't we hear atheists being conflated with republican democracy.

                          •  read first; type later (0+ / 0-)

                            most of what you say is in exact agreement with what i'm saying.  Morality does not, in itself, derive from religion, as you'd think you'd infer from the fact that I want there to be morality and yet do not believe in God.  So, other than power structures, literal or figurative, why be good?  Many people might have answered selfish eternal reward or transcendent deduction.  But with neither available, then what?  The natural candidate is whatever pushed religion aside for you, but there's not a guarantee religion is being replaced with something "better."  I cited the example of the abuses in biology's name because Evolution is my personal example of how I arrived at a worldview with no room for God an an uncertain role for morality.  So, we're still at square one.  

                            The point I was making about atheism was that, as you've said, by claiming atheism you haven't told me anything else about what you believe.  I go back to Marxism as an example because throwing off the yolk of the Church makes it as likely as not that there is dogmatism of one kind or another as not.  (Just as "faith" makes it as likely as not there's not actually dogmatism at work, just superstition.)  So, and this goes back to the first point, atheism isn't a posture from which it's possible to judge other positions for being dogmatic:  either it's a set-up for a similar fall, or it's a refusal to engage in the very questions atheism naturally poses after thousands of years of thought dominated by Christianity.  A third possibility is that it's a subspecies of nihilism.  Either way, and I think you'd agree, atheism has to be something that philosophy moves beyond if it doesn't have content beyond its linguistic roots, and it's self-refuting if it does.  It's similar to Socrates's position in "Meno," which left Plato unsatisfied.  

                            Ironically, and with Kant, I think much of the gospels isn't the worst place to start.  Examining what in religion works as ethical philosophy and why, bracketing the miracles and such, makes more sense than throwing everything out or inviting a different comprehensive doctrine to take its place.

                            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                            by Loge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:54:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You are still over complicating it (0+ / 0-)

                            Atheism doesn't say a damned thing about anything because it isn't a philosophy. It's a simple descriptor for a single aspect of a persons overall beliefs.

                            My own beliefs are far more complicated than my atheism and in fact my atheism is a natural consequence of my personal belief system rather than the starting point.

                            There is a reason I consider philosophy to be mental masturbation because for the most part it's completely fucking irrelevant to the human condition. It's a luxury generally only available to the idle wealthy.

                            Most people, you know the ones who work to survive, get along perfectly frigging fine never having read any Plato or Aristotle and got along just dandily before Nietzsche ever drew breath much less picked up a pen.

                            What you call morality is a natural manifestation of social evolution. These behaviors that so many try to attribute to religion or philosophy are an intrinsic part of the development of the human species.  

                            They are around because societies that embraced them succeeded and those who didn't were absorbed or eliminated by those who did.  

                            This is true social Darwinism at work not that nonsense the right wingers bleat about in their confusion over what natural selection means.

                            Just like in the case of physical evolution behaviors that are beneficial (or at least not detrimental) to propagation of a society are retained and those societies that practice them continue. Those social forms that cannot adapt are abandoned as other better forms supplant them.

                            This is the source of human morality it wasn't born in some religious text or teased out of some philosophers mind. It is a integral part of our very evolution as a species.

                            This also explains why it changes over time as our environment changes.

                            Consider some of the stranger codified tenets of these bronze age religions. The prohibition on eating pork for instance makes a hell of a lot of sense if you are in an environment where you probably aren't able to properly clean and store meat and don't have the germ theory of decease to tell you to thoroughly cook pork to kill off any trichinosis. So at the time this was written it was pretty good advice.

                            Today when we have refrigerators and know how to handle things to prevent infections and to cook pork properly it's not as valuable.

                            Consider slavery. For how many hundreds of years slavery was considered a perfectly acceptable social institution? Go back to those bronze age religious texts again and you'll find their care and keeping codified.

                            Why did slavery go from a perfectly acceptable part of our social order to one of the most detested practices in human history?

                            I suggest three things, the printing press, the rise of capitalism and industrialization these three things combined to change the attitudes of people.

                            Industrialization changed the labor requirements for business suddenly you really need skilled laborers who didn't have an interest in sabotage rather than mindless drones doing simple repetitive tasks.

                            Capitalism created an educated class of commoners with sufficient leisure time to consider new idea's that could be delivered in the form of books and pamphlets created with the printing press.

                            Finally the printing press made it easy to share idea's amongst hundreds and thousand of people. Where before a person might discuss the wrongness of keeping humans in bondage with his neighbor or even his congregation.

                            Speaking of which that same printing press opened up the doors the laity when it came to interpreting the bible which lead to the splintering of Christianity which enabled and empowered groups like the Quakers and others in the abolition movement.  

                            These factors all combined to change what was considered moral, Just as those same factors along with a greater focus on urban life brought about women's liberation as well as the labor and civil rights movements.

                            This is how morality is formed and evolves completely separate from all the intellectual gymnastics that you are trying to put it through.

                            See that above is what I believe and that belief has nothing to do with my atheism, many forms of theism such as Deism for instance are perfectly consistent with that view of the origin of morality.

                •  I gave them credit for not mentioning Hitler (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  radmul

                  Hitler was a Roman Catholic. And never excommunicated

                  The neo-Norse types in the Nazi party were a lunatic fringe and somewhat ridiculed if they took the mythological stuff too seriously.

                  Germany was very much Christian at the time and the Nazis knew that they couldn't get rid of the religion. They certainly disliked organized religion for much of the same reason as the Soviets: it was a competition and a threat to their total control of all aspects of life. So if priests spoke out against them, they were persecuted. But if they kept quiet or worked with the regime, they were mostly left alone. The Army had chaplains and everything. And of course the Nazis made official treaties with the Vatican.

                •  You my friend are an idiot (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pasadena beggar, Mathazar

                  I'm probably going to get HR'd for calling you an idiot, but you deserve it for the false Hitler smear.  Religious people like to pretend Hitler was an atheist and consequently use him as a smear against atheism, but nothing could be further from the truth:

                  “You are right and wrong. Fascism was economical­ly socialist (since socialism is an economic policy and has nothing to do with social policy). But it was socially conservati­ve, which is the difference between it and communism.

                  In fact Hitler wanted creationis­m taught in German schools. Here is a few selected quotes in Mein Kampf:

                  "For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties.­" - Hitler in his book "Mein Kampf"

                  "The most marvelous proof of the superiorit­y of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understand­s that there must be a Creator."- Hitler in his book "Mein Kampf"

                  "The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger."- Hitler in his book "Mein Kampf"

                  "The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operati­on. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christiani­ty as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life."
                  - Hitler in his book "Mein Kampf"

                  "My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness­, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them." -Hitler in a speech on April 12, 1922.

                  •  copied and pasted it from a previous argument (0+ / 0-)

                    so please ignore this paragraph:

                    You are right and wrong. Fascism was economical­ly socialist (since socialism is an economic policy and has nothing to do with social policy). But it was socially conservati­ve, which is the difference between it and communism.

                  •  Why yes (0+ / 0-)

                    You do deserve to be HR'ed for the insult. There are rules here. I have not found the one that says people deserve to be insulted at any point or that it is ok to do so.

                    Especially when the above poster was being snarky and, I think, sort of agreed with you.  :)

                    My humor can be a little obscure sometimes too.

                    I'm finding a lot of things funny lately. But I don't think they are. -- Ripley

                    by tytalus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:48:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  What about the massacres in Rwanda (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden, Mathazar

                Rwanda, one of if not the most Christian countries in all of Africa.

                In many instances church officials were complicit in or stoked the fires of genocide in that country.

                And while we're on the topic of Christianity in Africa, I'll take the millions of Africans who have died and will continue to die of AIDS because the Catholic Church who your good nun friend represents works to stop condom distribution in Africa while telling people that condoms INCREASE the rate of HIV transmission.

                Should I mention Uganda's "kill the gays bill?"

                But by all means, please continue to tell us about all the good that christianity has done for Africans.

                When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

                by PhillyJeff on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:02:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  And of course Stalin had an ersatz-religion (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, Onomastic, Skex, BYw, neroden, Mathazar

              Worship of himself

              There were literally prayers to Father Stalin for good harvests. The one and only reason he opposed religion was because it was a threat to his own power. He didn't care much about the logical or scientific reasons for non-belief.

              And if the Stalin personality cult wasn't sick enough, North Korea took it to a whole new level

              •  Moving the goalposts (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happenstance, happymisanthropy, Pozzo

                You can always win an argument about religion by redefining it.

                Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:58:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you deify something then it's religion (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BYw

                  I don't think that is anything new or "moving the goalposts"

                •  The goalposts are "faith" & "superstition" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tytalus

                  Religion is a meaningless word.  However, religious "faith",  belief without or despite evidence, is well-defined.

                  If you want to argue that Christianity does not have faith, go ahead, but otherwise, Stalin definitely set up a faith with brainwashing, and most forms of Christianity are faiths with brainwashing, and faith is what generates a lot of the problems because faith is necessary to gets people thinking that literally harassing others to join their prayers is "good", with the brainwashing needed in order to prevent reality from breaking through the faith.  Without faith one may try to convince others that one is right (as I do), but the unfounded, fragile beliefs of faith give the defensiveness necessary to generate the crazy aggressive attacks on nonbelievers.

                  Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                  by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:00:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I think you should spend some time (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo

              understanding the foundations of why it has been deemed ok by many communist governments to slaughter and enslave millions of their people ostensibly for the sake of their societies health. Atheism is the main trunk of communist justification.  

          •  Do they do it in the name of atheism? (29+ / 0-)

            Of course not.  Those you'd name have pursued their murderous ways in the name of some other ideology which, while not religion, serves a similar purpose in their lives.  

            You should know better than to make this inept comparison.

            Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

            by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:07:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm just using the same (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo, The Red Pen, happymisanthropy

              argument as above -- if atheists have an ideology (comparable in a belief system which religious people have) then they don't have to declare "I'm killing you in the name of atheism."  If I wanted to say that the atheistic ideology of Stalin or Mao shaped their reasons for mass murder and thus, atheism is dangerous, I would be as stupid as saying all Christians are hateful, terrorists.

              " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

              by gchaucer2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:27:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  False equivalency (29+ / 0-)

                Christians murder others in the name of their religion all the time -- history is lousy with examples.  Communists, for example, are only atheists in the sense that they don't want to permit a competing belief system to threaten their control.  That is not in any way analogous to atheism, which is not power-seeking or proselytizing.  

                Saying Stalin or Mao were killing people in the name of atheism would indeed be stupid.  They killed people in the name of Communism, which is an utterly different concept.  But saying Christians haven't killed people in the name of Christianity, or that they don't persecute them in the name of their religion every damn day in this country, would be equally stupid and wrong.

                Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:36:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Competing belief system (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy, Pozzo
                  Communists, for example, are only atheists in the sense that they don't want to permit a competing belief system to threaten their control.
                  The emotional fervor of many vocal atheists appears to fit this description.  It's all about the threat.

                  Really, you see it in their most heated rhetoric, "Those people are crazy! They're capable of anything!  The world would be safer without them!"

                  Insert whatever scary "them" you want there, but in the case of the "End of Faithers" it's believers.

                  Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                  by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:02:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Did you even read the diary? (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dallasdoc, Rebecca, BYw, neroden

                    Your flippant callousness is appalling.

                  •  Emotional fervor (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    The Red Pen, Rebecca, Dallasdoc, BYw

                    of some people who happen to posses a trait (or in this case the lack of said trait) still doesn't make that trait (lack there of actually) a belief system.

                    Even if one goes so far as to grant that atheism is a positive belief in a lack of gods, rather than the more traditional lack of such belief. It still falls far short of being a system of beliefs.

                    A system of beliefs is an interlocking group of beliefs a single belief can not by definition be a belief system.

                    This is not to say that atheists can not and do no not have belief systems of course they do, however just like when it comes to theism there are a large number of belief systems that share the common trait of atheism yet are as vastly different from one another as any two religious belief systems.

                    Some atheists are communists some are secular humanists some are Objectivists and even if one where to accept the premise that all communists are atheists it still doesn't mean that all atheists are communists.

                    As far as I can see Marx's objection wasn't to theism but rather to organized religion itself.  People like Mao and Stalin and Castro where more concerned with eliminating competing institutions of power rather than the beliefs those institutions supposedly represented.

                    •  Anti-theism IS a belief system (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Fletcher Christensen

                      Let's not confuse atheists and anti-theists.

                      This is not to say that atheists can not and do no not have belief systems of course they do, however just like when it comes to theism there are a large number of belief systems that share the common trait of atheism yet are as vastly different from one another as any two religious belief systems.
                      Well put.

                      Being an atheist does not mean that you have an opinion on what other people are supposed to believe.  You have an opinion about their extant beliefs (you believe they are wrong/misguided/whatever), but whether or not they, or you or society are better off because of what these other people believe is not part of "atheism."

                      It is part of anti-theism.  Anti-theists make clear and unambiguous statements of belief about the social effects of theism and atheism.

                      A lot of anti-theists are running around spouting their belief system under the guise of "atheism."  It's a brilliant form of passive-aggressive behavior: they can be as forceful with their beliefs as they want, and then effectively cloak them from criticism by claiming, "I'm an atheist, I don't have a belief system."

                      This sucks because 1) people fall for it, and 2) it gives atheists — who just want to live their lives as makes sense to them — a bad name.

                      Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                      by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:51:42 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No you still aren't getting it here (4+ / 0-)

                        Anti-theist is a made up term it's just a strawman you are using to attack atheists who aren't deferential to the religious.

                        See this is the problem of having your entire worldview hinge on such a tenable a-priori assumption. You are blinded by your own confirmation bias. Since belief in your god is the cornerstone of your entire belief system you are failing to conceptualize what someone who lacks that belief believes.

                        Atheism is a conclusion I've reached based on what I consider to be the absolute minimum assumptions. Which is basically that I exist and that there is an objective reality which can be experienced. The only reason I accept those two is that the alternatives are just too meaningless to matter if I'm just some simulation in some beings computer it really doesn't change anything about what is practical to my existence.

                        I'm an atheist because I've yet to encounter a single god concept that is both meaningful (as opposed to some sort of pantheistic spinoza's god nonsense) and not either demonstrability false or logically inconsistent.

                        I treat every belief I hold with such rigor I question everything and only those that have resisted falsification stay around and that only until new data causes a re-evaluation. I try to stay cognizant of my confirmation biases and engage in spirited debate to test my beliefs.

                        Notice the use of I repeated in that sentence? That's because I only speak for myself and my beliefs I'm not trying to tell you that this is what all atheists believe or even most, just me.

                        Not all atheists are so analytical in their lack of belief, some are atheists because all the religions are hostile to them or for any number of reasons. As I said I can't speak to them all.

                        I don't remember ever seeing an atheist say they don't have a belief system (that's the strawman) this is different from saying that atheism isn't a belief system.

                        You know what? Theism isn't a belief system either.

                        This is why you keep getting so many people object to your characterizations. Because you keep trying to ascribe more to atheism than is there, when you fail at that you make up a nonsense word to prop up as a strawman for this imaginary atheist belief system.

                        Let me try to get you to understand another way both Martin Luther King Jr and Adolph Hitler were theists, do you think they had much in common with each other?

                        The same goes for atheists as a Secular Humanist I have pretty much no view in common with an Objectivist save that I think all you theists are a little crazy (I think the same of the Objectivists). That's it on pretty much every other matter of opinion when it comes to social issues we would disagree.

                        With your Anti-theist nonsense you are trying to create a equivalency that just isn't there. You tried to create it between atheism and communism and now that that's been torpedoed you've dreampt up this anti-theist thing.

                        This is the same silliness that some theists are using when they try to claim that science requires just as much faith as religion ignoring the difference in degrees are not minor. The difference in faith between religion and science is the difference in believing that a sound looking new chair will support your weight if you sit in it (science) compared to an invisible chair that someone just tells you is there (religion).

                        I'm sorry that your's is an intellectually indefensible position, but frankly that's not my problem and you don't get to make it so by making up new terms.

                        •  Holy a-priori assumptions, Batman! (0+ / 0-)
                          Since belief in your god is the cornerstone of your entire belief system you are failing to conceptualize what someone who lacks that belief believes.
                          Actually, I haven't said what I believe.

                          Try rewriting that missive without making that assumption.

                          Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                          by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 01:35:53 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  I think you are confusing communism with atheism (12+ / 0-)

                not all atheists are communists fyi.  This would be a good time for a Venn diagram.  Please educate yourself before you make more ignorant statements about atheists.

                •  Back to McCarthyism (11+ / 0-)

                  Atheists have been conflated with Communists before, let's recall.

                  Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                  by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:40:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Please demonstrate how I conflated (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    happymisanthropy, fisheye

                    atheism with communism.  Just as I don't conflate Christianity with Democracy.

                    I get it -- atheists are the good moral folks and Christians are basically murderous thugs.  

                    I finished with this thread because it is clear that to be a Christian in the minds of the atheists here means that we join hands with the likes of hateful bigots.  We are scoffed at by being naive and superstitious.  If that makes all you folks more confident, carry on.

                    The smartest man I ever met is a Socialist and an atheist.  He is a world renowned educator.  He'd never paint all Christians with the big fat brush those of you here do.

                    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

                    by gchaucer2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:59:44 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What was this about? (19+ / 0-)
                      I will not bother listing the number of atheists who perpetrated mass murder, ethnic cleansing, etc. against 10s of millions -- and I won't attribute their vile acts to all atheists.

                      Since you didn't bother listing them, but only invoked Stalin and Mao later, what else are we to think?  That "don't think of elephants" rhetorical device is not as opaque as you'd like to think.

                      And please don't pull that persecuted-Christian bullshit here.  If you're not among the bigoted, persecuting Christians here characterized, don't include yourself in the criticism of them.  But don't try to pretend they don't exist, or aren't a huge problem.

                      Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                      by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:11:57 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  But that's bullshit (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pozzo

                        she never said all atheists are communists, she merely noted that a couple of atheists happened to be communists and also happened to be mass murderers.

                        •  Oh yeah she pretty blatantly (7+ / 0-)

                          tried to make that association.

                          No one has ever denied that atheists are capable of being party to mass murder, in fact I'm charitable enough to grant that the probability that some of those who engaged in such activities in the name of religion were probably atheists.

                          I will not bother listing the number of atheists who perpetrated mass murder, ethnic cleansing, etc. against 10s of millions -- and I won't attribute their vile acts to all atheists.

                          The implication is that these acts were in the name of atheism. Which is patently absurd since we know the individuals in question committed their crimes in the name of some secular belief system (btw secular /= atheist either).

                          The same can not be said for the atrocities committed in the name of religion. I mean sure the leaders who ordered such atrocities may have had more base practical greed as their personal motivators(hell some may even have been atheists) but it doesn't change the fact that they used religion to justify and gain support for those actions.

                          Every time I see someone try to defend the violence and suffering that's been done in the name of religion by invoking Stalin or Mao it's alway to try and conflate atheism with communism.

                          So in this case I say that Gchaucer2 doth protest too much.

                          Even more sad is that she(?) may honestly not even realize what she's doing.

                          Gchaucer2 I get that you are trying to play the peace maker and find common ground, but a distortion on the level of implying a moral equivalence between acts of people who happen to be atheists with those that were decisively done in the name of religion is dis-ingeniousness and will only lead to more bad blood.

                           

                  •  Doc - (0+ / 0-)

                    If I had a spare $18.95, I'd buy you something on the League of Militant Atheists and Stalin's direct assaults on religious orders - especially during the era of the Show Trials.  Just as the Crusades were not exclusively about religion - neither was Stalinist repression exclusively about ownership of the means of production.  Militant atheism was an essential component of party membership - and hundreds of thousands of believers paid with their lives because of their resistance or even their appearance of resistance to official atheism.

                    •  See my reply to you above (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      pasadena beggar, BYw, Rebecca

                      ... about the difference between atheism and anti-clericalism.  Trying to paint all atheists with the beliefs of whatever the hell the League of Militant Atheists might happen to be is a tiresome dodge.  

                      Stalin's goal -- like Lenin's -- was power, and destroying the old order of those who had it.  Since the Church was part of the old ruling elite, the Church had to be vilified and rejected.  That was the Communist agenda, not that of atheism in general.  You're conflating the two, and I'm going to push back because that false conflation has been a big part of how atheists have been discriminated against in this country for many decades.  It's wrong, and you should be shamed for trying to perpetuate it.

                      Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

                      by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:03:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not confusing anything. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy

                  " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

                  by gchaucer2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:56:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Not so inept (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happenstance, happymisanthropy

              Atheism was not a minor tenet of communism.  The religious were fiercely persecuted in the Soviet Union and China on the basis of their belief.  

          •  Atheism is not a belief system (20+ / 0-)

            It's a singular belief not a system. No one has ever committed an atrocity in the name of atheism. The same can not be said of Christianity or pretty much any other religion for that matter.

            The fact is that for the most part moderate and reasonable Christians have allowed the vocal fundamentalists to publicly claim Christianity on their own. These same moderates are often mum or supportive of such fundamentalists when it comes to issues such as the one that prompted this diary.

            The reality is that since the majority of U.S. Citizens are some flavor of Christian the fact that said majority does not soundly and regularly denounce the extremists is a tacit approval of such appropriation.

            Just look at the situation that the diary is about I'll wager that the majority of Christian's who are mad at the atheist student do not consider themselves to be crazy extremists yet here they are giving succor to such craziness.

          •  Meh, no atheists have (10+ / 0-)

            ever committed mass murder IN THE NAME OF atheism.  The same can't be said of Christianity.  Christians have been killing with glee IN THE NAME of their religion since the beginning.

        •  And how do you propose... (17+ / 0-)

          ...that we "clean up our house"?

          It's not like there's one Church anymore, so excommunication isn't exactly an option.

          We don't get to control who decides to call themselves Christians.

          My church—the Episcopal Church—is one of the most forward-thinking and progressive denominations in the country. We're cleaning the only house we can clean.

          As for who is the "public face of Christianity," we're working on that. It might help if more progressives were supportive of the efforts of progressive faith communities—who, after all, form much of the movement's base, in the vibrant justice traditions of the African American Church, the mainline denominations, and even in Roman Catholicism with things like the Catholic Worker Movement—rather than some here, who denigrate faith and people of faith at what seems like every available opportunity.

          •  I'll be watching for the condemnation of (11+ / 0-)

            this vile act, the public statement, from the 'Christian' community.

            Curious why you are stepping to the plate here and defending these people while at the same time trying to distance yourself and others of 'your' group and separate them as being different.

            "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

            by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:08:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Who's defending these people? (5+ / 0-)

              Please link me to any comment of mine in this thread where you think I am defending the people in this article.

              •  you make no meaningful distinctions (0+ / 0-)

                between 'these people' and who you consider yourself to be a part of

                "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:25:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't know where you're getting that... (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy, Nespolo, Pozzo, Loge

                  ...from what I'm writing here, since I've been doing almost nothing but making meaningful distinctions between these assholes and the faith communities of which I'm a part.

                  Please provide a link.

                  •  What separates you from them? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Philoguy, pasadena beggar, BYw

                    they weren't assholes either, until they were given a reason to be, by some uppity individual having the temerity to demand his constitutional rights not be violated.

                    So what makes you different from them? How can we tell which ones are assholes, which ones will never be assholes, and which ones are just assholes in waiting? How can we tell you apart?

                    And what is this 'link' you keep bleating about? I'm referring only to your pathetic and weak protestations in this diary.

                    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                    by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:34:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You can link to comments in this diary. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Onomastic, Nespolo, Pozzo, StevenW

                      Right click on the date/time, in orange, and then click "Copy Link Address" (YMMV based on which browser you're using).

                      Please link to any indication from me that I am in any way making common cause, excuses, or anything else for these assholes.

                      Resistance to the notion that somehow all Christians are responsible for their actions isn't evidence that I agree with their actions; rather, it's exactly the opposite.

                      •  answer the question and stop (0+ / 0-)

                        dissembling

                        What separates you from them? They were quiet too until they had someone to persecute.

                        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                        by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:53:09 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  What separates me from them? (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          happymisanthropy, Nespolo, Pozzo, Loge

                          For starters, at the base of our worldviews are completely different narratives about Christianity and God's relationship with humanity.

                          I could spend quite a while going into it, but quite frankly, I don't have the time to do it because I've got stuff to do today, and you've made it more than clear that you don't really have an open mind to it.

                          From your posts in this thread, it's evident to me that you're only interested in using the acts of these assholes as a weapon to bludgeon all Christians.

                          •  so why are you even speaking up as if you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BYw

                            are a part of this group? you obviously identify with them in some way or you wouldn't feel the need to make up some wavy distinction between this version of Christianity and your version of Christianity.

                            See this person's comments about how he feels no need to specify things about all other atheists' characters

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            You protest too much.

                            "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                            by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:07:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Are there people in this thread... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pozzo

                            ...or really anywhere on this site who suggest that all atheists are responsible for every single thing done by any atheist anywhere, such that whenever any atheist does anything bad, each and every atheist and atheist organization is obligated to either actively denounce and condemn it or be assumed to agree with it?

                            That's the standard you suggest for all Christians.

                            If you can't find any evidence on this site of such an attitude toward atheists—and I'll be shocked and amazed if you can—then your comparison isn't valid, because you yourself are holding Christians to that standard.

                            By that token, each and every member of any religion is responsible for the actions of all; if you are consistent, you must go into any thread in which an act of terrorism by a Muslim is discussed and suggest that any Muslim organization that does not denounce and condemn each and every specific act is, in fact, complicit in it.

                            I highly doubt you'll do that, though; it's a lot easier to set a bigoted standard for Christians on this site than it is to set for Muslims.

                  •  your distinction is in your mind only n/t (0+ / 0-)

                    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                    by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:35:20 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  A myriad of Christian sub-species (6+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Steve84, Dr Know, DruidQueen, eXtina, BYw, neroden

                    The poster who said he thought Christians were terrorists went way too far. I doubt there would have been any objections if he had instead said that he thought Dominionists were just like the Taliban at heart. Because I doubt that there are any Taliban who read DKos and because the Christians here don't identify with the Dominionists.
                    But sure as the sun rose this morning, if you make any negative remark here about Christians in general, someone will get butt-hurt in a nanosecond. Why is that? Is it the magic of the label "Christian"?

                    I'm an Ex-Christian. A non-believer. Say anything negative about Dawkins, or Hitchens, or Stalin, or Mao and I won't take offense. I don't identify with them. I don't perceive any and every criticism of them as being directed at me. Say that atheists and agnostics are sexually promiscuous baby-eaters and I won't get all butt-hurt and say "Shut up! I'm a good atheist. Some of us are good people." I don't feel a pressing need to defend atheism or atheists (but of course I do reserve that right, in case I feel like it).

                    Read the New Testament and you will find prophecies of scoffers (atheists) in the Last Days. But where is the prediction that the Jesus' church would splinter into factions before even one generation had passed. There were splitter groups even before Revelations was written in AD 90. And then once the protestants came along, splitting became an epidemic. All through twenty centuries there were disagreements and arguments about every bit of minutiae and it even led to people being tortured and burned as heretics. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. How hard should it be for two Christians, both following this commandment, to love each other? But yet look what has happened. You became jealous and argumentative almost immediately. The apostles themselves were competitively jockeying for status in the Kindgdom even before Jesus met Pontius Pilate. You have split and splintered and you can't even get along with each other--much less your atheist neighbor. Why was this not predicted? Did the prophet have a blind spot? What does it say about the accuracy of your prophet if he fails to predict a significant development like that?

                    I'm wary of Christians who claim they are for separation of Church and State. Sure, there might be some. Maybe Barry Lynn who directs American United for the Separation of Church and State. Maybe some Christians who belong to that organization and work for it. But I see plenty of subspecies of Christians who lap up revisionist history about this being founded as a Christian country. I see plenty of subspecies who want the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, "under God" in the pledge, and "In God We Trust" on the money. I see a lot of Christians who support non-denominational prayers at graduations, sporting events and public events (even some that are government-related). I see a few Christian subspecies who think it's heroic to kill abortion providers. I see a few who have a militia (Hutaree, etc.). I see some who believe in White Supremacy. But even if I get to know a Christian personally--well enough to know he or she is not a militant, or a racist, or a dominionist, or a revisionist--I still can't be sure that at some point he or she won't try to impose their beliefs on me at the expense of my religious freedom. So if a Christian tells me he's on my side concerning religious freedom, I will still be watching my back.

                    •  Many religions favor the separation (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pozzo, neroden

                      because it protects their deviations from traditional orthodoxy.  (Ironically, the Baptists were some of the "early adopters.")  

                      And unless there's state coercion, none of your rights would be infringed by a conversion attempt.  Which, of course, ignores the myriad religions that don't believe in prosletyzing.

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:08:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, for the love of... (11+ / 0-)

              there is no Christian "community." Christianity is a collection of literally hundreds of denominations and splinter groups. It's like demanding a response from the German American "Community" or the Computer Software Engineering "Community."

              All I can tell you is I'm a Christian, and I completely abhor the way Damon Fowler was treated, and I think he was treated in just about the most un-Christian way possible.

              •  Christians have leaders, spokespersons (0+ / 0-)

                Elected or appointed who speak for the group. Those other groups do not.  If they think this act is reprehensible they should publicly state so.  If they don't , they condone it.

                "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:48:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You seem to be willfully (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pozzo, Huginn and Muninn

                  misunderstanding the point. "Christianity" does not speak with a single voice. There are groups within Christianity that have leaders and spokespersons, much like I'm sure there are German American historical society presidents and computer software engineer union chiefs, but no single group or leader speaks for the entire "community."

                  If you expect every last pastor or priest from every last parish or congregation to condemn what happened to Fowler, then no, of course that isn't going to happen; but you have me and you have other progressive Christian commenters in this very diary denouncing what happened to Fowler. Consider us all the leaders or spokesmen you need.

                  •  public denunciation (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Philoguy, pasadena beggar

                    that's the only meaningful one. Issues a press release. Stands in front of a TV camera, telling us his real name. Makes it official. That sort of thing. Not some internet nobody.

                    One. Just one would be nice.

                    If you expect every last pastor or priest from every last parish or congregation to condemn what happened to Fowler

                    So far: 0

                    And this is willfully ignorant:

                    German American historical society presidents and computer software engineer union chiefs, but no single group or leader speaks for the entire "community

                    They have no ideology to speak about in public. They are not ideological groups, so they have no need for a spokesperson to represent their views to the public. That's bordering on absurdly ridiculous.

                    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                    by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:58:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  oh and the german american historical society (0+ / 0-)

                    or the software engineers aren't violating someone's constitutional rights, and aren't having people popping up on internet boards  saying they have a right to do so.

                    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                    by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 04:00:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Please link me to ONE PERSON. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pozzo

                      Present one link in this thread, just one, that says that what the Christians did in Louisiana was in any way right, justified, or acceptable.

                      Just one.

                      You have thus far accused me personally of supporting this act and defending those who perpetrated it, and when challenged to provide any evidence for your assertion have provided absolutely none.

                      You now have a choice: Provide a link to someone in this thread actually defending this specific act, or retract your claim that there are people here "saying they have a right to do so."

            •  I condemn it. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy, StevenW

              There.  Happy?

              Didn't think so.

              Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

              by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:03:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You organize, grab the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Steve84, Medium Head Boy

            attention of the media, and constantly denounce these groups.  You seem more concerned with defending Christians against the victims (atheists).  You're thereby complicit.

            •  And if the media ignores us? (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy, Nespolo, Fiona West, BYw
              You organize, grab the attention of the media, and constantly denounce these groups.

              I do constantly denounce these groups, in no uncertain terms, in every public forum available to me. My church does as well; we're organizing a substantial contingent of our LGBTQ members (including our senior priest and an associate priest) and allies to march at Pride here in DC.

              If the media ignores our voice, then what? Do we spend our time trying to grab their attention, even at the expense of what we think could be more effective action on other fronts? Should we have spent our activism resources "grabbing the attention" of media, rather than joining with a local interfaith network to lobby our city council members in DC to not cut funding for affordable housing and supportive housing for the homeless?

              You seem more concerned with defending Christians against the victims (atheists).

              On Daily Kos, yes... because the assholes in Louisiana probably aren't Kossacks. If one of them is, I'll gladly HR them and provide a nasty reply to one of their comments. But when people make vast generalizations about all Christians and rhetorically silence those of us who are dedicating our lives to taking back our religion, you bet your ass I'm going to defend the work I'm doing.

              •  Oh man, for you Christians (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Medium Head Boy, Dallasdoc

                everything is always personal or about individuals.  I don't care what YOU do, I care about what large GROUPS do.  Form a large group, start taking to the streets, contact media, and release a press statement every time some fundy says something stupid about natural disasters, homosexuality, women, abortion, atheists, etc.

                •  I'd love to do that. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  commonmass, Nespolo, tacet

                  In fact, that's the current organizing plan. I want to start an organization that does just that.

                  Right now, though, I have to work on credentialing and research first—which means finishing my Ph.D. Better to have a really good idea of what we're fighting, so that we can fight it more effectively.

                  I'd love to talk to you about my work, if you're amenable... but I don't have the time to do it right now, because my day job beckons.

          •  I think the fact that you have to work (5+ / 0-)

            So hard to create such a "Public Face" for moderate rational Christianity speaks volumes on which side is more representative of the majority of Christians.

            Face it if the extremists were really such a minority then there really wouldn't be a need to be "working on it".

            I appreciate that not all people of faith are hateful of anyone who doesn't share their belief in a deity, but you aren't a silent majority you are a minority of your own religion.

            The majority lend their approval to the fundamentalist through their silence.

            My question is at what point do you realize that the problem isn't with peoples interpretation of the system but with the system itself?

          •  The challenge lies (0+ / 0-)

            in that both the religious right and anti-religious left have a vested interest in reading everything you mention out of religion.  

            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

            by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:44:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you, Useful Commenter. (18+ / 0-)

          Two things:

          (1) It doesn't help us "clean up our house" when people go around saying dumb things like, "I think all Christians are terrorists like Al Qaeda".  That's the sort of idiotic language that pushes the conversation to the right.  Nobody responds to that sort of statement by saying, "Oh, maybe we're bad, maybe we should try to be better."  

          People respond by either abandoning something to which they aren't well attached, or doubling down on what they already do.  Neither seems likely to help Christianity clean house.

          (2) Do you have any idea how hard it is to "clean up our house", when the problem is largely a small, US contingent of people who refuse to accept anyone else's right to even comment on Christianity?

          Imagine, for a moment, that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh decided to get their followers to start calling themselves "progressives" as loudly as possible.  How do you get them to stop?  You can't sue them, to stop them labeling themselves as something over which you have no trademark.  The media, thanks to their idiotic policy of reporting everything as "he said, she said" would probably give equal shrift to the Dittoheads and the Beckites.  Most progressives probably don't care that much about labeling, and will get mad but continue trying to advocate for reasonable social policy instead of abandoning issues in favor of going on TV to yell at idiots from the right - as well they should.

          Some of us actually ARE engaged in trying to clean house - trying to educate other Christians about the problem, trying to kill the culture of moral equivalence that lets these people thrive by remaining undenounced by the wider Christian population.  And those of us who are would GREATLY appreciate it if the people who AREN'T would get on board and help us instead of whining incessantly and not bothering to direct their ammunition at the specific groups and movements who deserve their ire.

          •  My church body, (9+ / 0-)

            the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), just recently allowed the ordination of gays and lesbians as pastors. It created a huge shitstorm and many people left the organization, but it was obviously the right thing to do. There are still hurdles to overcome regarding abortion rights, and only 37% of the pastors support gay marriage (my pastor, proudly, among them), but I'm confident that my own piece of Christianity is moving in the right direction.

          •  Their not fucking small. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Steve84, pasadena beggar, supercereal

            Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.  The NEA alone numbers some 30 million.  Catholics have huge numbers.  It's progressive Christians that are a small minority.  When you guys start organizing and denouncing these things through marches and numerous media appearances and stop getting all defensive about being lumped with these folks I'll listen.  Absent tuat you're complicit.

            •  As a Catholic... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GDbot

              I'm still not clear on your beef with Catholicism.  I responded (I think to you) elsewhere on this topic, but to go further...

              (1) The Institutional Church does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of its members - see the poll, probably PEW, which got big play on Lawrence O'Donnell a couple months ago about how Catholics are actually fairly socially progressive.

              (2) The USCCB is not the same as the Institutional Church.  Most of us are well aware of the fact that the USCCB is often barely better than an attache to the Republican party.  It's also just one group of bishops in one country.  It doesn't speak for Rome, or for the bishops in far more vibrant parts of Catholic Christendom.  It also doesn't necessarily speak for American Religious - nuns, monks, etc - who have acutally spoken out in opposition to the USCCB on issues like health care.

              (3) Sometimes the Institutional Church has a point.  No, not always - I think they're way too slow on gay rights, for one.  But on abortion, for example, it's shocking how much exposure to the Guttmacher data can make people start acknowledging that maybe we should be paying a bit more serious attention to the issue, instead of dividing out into the idiotic camps we have at the moment.

              Also, as I said upthread in a comment NOT in response to you, many of us have better things to do than go marching through the streets yelling at people.  How many homeless people does that shelter?  How many poor families does that feed?  If Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck suddenly started calling themselves 'Progressives', would you abandon working to actually advance progressive causes, just so you could go march in the streets because you were upset that they started claiming a name?

        •  by treating all religion as political, (0+ / 0-)

          you're arguing against the separation of church and state.  How does a Christian living his or her life, believing in some sort of moderate liberalism "clean house?"  No, it's not a matter of individual conscience, it's an implicit political endorsement of constitutional violations.  

          this attitude further plays into the resentment at work, as do comments describing this town as "backwards."  if you didn't exist, the fundies would have to invent you.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:29:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Using Similar Logic - (0+ / 0-)

          I find you responsible for all of the wars and collateral slaughter done by the U.S. military.

          "It's YOUR country and it's YOUR military that have been hijacked by the crazies."

          Continuing with your logic, you are complicit in everything from My Lai to Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo.

          Nothing like totalization to make your point, eh?

        •  What exactly, would you like us to do? (0+ / 0-)

          We don't support the extremists financially or any other way.  We have programs, such as a food bank that aid our community.  Gay couples are an active part of the church.  I can't control who the media decides is Christian and who they decide should be elevated to spokesperson, anymore than I can control who the media believes represents what Democrats believe in.  I have emailed various networks about showcasing hate, and the response is the same as when I email them about showcasing hateful Republicans.

          There is not one church.  In fact, most of these mega-churches belching hatred are non-demonstration, they are each their own self-contained environment.  There is no governing body who licenses the term Christianity and decides who gets to call themselves that.  My Church is a Congregational Church and has no connection to the fundamentalists.

          The fundamentalists of the various religious traditions are the problem.  Fundamentalism is dangerous and hateful and backward, and it is a mindset within small pockets of many groups.  There are people who speak out against the fundamentalists all the time, they don't get press because they are not crazy enough for the press to be entertained by.  You cannot blame whole religions for the actions undertaken by fundamentalists who have perverted the religions to justify their own hatred.

        •  Nothing to do with persecution IMO... (0+ / 0-)

          ...but plain old vanilla bigotry.

          Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

          by kck on Tue May 31, 2011 at 05:06:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Christians aren't all extremists. (25+ / 0-)

        That said, this group holds incredible power and sway over our cultural and political processes. RCC bishops had access to our govt. and Planned Parenthood did not during the healthcare reform debate. We don't have any atheists serving in govt. Every single culture war we're fighting is due to the American Taliban and the people who belong to those extremist groups (and those who may not belong but who share some of their goals) are, pretty much to a person, Christian; they use their religion to justify their ends and their means.

        I agree that there are many Christians who do good work and are good people. I certainly wouldn't want to malign every Christian. And I agree that Christianity shouldn't be classified as a terrorist group any more than Islam should be. There are extremists in every religion. But here in America we've got a Christian extremist problem that many people here just call "Christian" and don't see as a problem. It's a major problem.

        Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

        by Tookish on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:55:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Way off there dude... false analogy (8+ / 0-)

        Your Christians are not very Christ-like as Gandhi noted.

        Remove the log from your own eye and critically examine the rot in your own house instead of pretending it doesn't exist.

        Your excuses and rationalization permit the rot to spread and deepen.

        And they know it. They depend on your weakness.


        I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. --Emma Goldman

        by bronte17 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:01:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You think we're not aware of the rot... (7+ / 0-)

          ...in our own house?

          Do you think I'm making excuses for people who act like those in this story?

          There's a pretty substantial group of us who are trying like hell to remove the log from our own eye.

          Objecting to those who choose not to see that in favor of a cheap generalization about all of us isn't ignoring that; rather, it's asking for some basic respect for what we're doing.

          •  What are you actually doing about it? (0+ / 0-)
            You think we're not aware of the rot... (1+ / 0-)

            "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

            by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:46:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, for one thing.... (6+ / 0-)

              ...I'm a member of a denomination that's fighting against it.

              I'm also getting my Ph.D studying the rhetoric of the Christian Right, so that I can find ways to work against it and undo it.

              Nationally, there are more than a few organizations of Christian progressives working against the theocrats on the Right.

              But of course, if you choose to ignore all that, you'll naturally believe that it isn't there. It certainly doesn't help progressive Christians—who are, after all, a substantial portion of the base of our party and our movement—when we have to defend ourselves not only against the Right, but also against other progressives engaging in crass generalizations and cheap shots against all people of faith.

              •  All people of faith? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden

                holy crap. Now 'faith' refers only to Christians? Because that's all I'm talking about with my 'generalizations', a generalization that will encompass all Christians until you point out a meaningful distinction by which I can tell the assholes apart from the not-assholes.  Like I said this group in LA was quiet too until they had someone to persecute.

                "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:07:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Look at the comments in any religion thread. (6+ / 0-)

                  The cheap shots aren't just against Christians; they're against all people of faith.

                  Progressive Christians, progressive Jews, progressive Muslims—all are struggling daily to bring their respective faith communities in the direction of justice, inclusion, and acceptance. Having to consistently defend ourselves against crass generalizations from our own progressive community doesn't help.

                  •  I don't see anything on your denominations's (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bronte17

                    website indicating there is anyone fighting against this, or any suggestion that they would have any objection to someone's constitutional rights being violated by being forced to participate in prayer.

                    And I don't appreciate your constant referrals to comments about other religions and what happens in other threads, trying to muddy this particular issue.

                    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                    by eXtina on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:22:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So now my denomination is responsible... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pozzo

                      ...for combatting and speaking against any abuse by any Christian, anywhere?

                      If you're consistent, you'll hold a similar standard for all groups.

                      If I see a thread discussing an act of Islamic terrorism anywhere in the world, and you do not leave a comment demanding that any Muslim group that is not actively condemning and fighting against that specific action is either complicit in it or would not object to it, then I will know that you are intellectually inconsistent.

                  •  Anglicans have committed atrocities too.. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tytalus

                    ..and in the name of Anglicanism, no less.  Sparked by fights about the one true faith.  You know your early Anglican history, I'm sure.

                    There's a reason I consider faith a problem.  The modern Episcopal church is one of the better religious groups precisely because it is LESS focused on faith -- it requires people to believe LESS than the average church, and in practice is even less brainwashing-focused than in theory.  Allowing high-church and low-church people to exist in the same denomination and even the same church was probably the start of the good trend.

                    Yet, even as a "good" religion, most Anglicans and Episcopalians still encourage brainwashing of children, including some things I consider frankly abusive.  This is not the place or time to go into the specifics in great detail, but I have a problem with any religion which tells children that Jesus died for their sins, and that is practically every Christian denomination (yes, there are a few exceptions).

                    Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                    by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:18:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Your defensiveness is part (6+ / 0-)

            of the problem and gives cover for the haters and oppressives.  You make the discussion about whether Christians are "like that" rather than about these extremely unjust behaviors.  Get over your narcissism and quit fighting the oppressed and start fighting the oppressors.  I'm so fucking sick of this shit.  Christians make my life and the lives of millions of others a living hell and you fucking progressive christians have the gall to complain about US queers and atheists when we have the temerity to complain about it.  You're like white people complaining about how whites aren't really like that when blacks point out systematic racism and white privilege.

            •  We ARE fighting the oppressors. (9+ / 0-)

              The oppressors, however, aren't posting to Daily Kos. We can't fight them here. We do fight them elsewhere.

              We shouldn't have to fight a rearguard action against our own people, though, while we're fighting them as well.

              Christians make my life and the lives of millions of others a living hell and you fucking progressive christians have the gall to complain about US queers and atheists when we have the temerity to complain about it.

              Bullshit. We complain about it when people tell us that we personally are doing it, that all Christians are terrorists like al-Qaeda, and ignore the fact that people like me are spending our livelihoods fighting it.

              You're like white people complaining about how whites aren't really like that when blacks point out systematic racism and white privilege.

              Your analogy doesn't work. For your analogy to work, your African American poster would have to write that every single white person is a racist who wants to bring back Jim Crow, and that even white people who are fighting racism are part of the problem when they resist that generalization about white people.

            •  So, my 93 year old Grandmother's (0+ / 0-)

              Catholicism infringes on your rights.  Who doesn't believe in the separation of church and state now?  

              (She's never not voted Democrat, btw.)

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:50:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't say (11+ / 0-)

        many of you do, but I'm glad some of you do.  Honestly I'm baffled as to how anyone can, in good conscience, be a part of this religion given its absolutely brutal and oppressive history.  It's like flying a confederate flag and talking about southern pride.

      •  The New Testament is a radical leftist document. (15+ / 0-)

        Too bad all those Fundie Churches completely ignore it and instead spend all their time focusing on the brutal, ugly, mysogynisitic and violent parts of the Old Testament (circa 1000 BC) as a guidepost to modern living.

        •  Yeah that radical leftist, DFH (9+ / 0-)

          collection of books, that, among other things, tells women they can't even speak, much less hold any official office in church.

          That tells people they're guilty of adultery if they mentally undress someone else with their eyes.

          That says faith is better than rational, critical thinking, that you need to win people over not by persuasion but by "Christ's power".

          That has passages condemning homosexuality just like the OT does, and even condemns men who are "effeminate".

          That the leader says his teachings will sow division, no, that he came to sow those seeds.

          And that collection of scribblings is so radically leftist it prescribes torture for those who aren't part of the in-group. But not just the kind of torture practiced today, but eternal, unimaginable torture.

          liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

          by RockyMtnLib on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:59:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Read it again (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mallyroyal, StevenW, bushondrugs
            collection of books, that, among other things, tells women they can't even speak, much less hold any official office in church.
            It says this in one place.  Elsewhere, it says the opposite.  Why?  Well, there's an answer.  Are you interested?
            That says faith is better than rational, critical thinking, that you need to win people over not by persuasion but by "Christ's power".

            Where does it say that?

            That the leader says his teachings will sow division, no, that he came to sow those seeds.

            That's what revolutionaries do.  Or are you one of those people who thinks that a good Democrat is one who agrees with the Republicans all the time?

            Maybe you should educate yourself.

            Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

            by The Red Pen on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:09:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've read the NT plenty (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, BYw, Rebecca

              I was involved in evangelical Christianity in my late teens and just about all of my 20s, so I'm plenty familiar with what it says.

              I didn't fall asleep in Bible studies or during sermons. I underlined a lot of passages and read all of the NT - all of Matthew, all of Revelation, and all of every book in between.

              You said the NT is a radical leftist document - which isn't really a "document" but a collection of books. The examples I pointed to are real and refute your whole notion that it's a radical leftist document.

              There are parts of it that seem that way - such as the Beattitudes, but there are so many other examples that indicate otherwise.

              Me:

              That says faith is better than rational, critical thinking, that you need to win people over not by persuasion but by "Christ's power".

              You: "Where does it say that?"

              Where?

              20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.  (I Timothy 6:20-21

              And:

              8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.

               9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2: 8-10)

              Then there's that quote from Paul where he says believers are to take every thought captive and make those thoughts "obedient to Christ".  If that's not an example of urging people to shut off their critical thinking, I don't know what is.

              And no response about the Doctrine of Hell?

              It's like Mark Twain said: "It ain't the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me. It's the parts I do".

              liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

              by RockyMtnLib on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:33:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And from this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, Rebecca
              That the leader says his teachings will sow division, no, that he came to sow those seeds.

              It blows my mind that you could end up asking this question.

              That's what revolutionaries do.  Or are you one of those people who thinks that a good Democrat is one who agrees with the Republicans all the time?

              Especially if you look at my comment and diary history here. I stand by that part about division. He was talking about setting family members and good friends against each other. I don't think it was because of his stands on social justice or because he was some revolutionary. It was because of his claim that he is the Son of God - his claim that "You will die in your sins if you do not believe that I am He".

              liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

              by RockyMtnLib on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:38:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  There are a lot of things in both the (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Know, Dallasdoc, BYw, neroden

          new testament and bible.  Many of them are far from progressive or radical.  As I recall, Paul and Revelation belong to the New Testament.

          •  to some (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden

            only the words printed in red ink matter - even though the one to whom those are attributed would scoff at that notion, if you read how often he quoted the OT and said he didn't come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.

            liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

            by RockyMtnLib on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:15:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  And it is up to THOSE "Christians" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steve84, terabthia2, pasadena beggar
        Some Christians are assholes. Some Christians do engage in acts that I would agree are terrorist in nature, and would like to install a theocracy.
        to stand up and defend their religion of peace, tolerance, and forgiveness by staunchly condemning the CHINOs (CHristians In Name Only) who perpetrate acts of bigotry and hatred, thus terrorizing atheists and people of other faiths. And the exact same thing can be said for non-terrorist Muslims and Jews. They stand to stand tall and denounce those who tarnish their faith, lest they allow themselves, through acts of omission, to be lumped in amongst the dangerous lunatics and religious crazies.

        Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

        by drewfromct on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:12:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not sure about the acronym (0+ / 0-)

          you're more likely to find Chinos on mainline protestants than evangelicals.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:53:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Wait a minute. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pasadena beggar, Ana Thema

        What was Kos' book called again?
        Oh, that's right.
        American Taliban.
        Uprated against abuse.  

      •  disagree... (0+ / 0-)

        southern baptists and their ilk have no redeeming features...they are NOT christians in any sense of the word.

      •  The problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gsenski, BYw

        is that all Christians, whether or not they are fundamentalist extremists, enable fundamentalist extremism.  There is no objective authority on religion and there cannot be as "faith" is a belief in something for which no evidence exists.  And so even moderate Christians enable their extremist Christian peers because who is to say one is right and the other is wrong?  Both of them believe in something for which there is no evidence so what authority can call either of them right or wrong?

        As an atheist, I call both of them wrong.  And in my book, enabling extremism is practically the same as being an extremist so I, like the previous commenter, do not draw any distinction between "moderate" Christians and "extremist" Christians, they are both branches of the same tree.

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Tue May 31, 2011 at 01:34:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've rarely seen so much bitterness (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc

        over the definitions of a few terms.

        It's enough to make me anti-semantic.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:10:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There needs to be (0+ / 0-)

        Thumbs up, thumbs down on this site. You can't HR someone because you disagree with them, which is what I just did. But there needs to be a quick way to express displeasure without a comment and without going into a long drawn out discussion about "why did you HR?"

    •  Bill Maher said it best (59+ / 0-)

      He's the past master of calling out Christian hypocrisy, as he did recently in lambasting Christians for cheering the murder of bin Laden, given Jesus' teachings of non-violence:

      If you ignore Jesus' central teachings, then you're not followers, you're just fans.

      All sorts of people call themselves Christians, and to the extent they self-label they are indeed Christians since there exists no universally recognized authority on who may or may not use the term.  I don't think Jesus would recognize most of his "followers" as such, however.  

      This behavior has nothing much to do with religion.  It's about naked social bullying, a pursuit Southern culture is just better at than most other American regions.

      Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

      by Dallasdoc on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:26:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's a difference between organized religion (13+ / 0-)

      and personal spirituality...you can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc, and disagree with how the power structure of your chosen religion works.

      Recall Rick Snyder!
      "Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes."

      by terra on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:33:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HR'ed (13+ / 0-)

      For the completely obvious reason mentioned above.

      As a practicing Christian, I'm pretty offended at having someone tell me I'm a member of a terrorist group like Al Qaeda bent on theocratizing the nation.  There are plenty of people to whom that description might apply, but to peg a religion of more than one billion people that way is more than a little extreme and intolerant.

    •  I am a Christian. I am a Southerner. (17+ / 0-)

      I am not a Terrorist.  

      Remind me again how we're different from the wild pronouncements of the Wingnuts on the right?

      Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

      by lostboyjim on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:54:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not all Christians are "Christianists". (19+ / 0-)

      I'm an atheist, have no use for religion personally, but I don't think ill of people just because they have faith.   I only have a problem when they try to impose the rules of their faith on everyone, regardless of belief.  That's how I draw the line between Christians and Christianists.

      They only call it Class War when we fight back.

      by lineatus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:16:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, neroden

        though i'd add those Christians that sit quietly while the Christianists do their work to those deserving the of the term Christianists.

        blink-- pale cold

        by zedaker on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:45:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't go there. I understand wanting them to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          niemann, Fiona West

          speak up against those who are trying to hijack their faith, but it's no more fair to the average Christian than it is to blame ordinary Muslims for not doing enough to stop those who are hijacking their faith.  

          They only call it Class War when we fight back.

          by lineatus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:15:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you. I'm neither a Christian nor an (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lineatus

        atheist ( I have personal spriitual beleifs).  I understand that atheists are often unfairly treated in this culture, and I support efforts to end that. I also support criticism of and organizing against oppressive behavior by Christian churches.

        I oppose overgeneralized attacks on Christians and Christianity, because it divides people who need to work together.  The left in this country includes many believers of various kinds, and we have to be able to treat each other with basic respect across those differences.  I appreciate your comment as an expression of that attitude.  

    •  Do you think Barry Lynn (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic, Pozzo, happymisanthropy, Loge

      is a terrorist?

      Or not a 'real Christian' since he would be one of the first to defend you?

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:40:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am a Christian, but (12+ / 0-)

      I find this appalling.   Just sent in a contribution to the scholarship fund.  I am so thankful he has support from his siblings.  His parents may be church-going, but I question whether they, or most of the folks in this town are truly Christian.

      The Republicans will take away your Social Security and Medicare....skralyx

      by mkfarkus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:44:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps you could notify (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mkfarkus

        your church to speak about this oppression in the next sermon and to organize churches to come to the young man's defense.  It would be great to see high profile priests on television defending him.

        •  My congregation is somewhat unique (6+ / 0-)

          It's an Episcopal parish led by a lesbian rector in a long-term committed relationship.  It uses inclusive language in the liturgy, incorporated a separate social service organization to assist kids in local grade schools with tnhe selective enrollment process for high schools, help fund underfunded health clinics (including contraception) in local high schools, feeding hungry neighbors, helping rebuild New Orleans (ongoing after 5 years), supporting clergy, schools and economic development projects in the Sudan, and organizing for complete inclusion of LGBT folks in the Episcopal Church.  (Not a gay congregation, majority are young families with kids).

          We're a very liberal bunch.  But contrary to popular misconceptions, we've grown from 30 to more almost 600 parishioners in the past 20 years.  

          The Republicans will take away your Social Security and Medicare....skralyx

          by mkfarkus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:47:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  the "funny" part (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina, Onomastic, drewfromct, Joe Bob

      is that La is Catholic. That's why they call them parishes, not counties. I seriously doubt the school would let a student say some Catholic specific prayers - Hail Marys, novenas, etc. Heaven forbid that a person of Jewish faith want a prayer...

      This is all about forcing the baptist based Protestant religion on the students. That's it.

      But there is one simple reply to all of the bigots - Jesus's command in Matthew 7: vs 1-5

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Tue May 31, 2011 at 07:47:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  counter for b/s hr's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      busternjake, Methinks They Lie

      I'd not rec this comment but to counter the HR's

      Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

      by SoCalHobbit on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:07:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Can't *not* HR Someone (5+ / 0-)

      Saying all Christians are terrorists... Obviously there are dominionists and kooks and yes, even Christian Terrorists, but you didn't give any qualifiers.

    •  There are many Christians (5+ / 0-)

      Some of them are dumb and follow a mob mentality.

      Some of them are educated and respectful.

      Please don't paint all Christians with such a broad brush.

      "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

      by MikeTheLiberal on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:09:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was wondering how long (9+ / 0-)

      it would take for this thread to deteriorate into a general attack on all Christians. I honestly was next expecting by the second post. Isn't it ironic that some people who are up in arms about attacks on atheists will turn around and attack all those who believe differently?

      I have no issues with people believing anything they want. My problem comes when they try to force that believe, whatever it is, on other people.

      I think the saddest thing abut this story is this boy's horrible, unfeeling parents. Many of us do not call this "Christian" behavior.

      Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

      by anastasia p on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:46:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pgm 01, bushondrugs
        honestly was next expecting by the second post. Isn't it ironic that some people who are up in arms about attacks on atheists will turn around and attack all those who believe differently?

        And almost no one sees the irony.

      •  I'm going to make a very specific comment (0+ / 0-)
        I have no issues with people believing anything they want.

        I do.  I have a problem with people believing crazy contrary-to-reality things which lead them to act in crazy and destructive ways.  And I'm suspicious of people who believe crazy contrary-to-reality things in general, because it can hard to tell when it's going to make them act in destructive ways.
        My problem comes when they try to force that believe, whatever it is, on other people.

        I have a big problem with that too.  And most "mainline" religions actively force belief on children who are too young to say no, by coercing them to go to church and "Sunday School".   Which means I have a problem with them.  Though not as much of a problem as I do with the more extreme and obvious forms of coercion.

        I used to be pretty neutral towards religion, considering it a harmless and voluntary eccentricity.  Then I found out how Christian church structures brainwashed my friends as children, and I'm pretty much mildly hostile now, because I think in most cases religious belief is essentially not voluntary.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:33:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No HR (3+ / 0-)

      but I wouldn't uprate a comment that says that "Christians are a terrorist group."

      Substitute "Christian" with "Religious Right" or "Christian extremists" and I would not object. But this is patently offensive to our Christian brothers and sisters who believe in tolerance, love, and respect.

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Tue May 31, 2011 at 08:51:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You earn this skeptic's HR (4+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure why so many others seem willing to overlook this blanket statement attacking an entire group of people. By extension, any xian who steps on this dogpile is labeled a terrorist by you and everyone uprating you. How can this not be seen as an insult, not be seen as inflammatory?

      After all the reprehensible behavior to which skeptics are subjected by believers, the blanket condemnations leveled at us just for daring to call BS on foolish beliefs, a skeptic ought to know better.

      Judge beliefs as bad, judge actions -- like those mentioned in the diary -- as despicable. Judge the people who take those actions. Judge the moderates as enablers of woo normalization. These are demonstrable facts. But terrorists...that's way too far.

      I'm finding a lot of things funny lately. But I don't think they are. -- Ripley

      by tytalus on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:09:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  don't worry atheists... I won't hold the (5+ / 0-)

      jackassness of this commenter and the folks who recced it up against atheism as a whole.  I'll be the bigger person.

      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

      by mallyroyal on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:41:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's angry because he's surrounded by (0+ / 0-)

        Christian terrorists.  Did you catch that he's from the Deep South, ex-Christian, etc.?  Those of us who aren't in the "line of fire" are more likely to be able to make distinctions between different sorts of Christians -- he's quite clearly never seen anything except terrorists and those who stand by while the terrorists terrorize.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:27:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm agnostic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fletcher Christensen

      and I find this sentiment and those who support it as little different from the folks who are the villains of this article.

    •  meh. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:04:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seriously... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus, Fletcher Christensen

      ...That's a pretty fucked up statement. If you're not going to make any room for the reasonable, truly good Christian and religious folk, then you're really no better than the virulent Fundamentalists you intend to curse with this comment.

      HR'd for broad, insulting generalizations. And this is coming from a proud Atheist.

      "If you have this (brains), then you follow this (heart) and if anyone tries to judge you based on what you make... *you give them THIS* (the finger)" ~Taylor Mali

      by Ace Nelson on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:57:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is distressing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StevenW, Fletcher Christensen

      that, so far, seventy three Users have recommended this comment.

      Even the first bit of the comment contains sexist references that would often attract HRs.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:02:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HR'ed for terrorist comment (0+ / 0-)

      I'm a Christian. Episcopalian. I support separation of church and state because of historical reasons.

      I don't appreciate being called a terrorist, nor the "no reasonable" response.

      Support Fair Trade. Buy American! Keep jobs at home. I am a populist who is non-interventionist on foreign policy.

      by John Lane on Tue May 31, 2011 at 02:58:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  THIS is why this poor kid is taking such shit (2+ / 0-)

      Because otherwise reasonable people of faith equate his principled stance with your bigoted one.  They suspect that an atheist who stands up for their rights is really only interested in attacking them and their faith.

      The biggest hypocrisy I see is that the people who rec'd your comment have no problem turning around and talking about what a terrible smear it is to question Obama's Christianity.

      Oh Yeah? Go Friend Yourself!

      by roguetrader2000 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 06:08:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Matthew 6:5-6:6 (67+ / 0-)
    6:5  And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    6:6  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

    Of course I don't believe any of this dumb shit in the first place, but modern Christians seem to think their god is a lot more weak and insecure than their Christ allegedly thought.