Insult Islam, Go To Jail

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British nativist political leader Nick Griffin of the National Party was arrested on "suspicion of incitement to commit racial hatred" for calling Islam a "vicious, wicked faith" to an undercover BBC news reporter.

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  1. Is Coleridge still in the library?

    `A new religion had fanaticised whole nations. Men bred up in the habits of a wild and roaming freedom, had been brought together by its influence, and taught to
    unite the energies of a savage life with all the harmony and calculable coincidencies of a machine. But this religion was deadly to morals, to science, to civil freedom:
    no society could be progressive under its influence. It was favorable to superstition, cunning, and sensual indulgence; but it bore no fruit, it yielded no marriageable
    arms to the vine, it sheltered no healing plant. The soil was grassless where it grew; the fox made it its nest at the root, and the owl screamed in its branches. – Such
    was the religion of Mahomet.”

    “The War Not a Crusade” August 6 1800 _Essays on His Times_ v.I p.240, in _The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge_ Princeton University, EoHT
    being collectively V.3.

  2. Islam, Judaism , Christianity and Hinduism are all stupid faiths. So there!

  3. Having lived in the UK, I am not surprised to see basic civil rights being eroded. The Liberal Party talks about human rights and expanding social justice, but this always has been at the expense of real rights, such as the right to speak freely.

    For anyone who supports this law and this outcome, freedom is an illusion.

  4. I vehemently disagree with the statement for which the man was arrested, but I disagree even more vehemently with the arrest.

    Does England have something akin to the ACLU? We need people who are willing to go to bat for the racists, because they are the canaries in the free speech coal mine.

  5. Thank Allah for our freedom-loving friend and ally at Number 10 Downing Street!

  6. “Nativist” is a soft word for fascist. 🙂

  7. It’s stories like this that make me wonder if the X-ian Right will take the “last acceptable bigotry” meme to it’s logical conclusion and try to get something like this passed.

    If so, I’ll see you guys in prison! 😉

  8. It’s stories like this that make me wonder if the X-ian Right will take the “last acceptable bigotry” meme to it’s logical conclusion and try to get something like this passed.

    If they do, this proud Catholic will double his annual contribution to the ACLU!

  9. “We need people who are willing to go to bat for the racists, because they are the canaries in the free speech coal mine.”

    Tho Row: Classic quote. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the ACLU to jump on board the bigot bandwagon. They did their tokenism with Skokie and their done with that.

  10. Unlike “Thoreau,” I don’t necessarily disagree with the statement. And I don’t think I’m a racist for thinking Islam a dangerous, vile religion. I think all religions are dangerous to some, most religions dangerous to many, and some religions dangerous to all. This says nothing about the races of people who may have many adherents to Islam, which falls in the most/many wickedness.

    Now, the reason laws such as Britain’s exist – and such laws allow places like Singapore to be peaceful, I readily recognize – is that some followers of dangerous religion don’t see the trap to their own faith when they hear something negative. Someone says “Islam is a hate-filled, wicked religion” and Muslims riot in the streets, with outrage, hate, and wickedness. The proper, civilized reaction to such a statement is calmly to deny the charge made against your faith.

    But the fact of the matter is, Islam has encouraged anything but the sophisticated reaction to criticism. Many, perhaps even most Muslims, get angry and act out. What does one do when a religion is wicked? In Britain, politicians pass laws to quell free speech, so that Muslims aren’t tempted to do violence.

    I’d prefer politicians to tough it out. But I can see their point. They have more vile Muslims in their population than America does, and they’re scared.

    In fear doth freedom fall.

  11. This is so stupid.

    I wonder how many of you (freedom of speech lovers) will jump to defend the French government for banning Al-Manar TV.

  12. TWC-

    If I’m not mistaken, the ACLU went to bat for racists quite recently when they argued against a cross-burning statute.

  13. Richard: WTF does this have to do with the Liberal (now Liberal Democratic) Party? New Labour is in control…

  14. Just what the ultra-right needs–another excuse to claim victimhood.

    Brilliant.

  15. “I wonder how many of you (freedom of speech lovers) will jump to defend the French government for banning Al-Manar TV.”

    I’m pretty sure I’d never come to the French government’s defense, as it is a vicious, wicked institution. I certainly wouldn’t in any case where they want to ban free speech (even on government controlled broadcast licenses).

  16. thoreau,
    If I’m not mistaken, England has blasphemy laws, which they’re trying to get expanded to Islam. They don’t have a 1st Amendment like we do, so I think this is quite kosher. I disagree with both, but it’s kinda funny seeing religious conservatives frothing at the mouth against blasphemy laws and going apeshit over people saying “Happy Holidays” without a twinge of irony.

    Wirkkman,
    “Vile Muslims” huh? Considering that most of the terrorism in the US, and prior to 9-11 the deaths resulting from them, were from Christian terrorists, is that whole religion vile too?

  17. Liberty, the British equivalent of the ACLU. (Not to be confused with the mock-Tudor department store.)

  18. “But the fact of the matter is, Islam has encouraged anything but the sophisticated reaction to criticism. Many, perhaps even most Muslims, get angry and act out. What does one do when a religion is wicked? In Britain, politicians pass laws to quell free speech, so that Muslims aren’t tempted to do violence.

    I do believe that what we have here is an honest to goodness advocate of the nanny state! Look at the statement; it’s complete with nanny jargon–those bad little children, the way they, “get angry and act out.”

    I can ignore your suggestion of baseless facts. Your nanny posture alone makes me want to vomit.

  19. Ken,
    Not to mention the fact that Muslims do get insulted on TV and criticised in the media in the US without acting out disproves his whole nanny thesis.

  20. “Nativist”? Oh, I get it. Despite having no grounds to do so, Libertarians are trying to tar other groups they call “nativists” (like the 47% of AZ Hispanic “nativists” who voted for Prop. 200) with the Nick Griffin brush. A clearer sign of desperation couldn’t be found.

  21. Wasn’t paying attention to my typing, Liberal = Labor. Sorry.

  22. Wirkkman,
    “Vile Muslims” huh? Considering that most of the terrorism in the US, and prior to 9-11 the deaths resulting from them, were from Christian terrorists, is that whole religion vile too?

    Comment by: Mo at December 15, 2004 07:37 PM

    Huh? What Christian terrorism are you talking about? McVeigh? Think again if he’s your boogeyman, he was an agnostic at best and his bombing was politically, not religiously, motivated. The ’93 World Trade bombing, which was perpetrated by Muslims, was a huge terrorist incident and Chirstian-free. The number one terrorist group in the US, according the the FBI, is ELF, an environmentalist group. So where are your Chrisitan terrorists? I’m beginning to think Mo is short for Mohammad.

  23. Just register me under all “faith” is vicious and wicked.

    My genes don’t grok faith. They just want to love and hug and hug and grope.

  24. “Nativist”? Oh, I get it. Despite having no grounds to do so, Libertarians are trying to tar other groups they call “nativists” (like the 47% of AZ Hispanic “nativists” who voted for Prop. 200) with the Nick Griffin brush. A clearer sign of desperation couldn’t be found.

    I see what you mean LoneWolfo. If 47% of Arizona’s Hispanic voters voted in favor of Proposition 200, then it logically follows that no one could possibly use the word “nativist” as a soft word for fascist.

    …No, wait! That doesn’t follow; that doesn’t follow at all.

    P.S. By the way, are you a “nativist”?

  25. “Not to mention the fact that Muslims do get insulted on TV and criticised in the media in the US without acting out disproves his whole nanny thesis.”

    There isn’t any factual basis for the ridiculous suggestion that 51% of Muslims “act out” in reaction to criticism.

    Religious bigotry, just like the other kind, is ultimately based on blatent stupidity, and religious bigots seem to assume that we’re all as stupid as they are.

  26. Joe,

    I think its fair to say that the KKK, Knights of White Magnolia, etc., are/were Christian terrorist groups.

    Eric Rudolph (associated with the radical Christian Indentity movement) is a Christian terrorist.

    Clayton Waagner sent anthrax threats to abortion clinics across the U.S. in 2001; the Army of God website carried a response by Chuck Spingola in praise of “Christian terrorists” such as Waagner.

    Another Army of God member John Brockhoeft firebombed a Planned Parenthood clinic in the late 1980s (later he was arrested trying to blow up another clinic).

    Let’s also not forget Paul Hill who murdered a doctor at the same clinic (The Ladies Center) that John Brockhoeft tried to blow-up.

    There are many others.

    That doesn’t mean of course that most terrorist acts committed in the 1990s or 1980s or 1970s were by Christians; but there have been Christian terrorists.

  27. Regardless of whether or not you associate certain terrorist acts in the US with Christians, the more pertinent point in a debate over Islam is that pre-1990’s most of the terrorist acts on US soil weren’t by Muslims.

  28. “Insult Islam, Go To Jail”

    There is nothing in this that is particular to Islam or are we to forget about Roger Garoudy’s trials in France a few years ago?

  29. “Think again if he’s your boogeyman, he was an agnostic at best and his bombing was politically, not religiously, motivated.”

    Actually, McVeigh spent a lot of time with, and seemed to be heavily influenced by, the Christian Identity movement. My undertanding is that he was raised in a Christian home. Regardless, I read Mo’s comment as pointing out that just as Christian terrorists aren’t necessarily representative of Christianity, neither are Muslim terrorists necessarily representative of Islam.

    Did you read the comment Mo was responding to?

    “I’m beginning to think Mo is short for Mohammad.”

    What if it is? Why would that matter?

  30. thoreau,

    Well, clearly in the late 1960s and early 1970s the most prominent terrorists were leftists, particularly those which shot off from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), eventually forming groups like the Weather Underground. You might recall that Horowitz stupidly claimed a few years ago that these were America’s first terrorist groups.

    In the 1980s the most prominent terrorist groups on U.S. soil were neo-Nazi/White Power groups, which tended to claim a Christian identity of some variety; one of the most famous acts wasthe killing of Allen Berg in 1984 – the Jewish talkshow host in Denver.

    In the 1990s groups like ELF, EF! (I used to know a group of EF!ers), etc. who were undertaking terrorist acts always seemed to be under the radar (I guess because they tended NOT to kill people). Terrorism always seemed to come in the form of lone figures like McVeigh or Buford Furrow, who emptied an “assault rifle” on a Jewish day camp in 1999 (he reportedly told the cops that this was a “wake-up call to America to kill Jews” – of course the only person he killed was a poor damn mail carrier).

  31. Ken Shultz,

    There’s a heck of lot of debate over whether McVeigh was a “Christian terrorist.”

  32. Howabout if mainstream followers of the major religions get together and agree to excommunicate all the terrorists? Then we don’t have to debate over who’s a Muslim terrorist and who’s a Christian terrorist and whatnot.

    But, until that happens, are there any Buddhist terrorists? I don’t mean terrorists who happen to be from a Buddhist background. I mean people killing out of religious motivation. “I am the most enlightened! All the rest of you shall be reincarnated as roaches as soon as my bomb goes off!”

  33. I can’t think of any explicitly Buddhist terrorists–not in Tibet or Nepal or Bhutan or Thailand or Cambodia. Maybe in Indonesia or Sri Lanka or Myanmar?

    …Anyway, if there are any, I would argue that they aren’t necessarily representative of Buddhism.

  34. the more pertinent point in a debate over Islam is that pre-1990’s most of the terrorist acts on US soil weren’t by Muslims.

    Of course, pre-1990s acts of terrorism on US soil were pretty trivial compared to what came later. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if al Qaeda killed more black people on 9/11 than white supremacist groups had in the previous decade.

  35. Joe,
    Wrong boogeyman, I was thinking Rudolph. Bombed the Olympics and terrorized abortion clincs. A bunch of people helped him hide and escape? Just like Islamic terrorists, there are nutjobs that think of him as a hero.

    Ken,
    Bingo. Look, no one painted Catholics with a broad brush because of the IRA, but Hamas represents Islam? You can disavow Rudolph, but Muslims are stuck with bin-Laden? Manson had quite a following, are all Americans in love with psychopaths?

    And no, Mo is not short for Mohammed, it’s Mostafa, check the email address. I do have an uncle named Mohammed, nice guy, great dentist, lover of German beer.

  36. he was an agnostic at best and his bombing was politically, not religiously, motivated
    Islamic terrorism is the same way. Just because it’s marketed under pseudo-religious rhetoric, doesn’t mean they don’t have political ends. The foreign terrorists disrupting our efforts in Iraq are merely trying to create an environment conducive to their organization. Purely political. Same with Israel-Palestine and Chechneya.

  37. thoreau,

    Yes, there are and have been a few Buddhist terrorists. Mostly Thai I believe, though a few have surfaced in Vietnam, Cambodia, and maybe even China.

    But — on the main thread here — I think religion just isn’t the central issue. Every religion in history has found a way to justify violence and superstition.

    “Religious” violence correlates directly with lack of education and lack of economic development. I’ve met more than a few Protestants here in the good old USA who believe things one could only label superstition. And they wouldn’t oppose the imposition of Christian principles on all because, after all, wasn’t the US founded as a “Christian nation”? Well, then….

    These USA Protestants I’ve met are virtually all high school educated at most, and generally not high up the economic ladder.

    If you want to wipe out superstition and religious violence, then wipe out ignorance and poverty. Or at least marginalize it.

    Islam easily takes a bad rap because — where in the world do you find a majority of highly educated, well off Muslims? I haven’t seen it yet.

    Not that I’m defending Islamic terrorism, nor am I religious myself (though my mommy tried hard). I just think Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, et al, are just as capable of the same attrocities we see Muslim terrorists committing today.

    Why isn’t education and the economy better in Muslim countries today? Go read some history on the last 200 years in the Middle East. Europe bears at least some measure of blame, and the US has largely continued European colonial policy.

  38. When I saw hundreds (thousands?) of people celebrating the bombing in Oklahoma City,people
    from cities in all regions of the U.S.A., it was
    then that I suspected Christian involvement.

  39. “Christian terrorists aren’t necessarily representative of Christianity, neither are Muslim terrorists necessarily representative of Islam.”

    I disagree. Look at the Bible and the Koran. They are chock-filled with animosity, hatred, retribution, etc. These religions, in their basic form, are primitive tribalism, highly judgemental, and intolerant, to scratch the surface. They also enthrall millions of mindless sheeple who refuse to think for themselves.

    Is there enlightenment and old wisdom in these books? Sure. But you have to dig around, and totally ignore all the other crap. Someone should come up with a condensed version.

  40. The article says that Griffin condemned Islam. The article says that he was arrested for “incitement to commit racial hatred.” But nothing in the article says that his condemnation of Islam was used as the basis of the charge, even though it’s obviously intended that the reader will draw that conclusion.

  41. “There’s a heck of lot of debate over whether McVeigh was a “Christian terrorist.””

    Yes, the fact that McVeigh’s statements indicate that he was an atheist and pro-choice, is inconvenient for people who want things in neat compartments.

  42. That was NOT me at 9:53 last night. But you already knew that.

    I got the same impression as garym – the article doesn’t say what evidence the Bobbies had on this guy. The statement in the post, that he was arrested “for calling Islam a “vicious, wicked faith” to an undercover BBC news reporter” is speculative.

    The best part of the article, for me, was Mr. Griffen’s assertion that he was being persecuted by the Labor Party because he’s a strong threat to them in the next election. Uh, yeah, Blair’s quaking in his boots that he’s going to be beat by the Nationalists.

    The National Front!
    You ain’t n-n-n-n-n-n-n-nuthin!

  43. “I disagree. Look at the Bible and the Koran. They are chock-filled with animosity, hatred, retribution, etc. These religions, in their basic form, are primitive tribalism, highly judgemental, and intolerant, to scratch the surface. They also enthrall millions of mindless sheeple who refuse to think for themselves.
    Is there enlightenment and old wisdom in these books? Sure. But you have to dig around, and totally ignore all the other crap. Someone should come up with a condensed version.”

    The essence of Christianity holds that the creator of the universe sacrificed himself in order to save every individual. To Christians, there can be no greater testimony to the inherent, ultimate value of every human being.

    You seem to have it backwards, that is. Christians don’t have to dig around to find enlightenment and wisdom; rather, they have to ignore the essence of Christianity in order to justify doing to others as they would dread having done to them.

    It doesn’t surprise me that people do terrible things in the name of Christianity. Shultz’s First Law of Social Dynamics states explicitly that, “Jesus was right; people are sheep.” The phenomenon is hardly limited to Christians and Muslims; I assure you, the sheep phenomenon is universal.

    Anyway, even if the Bible and the Qur’an are chock full of animosity, hatred and retribution (which is false), and even if Christianity and Islam are highly judgmental and intolerant tribalism in their basic form (which they are not), it still does not follow that Christian and Muslim terrorists are necessarily representative of Christianity and Islam.

    …That’s a logical fallacy, is it not?

  44. I don’t have the benefit of viewing the actual language of the statute, but “incite” means “to move to action.” It necessarily “stresses a stirring up and urging on.” Since when does stating an opinion of any matter, including a religion, to another person rise to the level of “incitement”? Perhaps there is more to the charge than the article states. If not, the UK’s become a pretty scary friggin place to live if you have any opinions of your own.

  45. “”Nativist” is a soft word for fascist. :)”

    Thanks for that interpretation. The word “nativist” been cropping up a lot lately around here in a number of disparate contexts. Now I know I don’t want to be one.

    Still, I am awfully proud of my U.S. nationality and think it has something unique and valuable to offer…

    Guess I’m a fascist.

  46. Ken:

    The books are basic foundations of these faiths. And I dare you to randomly open up a random page of the Koran or the Old Testament. Most likely you will read something about someone favored by God disembowling His enemies, along with their family, friends, pets.. hell, whole cities. Thousands upon thousands are tortured and killed in His name.

    These religions are based on ancient tribal cultures, in lands with very few resources and groups of people annihilating each other. To this day, people in the middle east are living in the stone age because of Islam. We suffered hundreds of years in the Dark Ages because of Christianity. These religions don’t move mankind foward.. they keep us in stasis.

  47. kwais:

    “I would say that humans tend to be judgemental and violent.”

    You’re absolutely correct. I think these primitive religions were bred from these base human behaviors. However, the religions take on a life of their own, after many years of dogma and oppression from the clerics, and that itself breeds more violence and ignorance.

  48. I left my Lutheran confirmation class the day I asked about the second chapter of II Kings where God sends two bears to tear 42 children to bloody bits for teasing the prophet Elisha about his bald spot. Really! Look it up.

    Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to question this sort of thing. Instead of taking a “time out” when I pointed out God’s bloody-handed, capricious, self-centered and abitrary behavior, I left the building and never looked back.

  49. Mr. Nice Guy,

    Sorry about the double-post, my previous comment came out blank

    Most medieval historians don’t accept the concept of the “Dark Ages.” And even if they do, the church is generally seen as a unifying element that helped preserve prior learning — a respository of literacy. Blame Christianity for the vicious religious wars and assorted persecutions that afflicted Europe for centuries, but not for the Dark Ages.

    Religions only keep mankind in stasis if they are permitted to have an undue influence over the state or are coopted by the state to reinforce its own rule. If separated from the state and their influence limited to the spiritual/moral sphere, they can be a positive force. (I say this as a non-religious person who is a skeptic/agnostic, speaking from a purely historical perspective).

  50. Ruthless,

    “Just register me under all “faith” is vicious and wicked.

    My genes don’t grok faith”

    My genes don’t grok faith either. Faith is something you either have or you don’t. And I don’t have it — I just can’t believe something through faith. But I disagree that it is all vicious and wicked. I know many good people who have strong religious faiths. I may disagree with their beliefs, but I don’t consider them vicious or wicked. Actions are more important than beliefs.

  51. You don’t see a whole of atheists running canned food drives.

    Well, except for the lefties.

  52. joe – “You don’t see a whole of atheists running canned food drives.”

    Actually, yeah, I do see that exactly. There are three food pantries and a “Project Share” branch in my community, none of which are operated by any religious group.

    That is not to say all those involved are atheists, simply that it doesn’t take religious affiliation to perform charity or other types of altruistic acts. All the major religions did was formulate and codify human behaviors they considered virtuous. “Don’t murder people” and “Don’t lie and steal” were ethcial precepts for many long before Moses brought them down from the mountain writ in stone.

  53. Is there enlightenment and old wisdom in these books? Sure. But you have to dig around, and totally ignore all the other crap. Someone should come up with a condensed version.

    Didn’t Thomas Jefferson come up with a condensed version of the Gospels?

  54. What the major religions purpetrated on the human race was to successfully change the REASONS for being good to one another from “Because it is in your own best interests,” to “Because God, through the people He put in power over you, say to do thus-and-so.” In other words, the churches made virtue arbitrary, used it as a club to keep the faithful in line and the “godly” in power, and required and received the consent of the victims in doing so. All by denying the effectiveness of the rational human mind.

  55. And the mechanism by which they did this is the incredibly perverse concept of “Original Sin.” Make everyone feel flawed, worthless and “sinful” from birth, offer them a single route to “redemption,” and you have them by the short hairs.

    This is also, by the way, the reason why so-called “pro-life” Christians value a single-cell ovum or a 100-cell blastocyst over the woman who contains it. The only innocent human being is one who doesn’t exist yet. This is a necessary corollary to the idea that all who live have sinned.

    These religions derive not from a life ethic, but from a death ethic.

  56. WASPB,

    I was referring only to the National Front.

  57. WASPB,

    Sorry I did not make that clearer. 🙂

  58. I am also pretty shocked no one thought of this song:

    From Rehumanize Yourself, a track from Ghost in the Machine:

    Billy’s joined the National Front
    He always was (just) a little runt
    He’s got his hand in the air with the other cunts
    You’ve got to humanize yourself
    Re-humanize yourself
    Re-humanize yourself
    Re-humanize yourself
    Re-humanize yourself

  59. Oh goodness, that forced me to drag out Message in a Box from my media library. 🙂

  60. Gary G – You mean I wasted my entire thesis about the intrinsic evils of religion? Dang, been waiting to do that for months. 😉

  61. WASPB,

    Well, I also have a generally negative view of religion, but I also have a pretty damn dim view of the National Front as well.

  62. The way I see it people generally have a need for a religion. Not all people, but a large chunk of the population.

    So either God as a self concious entity really does exist, and created us so, and for some reason the short changed those who have no use for religion.

    Or Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, ect, saw that human trait and rode it a whole lot more succesfully than any before or since them.

    I really don’t know which is true. There are flaws to both those theories.

    On a side note, what is really interesting is that followers of one of those say with total conviction that their guy was indeed talking to God, but the others were liars. Or missunderstood.

  63. I personally think that those of you with a negative view of religion are blaming the car for the driving.

  64. kwais,
    Well, technically, Muslims don’t believe Jesus or Moses were mistaken, just that the changes to the religious books over centuries are significant enough that they need to be taught the true path. Christians don’t believe Moses was mistaken either. Only the guys after the religious patriarch are mistaken, so Jews see Mohammed and Jesus as mistaken and Christians see Mohammed as mistaken.

  65. kwais,

    Are you going to say the same thing about Communism? 🙂

  66. Mo,
    Right, technically of the three dudes I mentioned, you can believe Mohammed and still believe the other guys were right also. Whearas if you are a follower of each of the other two, you have to believe that the dude that came after was a liar.

    But Moslems have to believe that Joseph Smith was a liar (I think thats what the Mormon dude was called). And maybe that is not such a stretch, but still, to say your guy was telling the truth and another was lying, seems awkward to me.

    Gary Gunnels,
    Fuck no. I hate communists, and communism. The scourge of all humanity.
    It is different. Don’t you see that communism is so wrong?

    Yeah, I guess I get your point. Go ahead and hate religion. Because I ain’t going to stop hating communism.

  67. Gary Gunnels,
    I see communism as the effort to take away my stuff, and my freedom. So every time Thoreau says “it would be worse under Kerry”. I think “fuck yeah it would”. I wouldn’t be so against it if it were about voluntarily giving up your stuff.

    But I still see your point.

    Please carry on with your dislike of religions.

    I wonder will God be more upset of your dislike of his religions, or more upset of my sins?

    I guess God is already punishing you by making you a Francophile.

  68. kwais,
    True, Moslems do believe Joseph Smith was wrong, as do a great deal of Christians. I do see your point though. One theme that I remember being pretty consistent in my Islamic teachings, when I was growing up, was that Jesus was not the son of God and often we would read documents by scholars that would use Biblical evidence against it. Judaism never got the same treatment. Granted, this was in the US, so Christianity was the #1 competition for the hearts and minds of the young. Oreos, bacon and a fat man with gifts is quite a combination to fight (and at my current age, add beer, interest and gambling). It’s the same reason you never see RC Cola in the Pepsi challenge.

  69. kwais,

    I am well aware that Communism is an evil and vile philosophy (as applied or otherwise). However you seem to think that religion as applied differs from its general nature, whereas I see its application as the fruit of its nature (just as I view Communism). You really can’t divorce the actions of religionists from the nature of religion (and this of course includes whatever positive benefits have accrued from religious practice as well negatives).

    I made myself a Francophile.

    God doesn’t exist.

    Every man has two nations, and one of them is France. – Benjamin Franklin

  70. I made myself a Francophile.

    Interesting comment ;->

  71. wuz ‘ee made from ze cheese?

    ooh la la!

    sorry, i like the idea of sculpting francophiles. almost as much as i love the term “francophile” becoming an insult in certain circles.

    “you like france! you suck! france liker!”

  72. John Kerry is not a communist.

    Any more than a soldier who believes in obeying orders from a higher ranking soldier is a fascist.

  73. “Well, technically, Muslims don’t believe Jesus or Moses were mistaken, just that the changes to the religious books over centuries are significant enough that they need to be taught the true path. Christians don’t believe Moses was mistaken either. Only the guys after the religious patriarch are mistaken, so Jews see Mohammed and Jesus as mistaken and Christians see Mohammed as mistaken.”

    …and abrogation isn’t just for Muslims; Christianity and Modern Judaism are products of it.

    I, like many Christians, expect to see people of all sorts of religions in paradise–atheists too.

    There’s a verse in the Qur’an that states that true Christians have nothing to fear on Judgment Day.

    I have more in common with well-reasoned atheists and well-reasoned Muslims than I do with a lot of Christians.

  74. dhex,

    If you don’t like France, well that just means there is more of France, French people and French products for me to enjoy. 🙂

    thoreau,

    Glad you liked it. 🙂

  75. This passage by “Mo,” in response to my nice little incendiary, is a good example of misreading:

    “Vile Muslims” huh? Considering that most of the terrorism in the US, and prior to 9-11 the deaths resulting from them, were from Christian terrorists, is that whole religion vile too?

    I said that all religions were dangerous to some, and some religions dangerous to all. (And, too, that many religions are dangerous to most people.) You might have actually interpreted my use of the word “vile” in light of what I wrote at greater length.

    But hey: I have no trouble admitting that Christianity has been and still could be a threat to civilization. But mostly it is now tamed. Islam is not a very tame or taming element right now. Many of its traditions are vile, and those traditions – such as expressed in the ancient saying “do not cease fighting until all proclaim that ‘God is God'” – are made up (in part) of commended acts and passed on values. That many traditions lead to terrorism is one thing. They also lead to suppression of women. And speech. And all sorts of liberties. Islam must be corrupted from its stricter interpretations to be made civilized. Like Christianity has been, for the most part.

    Actually, I see more good – or, at least, less danger – in the central texts of Christianity than I do in Islam. Still, when I used the phrase “vile Muslims” I was doing so in the context of acts: acts of rage, terrorism, intolerance, and the like. I would say “vile Christians” in similar contexts. And justifiably so.

    I was amused to arouse the disgust of several participants to this discussion. They thought that I was defending the suppression of speech. I was not. I was just extending a little sympathy to Brit politicians, who labor under a more nebulous Constitution and have more dangerous religionists in their midst. Ken Schultz is utterly, completely wrong to surmise this about me:

    I do believe that what we have here is an honest to goodness advocate of the nanny state! Look at the statement; it’s complete with nanny jargon–those bad little children, the way they, “get angry and act out.”

    I can ignore your suggestion of baseless facts. Your nanny posture alone makes me want to vomit.

    I don’t advocate the nanny state. But I do try to explain its existence and rationale from time to time. You know, just condemning the Brits for their lack of support for free speech isn’t enough. It helps to understand why they think the way they think.

    But hey: if a group of people tends to behave consistently in immature and uncivilized ways, I say: watch that group. (I also believe that the American government has, with its horrible mid-east policies in the last fifty years, incited much of the hatred and bad behavior by Muslims, hatred and warfare that could have been avoided. But that’s almost another issue.)

    About my “baseless facts,” I should probably defend this statement: “But the fact of the matter is, Islam has encouraged anything but the sophisticated reaction to criticism.” In country after country in the Islamic world, blasphemy is still prosecuted, and those who “malign the Prophet” are still imprisoned and even executed. A rising tide of Islamic fundamentalists have supported schools where the main subject is The Koran, and intolerance to non-Muslims one of the key teachings. In Singapore and bordering countries, suppression of free speech in the form of prohibitions on all “anti-religious” speech of any type is the law of the land, just to prevent religionists (mostly Muslims, but others, too) from rioting and lynching “blasphemers.”

    These are facts. I interpret them as evidence that Islam has “encouraged anything but sophisticated reaction to criticism.” Further, I think that the barbaric, uncivilized principles that dominate so much Islamic thought today must be addressed honestly by all who love liberty. I’ve tried this in many different ways. Here’s one example: http://www.wirkman.net/laissezfairebooks/commentary/2002.10.10.shtml ; there are others.

    It’s amusing to see bloggers over-react, though. Even when I’m the victim – along with good sense and a reasonable understanding of modern history and the winds of doctrine.

  76. You don’t see a whole of atheists running canned food drives

    First of all, given that only 5 to 10 percent of Americans are atheists, it’s not surprising that you don’t see many running canned food drives. You don’t see many, period.

    Secondly, economies of scale matter. It makes no sense for an atheist to start an Atheist Food Drive when there’s already a Christian Food Drive with ten times as much support. Unless he has a serious bug up his is ass about religion, he contributes to the Christian Food Drive instead of wasting time and resources forming a competing food drive.

    Finally, most atheists are (sadly) left-wingers, which means that their idea of “giving to charity” often manifests as a call for higher taxes and increased government expenditures on entitlements.

  77. Joe,
    I don’t follow your comparison. Who is John Kerry taking orders from, whey he votes on higher taxes, when he votes on gun control laws, when he calls for socialized health care?

    Gary Gunnels,
    The way I see it, God must exist. Only the nature of God is in question. Is God a concious entity or not.
    Either way God made you and made you a Francophile. (God may have also made you make yourself a cheese Francophile).

    To say that what you are is as a result of a free will, would imply that there is such a thing. And there is not.

  78. kwais,

    The way I see it, God doesn’t exist.

    _________________________________________

    Why should atheists be having food drives?

  79. Dave:

    “Religions only keep mankind in stasis if they are permitted to have an undue influence over the state or are coopted by the state to reinforce its own rule.”

    I agree. I don’t mean to malign altruistic individuals who choose to be religious. I get very, very nervous when religion becomes entangled in the state. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir here.

    I think atheists should have bake sales for the homeless. They could name it “God is dead, have some bread”.

  80. “But the fact of the matter is, Islam has encouraged anything but the sophisticated reaction to criticism. Many, perhaps even most Muslims, get angry and act out. What does one do when a religion is wicked? In Britain, politicians pass laws to quell free speech, so that Muslims aren’t tempted to do violence.”

    You seem to suggest that “perhaps even most” Muslims “get angry and act out” in reaction to criticism. I am not aware of any basis for that assertion.

    You asked the rhetorical question: “What does one do when a religion is wicked?” Who are you to say that an entire religion is wicked? What basis do you have for making such a statement?

    What sort of reaction did you expect your post to receive?

  81. Gary-

    I know you said you were lurking back in March, in reference to a thread where I debated somebody on gay marriage. With your Francophile tendencies, it’s too bad you didn’t participate back then. We had Jean Bart. You guys would have gotten along well.

  82. Ken Shultz finally asks good questions:

    Q. “You seem to suggest that ‘perhaps even most’ Muslims ‘get angry and act out’ in reaction to criticism. I am not aware of any basis for that assertion.

    A. You may “have me” on “perhaps even most.” That’s not the case in America, and religious fanatics are not the majority anywhere. But imams – and, I readily admit, misguided American foreign policy – do encourage fanaticism en masse throughout the world, and far too many Muslims do over-react murderously – and many Muslim states do the same, legally – and this is a huge, huge problem. I gave some of the contexts that enough Muslims react badly, leading to illiberal laws to contain them. I don’t really believe you are reading and considering my arguments. You are over-reacting to some phrases.

    Q. “You asked the rhetorical question: ‘What does one do when a religion is wicked?’ Who are you to say that an entire religion is wicked?

    A. This is a silly bit of intimidation. Who am I to say Stalinism is wicked? Who am I to say McVeigh was wicked? Who was Jesus to say Pharisees and Sadduccees were wicked? Who was Socrates to question things Athenians didn’t want questioned? Who are you to question me?

    This is just so ignoble, this rhetorical gambit. It should be beneath you.

    Q. “What basis do you have for making such a statement?”

    The behavior of people, the consequences of the words they choose and the things they say, etc. etc. And of course I’m not saying everything about Islam is horrible and evil and vile etc. I don’t say that about any religion I citicize. I happen to be a fan of much religious literature, particularly Jewish literature, even while disapproving of the general gist of the religion and while scoffing at its claims to Truth. I think many Muslims are fine people, burdened with a nutty, dangerous religion. Not unreasonably, I hope that Islam is corrupted by capitalism, as Christianity largely has been. I hope that its worst elements will be bred out, and abandoned in practice, honored only hypocritically. Get the gist?

    Q. “What sort of reaction did you expect your post to receive?”

    A. I expected people given more to pieties than honest argument to take offense. And I may have welcomed it. Like a Zen Master to his obtuse students, I believe that some readers need a whack on the head now and then.

    Metaphorically, of course.

  83. To the extent that they portray an inaccurate view of the universe, all religions are “wicked.” Some are more wicked than others. I don’t think I’ve got much to fear from the neighborhood Taoist, frex.

    As for the “Catholics” in the IRA, the splinter groups who have kept up the violence were long ago captured by Marxists of one stripe or another. Somehow some of my fellow Irish-Americans never figured out that collecting for Noraid on Saturday and going to mass on Sunday might not be compatible activities. Merely joining a “secret society,” as the IRB/IRA has been since its inception, was enough to get you excommunicated back in the day.

    Removing a personal god from his eschatalogical teleology and replacing it with “historical determinism” doesn’t make Marx’s rubbish any less a religion than the major monotheisms, IMNSHO.

    I’m not a god-believer, either. I can think of no faith more awful than “submission to the will of” anybody. Non serviam, I say.

    Kevin

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