Pharyngula

And the outcome is pretty ugly for Christianity. The lesson from this story is that when people set aside their religious beliefs, they can be decent to one another; when they use them to provoke violence, well, they look rather stupid.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan
    December 13, 2007

    Talk about your all time craziest tag-team matches. I’ve not seen anything like this since Cowboy Bob Orton teamed up with The Crusher to take out the Mad Sheik and one of the Super Destroyers.

    Ah well… Religion just incites violence, doesn’t it?

  2. #2 Lawdog
    December 13, 2007

    Don’t you people understand? Those kids were in the trenches fighting the War Against Christmas! How dare Mr. Adler not respond with a Merry Christmas. He is lucky he just got his ass kicked, and wasn’t a business that could be boycotted. Thank goodness we have a bill pending in Congress to honor the Xmas and persecuted Xtians.

  3. #3 zer0
    December 13, 2007

    The whole world has gone batshit insane.

    On a slightly related note, yesterday on the Howard Stern show, one of the guys went out to Rockefeller center and interviewed random people on the street. He made up some story about the Jews protesting the giant Christmas tree, and wanting it taken down to see what their reactions would be. Some of the reactions were just priceless: “If they don’t like our Christmas tree they can go back to their own country.” or “I have to look at a Menorah all day, so they have to look at our tree.” and this gem: “I read the paper everyday, I haven’t heard of this at all, and where are all the people that are supposed to be protesting this?” to which the guy’s wife responded “They’re sneaky.”

    Artie chimed in, saying it’s not hard to see how easy it must’ve been to start the holocaust. Howard said “Hitler didn’t even have to be a good orator, everyone already hated the Jews.” It made for some good laughs, but stepping back, and after reading this… it is really scary how ignorant some people are. Howard liked the segment so much, he wanted Sal to go back out there everyday to get more reactions.

  4. #4 Jsn
    December 13, 2007

    Ambivalence: Repugnant behavior from Xian idiots yet commendable behavior from a muslim toward a jew and all over a holiday assimilated from pagans and a second holiday that finds an extended lamp burning somehow miraculous.

    Amazing that these obviously devout Xian numbnuts can’t even discern Channuka from EASTER or Romans from Jews. Pitiful, just pitiful.

  5. #5 Jeff D
    December 13, 2007

    Back in the late 80s and early 90s, when I lived in Brighton Beach and worked in Manhattan, I rode the Q train daily. Naturally, I saw criminal activity now and then and got jaded enough that few incidents surprised me.

    But I never saw anything even close to this in terms of pointless violence. I guess religion really is sui generis in its ability to incite this kind of hatred-in-action.

  6. #6 Sigmund
    December 13, 2007

    Presumably Bill O’Really will have those Christian heros on his show to thank them for joining in the counter-offensive in the ‘War on Christmas’, won’t he?

  7. #7 thalarctos
    December 13, 2007

    The 10 suspects, ages 19 to 20, were taken into custody, said Brooklyn district attorney spokesman Sandy Silverstein. Askari was first handcuffed alongside them, but he was released when Adler told police he was not an attacker, Hellerstein said.

    The racial profiling aspect tops off the whole incident with a nice dollop of irony.

  8. #8 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    December 13, 2007

    So the police reach the subway train, and what’s the first thing they do? Arrest and handcuff the Muslim good samaritan!

  9. #9 CrypticLife
    December 13, 2007

    Note that the papers here didn’t present it as a hate crime — they presented it as “A Muslim comes to the aid of a Jew”.

    Note that the Pentecostal shooter out in the midwest was also presented as an “Anti-Christian”. Who else do you know who’s described as “Anti-Christian”? Yes, you guessed it — it looks like they backhanded a reference to atheists after all.

  10. #10 Reginald Selkirk
    December 13, 2007

    One member of the group allegedly yelled, “Oh, Hanukkah. That’s the
    day that the Jews killed Jesus,” she said.

    Not only a bigot, but a moron.

  11. #11 MemeGene
    December 13, 2007

    You want to talk about a true “spirit of Christmas”? That Muslim student just demonstrated it. How ironic that the Christians were the ones who gave him an opportunity to show true kindness toward his fellow man.

    Oh, and whenever I hear a Christian whining about the “war on Christmas,” I’m going to just point them to this story. What hateful hypocrites.

  12. #12 Denis Loubet
    December 13, 2007

    Ya know, I’ve always said that if the Jews Killed Jesus, they did it so the Christians wouldn’t have to.

  13. #13 inkadu
    December 13, 2007

    Paging Scott Hatfield.

  14. #14 Lawdog
    December 13, 2007

    Well now its official…the House Resolution honoring Christmas and rejecting persecution* of Christians passed…oh the irony

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=hr110-847

    *”rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide”

  15. #15 Alex
    December 13, 2007

    Why do they never refer to the group who were doing to physical and verbal assault as Christians? They say, “A Muslim man jumped to the aid of three Jewish subway riders after they were attacked by a group of young people who objected to one of the Jews saying ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ a spokeswoman for the three said Wednesday.”

    Why not, “A group of Christians” instead of “a group of young people”? They refer to the others by their religion. I’m sure they’d say atheists if it were atheists attacking some Christians for saying, “Merry Christmas” or any other group of people besides Christians doing the attacking.

  16. #16 Bozman
    December 13, 2007

    This is pretty startling for a couple of reasons – firstly this hits a bit too close to home for my liking. I like to think that we have less of this kind of nonsense here on the east coast, but clearly the infection is alive and well.

    Second, stories like this really highlight the dangers of indoctrinating our youth with this kind of madness at an early age. I mean really, “Oh, Hanukkah. That’s the day that the Jews killed Jesus,”?! Are you serious? This bullshit can only be one of two things, willfull ignorance or insane brainwashing.

    I used to understand religious people. I used to see where they were coming from. Hell, I used to be religious – 12 years in Catholic school will do that to you. To this day I am trying to undo the damage inflicted by that place. It is a dark, insidious thing, striking from the back of my mind. All I see when I look at these people is that darkness. It’s madness, plain and simple. I see them following their ragged prophets, spouting their lies and propaganda like some deranged Nostradamus with the sort of confidence that only blindness and insanity can bring, and I can’t wait for the day that we are rid of it for good.

    I ripped open that veil with the pure light of reason a long time ago, and stories like this remind me how glad I am for that.

  17. #17 SEF
    December 13, 2007

    Apparently, ’tis the season to beat-up-anyone-else-who-dares-to be jolly. Except that doesn’t scan as well.

  18. #18 Warren
    December 13, 2007

    Wait. There are Jewish people in New York City?

  19. #19 Raynfala
    December 13, 2007

    Not only a bigot, but a moron.

    There is a strong correlation between those two factors, isn’t there?

  20. #20 Disciple of "Bob"
    December 13, 2007

    That story hurted my smart.

  21. #21 amanda
    December 13, 2007

    “The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, and will determine whether the suspects will be charged with hate crimes, Officer Philip Hauser told CNN.”

    They’re questioning whether or not to charge for hate crimes?!?! WTF???

  22. #22 June
    December 13, 2007

    At the time Jesus died, there were no Christians.

  23. #23 Patrick Quigley
    December 13, 2007

    Friday’s altercation on the Q train began when somebody yelled out “Merry Christmas,” to which rider Walter Adler responded, “Happy Hanukkah,” said Toba Hellerstein.

    How ironic considering that Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Abrahamic fundamentalists over the forces of multiculturalism.

  24. #24 wò&Oacute†
    December 13, 2007

    (.)(.)

    I just found out today that Garth Brooks is Jewish.

    Who knew?

  25. #25 wò&Oacute†
    December 13, 2007

    (.)(.)

    I just found out today that Garth Brooks is Jewish.

    Who knew?

  26. #26 Gabe
    December 13, 2007

    At the time Jesus died, there were no Christians.

    There were if you believe Sherri Shepard’s view of history.

  27. #27 Jamie
    December 13, 2007

    No-one here will, I trust, leap precipitately to the conclusion that the “vast majority of Muslims are good people”. You have to balance anecdotes like this with all we hear that doesn’t speak so highly of them.

  28. #28 richard
    December 13, 2007

    “The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, and will determine whether the suspects will be charged with hate crimes, Officer Philip Hauser told CNN.”
    They’re questioning whether or not to charge for hate crimes?!?! WTF???

    Assault is Assault, there is no reason to adjudicate what the assaulter was thinking at the time.

  29. #29 amanda
    December 13, 2007

    Richard – that makes sense. I didn’t think about that. How do we ever charge someone of a hate crime, then? Is it only if they readily admit it?

  30. #30 rpsms
    December 13, 2007

    The article doesn’t point out the non-obvious-to-christians fact that Friday actually WAS Hanukkah.

    It still isn’t Christmas yet.

  31. #31 Moses
    December 13, 2007

    But… But… But… We’re a Christian Nation, therefore this can’t be true. It was the Jooooosss teaming up with the Camel Jockey in their war on Christmas. Clearly this was all made up to frame the innocent Christians on their way back from Bible Study because we know that Christians NEVER, EVER attack people for their beliefs, but are long suffering martyrs…

  32. #32 Christian
    December 13, 2007

    When Jesus died the Christian cult was small but it did exist. Dead people can’t go out and get followers very easily. It would have been up to the existing Christians you further the cause for the Martyr.

  33. #33 Rey Fox
    December 13, 2007

    Jamie: It’s pretty much a given that any time Muslims are mentioned here, someone will either jump in calling us anti-Semites for not condemning them enough or anti-Muslites (sure, why not) for condemning them too much. Sometimes both. Context be damned.

  34. #34 bob
    December 13, 2007

    Assault is Assault, there is no reason to adjudicate what the assaulter was thinking at the time.

    If intent is used to distinguish degrees of a crime murder, why not other violent crimes as well? If the victims where targeted for not other reason than that they where Jewish, then the intent is to intimidate the Jewish population of a community at large. If you found out some person or persons where randomly attacking atheists in your community, wouldn’t you feel intimidated and threatened as a result. That’s how hate crime is adjudicated.

  35. #35 Skwee
    December 13, 2007

    First, the Muslim college student is a hero. He could really teach the nutjobs who beat up Adler a thing or two about Good Samaritanism.

    Second, I want to know how you think Billo will spin this. And HR 847. Or has he already? (I don’t want to rot my brain watching the “ORLY” Factor. Please do my grunt work for me. (:)

  36. #36 idlemind
    December 13, 2007

    @rpsms:

    You’re right. It’s Advent, not Christmas. Something you’d think sham Christians like Bill O’Reilly would know. I mean, isn’t he supposed to be Roman Catholic? Amazing how ignorant some self-claimed “Christians” are of their own religion.

  37. #37 Kristine
    December 13, 2007

    Relationships between the Christians, Muslims, and Jews are very complex. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s newsletter reported a few years ago an incident in which white supremacists staged a demonstration in which they yelled anti-Semitic garbage, cheered the September 11 attacks (I don’t know how that gibes with their conspiracy theory that the “Jews did it,” but whatever) and waved the Palestinian flag. Well, a bunch of Palestinians (who can be both Muslims and Christians) staged a counter-demonstration, demanding that the white supremacists surrender the Palestinian flag and saying, essentially, “The Jewish-Palestinian conflict is family matter – butt out!” Well, it’s important to remember that Jews and Palestinians are both Semitic people, and they know this. The Muslim in the story was from Bangladesh, but he obviously knew more about his religion’s roots than the self-professed Christians. Which is not a new story.

  38. #38 zer0
    December 13, 2007

    I doubt for a moment that Hassan Askari thought for a moment, that he should be true to his faith and not help the three Jewish people. I would hope that he came to their aid because he is a human being, and he was witnessing another human being get assaulted over something so silly. Hassan Askari is worthy of a lot of respect in this situation, because although the papers have labeled him as a muslim, and the police have profiled him as a muslim, he was clearly just a good man in this situation. I myself probably would have not gotten involved, how many of you can say that you would have jumped into that fight?

  39. #39 Rey Fox
    December 13, 2007

    But it’s the Christmas season, you see. It’s more about cultural solidarity than anything else.

  40. #40 GPNguyen
    December 13, 2007

    Amanda, Hate crimes are, in my opinion, unconstitutional, since they rely on mens rea of the defendant. Roughly, the standard is that there is a clear demonstration that the crime was motivated by a dislike or hatred of the victim’s religion, sexual orientation, race, etc. Usually, this is demonstrated through actions such as making verbal statements that a reasonable person can interpret as specifically degrading to an individual’s race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

    The law currently recognizes the difference, for example, between me deciding to beat up a white guy for money, or because I dislike his skin color. It’s very much a grey area, and as far as I’m concerned it’s tantamount to thought crime, because the only difference in the example above is what I was thinking at the time.

  41. #41 zer0
    December 13, 2007

    Doh, should’ve proofread, I said “for a moment” twice in the first 12 words >,<

    Book of Mormon anyone? And so it came to pass *VOMITS*

  42. #42 Woodwose
    December 13, 2007

    Which of Stephen Weinberg’s categories do the attackers fall? Evil people doing evil things, or good people doing evil things because of religion. The Muslim fellow seems to have sewn up the “good people doing good things” role.
    The group was trolling for a fight – and found it. That puts them in the “evil” camp. Their use of Merry Christmas and subsequent verbal attacks was window dressing, not an indication of their religious persuasion. They were probably tired of the “Are you looking at my girlfriend?” gambit.
    News reporters, however, like to flog controversy and a story that “Ten youths attack passenger until aided by another passenger” just doesn’t sell papers.

  43. #43 Sarcastro
    December 13, 2007

    When Jesus died the Christian cult was small but it did exist.

    It was a Jewish sect at that time. Not until Paul of Tarsus allowed gentiles to join the cult did Christianity become its own religion.

  44. #44 bob
    December 13, 2007

    The law currently recognizes the difference, for example, between me deciding to beat up a white guy for money, or because I dislike his skin color. It’s very much a grey area, and as far as I’m concerned it’s tantamount to thought crime, because the only difference in the example above is what I was thinking at the time.

    What about premeditation as it relates to murder, etc…

  45. #45 Troy
    December 13, 2007

    Why do Christians get all hot and heavy over who killed Jesus anywho? Biblically speaking he was sent here specifically to be killed right? So isn’t saying “You killed my Jesus!” the equivalent of saying “You urinated in my urinal!”?

  46. #46 MikeM
    December 13, 2007

    Religion is ruining the planet.

    “Ten demented fuckwits go into a bar…”

    If you’re waiting for the hilarious punchline, please stop. There isn’t one.

  47. #47 Blake Stacey
    December 13, 2007

    No More Mr. Nice Guy! (#8) said,

    So the police reach the subway train, and what’s the first thing they do? Arrest and handcuff the Muslim good samaritan!

    Irony noted and logged. For additional irony, consider that once upon a time (before Muslims and indeed Christians existed), “Samaritan” meant a person from Samaria. A Samaritan was chosen for the “good” role in that parable because Samaritans practiced a faith which was almost Judaism, and the Jews reviled them for it. Nowadays, the parable has soaked into our collective meme pool, and we’re probably apt to think that Samaritans were a famously good and upstanding people, known for their decent conduct. Not so — or at least, not among the Jews of the first century CE.

    Many years ago, Isaac Asimov suggested translating the parable into modern terms by telling a story about a rich white man attacked by white robbers and left to bleed to death beside a road in rural Alabama. A minister and a sheriff walk past and avert their eyes, but his life is saved by “a Negro sharecropper”.

  48. #48 Kevin L.
    December 13, 2007

    So now the Jews are aiding our glorious War on Christmas as well? How delightful!

    Their thirst for blood is unquenchable! Killing one depiction of the divine savior wasn’t enough, now they’re after Baby Jesus, too!

  49. #49 Ken Cope
    December 13, 2007

    Those 19-20 year olds sound like the crowd for which Huckabee holds so much appeal.

  50. #50 stogoe
    December 13, 2007

    If intent is used to distinguish degrees of a crime murder, why not other violent crimes as well? If the victims where targeted for not other reason than that they where Jewish, then the intent is to intimidate the Jewish population of a community at large. If you found out some person or persons where randomly attacking atheists in your community, wouldn’t you feel intimidated and threatened as a result. That’s how hate crime is adjudicated.

    This. We already take into account the motive of crimes to adjucate sentencing. If the motive is to spread terror among a population, that’s a hate crime. Beating up a black person because you want his sneakers isn’t a hate crime; beating up a black person because you want his family to ‘get out of your neighborhood’ certainly is. Again, motive already influences the sentencing of convicted criminals. Hate Crime laws just say “terrorizing a community is a heinous motive, and we think it should afford a greater sentence.”

  51. #51 ryana
    December 13, 2007

    I wonder if Bill O’Liely will have this story on this next “War on Christmas” segment? Anyone will to bet a bottle of single malt scotch?

  52. #52 Skemono
    December 13, 2007

    Actually it was three Jews, not one.

  53. #53 bob
    December 13, 2007

    Hate Crime laws just say “terrorizing a community is a heinous motive, and we think it should afford a greater sentence.”

    stogoe, that was my point, Were you trying to add to it or just reiterate it?

  54. #54 lydia
    December 13, 2007

    …clear demonstration that the crime was motivated by a dislike or hatred of the victim’s religion, sexual orientation, race, etc. Usually, this is demonstrated through actions such as making verbal statements that a reasonable person can interpret as specifically degrading…

    …as far as I’m concerned it’s tantamount to thought crime, because the only difference in the example above is what I was thinking at the time.

    Statements of the defendant aren’t enough proof for you? Should we then throw out the murder 1/murder 2/manslaughter distinction? As there is now no way to determine what the defendant was thinking at the time….

  55. #55 craig
    December 13, 2007

    If Jews did kill Jesus, they waited too long.

  56. #56 Jason
    December 13, 2007

    I don’t get why some christians have such hatred for jews for killing jesus. I mean, didn’t god send jesus to earth to die? If so, weren’t the jews simply acting out god’s plan?

  57. #57 craig
    December 13, 2007

    “It was a Jewish sect at that time. Not until Paul of Tarsus allowed gentiles to join the cult did Christianity become its own religion.”

    But if Christians came from Jews, why are there still Jews?

  58. #58 ESDuran
    December 13, 2007

    Check this article from Time.com. Media making the “poor” Christians look like victims?

  59. #59 csrster
    December 13, 2007

    Good one, craig.

  60. #60 ESDuran
    December 13, 2007

    Check this article from Time.com. Medial making “poor” Christians look like victims?

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1693306,00.html

  61. #61 David Marjanovi?
    December 13, 2007

    Let’s see. Someone walks onto a NYC subway train, just so “yells out” Merry Christmas, and that on the seventh of December?

    Must be one of the 27 % who vote for people like Alan Keyes.

  62. #62 David Marjanovi?
    December 13, 2007

    Let’s see. Someone walks onto a NYC subway train, just so “yells out” Merry Christmas, and that on the seventh of December?

    Must be one of the 27 % who vote for people like Alan Keyes.

  63. #63 Heather Kuhn
    December 13, 2007

    #46:

    The good Samaritan seems like an appropriate reference here considering how much ant-Muslim sentiment there is in certain segments of the population.

  64. #64 Drekab
    December 13, 2007

    So the police reach the subway train, and what’s the first thing they do? Arrest and handcuff the Muslim good samaritan!

    I don’t see racial profiling here, guy calls the cops says like 10 people just attacted, cops start arresting people who have clearly just been in a fight (he had a black eye), guy says ‘hey, not him, he jumped in to save me’, cops let him go. Pretty standard whether the guy was muslim or not. And, correct me if I’m wrong here, but the guy was from Bangladesh, would the cops have recognised him as muslim just by looking?

    Assault is Assault, there is no reason to adjudicate what the assaulter was thinking at the time.

    Um, a hate crime is only a hate crime when there’s an assault isn’t it? Charging them with a hate crime is pretty much the same thing as charging them with assault, just a different degree. Like murder 1 and murder 2 neh?

    Actually it was three Jews, not one.

    But they weren’t involved in the attack, as either victims or attackers, not really relevent that they happened to be sitting there.

  65. #65 J Myers
    December 13, 2007

    Lawdog:

    Well now its official…the House Resolution honoring Christmas and rejecting persecution* of Christians passed…

    How is this not a 1st amendment violation?

  66. #66 markbt73
    December 13, 2007

    I just found out today that Garth Brooks is Jewish.

    Who knew?

    Posted by: w˛Ë? | December 13, 2007 12:01 PM

    Duh… he’s Mel’s nephew.

  67. #67 amanda
    December 13, 2007

    It makes sense that motive is part of the picture in determining hate crimes. I just find it hard to believe that they’re questioning whether or not the beating of a Jewish man for saying “Happy Hanukkuh” may have had anything to do with the his religion.

  68. #68 moon_grrl
    December 13, 2007

    Those 19-20 year olds sound like the crowd for which Huckabee holds so much appeal.

    Good thing they probably aren’t the voting type.

  69. #69 MH
    December 13, 2007

    This Mitchell and Webb sketch is deliciously relevant:

    The Good Samaritan

  70. #70 Tony P
    December 13, 2007

    I love the idiots who responded on the Stern show about the tree thing. First of all, don’t they realize that the tree is a pagan symbol, or that Christmas conveniently falls on what was once Saturnalia?

    The early Christians co-opted everything they could to push their message. But even if they did, there’s really no evidence of Jesus Christ other than that of the Bible which to me is the fishiest of the fishy.

    But I am dismayed by the outright Christian lunacy that seems to have taken hold of the nation. Even in RI there was a small story about the city of Cranston not putting up anything but lights on the trees. No creche, no menorah, just light. Bravo to them for acknowledging the true sentiment behind the evergreen and light.

    I think the Christians are emboldened due to the fact that we have an allegedly pious man as President. Of course were there a Christ and were he alive today, he’d roundly condemn the acts of George W. Bush & Co.

  71. #71 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    Talk about your all time craziest tag-team matches. I’ve not seen anything like this since Cowboy Bob Orton teamed up with The Crusher to take out the Mad Sheik and one of the Super Destroyers.

    Ah well… Religion just incites violence, doesn’t it?

    Yeah Dan, this was just a brawl among religious factions, no one started it, there were no good guys or bad guys …

    What a moron.

  72. #72 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    Amanda, Hate crimes are, in my opinion, unconstitutional, since they rely on mens rea of the defendant.

    So where in the Constitution does it say that mens rea can’t be taken into account?

    as far as I’m concerned it’s tantamount to thought crime

    So much the worse for you. Thinking something isn’t a crime, so there’s no thought crime. Rather, harming others is a crime, and the intent is relevant to the penalty. Your blather about “unconstitutional” and “mens rea” is apparently intended to create the impression that you are informed about the law, when in fact it makes you look very uninformed about even the most trivial aspects.

  73. #73 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    How is this not a 1st amendment violation?

    It’s not a law. But it’s certainly a violation in spirit.

  74. #74 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    P.S.

    the only difference in the example above is what I was thinking at the time

    No, that’s not the only difference. Robbing people is a different crime than beating up black people, and the difference is determined not by what you are thinking but by evidence which must be introduced in trial, in the same way that evidence was introduced in the Menendez brothers’ trial to determine whether they killed their parents to end abuse or for some other reason.

  75. #75 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    When Jesus died the Christian cult was small but it did exist.

    It was a Jewish sect at that time. Not until Paul of Tarsus allowed gentiles to join the cult did Christianity become its own religion.

    You seem to be taking Roman political tracts written around 70 AD as, well, gospel. We don’t even know that there ever was a Jesus, let alone a “Jewish sect at the time”, as there is no contemporary mention of them.

  76. #76 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    Which of Stephen Weinberg’s categories do the attackers fall? Evil people doing evil things, or good people doing evil things because of religion. The Muslim fellow seems to have sewn up the “good people doing good things” role.
    The group was trolling for a fight – and found it. That puts them in the “evil” camp. Their use of Merry Christmas and subsequent verbal attacks was window dressing, not an indication of their religious persuasion. They were probably tired of the “Are you looking at my girlfriend?” gambit.
    News reporters, however, like to flog controversy and a story that “Ten youths attack passenger until aided by another passenger” just doesn’t sell papers.

    This is pathetically simplistic. People with the potential to act nastily did so as a result of religious bigotry and the “War on Christmas” victimization meme common among Christians. The notion that these folks were simply “evil” people — a religious concept if ever there is one — and religion was irrelevant or incidental is absurd. The evil here is that which comes about from religious indoctrination, especially Christian indoctrination as it is often manifested in modern American society.

  77. #77 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    No-one here will, I trust, leap precipitately to the conclusion that the “vast majority of Muslims are good people”. You have to balance anecdotes like this with all we hear that doesn’t speak so highly of them.

    How about what I head that doesn’t speak so highly of you? The vast majority of Muslims are, in fact, good people — just as good as Jews, Christians, Hindus, …

  78. #78 Richard
    December 13, 2007

    If intent is used to distinguish degrees of a crime murder, why not other violent crimes as well? If the victims where targeted for not other reason than that they where Jewish, then the intent is to intimidate the Jewish population of a community at large. If you found out some person or persons where randomly attacking atheists in your community, wouldn’t you feel intimidated and threatened as a result. That’s how hate crime is adjudicated.

    The degree of murder is determined by whether or not the killer thought about killing the victim before they went and killed them. It makes no distinction as to why they killed.

  79. #79 Chris
    December 13, 2007

    Just for the record, it was announced on the radio later that day that several of the people who assaulted those folks have police records- for bias crimes against blacks.

    Chris

  80. #80 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 13, 2007

    No-one here will, I trust, leap precipitately to the conclusion that the “vast majority of Muslims are good people”. You have to balance anecdotes like this with all we hear that doesn’t speak so highly of them.

    Uh, Ok. Thanks for that Jamie.

  81. #81 False Prophet
    December 13, 2007

    Check this article from Time.com. Medial making “poor” Christians look like victims?

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1693306,00.html

    Posted by: ESDuran | December 13, 2007 1:40 PM

    “Christians Under Fire” indeed. A more accurate headline might read, “Church-goers shoot each other dead”.

  82. #82 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    Uh, Ok. Thanks for that Jamie.

    Yeah, it seems that Jamie’s concerned that we might go soft and get all unbigoted against Muslims for a moment. After all, there’s “all we hear” that “doesn’t speak so highly” of “the vast majority of Muslims”. Why, just the other day there was a news report that the vast majority of Muslims … hmmm, what was that we heard about the vast majority of Muslims?

  83. #83 Kseniya
    December 13, 2007

    David:

    Let’s see. Someone walks onto a NYC subway train, just so “yells out” Merry Christmas, and that on the seventh of December?

    Yes. Well, you see, the young ruffians were obviously members of the Ukrainian Acephalous Orthodox Church, and were simply confused about which month it was.

  84. #84 Neil
    December 13, 2007

    I wonder sometimes about my fellow Americans’ commitment to freedom as a way of life. Obviously, conservatives generally hate and fear freedom, except perhaps the freedom to antagonize minoroties. But the concept of “hate crimes” really is just a big crock of fascist shit. A crime is a crime, and motive is ALREADY taken into consideration. To give extra sentencing for hate crimes is to give extra protection to some groups, not as a matter of emergency, but as a matter of course, and that is discrimination. It’s just another political bone to throw, and creates more confusion in a case than it clears. Everything in consideration for a hate crime is already considered during the course of a trial and sentencing. If a person steals to feed their family, they will usually get a lighter sentence than a repeat thief who steals for fun or profit. Same with bar fights vs. a history of violence. Hate crime laws just give society a chance to exact revenge on an individual not for what they did, but what they were thinking while they did it. How is that not thoughtcrime?

    There was never a need for even harsher penalties, just a need for equal enforcement of the law. Here in California we had a case a couple of years ago. A pair of teens had been vandalizing homes and businesses. It was considered annoying, and the cops got some overtime, and people went on with their lives. Then the pair vandalized a church. No different crime committed, just a change in victim. Suddenly it was in the papers all over the state, a large investigation ensued, and the teens were given much stiffer penalties than usual. So you can deface a private home, small crime. You can deface a business, no big deal. But if you break a few windows on a church, or say bigoted things while you’re doing it, it becomes a heinous act that must be purged? Again, how is that not thought crime? How is that fair or just? The long term effect will only help professional victims keep their cherished status as victims, and give the haters and bigots an actual REAL reason to carry on. Or we could just grow up and deal with the fact that assholes are assholes, and treat them with justice and honesty instead of manufactured controversy.

    As far as this case goes, I am filled with anger at their arrogance and wanton violence. But I don’t care why they did it, except perhaps to further the study of violent behavior. All the perpetrators need to know is that it will not be tolerated. Period.

  85. #85 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    I have a hypothesis: anyone who claims that hate crimes are “fascism” is a racist. It gets support when they trot out racist memes like “To give extra sentencing for hate crimes is to give extra protection to some groups, not as a matter of emergency, but as a matter of course, and that is discrimination.” Hate crime laws do not “give extra protection to some groups”, they treat all “groups” equally. If there’s any “extra” protection for any groups in practice, it’s only because there’s “extra” hate-caused violence directed at them.

  86. #86 truth machine
    December 13, 2007

    I have a hypothesis: anyone who claims that hate crimes are “fascism” is a racist.

    Hate crime law, that is. Hate crimes themselves are a tool of fascism.

  87. #87 Tulse
    December 13, 2007

    Hate crime laws just give society a chance to exact revenge on an individual not for what they did, but what they were thinking while they did it.

    Hate crime laws exist because some violent crimes are not just acts against individuals, but are in essence terrorism, intended to intimidate not only the immediate victim, but a broader group. That is a different class of act, and so warrants a different class of offense in legal terms.

  88. #88 Jake Boyman
    December 13, 2007

    No-one here will, I trust, leap precipitately to the conclusion that the “vast majority of Muslims are good people”. You have to balance anecdotes like this with all we hear that doesn’t speak so highly of them.

    Kudos for your willingness to stand up for bigotry against an unpopular group. Shows a lot of personal courage.

  89. #89 Jamie
    December 13, 2007

    No, I wasn’t encouraging bigotry against anyone; I was discouraging soft treatment of a group that I feel is on the whole more religiously deranged than even evangelical Christians.

    There do exist stories of good deeds of evangelical Christians. Is it acceptable to point out that these mightn’t be representative of the majority of this group?

  90. #90 Jamie
    December 13, 2007

    Now the reason I stated the obvious, in this particular case, is that people often bug me by saying something along the lines of, “The vast majority of Muslims are perfectly reasonable people.” I ask them how they know, and they produce a few anecdotes concerning the deeds of a few good Muslims.

  91. #91 Josh
    December 13, 2007

    The early Christians co-opted everything they could to push their message. But even if they did, there’s really no evidence of Jesus Christ other than that of the Bible which to me is the fishiest of the fishy.

    They still co-opt everything they can, but from popular culture instead of other religions. That’s one of the things that makes Christianity so tenacious. They’d co-opt incest if it became trendy. “Fuck your Family for Jesus,” they’d say. (They’ve even got the bible verse to back it up!)

    It’s really annoying. It’s also a major cash cow for anyone who’s willing to produce the kind of pap the Christians love.

  92. #92 Jake Boyman
    December 13, 2007

    people often bug me by saying something along the lines of, “The vast majority of Muslims are perfectly reasonable people.” I ask them how they know, and they produce a few anecdotes concerning the deeds of a few good Muslims.

    Splendid. So I assume you can share us your evidence proving how they’re in fact all bad people?

  93. #93 Rey Fox
    December 13, 2007

    Jamie, you just proved my point.

  94. #94 Jake Boyman
    December 13, 2007

    people often bug me by saying something along the lines of, “The vast majority of Muslims are perfectly reasonable people.

    It ‘bugs’ you when people claim that most members of a religion of a billion people are reasonable?

    Life’s real hard, ain’t it?

  95. #95 Jamie
    December 13, 2007

    Hold on a second now. Just where did I claim that they’re all bad, or even mostly bad? Let’s not misrepresent what I said. As for my view that they’re generally worse than evangelical Christians: do I really have to direct your attention to (a) the appalling civil liberties in almost all Islamic countries on the planet, and (b) the regularly frightening results of opinion polls of European Muslims?

  96. #96 Jake Boyman
    December 13, 2007

    Yes, yes, Janie, we’re not bigoted enough to make you happy. We get it. And by your example, you’ve also taught us the perils of generalizing about a huge group of people based on anecdotal evidence.

  97. #97 Brownian, OM
    December 13, 2007

    We should insist all ‘good’ Muslims wear little pink crescents so we can distinguish them from their bloodthirsty kin.

    Can we get a resolution to that effect passed?

  98. #98 Jamie
    December 13, 2007

    Very well, let’s overlook the consistent substantial fraction of European Muslims that condone terrorism and believe apostasy should be punishable by death. Let’s not take into account the terrible civil liberties and general religious mania caused by Islam in many parts of the world. It’s all anecdotal — not even worth considering. Anyone who says otherwise is a bigot.

  99. #99 Jamie
    December 13, 2007

    That last post of mine was in response to Jake Boyman.

  100. #100 Tebo
    December 13, 2007

    And to think that the batshit congressman who brought forth this ammendment is my very own!! I need a drink………no I gotta go to work!!!Oh lord hab cabbage!!What did I do to deserve this??

  101. #101 darwinfinch
    December 13, 2007

    Let’s connect this, as a thought experiment, with the Colorado church shootings last week.

    Certain people whom I have no respect for suggested that that incident proved the value of having a large percentage of citizens carrying concealed weapons (and “trained” in their use). Imagine how the unfunny Xmas farce in New York might have played out if several of the people on the train were so armed.

    I do not want to remove guns from all private citizens, but the gun-rights crowd are an insane and destructive cult to be exposed and shunned by responsible people.

  102. #102 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 13, 2007

    Very well, let’s overlook the consistent substantial fraction of European Muslims that condone terrorism and believe apostasy should be punishable by death.

    Dude, I live in Vienna and Paris. Wake me up for the next terrorist assault.

    The poll you allude to was on the Austrian TV news as apparently being quite dubious.

    cabbage!!What did I do to deserve this??

    You don’t deserve it.

  103. #103 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 13, 2007

    Very well, let’s overlook the consistent substantial fraction of European Muslims that condone terrorism and believe apostasy should be punishable by death.

    Dude, I live in Vienna and Paris. Wake me up for the next terrorist assault.

    The poll you allude to was on the Austrian TV news as apparently being quite dubious.

    cabbage!!What did I do to deserve this??

    You don’t deserve it.

  104. #104 Jamie
    December 13, 2007

    The poll you allude to was on the Austrian TV news as apparently being quite dubious.

    I don’t allude to any single poll. There have been many such polls, and the results always indicate that a substantial fraction of Muslims, in almost any society, have extremely illiberal views. I don’t find this remotely surprising. I live in Western Europe myself, and my personal experience of Muslims is in accord with the polls I’ve seen.

    On top of that, there’s the following interesting observation. So-called moderate Muslims are always in the periphery telling us we should sympathize with the crazy reactions to the Danish cartoons, Salman Rushdie’s knighthood, and so on and so forth. They’re always going on about discrimination against Muslims, and I’ve even heard some say that it’s unfair for airport security to pay special attention to them. One almost never hears any denouncing the actions of their own people. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a “Muslims for Basic Western Freedoms” march, to which tens of thousands of them would turn out? Why didn’t they do something like this during the Danish cartoon affair, showing their support for the principle of free speech?

  105. #105 Rachel I.
    December 13, 2007

    #99: I agree that loose gun law could’ve made that situation horrible, but NYC is really not a good example of moderate gun control either. I mean, we have posters in the subways that say GUNS=PRISON (in the small text they specify that it’s illegal guns, but that’s clearly not part of the message they want to send).

    In the rest of NY it can be quite difficult to get a concealed-carry permit; in the City, you need permission for *anything*, and everything I’ve heard indicates that the permission system is utterly draconian. NYC is surely the poster-child for the “only outlaws will have guns” line.

    I mean, feel free to gripe at Texas and others that they need stronger gun control, but don’t use the City as your example goal. *shrugs*

  106. #106 Ex-drone
    December 13, 2007

    Alex (#15) comments:

    Why not, “A group of Christians” instead of “a group of young people”?

    As well, the story didn’t say whether the assaulters were “turn the other cheek” christians or “love your neighbour as yourself” christians.

  107. #107 peak_bagger
    December 13, 2007

    Who said the ten where Christians? Jumping to conclusions does nothing for your spurious arguments in this case against Christians.

  108. #108 JimC
    December 13, 2007

    folks, folks, folks, please stop. These obviously aren’t REAL Christians.:-)

  109. #109 Jaycubed
    December 13, 2007

    GOD”S FAVORITE JOKE!

    A Priest, a Minister, a Rabbi, a Mullah, a Brahmin, a Shaman, a Lama and an Atheist all walk into a bar…

    And everybody was offended.

    .

  110. #110 Dave W.
    December 13, 2007

    Presumably, the posters here who don’t agree with Hate Crime laws also don’t agree with Terrorism laws either? It seems that the difference in both cases isn’t just what the person was thinking at the time, but what effect they were attempting to bring about.

    How is attempting to end intimidation fascism?

  111. #111 Rey Fox
    December 13, 2007

    “Who said the ten where Christians?”

    Well, the whole “Merry Christmas” thing and the way they beat up a Jew for his people supposedly killing Jesus.

    I suppose they could just be assholes. Or you could just be dense.

  112. #112 Jaycubed
    December 13, 2007

    I abhor the idea of “Hate Crime laws” as well as any thought crime laws.

    Criminal law should be focused only on the actions of the perpetrator, not on the alleged intent or desires of the perpetrator.

    There should also be no category crime laws, such as increasing penalties because of the category of the victim. This would include occupation (such as a police officer or politician) as well as the usual discriminatory categories of skin color, ethnicity, sexual preference, religion, politics, wealth or gender.

    The only fair law is one that is blind to all those categories. It is law based on deeds alone. Not intent. Not desired effect. Just actions.

    There is no need for “Terrorism” laws either. The actions of “terrorists” are the only thing that needs addressing. Those actions that are criminal; such as murder, arson & mayhem are already covered by present criminal statutes.
    .

  113. #113 dkew
    December 13, 2007

    99:
    So the 2006 murder rate in big, bad, dangerous NYC, with its awful restrictions on guns, was 7.3/100K. It was 4.8/100K for the whole state. The 2006 murder rate in all of freedom-loving, gun-drooling Texas was 6.6/100K. Meanwhile, since 1976, New York executed no one, while Texas has killed 405 (as of Jan 2007). So, is the point to be made more about New York crime or your anatomy?

  114. #114 tintenfisch
    December 13, 2007

    I used to ride the Q train daily. Every once in a while groups of kids in their teens would get on (usually in Queens) and try to start a fight. Typically, they would loudly spout racial slurs and wait for a reaction. If nobody said anything, they would pretend somebody had.

    They were probably overjoyed to have a “reason” to hit someone. I’m glad somebody stood up to them and I’m especially glad they were arrested.

    I’d be suprised if they end up doing time over this, though. From my experience assult cases in New York that don’t involve weapons aren’t really prioritized unless someone is seriously hurt or maimed.

    I’m glad I currently live in marginally more laid-back Chicago.

  115. #115 Owlmirror
    December 13, 2007

    It is law based on deeds alone. Not intent. Not desired effect. Just actions.

    A falsely noble principle that fails with the slightest application of intellect.

    Because it treats accidental injury and assault as being the same; accidental death and planned murder as being exactly the same.

  116. #116 Neil
    December 13, 2007

    Ah, good old Truth Machine. Are you sure you’re not just a creaky set of bellows? ‘Cause all I ever read from you is hot air.
    hmmm…so I’m a racist, because I dislike unclear laws that are subject to wide interpretation and easily turned to play favorites. You make this assumption even though I willingly give up the “right” to prosecute people for “hate crimes” against myself. I just don’t believe that bigots should do extra time for being bigots. That is the very definition of thought-crime, and it saddens me to see how many people think it will help or change a damn thing, and quite scares me that so many are willing to punish bigoted opinions as crimes themselves. I’m sorry that my opinion doesn’t fit in your perfectly fair and balanced world-view, but that’s life. I don’t think that church-burners should do any more time than other dangerous arsonists, I don’t think that bigot christians should do more time than other punks who beat people up, I don’t think that white racists who kill blacks should do any more time than black racists who kill whites, or asian racists who kill eskimos for that matter, or gang members who kill other gang members, or muggers who kill for money, or sickos who kill for fun. I disagree with punishing people more harshly because they don’t fit into your sanitized fantasy world. There are many flaws in the fairness of our judicial system, but they are usually local problems that have to be solved through greater oversight and accountability on part of our law enforcement, which is something no democrat(and certainly no rethuglican) will ever ask for, for fear of alienating the very bigots who need oversight in the first place. In a truly bigoted society, hate crime laws won’t help anyway, and could even be used to further the bigotry and oppression. But hey, if it makes you sleep better in your widdle bed at night, and makes you feel like the benevolent daddy freeing those poor oppressed people, I guess anything goes! Who am I, millions of other rational Americans, or the constitution to keep you from throwing holders of disagreeable opinions in jail forever, so long as it absolves you of your implied racial guilt while not actually requiring you to do anything other than whine and feel superior.

  117. #117 Alan Kellogg
    December 13, 2007

    #99,

    Was or was not the shooter in the recent Colorado incidents stopped by a person armed and willing to use her weapon? Have you ever looked into what conceal carry laws require? Or the penalties for illegally carrying a concealed weapon? Or does hate overrule the scientific method?

  118. #118 Federico Contreras
    December 13, 2007

    I hope they throw the fucking book at these assholes. Happy Chanukah, shitheads.

  119. #119 woozy
    December 13, 2007

    Lawdog: >>Well now its official…the House Resolution honoring Christmas and rejecting persecution* of Christians passed…

    How is this not a 1st amendment violation?

    Well, I commented that I seriously thought folks voting for it should be executed for treason.

    I’ve since read up on it. It’s unconstitutional, and illegal, for a state to sponser or have an official religion. However there is nothing illegal in expressing a religious opinion. (Or may it is, the verdict isn’t in.) This type of resolution of simply acknowledging somethings “importance” is appearantly okay. The House also passed a resolution recognizing Memphis Tenessee as the birth place of Soul Music and recognizing the 50th anniversary of STAX records and its importance in contributing to American culture.

    Although the Memphis Tennessee resolution seems ceremonial, ulimately meaningless, and kinda silly, something commemorating Christiany or any other religion makes me feel very uneasy.

    However, the two resolutions that paved the way for this particular resolutions were two earlier resolutions: one acknowledging the importance of Ramadan, and the other the importance of Diwali. I now assume the House spends lots of time passing nicey nicey resolutions acknowleging culture pride such as the Denver Sausage eating festival, or Hurray for Apples Day.

    The resolution acknowledging Ramadan and acknowledging Islam as “one of the world’s great religions” *really* makes me uneasy as I’d assume literally “passing judgement” on religions is something Congress has no business in. However I guess there is a tradition that it isn’t. And indeed the wording and intent of the resolution is rather reasonable and almost laudible:

    Whearas there are 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide …blah, blah, blah…. September 11th …. blah … violence have been directed at law-abiding, patriotic Americans of African, Arab, and South Asian descent … blah … some Muslims in the United States and abroad have courageously spoken out in rejection of interpretations of Islam that justify and encourage hatred … blah … Resolved, That the House of Representatives– …(1) recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world;… blah … (2) expresses friendship and support for Muslims in the United States and worldwide; … acknowledges the onset of Ramadan, … blah … rejects hatred, bigotry, and violence directed against Muslims, both in the United States and worldwide ….. blah blah … and of course the obligatory: commends Muslims in the United States and across the globe who have privately and publicly rejected interpretations and movements of Islam that justify and encourage hatred, violence, and terror

    Put that way, I interpret this earlier resolution as: “Many people in the world and in the United States are Muslim and this is just fine with us and we object to prejudice and bigotry against folks just ’cause the are Muslim and as every-one is entitled to be proud of their culture and cultural traditions we recognize how important Ramadan is to those of Islamic-decent and likewise everyone is free to their own religion and Islam is one of the most widely observed religion and is equally valid and great as any other including Christianity.”

    I’d have a really heard time disagreeing with that. However the phrase “recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world” is a big scary to me. But even so, I can accept it in the “Islaam’s not a real religion; Yes, it is!” kind of way.

    So given we acknowledge the existence of Muslims, their religion, and their culture, and object to anti-muslim prejudice, do we do the same for Christians? Erp!!! Well, Christian *do* exist and they *do* have a religion and a culture and Christmas is kind of fun and though I don’t see much anti-christian prejudice in my day to day American life I know that so-called christians, jews, and muslims, are killing each other by the hundreds in ideologic intolerance around the world and the are all equally barbaric and abhorent. So, yeah, I object to anti-christian prejudice (which does not include an athiest opposing creationism in schools). In that light, you kind of *have* to pass the resolution. *sigh*

  120. #120 woozy
    December 13, 2007

    “Who said the ten where Christians?”

    Well, the whole “Merry Christmas” thing and the way they beat up a Jew for his people supposedly killing Jesus.

    I suppose they could just be assholes. Or you could just be dense.

    Well, who said the “Jew” was a jew and the “Muslim” was a muslim? I think to the extent that being of Jewish decent and acknowledging Hannukah makes on Jewish, and being from Bengladesh makes one Muslim (I mean, in questioning afterward “What happened” I doubt anybody asked “so what’s your personal philosophy and spiritial bent?” and I doubt anyone volunteered) I think the its equally fair to white wash the assholes as “Christians”.

    I’m straddling on how I feel about hate crimes in general. (… usual issues … on the fence …) However given, that hate crime laws exists, it strikes me as pretty obvious this would count as one.

    Well, maybe not. If Bill O’Reilly can claim his comments about “the war on Christmas” isn’t vieled prejudice this could be jerks who truly and wackily believe in the sanctity and rightness of Christmas. Though the “that’s the day the Jew killed Jesus” bit is kind of hard to claim as semitic-neutral.

    By the way, the Jews didn’t kill Jesus. The Romans did. The jews just pointed out that if they crossed his legs they could save a board and two nailswere scapegoats later.

  121. #121 Monado
    December 13, 2007

    Back in the bad old days, someone else pointed out that the Good Samaritan parable could be restored to something of its original impact by making it the Good Communist or the Good Homosexual.

    Christ didn’t die because he never existed. While we have evidence for Paul, there’s none for Christ or his parents and the timelines don’t jibe (e.g. Herod and Pontius Pilate, Roman censuses, etc.) He’s just as real as Paul Bunyan.

  122. #122 Ex-drone
    December 13, 2007

    peak_bagger (#104) writes:

    Who said the ten where Christians? Jumping to conclusions does nothing for your spurious arguments in this case against Christians.

    Of course. It could have been atheists who were enraged by the notion of a people being Jesus’s killers. Why didn’t I realize that? I guess I will have to find another illustration for my spurious arguments against christians. Thanks.

  123. #123 woozy
    December 13, 2007

    They may not have been Christians but they were certainly goyem.

    I kind of have to agree with the initial comment. If the point of this story is that an anti-semitic attack occured on a train and a guy helped out then I think refering to the attackers as Christian is appropriate as is calling the attackee as Jewish. But the third guy being Muslim is irrelevant. If the point of the story was (and I think this was the point) that an anti-semitic attack occured on the train and a stranger of an ethnicity that isn’t known (especially not in these racist post 9/11 days) for it’s sympathy toward Jews helped out, then I think refering to the attacked as Jewish, the helper as Muslim, and the attackers as Christian are equally valid. (Although I kind of find the idea “Hey, the guy who helped the Jew out was Muslim” to be somewhat patronizing and offensive.) If the point of the story was just that there was a fight on a train because ten people said “Merry Christmas” and then attacked another person who answered “Happy Chanuka” and a third person came to his aide. Then none need to be pointed out.

    As to whether the assholes were devout Christians, lapsed Christians, never attended a church in their lives, or athiests, if “Jewish” and “Muslim” are cultural and/or racial descriptions relevant to the article than I think “Christian” ought to be an equally valid cultural and/or racial term. I am a half-wasp and half-jew after all even though I’ve been an atheist all my life (and my wasp side of the family hasn’t been in a church since 1924! and been inside a church while believing since 1872!)

  124. #124 Eric Paulsen
    December 13, 2007

    How is it that we can be arguing whether intent should be considered when judging a crime? If the Bush administration has taught us anything it is that it’s not a lie if you didn’t know it was at the time you spread it – ergo: if your intent was not to intentionally mislead then you can’t be guilty of perpetrating a lie. So if we are going to use intention to protect one group of criminals from their crimes how can we NOT use intention in deciding the punishment of other criminals for theirs?

    You just can’t have it both ways.

  125. #125 darwinfinch
    December 14, 2007

    So I’m misunderstood by one ass (an apology would be nice #110) and slammed as being unknowledgable and “unscientific” by a member of the cold-dead-fingers crowd #114 (as a matter of fact I have basic knowledge, as someone not a gun-owner and not obsessed – only occasionally alarmed and disgusted – by the issue, of concealed weapons laws due to in-passing blog reading, but the only polite thing I can offer in response is that the laws are a very small part of the problem now, and a tiny part of the problem in the world your [likely insane-version libertarian, though I don't have evidence beyond anecdoes] commonly-armed Amerika would be.

  126. #126 peak_bagger
    December 14, 2007

    If you have an ax to grind against Christians, then go ahead. But arguments that these 10 were Christians or somehow should be called “Christians” because of some hatred they show against a Jew is ludicrous. It’s just as ludicrous for Christians to claim that atheists are baby-killers and genocide perpetrators. It goes both ways.

    Just say, “10 aholes” and leave it as that.

  127. #127 Dan
    December 14, 2007

    If you have an ax to grind against Christians, then go ahead. But arguments that these 10 were Christians or somehow should be called “Christians” because of some hatred they show against a Jew is ludicrous. It’s just as ludicrous for Christians to claim that atheists are baby-killers and genocide perpetrators. It goes both ways.

    Just say, “10 aholes” and leave it as that.

    Posted by: peak_bagger

    So, if they weren’t Christians, then why the need to “defend” Jesus or Christmas?

  128. #128 woozy
    December 14, 2007

    But arguments that these 10 were Christians or somehow should be called “Christians” because of some hatred they show against a Jew is ludicrous.

    Why is it not ludicrous to refer to the attackee as “Jewish” simply because he’s of Jewish decent while knowing nothing of his personal beliefs, and it is not ludicrous to refer to the aider as “Muslim” because her is from a Muslim country though we know nothing of his personal believes, but it is ludicrous to call the attackers as “Christian” because they are of Christian descent and were provoked by what they saw as an attack on Christmas?

    If it’s standard practice to specify someone as being Jewish or Muslim to indicate they are outside of the norm then it ought to be responsible to indicate the same of “normal” people to whom once race and religion were a issue.

    The attacked *becomes* Jewish because he responds to a greeting commemorating a holiday of Christian origin with a reference to a holiday of Jewish origin. The aider *becomes* Muslim by coming to the aid of the Jew while not being jewish himself. I honestly believe by that logic the attackers *become* Christian by responding negatively to an acknowlegement of holidays of non-christian origins and uttering anti-semetic comments of the variety that the killed the founder of the Christian religion.

    Regardless as to whether they were devout or utterly atheistic they attacked in a Christo-centric manner with Cristo-centric intent and expressed Christo-centric statements. If a person warrents a “Jewish” label simply for being of Jewish descent and responding to a christo-centric comment with judea-oriented response and then finding himself a victim of an anti-semetic attack, I think the Christo-centric attackers equally warrent the “Christian” label.

    You’re correct that they may not have been practicing or believing or religious Christians but they were definately of the Christian race and identified themselves as Christmas observing, Jesus-defending, and non-christian hating. If an atheist Jew is still a Jew, I think an atheist Christmas observing, Jesus-defending, non-christian hater is still be a Christian.

  129. #129 Bob O'H
    December 14, 2007

    One member of the group allegedly yelled, “Oh, Hanukkah. That’s the day that the Jews killed Jesus,” she said.

    I think we should just passover this one.

    Bob

  130. #130 woozy
    December 14, 2007

    I think we should just passover this one.

    Passover was the day we crucified him. Hanukkah is the day we fried him in oil. Purim is the day we tossed him in the wood-chipper. Yum Kippur is the day we shot him, cut him up as fish bait, and tossed him overboard weighted down with cement blocks. Dang, guy is worse than cats. We keep killin’ him but he keeps coming back.

    Now passover the mashed potatoes and a few slices of that ham.

  131. #131 Josh
    December 14, 2007

    Of course, hate crimes prosecutions have been brought against black criminals attacking white victims. And “Hate crimes are, in my opinion, unconstitutional, since they rely on mens rea of the defendant” does indeed suggest that the distinction between premeditated, unpremeditated, and unintentional killings (to say nothing of “crimes of passion”) is moot (ditto libel and error): the constitution says nothing abrogating the ancient concept of “mens rea” as a factor. Doesn’t anyone here read David Neiwert?

  132. #132 Porlock Junior
    December 14, 2007

    How ironic considering that Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Abrahamic fundamentalists over the forces of multiculturalism.
    — Patrick Quigley | December 13, 2007 11:58 AM

    Or a victory of the indigenous culture over imperialist invaders, take your pick.

    I don’t know what the fiercer Hindu Nationalist parties think of the imperial suppression of some local practices like the cult of Kali, and maybe I’d be better off not knowing. But it shows how hard it can be to apply our favorite categories to a dispute between Abrahamic imnperialists and religions untainted by such a dangerously narrow belief system.

  133. #133 Azkyroth
    December 14, 2007

    If you have an ax to grind against Christians, then go ahead. But arguments that these 10 were Christians or somehow should be called “Christians” because of some hatred they show against a Jew is ludicrous. It’s just as ludicrous for Christians to claim that atheists are baby-killers and genocide perpetrators. It goes both ways.

    I second the request for a plausible reason other than identifying as Christian for why these individuals would feel threatened and angry towards a person saying “Happy Hannukah” instead of “Merry Christmas” and accuse “the Jews” of having “killed Jesus” as if that were relevant to the situation while in the process of starting a fight.

    Can you name even one?

    Also, Neil: the fact that a good idea can sometimes be implemented poorly does not mean that it is not a good idea. Also, would you please square your repeated nearly-explicit assertion that hate crime laws only protect minorities with the facts, kthx?

  134. #134 peak_bagger
    December 14, 2007

    woozy @ #125, You make some balanced points. Still, did you watch the video at CNN via PZ’s link? The victim identifies himself as a Jew. The victim identifies the good Samaritan as a Muslim. He never calls the attackers Christians.

    There’s no face validity to the claim the attackers were Christians. They may have been – who knows. Or they may have been hoodlums looking for trouble.

    Come on. We all have biases. I say, “Let’s avoid jumping to conclusions” when facts remain yet to be known.

  135. #135 Betty Boondoggle
    December 14, 2007

    “It’s very much a grey area, and as far as I’m concerned it’s tantamount to thought crime, ”

    I bet $10 the writer of this sentence is a white guy.

  136. #136 Betty
    December 14, 2007

    “I abhor the idea of “Hate Crime laws” as well as any thought crime laws.”

    This one too.

  137. #137 Steven Levery
    December 14, 2007

    “I abhor the idea of “Hate Crime laws” as well as any thought crime laws.”

    Let’s get our definitions straight. If I fantasize about killing you because I don’t like your ethnic group, that’s a “thought crime” and not a prosecutable crime. If I actually kill you because I don’t like your ethnic group, that’s a real crime and I should be prosecuted and punished severely if convicted. And yes, since a real crime was committed, there’s ample precedent for my intent and state of mind being relevant, such as the distinction we make between “malice aforethought”, “criminal negligence”, and “batshit crazy”.

    Although I realize the latter suggests a defence for anti-evolution murder that the creationists might not want to use.

  138. #138 CS
    December 14, 2007

    Sometimes the simplest explanations are the most accurate. A rowdy bunch of punk 19-20 year old kids get on a subway in NYC and, as often occurs, get loud and, emboldened by their numbers, look to start an altercation. This likely has NOTHING to do with their personal spirtual beliefs (if they have any). It’s a group of punks looking for someone to say or do the wrong thing and then jump on them. End of story.

    Has anyone thought that maybe the Jewish and Muslim identification in the story is because the news reporter found out their religious orientation in the course of doing the story?

  139. #139 Stevie_C
    December 14, 2007

    CS,

    It does have to do with who the victims were. I doubt the thugs were thinking about their favorite scripture when they started the harassment, but they we’re thinking about how the victim was not like them.

  140. #140 Troublesome Frog
    December 14, 2007

    Oh, Hanukkah. That’s the day that the Jews killed Jesus

    Yeah, it’s tragic. If the Romans hadn’t killed Jesus, he’d still be alive right now.

  141. #141 Bill Dauphin
    December 14, 2007

    the young ruffians were obviously members of the Ukrainian Acephalous Orthodox Church

    Or maybe they were acephalous members of the Ukranian Orthodox Church, eh?

    ;^)

  142. #142 Azkyroth
    December 14, 2007

    There’s no face validity to the claim the attackers were Christians. They may have been – who knows. Or they may have been hoodlums looking for trouble.

    Come on. We all have biases. I say, “Let’s avoid jumping to conclusions” when facts remain yet to be known.

    The facts are that they expressed anger at him for using a non-Christian holiday greeting and accused him, as a member of “The Jews”, of being partly guilty for killing Jesus. I am still waiting for an explanation for their even caring about this that doesn’t depend on them being Christians.

    Well?

  143. #143 Kseniya
    December 14, 2007

    That’s the right idea, Bill. Either way, I have a word for these guys: Cephaloputz.

  144. #144 Azkyroth
    December 14, 2007

    *waits for peak_bagger’s explanation of why non-Christians would feel compelled to violently defend Christmas traditions and avenge the death of Jesus*

  145. #145 Jaycubed
    December 14, 2007

    It is law based on deeds alone. Not intent. Not desired effect. Just actions.

    A falsely noble principle that fails with the slightest application of intellect.
    Because it treats accidental injury and assault as being the same; accidental death and planned murder as being exactly the same.
    Posted by: Owlmirror”

    “I abhor the idea of “Hate Crime laws” as well as any thought crime laws.”

    Let’s get our definitions straight. If I fantasize about killing you because I don’t like your ethnic group, that’s a “thought crime” and not a prosecutable crime. If I actually kill you because I don’t like your ethnic group, that’s a real crime and I should be prosecuted and punished severely if convicted. And yes, since a real crime was committed, there’s ample precedent for my intent and state of mind being relevant, such as the distinction we make between “malice aforethought”, “criminal negligence”, and “batshit crazy”.
    Although I realize the latter suggests a defence for anti-evolution murder that the creationists might not want to use.
    Posted by: Steven Levery”

    Our criminal justice system already has distinctions between different behaviors, such as a car driver hitting a pedestrian who stumbles into his path (accidental), a car driver hitting a pedestrian who stumbles into his path while the driver is playing with his car radio (negligent), a car driver hitting a pedestrian who stumbles into his path while the car driver is drunk (manslaughter) and a car driver intentionally running over a pedestrian (murder).

    “Hate Crimes” and other “Thought Crimes” are enhancements to other criminal statutes. Why is the murder of one person more important than the murder of another when based on some discriminatory classification? Murder is murder.

    If a person murders another person for his money, why is that a lesser crime than murdering someone for the way they look?

    If a black person murders another black person, why is that a lesser crime than a white person murdering a black person?

    If a gay person murders another gay person, why is that a lesser crime than a straight person murdering a gay person?

    “Hate Crime” laws are feel-good laws for liberals.

    “Terror Crime” laws are feel-good laws for conservatives.

    Neither are just.
    .

  146. #146 Tulse
    December 15, 2007

    If a person murders another person for his money, why is that a lesser crime than murdering someone for the way they look?

    Because in the latter case the harm done is not just to the immediate victim of the violence, but potentially to all members of that group. The crime not only hurts the person the perpetrator directly interacted with, but serves to intimidate other groups of citizens as well. Given that, such crimes are more severe, and the State has a right to ensure that they are more severely punished as a deterrent.

  147. #147 Azkyroth
    December 15, 2007

    Perhaps it will be clearer if you think of a “hate crime” as compounding the actual physical assault with a Criminal Threat directed at dozens to millions of others, effectively making it two crimes in one act and therefore justifying more severe sentencing.

  148. #148 Azkyroth
    December 15, 2007

    BTW:

    peak_bagger:

    Still waiting…..

  149. #149 James
    December 15, 2007

    The alleged attackers dispute the Christians gone wild account. They say one of the Jewish passengers made a racist remark. And the lawyer for one of the alleged attackers say that his client is Jewish.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/14/subway.attack/index.html

  150. #150 peak_bagger
    December 15, 2007

    Patient Azkyroth,

    Why did the attackers express “anger at him for using a non-Christian holiday greeting?” How many options are there? At least two: 1) They were pugnacious Christians. 2) They were pugnacious people with no religious motive just looking for trouble. Why do you jump to #1? I wouldn’t doubt that some Christian punks are more than capable of doing such a stupid thing but I’m not going to jump on the bash Christianity blogger bandwagon.

  151. #151 Jaycubed
    December 15, 2007

    If a person murders another person for his money, why is that a lesser crime than murdering someone for the way they look?potential harm of someone’s speech?

    You want to make intimidation a criminal act?

    You want to make verbal stupidity a “Criminal Threat”?

    What if I were to say that I feel threatened & intimidated by your hateful desires to “severely punish” others for their speech. Does that mean I should have the right to see you prosecuted & punished because “dozens to millions of others” would also feel this way?

    Better be careful what you wish for, you might easily find yourself the target of your own punishment fantasies.
    .

  152. #152 Azkyroth
    December 15, 2007

    Jay:

    Are you actually contending that threatening to commit violence against a person should not be illegal?

  153. #153 Azkyroth
    December 15, 2007

    Additionally, how the bloody hell did you go from physically attacking people in order to intimidate a population to “speech” of any kind?

  154. #154 Jaycubed
    December 16, 2007

    “Jay:
    Are you actually contending that threatening to commit violence against a person should not be illegal?

    Additionally, how the bloody hell did you go from physically attacking people in order to intimidate a population to “speech” of any kind?
    Posted by: Azkyroth”
    .

    Nowhere do I contend that a viable threat to commit violence against another should not be criminal. I contend that a violent threat is a violent threat and should be treated the same regardless of the category of the victim.

    As regards your second comment: If you can “intimidate a population” by physically attacking a member of that population then that population is a bunch of sniveling cowards. I think you give far too much credit to hate-filled people and too little to “populations”.

    In fact it is you who “go from physically attacking people…to “speech” of any kind” by your desire to punish people, not for their physical actions but for their thoughts/speech.

    We have a long history of murdering our fellows for their beliefs & ideas. We also like to describe those murderous behaviors as, not just for the common good, but for the good of the murder victim…Heretics & witches were burned because of the love of god and his desire to purify the sinners by fire so they could be saved.
    .

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.