How atheist-friendly is Northfield? (also, religious vs. legal views on marital rights)

atheist bus President Barack Obama personally did me and other atheists a big favor in his inaugural speech this week when he said:

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.  We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. (continued)


I’m not going to start a campaign to put signs on Northfield’s buses like they’re doing in the UK with the Atheist Bus project. But it has made me wonder (like I wondered back in May of 2007 with a How gay-friendly is Northfield? blog post): How atheist-friendly is Northfield?

1,517 comments to  (Including 203 Discussion Threads) How atheist-friendly is Northfield? (also, religious vs. legal views on marital rights)

  • 801

    [...] How atheist-friendly is Northfield? (also, religious vs. legal views on marital rights) (1437) [...]

  • 802
    Paul Zorn says:

    I keep trying to resurrect (maybe not the right word …) these old, old threads. But here’s something new about religion and its place in public life. Last Saturday’s Strib has an op-ed

    http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentary/93152889.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

    arguing that the next Supreme Court appointee should be an atheist. Since then President Obama has nominated Elena Kagan, who is (I think) Jewish. But the question remains: Is the editorialist right? Do atheists deserve “representation” on the SCOTUS?

    • 802.1
      kiffi summa says:

      Paul: I do not think it is appropriate in a country which has separation of church and state to have religion be a factor in the eligibility of Supreme Court Justices.

      Since religion cannot play a preference in the decisions made by the justices, they should be presumed to take a neutral position as to personal religious persuasion.

      As a matter of fact, Kagan, if nominated, would replace the only Protestant (Stevens) currently on the Court.

      So… with her nomination, the court would be comprised of Jewish and Catholic members.

  • 803
    Patrick Enders says:

    Souter is Episcopalian. If he’s anything like the Anglican/Episcopalian ministers that I keep coming across in British literature, he’s probably an atheist.

  • 804

    Justice Souter retired last year and was replaced by Sonia Sotomayor, a Catholic at least by upbringing.
    .-= (Penny Hillemann is a blogger. See a recent post titled Bald Eagle Hanging Out With Pelicans) =-.

  • 805

    I don’t think religion or atheism of candidates should normally enter into the appointment or approval process as a deciding factor, except that I think having varied backgrounds on the court is generally good, and I also think there is danger in having a strong majority of one religious persuasion and, frankly, especially of a religious persuasion that takes a particular doctrinal stance upon an issue on which Americans as a whole have varying views and which is likely to come before the court.
    .-= (Penny Hillemann is a blogger. See a recent post titled Bald Eagle Hanging Out With Pelicans) =-.

    • 805.1

      Penny, I think you know, but I just want to point up the fact that ot all Catholics apply their beliefs in the same way…right or wrong as that may be. Many members of the Catholic church, like any other church may go to church and expound their beliefs with many a varied reason as to why.

  • 806
    Paul Zorn says:

    Nobody proposes making religion or lack thereof an official or legal criterion for eligibility to sing with the Supremes. Even if that were a sane idea — it isn’t — it would run hard afoul of the Constitution’s establishment clause.

    But there’s a harder question here somewhere.

    While ethnicity, gender, culture, and other such factors should certainly not be mandated (for or against) in these appointments and nominations, it seems to me perfectly reasonable and wise to keep such things in mind when nominations are made and voted on.

    It’s not just a matter of statistical fairness or bean-counting, though those may play some role. More telling for me is the fact that the SCOTUS is asked to rule on a huge variety of questions, some of which touch directly on issues of religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Justices with a variety of experiences in these areas bring something extra to the table, or bench. Something of that advantage might accrue, I think, if we had more diversity than we do in the area of presence or absence of religious belief.

    • 806.1
      john george says:

      Paul Z.- I agree with your comment, here, :
      “While ethnicity, gender, culture, and other such factors should certainly not be mandated (for or against) in these appointments and nominations, it seems to me perfectly reasonable and wise to keep such things in mind when nominations are made and voted on.”
      What my biggest concern over the last few years with the advent of “profiling” into the public forum is our fear to consider any of these normal traits for fear of being lableled a “profiler.” Is this so bad? If we are looking for an employee for a job whose requirements include public relations, and a slovenly, ill-kemp, inarticulate applicant seeks the position, I’m pretty sure we would be more inclined to hire someone who at least tried to dress and act like the job requirements. I guess I really don’t see any difference when looking for a Supreme Court justice. This is a fairly specialized position, and those being considered for it need to have a little more in their resume than their ethnicity, gender and creed. If they have the qualifications, these other factors should be beside the point.

    • 806.2
      David Ludescher says:

      Paul: It seems perfectly reasonable to keep ethnicity, gender, culture, and other factors in mind when choosing a candidate; but it isn’t in practice. In fact, it might work in reverse -- Justice Clarence Thomas being the example. A “minority” candidate like Thomas doesn’t get the same kind of screening that a “majority” candidate would get simply because people don’t want to seem racist. A marginal candidate like Thomas might get appointed because of his race yet a justice like John Paul Stevens might more closely identify with the issues of racial injustice.

  • 807
    Phil Poyner says:

    There are very few absolutes in this world, but here’s one I know to be true: In the American political process, declaring yourself an atheist will instantly render you unelectable in over 95% of all locales. See, a majority of Americans foolishly believe morality and ethical behavior go hand in hand with religion, regardless of how many examples they may see that prove the contrary. I’ve met moral and ethical religious people, and I’ve met moral and ethical atheists. And I’ve met bunches of immoral and unethical people of every persuasion! I fail to see the correlation between the two.

    • 807.1
      Patrick Enders says:

      Phil,
      That’s mighty enlightened of you. I hope you’re not planning on running for office.

      • 807.1.1
        Phil Poyner says:

        Ah, but then I never actually declared MYSELF an atheist! ;-) Still, in this day and age believing that an atheist could be moral an ethical is probably enough to make ME unelectable. Just as well…I’m also kind of a jerk most of the time!

      • 807.1.2
        Phil Poyner says:

        Ah, but then I never actually declared MYSELF an atheist! ;-) Still, in this day and age believing that an atheist could be moral and ethical is probably enough to make ME unelectable. Just as well…I’m also kind of a jerk most of the time!

    • 807.2
      Paul Zorn says:

      Phil,

      You raise an interesting “recursive” question about eligibility for office. Suppose

      (i) disbelief in God disqualifies a bloke;
      (ii) disbelief in rule (i) disqualifies a bloke;
      (iii) disbelief in rule (ii) disqualifies a bloke; and so on.

      Who could run? Blimey! The good news for all of us is that being a jerk is emphatically not a problem.

      Sorry about the faux British, by the way, but Patrick’s reference to clergymen in literature set me off. For anyone who likes such things, I recommend Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope, which somehow manages to be respectful, satirical, moving, and very, very funny about English ecclesiastics and politicians. And you get to watch pro- and anti-disestablishmentarians go head to head.

    • 807.3
      David Ludescher says:

      Phil: I would be concerned if a sitting Supreme Court justice was an avid atheist. It isn’t much different than having a judge who is a fundamentalist Christian. Judges have to judge according to the law and the Constitution, not their individual bias.

      I don’t think it would be that hard for an atheist to get elected if they didn’t make atheism an issue.

      • 807.3.1
        Paul Zorn says:

        David,

        Would you worry if one of the Supremes was an “avid” Lutheran? Catholic? Unitarian?

        Perhaps an atheist could get elected if he or she “didn’t make atheism an issue.” In a fairer world, the same stricture would apply to non-atheists, too. In an even fairer world, candidates could make whatever issue or non-issue they want of religion, and voters wouldn’t give a d*** either way.

      • 807.3.2
        David Ludescher says:

        Paul: Yeah, I would worry. The idea that a particular group deserves “representation” flies in the face of impartial decision-making.

        Candidates for an elected office is a different matter. A person’s particular belief structures inform voters what issues are important to the candidate.

  • 808
    kiffi summa says:

    Human Rights Campaign sends out a notice to its members that the Catholic Church is refusing to allow children remain in their schools if it is discovered that the parents are gay…
    A child in the Boston Catholic school system was admitted and then the admission rescinded because of the parents sexuality; two preschoolers in a Colorado school were expelled ( preschoolers expelled??? ) because of their parents sexual orientation.

    Is this a common practice, or an aberration?

    • 808.1
      Patrick Enders says:

      So the Church believes in punishing children for the sins of their fathers?

      Interesting.

    • 808.2
      David Ludescher says:

      Kiffi: Who is the “Human Rights Campaign”, and how did they get their information?

      • 808.2.1
        Scott Oney says:

        David: Those small bumper stickers, two yellow lines on a dark blue background (meant to be an equal sign), are theirs. It’s a group that fights for equal rights for those they’ve managed to convince themselves don’t have ‘em.

      • 808.2.2
        kiffi summa says:

        David; Human Rights Campaign is a national equal rights organization. I suggest you go to their website and search around.

        An e-newsletter came from them last week with the information about the children being denied school attendance because of their parents’ sexual orientation.

  • 809
    john george says:

    Kiffi- You raise an interesting issue, here. Should religious organizations be compelled to change their doctrines to allign with societal trends? I say no. Most monotheistic religious organizations have a narrow set of tenets that sets them apart from the society around them, and other religions that differ in their basic doctrines. I believe this is the concept the framers of the constitution had in mind when they wrote their separation clause. This group of men had different religious backgrounds and recognized that it was important that each of them have the freedom to live those convictions. That is the reason the Pilgrims fled England to this country in the first place. If you want to use human rights as a litmus test of whatever religion you might want to associate with, then that is certainly your perogative. But I don’t think we should summarily impose this narrow set of standards on every religion to satisfy your own definition of what an “acceptable” religion should look like.

    • 809.1
      kiffi summa says:

      John: these are little children, in one case preschoolers… there are no “narrow set of tenets” or “doctrines” to apply to them. I believe you are just being argumentative with me personally because of our well known differences about ‘religious’ POVs.

      I am remembering a colored print hanging on the wall of the Sunday school room when I was a small child: A picture of a young man with long blondish-brown hair, wearing what we would now call a dress, seated on a rock, and saying “Suffer the little children to come unto me…”

      • 809.1.1
        john george says:

        Kiffi- I’m not convinced that you understood my point, and it really isn’t worth it to press the issue further.

        I don’t fully agree with the responses of these two schools, but they are Catholic schools, not public schools. That being the case, unless they receive tax dollars for their programs, I don’t think the government or the HRC has any position of authority to tell them how to handle these situations. They can certainly express an opinion, just as I can, but that opinion carries no more weight with the Catholic Church than my opinion.

  • 810
    Paul Zorn says:

    Here’s a link — there are thousands more out there — to the kids-of-gay-parents-in-Catholic-schools story.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/05/14/catholic.student.gay.parents/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

    Rejecting kids for their parents’ inadherence to a Catholic doctrine seems absurd on its face, not to say impractical. Doing so across the board would probably empty the schools. By the same logic, too, Lutheran schools (like the one I attended as a tyke) should vet parents’ views on predestination, transsubstantiation, and the okay-ness of lodge membership, all of which have been and may still be live theological questions.

    So much said, the recent cases in Massachusetts and Colorado seem to me to be aberrations from, rather than instances of, standard operating procedure. Indeed, Catholic schools seem to me to do a lot of good works specifically among poor and disadvantaged kids, including some with parents in jail, on drugs, and worse. This good record doesn’t excuse the Massachusetts and Colorado decisions. On the contrary, it suggests that these decisions were not just wrong, but (to this non-Catholic) anti-Catholic.

    • 810.1
      Patrick Enders says:

      Indeed. Why not look a little deeper into parental deviations from church doctrine?

      Some serious consideration should be given to the following:
      Divorce
      Out of wedlock birth
      Contraception
      Masturbation

      Or, if the Church want to look beyond sex and relationships, how about:
      Meat on Friday
      Taking the name of the lord, our god, in vain
      Voting for a Democrat

      I’m sure there are plenty of others.

    • 810.2
      David Ludescher says:

      Paul: I think defiance not inadherence was or is the problem. Each bishop gets to decide for himself how to handle parents who openly reject or defy the Church’s teachings but still demand a Catholic education.

      If I remember correctly, the Boston decision was reversed and the Denver decision was confirmed by the respective bishops. Either way, it is unfair to the child to have him or her be a pawn in the parents’ disagreements with the Church. If you don’t agree with the Catholic Church, you can always enroll your children in the public schools.

      • 810.2.1
        Patrick Enders says:

        David,
        Perhaps the children of divorced-and-remarried parents should be expelled due to their parents open defiance of Church doctrine?

      • 810.2.2
        Paul Zorn says:

        David,

        The Boston decision was not “reversed”. The decision, at least as reported here —

        http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2010/05/20/omalley_post_cites_good_of_the_child/

        was more ambiguous. As I read it, the Cardinal managed to praise both sides in the controversy.

        As for “defiance” vs “inadherence” … is there really a clear difference? Do couples who practice birth control, for instance, “defy” the Church in doing so? Or do they just “not adhere”?

      • 810.2.3
        David Ludescher says:

        Paul: I am sure that O’Malley will have to wrestle with questions that you pose. Obviously, no one has the “right” to attend a Catholic school. If the parents are going to be a disruptive education influence, then enrolling the child is not good for anyone, least of all the child.

        Catholics can disagree with the Church in a respectful way that honors the duty of the Church to teach the tenets of the faith. Non-catholics should be tolerant enough to understand that the Church’s agenda is not dicatated by the political popular social mores.

  • 811
    Scott Oney says:

    Kiffi: I found the article on the HRC Web site, but it doesn’t explain how they found out about the kids’ parents. I doubt any Catholic school would have enough money in their budget to hire a team of private eyes, which would be the best way. Did the nuns place bogus ads on craigslist, or something, and bust ‘em that way?

  • 812
    Jane Moline says:

    John George your anti-gay homophobic perspective does not add to the discussion. Being gay is not a societal trend.

    However, religion used as an excuse to disccriminate and persecute groups of people has been going on since the beginning of time--which is why some people are driven to atheism.

    I don’t think the Catholic church is a good example since they are so pathetically punitive--their recent misogynistic ex-communication of a nun for giving the ok to save a dying woman shows how organized religion continues to work against the altruistic actions of the faithful.

    • 812.1
      Patrick Enders says:

      Jane,
      I don’t think religions drive people to Atheism. Generally, it’s a lack of belief in the existence of a god (or gods) that drives people to Atheism.

      It might be more accurate to say that the actions of the Catholic Church can drive people to non-denominationalism, or non-Catholicism.

    • 812.2
      john george says:

      Jane- I am not offended by your evaluation of my perspectives. You have your right to those opinions, innacurate as they might be, and I know you and I differ on this issue. Enough said.

      However, I don’t think your comment here is quite accurate:

      “Being gay is not a societal trend.”

      According to the link I have posted here, until 1973, homosexuality was still treated as a mental condition by the American Psychatric Association. It was pressure from society, specifically the homosexual community (surprise?) that began to change how homosexuality was viewed.

      http://www.narth.com/docs/whitehead.html

      I think there is historical precedence to say that the acceptance of homosexuality in this country is a societal trend. I am not advocating returning to the pre-1973 treatment of the gay community, but I do resist being coerced into redefining my interpretation of Scriptural Doctrines in my particular expression of Christianity. Just as I would not want to see Catholics or Muslims forced into compromising their convictions by society, I reserve the same right to embrace my own convictions.

  • 813
    Jane Moline says:

    Patrick I disagree. (Surprize!)

    The actions of some organized religion cause people to question their faith and examine their beliefs--causing some to discover that they are more comfortable without. In a way it does not really “drive” them as much as encourage their exploration in that direction--more of a mosey for most.

    • 813.1
      Patrick Enders says:

      Jane,
      Ah, I misunderstood your intent. Understanding your point, then, I guess we should commend the Catholic Church for encouraging thoughtful exploration of our beliefs.

  • 814
    Jane Moline says:

    Yes, John George, just as it is a societal trend to recognize civil rights for blacks (or Indians. Or Jews. or Muslims) or women’s suffrage.

    I am suggesting, very strongly, however, that those who are against the acceptance of equality and human rights in our society keep their narrow-minded diatribes to themselves and their like-minded friends.

    • 814.1
      john george says:

      Jane- Censorship? Really?

      • 814.1.1
        kiffi summa says:

        John: in a phrase that may be very familiar to you, “you raise an interesting point here”…

        Is it possible to look on your voiced un-acceptance of people with differing sexual orientations as “discrimination” ?

      • 814.1.2
        kiffi summa says:

        Sorry… in my reply to John above, I meant to say “Censorship” , not “discrimination”…

        Obviously a Freudian slip, or at least closely related neurotransmitters.

  • 815
    Patrick Enders says:

    The Catholic Church may be continuing its anti-homosexual purge, but fortunately there are open doors for such families just down the street:

    Lesbian Lutheran minister to become ‘official’
    Seven years after the Rev. Mary Albing took the pulpit at a south Minneapolis church, the ELCA is recognizing her ministry.

    For seven years, the Rev. Mary Albing has been pastor of Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer in south Minneapolis. But the official roster of pastors lists the job as vacant.

    Albing, a lesbian, couldn’t be recognized as a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

    Her stealth status ends Sunday morning when Bishop Craig Johnson of the Minneapolis Synod signs the original Letter of Call that Albing got from the church in 2003.

    http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/faith/94635159.html

    • 815.1
      David Ludescher says:

      Patrick: “anti-homosexual purge?” What does that mean?

      • 815.1.1
        Patrick Enders says:

        In this case, the expulsion of children from Catholic schools because their parents are gay.

      • 815.1.2
        David Ludescher says:

        Patrick: My guess is that one adult is the biological parent and the other “parent” isn’t. Either way, the adults should keep the children out of disputes that are between the adults and the Catholic Church.

      • 815.1.3
        kiffi summa says:

        David: To reorganize/re-phrase …what about the Church keeping the children out of disputes that are between the Church and the Adults?

      • 815.1.4
        David Ludescher says:

        Kiffi: Ironically, that is what Cardinal O’Malley has suggested in Boston. He said that he would work with the adults to find the children another school where their education came first.

      • 815.1.5
        Patrick Enders says:

        David,
        Are you suggesting that the Catholic Church should exclude adopted children from Catholic Schools, as well?

        Like the many gay parents whose relationships you dismiss so casually, my relationship with my daughter is merely a legally-defined one, free from any direct genetic transfer.

        I suspect that is not what you meant, so it sounds more like you’ve introduced a rather smelly little red herring there.

      • 815.1.6
        David Ludescher says:

        Patrick: I don’t know the legal nor biological status of the adults who are claimed to be the “parents” in either the Boston or the Denver cases.

        What strikes me about the stories is why a parent/adult would ever voluntarily put their child in the middle of an adult dispute.

      • 815.1.7
        Patrick Enders says:

        And yet, you persist in putting the air-quotes around “parents.” Do you do the same when you introduce your own “children,”* or your own “parents”?

        Similarly, would you introduce me as the “parent” of my daughter?

        *: if any.

      • 815.1.8
        David Ludescher says:

        Patrick: Your original claim was that the Catholic Church was continuing an anti-homosexual purge.

        But, in reality, it looks like some unthinking adults wanted to get into a fight with the Catholic Church. It would be different if this were a public school where officials are prevented from favoring any specific creed. But, this is a Catholic school. What part of their thought process would tell them that this was good for their child?

        How about a little tolerance for a faith that teaches children are the product of a man and a woman?

      • 815.1.9
        Patrick Enders says:

        David,
        Thank you for refraining from the use of “”parents”" -- although I notice that you now choose to refer to the persons in question as adults rather than call them parents (with or without quote-marks).

        As an adult who happens to live with a child that is not my genetic offspring, I appreciate your consideration in now opting for omission, rather than commission in this regard. It is a slight improvement -- although I am still curious about your opinion on whether adoptive parents can simply be called parents, or if they need to be referred to as “parents”?

        But back to the matter at hand…
        I find it hard to respond to your questions without understanding your assertions. Perhaps you could explain what you meant by:

        “But, in reality, it looks like some unthinking adults wanted to get into a fight with the Catholic Church.”

        Maybe you’ve read more on the subject than I, but I don’t recall that such a motive has been established.

      • 815.1.10
        David Ludescher says:

        Patrick: I don’t know any facts -- just media spin. That being said, the quotes attributed to Cardinal O’Malley seem the most sensible. The Church is trying to help the kid find a school that better matches the adults’ value system. It seems like a sensible approach for a private school.

      • 815.1.11
        Patrick Enders says:

        As I noted above, “there are open doors for such families just down the street” at the ELCA.

      • 815.1.12
        David Ludescher says:

        Patrick: The Catholic-intolerant can always go to the public schools.

  • 816
    Patrick Enders says:

    There’s also this:
    Vatican says prohibition against gays in seminaries is universal
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican_says_prohibition_against_gays_in_seminaries_is_universal/

    • 816.1
      David Ludescher says:

      Patrick: The document doesn’t support your interpretation. Rather, the document concludes that it is the Vatican, not the individual bishops, who set the guidelines for admission to the seminary.

      When I read the document I didn’t detect a significant difference between the guidelines for heterosexual and homosexual seminarians.

      • 816.1.1
        Patrick Enders says:

        David,
        You are right. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals alike are excluded from the priesthood if they have “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

      • 816.1.2
        David Ludescher says:

        Patrick: And, homosexuals and heterosexuals with “deep-seated heterosexual tendencies” are excluded.

      • 816.1.3
        Patrick Enders says:

        The article does not say that. Perhaps you could cite a source?

  • 817
    Jane Moline says:

    John George--you can call it censorship-I don’t want to hear the drivel of discrimination--you can claim that your religion is an excuse for your homophobia--but that is exactly what Christian churches used to uphold slavery and later Jim Crow laws in the south. Keep it away from my children and even my dog--they deserve better.

    • 817.1
      William Siemers says:

      In other words, John, you have the right to your opinion…you just don’t have the right to express it.

      Jane, may I suggest, if you do not want to ‘hear the drivel’ of opinion that you do not share, then perhaps you should not put yourself, (and your dog and children), in a position where you are exposed to it, rather than calling for the censorship of the free expression of others. While I do not agree with John on the subject at hand, his posts generally, and certainly in this case, meet the guidelines of this forum, and deserve to be seen. I’ll leave it to Griff to determine if your outburst meets those same guidelines.

      • 817.1.1
        john george says:

        William- Yep, I think you are correct. I think it is interesting that a “discussion” is many times viewed as an exchange of agreement among like minded individuals. I was of the impression that the opposite was true, that a discussion can be had between unlike minded individuals. Perhaps our fragmented society is not providing a safe forum for that type of discourse anymore. I have had the impression from Griff that he would like to foster that level of discussion here, where people of differing ideas can discuss those ideas without digressing into name calling. I always appreciate your posts and your even-handed way of presenting your ideas. Keep up the good work.

  • 818
    Jane Moline says:

    William: I appreciate the sentiment of your words--but I don’t think speaking out against discriminatory and inflammatory speach is an outburst--if John George was speaking against interracial marriage or having his children go to school with blacks or against having a Hispanic teacher in the public schools or a shop run by Indians (from India) everybody would SHOUT him down.

    For some reason his claim that it is against his religion gives him license to denigrate gays. I am saying NOT HERE. NOT NOW.

  • 819
    kiffi summa says:

    I agree with Jane… you guys (John and William) don’t seem to be able to parse out the difference between freedom of speech (1) and using speech to denigrate or harm others (2). Freedom is on who’s side there?

    I’m sorry, but I cannot forget that John said, and I quote: “… not all homosexuals are pedophiles”.
    That kind of comment should not be tolerated in society, whether based in a religion or not. It can be ‘allowed’ as a precept of the freedom of a person to say it; but should not be tolerated by a society striving to be civil.
    I can’t imagine any thoughtful religion ‘thinking’ that it is OK to Harm those whom they consider to be ‘Other’.

  • 820
    William Siemers says:

    Kiffi…

    Once again, you make my point…

    You say that this forum (representing ‘civil society’) should censor the statement, “not all homosexuals are pedophiles.” Should the statement…”not all heterosexuals are pedophiles”, likewise be banned? You would censor words that are completely factual?

    Of course your objection is to what you believe to be the implication of John’s statement. But rather than respond to the reasoning behind his statement, you would have it banned. Never mind that by doing so so you eliminate your opportunity to enlighten those who might share John’s misguided reasoning. Let me assure you that not all the tenets of the “Kiffi Summa World View” are universally accepted, so censorship is not really advancing your cause.

    Jane…
    Responding (in the strongest terms you would have), and ‘shouting down’ are very different. Shouting down is censorship and simply destroys debate. “Shout” as much as you like, but allow others to make their point, however misguided it may be. Censorship does not defeat prejudice.

    • 820.1
      kiffi summa says:

      Sorry William… but I do NOT make your point.

      I clearly differentiated between the freedom to say something, “misguided” or not, and the tolerance of letting such a statement just stand without challenge… so I do not censor the speech, and I do not censor the speaker.
      I ask that society not tolerate prejudicial evaluations of other people based on personal matters such as their sexual orientation.

      I do not believe in censorship except where violations of law harm innocent people.

      I think it is quite obvious that you misunderstand me, and perhaps I also misunderstand you; therefor it is better that we do not engage in a spitting war… sorry I replied to you.

      However, I do not misunderstand John’s statement in the context within which it was made, and will continue to hold it as an example of discrimination, religion based or not.

      • 820.1.1
        William Siemers says:

        Sorry Kiffi, I was thinking of ‘tolerate’ as ‘permit’ rather than ‘not oppose’.

        Good…You seem to agree that John, or anyone else for that matter, can say whatever he wants in this forum except if violates Griff’s guidelines.

      • 820.1.2
        David Ludescher says:

        Kiffi: The law makes all kinds of discriminations. The question is whether the discrimination is just. So, when Jane calls the Catholic Church “pathetically punitive” (812)that is an example of discrimination.

        Are you suggesting that society shouldn’t tolerate Jane saying such discriminatory things?

    • 820.2
      Paul Zorn says:

      I have no opinion on whether anybody understands or misunderstands anybody else.

      Seems to me, though, that both “censor” and “tolerate” are capable of big-time misunderstanding. Censorship, for me, is about preventing people from saying or writing or seeing or reading or hearing things, as opposed to dissing what people say or write. Thus one might deplore or despise or dispute — but not censor — the utterances of, say, Rush Limbaugh. Conversely, a parent might forbid children to watch certain movies or read certain texts — censoring them, in some sense — without necessarily disputing them.

      “Tolerate” is another tricky word — as the exchange just above illustrates. When Kiffi asks, for instance, that “society not tolerate prejudicial evaluations of other people …” I agree completely — if the point is that “society” should not prevent those who disagree from voicing their disagreement. But I would disagree, just as vehemently, if “not tolerate” is understood in any way that comes close to “forbid”. It’s tricky …

      • 820.2.1
        kiffi summa says:

        Paul’s got it right; don’t ‘mess’ with him in either spelling bees OR word usage!

  • 821

    What I don’t like about some atheists I have met is that they look down on people for believing in God or gods. I wonder how much more silly it is to believe in God, like I tend to do on a good day or in the universe being born from some type of bubbling up from nothing like a cold bottle of Coca Cola spontaneously appearing in the Sahara Desert on a particularly hot day.

    Other than that, I am okay with whatever people believe, as long as they don’t believe they’d like to do something rude to someone else.

    Thanks for letting me make that point uncensored.

    • 821.1
      Paul Zorn says:

      Bright,

      Yes, nobody likes snooty atheists, especially when they willfully caricature, rather than try to understand, others’ beliefs. But such caricaturing is no less “rude” when non-atheists do it, as perhaps with the “carbonated beverage theory” of life’s origins.

      Let her who is without sin cast the first aspersion.

      • 821.1.1
        Phil Poyner says:

        In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, “That’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are.”

    • 821.2
      Jerry Friedman says:

      Bright, I know what you mean. It was pointed out to me that theists of one religion are atheists of another, so Christians are atheists when considering Hinduism. Yet so many Christians consider Hindus as pagans and damned. Considering world history, the Christian atheists are the most hostile atheists of all, participating in attempted genocide, succeeding at least once, and oppressing all sorts of others because they believe in a different god or gods.

      Sometimes I think that the atheists of all religions, such as myself, have simply learned by the example of others. I mean, if the Protestants and Catholics didn’t have a 30-year war, if they tolerated or accepted each others’ differences, and if this was the norm for theists, I think that atheists would have been greatly influenced by such goodwill.

      I don’t mean to excuse atheists bad behavior. Since so many religious people are so nasty does not mean that atheists have a right to be. I simply understand why some atheists are.

      I always support religious people finding common ground. It would be very nice if people of all religions, and no religions, would abandon religious strife. No more bombs, no more tracts, just hugs and handshakes.

  • 822

    I’m fine with that, Paul. I speak my truth and I hope it resounds with others and then I hope we get to a place where we can all speak our truths and everyone says…fine.
    If you are offended, then so be it. If you want to change who you are, then cool.
    If you want to stay the same, then it’s alright.

    What I wish we could do is to see the sin, rule on it,then see the good in the person, if any, and then go with it. Mostly everyone wants to throw the baby out
    with the bath water. We’re all going down the drain, if that’s the case…me included, and goodness knows I’ve TRIED to be good.

  • 823

    Well, it sometimes takes me awhile to get to the point I really want to make and now I have it for anyone who is still interested. It doesn’t really matter what any of us believes as far what theory, god, or lack of a theory, or god, what matters is this…wait for it, wait for it…what matters is that what we believe takes us through this journey we call life in a manner that we can recognize who we are and what we can do on this journey. We are all in this boat, airplane, bus ride, sky dive, march, OOB travel, motorcicle, and or gerbil wheel together. Can we agree on that much?

    (refer you to the old son, I don’t want a nickel, I just wanna ride my motorcicle,
    I don’t want a dime, I just want to ride my mo….tor cy….cle!)

    • 823.1
      Jerry Friedman says:

      I think I know what you mean, and I like the sound of it. But I hear too many people who take what you say, “what matters is that what we believe takes us through this journey we call life in a manner that we can recognize who we are and what we can do on this journey,” and they do very bad things with it. Some people hurt other humans. Some people hurt other nonhumans. The list is long. Each of them believe that “what we can do on this journey” is to dominate others. I long for an ethic that is easy for everyone to adopt, that puts respect for others as its highest moral. Some religions have come close, but none so far have been embraced by many people. Even classic Buddhism, that propounds respect, is not as popular as other forms of Buddhism that, for example, establish a slave class of people to serve the enlightened class of people.

  • 824

    I think it is possible, but I may be dreaming,that we could all move to a higher plane and just create neat ideas and stuff and just sit around in bliss. I think the stress created by the push and pull of the yin and yang is necessary to move us through the generations with gradual progress, however that may be defined and redefined throughout the ages, toward a different level of existence. I won’t say higher here, cuz I wouldn’t want to define that for everyone.

    Excuse me now, I have to get the crumbs out of my keyboar. :)

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