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I stole this thread from the Fortean Times forum, but I think it is a perfect example of alot of the issues that we have been discussing here in ED lately, particularly in threads like "the Muhammad cartoons" and "morality and the west".
The article is from the LA Times. It's long but interesting.So what does anyone think? Do people have the right to be intolerant if their religion demands it? Is refusing them the right to do this religious oppression?Originally Posted by LA TIMES
I would also like to make clear that the article mentions Orthodox Jews as well as Christian fundamentalists, so please don't accuse me of being anti-christian
Last edited by Kahoolin; April 18th, 2006 at 01:01.
Hmm, a tricky situation. However, I think everyone involved is getting their knickers in a twist over all this sort of stuff. My viewpoint is that if you are something that you don't have a choice about (ie. your gender or race), then you should certainly be protected from being discriminated against or ridiculed because of this. But, anything that you do have a choice about (like religion, political alignment) then I think you are fair game for ridicule, and also prosecution if you do something that violates the law even if it was done because of 'religious beliefs'. Although you still shouldn't be discriminated against (ie. the getting of jobs, etc) because of these things.
Sexual orientation is a bit of a grey area though, some say it's a lifestyle choice and therefore fair game for ridicule and harrassment, others (usually gays of course) would say that this isn't a choice, it's who they are and therefore they cannot be ridiculed or harrassed because of it. I don't really know what the truth of the matter is, but as before, such people should not be discriminated against whatever they are. However, I think it's wrong that someone should get arrested or have a law suit filed against them merely for mocking someone's sexual orientation. That, I believe, is taking things too seriously.
Religion on the other hand is, I am certain, a lifestyle choice. People switch religions all the time and I don't think anything that people do 'because of religious beliefs' should be immune to ridicule, prosecution or prohibitions (according to whichever laws apply). People can't demand to have things or be allowed to do stuff (that they wouldn't normally be allowed to do of course) purely because of their beliefs! That would open up a pandoras box of insanity!
Whatever the outcome of all this, I really wish people (particularly Americans) would stop taking all this so seriously. People keep taking each other to court whenever anyone so much as cracks a joke about someone elses chosen religion, whining to the judges demanding 'damages'! If I smack you in the face for being a christian/muslim/jew/whatever, then you can whinge for damages, otherwise shut the hell up and stop being such a gold-digging crybaby! Suing culture needs some brakes applied...
"Peace, through superior firepower."
The first thing I thought was that I don't recall anywhere in the bible requiring the faithful to "speak out against homosexuals." The only time gays are ever mentioned (if it's even gays that are meant when it says "lie with a man as with a woman") the command is to kill them, pretty unequivocally.
So unless this lady thinks the US constitution should grant her the right to kill sodomites she isn't fulfilling any biblical command anyway. It's madness.
I thought it said in Leviticus or whatever that you had to stone them to death, not write them angry letters.
But Tzeencth Lord, you have identified a very important point. The court is going to have to decide whether sexual orientation is inborn or a lifestyle choice, something they've been avoiding for ages.
Last edited by Kahoolin; April 18th, 2006 at 02:22.
Woah.. long one O_o
I think that it is sad that religious people cant leave others alone, but rubbing other peoples faces in their oppinions seems to be very nessecary for many of them. Religions extremists like the ones described in this article are possibly some of the most disgustingly intolerant people on this planet, and I find it very disturbing that they even try to enforce their oppinions on others, especially when what they enforce might destroy innocent peoples lives. If they dont like abortions, they are free not to have any, and if they dont like homoseksuality, they are free not to be homoseksuals as well. Where is the problem? They dont even have to like people who gets abortions or are homoseksuals, but hey, that is ok too because they live in a free country (or...?).
Personally, I feel that it is ok to be a little intolerant, because of free will and all, but these christians just go to far. I draw the line where you enforce your own intolerant views onto others, because if no one did that, there shouldnt really be a problem. How much sense would it make if the homoseksuals sued the christians for not having homoseksual relationships? Just as little sense at the christians crusade against homoseksuality IMO.
Generally when I post on the Enhanced forum, I make a really long post (as most people do), but after reading a really long article, and not wanting to spend really long still on the net, I'll just say this-
How I see it, these people are basically saying- "Anti-Discrimnation laws are taking away my god-given right to discriminate".
That's the entire point of anti-discrimination laws.
They're not asking you to have tea and biscuits with a gay person every Sunday, all they're asking is to treat them like a human being.
Which is what most Bible Belt Christians don't get. Homosexuality is the sin, not the homosexual. That should demolish any claim to a right to "harassment" of the issue on religious grounds, which I understand to be personal attacks. However, things like the t-shirt mentioned would not fall under this heading, as it's merely expressing an opinion, which should be protected by freedom of speech. The onus is on the person getting offended to consider such a thing a personal attack. An expression of opinion should lead to a dialogue about [/i]why[/i] the various parties involved believe such a thing to be right or wrong, and maybe reach some form of mutual understanding. Admittedly this is impossible at an institutional level, but if people would make the effort things woudl make a lot more sense.
As for the wider issue of tolerance, it's getting silly in some areas, and in some cases it does amount to an attack on religious beliefs. I remember a while back (can't give you a link, sorry) that a Christian Union at Birmingham University was shut down because it failed to specify in its constitution that a transgender individual could become head of the committee. Firstly I think this is being hugely petty (correct me if I'm wrong, but a transgender individual wants to be recognised as one or the other anyway, not something in between), and secondly is understandable in a religious context; if you have a religious organisation, you want the leaders of said organisation to follow those beliefs, and even be exemplary in them, if such a thing is possible. Granted that you could have a conversion once you had become transgender, but such a thing could be interpreted as, for example in the Christian faith, "Jesus will forgive me so I can fool around for most of my life and repent later", something which is expressly warned against in the Bible (The Parable of the Ten Virgins Mt 25:1-13, here, and a passage in Romans about grace Rm 5:20-6:4 here).
And the lifestyle choice thing is a murky issue; it is possible to not express your sexuality while not invalidating yourself as a person (although such a thing would amount to a curtailment of freedom of expression), just as a hetrosexual doesn't have to go around ogling the opposite sex or wearing a t-shirt with hetrosexual slogans on them or whatever. Hence homosexuality may not be a choice (I'm not qualified to say either way), but expression of any sexuality is. That invalidates the "it's not a choice" issue, although it opens up another can of worms about freedom of expression.
And Robotnik, there is more than that one reference in Leviticus regarding homosexuality, most explicitly again in Romans (Rm 1:26-27):Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
This is really interesting though, because it comes down to the core of our society.
Our society, theoretically at least, gives everyone the right to think whatever they want. Noone can accuse you on the grounds of what happens in your head.
It's where those thoughts move into the social arena that society at large feels it has a right to judge what you're saying. Therefore, the Christian argument that what they're saying should somehow be protected represents a very flawed understanding of how civil rights work. There's a line between thinking 'I hate fags' and saying it, just as there's a line between thinking 'I hate Christians' and saying it.
I also think their argument about 'lifestyle choices' deserves to be turned around. I could describe Christianity as a lifestyle choice, and claim its adherents have a free choice about whether they want to be Christians or not, but I know very well that they really don't, it's something you believe or otherwise, depending on your experiences with the religion in the past. Similarly, even if gay people can theoretically choose to get married and start sleeping with the opposite sex, I don't believe it's any more of a choice. Their experiences make the decision for them.
EDIT: @ Xerxes.. Good point dude, but the t shirt didn't say 'expressing your homosexuality is a sin!' A lot of the gay adults I've met (note, I say adults) are very, very discreet about it all. Doesn't mean that any expression of anti-gay sentiment will apply to them any less than it would to pride activists or lesbian avengers.
Where I think the Christians have a damn good point is when they point out the inequalities which exist in this supposedly perfect system. I go to goth clubs, and I see people wearing anti-Christian T shirts all the time, just as I hear anti-Christian music, and there is plenty of anti-Christian comedy around. There's a sense, I think, that Christianity is fair game for being disliked, or for dissecting into something which can be ridiculed, while certain causes celebre favoured by the liberal hegemons of our society are untouchable.
I have an ambiguous and complex sexuality myself, and I've suffered homophobic abuse, but to be honest, a lot of gay people I've met get very worked up about rights which very few people in society actually have. Noone has the right to be accepted and tollerated for what they are, for example. A person can freely hate another person because they have bad skin, an odd or even number of moles on their arms, because of their name, or for any other crazy reason they want. That's part of our personal freedom. The police aren't going to turn up and drag you away because you hate someone. (Well, the thought police might, but they don't exist.. or do they?) :shifty:
That said, the people who prune and garden our society are only human. They have all been raised with their own set of prejudices and experiences, which make them think about things in a certain way. This means that, certainly here in Britain, most judges, policemen, company managers and the like are non-believers, and have their own, generally fairly laid back views about homosexuality (at least in principle.) If someone tried to argue to them that it was okay to hate gay people, they're naturally not going to be as receptive as they are to the guy rights activist who is offended by that attitude. That's not something we have any control of, on a social level. The only way around, and its one I endorse, is to make those individual people less important, so you hopefully get a less personal and more diverse opinion.
Yeah, I guess that's it. Believe what you want, live how you want but don't be surprise if someone dislikes you for it. If they do, welcome to freedom. You get choice, but you don't get mandatory affection. In the incident with the anti feminist posters, the logical answer on the college's part would have been to ignore them, and let other students make their opinions known through making their own posters. Not only would this be allowing everyone freedom of speech, it would also be a lot funnier.
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; April 18th, 2006 at 14:08.
Very interesting topic, Robotnik!
First of all, Iâ€™m going to make a deliberately hypocritical statement and say that I hate intolerant people. Not so much the fact that theyâ€™re intolerant, because they do have the right to their own opinions however offensive they might be to me, but it appears that the more intolerant you are the more do you try to impose your intolerance on other people.
I personally believe in the Wiccan mantra â€˜and ye harm none, do as ye willâ€™, although I am not into Wicca myself. Why do Christians take offence when others refuse to obey the rules set down by their own personal religion? Christians donâ€™t obey Sharia, the Muslim religious legislation after all, so why should non-Christians be forced to conform to the Bible? Yet I have been the target of enough attempts to save my soul from the fires of Hell to know that Christians take a huge interest in other peopleâ€™s business, even business thatâ€™s none of theirs. If I want to damn myself in the eyes of your God, then why must I be saved by all means necessary? I have little doubt that there are still fanatics out there who would burn people at the stake for daring to stand apart from their definition of a good, God-abiding life. Why not just proclaim once and for all that everybody except Christian white men will burn in Hell? It would be much more consistently, after all.
As for homosexuality being a lifestyle choice, I personally doubt it. I donâ€™t know if anyone recall the post I made once on the discovery of differences in brain chemicals between heterosexual and homosexual males which might indicate that sexual preference is congenital, but I believe that while everyone can of course choose to have sex with either gender (heterosexuals can technically have same-sex relations too, after all), oneâ€™s personal preference is not a choice any more than oneâ€™s gender or oneâ€™s skin colour.
Besides, regardless of whether homosexuality is a lifestyle choice or not, what right does Christians have to speak out against it? As Tzeentch Lord says, religion is a lifestyle choice for sure, yet religious discrimination is illegal. Perhaps we should abolish the laws against religious discrimination along with those protecting homosexuals! After all, it would be unfair if homosexuals couldnâ€™t retaliate against the harassment, right?
In short, to conclude my rant, I feel the Christians, especially the American Christians, should stop being whining n00bs now and accept that life is not always the way they want it to be. I donâ€™t see any homosexuals stamping their feet like five-year-old children and screaming at the top of their lungs because their wishes werenâ€™t immediately fulfilled. Homosexuals have it a lot harder than you, so do shut up, you have nothing to complain about. â€œOur religion is under attackâ€™ my lovely behind; you want to see attack, you replace the word â€˜homosexualâ€™ with â€˜Christianâ€™ on that sign youâ€™re holding and in that speech youâ€™re making, and youâ€™ll see what it feels like to be attacked.
I feel inspired to make a t-shirt now saying â€˜Christians burn in Hellâ€™. That would be nicely intolerant. ^_^
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
Tolerance only works in favour of the minorites it is trying to protect; the majority doesn't need the protection...apparently.
In Australia (Sydney to be specific), we have the world's largest Gay and Lesbian festival/parade, it's an international event. But what do you think the reaction would be if a heterosexual demanded the same rights to parade and celebrate their orientation? There would be an uproar saying that they were discriminating against non-heteros.
Political Correctness and all of it's ilk, is a joke, it doesn't stop people thinking what they think, it doesn't stop people saying what they want to say, it just makes them say it elsewhere, and with more vehemence than would be ususal because they have had to censor themselves.
People should get a thicker skin, and learn to ignore anyone who doesn't like their choices, situation, or appearance.
I'm a straight white man, and I'm proud of it; if you don't like it, you can (I was going to say "bite me" but who know's it might be your fetish) go bother someone else.
Mysterious Member of the ANZAC Clan
Ah, political correctness.
PC has a reputation for being complete bull sometimes but its a fine line.
If someone wants to wear an offensive T-shirt, let them, thats personal but when (like the example with the anti gay verses on the cubicle) it affects others in a working enviorment measures have to be taken.
I personally think people take things a little too seriously without looking at the context, if a very conservative christian is disgusted at homosexuals, so be it, they can be safe in the knowledge that the gays are going to hell (in their eyes at least).
There is no need to go preaching that and telling gays/lesbians/whoever that they are wrong, that will just lead us to where religion controls everything (and we know that religion is wrong sometimes).
I personally get really annoyed when very conservative people start trying to change stuff "because their religion says homosexuality is wrong" (or whatever), most religions even say respect other even if their actions/views conflict with your own.
Anyway, the Bible (in this example) is never specific, its not what it means to someone else, its what it means to you.
I myself do have a few prejudices but hey, I don't go around to gay meetings or whatever (not that we get them) and start yelling at the top of my voice "ALL GAYS NEED TO DIE, THE BIBLE COMMANDS IT, thats just complete bull****.
If that made any sense.