Pharyngula

Defending the rotting equine carcass

Let’s bring up that atheists and civil rights issue once again — it makes everyone so happy. The Science Ethicist is really peeved with DJ Grothe, who in a recent Point of Inquiry podcast repeated his assertion that a) atheism is not a civil rights issue, and b) lots of atheists are making their civil rights a major issue.

The curious twist here is that he’s interviewing Peter Irons, author of God on Trial, who at the very beginning makes the point strongly that religion is the most divisive issue in the country after race, and that there is a deep intolerance towards atheists. Then Grothe springs his traditional assertion that those other atheists are making too big a deal of civil rights. Irons comes back with the argument that the discrimination against atheists does make it an issue of civil rights. I don’t quite get the point of Grothe’s argument. I agree with Irons that it is a civil rights issue, but I also agree willingly that there is no comparison with the oppression faced by women and homosexuals and blacks; most of the atheists I know would probably agree, that it’s a real issue, but it’s probably not the most important struggle we face right now.

I’m not quite ready to give up on the podcast as Aerik is since they get such good guests (and the Irons interview is very good), but I do think Grothe is flogging a dead horse. Can we at least agree that it has been settled somewhere close to the position that it is a civil rights issue, but not one that imposes the kind of discrimination that we need to resolve by new legislation? And that Grothe can stop complaining about all those nonexistent atheist leaders who think they are the next Martin Luther King?

Comments

  1. #1 Caledonian
    July 28, 2007

    Can we at least agree that it has been settled somewhere close to the position that it is a civil rights issue, but not one that imposes the kind of discrimination that we need to resolve by new legislation?

    To many people, the category you postulate is heretical.

  2. #2 Casey
    July 28, 2007

    I haven’t heard the podcast yet, but that show is a true gem and abandoning a show that promotes values like those, because you disagree with one thing, is ludicrous and whiny. You don’t have to agree with everything that every other person agrees with and that is the great thing about this life.

  3. #3 Science Avenger
    July 28, 2007

    Can we at least agree that it has been settled somewhere close to the position that it is a civil rights issue, but not one that imposes the kind of discrimination that we need to resolve by new legislation?

    I’m certainly on board with that. However, as long as there are people who can claim with a straight face that Christians are persecuted in this country, we are going to meet massive resistence to any contention that we atheists are the victims of anything. The perspectives are just too skewed.

  4. #4 MAJeff
    July 28, 2007

    . I agree with Irons that it is a civil rights issue, but I also agree willingly that there is no comparison with the oppression faced by women and homosexuals and blacks; most of the atheists I know would probably agree, that it’s a real issue, but it’s probably not the most important struggle we face right now.

    As a gay atheist I both agree and disagree with this. When I was living in a place like Mankato, it was culturally more difficult to be an open atheist than an open gay man. In terms of public policy, however, life as a gay man was more inhibited.

    There were stores, one arts and crafts place in particular, people would tell me about employment there, where they would inquire about religious belief, and pretty much require fundamentalist christianity of their employees. Yeah, that’s a civil rights issue. (it’s also an issue of why on earth would you want to work in a place that’s so hostile to your existence, but there are few places that aren’t hostile to our existence–in either identity group under discussion)

  5. #5 LeeLeeOne
    July 28, 2007

    From a comment or two on the “Aerik” link: Can anyone please explain to me why anyone anywhere on this planet should be “grateful” to anyone who is NOT a terrorist, anywhere on this planet, and as this article noted in our “elected” US government?!!

    Excuse me but why should I be grateful to anyone who is NOT doing something they should NOT be doing in the first place?!

    In my therapy practice, there are innumerable times when someone brings up the idea that they should be congratulated or patted on the back or recognized for NOT doing something they should not be doing in the first place!

    “Well at least I don’t beat them any more when I’m drunk” is a very sad, sick, immature but common statement.

    I never allowed this behavior with any of my children (whether they be biological or adopted). “You did something, you accept responsibility!” was my rule.

    I will NOT allow such a pathetic excuse, especially for antisocial behavior!

  6. #6 inkadu
    July 28, 2007

    Hm.

    Yeah. Aren’t there, like, already laws against religious discrimination? I think atheism is considered a “religion” in terms of civil rights law.

  7. #7 Ktesibios
    July 28, 2007

    There were stores, one arts and crafts place in particular, people would tell me about employment there, where they would inquire about religious belief, and pretty much require fundamentalist christianity of their employees. Yeah, that’s a civil rights issue. (it’s also an issue of why on earth would you want to work in a place that’s so hostile to your existence, but there are few places that aren’t hostile to our existence–in either identity group under discussion)

    Posted by: MAJeff

    It’s also a clear-cut violation of Federal law. To discriminate against someone because they aren’t an adherent of the “correct” religion is a definite no-no.

    Perhaps someone should have explained that to them.

  8. #8 Jim Lippard
    July 28, 2007

    If it turns out that Pat Tillman was murdered by his fellow soldiers in part for his vocal atheism, is that a civil rights issue?

  9. #9 Monkey
    July 28, 2007

    LeeLeeOne,

    I agree.

    Respecting yourself for not sinking to the lowest possible level is not high praise. This happens so often, in varying degrees of importance, everyday.

    Science Avenger,
    Well, I dont agree. Totally. Well, I do…but…..
    Ok, my point on this is that in the current US debates (im CDN) my perspective is that atheism is a highly unpotable question and nobody wants to answer it. They are afraid of losing votes for thier stature of belief; evolution is the main attack point, but inherited through that line is religious posture – ‘are you a REAL christian?’ seems to be what is really being asked. Now, if a questioner asked “sir/madame, do you believe in jesus?” stand back, cover your eyes, take the children to a safe place – feces and the fan instance. So I would assume.
    I think that, while this is not outright persecution or discrimination, there is a victim in this. The point is that any belief that is discordant with mainstream relgion will be taken as bad in the media and general populous.

    I do not feel persecuted or victimized as an atheist. I do not feel that I am owed anything for societal repurcussions of my disbelief in jesus, the bible, and so on. I DO feel that atheism is seen as “bad” and “angry” and portrayed as such in the media. I am not an angry person, not a bad person, I volunteer, I do my best to make my family, friends and the community around me a better place, and I teach this as my posting as a highschool teacher. However, the stigma of non-religion lends itself to discriminatory actions. To wrap up, I repeat the opening – the elctorial discussions.

  10. #10 Monkey
    July 28, 2007

    Inkadu,
    I, personally, would prefer if that was recanted and a more obvious “discriminatin against philosophy” law enacted, or a permutation on that idea. The ideology of religion is far from that of atheism; I am not led by blind belief, I do not follow what my parents told me to believe, … I could go on. There is no religious doctrine that allows you to learn and expand and question, no true religious doctrine.

  11. #11 Gilgamesh
    July 28, 2007

    I think DJ was more playing devil’s advocate, something secularists should be pretty good at, right? Grothe does this all the time, not because it is necessarily his own views but because it acts as a great story-telling device to get the points of the interviewee across to the audience, taking on criticism before anyone even reads the book, article, etc. So, it would seem to me that what Point of Inquiry is doing is help defeating the argument that atheism is not a civil rights issue, though certainly not promoting the idea that it is anywhere near to being on par with the plight of so many other groups.

    It should seem that Aerik should realize that. If anything, instead of Grothe promoting this straw-man argument as legit, he is setting it up so Irons can knock it down and point out the very opposite conclusion. The only difference from what DJ said here as opposed to other times he does interviews is that he said he can understand that reasoning to an extent. This seems like a very middle-of-the-road take on things, one that is reasonable; heck, I certainly can see why it may be wise to not call these things a civil rights situation.

    It looks like there is just way too much of an overreaction. It happens to everyone; the only difference now is that blogs make those overreactions more public and permanent.

  12. #12 spartanrider
    July 28, 2007

    Religion or the lack there of is a civil rights issue.That is why civil rights legislation lists race,color,creed,national origin,or religion as things that may not be used as a basis of choice in hiring, housing,or public accommodations.In this country the first amendment has saved our ass.Historically we have had it better than certain religions such as Catholicism and Mormonism.But that is only because we could remain quiet and not participate in organized religion.We were infidels.

    That being said for us in no way effects the rest of the planet.I am not self righteous enough to say,I got mine,fuck the rest of you guys.I will not live to see it happen,but while I am here I will try to end discrimination for non believers wherever it exists.I will not be happy until a young boy or girl living in Mecca has the right to say this crap your feeding me is unadulterated bullshit.I can say fuck jesus and the donkey he rode in on.Any body want to try fuck mohammed and the horse he rode to heaven in downtown Mecca.Well until that day comes there is plenty of work to do.Sometimes people who have it too good end up debating the most picayune things instead of looking at the larger picture.

    Rant ended.

  13. #13 inkadu
    July 28, 2007

    Monkey —

    Let’s start a religion where you must do whatever you want — it is a religious requirement — while at work. That way we can apply for discrimination against our civil rights when we’re reprimanded for showing up at work wearing swim trunks, a snorkel, and swim fins. We could call it the ChurchOfDoWhateverTheEffYouWant; and with the obvious benefits, supported by civil rights protection for any religious idiocy, we’d be the fastest growing church in the country.

    Spartanrider — Sounds good. Lets see if we can get the United Stated Ambassador to the UN to start working on that problem right away. Or maybe we could start our own Atheist relief agency, and we could explain to the starving children that, “This food does expressly not come from God. Not-God is feeding you today. Say thank you to Not-God or you can’t eat.”

  14. #14 QrazyQat
    July 28, 2007

    I do not feel persecuted or victimized as an atheist

    You might if you were running for office (majority of Americans say they wouldn’t vote for an atheist no matter how qualified they were). You might if you had kids in school and wanted to have the same right to have flyers for non-school atheist activities passed out as Christians have for passing out fundamentalist Christian flyers (recent news you’ll remember if you’ve been paying attention). In other words, you may not feel prosecuted, but this can only be so if you really don’t care much about your rights.

  15. #15 Monkey
    July 28, 2007

    PZ…SORRY!
    Everyone….SORRY!

    Sorry until jesus comes back….

    I must mention another on your site – im having an anne Coulter of a time getting to Bad Astronomy….any word? Site down?

    I didnt know who to turn to….

    _____________________
    Thought #1
    Are civil rights plastic? Philosophically, that is?
    This may seem like an innane inquiry, but my political history is perhaps limited in this regard – any situations where given rights were retracted, as in the political or social scene felt the need to revoke a civil liberty? I am not taking about public opinion, but specifically lawfull enactments.

    Thought #2
    Here is a situation: having coffee this early afternoon and reading in the sunshine of BC. Table to my right sits a man and his dog.
    No matter.
    Next table over, three ladies (early 30’s ish) discussing a friends upcomming marriage. The quote that tore me away from my literature was “well, the other guy she dated wasnt really that much of a christian, but this guy is” and the reply “yeah, totally, I guess thats why shes marrying him”

    ‘not much of a christian’?!?!? Therein lies a liberty lost to the ‘other’ guy; perhaps the relationship was vacuous and abusive, they didnt say. But his relelntless devotion to god wasnt strong enough to keep their love alive.
    So: Man A says he loves Bearded Man B,therefore Lady A loves Man A

    It made me so curious as to the reverse situation and the reaction I would expect if it was spoken like this: “well the other guy was agnostic, not atheist enough. This new guy is a REAL atheist so I guess that is why she is marrying him”
    That would have been taken as ignorant and been a stain on the speakers social image on teh spot.

    There is an unspoken (well…whispered) allowance made to religion and a well spoken distaste for non-religion. This is well documented and commented on by those within circles such as this, but outside of coherent conversations of people who are versed to some degree in the issue, atheism is bad and rightless. Therein, again, lies the civil liberty loss.

    _________________________________________________
    …but seriously, what about phil?

  16. #16 inkadu
    July 28, 2007

    Don’t get your panties in a bunch, monkey, religious compatibility is a big part of marriage.

    Frankly, I can very easily hear my friends saying, “She was too Christian for him; this new girl is a hard-core atheists and likes to knee priests in the groin then laugh about it — they’ll probably end up getting married and having kids some day.”

  17. #17 Monkey
    July 28, 2007

    Yes, of course.
    My point, though, was that verbalizing such intuitive thoughts would be taken two different ways. Compatability is key to any relationship, and while difference is good compatability is key. Not arguing.

    If I said to a christian friend “no, she is too christian for me” I woud get verbally repremanded and a duel would begin.

    If a christian said to me “she did not have enough faith for me” I would be accepted to … accept. I wouldnt, though. But the social stigma would be that I should ‘understand’ because ‘he/she is driven by faith’.

    Faith, then, is the measure of worth. Faith is the height of worth. Whatever way you want to say it – it is socially accepted that ‘not having enough faith’ is reason to make a decision, but ‘having faith’ cannot properly be used equally.

    Panties untied.

  18. #18 Monkey
    July 28, 2007

    That should be:

    “expected to…accept”

  19. #19 inkadu
    July 28, 2007

    If I said to a christian friend “no, she is too christian for me” I woud get verbally repremanded and a duel would begin.

    Really? Hm. You might want to get different friends, then. Unless you enjoy argument.

    Sorry to be so flip. It’s hard for me to fathom a friend, a good friend, not understanding that I (or you) wouldn’t be happy married to a Christpuncher who prays to God every night and thinks SuperDad cares what they do with their naughty bits. It’s a point of tension so obvious that even a Christian should be able to see it.

  20. #20 inkadu
    July 28, 2007

    If I said to a christian friend “no, she is too christian for me” I woud get verbally repremanded and a duel would begin.

    Really? Hm. You might want to get different friends, then. Unless you enjoy argument.

    Sorry to be so flip. It’s hard for me to fathom a friend, a good friend, not understanding that I (or you) wouldn’t be happy married to a Christpuncher who prays to God every night and thinks SuperDad cares what they do with their naughty bits. It’s a point of tension so obvious that even a Christian should be able to see it.

  21. #21 raiko
    July 28, 2007

    I think that, for most people, this is an issue of scale. There are far too few atheists, as compared to theists, that claims of discrimination by the former group is buried under the claims of discrimination by the latter. It’s the whole “I’m (or somebody else is) more discriminated than you, so shut up” effect.

    But then the question remains, if only a few people are discriminated against (and as PZ has stressed, in a decidely non-life or death manner), does this make this any less of a civil rights issue? What would happen if, say, the atheist logo that’s being bandied around the net is adopted, and the number of incidents increases (or stays the same)? Would this have any effect on the question of whether or not discrimination against atheists is a civil rights issue? Are the civil rights of an atheist different from those of a theist? I say no.

  22. #22 ChrisD
    July 28, 2007

    Frankly, I can very easily hear my friends saying, “She was too Christian for him; this new girl is a hard-core atheists and likes to knee priests in the groin then laugh about it — they’ll probably end up getting married and having kids some day.”

    Just a note about [COFFEE WARNING] tags inkadu: any time you say something that will force coffee to spray from the reader’s mouth you must use this tag for fair warning.

  23. #23 Kagehi
    July 28, 2007

    Hmm. Imagine if you will, had civil rights been recognized as an issue prior to modern definitions of it.

    1. Well, I am sorry you don’t like being remarried to other men, but at least we respected your rights enough to not kill you along with the men from your village.

    Later 2. Well, at least we only took your land, we could have killed you, like those uncivilized people in the past.

    Later 3. Well, I am sorry you don’t like us taking all your food and money, but at least we left all of you alive.

    Later 4. Well, at least we don’t take you food and money like we used to, we just threw you in prison until you converted.

    And so on… Simple fact. The more civil a society is, the more general and less extreme in effect the “civil rights” violations are going to be. The real question isn’t if it is one, its, “Is this one that is so trivial it can be safely ignored.” Well, it effects people’s lives, their ability to get jobs in some cases, their ability to socialize, and many other things, including the ability to defend their own opinions in the face of people that reject them based “solely” on what they *think* someone else intended 2,000 years earlier, so.. no, its hardly fracking trivial enough to ignore. If it was something like group a being annoyed by group b’s insistence on wearing pink socks, then yeah, it would be trivial enough to ignore. But, I am damn sure some religious nut would *still* be on TV some place telling us that people that wear pink socks are going to hell, as proclaimed in the Bible.

  24. #24 Monkey
    July 28, 2007

    Well, I decide not to choose every member of my life by whom they prey to or whom they dont pray to. It is hard to express personalities over these forums, but take it to be truth when I assert that my atheism is not in question, nor is my disdain for religions as a wholesale entity.

    However, my point remains and my panties remain untangled.

    I think it is ignorant to say that you wont be friends with a religious person. I can never have the same connection philosophically with a devoutly religious person and have spent my share of time in third world countries questioning the ‘mission’ of missionaries, but I would not excommunicate a friend when I realize that they “believe”. I think it is a callous comment – flip, perhaps – to assert that I should never befriend someone who goes to church.

    Have fun taking this the wrong way, again.

  25. #25 Emily O.
    July 28, 2007

    “I agree with Irons that it is a civil rights issue, but I also agree willingly that there is no comparison with the oppression faced by women and homosexuals and blacks; most of the atheists I know would probably agree, that it’s a real issue, but it’s probably not the most important struggle we face right now.”

    Yes, that is what I think.

  26. #26 Rieux
    July 29, 2007

    most of the atheists I know would probably agree, that it’s a real issue, but it’s probably not the most important struggle we face right now.

    Okay, I’m willing to agree that ethnic minorities, women and GLBTs frequently have it tougher than we do–but surely it’s worth noticing that the same liberal folks who are very sensitive to oppression against those three groups (among others) have no freakin’ clue, indeed often deny outright, that there exists any discrimination against atheists? (See, e.g., the Volokh law review article re: atheists losing custody of their children, the many polls that show us as the most distrusted minority in society, the U of M-Twin Cities sociology study, etc.)

    Doesn’t it make discrimination worse when so much of society pretends that there’s no discrimination at all?

  27. #27 Aerik
    July 29, 2007

    Man. I was googling "site:scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/ civil rights" to double check if I picked up your best replies to Grothe and Nisbet to reply to a forum thread with Grothe personally, and when I read how you actually linked to me, I got way too excited. I’m going to let my head shrink a bit and comment more tomorrow.

    *bookmarks page

  28. #28 Aerik
    July 29, 2007

    P.S., I’m not giving up the podcast, I was miffed enough after Grothe and Nisbet’s essays, yet I still subscribe to their feed; I’m just not linking to it. Kinda like if my favorite sports team did something egregious so I stopped wearing things with their logo on it, to acknowledge my displeasure, while not really boycotting it.

  29. #29 Graculus
    July 29, 2007

    In other words, you may not feel prosecuted, but this can only be so if you really don’t care much about your rights.

    – QrazyQat

    Maybe you missed the part where Monkey isn’t a USian?

  30. #30 Caledonian
    July 29, 2007

    The word is ‘persecuted’.

    And if Monkey isn’t a USian, who cares whether it feels its US rights have been violated or not? It doesn’t have the rights to have violated.

  31. #31 Graculus
    July 29, 2007

    It doesn’t have the rights to have violated.

    – Caledonian

    You’ve said some pretty stupid things in your career here, Caledonian, but that has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen under your nym.

  32. #32 bernarda
    July 29, 2007

    Here is an Australian comedy team. Scroll down to “Divine Guidance”. Of course the others are very funny too.

    http://abc.net.au/7.30/clarkedawe.htm

  33. #33 Bill
    July 29, 2007

    Um, what exactly is the question here? Religious discrimination is religious discrimination, whether it’s for something you believe or for something you DON’T believe. No more, no less. And we already have laws against that in the U.S.

    Furthermore, I think people are wrong who’d discriminate against an atheist running for public office, but would I vote for a fundamentalist Christian who didn’t accept evolution, thought the Earth was 6,000 years old, and believed that our planet is fixed in space, unmoving, the center of the universe? Not too likely. So why would I expect true believers to vote for an atheist candidate?

    Yes, atheists face some discrimination, but when was the last time one was lynched or burned at the stake? Are we prohibited from holding public office (provided we can get enough votes), owning property, or getting married? Yes, I know some state constitutions require a belief in god to hold public office, but they’d never hold up in court, even in Dubya’s Supreme Court (although one more far-right addition could change that).

  34. #34 inkadu
    July 29, 2007

    Hi, Monkey.

    I didn’t say you should get friends who are atheists — a have several friends who are Christian. I’m just saying you should have friends who accept (and respect?) your beliefs. It’s like if you were gay and always got lectures from your friends about how you should always be dating someone of the opposite gender…

    My Christian friends now I’m an atheist, and it’s one of the many things we talk about; and if we need to duel, we duel. It’s part of the friendship.

  35. #35 inkadu
    July 29, 2007

    Hi, Monkey.

    I didn’t say you should get friends who are atheists — a have several friends who are Christian. I’m just saying you should have friends who accept (and respect?) your beliefs. It’s like if you were gay and always got lectures from your friends about how you should always be dating someone of the opposite gender…

    My Christian friends now I’m an atheist, and it’s one of the many things we talk about; and if we need to duel, we duel. It’s part of the friendship.

  36. #36 Rienk
    July 29, 2007

    most of the atheists I know would probably agree, that it’s a real issue, but it’s probably not the most important struggle we face right now

    But I do see it as a major, very major issue, because religion ties in to the other issues you named. Atheism stands up against this religious dogma that has been and still is the source for much of the sexism, racism and other forms of hateful ‘-ism’s in this country. We’re all fighting together against this evil called religion.

  37. #37 MpM
    July 29, 2007

    Bill got it right… though not to the finish line.

    The Constitution lays the tenor of all law regarding discrimination as “not having to be something” – the right religion, the right race etc.

    Now the part that was missed; most modern civil rights battles are not fought over burning crosses. They are fought over what gets taught in the schools, over job opportunities, and how easy it is to buy a home in the neighborhood of your choice.
    These battles are never fought head on. They are fought with unkown reasons why you were not hired (not a “team player”), mysterious (temporary) delisting of real estate, and surreptitious purchase of the “wrong” books for schools, (remember Dover)? Discrimination has almost become synonymous with the word, sneaky.

    I do not believe I am being a paranoid. We have reached a point in the US where the difference between reasons to discriminate is not nearly as significant as the creativity employed to discriminate. We should be intolerant to all attempts to violate the rights of citizens, including the recent plunder of privacy rights by the US President. Existing laws are adequate. What we need is enforcement.

  38. #38 John Bode
    July 29, 2007

    Can we at least agree that it has been settled somewhere close to the position that it is a civil rights issue, but not one that imposes the kind of discrimination that we need to resolve by new legislation?

    Maybe. Maybe not. As long as I’m
    constitutionally barred
    from holding state office in Texas, though, it doesn’t much matter.

  39. #39 Monkey
    July 30, 2007

    inkadu,

    Your sentiments ring clear. While my friends who are religiously inclined are good friends, there will always be a gap of philisophical understanding of the world. But, I will always expect a level of acceptance; if not, then it would be reason to distance the friendship.
    It has caused strain already in certain friendships because they cannot cope with my lack of faith.
    I do, then, agree with you.
    However, to go back a few posts, I feel that this is my personal stance and not completely mirrored in society. Unfortunately, that is. For extended relationships (coworkers, etc) it is taken more personally when I say ” I dont believe in your myth” rather than if I said “I am jewish not catholic”; any faith is seen to be better than no faith. Again, I, me personally, do not agree with this sentiment, but I fear that it is the overriding political and social barrier that needs to be addressed. And I try to. But, again, I agree with you.

    Caledonian,

    I hope you wrote that while drunk or in jest. Either way, I second Graculus’ thoughts.

  40. #40 Epistaxis
    July 30, 2007

    Can we at least agree that it has been settled somewhere close to the position that it is a civil rights issue, but not one that imposes the kind of discrimination that we need to resolve by new legislation?

    No, we can’t. But it has more to do with blocking new, discriminatory, unconstitutional legislation than adding anything to the existing Establishment Clause and Supreme Court decisions, which would be more than sufficient if they were enforced in judicial review.

  41. #41 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 1, 2007

    inkadu #6: “Yeah. Aren’t there, like, already laws against religious discrimination? I think atheism is considered a “religion” in terms of civil rights law.”

    Laws. Laws. Do you suppose that LAWS are REALLY so effective in mediating the behavior of people? Or that disobedience or “breaking laws” is the very first and uppermost thought on everybody’s mind whenever they do whatever it is they are doing? As if they REALLY have their “civic duty” in mind? Like propelling themselves down a freeway at better than 70 instead of the posted speed limit? Or that a majority of people DON’T constantly work out ways to thwart “laws” (as they at least perceive them) in order to obtain some self-interested or economic advantage?

    Same goes for the consequences of law-breaking: Does anyone really think for a moment that capital punishment (for example) is an effective deterrent to imbecile psychotic murderers who couldn’t care less whether or not they are caught and sentenced to die? Some of them will happily commit murder just to demonstrate their contempt of such potential punishment. They’re CRAZY!!! Laws or whatever punishment made legally explicit won’t ever save or protect their victims.

    What it MAY do is ameliorate those who like to see such monsters fry. Tit for tat, as advertised in the Old Testament. Too bad it doesn’t bring any of the victims back. Another thing it DOESN’T do is address a chronic problem in the society that breeds such monsters in the first place. MORE, not less, victimization.

    How naive can we get? There is as much danger posed in a society full of people who think like lawyers and the martial-minded as a population dominated by religious thinking: each are astonishingly adept at ignoring actual human behavior. Each treats the public as a herd to be dictated to. Each believe that social order can only be obtained by the “enforcement of law”.

    And while they spend endless sums of money and time to “force” their strictures of proper behavior on people, the world continues to deteriorate. Yet, a RELATIVELY SIMPLE PLAN of COMMUNICATION – education in science and art and history – would work wonders…as would that now-strange concept of “diplomacy”.

    Ah…but that would not be profitable…

    Wanna bet???

  42. #42 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 1, 2007

    Mister Monkey says: “…outside of coherent conversations of people who are versed to some degree in the issue, atheism is bad and rightless. Therein, again, lies the civil liberty loss.”

    Really? Any conversations conducted “OUTSIDE” of arenas such as this where folks are allegedly better “versed to some some degree in the issue” than elsewhere automatically demonstrates that “atheism is bad and rightless”?

    You have the audacity to speak in terms of coherence in conversation?

    That such a preposterous interpretation can be made at all inspires me to make one of my own: You, sir, are an utterly shameless jackass of a nitwit.

    Bets on for who is more coherent.

  43. #43 Arnosium Upinarum
    August 1, 2007

    Mister Bill, #33 says, “Yes, atheists face some discrimination, but when was the last time one was lynched or burned at the stake?”

    Do you have any idea how incredibly stupid that statement is? Any at all?

    Let me show you.

    Yes, native Africans face discrimination in countries whose native populations notice a skin color difference and find reasons to deplore it.

    Yes, homosexuals face discrimination in societies that frown upon departures from heterosexual behavior.

    Yes, Jews and Moslems face discrimination by people that consider their religious traditions to be contrary to their own.

    Lots more examples, too little space and time.

    So. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ANY OF THESE WERE “LYNCHED AND BURNED AT THE STAKE”???

    Is THAT now the criterion for determining whether real discrimination is taking place? THINK, man, before you say anything. Otherwise you will sound like an idiot.

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