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Blasphemy

Posted by esh_ga z7 GA (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 14, 12 at 16:36

Are there laws against blasphemy anymore? Should there be? Some good points in this article regarding "the movie" and free speech. First the point of blasphemy:

In 1811, for example, New York prosecuted one Ruggles for stating in a local tavern that "Jesus Christ was a bast***, and his mother must be a wh***." Ruggles was convicted and sentenced to three months in prison and a fine of $500.

Speaking for the New York court that upheld his conviction, Chancellor James Kent, a conservative jurist who viewed religion as the bulwark of the social order, reasoned that blasphemy must be a crime because it "tends to corrupt the morals of the people, and to destroy good order." Christianity, he argued, was an integral part of the law of the land, and blasphemy that "insulted" that religion was "a gross violation of decency and good order." Similar prosecutions followed over the next several decades. Men like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who had been deeply involved in the creation of our nation, vigorously condemned these prosecutions. Adams characterized laws against blasphemy as "a great embarrassment" and called for their repeal.

As the force of the Second Great Awakening waned, the demand for blasphemy prosecutions dissipated. Since 1838, there have been only a handful of blasphemy prosecutions in the United States, and a broad consensus has emerged that Jefferson and Adams had it right. In 1952, the Supreme Court of the United States finally put the matter to rest in Burstyn v. Wilson, holding in a unanimous decision that "it is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine" or to protect "any or all religions from views which are distasteful to them." The First Amendment, the Court declared, renders any such government action unconstitutional. Religions and religious figures, like political parties, politicians, businessmen, and other members of society are fair game for criticism, condemnation and even mockery.

Is it time to revisit that? How about punishing people because of the effect that their free speech might have on others?

The second argument one might make for punishing those who condemn Islam and mock Mohammad is that such speech causes serious harm because those who are offended by the speech will react to it in violent ways. In order to prevent the violence, the government must prohibit the speech. The Supreme Court has long wrestled with this problem. When can the government silence a speaker because his speech will upset or anger others and provoke a violent response?

The Supreme Court first addressed this question more than 60 years ago in Cantwell v. Connecticut. Newton Cantwell (a Jehovah's Witness) was proselytizing in a heavily Roman Catholic neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. Cantwell stopped people on the street and played them a record that included an attack on organized religion in general and on the Roman Catholic Church in particular. Because several listeners were incensed and came close to starting a fight, Cantwell was arrested, charged and convicted of inciting a breach of the peace. The Supreme Court unanimously held that Cantwell's speech was protected by the First Amendment, reasoning that, at least in the absence of a clear and present danger of grave harm, the government could not constitutionally punish the speaker.

Now comes the hard case. Suppose Cantwell's speech had in fact triggered a fight, in which several people were injured. Could he then constitutionally be punished for playing the record?

There are two important objections to punishing Cantwell in this situation. First, even though these particular listeners reacted violently, many others would not have done so. Suppose he had played his record to fifty groups of people before anyone reacted violently. Would it make sense to punish Cantwell because in the fifty-first instance the listeners were violent?

Second, suppose we do conclude that Cantwell could be punished because the fifty-first group reacted violently. If Cantwell's opponents know that by acting violently they can get the government to punish Cantwell for saying things they don't like, they have every incentive to act violently in the future. This would create what has been called "the heckler's veto." That is, it would turn over to a speaker's opponents the power to have him criminally prosecuted for his speech.

Apply this to the current situation, and the implications are obvious. If we punish American citizens for engaging in otherwise constitutionally protected speech in order to prevent foreign terrorists from engaging in violent acts, then we cede to those very terrorists the meaning of the First Amendment. That doesn't sound very promising, does it?

Good points on both sides. A slippery slope, as some like to say, should we decide to make new laws.

Here is a link that might be useful: source of course


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Blasphemy

What? No. Way too slippery of a slope to traverse. Leave well enough alone. There will always be an extreme side to everything, and it's not right to give power over to such extremes.

As far as I am aware, there is nothing anyone can say to another that should bring that person to physical violence. If it does, then it is the violent person that should be punished, and not the speaker.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never hurt me. If we accede to terrorism, we lose the entire stance behind our freedoms.

I had thought that we, as a nation, do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not accede to their demands. If we do, we ARE placing all the power in the hands of extremists and terrorists. And at the same time, we're rendering our freedoms meaningless.

The very notion of returning to the days when certain speech was viewed as blasphemy leaves the door open to censor anything... including all the various types of media we read and view... the world wide web, books, magazines, newspapers, television, movies, and any other reading or viewing materials... not to mention anything we say out loud.

I had thought that Larry Flynt went to bat over just such an issue, or a very similar one, when he printed a parody of a famous preacher in his men's magazine. If we remember correctly, he won the case, based on the First Amendment. Case closed.

I think it's a shame that the few bad apples have to ruin things for everyone else, but I'm not about to give up my freedoms so easily and return to a time of forced religious ideals... to do so means the terrorists and kooks win. And we lose... another few freedoms.

Are we ready to hand over more? I'm not.


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I agree with Jodi. Well said.

Except for the part about "a few bad apples". I think that is an understatement. More like "a few million well-armed savage apples."


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Is it time to revisit that?

If so, time for Bill Mahar to make himself scarce!! Remember Religulous?


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Oh please Bill, just the mention of that a$$es name turns my stomach. Since he hates Christians so much he should be the one to go to the Middle East and join that group of cowardly killers. Since Billy Boy has all the answers for anything and everything concerning religion, maybe we could have him go to one of our hot bed embassy's under attack and have him reson with them and if he fails, well we won't have lost anything of value.


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Somehow, and I'm not sure how... but I keep hearing a little whisper... something about Muslims... and atheists, too, now, I guess... they are just evil people, the whole lot of them.

I wonder what would happen if some filmmaker in, oh... say, Cairo or somewhere like that, made a film depicting Jesus as a b*stard, and his mother as a wh*re, and set a cross with the christian son of god on it on fire in the middle of a town square, while people in Middle Eastern costume threw rocks at it... I wonder what the outrage meter in the US would read, as all the christian extremists rallied to rain hell down on American Muslims?

Oh, wait... that's kinda already been done, hasn't it? We have separated Muslims out of our society as someone or something to fear, to hate... in a discriminatory sort of way, looking at them sideways post 9/11... even though 99.9% of Muslims are peace loving people who had nothing whatsoever to do with anything.

Why do the actions of the few always bring immediate stereotyping? Looking back through history, way too many wars, murders, and persecution seem to have religion of some kind at their core. From this reality, one can deduce that perhaps too extreme of a belief in anything is not necessarily a good thing... even using freedoms and liberties irresponsibly...


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Jodi>>>At dinner tonight I said the same thing to my kids. What if Muslims made a despicable film about Jesus, called him a child rapist and pedophile? What do you think the Christians in this country would do? Particularly the teabagger crowd? They'd no doubt go after Muslims and burn mosques like they did after 9/11.

Husband mentioned we have free HBO this weekend, and I said great...I can catch Bill Maher. Love him.


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Jodi-- you're half right-- SOME Muslims and SOME atheists.... Just like SOME Christians.


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Ditto to what jodi said--and to bill's sentence.

Kate


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I am entirely with the philosophy of Jefferson and Adams on this question.

Fundamentalist thugs in the middle east simply used the stupid film as an excuse to do violence. They will always find excuses. We aren't going to do away with free speech on their account.


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Except Maher goes after organized religionists, and rightly so.

The problem with the First Amendment are the people who don't understand it--those who confuse their bigotry with free speech.


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lily, I do believe someone already made that film about Jesus (not sure who made the film) and to my recollection I don't remember anyone getting killed over it. Don't remember Hillary being outraged over it either as she is about this Muslim film. It was objected to by those who found it objectable, but only verbally. We live in America and we don't go around killing people (well at least not most of us) if something offends us. We may not like free speech sometimes, but we know to live in this country we should respect it. The Muslims who use violence to voice their dislike of something is the way they are hardwired and maybe one day the up and coming generations will end this violence, but I know I won't be around to see it and I doubt you will either.


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Could it have been Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ"?

Did see that one, but it was a bit imaginative with lots of gross mutilations inflicted in bloody close ups... all of which did not lift me spiritually.


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Maybe Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ?


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That's what I said, Bill... why I used the words, "99.9% of"... by which one might deduce that the majority of any mainstream religion, including non-believers, are not in that small group of extremists that resort to poor or negative behaviors... which is why we can't stigmatize the many by the actions of the one.

For example, we can't automatically say that every... oh, I don't know... to grab one... southern baptist male is a child or wife beater, just because we might read a news article about one southern baptist male who beat his wife and kids into hospitalization.

It's not a fair depiction, or an accurate description. It paints the many with the same brush as the one.


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  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 12:06

Goodness no. Whose blasphemy, whose heresy? Talk about a mine field. A good way to offend EVERYONE


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RE: Blasphemy

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 12:10

Or a mindfield.


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I don't agree, Maddie. There is no problem with the first amendment. Bigotry doesn't have a legal description, nor is it defined in the Constitution. Yes, the SC has made rulings that to some extent establish where "speech" deviates into crime. I believe it where speech is an explicit threat, or can reasonably be interpreted as a threat.

Depictions that denigrate someone are certainly not a threat by any reasonable interpretation, especially when that someone is long dead.


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In the area of inciteful speech I believe intent is everything-if you intend to start a riot-as in shouting fire in a theater then your speech is not protected, so if your intent with your Film is to incite riot then again your film is not protected free speech and the content is irrelevant.

GGM-your contention that some Muslims are 'hardwired' for violence is utter nonsense. It can certainly be cultural conditioning to meet situations that upset you with violence but built-in like Muslims are some other species-no.


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The Last Temptation of Christ is the film I was thinking about.

patriciae, I may have used the wrong word in describing the Muslims who live and breathe that all Americans,Christians and Jews must die. When I say hardwired I mean nothing or no one can change what they feel or believe.


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Jodie's tableau has been written or depicted numerous times throughout centuries of art, theater, literature and even serious essays. There is a specific term for those types of books but I can't recall it at the moment. A more general term is Christianophobia. I remember reading several books, short stories and plays that stated the exact details she supposes.

"Anti-Christian sentiment is an opposition to Christians, the Christian religion, or the practice of Christianity. Christophobia or Christianophobia are also names for "every form of discrimination and intolerance against Christians" according to Council of European Episcopal Conferences"

Of course, just about every religious movement has its own subset of anti-...(pick your genre). Some may even have some truth to them but most is simply a means of power grabbing through fear or disgust.

The problems occur when you have a religion that while it may be benign at the start is violently reactive when those who want power or control begin to turn those teachings inside out. People are taught from birth to be constantly vigilant and fearful of the slightest hint of apostasy or deviation and are convinced that their rewards come after death and those rewards will be less or not come at all if they permit doubt and that they will be greater if they destroy those that do doubt. Then all it takes is a deep pool of poverty and charismatic leaders who play on the fears and hatreds that poverty and resentment of other that cradle to grave indoctrination in such a belief system creates.

In a way Patriciae, that is hardwiring. It does actually cause physiological changes in the brain in some people. Any system that is designed to control the behavior of people can do that if it is applied consistently. We sometimes refer to it as brainwashing.

Muslims as another species-no,that is hardware. Different logic, cultural conditioning-yes, that is hardwiring. Your understanding of the term hardwire is too limited in this instance.


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is it blasphemy to pick & choose what parts of the bible you follow?
eat shellfish but beat women?


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Roughseas, you are not likely to find the dietary laws and wife beating in the same section of the Talmud or Bible. There is no congruity in time or in any other way.The "laws" were formulated over a very long time. One deals with the observed fact that in a mostly desert civilization without refrigeration or in fact any method of telling that such things as bacteria exist, you are quite possibly going to die if you eat shellfish. Other dietary laws are practical and actually helpful in getting the most benefit from the foods consumed in an era where food collection and storage was vulnerable to contamination, shortages and lack of knowledge of nutritional needs. Milk for example is a primary source of protein especially for a child and is more easily available in usable amounts than meat which can spoil before it is used up. Keeping a cow or donkey alive for its attributes other than a meat source makes sense. Thus the proscription against using dairy products at the same time as meat. You get a better spread of protein over time that way. Mixing grains can cause problems because of the possibility of spreading a disease caused by a contamination that affect only one type of grain. You would affect only the few who ate the contaminated grains rather than a larger number who ate only one type of grain that was less likely to be contaminated. Pork was almost always infected by Trichinosis. Avoiding it was reasonable even though they did not understand what the worm eggs they could not see would do to the brain. They did not have meat thermometers.

Control of a wife was control of your property and offspring. It is not comparable to dietary laws and came from a totally different tradition of politics. It was likely not even common although it was permissible in some cases. A man had to have very specific reasons to beat his wife or child and it was strictly limited. There were severe penalties for going too far. Women could divorce, be educated and own property although at times those rights have been suppressed.

There was a big difference in God's, natures and man's laws.


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sleepless, I'm referring to those who pick & chose which rules they follow... all the while screeching that it's in the bible.
wife beating & slavery are acceptable by the bible.
eating shellfish is not.

the bible is mum on gay sex & abortion.


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"...referring to those who pick & chose which rules they follow... all the while screeching that it's in the bible."

"wife beating & slavery are acceptable by the bible.
eating shellfish is not.
the bible is mum on gay sex & abortion."

Which gives me yet another reason to look at religion in general and say, "huh?". If that's the text, then that's the text. How can you choose the parts you like, and discard everything else, and then call yourself a follower of said text? It doesn't make much rational sense to me... unless the real idea is to just do whatever the heck you want, and use it as a shield.

And that's exactly what both sides have done within the issue of the film... one side hides behind religion, and the other behind a given freedom, but neither see that they each have a certain responsibility to maintain the tone of their actions in keeping with being decent and courteous to one another.

I'm fairly certain that the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim god, which would appear to be one and the same, would not approve of using media to incite violence, or carrying out that violence against another human being.

By OUR laws, using physical violence to answer speech is wrong. It's normally called assault or battery. We can't go around striking others just because we don't care for what they say. But if that speech is used to place others in harm's way, as in causing a riot or a panic, then one can be held accountable. So, there is a line in the sand that's not that hard to distinguish.


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the bible is mum on gay sex & abortion.

Remember a couple of towns called Sodom and Gomorrah? how about Thou shalt not commit murder? As for following the Bible, it's next to impossible. Unfortunately full of contradiction, which is why I KNOW it was influenced by man, HOWEVER inspired by God.

Example-- Turn the other cheek/ and eye for an eye.


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what about those towns? nothing to do with homosexuality or abortion

what about murder? still nothing to do with homosexuality or abortion


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If all the Bible was written at the same time and by the same group of people you might have an argument but the book we have is a highly edited compilation of philosophical, religious, legalistic and semi historic/fabulist essays of a displaced desert nomad society ending with a totally different society from two widely divergent eras in the development of a system of ethics, compromised by politically correct(for the time) selection of favored texts with elimination of those texts that did not fit the ideas of those(an even more different group)who had them compiled. If you could put together a better volume of such essays that cover several millenia I suggest you go for it.


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Except marriage is not a religious term. Holy matrimony is the correct term for religiously (christian, in this case) motivated unions.

I don't agree, Maddie. There is no problem with the first amendment. Bigotry doesn't have a legal description, nor is it defined in the Constitution. Yes, the SC has made rulings that to some extent establish where "speech" deviates into crime. I believe it where speech is an explicit threat, or can reasonably be interpreted as a threat.

Sorry Pat, poor wording on my behalf. Indeed there is no problem with the First Amendment. I meant to say the problem the First Amendment has are the people who take advantage of it, confusing their bigotry with free speech. Or, as with the most recent bigots (Bazile and his ilk) outright abusing it, to hide behind and expect others to bail them out no less. Also, those who murdered in the wake of this movie acted from the same mindset.

Anyway, I think blasphemy is a different subject altogether.


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It's just an unavoidable consequence of free speech. Idiots and others that we disagree with get to make their views known as well.

Mayhem and violence is another thing altogether.


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Picking and choosing from the bible can hardly be considered blasphemous.

That being said, blasphemy is set down as a word since it is generally expressed in speech.

If I remember from long ago, there are three categories of blasphemy... set apart by the significance of the words used to express it.

1. Heresy: an insult to God involving a declaration against faith... i.e., "God is cruel and unjust"
2. Imprecatory when one wills God ill... i.e., "Down with God".
3. Willful stubbornness (contumaciousness) in contempt or indignation towards God.


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I was thinking this morning about limits to free speech, and I don't see why we should just accept the death and mayhem that comes from this the way we just accept all the accidental deaths from fools with their guns, - "eh, its the 2nd amendment" - when some toddler shoots himself with a gun he finds in the bedside drawer.

What about a 99,999% test? If that percent of the population finds these deadly results of 'exercising their right' unacceptable, then we criminalize it.


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Just to clear up a mis-statement above:

As for following the Bible, it's next to impossible. Unfortunately full of contradiction, which is why I KNOW it was influenced by man, HOWEVER inspired by God.

Example-- Turn the other cheek/ and eye for an eye.

That example shows a "contradiction" only if you assume (incorrectly) that the Bible tells you to take "an eye for an eye."

It does not. In fact, it says just the opposite. My Bible, at least, says "Justice [an eye for an eye, etc.] is mine, saith the Lord.." You know, the Old Testiment God of Justice as opposed to the New Testament God of Love and mercy. Those are descriptions of the biblical God, not commandments for human behavior.

However, the Old Testament does command humans not to kill (negative command) and the New Testament does command humans to love their neighbor like they love their God and themselves (positive command).

I think a number of Christians are still working to live up to those wise commands, but no Christian should be practicing "an eye for an eye" (at least not according to the protestant mainstream tradition in which I was raised).

Kate


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Criminalize what exactly, Dave? Any speech or presentation that some violent psychopath might react to with battery or murder? That's a lot of ground to cover.

I am firmly against that sort of censorship.


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I don't consider picking and choosing from the bible blasphemous... I just find it at odds with regard to religion, itself. But that's just a personal opinion. I don't really believe a god exists, so it's all moot. There's no hate involved, just indifference, really... though, it always strikes me as odd when people murder or do bad things in the name of a god or religion.

If we bring back blasphemy laws, we'll be melding religion with governing again, opening that slippery slope to losing even more freedoms, and I don't think we want to go there. Christians are not the only religious that live in America, so that would be bringing in discrimination and inequality. I think our 1st Amendment stands well enough on its own.

With populations the size they are, there's really no way to control the tiny minority who use extreme behavior. I think it's part and parcel of having certain freedoms. There will always be that tiny minority whose views or actions are out of kilter.


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Well, when you consciously, knowingly, do something that will start a riot that gets innocent people killed, I'd argue that this should be against the law.


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but no Christian should be practicing "an eye for an eye" (at least not according to the protestant mainstream tradition in which I was raised).

Nor according to the Catholic tradition, although you wouldn't know it from some of wrong-headed proclamations from Catholics in Congress... and the CIA.

In my readings re the CIA I was struck by how many Catholics rose to positions of power in that organization during the Cold War. Gone was the notion of martyrdom for the faith, and replaced with the notion of coups and assassinations for the faith.


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I believe in free speech but when it is used as an excuse to promote, hatred that could reasonably be thought to promote violence and murder, I draw the line.

Thankfully my countries laws are in line with my thinking. Hate speech, although very strictly defined, is a crime here.

In my opinion this film would not reach the level of a hate crime as defined by Canadian law but I still believe that the irresponsible actions of this jerk are indefensible.

" In Canada, advocating genocide or inciting hatred against any 'identifiable group' is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada with maximum prison terms of two to fourteen years. An 'identifiable group' is defined as 'any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.' It makes exceptions for cases of statements of truth, and subjects of public debate and religious doctrine. "


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Apologies for reposting from another thread . . .

A gentle reminder that it is *your* First Amendment - not theirs. Unless/until you physically take over these countries and force them to obey your Constitution, there will be different views of the unfettered right to free speech at any and all times. [Many people obviously find that the refusal of Americans to condemn such expressions of hatred toward other cultures - in the name of Free Speech - equates to tacit approval of them].

Most other Western countries, in order to live in a civilised way with multi-ethnic populations, have found it necessary to place some restrictions on such things as 'incitement to racial hatred' - which this film would certainly be.

Of course, America has every right to retain its rather simplistic 18th Century 'Amendments' - especially the First and Second - but you have to accept the results, and it seems the majority of Americans (Such as pnbrown) do. So really, you are left with burying your dead in honour of those two forms of words and moving on - until the next time, the next Benghazi or Columbine.

Best wishes
Jon


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Jon and Dave, I would argue that it simplistic to think that "criminalizing" certain kinds of expression is going to prevent such expressions. How has criminalizing child pornography done? I would argue it has not done much to eliminate the dissemination of the pornography.

Or is it just that the act of criminalizing certain kinds of anti-religious speech would satisfy the blood-thirsty fundamentalists, even though it would be an obviously toothless maneuver?


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In this case - as I mentioned above - it would remove the implication that the hateful message is 'legally approved' by the government and people, and even if it then proceeds it would be obvious to the world that is was done illegally and only represented the views of the perpetrator.

Best wishes,
Jon


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Put another way, we don't get stuck in the awkward position of "defending American values" where we mean freedom of speech and the rest of the world sees us as defending the indefensible.

Why isn't child porn protected? Because kids get seriously messed up. Why is this buffoon and his film protected, which leads to people getting killed?


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what about those towns? nothing to do with homosexuality

Roughseas, you don't even have to read a Bible. Just google "Sodom and Gomorrah". Where do you think the term "sodomy" comes from?

what about murder? still nothing to do with... abortion

That's a matter of opinion.

Re: the contradictions-- that might've been a bad example-- it was the first off the top of my head. There ARE many many others. It's one of the reasons I don't take the Bible literally.


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Knew it sounded familiar.

1988: Bombs Thrown Over Religious Film

On October 22, 1988, a French Christian fundamentalist group launched Molotov cocktails inside the Parisian Saint Michel movie theater while it was showing the film.

This attack injured thirteen people, four of whom were severely burned.

The Saint Michel theater was heavily damaged, and reopened 3 years later after restoration.

...

The leader of Christian Solidarity, a Roman Catholic group that had promised to stop the film from being shown, said, "We will not hesitate to go to prison if it is necessary."

The attack was subsequently blamed on a Christian fundamentalist group linked to Bernard Antony, a representative of the far-right National Front to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and the excommunicated followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Lefebvre had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church on July 2, 1988. Similar attacks against theatres included graffiti, setting off tear-gas canisters and stink bombs, and assaulting filmgoers. At least nine people believed to be members of the Catholic fundamentalist group were arrested. Rene Remond, a historian, said of the Catholic far-right, "It is the toughest component of the National Front and it is motivated more by religion than by politics. It has a coherent political philosophy that has not changed for 200 years: it is the rejection of the revolution, of the republic and of modernism."


"Verbally objecting" Christians.



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I wonder what would happen if some filmmaker in, oh... say, Cairo or somewhere like that, made a film depicting Jesus as a b*stard, and his mother as a wh*re, and set a cross with the christian son of god on it on fire in the middle of a town square, while people in Middle Eastern costume threw rocks at it... I wonder what the outrage meter in the US would read, as all the christian extremists rallied to rain hell down on American Muslims?

I don't think that there would be much of an outrage from most people. It would only be among the religious extremists...those who's pastors on Sunday would inflame the whole thing.

The rest of us would be saying, "Huh?" Same thing is probably happening over there. "Yeah that nut Abdullah down the street went over to the American embassy and was doing his usual crap. Now the American's are going to hate our guts even more and I might lose my job at the hotel because the American and European tourists will stop coming.......again!"

The whole irony in this thing is apparently the guy who made this film was a Copt from Egypt. Obviously has an agenda. So he rents the old Vine theater for a night (which is basically closed and used to be an old porn theater), then posts a 13-minute clip on youtube. The White House even asked youtube to take it down but youtube refused. Ah such is freedom in this country.

-Ron-


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I was arguing this subject with a friend yesterday; he is firmly aligned with Dave and Jon's point of view. A lot of people around here are, I suspect.

My comparison to pornography was not a good one, upon reflection. Disseminating pornography doesn't harm anyone, but making it does. OTOH, the making of free speech does not harm. The harm is in the reactions to it. Such reactions are spasmodic, illogical, and unpredictable. It amazes me that there is a serious suggestion to curtail some forms of expression on the behalf of murderous zealots, specifically religious extremists. Is this really the proposal? For the Congress to modify the first amendment to specifically criminalize speech pertaining to religion? Or just Islam?

I'm glad there is no chance of it happening.


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I wonder what would happen if some filmmaker in, oh... say, Cairo or somewhere like that, made a film depicting Jesus as a b*stard, and his mother as a wh*re, and set a cross with the christian son of god on it on fire in the middle of a town square, while people in Middle Eastern costume threw rocks at it... I wonder what the outrage meter in the US would read, as all the christian extremists rallied to rain hell down on American Muslims?

You can bet we wouldn't be killing any Muslim we find!! Pissed off?? You bet. But not to the point of rioting and killing. And for the record, we don't have to go to Cairo for crap like that. We have our very own people putting stuff out like that in the name of comedy and satire.


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RE: Blasphemy

No problem, pnbrown. It is a question that all Western countries have had to ask, and you have decided to stick by the unadulterated form. A form of words that sounded good back before America had any power, influence or responsibility in the wider world. But that's your decision, I won't argue with it - as long as you accept the consequences as the price to be paid. Many other countries have laws against incitement to racial or religious hatred for the reasons I stated earlier which trump 'free speech' in order to protect more important human rights.

Although it the fundamentalists (and you know I despise them as much as you do) who react violently to such events, don't forget that the pain and insult is felt by the whole target community - are you happy with condoning that?


Best wishes
Jon


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RE: Blasphemy

I believe some christians would kill just like some muslims killed.
look at the doctors assassinated by religious christians


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RE: Blasphemy

Well, viewing child porn is a crime. Why? I think one could mount a plausible argument that the mere existence of child porn isn't in the best interests of society, because some few deranged fanatics may carry out their fantasies on real people.

Just as in this case, where this guy intentionally wants to stir up trouble, and did so.

Note that the US soldiers in Baghram who burned the copies of the Quaran -leading to riots and death - Army officials said that four Army officers and two enlisted soldiers received letters of reprimand for sending boxes of Korans from a prison library to a burn pit at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Although an Army investigation that was made public on Monday found that the soldiers did not act out of "malicious intent" to disrespect the Koran or defame Islam, investigators concluded that they did not follow proper procedures, were ignorant of the importance of the Koran to Afghans and got no clear guidance from their leaders in a chain of mistakes.


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RE: Blasphemy

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 17, 12 at 9:32

Being non-religious, sometimes I have difficulty separating religion from other forms of ideology.

It is therefore ironic to me that Muslims the world over are exercising their, in many cases new found, right to free expression... to denounce our right to free expression.

"A gentle reminder that it is *your* First Amendment - not theirs."... I'm not quite as certain about that as you are Jon.


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RE: Blasphemy

I truly can not understand the hand wringing and justification of violence and murder in response to speech. My 10 year old knows the lesson " it doesn't matter what others think if you, only what you think of yourself".

About time we stop treating religion with kid gloves when they are the cause of so much violence from 'thebeginnig' to 'end times'.

Gee I really don't like the new Coldplay album, does this mean I can go throw pie at the queen?

Religion does not deserve a pass and blaming just the fundies is a poor excuse IMHO.


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RE: Blasphemy

I am trying to think of a better analogy, but still keep returning to this one:

The Second Amendment means you have the legal right to keep a loaded weapon under your pillow. Fine. Now if a 2 yr old toddler - say your grandson, finds it and shoots himself in the head, its a horrible tragedy, completely avoidable.

Some states have laws that make the gun owners liable for child abuse, and some states don't. So it is possible to pass legislation, upheld by the courts, that criminalizes what many would call gross negligence.

So some states say this tragedy is just one of the costs this society will take to preserve the unfettered possession of weapons, while other states say you can continue with that 2nd amendment right, but there are legal ramifications when someone else dies due to your thoughtlessness and carelessness.

And in this case, posting the video clip on the internet, would be the rough equivalent of intentionally leaving loaded guns lying around the house when hosting a birthday party for the tots. [Or something, just asking for trouble].

Here is a link that might be useful: yes, it happens


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RE: Blasphemy

We DO already have laws against hate speech, though, no? Cause a riot, and you'll be cuffed and stuffed and held accountable for inciting a riot.

So, we already do not condone such behavior. It's only the fringe edge of societies that engage in such behavior.


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RE: Blasphemy

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 17, 12 at 10:04

David, I think I understand what you're saying and if I "get it" then I agree.

I also think we already have those kinds of laws re "free speech" but the threshold is extremely high. Everyone always uses the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" as an example of this. Seems like plenty of gray between that an the film, at least to me.

The gun under the pillow is criminal negligence, they didn't place the gun hoping a kid would blow their head off, they were just incredibly careless, without care.... the spark that lit the Muslim extremist tinderbox is more about intent in my mind. Did Sam Bacile (imbecile) know that what he did would have the result it has had? Probably. Does it therefore meet the threshold of criminality? if it doesn't, I think it should.


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RE: Blasphemy

No: Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.

I doubt that 'incitement to riot' would/could be invoked when citizens of a foreign country have been incited.

Best wishes
Jon


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RE: Blasphemy

Sorry, kw - my post in response to Jodi

Jon


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RE: Blasphemy

Thats pretty much it, kwoods. Maybe here's a closer analogy -

" Westboro Baptist Church protesters will soon be severely limited in their ability to disrupt military funerals, after Congress passed a sweeping veterans bill this week that includes restrictions on such demonstrations.

According to "The Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012," which is now headed to President Barack Obama's desk, demonstrators will no longer be allowed to picket military funerals two hours before or after a service. The bill also requires protestors to be at least 300 feet away from grieving family members.

This aspect of the legislation was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who, at the urging of a teenage constituent, proposed new limitations on military funeral demonstrations as a response to a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled such actions were protected under the First Amendment."
snip end quote.

So we have don't have the grieving family having to put up with some religious fanatics exercising their right to free speech, but they can't get in their face about it.

To me, thats a common sense adaptation to the first amendment.

And can anyone really imagine the founding fathers agreeing with these later interpretations re porn, Westburo, and this bozo and his anti-Islam crap? I always thought that the historical US basis of 'free speech' was political speech, meaning you could stand up in Congress and shout "you lie" and not be shot on the spot.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Blasphemy

the bans should be for all funerals, not just military,IMO


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RE: Blasphemy

Totally agree.


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RE: Blasphemy

No matter what laws might be in place, it's still the reactionary extremists... the exceptions to the rule... that incite, inflame, and then cause murders to occur in other cultures, and the extremists... the exceptions to the rule... in those other cultures reacting to it.

I still don't think it's right to remove more freedoms to satisfy the few, to give in to the demands of those few extremists.

Neither party was right in this incident... but we can't punish societies as wholes for the actions and reactions of those few exceptions to general rule... in my opinion.


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RE: Blasphemy

As I said : No problem. Just don't complain at the death toll - Benghazi or Columbine.

Best wishes
Jon


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RE: Blasphemy

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 17, 12 at 11:12

" Just don't complain at the death toll"

Jon, I think this is where we part ways. I would say to expect or, at least don't be surprised at the death toll as a price to be paid for our "freedoms", our ideals..... and still "complain".

The larger issue, I think, is intolerance. If we are all going to "get along" in this increasingly interconnected, interdependent world I don't think it makes sense to bend to intolerance. If the world is going to "work", eventually we need to meet somewhere in the middle where the moderates on all sides have the loudest voice. Not complaining gives the extremists a louder voice than they deserve IMO.


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RE: Blasphemy

Absurd!


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RE: Blasphemy

Time to be done with hands off religion!

From Rocky Gervais:

I see atheist are fighting and killing each other again o er who doesn't believe in any God the most. Oh no...wait... that never happens.

Stop blaming the film. It is lunacy.


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RE: Blasphemy

I have the right to shoot any dog that comes on my property with a BB gun. So my neighbor's kids, who own the dog, beat the crap out of my kids at recess when I shoot their dog.

So I don't have the intelligence to stop shooting their dog with a BB gun, since thats my right, even though my kids get beat up, and blame the bullies and the school for not enforcing their anti-bully laws.

/the price of freedom.

//shakes head


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RE: Blasphemy

Neither inciting violence NOR reacting violently to incitement are religious ideals.

One would think there to be more moderates and peace loving people out there than extremists, so, as KWoods says, I think we simply need a louder collective voice of what we will tolerate from extreme religious idealism, as a whole.

I don't see how something created in America can cause someone halfway around the globe to decide murder is acceptable in retaliation. And I can't see how someone here would think it's a great idea to poke a rattlesnake, either.

Like I originally stated in one of these threads... sticks and stones, and all that. Doesn't it show a much deeper tolerance, a much deeper conviction in your religion to ignore the troublemakers and go on about your worship? I think so.


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RE: Blasphemy

Was watching Morning Joe and Joe spoke his mind without mincing words. There are factions that simply hate. The hate needs no provacation, but if something comes along like this rediculous video, well, so much the better. They want our money, they want our guns, any manner of aid, and they want their hate. Without that hatred, they have no reason to be.


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RE: Blasphemy

No need to shoot the dog..just call the dog dumb and the neighbors kids can kill yours because if it....


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RE: Blasphemy

Yeah, well I prefer to think that if I wasn't doing a d*mn thing to infuriate the neighbor's kids and they bully mine anyway, then I would be fully justified in trying to have them expelled from school or sent into the juvie system, or even teaching my kids karate or something, and I'd have the full support of the school and community.

Not everyone telling me to stop being an idiot and quit shooting their dog.


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RE: Blasphemy

Agree.


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RE: Blasphemy

if you shot my dog for just being on your property.. just being there, you'd be shot too.


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RE: Blasphemy

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 17, 12 at 13:21

David, those bullies are wrong to beat your kids whatever their reason. Even if your crazy, coptic, canine hating uncle did shoot their dog. I don't think you want or should allow your uncle to intentionally provoke them but they're still wrong.


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