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If we want to see the world become a happier, healthier, more enlightened place, we religious skeptics need to become much bolder and more candid -- much more aggressive in speaking truth to superstition and Iron Age religious fantasies.  A world in which "revealed" religions have withered away, replaced by science and reason and an enlightened 21st Century moral code, would be vastly superior to anything that has ever existed.  Skepticism and free speech are the keys to making that a reality -- as has already happened, to a large degree, in various European countries...the countries with the world's highest standards of societal health, as it happens.  

Please note that I am NOT suggesting that we restrict anyone's right to practice the religion of their choice.  I'm simply suggesting that we should practice our own right to free speech, and revoke the free pass that religions have often been given.  I'm talking about having honest conversations in all available venues.  This is the only way things change (without bloodshed); the only way societies advance, intellects become more enlightened, and the moral zeitgeist moves forward.  

Here at Daily Kos, I've seen a very disturbing tendency to squelch any criticism of religion.  (One religion in particular, it seems.)  This is really alarming in a venue frequented by progressives, since free speech is the very foundation of democracy and civil society.  Without free speech, you get Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia or Saudi Arabia.  Surely those are not models we want to follow!  

Part of the problem seems to be that, when someone makes an honest, easily-verifiable criticism of a religious ideology, commenters here at DK immediately accuse that person of attacking the people who identify with that religion, and accuse the critic of being a "hate monger" or "bigot".  This is totally irrational, not to mention dishonest.  

If progressive societies are to thrive, we need to be free to criticize religious ideologies, no matter how many people consider them to be divinely inspired.  Conservative Christians regularly criticize my progressive, pantheistic worldvew.  So what?  I'm free to criticize their worldview, and may the best ideology prevail!  That's how it works in civil societies.  It seems to me that the community at Daily Kos needs to take another look at the issue of free speech, and stop banning progressives who present legitimate concerns regarding religious ideologies and their natural consequences.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I suppose that as an atheist, I had better... (4+ / 0-)

    ...start being more bold and aggressive, since otherwise Nazis or Commies or something.

  •  I don't think the 'no waiting' policy is working. (8+ / 0-)

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:26:15 PM PDT

  •  While It's Frequented By Progressives, It's Chart- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, dougymi, Bronx59, claude

    ered to elect Democrats, and so taking on religion in its entirety in an 80-90% religious electorate can be harmful to that purpose.

    There is however a sector of religion that has taken on progressivism as its enemy in politics and the rest of society, which makes it both fair game and also a force we really need to understand and confront.

    I haven't seen a lot of rejection of easily verified debunking of religious ideology but maybe I don't know what you're meaning. Or possibly you originally wrote this for a different forum.

    There is substantial and frequent criticism here of religious leadership and bureaucracy and some of their tenets, especially in cultural matters, that collide with progressive values.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:29:02 PM PDT

  •  We owe it to them.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    ..and ourselves to expose an obvious hoax.

    If a believer woke up one day in a country where Jack and the Beanstalk was a belief system, I imagine they would become "militant" trying to shake some sense into the believers.

    That how I feel when I look around and see what's being passed on to young children. Horrid!

    Why it's bad for society:

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:44:19 PM PDT

  •  Are you a sockpuppet (3+ / 0-)

    of the user that posted  this diary?

    The Golden Rule is good advice, unless you're a masochist.

    by bobsc on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:49:26 PM PDT

  •  Who exactly are you referring to? (5+ / 0-)
    It seems to me that the community at Daily Kos needs to take another look at the issue of free speech, and stop banning progressives who present legitimate concerns regarding religious ideologies and their natural consequences.
    Do these banned users have names?
  •  Sure, Practice Your Right. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    earlybird, chalatenango, Bronx59

    No problem there.

    I don't have a problem with those atheists who in a friendly fashion point out alternate interpretations of religious dogma.

    I don't even have a problem with those atheists who practice their rights largely by being dicks.

    I can point out religious folks who do the same things, in the same ways. The Dicks, though, both religious and atheist, seem to bring to the issue the same emotional fervor. Which is sad, but they can go ahead and practice that right, too.

  •  It's one thing to politely express your belief (or (8+ / 0-)

    lack thereof), or to take issue with particular tenets of a religion, or raise historical and/or doctrinal conflicts within religious texts, or suggest, for example, that the progressive form of Christianity is represented by the Sermon on the Mount, rather than the scriptures that tend to result in the judgment of others or lend support to long rejected institutions like slavery.

    But it's another thing altogether to make fun of and mock religious Kossacks, and refer to their deities in terms like "flying spaghetti monster."

    Now don't get me wrong.  You have every right to say anything you damn well please (well, as long as your continued presence pleases Kos).  

    But don't expect the religious to respect your position while you disparage theirs.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:56:50 PM PDT

    •  This (6+ / 0-)
      But don't expect the religious to respect your position while you disparage theirs.

      “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

      by RoIn on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:44:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My diety is the Flying Spaghetti Monster (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Great Ape, manyamile, dallasdunlap

      His noodley text was first revealed, by the way, at the time of the Dover, Kansas trials where they were trying to equate Intelligent Design with science and have it taught as such in school. His noodley appendage whipped forth and brought a judgement in that case that ID was simply creationism under another name and this injustice was stopped. Well, OK, there were various witnesses who also did a bang up job demonstrating that it was a religious attempt to discredit evolution in the eyes of kids.

      You may feel free to disparage my favorite deity but if it becomes VERY cloudy for you with a chance of Meatballs... well you won't have me to blame!

    •  Have you ever disparaged a conservative's belief? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pvasileff, Great Ape, blueoasis, manyamile

      You might even respect the person, but if you think their political belief is wrongheaded or even harmful, do you say nothing? Or sweetly suggest "Oh no my dear friend, perhaps you are mistaken. But I won't criticize it!"

      People hold beliefs about ethical positions, favorite restaurants, sports teams, beliefs about how maybe it's a good thing to whip their kids with a strap early and often. We feel that it's OK, in some cases, imperative that we perhaps argue against their position.

      Why does religion get a pass? I don't go criticizing people's religious beliefs that often despite my contention that at the end of the day religion and superstitious beliefs do more harm than good to humanity. Usually I only mention it if someone brings it up or I find an open topic about it as I do here.

      To me, simply allowing one's self to believe in claims that one cannot substantiate demonstrably through measurement and successful testing is a path to deception and falsehood. Look no further than the Neoconservative's and Tea Party's beliefs on nearly everything that have actually put them inside a bubble outside of reality that pretty much everyone else in the civilized world rejects. Sometimes, bursting someone's bubble can be the kindest thing you can do for a person.

      •  Religion is part of one's identity. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont

        It is also well established in our history that religion is a precious freedom that not only does the Constitution say the law cannot stand against, but the spirit of the first amendment suggests that we all be personally tolerant or even embracing as well.  People risked their lives and fortunes to come here and flee religious persecution - for their favorite restaurants and sports teams, not so much.  When religious claims become the basis of proposed law I'll be first in line to criticize, but as long as it remains a matter of personal faith I join with Thomas Jefferson in saying I care not whether my neighbor worships no god or twenty gods - it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

        •  So are political beliefs, favorite music and books (5+ / 0-)

          There are dozens of things which are part of a person's personal identity.

          I have no problem with tolerance so long as it doesn't slide into bigotry or immoral behavior. When zealotry starts threatening someone's rights or life, remaining tolerant becomes a fault. Most people don't even realize that atheists and agnostics and other free thinkers are often discriminated against and considered evil for their lack of religious faith. Especially in redder areas of the country. They lose family, friends, jobs, housing, sometimes take physical abuse because they openly say "I don't believe this stuff."

          I do not think stating that a religious belief is wrong and even harmful in small ways or even large ways is any more intolerant than a political dispute. It is no different than criticizing them one on many other matters which we might find contentious. But there is a mindset that "Oh you can't go there. This is a SPECIAL belief. Bollocks. Freedom of speech does not give one freedom from perhaps being offended.

          Oddly, I find offense is sometimes readily taken in this area when none is intended by my simply posing a question or an opinion which I may have.

          •  I do think it is special to some extent... (0+ / 0-)

            ...though I'm game for a good discussion.  Actually restaurants and sports are just matters of taste so there really isn't anything to debate there.  It is why religion is one of those things many of us were raised not to discuss in mixed company, yet that's never said about any other preferences save politics.

            •  People do get passionate about both (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vadem165

              Politics and religion or to some lesser extent non religious viewpoints, reflect one's take on reality.Which by nature we want to be correct. And you will also find some sports or music fanatics, gourmets, conspiracy theorists, gamers etc. etc. who take those passions as seriously or more seriously than most anything else in their lives.

              Sometimes political or religious viewpoints are taken over-seriously by some participants and heated arguments or worse can ensue. However I still don't think that this places religious viewpoints in a special category.

              In fact part of the reason I suspect that religion gets a pass is not that so much that people feel that it is sacred, though many might claim that, but rather that they are indefensible. While to some extent, particularly in some areas such as politics, sports, gaming and such, there are clear records of successes and failures and where ones notions will be tested.  Religion on the other hand must rely on faith in the end. That is belief in something without evidence or justification. Because when someone asks the believer to demonstrate the existence of their god(s) to a bunch of non-believers, it is impossible to do. They can only suggest one believe it without evidence. Likewise, when arguing against someone with a different religious viewpoint, again neither has real evidence which can dismiss the other persons belief.

              These tightly held worldviews, when publicly and deeply examined are exceedingly fragile. Thus, people avoid going there as all they have to support their faith are mostly baseless assumptions. Calling these views sacred is a way of providing an escape hatch to protect one when their belief cannot be rationally justified. "It's holy, so don't insinuate difficult questions about my assertions."

              •  I think that is largely correct. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Noodles

                Religion is a matter of faith, no question.  The trick is to understand what is faith and what is provable by evidence.  Many of us who are liberals understand that difference, but we're also more likely accept critique and discussion.  Unfortunately the loudest religious voices often show themselves to not understand the difference and not be very tolerant of criticism.  It seems to be a connection between understanding the difference and tolerating dissent.  As an example I often say that faith should not try to explain the origins of life and science should not try to prove or disprove the existence of God.

  •  Who's been banned for (6+ / 0-)

    "present(ing) legitimate concerns regarding religious ideologies and their natural consequences."  I've been around a lot and I've never seen it. I've seen a lot of religious believers mocked, but rarely the obverse. Very few HRs are related to religion either. I don't see the problem.  If you want to express your atheism or secularity, go for it. I'd prefer you didn't attack sincere believers as they have the same rights you do,  but their national leaders are pretty much asking for it.  

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 05:56:57 PM PDT

    •  Eric Allen Bell (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      for one, was banned when he expressed his changing views on Islam.  Views that changed due to more information, more facts.

      "I'd prefer you didn't attack sincere believers as they have the same rights you do..."

      Firstly, I don't attack believers (I was one myself once, I know how it works); I attack their beliefs.

      Secondly, what "rights" are you referring to?  I don't have any right to not have my beliefs or worldview challenged.  I'm a pantheist.  If someone wants to criticize pantheism, I have no "right" to prevent that.

      •  Are you Moonlight Surfer? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Free Jazz at High Noon
      •  have at it. just remember, DBAD... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Free Jazz at High Noon

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:52:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My take on the whole Islam thing... (0+ / 0-)

        There are more religious extremists in Islam, and they have more extreme views and feel entitled to use more extreme and violent tactics... now...

        No, it does not reflect all of Islam.

        And in fact, the winner of the Extremism Olympics could easily change.

        There's nothing in Islam that makes them uniquely susceptible to extremism and violence.

        And there's nothing in Christianity that makes Christians uniquely immune to extremism and violence.

        There have been points in history where the Muslim world was relatively chill and tolerant, and the Christian world in Europe was plagued with religious intolerance, extremism and violence - see the Salem Witch trials, or the Inquisition, or the Crusades...

        In fact, the extremism factors could change, quickly enough to leave us scratching our heads and asking "Where the hell did all that lunacy come from?" The norms that keep American Christians from going wild and causing an orgy of violence are fragile. And something could happen tomorrow, or 30 years from now, that could establish new norms in the Muslim world that brings them into a new era of peace and tolerance.

        But don't think that Islam's violent, and Christians are not. That can easily change.

  •  with this I agree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Great Ape, blueoasis, claude
    I'm simply suggesting that we should practice our own right to free speech, and revoke the free pass that religions have often been given.
    I was brought up that talking about money or questioning anyone's religious beliefs, no matter how wacko was simply not done.  Never mind that the religious could question my lack of faith...

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:04:13 PM PDT

  •  Where? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, jan4insight
    Here at Daily Kos, I've seen a very disturbing tendency to squelch any criticism of religion.
    I haven't.  If anything I see a fairly regular dismissive (at best) and hostile attitudes expressed.  Certainly not by all, or even by a substantial majority, but pretty freely negative opinions about religion(s) here.

    In any case I would maintain that progressives have much to owe certain people of faith, and certainly have reason to welcome them -- Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Bill Moyers, Stephen Colbert, John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, Elizabeth Warren, etc.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:56:11 PM PDT

  •  Maher's interview with Dawkins is relevant... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    "I think people mistake militancy for clarity."

    "People can't bear clarity, they want you to weasel around ... They think you're being threatening, aggressive, strident, shrill..."

    QFT!

  •  I dunno. I've had no problem stating my case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    I've done so verbosely on a number of occasions. I try not to be a dick, but nor do I not full state my piece. To me it's not so much the individual's belief as it is their willingness to believe in something because they (we) want to without trying to be quite certain that the evidence is there to substantiate their belief.

    Sometime it's best to simply raise questions and let them try to answer them. Before I looked closely at religion, I did not examine my beliefs very well beyond what I'd been taught as a child. Once I came to the conclusion that god was a big enough fellow that my doubts and questions would do him no harm, and that a loving deity who played fair would even welcome them, then the scales started falling away from my eyes.

    Mostly, keep good evidence on your side and link to it.

    •  asking questions is essential! (0+ / 0-)

      If you ask many religious adherents, they often ask questions themselves and often recognize that the proof of their beliefs is in fact NOT out there.

      Religious people will listen to you.  A lot of people on this site seem to have trouble understanding that religous people aren't all like Rick Santorum and Pat Robertson.  Most aren't.

      You sound like you're comfortable in your skepticism/disbelief/agnosticism/atheism/questions.  Which strikes me as extremely healthy.  Some of the more vocal atheists on this site seem decidedly insecure, however--I think in many cases it's because they were brought up in religious backgrounds and feel anger at the notion that they were some how 'lied' to.  The fringe religious right in this country is partialy (largely) responsible for that, in a lot of cases.

      •  I also had the religious upbringing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bevenro

        I suspect that some of the more vocal people might find themselves under fire from family and friends and their community for this lack of belief. In some cases one might need to push back. For some activists they're vocal because they are activists. For most, I don't think that insecurity is the problem. Once the conclusion has been reached, there is no fear about fictional characters others may believe in.

        •  I don't mean insecurity in that respect. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noodles

          I mean insecurity in feeling confused as to what a lack of belief might mean in a world full of believers.  I see quite a bit of the following sentiment (certainly on this site, from some poster)

           'Holy crap!!  It was all a bunch of lies!!!!  You fools, how on earth don't you see that?  I'm going to tell the world of this seemingly obvious discovery!'

          If you were born and raised in a village of fundamentists, such a sentiment might make sense--and if that is the case (as it may well be for some people) then I can understand the feeling that being atheist or agnostic might be traumatic.

          But I have never met anyone like this.  Nearly everyone I've met either loosely believes, or loosely doesn't believe, and feels completely free to discuss whatever metaphysics, philosophy or theology might underile their thinking.  

          I have never understood those who seek to purge the world of religion (I don't think we are any better or worse for it--some people are wonderful, some are horrible no matter what they might believe).  Just as I have never understood missionaries, or anyone who proselytizes, I don't understand those who try to preach the dogma of unbelief (which, despite some people who play semantic games, is still a dogma.)

          As for my personal view, I couldn't care less whether or not there is a God or anything else.  Which I suppose indicates that I don't believe in an interventionist God that you can ask for things...but it doesn't necessarily mean that I don't believe in anything, either.

          Enjoy the noodles :)

  •  Please note... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, sfbob, bevenro

    Science and reason are not at all mutually exclusive to religion.  Plenty of people adhere to both and understand which is which.  Also, faith is on a higher plane than mere superstition or fantasy.

    •  Faith is on a higher plane? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pvasileff, Great Ape, blueoasis

      How is faith on a higher plane than "mere superstition or fantasy"?  What we're talking about is faith IN superstition and religious fantasy.

      The idea that faith without evidence is somehow a virtue is absurd!  It serves the purposes of priests and rabbis and imams, obviously, which is why faith has been praised for centuries -- but faith without evidence is simply gullibility.  

      •  not exactly. There is a deep spiritual component (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vadem165

        to religion that places it on a higher plane than superstition or fantasy.  Even if it's not 'true' or 'scientifically accurate' per se.  The idea of getting close to something, or someone, be God or whatever, is a vehicle for spiritual exploration--it doesn't particularly matter if something is actually 'out there' or not.  Why should it?
        You'll note that many atheists consider themselves to be spiritual (look at a few recent polls).

        •  re: the "spiritual" component (0+ / 0-)

          I consider myself to be a spiritual person.  I'm a pantheist; my spirituality is informed by the natural world and the physical universe -- to things that actually exist.  From what I've seen, most religions, such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, have nothing to do with actual spirituality.  They're all about myth and superstition and childish fairy tales.  Hinduism seems to give some idea of what spirituality is, and some idea of how to cultivate spiritual awareness.  The Abrahamic religions claim to be spiritual enterprises, and make believers THINK they're pursuing a spiritual path, when actually they're just wasting their time on superstition and myths.

          •  If that's what you think of Abramic religion.. (0+ / 0-)

            ...you need to get out more:)  There is mythology involved, but that has a teaching purpose and is not primarily what they are about.  They are at their most basic level a path to the divine and a guide to living one's life.  This isn't to say that some adherents do not themselves reduce their faith to superstition, but that is greatly misguided compared to what the scriptures actually teach.

            •  I'm very familiar with the Abrahamic religions (0+ / 0-)

              Went to church and Sunday school every week for 18 years.  And I've studied Islam for years.  And I know that their preoccupation with sin and salvation and blind faith has nothing at all to do with spirituality.  

              The term "spirituality" has been horribly corrupted and misused by the Abrahamic religions, which are about something else entirely.  

              •  But still... (0+ / 0-)

                ..."their preoccupation with sin and salvation and blind faith" is hardly the complete picture, and at least in my form of Christianity extremely minor almost to the point of non-existent.  Christianity in my experience is preoccupied with following the teachings and example of Jesus.

  •  What people believe is secondary to... (0+ / 0-)

    the fact that a certain subset of believers insist that being members of their group entitles them to take "liberties" that others are not or should not be afforded.

    Systems of thought are, by definition, closed systems. You either buy into them or you do not. The big problem is that any system of thought--religious or not--can be used to justify repulsive behavior. Self-certainty, whether based on a form or religion or not, is the shortcut to absolutism.

    I really see no reason to be needlessly antagonistic. What does that accomplish?

    If you want to criticize religions, it seems to me that there are two legitimate ways to do so.

    One way is to point out where they fall down based on their own assumptions. Intellectually speaking that is the most honorable and least combative way to approach things. I don't particularly see the point of making fun of peoples' personal beliefs unless those beliefs are used as an excuse to beat up on some third party.

    The other way is to go after the religion as an institution and again only if it becomes problematic by...oh...I don't know...claiming to speak for ALL individuals without exception and to determine what ALL individuals, adherents and non-adherents alike, should be permitted to do and be permitted from doing under the law, or perhaps even what others should even be permitted to believe. That in fact generally has little to do with a religion's theogony and cosmology or even with its ethics, and far more to do with its hierarchy and its own sense of importance. The beliefs, for the most part and unless they intrinsically provide support for an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, are neither here nor there.

    Many people, even if they are not really religiously observant, find certain rituals and certain beliefs to be comforting. Unless there is some compelling reason for attacking that sense of comfort I don't see any particular point in doing so.

    We are prone to view ourselves as being completely rational and others who appear to disagree with us as
    being less so. Virtually everyone operates in one fashion or another and to a greater or lesser extent on the basis of unexamined assumptions.

  •  Here's a shocking example of how (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, wayoutinthestix

    "sensitivity" leads to people excusing outrageous abuses. It fits with what you're saying because we're talking about people imposing no-criticism rules on themselves and others in the name of respect for other people's beliefs. When a survivor of Female Genital Mutilation circulated a fake petition in London to protect the right to mutilate little girls, she found that almost every single person she approached was willing to sign it.

    Approaching shoppers with the petition supporting FGM, she told them she wanted to protect her  “culture, traditions and rights”.

    In only 30 minutes 19 people signed it with some saying they believed FGM was wrong but because it was part of Ms Hussein’s culture they would add their names. Only one person refused to sign.

    She kept saying "After all, it's only mutilation" to see if they'd get the hint, but they just said, "Yes, that's right." She ended up in tears. She said it really frightened her that people would support something like that in the name of cultural sensitivity. This sounds like what you're saying about people backing away from criticizing something just because it's part of someone's religion.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/...

  •  I was HRed for critizing the Mormon church (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    "Down with sodomy, up with teabagging!" Sign @ TeaBilly rally.

    by pitbullgirl65 on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 09:31:56 PM PDT

  •  you are welcome to do whatever you like (0+ / 0-)

    with your free speech.

    You always have been.

    Please don't implicate this site with some sort of dark trend to 'squash' anti-religious sentiments.  That is, to be completely honest. a full-on falsehood (I don't like the term 'lie' but it sure as hell ain't true).

    Also please don't suggest that DKos is on the edge of turning into Nazi Germany because some of us find terms like 'magic sky fairy' to be stupid and obnoxious.

    Your diary is strange.  You seem to be deeply personally threatened by something.  If it's the religious nuts on the Right--that's great--I'm threatened by them too (although to be honest most of them aren't actually religous--it's an act).  But you need to be able to distinguish lunacy from religion itself--which is as individual as people themselves, believe it or not--even if it does offer a framework of beliefs/morals/practices for some people.  Religion has been responsible for much good in the world (Jewish/Muslim principles of tzedakah/zakat, for example)--it has done much ill in the world.  Like everything else.

    I'm a secular agnostic Jew, and I know dozens of people who call themselves atheists.  None of them are un-free to speak their mind.  Maybe they have to look at a bunch of Christmas trees around Dec. 25.  THey're usually fine with that.  They usually have their own.

    •  Not at Daily Kos, you're not! (0+ / 0-)

      "You are welcome to do whatever you like with your free speech.  You always have been."

      I know that several users (at least) have been banned from Daily Kos for posting material critical of Islam.  Banned after an unholy shitstorm of ad hominem attacks from hysterical readers, accusing the posters of being "hate mongers", "bigots", "Islamophobes", etc., without any attempt to disprove the claims being made by the poster, even when challenged repeatedly to do so.

      At DK, you're free to criticize religion in general, but Islam is off limits.  Muslims are victims at Daily Kos, and anyone who dares to criticize their religion is quickly shown the door.      

      •  are these well-informed/researched (0+ / 0-)

        critiques or insults?

        If a., I would expect a lot of blowback but not banning.  If b., then you might get kicked off.

        That said, you are allowed to insult the hell out of Christianity here and nothing happens to you...so there are indeed lots of double, triple and quadruple standards here.

        No one said DKos wasn't hypocritical.  All activist sites are.  Actually I take that back--a lot of people say DKos isn't hypocritical.  Usually hypocrites.

  •  I properly take religion to task here often, (0+ / 0-)

    and most people here are pretty supportive.

    The Christian freakshows in power in our country are causing a lot problems. You turn on the TV and hear about a person in our government talking about Noah's Ark like it's fact?

    That's fucked up.

    Christian control of America is bad news for progression of our society, bad news for women's rights, gay rights, etc.

    Fight it every step, and be thankful every new generation is less religious.

    That's the way.

  •  For thousands of years. . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . .people that spoke up about the prevailing religion were killed, often by burning at the stake. This bloodshed has occurred across the ages to include many different religions. This had the effect of silencing free thinkers and, I think, solidified the tradition of keeping quiet about religious matters. It has been termed "being respectful".

    But, our religious brothers have not been respectful to us. And, YES, it is time to speak out on it, to take the conversation back. It doesn't mean we have to be obnoxious about it, we will change more minds by speaking gently, and that should be our goal. But speak we must.

    •  Matador,re:"YES, it is time to speak out on it,... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      matador

      ... to take the conversation back."   FYI,...

      ...that is what my Humanist Group in Sarasota,Florida tried to do on Labor Day weekend Sunday recently passed.

      Hobby Lobby had posted a full page ad in the local news letter with their usual cherry picking support of, taken out of context, comments by American Founding Fathers in support of a God & religion.

      My Humanist  Group took out our full page ad in the same newspaper to present Founding Father's statements as a counter.

      When I checked about a month  after our ad was published, I was informed that NO "Letters to the Editor" followed our Humanist paid for ad. Further, when I questioned a Sarasota resident about our Humanist effort she, a religious and liberal person, told me that she did not recall seeing the Humanist full page ad.

      So can I reasonably conjecture that our Humanist ad was a failure to influence anyone?

      I suggest that it was not a failure in that I must consider the possibility that some young Floridians saw it and it just may have piqued their interest enough to counter what they had
      been falsely fed that..." America is a Christian Nation".

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