Lawyer With Neo-Nazi Ties Loses Defamation Lawsuit Against SPLC For Calling Him A Neo-Nazi

from the guess-it's-one-way-to-stay-busy-when-you're-unemployed dept

People keep suing the Southern Poverty Law Center and they just keep losing. More specifically, certain types of people keep suing the SPLC and losing. The type suing most frequently are individuals with bigoted beliefs who aren't too thrilled the SPLC considers them to be bigots.

The key word is "considers." The "Hate Map" the SPLC compiles lists individuals and entities the Center considers to be spreaders of hate. It includes litigants like Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and Truth In Action Ministries, the latter of which has made it clear it hates both the sinner and the sin when it comes to anyone veering from the sexual straight and narrow.

The latest lawsuit trying to turn protected opinion into defamation involves a Baltimore city lawyer who claimed it was defamatory for the SPLC to say he had links to white supremacist groups when he had links to white supremacists groups.

The case dates back to 2015 when the SPLC got a tranche of documents from an accountant who worked for alleged white supremacist group National Alliance, according to Wednesday’s ruling.

[...]

Among the names published was Glen K. Allen, a contractor in the city of Baltimore’s legal department. The group published a picture of him alongside the words, “When the City of Baltimore recently hired Glen Keith Allen, a neo-Nazi, nobody knew of his involvement with the white supremacist group, except for us.”

An August 2016 article from the SPLC reported on Allen’s ties to National Alliance, including receipts for dues payments, and also claimed that a political party he donated to, the American Eagle Party, was “racist.”

Allen was seeking $6 million for damage to his reputation supposedly caused by the publication of this collection of facts and inferences, which ultimately resulted in him being fired by the city. Oh, and there's a RICO claim thrown in there for good measure because supposedly SPLC's purchase of "stolen" documents is evidence of racketeering. (The court points out a single allegedly-criminal act does not show the "pattern" of illegal activity needed to sustain a RICO claim.)

Doesn't really matter how much this lawyer threw at the wall in his 85-page complaint. Sandwiched between his glowing autobiography and editorializing on the SPLC are some questionable allegations. The court doesn't appear to be a fan of Allen's complaint in general according to the first footnote of the opinion [PDF]:

The complaint is 85 pages long, with multiple pages devoted to attacking the fundraising and "enormous headquarters" ("The SPLC uses the word 'Poverty' in its name but in reality is fabulously wealthy,") and describing Allen's early life, extracurricular activities, and accolades ("[Allen] was a diligent student and did well in law school, finishing near the top of his class and serving as Executive Director of the law review,"). This section summarizes only the relevant parts of Allen's complaint.

The court isn't much more impressed with Allen's legal arguments. Allen's attempt to bypass First Amendment defenses by attaching a bunch of random, non-speech related torts doesn't work. As the court points out, clearing the First Amendment bar comes first, prior to any discussion about other allegations stemming from the SLPC's publication of the leaked files and its corresponding "Hate Map" updates. Allen can't clear the first hurdle.

As explained below, the August 17, 2016, article and 2016 Hate Map are protected by the First Amendment. First, Allen does not allege the factual statements in them are false. Second, the statements he objects to are non-actionable opinion or hyperbole.

Allen's complaint doesn't complain about anything but protected speech.

Allen does not dispute the underlying factual assertions namely, his ties to NA and the American Eagle Party in the article. Allen alleges that the article contained the false implication that he would act unethically in litigation he was. involved in. While the article noted that the "hiring of a known neo-Nazi to litigate [for Baltimore] surely raises questions" it cannot be said that the article implies that Allen would act unethically.

Allen's other allegations concern statements that are not actionable. He objects to the defendants' characterization of him as a "well known" neo-Nazi lawyer. Although he argues that the sources the article cites do not support that he is "well known," it is not clear whether he asserts the statement is false. To the extent he does, that he is "well known" is not a provably false factual connotation. Further, the characterization of the American Eagle Party as "racist" is opinion "that cannot be proven as verifiably true or false" and is not actionable.

And that's even when the court has considered Allen's "but I have black friends!" assertions.

In his brief, he argues that the defendants should have included in the article Allen's pro bono work on behalf of African Americans, as "Neo-Nazis do not do such things, let alone 'well known neo-Nazi lawyers.' The SPLC Defendants knew this. But portraying the truth about Allen would undercut the message that the SPLC constantly sends in order to fundraise[.]" These statements do not directly dispute the characterization as false; therefore, to the extent that Allen objects to the "neo-Nazi" label, he has not shown falsity.

[...]

[A]llens' pro bono work does not prove or disprove the documents showing Allen's payment of dues and donations to National Alliance, which was the basis for the defendants' characterization of him as a neo-Nazi.

The lawsuit is dismissed. It seems that the best course of action Glen Allen could have taken to avoid being portrayed as a neo-Nazi would have been to not associate with an avowed neo-Nazi organization. That he was outed via exfiltrated documents does not change his connection with neo-Nazis, nor does his pro bono work for African Americans. The best defense against defamation claims is the truth and the SPLC's portrayal of Allen was based on underlying documents Allen didn't even attempt to claim were false.

Fortunately for Allen, he won't be out much for legal fees since he incapably represented himself throughout these proceedings. Truth is fatal to defamation claims, as are statements of opinion, and inferences based on disclosed facts. But Allen moved forward anyway with his DOA lawsuit, with allegations that were never going to be greeted with anything more than a time of death declaration from a judge.

Filed Under: baltimore, defamation, glen allen, libel, neo-nazi
Companies: splc


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:00am

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer Nazi-adjacent asshole of a lawyer.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:13am

    I think the term "linked" can be pretty easily abused but in this case wasn't if he was intentionally providing money to an organization to further white supremacy.

    The ACLU can be said to be linked to neo-nazi's as can NAACP or BLM counter demonstrators for hanging around them. I have seen the term be used that way.

    It's hard to have sympathy for him but if he was fixing an immoral belief system he probably doesn't deserve to have it dragged out constantly imo.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:37am

      Re:

      “but if he was fixing an immoral belief system”

      You can’t fix Nazis with words bro.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re:

        Beer and words can actually help fix racist types as long as they aren't to the point of actually killing people in my experience.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:43am

      Re:

      I don't like the use of linked either when what he actually did was support racist organizations.

      I think the SPLC gets it right most of the time, but they sometimes get it very wrong. They went after Sam Harris for essentially saying that a researcher who finds a correlation between race and intelligence isn't necessarily a bigot.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:51am

        a researcher who finds a correlation between race and intelligence isn't necessarily a bigot

        But they would be advancing the kind of “science” that led to shit like the American eugenics movement — which, as a reminder, was one of the primary inspirations for what we would eventually call the Holocaust.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:42pm

          Re:

          Here's an example of science that talks about differences among races:

          https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/gory-details/what-your-earwax-says-about-your-ancestry

          Nobod y really cares about smell or ear wax so it isn't going to lead to a holocaust, but the idea that basic science is good or evil is a little like saying encryption is good or evil.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 7:43am

            Re: Re:

            "Here's an example of science that talks about differences among races:"

            Yes there are morphological and genomic differences between ethnic groups based on ancestry, and this is good science when it tries to use the information to trace origin and clinical conditions for medical purposes...
            ...but the problem with genetics and racists is that they invariably end up trying to "prove" that one set of genes is superior to another, which is outright bullshit.

            The nazi version of eugenics is one of the more odious examples but there have been plenty of bigoted wishful thinkers who have tried to make science show what they themselves believed and wished to be true.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 4:09am

              there have been plenty of bigoted wishful thinkers who have tried to make science show what they themselves believed and wished to be true

              For example: the American eugenicists who ultimately inspired Hitler.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 2:04am

                Re:

                "For example: the American eugenicists who ultimately inspired Hitler."

                ...predated by English and German eugenicists. You should read up on some of the arguments around the "White Man's Burden" if you find yourself in dire need of a quick-acting emetic.

                Usually the eugenics people grab whatever causal link to an exhibited trait they want and then claim that it is evidence of inferiority because it does less well in circumstances it wasn't selected to deal with.

                Like claiming an african is inferior to a caucasian because they handle cold less well, while conveniently not mentioning that said caucasian would die in a day where the african has enough time to find water and shade. Or looking at a tribal predisposition for sickle-cell anemia as a sign of inferior genetics - a condition which is indeed harmful but as side effect provides complete immunity to malaria which enables the affected to live in areas which kill everyone else.

                Eugenics is just one of those pet hatreds of mine, along with the "intelligent design" people who share their twisted penchant for twisting good science into absolute garbage.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re:

        "correlation between race and intelligence"

        Given the wildly varying results and questionable veracity of intelligence tests along with the difficulties in determining race, I assume that dna was being used, I suggest that these determinations of correlation are themselves questionable and certainly any conclusions drawn are therefore also questionable.

        I really do not have the time to evaluate any studies this Sam dude has done, since you are familiar with it, what if anything did Sam say about these concerns?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Sam Harris is sometimes full of shit in this regard, although largely ok. It wasn't just the SPLC who had critical things to say about him. (I don't even recall their involvement at the time.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Sam was just saying it should be okay to talk about these things and asking questions about race or disclosing that a link between race and some characteristic (good or bad) being found doesn't make you a racist. He wasn't espousing a particular view with respect to any race.

          Like Stephen said in another comment - bad actors might try to use the information to do terrible things. That's true, but banning a line of thought is kinda evil too.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If the problem is social, then it can be resolved with education and cultural integration or modification.

            If it is a genetic issue we don't have the science to do anything other than make is worse.

            When there are proven safe reliable genetic therapies in the distant future that is the time to address that concern.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 3:09pm

              If it is a genetic issue we don't have the science to do anything other than make i[t] worse.

              But if a scientifically-proven genetic link between race and intelligence is found, it can (and will) be used by the worst kinds of people to suggest racial superiority. Other factors from both nature and “nurture” could be responsible, over a long period of time, for creating that link. The racists won’t care. They’ll claim the inherent superiority of their race and say science backs it up.

              I’m not saying we must never explore the idea in a scientific way. But if someone does that, they need to do it extremely carefully, lest their findings turn into another Wakefield/autism parade of endless bullshit disguised as “science”. I’d rather not give the Klan a reason to think it should ever be relevant again.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 3:33pm

                Re:

                I didn't use the word race there. Genetics play a significant role in intelligence and to pretend otherwise is ignoring reality. When gene therapies are developed to address down syndrome for example, the scientists developing the treatments will have to treat the intelligence gap or it will be worthless research.

                I do believe in the distant future we will be able to address down syndrome with genetic therapies.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:26am

                  Re: Re:

                  "Genetics play a significant role in intelligence and to pretend otherwise is ignoring reality."

                  • How do you suggest this intelligence be measured?

                  "When gene therapies are developed to address down syndrome"

                  • Finding cures is commendable and we need more of that, however - I was unaware that down syndrome had anything to do with intelligence. What do you mean by "intelligence gap"? How is this gap measured?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:53am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    There is a large field that theorize about that issue.

                    I am not that kind of scientist but I like IQ tests because of what I score. I probably am biased toward modern IQ tests because I have taken them and get flattering scores.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 7:51am

                      I like IQ tests because of what I score

                      FYI: IQ tests were used in the United States to justify eugenics. Maybe don’t be so proud of an ultimately meaningless number.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 1:58pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "I like IQ tests"

                      I assume you are referring to the IQ tests in use for a while now.

                      It's nice that you like the tests but conclusions drawn from the results are highly questionable. The IQ test results are meaningless when attempting to compare results across societal boundaries like class, race, religion, etc

                      "I have taken them and get flattering scores"
                      You must be susceptible to targeted marketing huh.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:09pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        They are good across race where everyone has the same type of basic education.

                        They are less good across class because different groups value different things. For example, an Olympic athlete and a farmer do very different things but that doesn't mean one is less adapted or intelligent than the other. Different education and skills are required.

                        Religious beliefs are one place they break down. One persons truth can be so completely different than another persons truth that it can make tests unreliable.

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                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:54pm

                          They are less good across class because different groups value different things.

                          Which is why IQ tests are bullshit. Someone could be the best goddamn author in the world without having an IQ that would put them in MENSA. Someone could have a relatively low IQ but also have useful skills that make them great at what they do for a living. A score on an IQ test doesn’t make anyone better than anyone else — it just gives vain people bragging rights over something more meaningless than your last trip to the bathroom.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 3:39pm

                            Re:

                            They're still trying to work on a quantifiable definition for intelligence. Some IQ tests recognize 6 different types of intelligence to test for.

                            Like I said earlier it's still a field in which a lot of work is being done. I wouldn't call it mature science.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 6:20am

                              Re: Re:

                              As you pointed out, differences in education will cause large errors in what the test attempts to measure. Education is one of many parameters.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 6:45am

                Re:

                I’m not saying we must never explore the idea in a scientific way.

                Then you're more rational than the SPLC. Just espousing that view makes you a candidate for their hate watch blog.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 1:59pm

                  Re: Re:

                  "Just espousing that view makes you a candidate for their hate watch blog."

                  How so?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:48pm

                    I assume it’s because saying “maybe we should see if there’s a link between intelligence and race”, despite pretty much any reputable scientific community saying “no there isn’t”, sounds racist as fuck.

                    I don’t believe there is such a connection. And I think anyone who says one exists is a fucking racist. But to put the question 100% completely off-limits is bullshit. We should have the ability to study the science and answer the question, even if the answer is still “no there isn’t, you racist douchecanoe”.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 2:36pm

                      Re:

                      But there might be a link and society needs to be able to deal with that. It's going to be awful hard to explain the difference between population and individual when lots of people can't seem to grasp the difference between climate and weather.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 2:59pm

                      Re:

                      It has been studied. You are correct, there is no link.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 2:14am

                Re:

                "I’d rather not give the Klan a reason to think it should ever be relevant again."

                oh, but if not for the Klan, who else would buy so many Tiki torches?

                Sarcasm aside the Klan doesn't "think". Largely it's a horde of badly educated losers who believe, with all their heart, that despite having worked hard at nothing other than becoming guaranteed losers in life, the fact that they're poor and can't get a date to save their lives can still all be blamed on the black man.

                Bigotry festers among the unimaginative and the uneducated who desperately want to hear that they are somehow "chosen" and have a peer group which appreciates them. That presents a problem in the US where around 50% of the population reject facts and science in favor of belief, and poverty rates are incredibly high in the less urbanized parts. I think until those aspects are somehow addressed, the Klan is there to stay.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Sam was just saying it should be okay to talk about these things"
            Sure, it is ok to talk about things but let's be honest about those things.
            IQ tests are well known to be faulty, but they are still used as though they are not.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 7:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Sam was just saying it should be okay to talk about these things and asking questions about race or disclosing that a link between race and some characteristic (good or bad) being found doesn't make you a racist."

            Which is true but has to be tempered with a bundle of caveats and clarifications given that eugenics is still a very popular pseudoscience among racists.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:44am

      The ACLU can be said to be linked to neo-nazi's as can NAACP or BLM counter demonstrators for hanging around them. I have seen the term be used that way.

      You can link the ACLU to the specific Nazi groups it represented on free speech grounds in the past. But if you were to say “the ACLU is linked to Nazis” without explaining that context, you would be making a bad faith connection between the ideologies of the ACLU and Nazism. You would want people to associate Nazis and their bullshit with the ACLU, for whatever reason. Using the “linked to” phrasing in that way is accidentally ignorant at best, intentionally disingenuous at worst.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:53am

      Re:

      What does "fixing an immoral belief system" entail?

      Is it possible that those who wish to change "morals" in society are themselves the ones most devoid of same?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re:

        What does "fixing an immoral belief system" entail?

        Getting people to stop committing violence against people based on their race, gender, religion, country of origin, or sexual orientation, and to stop advocating genocide based on those same characteristics?

        Is it possible that those who wish to change "morals" in society are themselves the ones most devoid of same?

        Is it possible that people trying to stop violence rooted in bigotry are less moral than those trying to commit that same violence?

        No. No, it is not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I see what you were saying and agree.

          I was thinking that the word morals encompassed a set larger than "race, gender, religion, country of origin, or sexual orientation" and was curious about the motivation for changes

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 7:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I was thinking that the word morals encompassed a set larger than "race, gender, religion, country of origin, or sexual orientation" and was curious about the motivation for changes"

            Race, gender, country of origin and sexual orientation are not choices you can make.

            Religion is.

            That, I believe, is one of the core reasons as to why criticizing religion is as OK as it is to criticize any other personal opinion.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 4:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...race, gender, religion, country of origin, or sexual orientation..."

          One of these things is not the same.

          You can pick and choose religion. Shouldn't be any more protected than choosing to believe the Earth is flat.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 2:10pm

            You can pick and choose religion. Shouldn't be any more protected than choosing to believe the Earth is flat.

            Then I don’t suppose you’d have any problem with a city made up largely of Christians discriminating against non-Christians/gay people/any other Repugnant Cultural Other in pretty much every aspect of public life, up to and including the provision of government services.

            The government could be doing more to strengthen the wall of separation between church and state (e.g., either eliminating the parsonage exemption or allowing secular groups to receive it). But it shouldn’t be allowing discrimination based on religion, one way or the other.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 2:28pm

              Re:

              I didn't think I said discrimination should be allowed, against anyone. Why would you try to phrase it that way?

              I said religion is a choice and shouldn't be any more protected than any other choice.

              I don't like many cats. I am not saying go torture and kill cats.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 4:39pm

                I didn't think I said discrimination should be allowed, against anyone.

                I said religion is a choice and shouldn't be any more protected than any other choice.

                Distinction without a difference. If you think religious people should not have any protection from discrimination in the law because they choose their religious beliefs, you’re saying discrimination should be allowed on the basis of religion. That notion opens up an entire can of worms that I don’t think you either want or have the testicular fortitude to open.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 5:00pm

                  Re:

                  What he has is cognitive dissonance.

                  He doesn't consider his religious beliefs to be religious beliefs.

                  He also doesn't realize that different types of choices get different protections in all parts of society.

                  To illustrate the dissonance, think about this statement.

                  Why should the choice to eat broccoli be more protected that the choice to run a murder for hire scam?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:05pm

                    Re: Re:

                    "Why should the choice to eat broccoli be more protected that the choice to run a murder for hire scam?"

                    Which protected class(es) do they belong to?

                    " "...race, gender, religion, country of origin, or sexual orientation..."

                    One of these things is not the same.

                    You can pick and choose religion."

                    Can you see the difference between race and religion and making a choice about it?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:18pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      I see what you are saying.

                      Why should I accept your religious beliefs about how important religious beliefs are?

                      Are you saying I should be forced to accept your religious beliefs?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 7:45am

                      Can you see the difference between race and religion and making a choice about it?

                      Can you see the difference between booting someone out of a store because they’re an asshole and booting someone out of a store because they’re Jewish? Don’t come back to this argument if you can’t — you’re already out of your depth, and I’d hate to see you drown.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 6:57pm

                  Re:

                  Then I guess it is okay to discriminate against atheists? Since they aren't a protected class? Or should they be equal?

                  I don't like many cats. I am not saying go torture and kill cats.
                  I am saying I don't like many cats.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:35am

                    Re: Re:

                    Funny thing is bro. The absence of a thing should be as protected as the thing itself.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 7:43am

                    I guess it is okay to discriminate against atheists? Since they aren't a protected class?

                    If we protect the rights of religious people, we can — must! — do the same for atheists. The irreligious cannot have fewer legal rights. That would equate to the government showing favor or affection towards religion and malice or ill-will towards non-religion. The law, notably the First Amendment, has something to say about whether the government can do that.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 12:33pm

                      Re:

                      Atheism is a religion. It is a religion that believes God doesn't exist. We do protect religion or non-religion but that isn't non-religion.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 12:43pm

                        Re: Re:

                        that was supposed to be

                        "religion over non-religion"

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 1:07pm

                        Atheism is a religion.

                        No, it isn’t.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:04pm

                        Re: Re:

                        "Atheism is a religion."

                        Given the following definitions obtained via google, how do you support your claim that atheism is a religion. Perhaps you use a different set of definitions? Please explain.

                        re·li·gion
                        the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

                        a·the·ism
                        disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

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                          Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:30pm

                          Re: Re: Re:

                          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

                          a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods

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                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:43pm

                            holding a specific position on the existence of a god ≠ religion

                            Atheists can believe that no god exists. They can also believe that we cannot know if a god exists. Does Christianity allow for a similar line of thought, or does it treat the questionin of God’s existence as heresy?

                            Atheism has no structural belief system, dogma, or institutional governance. It has no specific creed or form of worship. It has no doctrines, no ministers, no religious services or schools or texts. I defy you to show me a single way in which atheism and religion are one in the same — y’know, other than “they both believe something about God”.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 3:03pm

                              Re:

                              agnosticism is the belief that it is impossible for humans to know whether or not any deities exist

                              Christianity is compatible with most other religions tbh. If you want to find the sects that do crossover belief systems.

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                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 3:49pm

                                agnosticism is the belief that it is impossible for humans to know whether or not any deities exist

                                And generally, agnostics are atheists. People who believe in God don’t tend to believe we can’t know if God exists. It kinda goes against the entire belief system.

                                Also: Since you didn’t offer anything that proves atheism is a religion, I’ll take that as a concession of the point.

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                                  Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 4:05pm

                                  Re:

                                  If you want to find an avid religious atheist to argue with about whether their religion is good enough to be a religion go find that person. I know atheists and it is not worthwhile to argue with them.

                                  I the wrong person to argue the point with.

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                                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 4:48pm

                                    No such thing as a “religious atheist” exists. Atheists, by definition, have no religion. Atheists have no institutions for worship or governance, no dogma to which all atheists must adhere, no clergy or creed or prayers or schools or doctrines. If you cannot offer anything that proves atheism is the same damn thing as religion, concede the point or you all but admit your cowardice.

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                                That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:35pm

                                Re: Re:

                                Christianity is compatible with most other religions tbh.

                                No, no it really isn't.

                                Even just in the abrahamic religions islam is right out as jesus is just another prophet and allah most certainly does not have someone sharing power with him, and as far as I know judeism is similar in that their version of god is also solitary, no one sitting on his right or left side.

                                Then you get into the pantheons of other religions, with multiple gods and godesses, vastly different mythologies and creation stories... christianity is most certainly not compatible with other religions, never mind 'most' of them, unless you want to stretch it well past breaking and try to claim that it's all the christian god playing dress-up and tricking people with vastly different mythologies.

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                                  Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 7:29pm

                                  Re: Re: Re:

                                  You are picking sects that chose incompatible beliefs.

                                  I can't fucking believe this crap but I will actually quote a fucking priest

                                  "in God all things are possible"

                                  I am done arguing with you people about proper religion.

                                  I'm not interested in any of your proselytizing either.

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                                    That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 8:52pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    You are picking sects that chose incompatible beliefs.

                                    If by that you mean pointing to other religions which differ greatly from christianity such that they quite clearly are not 'compatible' with christianity, demonstrating that your assertion is flawed, then yes, yes I am.

                                    Now if you want to rephrase your claim to say that christian sects within the umbrella of christianity are generally compatible with each other and hold the same beliefs and mythology then that would be accurate, though it would also be basically meaningless.

                                    If you don't want to get into discussions on religion then don't bring it up and/or make claims on the subject, simple as that. Also, drop the 'proselytizing' crap while you're at it, people disagreeing with you and/or pointing out where you got something wrong does not qualify and it just makes you look silly to use a word that clearly does not fit.

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                                      Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 9:06pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      proselytizing:telling other people what their religious beliefs have to be or trying to force your religious views on others

                                      Atheists can't have a religion is one example

                                      People can't believe in aspects of more than one faith is another great example.

                                      I personally don't care what your specific religious views are but telling everyone else what they have to believe is one of the most annoying trollish things in the world.

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                                        That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 9:45pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        proselytizing:telling other people what their religious beliefs have to be or trying to force your religious views on others

                                        Great, now point to where I or Stephen have done that. Just a hint, 'that's wrong' does not fall under that category, any more than correcting someone who believed that there's such a thing as a married bachelor would be

                                        Atheists can't have a religion is one example

                                        Nope, correcting your misuse of a term is not in any way telling you what your religious beliefs must be, nor is it forcing the non-existent religious beliefs of atheism on you.

                                        As that for particular example depending on how you want to define religion I could see a way for an atheistic religion, it would simply require there not to be any god(s) involved(so spirits that aren't gods, aliens, whatever), however that would be on top of atheism rather than a part of it, similar to how a particular religion is on top of the base of theism.

                                        People can't believe in aspects of more than one faith is another great example.

                                        That would make for a rather confusing belief system, and depending on which parts they were cribbing could be in violation of one or more of the religions(for example if someone believed both in a monotheistic religion and one with multiple gods), but unless I missed something neither me nor Stephen have said anything on that.

                                        I personally don't care what your specific religious views are but telling everyone else what they have to believe is one of the most annoying trollish things in the world.

                                        ... are you trying to get funniest/most hypocritical of the week? Seriously, this back and forth started by you doing that very thing, both in 'atheism is a religion' and 'atheism means believing that there are no gods'. If you object so much to people telling others what they have to believe maybe don't do it yourself.

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                                          Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 10:26pm

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          Here's another one

                                          Not fitting into your box means you're stealing (cribbing) someone else's religion.

                                          You have ever right to be an intolerant douche and say only your religion is the right one and only the sects you approve of are proper other religions but it does make you an intolerant douche.

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                                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 12:46am

                                        proselytizing:telling other people what their religious beliefs have to be or trying to force your religious views on others

                                        Oh, you mean like this?

                                        Atheism is a religion. It is a religion that believes God doesn't exist.

                                        Because that looks like you telling me what atheism is (you’re wrong), what atheism’s belief structure is (you’re wrong again), and subtly implying that I’m wrong if I believe otherwise (you’re a fucking trifecta of wrong). That, son, is proselytizing.

                                        Perhaps you should reflect on the old saying about rocks and glass houses. Your walls are looking like they’re made out of Tesla truck windows.

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                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 8:17am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    "You are picking sects that chose incompatible beliefs."

                                    No, we are picking ANY christian sect who chose to place the bible as it's cornerstone.

                                    Arguably you can not be a christian and be tolerant visavi other religions. That the infidels will burn is one of the core arguments in quite a few bible passages. Even after the catholic church removed most of the more offensive ones.

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                                      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2019 @ 10:47am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      That is not what mainstream Catholicism teaches in any way.

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                                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 1:03pm

                                        So what? Catholicism is a single sect of Christianity. Catholic dogma doesn’t apply to other sects if they say it doesn’t.

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                                          bhull242 (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 11:38am

                                          Re:

                                          Their entire point was, essentially, that what SDM here was saying is that all sects of Christianity preach that non-Christians will go to hell, which is demonstrably false as a major Christian sect expressly preaches the opposite.

                                          Essentially, the AC was providing a counterexample to a very broad claim. They don’t need to prove that every sect of Christianity believes differently; only that a substantial portion of Christians do so. Mainstream Catholicism is followed by a substantial portion of Christians.

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                                            Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2019 @ 6:19pm

                                            Re: Re:

                                            Christians to the lions.

                                            Things would be better with atheists in charge. Really the most we do is insult other religions.

                                            The ones who stay silent will let us continue.

                                            The ones who retaliate? At best we mock them harder. At worst we fuck them up.

                                            These gay bashers have had it too good, for far too long.

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                                              bhull242 (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 9:17am

                                              Re: Re: Re:

                                              I have no significant issues with putting atheists in charge per se. There have been atheists who have persecuted theists, but for the most part, atheists tend to be rather tolerant of all religions.

                                              I do take issue with the implication that Christians = gay bashers. While many Christians are gay bashers, many are not, including myself. I’d really rather you didn’t lump me in with those who are less tolerant.

                                              (And just to head this off, don’t go quoting the Bible at me to say that Christianity is inherently homophobic. I get enough of that from other Christians. Suffice to say that the Bible was influenced by the times its passages were written, and the Bible as a whole contradicts itself so much that it’s impossible to take it all completely at face value and not to do some cherry-picking. I personally only believe that certain parts of Genesis (namely the story of Abraham), Exodus, the stories of King Saul, David, and Solomon, and the gist of the four Gospels and Acts as close to literally true, and I favor the teachings within the Gospels over Acts, Acts over the rest of the New Testament, and the New Testament over the Old Testament whenever contradictions arise. The rest I presume were metaphorical, embellished, pure mythology, a product of the times, or some combination of the four.)

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                                                Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 5:15pm

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                Well, sucks to be you don't it?

                                                You made your choice to defend atheists while literally no one would cry for your team if you up and vanished overnight. You breeders are everything that's wrong with our planet.

                                                Your time is coming and I'll gladly light the fucking funeral pyre. Many would.

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                                                  bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 12:06pm

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  “Breeders”? Again, you’re attributing beliefs or practices to me that I don’t actually have.

                                                  Also, I’m an equal-opportunity defender. I’ll defend atheism, agnosticism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, antitheism, etc. While I’m a Christian, I’ll defend anyone from fallacious or unsupported claims or arguments. I’m on the side of logic, here.

                                                  I don’t impose my religious beliefs on others. I rarely even mention them in conversation. I only did in this case because it was pertinent and clarified my position a bit.

                                                  Honestly, I have no idea what connection anything you said had to my comment.

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                                                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 10:04am

                                                  Hi, Anonymous Coward! Atheist here. (Well, agnostic atheist, but still.) I’ll defend the right of religious people to follow their given religion. I’ll even defend the right of religion to exist, too. And I’ll do that as I decry the actions of religious people/groups and personally hope for the decline and eventual “extinction” of religion.

                                                  What I won’t do is wish for their deaths. I generally won’t celebrate their deaths (I make small exceptions for pedophile priests and anti-LGBT religious leaders). And I sure as shit will not gleefully await the day where I can “light the fucking funeral pyre” for religion — because that honestly sounds too close to burning people at the stake.

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                                                Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 6:03pm

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                I think I get what he's saying. The onus will always be on Christians, Muslims, or whatever religion to bear the brunt of a vocal portion of their congregation being assholes.

                                                Nobody is going to police an atheist who's an asshole. There's absolutely no reason to. Accept him and he'll keep going. Don't accept him and he'll do it all the harder with a bunch of buddies screaming with him because you "sank to his level".

                                                What possible reason would he have to stop?

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                                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 1:40am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        "That is not what mainstream Catholicism teaches in any way."

                                        Mainstream catholicism is more silent on its dogmain recent years but that still doesn't change the fact that to a christian the concept that a non-believer will burn in hell, condemned irrespective of any other aspects of their deeds in life, is an article of faith.

                                        If you call yourself a christian and choose to believe otherwise then you are in direct violation of numerous passages in the New Testament stating otherwise.

                                        This is a very common problem with people who have rational views and still have to try to reconcile their personal ideas about what their religion mandates with what is actually spelled out quite clearly in the core scripture of said religion.

                                        Go ask a priest or minister - any one - whether a hindu, shintoist, daoist or jew who spend their entire life doing charity and self-sacrifice on behalf of others yet refuses to accept Jesus Christ as their savior will go to hell or heaven.

                                        He may look ashamed and fudge the issue but the only answer he can truthfully give is that the living saint you speak of is condemned and will burn in hell for eternity.

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                                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 5:36am

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                            "That is not true"

                                            Then perhaps they should update the bible. Right now what the pope occasionally says is rightaway in contradiction to both old and new testament.

                                            Deuteronomy is the harshest about it, calling for anyone abiding by the laws of God to put to death anyone who tries to worship any other entity than the god of abraham.

                                            And most importantly, nowhere in the new testament is that ruling even gainsaid.

                                            So no, as a Christian you can not acknowledge the validity of any other faith, according to the bible.
                                            You could start a new faith to keep what you call "christian" beliefs but in that case I advise you that you need to jettison any and all articles of faith stemming from the old testament first.

                                            It's not hard to realize why modern christianity has chosen to be extremely selective about what they teach, to the point where they appear to have a completely split personality. Look at Pope Francis latter-years productions - "So-called Christian societies will end if pagan", for instance.

                                            Catholicism has produced a split message for centuries, reaching out with one hand to pagans for conversion and deténte, and shaking their other hand in a fist warning the faithful of the hazards of apostasy and paganism. And it's pretty clear that Francis, much like his predecessors, is keeping up this practice.

                                            As I stated, go ask any priest or minister what the bible has to say on anyone who lives an exemplary life yet who refuses to accept JC as a savior. He'll either have to state that the bible can not be literally interpreted - in which case he is, by dictionary-definition, an apostate or heretic - or he has to shamefacedly admit that the christian faith is VERY clear that the only ones who go to heaven will be those who haven't chosen to reject JC as a personal savior.

                                            The "invincible ignorance" that is quoted in just about every one of your links is pretty clear that the loophole is narrow. You can go to heaven as an atheist - IF and ONLY if you haven't been informed. If you are told the word of god and still refuse to believe then your're toast. For outright pagans who reject JC in favor of another godhead, see Deuteronomy.

                                            Oh, and that VERY first link you gave? States pretty clearly at the end that all that means is that it opens the door for everyone who chooses to renounce their idolatry. So we're STILL on the page that belief in JC is and remains the criteria by which you can avoid eternal damnation.

                                            The only reason christianity today isn't seen through the same filter as militant muslim extremists today is because christians to a very large extent choose to ignore over half of the book which is supposed to be the core of their religion. And the church has become VERY good at presenting - like Francis does - a politicized message which aims to portray christianity as the "reasonable" choice.

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                                              Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 8:09am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              Your garbage is in fact complete garbage. It is not mainstream catholicism. There are answers to every one of your claims and I know them. I don't care you're not a catholic. The catholic church doesn't teach that garbage.

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                                                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 2:28am

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                "Your garbage is in fact complete garbage. It is not mainstream catholicism."

                                                Actually, it is. Go ask any theologian.

                                                That no catholic missionary or priest wants to openly talk about that doesn't change the fact that utter rejection of the unbeliever is and remains an article of faith.

                                                And if you ask the Pope whether someone - anyone - can go to heaven if they actively reject JC by keeping to their original faith then the man will either answer evasively, tell you a straight "No" if he's being honest...or have to assemble the cardinals to pull another meeting of Nicea and rewrite the bible.

                                                "There are answers to every one of your claims and I know them."

                                                No. The answers are that christianity does not hold that adherents of other faiths can go to heaven unless they convert. Those are the facts, writ large in your own scripture and accepted and explained by every theological scholar.

                                                "The catholic church doesn't teach that garbage."

                                                Of course they don't. Not to anyone they wish to convert, nor to anyone who doesn't seriously have to teach. But that shit WILL come up in any official seminar or theological bible study which is why Opus Dei is by FAR closer to the catholic church than any of the mellowed-out liberal priests you may have been in contact with.

                                                It's a bit depressing that every time this subject comes up there's always some self-styled catholic who bluntly refuses to even read their own scripture and who ends up replacing his arguments with ad homs and outraged denial.

                                                Any religion or sect using the Bible as it's core can't get away from the fact that whether it's the Old or New testament they choose to follow, NONE of the instructions is an optional extra or a polite suggestion.

                                                Thus if you choose to believe otherwise - which is what most "christians" do today, then you are in fact a heretic in outright rejection of your own holy book. Those are the facts.

                                                Ironically if I'm right and there is no creator caring enough to collect souls after death is the only way that ends well for most of the actual believers who have chosen to "add or take away" from the holy texts and will condemned for it according to both Deuteronomy and Revelations.

                                                If I'm wrong and there IS a creator - who also happens to be accurately described in christian scripture, well, then I guess I'll face the extra punishment of having almost every christian on earth for company in hell.

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                                              bhull242 (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 9:57am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              Look, not every priest or minister believes the Bible, as written, is 100% literally true. It is certainly not the case that every Christian believes that. And it’s certainly false that those of us that don’t interpret the Bible completely literally must be apostates or heretics.

                                              I’ve already explained my views on interpreting the Bible literally. Some parts are outdated or purely mythological; others are metaphorical; still others are superseded by later parts of the Bible; some are even misrecorded. Deuteronomy is one of the more questionable books, in my opinion, along with Leviticus. Given the age of and numerous contradictions within the Bible, as well as the inherent fallibility of its human authors and the way history was recorded back then (not to mention the fact that a sizable portion was passed down orally for generations before being written down), it’s impossible to believe 100% of it is 100% literally true and 100% relevant today. Maybe it should be updated, but there are a number of problems with that, the most obvious being who would be responsible for updating it.

                                              Again, stop telling us what it is that we do or don’t believe, what makes someone a Christian or not, or what Christians should or shouldn’t believe. I defended you and others against accusations of proselytizing when you, an atheist, argued that atheism isn’t a religion. However, what you’re doing now is a lot more like proselytizing. It’s also rather close to the No True Scotsman fallacy, though in a rather unusual way.

                                              I’m okay with you using the Bible to refute the Bible, to refute claims that this or that belief comes from the Bible, or to explain why you have certain beliefs if you’re a Christian. I also have no issue with debating the historical accuracy/inaccuracy of the Bible or its reliability as a source for morals or facts, and using the Bible for that purpose is okay, too. I can even accept using the Bible to persuade me to believe something or behave a certain way if you yourself believe the same thing or behave that way. However, an atheist attempting to use the Bible to tell me that, if I’m a “true Christian”, I must believe such-and-such when they themselves don’t believe it is crossing a line. I don’t tell you what you do or don’t believe. I expect to receive the same courtesy from you.

                                              (For the record, I have no issue with your refutations of the Pope Francis stuff using stuff Pope Francis and other Catholic authorities have said. That’s fair game. I also have no issue with what you had to say about Catholic messaging; it’s not only fair game, but it also fits with my understanding of Catholicism as well. It’s the broader claims, like that any Christian priest or minister who says that the Bible is not 100% literally true is, by definition, a heretic or apostate, that I take issue with.)

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                                                Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 7:24pm

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                Not my damn problem.

                                                You choirboy molesters chose to have a shitty storybook about an imaginary friend with literally daddy issues. That we mock you over it is your own collective fault. We'll use it against you at every turn, every chance we get.

                                                Sucks to be you!

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                                                  bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 11:56am

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  Again, I’m okay with you mocking the Bible or my beliefs. I don’t think it’s very constructive, but I feel I made it clear that mocking and criticism of the Bible, Christians, my beliefs, or the like are fair game.

                                                  However, there are a few issues with what you said.

                                                  1. I do have a problem when you say I believe something just because it’s in the Bible and I claim to be a Christian. As I made clear, I don’t actually believe the majority of the Bible recites literally true stories and are actually quite fallible. So arguments from the Bible don’t necessarily have any bearing on my beliefs, as I said.

                                                  2. I also have a problem when you hold all Christians collectively responsible for the actions and beliefs of a few, or make blanket statements. That’s not because I’m offended per se. It’s just a bad argument.

                                                  3. I further have a problem when anyone, especially a non-Christian, has the gall to tell me that I’m not actually a “true” Christian.

                                                  4. I have a problem with fallacious arguments in general.

                                                  5. I’m not a Catholic nor a preacher or minister of any sort. I’m also a heterosexual virgin. Therefore, referring to me as a “choirboy molester” is not only uncalled for and rude; it’s also nonsensical.

                                                  Again, I’m not telling you not to mock religions, religious beliefs, religious organizations, religious people, or holy books. Mock all you want. I generally stay silent on such things. I’d prefer the mocking to be somewhere close to accurate and nonfallacious, but even then, I’m usually not terribly bothered by it. However, in this case, I wasn’t even arguing with someone for mocking anyone or anything; it was about an actual claim about Christianity that was made in a serious context. None of what I had said was about mocking people but about making claims about them.

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                                                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 2:46am

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                Well, that's a well thought out and presented set of arguments. I don't really agree with a few of your points but that'd be mainly that I think that in order to free-form bible interpretation the way most protestants and secularized christians do, what you have isn't christianity anymore - just like you can't call St. Peter "Jewish" once he recanted his beliefs in favor of JC's sermons. Or the Sufi, for that matter, who are in hot water with everyone of their predecessor faiths.

                                                What you've got there is another branch of the abrahamic faith which comes very close to radical unitarianism - ironically one of those heresies the catholic church created the inquisition to deal with specifically.

                                                I suspect that the only reason the catholic church abandoned its crusade on protestantism was because as long as they ignore or tolerate it's existence they can still claim to represent legitimacy.

                                                "It’s the broader claims, like that any Christian priest or minister who says that the Bible is not 100% literally true is, by definition, a heretic or apostate, that I take issue with.)"

                                                An excellent argument. But one which has an inherent fallacy of epic proportion - Why would you choose to call yourself a christian if you yourself acknowledge that the big book describing him is largely mythological and that name is shared with a long-standing prior organization which legitimately holds the trademark and brand label for a religion which holds as tenets of faith far more different from what you believe than a muslim or sufi does?

                                                I think we're on the same road where catholicism is concerned. I can accept that most protestants do not share much of the same dogma.

                                                I just find it hard to swallow that said protestants keep calling themselves by the same name the catholics do despite the fact that they're actually practicing an entirely new religion which is further apart from catholicism than judaism or islam is.

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                                                  bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 11:28am

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  1. Please explain where St. Peter “recanted” his Jewish beliefs.

                                                  2. It’s worth noting that both JC and Martin Luther started out trying to reform Judaism and Catholicism, respectively.

                                                  3. That “fallacy” is not actually a fallacy at all. It’s just your inability to comprehend someone’s choices as they appear irrational to you. That’s an argument from personal incredulity, not from logic. I believe that the Catholic Church diverted from many core parts of Christianity long ago, and that a lot of its current tenets stem more from self-interest and tradition than because it’s what Jesus actually preached, and considering that the Eastern Orthodox Church has existed for just as long as the Catholic Church, and both call themselves Christian, why should I give up the label of being Christian just because I disagree on some aspects but not many of the core beliefs that I hold? Martin Luther didn’t.

                                                  4. I’m pretty sure that the Catholic Church doesn’t have a trademark on Christianity.

                                                  5. I know nothing about sufis, but Muslims and I differ on many issues, namely whether Jesus is my savior and whether Muhammad was a prophet of God. I consider those to be core differences far more substantial than my differences with any organized church.

                                                  6. In terms of core religious beliefs, most Protestants have a lot more in common with Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians than with Jews or Muslims. Religious morals and practices may differ, but those are derived from the core beliefs rather than being core beliefs in and of themselves. I’ve attended (among others) a Baptist service, a Catholic service, an Eastern Orthodox service, and a mosque service, and the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox services were very similar to the Baptist service and my typical Lutheran service, while the mosque service was completely different (though not as different as the Hindu and Buddhist services I’ve attended). So the differences in religious practices also make Protestant churches closer to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches than to Islamic mosques.

                                                  There’s more I’d like to say, but I think this covers enough for now.

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                                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 1:14am

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                                                    1) "Please explain where St. Peter “recanted” his Jewish beliefs."

                                                    When he started following a heretic who was cast out and condemned as an apostate by the high priest of Jerusalem?
                                                    Look, back then the rules were pretty damn clear.

                                                    2) "It’s worth noting that both JC and Martin Luther started out trying to reform Judaism and Catholicism, respectively."

                                                    And the dictionary definition of reforming a faith by changing several key notes of its articles of faith is heresy. You could make the argument that it was the Catholic church which deviated from JC's teachings - in which case they'd be the heretics and Luther reinvigorating the original faith. Ironic interpretation but doesn't change much of the argument.

                                                    JC however, did not "reform" judaism. He outright refuted multiple key articles of faith which - broadly put - is why to this day God Is Law doesn't reconcile too well with God Is Love.
                                                    What JC did is as radical as what Mohammed did. The end result is a new religion, not a reformation of the old one.

                                                    4 & 5) No, the catholic church doesn't have a trademark. What it has is a clearly delineated codification of their faith which makes it rather easy to determine what a cathollic is or not. The same can't be said for other professed christians who run the gamut from mild-mannered demi-saints of tolerance and understanding, secularized deists holding rationality highest...all the way to the faith-based bigotry of westboro baptist church cultists.

                                                    As a result of which someone like you has to identify himself as...an agnostic protestant of the lutheran denomination unless you want to be grouped with the crowd firebombing abortion clinics and picketing gay marriages. Because the denomination "Christian" fits that range without conflict.

                                                    5) "I know nothing about sufis, but Muslims and I differ on many issues, namely whether Jesus is my savior and whether Muhammad was a prophet of God."

                                                    And yet muslims still have more in common with catholics than you do. Both at least acknowledge that JC spoke for God, and acknowledge the validity of both old and new testament. They are still different faiths. You seem to cling to a partial godhead mentioned in the bible and reject most of the rest. That puts you further apart by far.

                                                    6) "In terms of core religious beliefs, most Protestants have a lot more in common with Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians than with Jews or Muslims."

                                                    Not really, no. What the services look like and how they are carried out is largely irrelevant if we are talking about which focus they hold on the actual scripture which describes the core articles and key notes of their religions.
                                                    Some sephardi services in judaism are so different from a typical ashkenazi orthodox one you'd think it was a faith from the other half of the globe but they are essentially judaic.

                                                    You want to identify yourself as a christian...that's in the end your personal choice, just as I don't claim to have authority over what anyone else wants to self-identify as. I AM, however, of the opinion that it's as incorrect as my previous example of the mandarin-only speaking chinese who's lived all his life in asia and claims to be a scot because he plays the bagpipes.

                                                    I think it may be high time for agnostic protestants who practice tolerance to take the full step and declare themselves something which won't have them confused with - or provide validity to - radical calvinists and puritans of the kind whose major religious practice is making anyone not sharing their views miserable.

                                                    Catholics are even worse off in this regard. Unless they end up with the miracle of a pope and college of cardinals willing to retro the bible.

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                                          bhull242 (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 11:28am

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                                          Not all Christians take the entirety of the Bible as true.

                                          Also, what you’re doing is telling Christians what their beliefs are, regardless of what they actually believe. Many believe that good deeds are still a way to get into heaven. That may conflict with some passages in the Bible, but by the nature of the Bible, every Christian has to do some picking and choosing of what parts of the Bible to accept.

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                                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 5:56am

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                                            "Not all Christians take the entirety of the Bible as true."

                                            Then, frankly speaking, they aren't "Christian" any more than those heretics - Paul, John, Peter and the rest - who followed JC around in Jerusalem could reasonably be called "Jewish" once they rejected the Torah in favor of their new prophet.

                                            It's really very easy: Jewry has the Torah. Christianity has the bible. Islam has the Q'uran. Once you add or subtract from the big book of rules governing your chosen religion, you are NO LONGER in compliance with that religion. Deuteronomy, once again, for the Torah/Old Testament. Also in Revelations, for the new testament. The Q'uran has a similar prohibitions.

                                            Every pope since the crusades ended has bent over backwards in a twisted form of legalese to make christianity look a bit more palatable to liberal views - witness the massive use and abuse of "invincible ignorance" which has had one pope after the other making sweeping statements about how heaven is open to everyone, while deliberately NOT touching on the fact that this only means that you still need to do confess your belief in JC as your savior first.

                                            Not a single pope or cardinal in the last century has openly stated that stubborn unrepentant pagans - including jews, zoroastrians and muslims - will still go to hell. It is literally an article of faith that they will.

                                            And unfortunately that means there are plenty of semi-secularized christians around who now fervently refuse to believe in large parts of their own articles of faith, while still trying to sell their religion to other people as "humanitarian".

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                                              Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 8:12am

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                                              It's fine to be one of the small minority protestant sects. But those are minority protestant views of christianity.

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                                              bhull242 (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 10:28am

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                                              You have now officially fallen afoul of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

                                              What makes a Christian a Christian isn’t belief in the Bible but belief that Jesus Christ is our savior. The Bible is supplementary. Christianity =/= the Bible. The only parts of the Bible necessary would be the Four Gospels, and since they don’t always agree, there’s obviously some room for error.

                                              You have no right (well, legally you do, but that’s not what I mean) to tell me that I’m not a true Christian. That’s between me and God.

                                              Also, I’m not a Catholic, so anything the Pope or a cardinal has to say has no bearing on my beliefs whatsoever. I’m an agnostic Protestant Christian (Lutheran, specifically).

                                              Additionally, I don’t try to convince anyone to convert to Christianity. IMO, the command to evangelize has been completed and is no longer applicable today. So I don’t try to “sell” my religion. I will defend it against broad claims like yours, but I don’t go further than that.

                                              As I say in another comment in more detail, I don’t take 100% of the Bible to be 100% literally true or applicable to today. The Bible has too many contradictions for that to be the case. If God is truly forgiving, merciful, and benevolent, then parts of the Bible could not be true. However, I believe Jesus is the Son of God, that he came down from heaven, that he died to save us from our sins, and that he rose from the dead before ascending to heaven. I also believe much of the stories of Abraham and the escape from Egypt. I believe those are the crucial parts of Christianity. Everything else I take with a grain of salt. Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Revelations (as well as the stories of Adam and Eve and of Noah) are particularly suspect.

                                              And BTW, not all Jews take the Torah to be 100% literally true, either.

                                              Also, Jesus and his apostles were Jews. They were not heretics. It took a long time before Christians were officially determined to be non-Jews.

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                                                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 3:49am

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                                                "What makes a Christian a Christian isn’t belief in the Bible but belief that Jesus Christ is our savior. "

                                                And once again, what about those who choose not to believe that he is? Looking at Lutherans I'd like to see how a non-agnostic Lutheran interprets it. The No True scotsman fallacy does not fit in this case, same as a person of mediterranean descent who has lived all his life in egypt will have a hard time claiming to be a scot at all without breaking the dictionary definition over his knee.
                                                Because agnostic or not I think you'll have to at least give a passing nod towards the core statements of lutheran dogma - right now you are, metaphorically, wearing a MAGA hat and a Hillary shirt to a Sanders rally.

                                                "And BTW, not all Jews take the Torah to be 100% literally true, either."

                                                True. We call them "secularized" and as I understand it they have a pretty hard time in Israel with the orthodox who often call them out on being blasphemous and occasionally try to stone vehicles running on a sabbath.
                                                I would normally be leery of taking up judaism outside of a very long and complex standalone argument, however, given that ever since the Talmud was written, judaism is far more ingrained in culture and tradition than you'll find in ANY other faith alive today. There are two aspects here - one of which is the religious one, and the other being the secular group membership inherited through the maternal line. I'm referring to the religious aspect here, where the high priest of Jerusalem decided on JC's status.

                                                It's pretty clear that JC and his merry band were apostates. It's in the end the exact reason why Pilatus had to agree to nail the guy to a cross after all.
                                                It's much the same as when Luther nailed his 95 theses to that door, making himself the prophet of a new branch of the abrahamic faith.

                                                Right now, today, when someone says they are a christian I have absolutely no clue whether the guy believes in the bible or not, whether he believes I will burn in hell or not, whether he believes suffering is beneficial or harmful, whether abortion or contraception is OK or a mortal sin...hell, If the definition of "human" was that wide It could include trees, rocks, or stellar bodies.

                                                Meanwhile every religious organization of size which calls itself christian has a VERY much more narrow definition of what the concept means.

                                                The No true Scotsman Fallacy would, paraphrased to this debate, become like this;

                                                Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
                                                Person B: "But my uncle Kim is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge."
                                                Person A: "Does he live in Scotland?"
                                                Person B: "No? Never left Seoul"
                                                Person A: "Does he have scottish ancestry?"
                                                Person B: "No, Chinese and Korean, just like me"
                                                Person A: "...so why is he a scotsman?"
                                                Person B: "He plays bagpipes!"

                                                I think that although Kim's uncle in the example is free to think of himself a scotsman, it won't be proselytizing when others try to convinve him that no, he really isn't.

                                                If you cherry-pick just that one thing you like from a given religion and reject the rest then what you've done is the same that JC, Luther and Mohammed did. You've IKEA-hacked your own faith to fit your particular living room.

                                                I concur fully that you are within your rights to call yourself whatever you like. Just don't get upset or surprised when others fail to accommodate that view when it diverges too far from any understood definition.

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                                                  bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 10:59am

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  Right now, today, when someone says they are a christian I have absolutely no clue whether the guy believes in the bible or not, whether he believes I will burn in hell or not, whether he believes suffering is beneficial or harmful, whether abortion or contraception is OK or a mortal sin...

                                                  Here’s the thing: many Christians can’t agree on those issues. There are even Christian organizations who can’t agree on those issues. The same is true for Islam and Judaism.

                                                  Meanwhile every religious organization of size which calls itself christian has a VERY much more narrow definition of what the concept means.

                                                  I can tell you right now that that is false. Catholics do believe that Easter Orthodox Christians and Protestants of any denomination are Christians; for most denominations, Protestants believe that Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians are Christians; and Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that Catholics and Protestants are Christians. They may differ on what is the “right way to heaven” and such, but outside of a few minority denominations, they generally agree on a very broad definition of what makes one a Christian, even if they disagree on some minutiae or what makes someone a good or devout Christian. My Lutheran pastor (and her predecessor) both gave a definition for Christianity that more or less comports with what the one I gave.

                                                  To the extent that the many sects and denominations of Christianity disagree on what makes one a Christian, they contradict each other by a large degree. Taking all of them into account, the only things universally agreed upon are what I just said: Jesus Christ is our savior, he is the son of God, and there is only one God. Just about every major denomination of Christianity disagrees on the morals of Christianity, and even whether they believe the Bible is literally true or not. There are similar differences in just about every major religion.

                                                  And the problem is that, for non-Christians at least, the definition of Christianity as a whole has to include all of them. Hence why the definition is so broad. That you don’t find the definition as helpful as you’d like it to be is not the fault of the definition per se but the sheer number of Christian denominations and sects, each with their own values, morals, and beliefs. If you want more information on that, ask. Your inconvenience and confusion isn’t our problem.

                                                  Also, what Luther did was create his own denomination of Christianity, so if what I’m doing is anything like what he did, then all I’m doing is creating a new subdivision of Christianity. Therefore, what I believe in is still Christianity.

                                                  The difference between the separation between different sects or denominations of the same religion and the separation between different religions is pretty arbitrary, anyways, much like it is for dialects of the same language vs. different languages.

                                                  Also, your example of the misapplication of the No True Scotsman Fallacy is atrocious.

                                                  First of all, there are really only two or three accepted definitions of a Scotsman: residence, genetics/family residence, and cultural. Two of them are pretty objective and not at all subjective. By contrast, Christianity has many accepted definitions, most of which are subjective. Plus, being a Scotsman has nothing to do with beliefs or state of mind, while just about every definition of Christianity includes beliefs and/or state of mind as a major part, if not the entirety, of the definition. So defining Christianity is nothing like defining a Scotsman.

                                                  Second, a lot of people who are definitely Scotsman don’t play bagpipes, and some people who play bagpipes are definitely Scotsman. Thus, defining a Scotsman as “one who plays bagpipes” would certainly yield false positives and false negatives. You have not shown that to be the case for my definition of Christianity: does it exclude any Christians or include anyone who clearly isn’t a Christian? If you can do neither, then you have not shown that my definition is actually problematic. And you certainly haven’t shown that my definition is anything like Person B’s definition of a Scotsman.

                                                  Third, it’s only proselytizing if religious beliefs are involved. Belief that one is a Scotsman is not a religious belief, so trying to convince them that they aren’t a Scotsman is not proselytizing. However, telling someone that they aren’t a Christian because they believe differently from your definition of a Christian could be proselytizing, and it is definitely a case of the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

                                                  You’re arguing that I am not a “true” Christian because my beliefs don’t align with the beliefs that you personally believe a person must believe in order to be a “true Christian” by your definition. That is a clear case of the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

                                                  I concur fully that you are within your rights to call yourself whatever you like. Just don't get upset or surprised when others fail to accommodate that view when it diverges too far from any understood definition.

                                                  1. As I said, it doesn’t significantly diverge from every understood definition. As I said, my pastor gave a similar definition.

                                                  2. I will absolutely be…maybe not upset, exactly, but I will definitely disagree when someone argues that someone else isn’t a “true” Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, etc. because of some arbitrary definition they use that isn’t (almost) universally accepted. Surprised? No. There are many different definitions of Christianity. But that is what the No True Scotsman Fallacy is, and I will point that out when it comes up.

                                                  3. By the same token, you should not get surprised or upset when people argue with your definition of Christianity.

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                                                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:45pm

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                                                    Yeah, atheism is awesome, isn't it? No dumbass book to hold standards to. You dance when we tell you to. You pick up the mess after your fellow choirboy molesters. Atheists? Now we're the side of free love with whoever we want.

                                                    You'll fit whatever standard we damn well decide or get a front row seat to the Colosseum.

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                                                      That One Guy (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:28pm

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                                                      ... I honestly can't tell at this point if you're a theist playing the stereotypical 'dumb angry atheist' or if you're an atheist who just likes shooting their own foot and making themselves look bad.

                                                      If the former enjoy making a fool of yourself I guess, if the latter crap like that is just handing ammo to theists to point to as examples of how immature atheists can be, making it all the more difficult to be taken seriously if you actually do come up with a good point down the line.

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                                                      bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:57pm

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                                                      I…what? That had less than nothing to do with my comment. If you’re a troll, you’re terrible at it. I can’t even tell if you’re trying to offend me or atheists. If you’re not, then you’re alienating both sides here, and your point is too confused to really comment much on.

                                                      And what Colosseum are you talking about? Is it Pokémon Colosseum? I’d love a front row seat there!

                                                      That’s all I’m going to say here. Anything else I have anything to say about I’ve already said, and I don’t feel like repeating myself for such an obvious troll.

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                                                        Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 6:14pm

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                                                        I'm guessing it's some dumbass who thinks pulling the "be the better person" card to be a complete douchenozzle is hip and edgy.

                                                        He does have sorta a point, I think. Atheists have no reason to police their behavior, but one Christian turns out to be a hypocrite and they'll gleefully drag everyone through the mud for shits and giggles.

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                                                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 10:38pm

                                                          one Christian turns out to be a hypocrite and they'll gleefully drag everyone through the mud for shits and giggles

                                                          It’s almost as if certain Christians/Christian groups hold themselves up as morally superior to others and a blatant display of moral hypocrisy brings down the illusion so hard that the only response is to point it out. The Catholic Church shouldn’t be covering up child rape and sticking up for pedophiles if wants to act like its dogma is the true word of God Herself.

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                                                            bhull242 (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 4:58pm

                                                            Re:

                                                            I agree with most of that. However, I do take issue with holding all Christians responsible for what the Catholic Church did/didn’t do. Not that you’re doing that, but that is what is being protested here: holding all Christian sects/Christian groups responsible for a specific Christian sect/group.

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                                                              Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 6:20pm

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                                                              I blame people for trying to make the catholic church law enforcement. The only place the catholic church is law enforcement is the Vatican and its diplomatic outposts. Many many people have violated or are close to violating the foreign agents registration act for trying to make the catholic church enforce laws for it.

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                                                                bhull242 (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 6:35pm

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                                                                The problem is that the Catholic Church also does a lot to obstruct law enforcement, and they try to actively hide the problem.

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                                                                  Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 6:51pm

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                                                                  One of the biggest problems if you think they owe you law enforcement resources when they owe you no such thing.

                                                                  Child abusers are reprehensible of course.

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                                                                    bhull242 (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 8:12pm

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                                                                    Again, the Catholic Church wasn’t just not helping law enforcement; they were getting in their way. They told victims and witnesses not to go to the police and punished those who did. They also lied to authorities when asked. Furthermore, they claimed that they were performing such LEO duties internally, but they weren’t.

                                                                    That’s not just failing to provide LEO resources; that’s actively obstructing law enforcement. It’s the difference between pleading the Fifth and committing perjury.

                                                                    I’d also argue that any organization—religious or not—has a duty to do something to stop child molestation by its leadership from continuing rather than continuing to put children in harm’s way, but like I said, they went way further than just ignoring the accusations.

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                                                                      Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 9:29pm

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                                                                      The catholic church is over a billion people from nearly every country if not every country. Further, the catholic church, as stated above, has no law enforcement outside of the Vatican city state.

                                                                      I'm sure some catholic somewhere has broken every law possible to break.

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                                                                        That One Guy (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 11:10pm

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                                                                        Are you a fisher by any chance, because that was nothing but red herrings.

                                                                        How many catholics there are is meaningless to the point they were making about the church actively obstructing law enforcement, likewise the fact that they have no 'law enforcement' outside the vatican and/or how many other laws any given catholic might have broken.

                                                                        I know trying to defend a corrupt group who covers for child molesters/rapists is a difficult task(for just all sorts of reasons), but if you're going to try at least put some effort into it beyond just 'look, a distraction!'

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                                                                          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 12:24am

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                                                                          Well, the corrupt law enforcement trying to force to catholic church to change its doctrines and practices so it is more convenient for law enforcement is technically committing a death penalty offense (often but not always) in the United States.

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                                                                            That One Guy (profile), 30 Nov 2019 @ 3:07am

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                                                                            Not exactly helping your argument there if 'protecting child molesters/rapists from punishment' is considered part of catholic doctrines and practices worthy of defending, but by all means keep digging, and while you're at it(and because I could use another chuckle) feel free to list the 'death penalty offense' in question if you can.

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                                                                              Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2019 @ 7:11am

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                                                                              One of the doctrines is the seal of the confessional where a person is not allowed to speak of the sin confessed to anyone, not even law enforcement and has been a part of Christianity for thousands of years. There are other doctrines that can be violated (ie asylum in the church, something about compassion for the alleged criminal ect...) but that is the most common one.

                                                                              These laws can carry the death penalty for violating religious rights/freedoms:

                                                                              Conspiracy Against Rights
                                                                              Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law
                                                                              Federally Protected Activities
                                                                              Church Arson Prevention Act
                                                                              Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act (only life in prison for this one)
                                                                              Pattern and Practice

                                                                              Ironically, the more heinous the crime uncovered the more likely it is a death penalty offense to try to pressure/force the church to out suspects in violation of its doctrines. That is because the more heinous the crime the more likely it is to lead to the death of the accused through gang activity, non-gang retaliation, or even because the accused is put to death based on illegally obtained evidence found when forcing the church to violate its doctrines.

                                                                              Pattern and practice would apply to juveniles accused of heinous crimes.

                                                                              All those crimes have been violated in various church intimidation campaigns by both the government and private individuals in past in the United States though.

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                                                                                bhull242 (profile), 30 Nov 2019 @ 9:03am

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                                                                                I’d just like to point out that this doesn’t address why the victims and witnesses were silenced.

                                                                                I’m not going to argue about every single thing law enforcement has ever demanded from the Catholic Church. Lord knows that law enforcement has definitely overreached on many occasions, not just against the Catholic Church.

                                                                                I can also understand the need to protect the confessional and the asylum.

                                                                                However, I don’t understand what religious doctrine requires the Church to demand silence from victims to the crime. Nor do I understand why lying is necessary when silence would suffice.

                                                                                While I have issues with other things you said, what you’re discussing doesn’t really pertain to what I’m talking about.

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                                                                                That One Guy (profile), 30 Nov 2019 @ 10:53pm

                                                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                One of the doctrines is the seal of the confessional where a person is not allowed to speak of the sin confessed to anyone, not even law enforcement and has been a part of Christianity for thousands of years. There are other doctrines that can be violated (ie asylum in the church, something about compassion for the alleged criminal ect...) but that is the most common one.

                                                                                If you think the only way the church knew that their priests were going around molesting/raping kids was because said scum admitted it in confessional, and therefore they just had no possible way to do anything about it I've got some amazing bridges to sell you, and if you want to try to claim that kids 'confessing' that they'd been molested/raped by other priests would fall under the umbrella of 'sins that the kids did, and therefore can't be talked about' then you have a vile mind and need to do some hard thinking to consider how you got to that point.

                                                                                These laws can carry the death penalty for violating religious rights/freedoms:

                                                                                No, they really didn't, at most they carried a death penalty for murder or manslaughter as the death penalty only kicked in when those conditions were met.

                                                                                Conspiracy Against Rights

                                                                                Not applicable, as it would require that the ones doing the 'intimidation' kill someone for the death penalty to trigger, and 'religious rights' aren't unlimited such that if the church claimed that they couldn't be required to report knowledge of molestation/rape it would likely be shot down.

                                                                                Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law

                                                                                See above.

                                                                                Federally Protected Activities

                                                                                See above.

                                                                                Church Arson Prevention Act

                                                                                Again, not applicable, as this is aimed primarily at destruction of church property, and the only way a death penalty would even possibly come into play would be if someone was killed.

                                                                                Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act (only life in prison for this one)

                                                                                Also not applicable for the same reasons listed above, seriously are you just throwing random laws out gish gallop style?

                                                                                Pattern and Practice

                                                                                No hits at Law Information Institute, so either that's not a law or it's called something else.

                                                                                Ironically, the more heinous the crime uncovered the more likely it is a death penalty offense to try to pressure/force the church to out suspects in violation of its doctrines.

                                                                                Assuming a lynching every time a priest was outed as a molester/rapists perhaps, but the fact that there wasn't a string of hung priests when the whole thing really kicked off years back rather nicely disproves that.

                                                                                That is because the more heinous the crime the more likely it is to lead to the death of the accused through gang activity, non-gang retaliation, or even because the accused is put to death based on illegally obtained evidence found when forcing the church to violate its doctrines.

                                                                                See above.

                                                                                Pattern and practice would apply to juveniles accused of heinous crimes.

                                                                                'Juveniles' by and large(if at all) weren't the ones running around molesting/raping kids, so that really wouldn't apply at all in this case.

                                                                                All those crimes have been violated in various church intimidation campaigns by both the government and private individuals in past in the United States though.

                                                                                Quick, someone fetch me the nano-violin, I feel a song coming for the poor church having people pissed off at it for defending and/or hiding child molesters/rapists and trying to do something about it.

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                                                                                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 12:05am

                                                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                  You are one of the more idiotic commenters on this website. Did you get dropped on your head frequently as a child?

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                                                                                    bhull242 (profile), 1 Dec 2019 @ 6:26am

                                                                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                    That’s your response to a fairly well thought out argument? Sure, it’s a bit rude at parts, but I wouldn’t say it’s idiotic.

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                                                                                      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 7:10am

                                                                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                      No, it's like he didn't even read the laws. I didn't even read half the comment because it is wrong and idiotic. It is like someone who didn't even read the text of the laws.

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                                                                                        bhull242 (profile), 2 Dec 2019 @ 4:45pm

                                                                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                        Really? Because based on what he said, which actually makes specific references to the laws beyond merely listing them, he has read them. You just listed the laws without specifying how they do or don’t apply or reciting any of their text.

                                                                                        You also still haven’t explained how any of his argument is wrong. You can’t even address one of his claims with specificity?

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                                                                                          Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 8:43pm

                                                                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                          I got to the part where it has to be a murder conspiracy and just stopped reading because I knew there was no point after that.

                                                                                          It does not have to be a murder conspiracy. If it did, they would have just used the murder conspiracy statute.

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                                                                                            bhull242 (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 11:03am

                                                                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                            Actually, my understanding of their claim was just that, in order for the death penalty, specifically, to apply, it’d have to fit those conditions. Plus, it’s not like we don’t have redundant crimes or statutes in various areas.

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                                                                                              Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2019 @ 11:40am

                                                                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                                                              I know that's not true.

                                                                                              People are executed for shooting homeowners for coming home in the middle of a robbery even though the intent was to just rob the home, for example.

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                                                                                    That One Guy (profile), 1 Dec 2019 @ 12:07pm

                                                                                    'Well... nuh uh, you're stupid.'

                                                                                    Yeah, that was about what I expected from you at this point. No actual counters or rebuttals, just an insult. Whether you're the same person from above or a new person, thanks for (potentially once again) making clear I'd be wasting my time taking you seriously.

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                                                                                      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 1:00pm

                                                                                      Re: 'Well... nuh uh, you're stupid.'

                                                                                      If in the course of violating one of those laws you contribute to or cause someone's death you can be executed or put in jail for life. It does not have to be intentional.

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                                                                                        bhull242 (profile), 2 Dec 2019 @ 4:47pm

                                                                                        Re: Re: 'Well... nuh uh, you're stupid.'

                                                                                        That still doesn’t explain how the death penalty/life in prison would apply specifically to hiding child molesters or cooperating with law enforcement.

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                                                                                          Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2019 @ 8:40pm

                                                                                          Re: Re: Re: 'Well... nuh uh, you're stupid.'

                                                                                          There are a lot of different laws there. Some of them overlap but there is a different way to do that for each law.

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                                                                                            bhull242 (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 10:55am

                                                                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Well... nuh uh, you're stupid.'

                                                                                            Again, at least some specificity and explanation would be appreciated. You’ve just listed the laws, said that all but one could lead to the death penalty under circumstances you specified later, and that’s it. None of that truly explains exactly what each law actually says or how they apply to this specific set of circumstances (LEOs reacting to the Catholic Church protecting child-molesting priests/ministers).

                                                                                            I’m not even asking you to do that for all of the ones you listed (though you really should). Just two or three would be a good start. I’m trying to be reasonable here and find some middle ground in the argument, but you’re not making it easy for me by making assertions without support or explanation, then categorically dismissing a counterargument that actually provides some needed details.

                                                                                            Actually, I’m not 100% clear on which jurisdiction these laws are for, either. So that’d be great, too.

                                                                                            Establish your argument firmly so that when you claim the other person is just wrong and dismiss their claims entirely, we can look at your evidence and reasoning and decide for ourselves. Right now, your argument is weak.

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                                                          That One Guy (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 4:49am

                                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                          Atheists have no reason to police their behavior

                                                          Yeah, that's simply not true. The fact that there isn't some all-knowing watcher keeping tabs does not mean that things become a free-for-all with no reason to put checks on your behavior.

                                                          Whether it be from simple empathy such that people don't want to intentionally cause suffering in those around them, basic intelligence and the understanding that if you're a dick to those around you they're probably not going to be too keen on allowing you to stick around and/or help you should you need it, or a mix of the two, the 'atheists have no check on their behavior' idea is one that is easily shot down and shown to be fatally flawed with a minimum of thought.

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                                                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 9:58am

                                                            The fact that there isn't some all-knowing watcher keeping tabs does not mean that things become a free-for-all with no reason to put checks on your behavior.

                                                            This is honestly my favorite anti-atheism argument. It assumes atheists have no morals or ethics because they don’t believe in God or the infallibility of a given holy book.

                                                            “If they don’t think there’s a God, what’s stopping them from killing everyone?!” If only a book stands between a religious person and mass murder, that person has much bigger problems.

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                                                              That One Guy (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 5:05pm

                                                              Re:

                                                              I find it all sorts of funny as well for basically the same reasons. Not only can it be shown to be fatally flawed by just a little thought, but the mere act of making that argument shows (as I see it) one of three things of the one proposing it, and none of them are good.

                                                              Either they are thoughtless, as they are parroting an argument they haven't actually put any thought into, dishonest as they have thought about it, spotted the flaw and are making it anyway, or a terrible person, having thought on it and not seen any flaws.

                                                              As arguments go it is probably one of the more self-damning ones around, which makes the fact that it is still around all sorts of funny.

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                                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 1:54am

                                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                    We have a few irreconcilable differences here, primarily based, i think, on the fact that to me an "identifier" needs to be centered around objective empiricism. From my point of view

                                                    Most of your arguments center around what a group of people believe. It can be argued that this is the only valid definition of social groups.

                                                    I guess I'll cave on most of this...although I still reserve my personal opinion that equating religion with a forking Linux distro is wrong.

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                                                      bhull242 (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 3:58pm

                                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                      I understand where you’re coming from, but yeah, my understanding is that social group identities center around what a group of people believes rather than external factors (at least with religion or—to an extent—politics). It’s why we have the “not all X” argument. It’s definitely frustrating for people who seek objective empiricism in the world, but when we’re grouping people based on social identity or beliefs, that’s not always reasonable.

                                                      I’m glad to come to—if not an agreement—an understanding, at least.

                                                      In this spirit, I would like to modify/retract one of my own claims. To my understanding, after some further thought on the subject, proselytizing means trying to persuade someone to change their religious beliefs or espousing their own, not defining them. You weren’t trying to convince me to change my religious beliefs, exactly, and you certainly weren’t espousing your own religious beliefs. You’ve just been arguing about what beliefs are necessary to make someone a Christian, or something like that (I understand what you’re saying; I’m just not wording it as precisely as I’d like). As such, I would like to concede that what you’ve been doing is probably not proselytizing. It’s—like the previous argument about religion and atheism—an argument over definitions; a semantic argument.

                                                      And you can absolutely opine that equating religion with a forking Linux distro is wrong. I’m not 100% sure what that is, but to the extent I understand it, I have absolutely no problem with that claim. (Yes, I realize this was probably—at least in part—a joke.)

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                                                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 7:47am

                                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                        Well, thank you for running with what must have been a frustrating debate. I tend to run hot around topics i personally have had close encounters.

                                                        "As such, I would like to concede that what you’ve been doing is probably not proselytizing. It’s—like the previous argument about religion and atheism—an argument over definitions..."

                                                        At the end of the day language is nothing but an intermediate shorthand designed to trigger pre-formed concepts - You say the word "car" and everyone can agree that it concerns a four-wheeled autonomously powered vehicle.

                                                        To me it's important that the language definition isn't completely ambiguous then - witness what has happened to the words "liberal" and "conservative" - words which both trigger two diametrally opposed concepts depending on which american hears it.

                                                        As a dearly lamented great comedic author once wrote - "It's very hard to talk quantum using a language originally designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is."

                                                        "And you can absolutely opine that equating religion with a forking Linux distro is wrong. I’m not 100% sure what that is..."

                                                        Linux being one of the core Open-source operating systems which has been modified extensively by everyone with an interest in adapting it's functionality for their own use.

                                                        As a result every time a big enough group starts modifying a version for their own use it becomes a new type of Linux distribution. Often these distributions are similar enough that what runs on one will run on another. But they can look, act and feel radically different.

                                                        And computer scientists often have a favorite distro they follow and defend in face of their intellectual opposition, not rarely sparking entire flame wars on IT-related forums.

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                                                          bhull242 (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 11:28am

                                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                          To me it's important that the language definition isn't completely ambiguous then - witness what has happened to the words "liberal" and "conservative" - words which both trigger two diametrally opposed concepts depending on which american hears it.

                                                          I agree. That’s why I wasn’t dismissing the argument because it was about semantics. I was trying to establish a single, unambiguous definition that could still encapsulate the various Christian sects and denominations. Coming up with such a definition for just about any social group is not an easy task. Arguments over definitions are not necessarily unimportant or a waste of time.

                                                          That’s actually why I conceded the argument about proselytizing; based on what I understand to be the definition of proselytizing, I could no longer—in good faith—continue to argue that what you were doing was proselytizing. I believe it’s important to understand what the actual argument is, lest we argue in circles unnecessarily. Understanding that we weren’t actually arguing about beliefs but definitions was an important step.

                                                          Regarding Linux distros, that is more or less what I expected it was; I just wasn’t certain. Though the way you said it does let me see some similarities with religion, I also understand that there are also crucial differences between the two, and again, I see no good reason for me to argue that you may have the opinion that the two are entirely or largely different. You’ll have to forgive me if I, in the future, use some words that appear to conflate the two; if I do, I will probably be doing so as a joke or hyperbole, not as a serious comparison.

                                                          Lastly, regarding your first statement, I fully understand. Internet discussions often run hot, especially when a particular topic is of personal importance to one or more of the people involved. I’ve fallen into that trap myself. I always keep that in mind (hence why I tend to apply a variant of Hanlon’s Razor to Internet discussions: avoid taking attacks or arguments too personally, as they often aren’t intended that way (or they come from a troll and thus aren’t worth addressing). So I try to be careful with what I say online and focus on the substance of what was said rather than the tone.

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                                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 8:14am

                                Re: Re:

                                "Christianity is compatible with most other religions tbh. If you want to find the sects that do crossover belief systems."

                                ...only if you skew it to the point where it's hard to call it Christianity any more.

                                It generally boils down to where ANY other belief system than christianity is considered to lead directly to eternal damnation. That's actually an article of faith.

                                The fact that your local minister can shake the hand of a muslim, jew, or hindu is irrelevant to the fact that according to the bible, those pagans will BURN.

                                This holds true for all the branches and subsects of the abrahamic faiths except for Judaism which although it demands punishment of apostates doesn't mention a single word about people outside of the covenant and sufism which in it's orthodox form comes close to unitarianism.

                                Islam at least holds a nod of respect towards the dhimmu who follow the old testament in any form, but is adamant in its condemnation of the outright non-abrahamic pagan.

                                Christianity though? Intolerance through and through. Even if it's disguised in the mild-mannered smile of a believer who will be praying for you to see the light lest you burn in hell forever.

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                                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2019 @ 10:45am

                                  Re: Re: Re:

                                  I could argue with you about this but instead I'm going to pass the buck.

                                  Argue with the Pope about it. He says nonbelievers/atheists can go to paradise/heaven if they lead good lives.

                                  It might be too late. I haven't heard of those words/ideas coming out of Pope Francis but Pope John Paul II did promote that view of Christianity.

                                  Mother Theresa would probably argue with you if she were still around too.

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                                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 1:02pm

                                    Argue with the Pope about it. He says nonbelievers/atheists can go to paradise/heaven if they lead good lives.

                                    The pope speaks for Catholicism (although not necessarily for Catholics themselves). He doesn’t speak for the other sects of Christianity or their followers.

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                                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 6:02am

                                      Re:

                                      "The pope speaks for Catholicism (although not necessarily for Catholics themselves)."

                                      And even the pope isn't saying what the AC above says he is.

                                      It's excusable however - almost every pope since the 15th century has harped, in a major way, that heaven is open unto all "through Jesus Christ" - which only means that as long as the pagan renounces his ill-conceived faith in favor of The Lord, his ticket past the pearly gates is booked.

                                      Some popes like to harp on about the statute of "invincible ignorance" which states that as long as your life is exemplary and you are ignorant about God, you get a special pass.

                                      But the christian religion, irrespective of sect, has NOT seen fit to break with any of their articles of faith which means that if the pagan gets to hear the missionary and still refuses to adopt JC as his savior, eternal damnation it is.

                                      The various christian sects just don't TALK too much about brimstone and hellfire these days.

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                                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 7:06am

                                        The various christian sects just don't TALK too much about brimstone and hellfire these days.

                                        Unless they’re talking about queer people, in which case they do more shouting about hellfire and brimstone than Jim Ross.

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                                          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 3:54am

                                          Re:

                                          "Unless they’re talking about queer people, in which case they do more shouting about hellfire and brimstone than Jim Ross."

                                          Mainly the pulpit thumping brimstone preachers from the bible belt.
                                          And Westboro Baptist Church, of course.

                                          But in general, yes. the catholic church and protestantism alike are far more honest regarding what the bible has to say about LGBT than they are about paganism these days.

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                                            Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:52am

                                            Re: Re:

                                            Yep

                                            Everyone is a sinner.

                                            Have compassion toward your enemy.

                                            Though shall not kill.

                                            Give charity to the needy regardless of their various shortcomings.

                                            Judge not lest ye be judged.

                                            Blessed are the insert practically everyone who isn't a complete and total douche bag here

                                            ect...

                                            The bible has a lot to say about the issues.

                                            I personally don't care a whole lot but I am aware of it.

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                                        Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 8:15am

                                        Re: Re:

                                        You are a protestant. You are also in a minority of protestants.

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                                    That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 5:07pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Mother Theresa would probably argue with you if she were still around too.

                                    Just a tip for the future, maybe don't bring up that monster unless you want to show how evil religious people can be. She was a horrible person who celebrated death and suffering, not in any way a moral person to be held up as a good example.

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                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 2:06am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    "Argue with the Pope about it. He says nonbelievers/atheists can go to paradise/heaven if they lead good lives."

                                    Francis actually did make that claim at least once, regarding an atheist, to a small child.
                                    He has also, mind you, condemned paganism from the pulpit, in decidedly uncompromising terms. If your a christian your only hope is to wash your hands of any of your friends subscribing to other faiths.

                                    John paul had an "agree to disagree" policy visavi Jewry and Islam and did hold ONE outreach cross-faith event.
                                    Generally however, he was quite silent on anything resembling what happens to unbelievers after death and spent most of his time entrenching ultraconservative views. He is, in fact, most famed over his statements over women which in a mild-mannered way established that they could never hold the same status as men, especially not in religious matters.

                                    As for "Mother" theresa, she was actually condemned by many catholic theologians because of her decidedly paganist statements and open denial of the christian tenets.

                                    Ironically, and quite hypocritically, when Francis canonized Theresa it wasn't the first time the church had held up as a saint a person who was by their own scripture a pagan apostate.

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                                      Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2019 @ 5:13am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      You called mother Theresa a pagan apostate. The problem doesn't lie with mother Theresa.

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                                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 6:14am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        "You called mother Theresa a pagan apostate. The problem doesn't lie with mother Theresa."

                                        No, it lies with the christian church which has multiple articles of faith and several chapters devoted to defining what constitutes heresy and apostasy.

                                        A quote from Theresa herself - "I've always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, and a Catholic become a better Catholic."

                                        Going by the bible that sentence alone is rank heresy. In the 15th century she would have been burned at the stake as for it, much like the Cathars. Her canonization was fairly hypocritical, much like all the other times through history when it decided to canonize outright pagans in order to usurp their holidays and/or popular veneration.

                                        As a side note Theresa's "sainthood" from a secularly moral perspective, was also quite dubious. I won't go as far as That One Guy and call her a monster, but there is a wikipedia article devoted to criticism of her "loving care" which brings up a few horrible items to address including her apparent belief that as suffering purifies the soul, the more pain her patients experienced the better.

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                                        • identicon
                                          Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2019 @ 8:17am

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          How many people did Jesus burn at the stake again?

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                                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 3:58am

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                            "How many people did Jesus burn at the stake again?"

                                            None in the 15th century?

                                            Do you have a single actually honest argument which addresses the topic? Stalin probably didn't personally kill anyone either. I'm sure Martin Luther didn't personally encourage Cromwell.

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                                            • identicon
                                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:43am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              Stalin killed people.

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                                              bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 9:30am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              Fine then. Did Jesus personally tell or encourage other people to kill anyone during his lifetime?

                                              Stalin, by contrast, did personally order a lot of killings.

                                              If you’re saying that Jesus should be held responsible for things his followers did well after his death that he did not actually preach, then I gotta say, you have a twisted sense of personal responsibility.

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                                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 10:30pm

                                                Did Jesus personally tell or encourage other people to kill anyone during his lifetime?

                                                Technically, he did do it once: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Yes, the whole point is that he knew nobody would cast the stone — no one is without sin — but the line still technically encourages someone to commit murder via stoning.

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                                                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 2:01am

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                "Fine then. Did Jesus personally tell or encourage other people to kill anyone during his lifetime?"

                                                Derailed argument.

                                                My initial argument was that according to the bible - and traditional catholic church dogma - Mother Theresa was a pagan. And that canonizing her was the same sort of high-handed hypocrisy as it was every time the church canonized a pagan as a saint in order to pilfer their popularity.

                                                And that in the 15th century Theresa would have been burned at the stake. At which point some troll moved the goalposts by hollering "How many did Jesus burn at the stake??".

                                                Which is completely irrelevant since we're talking about the catholic faith and in this specific topic how Theresa most definitely didn't fit into it.

                                                And not just because she venerated pain and suffering as the road to heaven and sneakily baptized the dying in a sort of forced conversion. But because she was, effectively, in direct violation to the catholic articles of faith.

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                                                • identicon
                                                  Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2019 @ 10:54am

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  Well, either you or mother Theresa is fringe or non catholic. I would still associate with mother Theresa if she were around to do so.

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                                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 7:49am

                                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                    "I would still associate with mother Theresa if she were around to do so."

                                                    I wouldn't. I'd have a hard time associating with a person whose core belief was that suffering purified the soul, and kept a few hospices full of the dying in agony because in her mind it meant they would have a better chance at making it past the pearly gates.

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                                                  bhull242 (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 6:33pm

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  Ah. That is different from what I thought had occurred. My apologies.

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                                          bhull242 (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 10:30am

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          What some people do or say ostensibly in the name of God, Jesus, or Christianity does not mean that every Christian believes in those things.

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                                  bhull242 (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 10:35am

                                  Re: Re: Re:

                                  You don’t get to define Christianity any more than that AC gets to define atheism. Christianity is just accepting Jesus Christ as your savior and belief in one God; anything else is dependent on sect/the individual.

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                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:00am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    "Christianity is just accepting Jesus Christ as your savior and belief in one God; anything else is dependent on sect/the individual."

                                    By that argument "Christian" is so wide a definition the equivalent would be as if "Human" included rocks and trees.

                                    And that particularly does not fly when every major religious organization disagrees with that loose a statement.

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                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:42am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      You are sort of right, partially. One doctrine in Catholicism and other major Christian sects is that Jesus died and saved everyone/everything whether they accepted it or not (including rocks and trees if saving rocks and trees is somehow necessary).

                                      A competing doctrine in Catholicism/Christianity says you need to be baptized ect....

                                      The needing to accept Jesus as your savior is a third doctrine also widely practiced in Christianity.

                                      All these doctrines are practiced to different degrees.

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                                      bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 9:51am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      And that particularly does not fly when every major religious organization disagrees with that loose a statement.

                                      Like I said, individual sects or dogmas often have other requirements, but those are requirements for those specific sects and dogmas. Christianity is a very broad term meant to encompass every one of those sects and dogmas, along with some others and individuals who distrust organized religions. You’re also ignoring the minor religious organizations and those who don’t follow organized religion. The definition I gave has to be that broad because it has to encompass a lot of people with very different beliefs. There are even Christians who don’t actually believe much of the Bible has any accuracy or value in modern times.

                                      It successfully includes everyone who considers themselves a Christian and excludes everyone who does not. A broad definition is not necessarily a bad one. Any religion followed by a large enough population is going to have so much internal division over substantial tenets that the overall definition for it has to be broad to include all the different beliefs.

                                      Do you have any examples of someone who is clearly not a Christian that falls under the definition I gave? Because otherwise, my definition cannot be too broad, even if you happen to prefer a narrower definition.

                                      Maybe you could also include belief that Jesus is the son of God, but honestly, too many actual Christians disagree on far too much for anything else to be adequate. They can’t even agree on what parts of the Bible are true, belief in the Holy Trinity, or a specific set of morals.

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                                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 2:07am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        "Do you have any examples of someone who is clearly not a Christian that falls under the definition I gave?"

                                        Hrm. It could be said that i venerate Jesus and mohammed, among others, because they held and proposed what was at the time an enlightened and liberal view.

                                        So in one way you could consider that I consider these people saviors of a sort. As I do not subscribe to any particular religion, however, and find myself believing that any creator deity must either be actively malicious or completely indifferent it certainly doesn't fit me in as a christian.

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                                          bhull242 (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 4:38pm

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          I would like to modify/clarify my definition for Christianity. (This is what I get for trying to repeat the same thing in multiple comments without copy/pasting.)

                                          One must believe: that there is some a deity (which may be either benevolent or hands-off, but not malevolent, and is not necessarily, but generally is, a creator deity); that Jesus is the son of that deity; and that Jesus came to save us from our sins and has done so.

                                          I realize this may seem like moving the goalposts; I wouldn’t blame you if you do. However, I see it as a combination of two things:

                                          1. I was imprecise in stating my definition, as evidenced by my stating different definitions in different comments. Part of this definition, namely belief that Jesus is the son of God, was actually stated at other times, but I did forget for the one you’re talking about. This is mostly what my definition was intended to convey, just more precisely and explicitly.

                                          2) As I intended from the beginning, if you found a flaw in my definition, I would make modifications to improve it. My goal has always been to find the best definition that would be broad enough to include everyone who could reasonably be considered a Christian while excluding everyone who could not be. I’m more than happy to acknowledge genuine flaws in my definition that I had not considered and modify my definition accordingly. For example, because I come from a Christian background, I had not considered just how broad the statement “Jesus is the savior” could be. I had also not considered the idea that one might consider Jesus to be the savior while also believing that his father is malicious. As someone who watched Star Wars and having acknowledged that Jesus and his father may not be the same person to some Christians, I really should have predicted that, but I didn’t.

                                          So thanks for your input!

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                                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 8:11am

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                            "I had not considered just how broad the statement “Jesus is the savior” could be."

                                            Another one of those cases where language definitions end up important because the words end up meaning completely different things to different people.

                                            In a previous comment I mentioned how it's possible for the pope to bear a message which to everyone sounds like an all-inclusive message of hope and joy - while STILL not being noticeably altered from the 15th century interpretation which is that it's all still conditional on conversion. And much of this is because the words are stretched in definition to a point where they actually stop meaning anything.

                                            Ironically the "evil father, good son" concept of Star Wars was cribbed directly from...basically, a lot of religious mythologies. From zoroastrianism (Ahura Mazda the lightbringer descending from the indifferent and all-inclusive zurvan), The greek pantheon (Kronos devouring his sons, defeated by his son Zeus)...etc.

                                            It's no wonder that to some early abrahamic heresy cults God is portrayed as malicious or unforgiving and either the first-made lightbringer or JC is considered the benevolent redeemer.

                                            Add syncretism into the mess - the early El Shaddai of the people who came to become the jews was probably at some point merged with the zoroastrian dualist faith both well before JC and around that time (The three magi - zoroastrian priests - being the best example), turning a localized wilderness/mountain deity into an all-encompassing allfather, and all of creation a struggle between light and dark.

                                            Star Wars is basically a new spin on a VERY old story.

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                                              bhull242 (profile), 3 Dec 2019 @ 11:32am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              Another one of those cases where language definitions end up important because the words end up meaning completely different things to different people.

                                              I agree, that which is why I thank you for your feedback and input. It’s very helpful.

                                              Also, thanks for the background on the “evil father, good son” scenario. It was very interesting!

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 3:42pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            "a philosophical or religious position"

                            As already stated, a religious position is not a religion.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 3:51pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              I'm not interested in your proselytizing. I don't care if it's a pro or con atheist position either.

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                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 4:49pm

                                Atheists don’t proselytize. They can’t. They don’t have a dogma to spread.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 6:25am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                proselytizing:
                                the action of attempting to convert someone from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.

                                Please point out where I attempted to convert you to .. idk.

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                                bhull242 (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 2:18pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Arguing semantics (meaningful or not) is not proselytizing. “Atheism is not inherently a religion,” is not a religious belief or position. “A religious position is not a religion,” is not a religious belief or position. Those are positions on definitions.

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                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 4:07pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  So your idea is to define other people's religion out of religion status then pretend you aren't forcing your religion and religious views on them.

                                  Did you define your own religion out of religious status first?

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                                    That One Guy (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 4:46pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Oh drop the strawman persecution crap, we've already got one person who does that occasionally and that's one too many. People telling you you're wrong when you hypocritically try to define other people's position are not trying to define your religion or forcing anything on you, and your dogged insistence on sticking with that argument just makes you look more and more absurd.

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                                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 5:20pm

                                    So

                                    Cool otherwording, bro.

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                                    bhull242 (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 11:16pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Based on their comments in the past, I’ve long presumed that the commenters you’ve been arguing with are atheists. I presume this in part because they have spoken derisively about religion in general.

                                    For the record, I myself am not an atheist. I’m an agnostic Christian. Not that my comment said anything about my religious beliefs.

                                    Now, while I do have a position on whether or not atheism is a religion or not, nothing I’ve said on this site at all, let alone in the comment you’re responding to, said anything about whether atheism is a religion. The only people here who have stated a position on that particular issue here have been you and the aforementioned atheists, so the only ones who’d be trying to “define [some] people's religion out of religion status”, specifically atheism, have been atheists.

                                    Again, while I do have a position on the subject, on this particular thread, I only said that none of the others were doing or saying anything that could be considered “proselytizing”. After all, the definitions of terms like “proselytizing”, “religion”, “religious belief”, “religious position”, “theism”, and “atheism”, as well as how they relate to each other, are not in any way religious positions. They are semantic issues. And since those were the only issues being debated, this was not them forcing religious beliefs on you.

                                    Not every single thing a person does or does not believe qualifies as a religious belief or position, even if that person is very religious. You may genuinely believe that atheism is a religion (which is wrong, by the way), but that belief is not itself a religious belief. The inverse position is not a religious belief either.

                                    What you just said I said:

                                    So your idea is to define other people's religion out of religion status then pretend you aren't forcing your religion and religious views on them.

                                    bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything I just said or have ever said. What I had said did not define anyone’s religion; only commenting on what the discussion was really about: semantics, not religious beliefs. I base my position on whether or not atheism is a religion (it’s not) on what actual atheists say, what the dictionary says, and basic etymological and linguistic-based logic; though, again, in that comment, I did not state my position, nor did that position affect any aspect of what I had said. I did not “define [anyone’s] religion out of religion status”, nor do I do so now for anyone who has not already done so for themselves.

                                    And while I have no problem debating about religious beliefs, I am not doing so here, and I’m certainly not forcing my religion or religious beliefs on anyone here. Outside a brief mention of what my religion is, I didn’t say anything that relates to my Christian or agnostic beliefs. It has been purely based on definitions and my understanding of the discussion itself. So I have no idea why you think that I would need to “pretend [I’m not] forcing your religion and religious views on [anyone].”

                                    Because no part of your otherwording bears any resemblance to anything I have ever said, I feel no obligation to address your query as it is moot.

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                        That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:12pm

                        Re: Re:

                        Atheism is a religion.

                        In the same way that 'off' is a tv channel, bald is a hair color and not collecting stamps is a hobby, sure.

                        It is a religion that believes God doesn't exist.

                        Incorrect, while some hold that position atheism is simply a position on a single subject, 'do you believe in one or more deities?' If 'yes' you're a theist, if 'no' an atheist.

                        It's important to note that 'I do not believe you' is not a claim of 'I believe that you are wrong and am taking the other position', with an example being that if I told you I have an odd number of coins in my pocket, and you(because you have no idea how many coins, if any I have in my pocket) responded by saying you don't believe me that does not mean you are saying that I have an even number, it would just mean you don't accept as true my claim of an odd number.

                        We do protect religion or non-religion but that isn't non-religion.

                        Atheism and theism are the only two options, a true dichotomy where you are either one or the other, with no other option, so if you want to lump both of them into the 'religion' option then there isn't a 'non-religion' to 'protect'.

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                  btr1701 (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 3:50pm

                  Re:

                  His point is that civil rights laws are expressly based on protection from discrimination based on a person's 'immutable characteristics', yet for some reason religion is included in that list despite being the one thing that is not an immutable characteristic.

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                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 5:20pm

                    yet for some reason

                    As I said above: Can you see the difference between booting someone out of a store because they’re an asshole and booting someone out of a store because they’re Jewish? If you seriously can’t figure out why we include religion in anti-discrimination laws, maybe you should stay out of this discussion before you make yourself look foolish.

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                      bhull242 (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 11:24pm

                      Re:

                      Personally, I can certainly figure it out. Many people feel that their religious beliefs are immutable (or close to it), so for that and other reasons, it certainly makes sense for religion to be included in anti-discrimination and equal rights laws.

                      That said, even if there is a very good reason for religion to be included, it is still true that it is the odd one out out of the protected characteristics as not being truly immutable. On the surface, at a glance, it can seem odd that religion is included. It’s just that immutable characteristics are not the only ones deserving protection. We also protect independent thought, individual speech, and private, personal behavior and promote tolerance of different beliefs, opinions, and personal judgments.

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                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 1:46am

                        We also protect independent thought, individual speech, and private, personal behavior

                        None of those are reasons for anti-discrimination laws. We have “religion” in anti-discrimination laws because…well, think about it this way: A largely Christian city with control over the local government could marginalize anyone who isn’t a Christian or doesn’t buy into the specific dogma of the Christian sect that controls the government. You think the DMV is hell now? Wait until you can’t get a license because the Christians in charge don’t like your specific religious dogma.

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                          bhull242 (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 11:24pm

                          Re:

                          I believe you missed my larger point. I was saying that immutability is not a necessary precondition for a given characteristic to be protected by anti-discrimination law, and religion is not an immutable characteristic. The specific reason why religion is included as a protected characteristic is unimportant to the point I was trying to make.

                          At no point was I actually disagreeing with anything substantial that you said.

                          I was just giving a potential policy reason for including religion as a protected class. If you have one that goes beyond simply giving an example of what would happen without the protection, go ahead. I feel that my answer is sufficient justification even if you, quite reasonably, disagree. I do think you’re missing the forest for the trees, though. The only point I made that could be considered disagreement with what you said was regarding how reasonable our friend’s comment is. I think it has some surface-level reasonability, but no more than that; you don’t appear to believe that it even reaches that. But that’s not what you chose to contradict; you focused on a minor claim I made to give an example of something beyond immutable characteristics that we want to protect. The specific reason was not the point I was trying to make. Feel free to insert your own reason there if you want. It makes no difference to me.

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                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 1:44am

                  Re:

                  "Distinction without a difference. If you think religious people should not have any protection from discrimination in the law because they choose their religious beliefs, you’re saying discrimination should be allowed on the basis of religion."

                  I'm not too sure about the finer points of law here but in most jurisdictions I believe that in general it's not considered OK to discriminate because of mere opinions either.

                  The difference is that if you criticize homosexuality or ethnicity that is dictionary-definition bigotry. If you criticize flat-earthism, christianity or islam per se it's not. If you dehumanize any human based on any reason it may or may not be bigotry but there may be grounds to consider it hate speech.

                  The dude's got a point, Stephen.

                  I think I can say that many of the statements of faith and core beliefs of any of the abrahamic religions are repugnant or lead directly to repugnant consequences - and still have a clean conscience. I can't do the same about someone's sexuality or ethnicity.

                  Religion is a choice. Where or how you were born isn't.

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                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 4:03am

                    in general it's not considered OK to discriminate because of mere opinions either

                    It’s not okay, but it’s legal. Then again, religion isn’t “mere opinions”, and I think even you know that. So if you’d really like to defend Christians using societal and governmental power to oppress non-Christians, be my guest.

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                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 6:27am

                      Re:

                      "Then again, religion isn’t “mere opinions”, and I think even you know that."

                      Lacking any evidence at all even indicating the existence of any form of superior being I'm left to the logical conclusion that yes, a religion IS an opinion. An opinion shared, like purely secular statements such as "Trump is good", or "<fill-in-ethnic-minority> is inferior" by quite a lot of people in either direct contradiction with sheer fact or despite the absence of any validation other than that other people trumpet the same message.

                      That being the case I don't see why any religion should be protected - and it's not.

                      "So if you’d really like to defend Christians using societal and governmental power to oppress non-Christians, be my guest."

                      I don't. And I'm pretty sure that's not what I talked about either.
                      I simply refuse to credit religion with weight over what I'd give any other set of statements which can not be backed by any form of empirical fact.

                      Religion is just another social meme capable of convincing otherwise fully functional human beings that it is right and proper for them to disparage, diminish or harm other functional human beings because those others hold a different opinion.

                      Naturally there need to be laws preventing ostracism and bullying - but I'm NOT convinced such laws can start by providing validity to unverified opinion and unbacked beliefs.

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                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 7:04am

                        Naturally there need to be laws preventing ostracism and bullying - but I'm NOT convinced such laws can start by providing validity to unverified opinion and unbacked beliefs.

                        And if you knew even the first damn thing about religious freedom laws and anti-discrimination laws, you’d know that they don’t validate specific religious beliefs. A law that says you can’t deny service to Christians on the basis of religious creed doesn’t also say “because Christian beliefs are right”. We protect against religious discrimination not because one set of beliefs are more or less valid, but because those in power could use their beliefs to oppress and marginalize those who don’t share those beliefs. Again: Are you willing to defend a Christian-majority government using its power to discriminate against non-Christians?

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                          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:05am

                          Re:

                          "And if you knew even the first damn thing about religious freedom laws and anti-discrimination laws, you’d know that they don’t validate specific religious beliefs. "

                          I do know them.

                          And from what I've seen and experienced what is TRULY necessary to defend freedoms would be a law which protects everyone from the religious instead of the other way around. It would amount to the same, carefully worded, but possibly be of more utility whenever someone decides to refuse service to another because "My religion bids me tell this benighted f----t to go to hell" or "I don't want to work with birth control in this maternity ward since my religion forbids me".

                          My problem is that directly or indirectly current law provides faith-based opinion with validity in the secular world. And that, imho, is wrong.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 4:32am

                            Re: Re:

                            In the US, the laws aren't supposed to make a secular state. They were never intended to from the beginning of the country. Other countries, such as Turkey, actually are secular but one of the purposes of the first amendment was to give everyone the right to practice their religion. It was explicitly not intended to force secularism on anyone.

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                              bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 9:35am

                              Re: Re: Re:

                              Just to clarify, the state must be secular; the difference is that the populace isn’t secular. That’s what separation of church and state entails.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2019 @ 10:09am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                The actual separation of church and state is supposed to be the US Congress in first amendment and the US states in the 14th amendment can't establish a government backed religion.

                                However the people and tribes do use government to back their religions. Those are also part of the US government.

                                I guess there is a loophole at the federal executive and judicial branches. It would be hard to use it without funding from congress however.

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                                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 10:26pm

                                  The actual separation of church and state is supposed to be

                                  …a simple principle: The state must generally remain neutral towards all religious groups to avoid the appearance of favor, affection, malice, or ill will toward a specific religious group. This principle also applies to non-religion, i.e., atheism.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:34am

                Re: Re:

                "I said religion is a choice and shouldn't be any more protected than any other choice"

                I'm morbidly curious here .... what other things do you consider to be "choices" and therefore do not deserve any protection(s)?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:14pm

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  "...therefore do not deserve any protection(s)?"

                  I didn't say that. I said any more protections than anyone else.

                  Why do you people always rephrase, incorrectly, what you read?

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 8:04pm

                    If being gay is a choice (it’s not), what protections do gay people deserve under the law?

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 1:46am

                      Re:

                      This is not the hill you want to die on, over religion.

                      Which is a choice and open to criticism.

                      I see significant difference between opening both barrels on the christian catechisms and doing the same on, for instance, having skin of another color.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 3:58am

                        I will die on this hill, and I will do it gladly.

                        Religion may be a “choice”, but for the religious, their beliefs feel ingrained. While it’s easy to say “they could choose to stop believing in God any time they wanted”, it’s not so easy in practice, especially if you’ve been raised most-to-all of your life to believe in God.

                        But more to the point, religion is a protected class in anti-discrimination law precisely for the same reason as race: The majority can always apply its tyranny to a majority. As I hypothesized above, imagine a largely Christian community that runs practically everything — before imagining how they could use that power to screw over anyone in the area who isn’t a Christian. How would you feel if you were Jewish and the DMV wouldn’t let you renew your license because it didn’t consider you “worthy” of driving?

                        I’m all for criticism of religion. No idea should be worthy of protection from critique, mockery, and satire. But I’m also for protecting people from having their religious beliefs used as a reason for discrimination. Whether religion is a “choice” is irrelevant to that position.

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                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 3:59am

                          The majority can always apply its tyranny to a minority.

                          I really gotta start proofreading my morning comments. 😅

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                          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 7:10am

                          Re:

                          "Religion may be a “choice”, but for the religious, their beliefs feel ingrained. "

                          You can un-brainwash a cultist. Evidence is quite clear you can't do the same when it comes to sexuality, gender identity or skin color.

                          "While it’s easy to say “they could choose to stop believing in God any time they wanted”, it’s not so easy in practice, especially if you’ve been raised most-to-all of your life to believe in God."

                          Curiously this is one of those topics which has a plethora of work done on it. It's been found that more often than not as soon as the believer accepts that the cognitive dissonance between observable empirical facts, logic and their long-held belief requires resolution, they often stop believing in god. Or at the very least accept that what they've been told is not or should not be true. There's an argument to be made here that brainwashing your offspring should possibly be a case for child protection services.
                          If I taught children to ignore evidence before their own eyes on how reality worked in favor of the concept that faeries and invisible unicorns govern the law of physics then I'd be considered a monster who should be locked up by most. And yet...religion. A catch-all excuse which gives faith the weight of factual reality.

                          "As I hypothesized above, imagine a largely Christian community that runs practically everything — before imagining how they could use that power to screw over anyone in the area who isn’t a Christian."

                          Sounds like status quo in any city or town in the 19th century. Yes, that was a thing. And knowing my history on colonialism or, for that matter, ANY history of western societies back then, I don't have to imagine.

                          "How would you feel if you were Jewish and the DMV wouldn’t let you renew your license because it didn’t consider you “worthy” of driving?"

                          Yeah, now I think you conflate "protected status" with "healthy default of what a state should be".

                          Last i checked there was some amendment or other about freedom of opinion and speech which could apply there. In the scenario you envision, you've already got a tyrannical majority. The same one you guys had in the 60's when shit like what you describe could indeed happen.

                          "I’m all for criticism of religion. No idea should be worthy of protection from critique, mockery, and satire. But I’m also for protecting people from having their religious beliefs used as a reason for discrimination."

                          Those are two ENTIRELY different questions, though.

                          Here, let me run a few real-world example by you. In Sweden quite a few years back a number of sikh nurses ended up in conflict with hospital routines - due to the religious injunction that a sikh must wear a turban, and that this was unacceptable because the practice introduced non-sterile clothing to wards highly sensitive to possible infection.
                          It was eventually resolved by simply adding turban cloth to the ordinary hospital wear, but you can probably imagine the media collision. Here is where despite an overwhelmingly christian majority a minority was NOT overridden in the way you envision. Mainly because the default assumption was that any and all decisions had to be taken from a non-religious perspective and the dispute could be resolved by adjusting the headdress procedures.

                          The other real-world example consists of a hospital nurse who refused to participate in abortion procedures, claiming pro-life religious convictions. These were overridden since, despite the overwhelming majority being nominally christian like the nurse, it was assumed that, again, religion in itself does not merit special protection. The nurse in question could no longer gain employment in clinics dealing with maternity topics. And that topic was debated from the background of "religious persecution" for years.

                          You CAN NOT provide religion the same protection you do gender, sexuality, or ethnicity, because if you do what happens is that you set faith-based opinion on the same footing as empirical fact, humanitarian principles, and any form of egalitarianism.

                          Fanatic #1: "God tells me to stone that guy! For being black in public!"
                          Cop: "That's against the law, and that guy's human rights"
                          Fanatic #1: "BIGOTRY!!"

                          Judge, on the above case: "I got nothing, the guys religious rights are on the same level as the black guys rights not to be assaulted and discriminated against! Flip a coin I guess?"

                          Less hyperbolic the case of the religious nurse who was testing the waters to make a case where religious conviction could override laws made for the protection of other people not sharing her convictions. I'm sure we have a ripe number of US examples where religious belief has presented a hazard for the non-religious. firebombed clinics and the recent spate of laws making abortion clinics nigh-impossible in practice?

                          Belief can be changed. Indeed, quite a lot of religious people in the US and europe have to change or suppress their beliefs in order to not actually break the law.

                          Skin color or sexuality doesn't require you to go out, look down upon, and/or hurt someone for not believing the way you do.
                          Religion often does just this.

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                          • icon
                            bhull242 (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 10:39am

                            Re: Re:

                            The anti-discrimination laws also mean you can’t discriminate based on your own religious beliefs if they mean discriminating against other protected classes.

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                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 1:10pm

                            You can un-brainwash a cultist.

                            1. I have issues with organized religion, but implicitly referring to them as cults is a wee bit bullshit. Loaded language, on its own, does not a good argument make.
                            2. Deprogramming someone is not something you can do over the weekend with your buddies before you settle down to watch sports. Implying it’s easy by tying it to the concept of “choice” is also bullshit.

                            It's been found that more often than not as soon as the believer accepts that the cognitive dissonance between observable empirical facts, logic and their long-held belief requires resolution, they often stop believing in god. Or at the very least accept that what they've been told is not or should not be true.

                            Again: Getting them to that point is not fucking easy. Cognitive dissonance is a fucking bastard of a thing.

                            Yeah, now I think you conflate "protected status" with "healthy default of what a state should be". Last i checked there was some amendment or other about freedom of opinion and speech which could apply there.

                            Do you think people with power and dreams of a “Christian nation” really give a fuck about the constitution? Those kinds of people think the separation of church and state is bullshit. Kim Davis did something along the lines of what I talked about when she denied legal marriage licenses to gay couples on account of her beliefs about gay people (spoiler: she’s not a fan).

                            A religious zealot with the means and opportunity will always try to push their beliefs onto everyone else by either shoving those beliefs into law or using existing law to make those beliefs a societal “default”. Every anti-LGBT law in the United States is proof enough of that. Or do you think all those “defense or marriage” laws were about keeping gay people from somehow nullifying legal opposite-sex marriages?

                            Here is where despite an overwhelmingly christian majority a minority was NOT overridden in the way you envision. Mainly because the default assumption was that any and all decisions had to be taken from a non-religious perspective and the dispute could be resolved by adjusting the headdress procedures.

                            And typically, American courts have ruled in similar ways: If a religious accomodation can be made without overly burdening an employer (including the state), it should be made. But the thing you’re missing here is, a not-zero number of Christians in the majority-Christian United States don’t give a good God’s damn. Those kinds of Christians don’t see accomodations for minority religions as “equal rights”, but as “attacks on Christianity” (e.g., “Why do they get to wear their turbans but we can’t pray in schools?!”). And the fucked-up thing is, those kinds of Christians are louder and more obnoxious than everyone else, so they get lots of media coverage — especially in right-wing media circles, where “the war on Christmas” is considered both real and super-duper important to society as a whole.

                            You CAN NOT provide religion the same protection you do gender, sexuality, or ethnicity, because if you do what happens is that you set faith-based opinion on the same footing as empirical fact, humanitarian principles, and any form of egalitarianism.

                            By that logic, a Christian business owner could decide to open a restaurant that says it serves the general public, then later deny service to Jewish people because religion doesn’t deserve the same anti-discrimination protections as “gender, sexuality, or ethnicity”. You really seem as though you’re saying “people should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion”, and I hope you come to realize everything wrong with that logic.

                            Judge, on the above case: "I got nothing, the guys religious rights are on the same level as the black guys rights not to be assaulted and discriminated against! Flip a coin I guess?"

                            Not only is your example blatantly stupid on its face, it’s also an attempt to sidestep what I’ve been talking vis-á-vis discrimination about by using an impossibly extreme example as if that example is what I’m trying to argue for. Don’t bullshit me, don’t bullshit everyone else, and — most of all — don’t bullshit yourself.

                            Indeed, quite a lot of religious people in the US and europe have to change or suppress their beliefs in order to not actually break the law.

                            Not…really? I mean, not in the general “you have to do it at all times” sense.

                            When you step into the public sphere, you make an implicit compromise with everyone else: Your rights end where another person’s rights begin. You can hold whatever religious beliefs you want, no matter how ridiculous or heinous or wonderful they are to other people. But you can’t force your beliefs on others as if being in public gives you that right. You can’t go around beating people upside the head with a holy book and tell them “convert to my beliefs or else”. No one else can do the same to you. That is how society works.

                            By the same token, in the United States, a public employee can’t discriminate against someone because the employee is a Christian and the person looking for service is a Jew, a Muslim, a Satanist, or an atheist, or a Christian who is part of a different societal group the employee hates (e.g., Black people). We have laws that say so; those constructs are how we keep society held together.

                            Someone has to "suppress" their beliefs only so much as is necessary to keep society functioning smoothly. Kim Davis could have hated gay people in private but still followed the goddamn law and given gay couples their marriage licenses like she damn well should have. She didn’t need to abandon her anti-gay beliefs; she needed only to not let those beliefs get in the way of serving the public and following the law. And I’d be saying the same goddamned thing if Davis was an atheist and she had denied marriage licenses to Christians. If she didn’t want to follow the law because God said not to, she should’ve left her job (or been removed from it) for refusing to follow the law as if her religion gives her special legal privileges.

                            I don’t know what religion you follow, if any. I don’t much care, either. Alls I know is this: No matter what your religious beliefs are, you shouldn’t have the right to force yours upon others, and no one should have the right to force theirs upon you. And your religious beliefs shouldn’t give you legal privileges that exempt you from following the same laws that govern everyone who doesn’t believe the same things as you. If you can’t get on board with that, I don’t know what the hell else to tell you.

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                            • icon
                              bhull242 (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 2:32pm

                              Re:

                              “Why do they get to wear their turbans but we can’t pray in schools?!”

                              I’ve always hated this argument. The people at the school—students and faculty alike—can pray all they like in schools. They just can’t organize it at a secular school event or during school on school grounds, nor can they force others to pray at school, if the school is a public. If they themselves want to make a personal prayer at school, that’s perfectly fine; they just can’t pressure anyone else into doing so at a public school. Similarly, a Muslim (or more likely a Sikh) can wear their turban to school if they believe they should, but they can’t pressure others to do so.

                              There’s a huge difference between what you yourself do for your religion and what you impose on others because of your beliefs.

                              I’m sure you feel similarly, Stephen, and I apologize for using your quick mention of that example as an excuse to rant. I just had to get that off of my chest. We had a substitute pastor at church the other day, and he made a similar argument. I was very frustrated by that, but it would’ve been very rude to speak up about it at church, so I had to restrain myself from speaking.

                              I’m a Christian who goes to church, but I still have much of the same skepticism for organized religion that you have. I really only attend church to sing in the choir; my beliefs strongly differ with that of a substantial portion of the congregation, though not that of our usual pastor, who is actually quite liberal.

                              I’m beginning to ramble, so I’ll just end here.

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                            • icon
                              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 5:23am

                              Re:

                              "I have issues with organized religion, but implicitly referring to them as cults is a wee bit bullshit. Loaded language, on its own, does not a good argument make."

                              I know. Yet I don't know what else to call people who use all of their brainpower to deny empirical, observable fact. To me that spells "cult" - even if all they do is smiling gently while sending of a pity prayer for the poor benighted heathen about to face eternal hellfire.

                              "Deprogramming someone is not something you can do over the weekend with your buddies..."

                              I know. It's at least as hard as programming people that way in the first place. It's a choice, all right. Even if the "choice" is enforced by generations of successive brainwashing.

                              "Again: Getting them to that point is not fucking easy. Cognitive dissonance is a fucking bastard of a thing."

                              I know. At the point where it starts to hit the religious person swings into frustrated denial and aggression, then promptly decides that a hellbound sinner must be lying anyway.

                              "Do you think people with power and dreams of a “Christian nation” really give a fuck about the constitution? Those kinds of people think the separation of church and state is bullshit."

                              Oh, i know. I followed - closely - the terms of GWB and what that started in the US. Similar to what happens to lesser extent in much of europe where one religious group of wingnuts after the other keeps trying to push the envelope in the hope of turning secular states into Teheran or the Vatican.

                              "But the thing you’re missing here is, a not-zero number of Christians in the majority-Christian United States don’t give a good God’s damn. Those kinds of Christians don’t see accomodations for minority religions as “equal rights”, but as “attacks on Christianity”"

                              I know. If the soviet Union hadn't made clear just how futile trying to outlaw religion is, I'd probably be swinging hard in that direction. Religion is, I'd argue, far more of a threat than mere piddly-ass millenialist ideology such as nazism or hardline marxism.

                              "By that logic, a Christian business owner could decide to open a restaurant that says it serves the general public, then later deny service to Jewish people because religion doesn’t deserve the same anti-discrimination protections as “gender, sexuality, or ethnicity”."

                              If he opens the restaurant to serve the "general public" then that's already an open-shut civil suit right there, i think.
                              But by and large you're right which is frustrating as all hell because I still refuse to believe it's sane to accord faith any credibility or validity in ANY secular concern.

                              "Not only is your example blatantly stupid on its face, it’s also an attempt to sidestep what I’ve been talking vis-á-vis discrimination about by using an impossibly extreme example as if that example is what I’m trying to argue for."

                              Mea maxima culpa. Not my best work, and all i have to say in my excuse is I've been reading a little too much about the rohingya purge. It looks to me as if far too little is done about ridding us all of these troublesome priests. Heh.

                              "When you step into the public sphere, you make an implicit compromise with everyone else: Your rights end where another person’s rights begin. You can hold whatever religious beliefs you want, no matter how ridiculous or heinous or wonderful they are to other people."

                              And as you yourself noted in your own words, the religious don't give a good god damn. Even in Sweden which is as secular as it comes a great number of people suffer because they are forced by law to NOT fix everything which is sinful and an abomination unto the Lord every time they go outside. As a result of which they often but not always retreat to small clannish communities where they can run their cults in peace.
                              We had a nasty wakeup call several years back when a murder happened in a small community which turned out to consist almost entirely of pentecostalists. When the police investigated they started finding endemic child abuse at home and in schools, exorcist rites carried out in preschool, the works.

                              Most of whom were then shocked and outraged when social services swung in and told them they weren't allowed to beat other people over the head with the big book of scripture.

                              I hardly need to inform you about known US examples.

                              "I don’t know what religion you follow, if any. I don’t much care, either. Alls I know is this: No matter what your religious beliefs are, you shouldn’t have the right to force yours upon others, and no one should have the right to force theirs upon you."

                              And yet again, in your own words, the religious often don't give a good god damn. To a person who believes, with all his heart, that people who don't confess their belief to mohammed, christ, or the holey colander, are eternally condemned then the logical response must be that in order to be a Good Person(TM), forcing their belief unto others is an absolute must.
                              You'll thank them for making your life an absolute misery once you enter heaven, after all, no matter which tortures they had to put you through.

                              "And your religious beliefs shouldn’t give you legal privileges that exempt you from following the same laws that govern everyone who doesn’t believe the same things as you. If you can’t get on board with that, I don’t know what the hell else to tell you."

                              That is actually exactly what I think and am on board with.

                              I just think that protecting religion is the wrong way to approach it since that is precisely what i find at the heart of EVERY damn time a religious zealot of one bent or another tries to justify being a horrible asshole towards his/her fellows, usually at great cost to society.

                              Not, to be quite honest, that I have any better way to fix the cancerous tumor of religion which doesn't include side effects worse than the disease.

                              Sometimes I almost envy Blue/Baghdad bob. He could just advocate for having everyone mentioning a religious term in public incarcerated without even realizing or giving a shit about the harm done as a result...

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                              • icon
                                bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 9:26am

                                Re: Re:

                                While I disagree with several—but not all—things you just said, I just want to clarify one thing.

                                "[…]Alls I know is this: No matter what your religious beliefs are, you shouldn’t have the right to force yours upon others, and no one should have the right to force theirs upon you."
                                And yet again, in your [Stephen’s] own words, the religious often don't give a good god damn.

                                To be clear, while I am a Christian, I am not one of those who wants to force their religion on others. While I’m not 100% certain of this, I’m pretty sure that, among Americans, it’s basically just a very vocal minority of Christians that do, and, for the most part, I don’t approve of those who do. It really annoys me, particularly because they often target people who are already Christians or they have no chance of convincing.

                                Unfortunately, the most vocal portion of the religious tend to want to force their religious beliefs on others without regard for what the law actually says. And unfortunately, these tend to be the most difficult to persuade to change their ways. I suppose these would be the most cult-like ones, although I don’t believe it typically extends quite that far.

                                And people don’t discriminate based on religion solely based on their own religious belief (though it is a substantial portion of religious discrimination). For example, a lot of people discriminate against Muslims simply because of how the 9/11 terrorists and ISIS were/are Muslim. There are also some religious practices that are benign for everyone that would somewhat conflict with certain rules or regulations (having to wear a turban for Sikhs) or that may be a minor inconvenience (Muslims having to pray towards Mecca every day at specific times, Seventh-Day Adventists not being allowed to work on a specific day each week), and I don’t see why these things shouldn’t be protected and accommodated for if they are based on genuine beliefs (rational or not) and don’t substantially disrupt anyone else or inflict harm (including self-harm) on anyone. And if they weren’t protected, there’d be nonreligious reasons to discriminate against them.

                                Basically, I don’t see any better alternatives.

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                                • icon
                                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 3:10pm

                                  a lot of people discriminate against Muslims simply because of how the 9/11 terrorists and ISIS were/are Muslim

                                  One of them is the current sitting president of the United States. 😐

                                  But seriously: When I talk about protection of religion vis-á-vis discrimination, this situation is one of the things I’m talking about. Everyone who isn’t a Muslim — and that includes atheists — discriminating against Muslims based on their religion is bullshit. Doing so because of 9/11 and ISIS makes the discrimination even more bullshit. People shouldn’t have to face that kind of discrimination. And the government has no good reason to condone or allow it.

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                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 3:04pm

                                I don't know what else to call people who use all of their brainpower to deny empirical, observable fact.

                                I call them “Republicans”, but that’s a personal preference.

                                I still refuse to believe it's sane to accord faith any credibility or validity in ANY secular concern

                                I refuse to believe it’s sane to let people use their faith as a metaphorical cudgel with which they can bludgeon others. By the same token, I also refuse to believe it’s sane to let the government do the same towards religious people. Imagine if the government had religious tests for employees or people elected to public office. How would you really feel if the government said all religious people would need to become atheists before they could hold public office?

                                I just think that protecting religion is the wrong way to approach it since that is precisely what i find at the heart of EVERY damn time a religious zealot of one bent or another tries to justify being a horrible asshole towards his/her fellows, usually at great cost to society.

                                I want to protect religion from government interference vis-á-vis practices and beliefs. A Catholic who wants to espousing anti-gay sentiments before eating a wafer and calling it “the Body of Christ” should have the right to do that without government interference. But a Catholic priest who rapes a young child should, without question, abso-fuckin’-lutely go to jail.

                                Like I’ve said, I have issues with organized religion. But the government shouldn’t get to pick and choose “winners” when it comes to religious beliefs, practices, and traditions. That sentiment stands even if the “winner” would be atheism. Religion (or a lack thereof) is a highly personal part of someone’s identity and life; the government shouldn’t get to control what someone believes any more than it should get to control a woman’s womb.

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                                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 2:28am

                                  Re:

                                  "I call them “Republicans”, but that’s a personal preference."

                                  I thought that was a calvinist denomination? /s

                                  "How would you really feel if the government said all religious people would need to become atheists before they could hold public office?"

                                  If there was any way short of actual magic to accomplish this without in the process breaking most humanitarian and democratic principles across the knee? A lot safer, I think.

                                  I'd say that it should be self-evident that ANY public office had as core requirement that the office-holder MUST NOT be a person able and willing to ignore fact in favor of whatever they happen to believe.

                                  The only way this can be accomplished is, i believe, when the citizenry starts taking an honest mistrust in religious people to the ballots.

                                  As for the rest you had to say, I concur wholeheartedly.

                                  The main hazard I foresee with religious freedom as it is practiced today is that the religious people are either far too leery about shouting out "Not In My Name!" whenever their own assorted crackpots decide to pull a westboro baptist church - or that when they do that protest gets buried by the massed concensus of another religious grouping.

                                  It's not well known but the Ayatollah's in Teheran soundly condemned ISIS, going so far as to issuing a fatwa on ISIS followers as officially non-muslim. Most western media just kept harping on how ISIS was a case of "radical islam", mainly pushed by the alt-right and pulpit thumping would-be crusaders trying to make it a religious war.

                                  Religious people practice soft power to a vast extent, and none more so than the loudest and most obnoxious.

                                  "But the government shouldn’t get to pick and choose “winners” when it comes to religious beliefs, practices, and traditions."

                                  Concur. I believe, however, that government should do FAR more to ensure that where secular matters are concerned, EVERY religion will be a "loser". The current state of affairs, at least in the US, points to a twisted sort of regulatory capture having taken place, with it being a given that you simply don't get to hold high office unless you hold some sort of faith.

                                  It's been debated by numerous political experts how possible it would be for a president to be jewish, mormon, or wiccan. They are ALL agreed that the one type of president which is considered completely unelectable is the atheist.

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                                  • icon
                                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Nov 2019 @ 5:01am

                                    If there was any way short of actual magic to accomplish this without in the process breaking most humanitarian and democratic principles across the knee? A lot safer, I think.

                                    Let me see if I get this right. You would prefer to see the government force someone into abandoning their entire religious belief system if that someone wants to hold a public office? You would prefer the government tell Christians and Muslims and Jews and Buddhists that they absolutely 100% cannot work at any position in the government — including the military — unless they become atheists?

                                    Dude, I have issues with religion, and even I’m not that far gone. Please tell me you’re not.

                                    government should do FAR more to ensure that where secular matters are concerned, EVERY religion will be a "loser".

                                    Yes, that is the general principle behind the separation of church and state: The government will show no favor, affection, malice, or ill will towards any given religion/religious group, including the non-religious. It should have no right to favor Christians over atheists, Muslims over Christians, or atheists over Muslims and Christians. Neutrality should rule the day, even though it often doesn’t unless groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation or the ACLU get involved.

                                    They are ALL agreed that the one type of president which is considered completely unelectable is the atheist.

                                    Given how the number of “nones” (people who report not belonging to any religion) is on a slow-but-steady rise in the U.S., an atheist president may not happen in our lifetimes, but on a long enough timeline, it will eventually happen. I mean, shit, we had a Black president. A female president probably isn’t too much farther out. The only atheists who might have “electability” problems are the militant, obnoxious, “fuck religion” types — you know, the kind that think people should have to give up religion entirely before they can work in the government.

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                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2019 @ 11:34pm

                                      Re:

                                      You would prefer to see the government force someone into abandoning their entire religious belief system if that someone wants to hold a public office? You would prefer the government tell Christians and Muslims and Jews and Buddhists that they absolutely 100% cannot work at any position in the government — including the military — unless they become atheists?

                                      Fair's fair, right? Like I said. They had it too fucking good for too fucking long. The ones who agree with us can stay. The ones who don't, we mock them into the ground until they comply.

                                      Dude, I have issues with religion, and even I’m not that far gone. Please tell me you’re not.

                                      Nah. Atheism is just awesome that way. Welcome to the club!

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                                      • icon
                                        bhull242 (profile), 2 Dec 2019 @ 4:51pm

                                        Re: Re:

                                        The ones who agree with us can stay [in government]. The ones who don't, we mock them into the ground until they comply.

                                        That is way too far and makes a mockery of rational discourse and democracy. I mean, mock away by all means, but predicating acceptance on some sort of agreement with you is ridiculous.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:14am

    "He objects to the defendants' characterization of him as a "well known" neo-Nazi lawyer."

    You are now, pal!
    Meet Ms. Streisand, your new PR agent.

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  • icon
    Thad (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 10:42am

    I, for one, am shocked that all these defamation suits against the SPLC that Techdirt said were meritless are turning out to be meritless.

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  • icon
    brad (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:12am

    add a "does not" here:

    "That he was outed via exfiltrated documents (right here) change his connection with neo-Nazis, nor does his pro bono work for African Americans."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:15am

    On the bright side now we know why Mason Wheeler went silent...

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  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 11:54am

    Allen was seeking $6 million for damage to his reputation supposedly caused by the publication of this collection of facts and inferences, which ultimately resulted in him being fired by the city.

    Rather than suing the SPLC, it seems like he would have been better off suing the city for violating his 1st Amendment rights for firing him for engaging in protected speech and association.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 12:05pm

      Re:

      Or he could try not being a boot licking proto-fascist. But that advise is equally valid for you bro.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      Firing him didn't restrict his free speech. In fact, the act of firing him could be construed as the city's free speech.

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      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:50pm

        Re: Re:

        the act of firing him could be construed as the city's free speech.

        The government doesn't have superior free speech rights with regard to citizens. It's the other way around, actually.

        The Bill of Rights is an enumeration of rights that belong to the people, not the government.

        If the government could assert its own free speech rights by censoring people it doesn't like, it could, for example, ban a pro-choice protest on the city streets and parks by claiming that forcing it to host such speech on city property is a violation of the city's 1st Amendment rights.

        The city of Baltimore could fire this guy for what he did-- if he refused to represent minorities or in some way took bigoted or discriminatory ACTIONS on the job-- but firing him just because he has thoughts the government doesn't like is kinda a constitutional no-no.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:39am

          Re: You gotta have buff ass arms from carrying all that water

          Or if in some way he acted l like he might be totally be biased and incapable of doing his duties as a public servant. Like I don’t know... being a fucking neo-nazi scumbag. But hey keep licking that boot bro. Someday they may upgrade you to human bidet duty.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "If the government could assert its own free speech rights by censoring people"

          • How does the populace, in any way, pass legislation which hinders the government "speaking"? That is how is would work - right? Otherwise the two (people/government) "free speech rights" would not be comparable.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      Can't be a public servant if you only wish to serve a segment of the public.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      "$6 million for damage to his reputation"

      I wanna see the math

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 4:40pm

    John Smith isn't going to like this, is he?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 5:17pm

    So now otherwise thinking people are defending the SPLC hate group? Yes, even if you hate straight, white, Protestant males, it's still hate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mephistophocles (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 6:44am

    SPLC - why?

    No contention with any point in the suit. Good decision and SPLC is absolutely protected under the 1st amendment. But is what they do necessary or beneficial? Just for the sake of discussion - what purpose, exactly, does it serve to witch-hunt for people who say things that trigger SPLC's feelings about "hate speech" (whatever that means to them)?

    Or maybe to say that another way - neo-nazis are scumbags. But everyone knows that already. If this guy had ties to them, does it really matter if he's not breaking any laws? Publishing a Naughty List of Very Bad People (who haven't actually committed any crimes) seems like a waste of time at best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:00am

      Re: SPLC - why?

      Because if you don't repeatedly point out the scumbags and their rhetoric you normalize their behavior in society which history tells us is a very bad thing to happen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        mephistophocles (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 4:27am

        Re: Re: SPLC - why?

        I don't think that's true. None of us are in danger of becoming a neo-nazi because of things neo-nazis say. Are you? Can you honestly say that if SPLC wasn't around to show you who the big bad nazis are, you'd somehow be indoctrinated by them and end up agreeing with all the horrible garbage they say?

        I'm not necessarily creating a hill to die on here, I just think the SPLC mindset can be a little bit dangerous. We say that speech is free, and it's perfectly ok to 1) have a strong opinion about something and 2) talk about it publicly. But God forbid you say anything unsettling to the rest of us, because damn it, then we're going to put your name on every billboard and make sure your life is utterly ruined.

        If that's the case, I think maybe the problem is the rest us, not the scumbags preaching filth. Sure, they're scumbags, but any society will always have those types in them. And a healthy society simply ignores them, and punishes them appropriately if they do commit an actual crime. The best way to marginalize those types is not to make a big deal out of them, as SPLC does. In fact that may have the opposite effect.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 5:43am

          Re: Re: Re: SPLC - why?

          "I don't think that's true. "

          Look again

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 7:57am

          None of us are in danger of becoming a neo-nazi because of things neo-nazis say.

          You’d be wrong.

          I thought you should know that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 3:18am

            Re:

            Idiots are. They target me from time to time but I send them packing. Thank you for giving me more ammo to use against them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            mephistophocles (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 3:30pm

            Re:

            What a horrible logical fallacy. "Some have" therefore "all will?"

            I would think you'd know better. :)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 1:52am

            Re:

            I'm more with Stephen Fry here.

            Preventing assholes from bringing their toxic agenda to the public doesn't mean the assholes go away.

            It just means the public no longer gets to hear of them while the toxic agenda ferments in the dark.

            Here in Europe we've seen a resurgence of the brownshorts in politics mainly because TODAY few remember what the short-cropped blonde strongman actually MEANS when he wants to publicly debate the fallacies and risks of "multiculturalism".

            "Never Forget" is damn hard to accomplish when everyone spends twenty years believing nazism went the way of the dodo because the new would-be SA are prohibited by law from wearing their swastikas in public when they go beat up foreigners and homosexuals.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:05am

      Re: SPLC - why?

      Somebody has to

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:30am

      Re: SPLC - why?

      It seems to me that if you actually wanted the answers to any of those questions, you would have at least skimmed the SPLC entry on Wikipedia.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    restless94110 (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 1:45pm

    Neo Nazi Nonsense

    What the hell is a neo-Nazi? Apparently, it's just someone you don't like. This guy is a neo-Nazi. That woman is a neo-Nazi. These labels have real consequences that cause financial damage. Getting fired, etc.

    So why would you write something defending hurting people economically by slandering them and then pretending that there are no grounds for sueing fascists who call those they don't agree with neo-Nazis?

    I mean where are your principles, man? You obviously aren't for free speech. If someone says something you don't agree with it's time to cause them to suffer, to be destroyed.

    And you crow from the Heavens that their law suit to recover real financial damages was quelled? What kind of a person would want that for dissonant ideas?

    That is the obvious definition of a totalitarian. You are one, bud. You are one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 2:12pm

      These labels have real consequences that cause financial damage.

      Which is why most people go out of their way to not just avoid having the label applied to themselves, but also avoid association with anyone who could bear that label. Most people don’t go looking to hang out with White nationalist assholes, after all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 4:08pm

      Re: Neo Nazi Nonsense

      [Asserts facts not in evidence]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 5:38pm

      Re: Neo Nazi Nonsense

      What the hell is a neo-Nazi?

      People who associate with neo-Nazi groups and other related organizations.

      Apparently, it's just someone you don't like.

      No. Though, the statement is still one of opinion. So, despite the lack of evidence, you could claim that I was a neo-Nazi. You'd be wrong, but it wouldn't be defamatory.

      These labels have real consequences that cause financial damage. Getting fired, etc.

      Yes. Speech has consequences. Glad you figured that out.

      So why would you write something defending hurting people economically by slandering them

      I think you apparently chose not to read this article, which notes that it's not actually defamation here (and to be pedantic: slander is spoken, libel is written, and in this case, it was neither).

      We are not defending slander. We are defending freedom of speech.

      then pretending that there are no grounds for sueing fascists

      There are no grounds for suing people based on their protected speech. How are we "pretending" this is so when this is exactly what the court ruled (as have dozens of other courts in similar cases).

      I mean where are your principles, man?

      Right where they've always been.

      You obviously aren't for free speech. If someone says something you don't agree with it's time to cause them to suffer, to be destroyed.

      Who has made this argument, other than Mr. Allen, who tried to cause SPLC to suffer, to be destroyed, because he didn't like what they said. You're really projecting here.

      And you crow from the Heavens that their law suit to recover real financial damages was quelled? What kind of a person would want that for dissonant ideas?

      This is word salad that doesn't mean anything.

      That is the obvious definition of a totalitarian. You are one, bud. You are one.

      Defending free speech, as this court did, is the opposite of totalitarianism. One day, perhaps you'll educate yourself on this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:43am

      Re: It’s already too late bro

      I’m sorry you seem to have encephalitis resulting from a preventable disease complication. Please get yourself to a health care provider before you end up more brain damaged than you already are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 2:23pm

      Re: Neo Nazi Nonsense

      As Jon Stewart once noted, there’s a difference between free speech and consequence-free speech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 7:19pm

    SPLC is a scam

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2019 @ 2:46am

      Re:

      Thank you bro for your insightful tip into the mind of a mushbrained incel with about just enough energy left over to type out half a sentence of hot garbage before jerking off to a bad dub of a shit anime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 7:53am

        Hey now, that’s not fair!

        The Sword Art Online dub isn’t that bad.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 28 Nov 2019 @ 6:03pm

          Re:

          …I note that you immediately assumed the “shit anime” must be referring to Sword Art Online.

          Now, I’m not going to defend SAO; while I like some of the characters and the occasional clip, the first season was the only one I actually cared for at all.

          It’s just that if I’m thinking of a bad dub to a shit anime, my mind goes to that hilarious dub of Ghost Hunters.

          Still, nice backhanded compliment there.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 2:25pm

      Re:

      They can still call people racists for any reason they like. It’s still not defamation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 3:04pm

        Re: Re:

        It can be part of a crime like extortion but whether someone is racist or not is protected for a few reasons.

        1. It's really an opinion about whether someone is too racist.

        2. Fmri studies done of people's brain have proven that everyone is somewhat racist. Dissimilar or less familiar skin color made different regions of the brain light up for all the people in the studies.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2019 @ 6:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Avenue Q is a musical, not a bastion of scientific proof.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 8:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Fmri studies done of people's brain have proven that everyone is somewhat racist. Dissimilar or less familiar skin color made different regions of the brain light up for all the people in the studies."

          That's not racism. That's a biological vestige of identity recognition.

          In other words, our brains recognize those similar to us in an effort to perform identification. Similar studies show the same results every time you show a person photos of faces.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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