Thursday, 2 April 2015

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM? HERE'S MY FEW PENCE WORTH...



So is the stushie over Indiana's religious freedom restoration act
overblown?  I kind of get the impression that it might be, but I'm no
expert.  Click on this link to read a non-partisan annotated copy of
the law itself.  Once you're there, click on the highlights for what
it all actually means - then you can make up your own minds.

24 comments:

John Pitt said...

I've made MY mind up already - it's all gobbledygook!

Kid said...

That's what the highlighted parts are for, JP - they explain the basics when you click on them.

DeadSpiderEye said...

I confess, I'm none the wiser after reading it. It seems to be concerned with state imposed sanctions and civil proceedings (although it goes round the houses a bit there, the relevance to civil action taken by private individuals is implicit), how that pertains to administering wedding rites is anyone's guess. It looks as though it would be more relevant to things like necessities that might arise from practices associated with religion, like ringing church bells on a Sunday. There may be some context I'm unaware of, but it looks at first sight like a storm in a tea cup.

Kid said...

Perhaps the usual case of people with a chip on their shoulder looking for windmills to tilt at. eh?

Marionette said...

As with so many of these laws intended to preserve discrimination for bigoted old white guys, it amuses me that they never specify the religion involved, when everyone knows which one they had in mind.

I can only hope they get bitten on the ass like Oklahoma did when they put up a Ten Commandmants monument in the grounds of the state capitol, and the Satanic Temple demanded equal time with a delightful statue of Baphomet.

http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/michael-chapman/child-friendly-satan-statue-okla-state-capitol-awaits-final-judgment

Kid said...

Come, now, Marionette - people might start to think you're bigoted against old white guys. Is that one example of bigotry or three? (Old, white, and male.) Joking aside, it's all too easy to dismiss someone else's dislikes or revulsions as bigotry, when all they're trying to do (IF it's all they're trying to do) is is protect their own beliefs and freedoms (religious or otherwise) and not be compelled to kow-tow to something of which they disapprove. So I doubt that the U.S. equivalent if Gregg's would refuse to sell a poof a pastry (included merely for the humorous alliteration, nothing more - they use the word themselves,) but if doing something like baking a wedding cake for a gay wedding might involve the actual baker doing something against which he honestly feels is against his conscience, do you really think he should be compelled by law to bake that cake at the expense of his beliefs?

Colin Jones said...

It would be interesting to see what would happen if a baker refused to bake a cake for a Jewish wedding because the Jews killed Jesus. I suspect no baker would dare do that as it would be so blatantly racist but religious fundamentalists feel much more safe when it comes to gay people as that's the last "acceptable" kind of discrimination. I can only point out again the hypocrisy here - the Gospel of Matthew says quite clearly that the rich are destined for hell : "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God" but the baker wouldn't refuse to bake a cake for a millionaire's wedding I'm sure - cherry-picking which bits of the Bible to believe and which to ignore as usual.

Kid said...

The Jews didn't kill Jesus 'though, CJ - some people who happened to be Jewish killed Jesus (also a Jew), so wanting to kill Jesus is hardly a Jewish characteristic. What an utterly ridiculous thing to say. And to use a hyperbolic analogy (an exaggerated example for the purpose of making a point) to say that the rich are destined for hell is nonsense. In other words, you're just making things up as you go along, CJ, and the chip on your shoulder is all too apparent. And now you're making up 'straw man' examples to rant against. I'm quite sure any baker who would refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding would refuse to do so whether the gay couple were millionaires or not. And there's no religion I can think of where it's against their articles of faith to sell to millionaires, so your assertion is completely absurd. Times ten. As far as I can see, CJ. you're the only one cherry-picking from the Bible (and distorting and misinterpreting it as you do so) in order to make fatuous (non) points. I'm sorry to say it, but the more you rant on in this subject, the more apparent it becomes that you have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. If you want to rail against religious fundamentalists, then you'd be better doing so from a position of knowledge, not a misunderstanding of what you imagine the Bible to say. I say again, the only person cheery-picking from the Bible to justify their opinion is you.

And I'm no fan of religious fundamentalism, but I'd never seek to justify my doubts about them based on such a feeble and biased argument like yours. Can't you see the contradiction inherent in saying the Bible's a lot of sh*te on the one hand, and then appealing to it to try and make your case on the other. You've obviously been having a few beers tonight - I'd make that last one you had the last of the night.

Colin Jones said...

I haven't had any beers. The Jews have been persecuted for "killing Jesus" for two thousand years and the New Testament is very anti-Semitic - a baker who refused to bake a cake for a Jewish wedding could say it was against his conscience. The last time I checked a camel can't pass through the eye of a needle so the rich are going to hell according to Matthew. I'm not distorting or misinterpreting anything simply pointing out the hypocrisy of people who choose to believe whichever bits of the Bible suit them - and please stop saying I'm ranting. I don't say you are ranting when you complain about political correctness.

Kid said...

That's because I don't rant against political correctness, CJ. You, on the other hand, have made numerous recent comments against a section of the religious community on both this blog and another, using immensely absurd arguments which increasingly demonstrate you don't really understand what you're talking about. You accuse others of cherry-picking from the Bible while doing the exact same thing yourself, yet ripping your examples out of context and totally misrepresenting them.

Case in point: The writers used extremely figurative language in the Old and New Testaments. It talks about 'the windows of Heaven opening' when describing heavy rainfall, but no serious scholar would dogmatically assert that they believed Heaven had actual windows. It was meant figuratively. Paul says in one of his letters to the Galatians 'Though we, or an angel of Heaven preach unto you any other gospel...", but no one thinks that he was suggesting that an angel WOULD preach any other gospel. It was hyperbole - exaggeration for the purpose of making a point. Jesus' example of the rich man falls into the same category. Look at the context and the specific case. A rich man had asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. He was told, essentially, obey the commandments. Done that from childhood, the man replies. You lack one thing, Jesus tells him. Get rid of all your possessions, give your money to the poor and come and follow me. The man went away sad, because he had a helluva lot of possessions and was very rich. Jesus then says a couple of times that it's hard for those who TRUST in riches to enter the kingdom of God. Note that he says it's hard, not impossible. When pressed, he says it's easier for a camel, etc. Exaggeration to make a point. The disciples are puzzled and take his example literally (as you do). Who then can be saved, they ask. With God ALL things are possible, Jesus replies. So, presumably, as you insist on taking the figurative literally, it WOULD be possible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

Continued...

Kid said...

When it comes to understanding the Bible, the times in which it was written and who it was written for have to be taken into account. When you accuse others of cherry-picking, while it is undeniable that some do, others are only exercising what they believe to be educated judgement in regard to what was meant to be interpreted as timeless and universal, and what was only intended for the time and place in which it was written (historical context). You repeatedly fail to understand that, yet pick whatever suits you (ripping it out of context in the process) from the Bible to rail against others you accuse of doing the same thing. You can't seem to see that that makes you every bit as hypocritical as you accuse others of being. Yet you repeatedly bang on about Christians being hypocrites and single them out for that assertion. I've tried to point out that, as we're all hypocrites (to a greater or lesser degree) who choose what we want to believe on any given subject, then it's ridiculous to suggest that any one group has a monopoly on the trait.

As for the Jews, again, you're talking mince, CJ. While it's true that the Jews have suffered persecution, they've been persecuted throughout history - long before Jesus came on the scene. Maybe they upset a few other nations along the way by proclaiming themselves as God's chosen people, who knows? However, aside from a few isolated thickos, no one has ever seriously claimed (that I'm aware) that their persecution was as a result of killing Jesus. In fact, in the main, Jews and Christians have got on together very well for a very long time now. There was a bit of persecution OF Christians BY the Jews in the early days, but most Christians seem to have forgiven them for it.

Now, before you go off in the huff, CJ, and pull your comments, notice that I allow yout o express your point of view without calling you a bigot or a troll for it, which is more courtesy than I'm accorded on certain other blogs. However, if I think you're talking mince, I'll tell you and allow you the opportunity of disagreeing with me. However, I have to say - on this subject, you're talking enough mince to fill a Sainsbury's meat counter, and it comes across as you having a bee in your bonnet over religion.

So, what did you think of Thunderbirds?

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I said yesterday I wouldn't delete any more comments so I won't delete any of these. Obviously you have a lot more theological understanding than me so I won't say any more on the matter but I've heard plenty of criticism of the Bible along the lines that I've mentioned in these comments so it's not just me who thinks it. And I'm baffled that you think Christians haven't spent centuries persecuting the Jews for supposedly killing Jesus - just a few days ago on Radio 4 a Jewish rabbi was saying how much damage the anti-Semitism of the New Testament had done to the Jewish people. In the Middle Ages pogroms against the Jews were common and in 1290 Edward I expelled all the Jews from England. And yes I know anti-Semitism goes back before Christianity (around 200 BC in Alexandria is the earliest known case) but it was the Christians who really ran with it. When Spanish Christians conquered the remainder of Muslim Spain in 1492 they offered the Jews three choices - expulsion, conversion to Christianity or death. In 1099 the Crusaders captured Jerusalem and slaughtered every Jew in the city because they'd been brought up to hate Jews. This will be my last comment on this subject. I think of you as an internet pal, Kid, and I hate arguing with you so I won't. I haven't seen Thunderbirds, I was never that great a fan of the original anyway (it's Joe 90 that I remember watching as a 5 year-old and I didn't see Thunderbirds till the '90s on BBC 2) but I'd watch an episode of the new Thunderbirds on iplayer just out of curiosity.

Kid said...

I'd say there is no anti-Semitism in the New Testament, CJ. That's because it was written by Jews, who are hardly going to persecute themselves. As for those Spanish 'Christians' you mention - while not excusing their behaviour, at least they gave the Jews a choice, which is often something persecuted Christians weren't given. And remember, Jews (as well as the Romans) first persecuted Christians (I wonder what that rabbi has to say about that), which, although I'm certainly not condoning so-called Christians persecuting Jews, perhaps helps understand it. The point is, that it's not part of the Christian faith to hate or persecute Jews or anybody else, so anyone doing that clearly isn't a real Christian, only someone distorting its tenets to their own ends. Crusaders weren't real Christians, only soldiers hiding under the banner of their country's 'official' religion to justify their aggression. It's not even that they cherry-picked from the Bible - they completely ignored it.

So, when I say that Jews and Christians seem to get along with no apparent animosity, firstly, I was thinking mainly of Western countries in relatively modern times, and talking about genuine Christian-minded people who generally observe the heart of the Christian religion - not those who misuse it as an excuse to kill people they don't like. And I was trying to stress that the major instances of Jewish persecution down through history wasn't as a result of them 'killing Jesus'.

So what's the difference between that situation and certain religious groups and homosexuals today? Those Christian fundamentalists you speak of aren't, as far as I can tell, calling for gays to be stoned, spat on, beaten up, burned, prosecuted, banished, jailed, etc. They're only seeking to protect what they see as their right not to be compelled to recognise, facilitate or accept behaviour which they see as being at odds with their beliefs. They're not seeking to compel everybody else to believe what they do, or think as they do or act as they do. Are they right or wrong? It's a bigger question than anyone who has thus far commented on the situation (anywhere, as far as I've seen) realises. (And I include myself in that.)

Incidentally, all of the above, aside from the last paragraph, I typed nearly four hours ago, before a friend dropped in for coffee. I've been nursing it all this time. I quite enjpyed Thunderbirds, but at the risk of being called a racist bigot by anyone, I object to such an iconic figure as Brains having his ethnicity changed. I'd have much preferred them to have introduced an entirely new Indian character. Why alienate long-time fans (who prefer to see the characters as they were originally created) when there's no need?

Kid said...

That's a bit long-winded and glosses over the point I was trying to make. I don't dispute that there were times when Jews suffered persecution at the hands of certain groups who called themselves Christians, only that persecuting Jews isn't and never has never been part of the Christian faith, nor is there anything anywhere in the Bible that encourages or condones it.

True Believer said...

Love Thy Neighbor. That's what Indiana needs to remember, not be prejudiced against thy neighbour.

Kid said...

Loving thy neighbour doesn't mean seeing everything their way 'though, TB, nor being compelled to support a way of life that goes against one's beliefs. And loving thy neighbour cuts both ways, remember. Should you be allowed to force someone to do something for you when you can just as easily go elsewhere to someone who'll accommodate you? Remember, this legislation wouldn't allow a doctor, nurse, or policeman to refuse helping someone who was gay, so the reaction seems a little out of proportion.

True Believer said...

Imagine the difficulty if they had to go out of state for a wedding cake. That's hardly fair.

Kid said...

And is it any fairer that someone should be forced to compromise their legally held belief-system (religious or otherwise) by being compelled to help facilitate a contentious action which they're against?

True Believer said...

I think so because they should not hold the belief that gay weddings are immoral or improper. It's simply two people who love each other and who want to make a commitment in the same way as same sex couples. Love is love.

Kid said...

And why shouldn't they hold that belief. TB? That's hardly an argument. Someone could just as easily say that gays shouldn't hold the belief that gay weddings are moral or proper. And love is hardly a free pass. Horrible as it is to imagine, some people use 'love' to justify incest. There are brothers and sisters out there who believe they should be allowed to marry because they 'love' each other. Love isn't always love, I'm afraid.

True Believer said...

The difference is incest is illegal for very sound reasons such as pertaining to birth defects if siblings had a child or the mental health issues of sexual attraction within the same family. A guy loving another (non related) guy harms no one. Why not let them marry? They didn't choose to be gay. It's how nature intended those people to be just as nature intends some people to be straight or bisexual or asexual. Why would anyone be mean enough to give them any hardship over it?

Kid said...

You're not thinking things through, TB. Firstly, what if a brother and sister who wanted to marry (and there have been such cases) agreed to be sterilised so that they couldn't have children - then there would be no reason to deny them marriage. After all, they love each other - right? Love is love you said. Or what if two gay brothers (or sisters) wanted to marry? Children then wouldn't be an issue? (NPI.) and some people do choose to be gay, for a variety of reasons; whether it's because, in the increasing absence of social stigma, they experiment and decide they like it, or some other cause (like the absence of women in jail). And if everyone's sexual inclinations are as nature intends, how do you regard paedophilia or bestiality? Did nature intend these sexual attractions too?

True Believer said...

You can't compare LGBT people to those perversions. There's no connection. Let me conclude by asking this: do you really think God would truly approve of those bakers refusing to make a gay couple a wedding cake? Would God really be that petty? Think about it.

Kid said...

You're missing the point, TB. Who decides on what's perversion or not? You can't have it both ways. If people are born with their sexual desires, and they're immutable, then can they be held accountable? After all, according to you, it's not their fault. Can you explain why you're disgusted by what you call perversion? (I should add here that I agree with you that they are perverse.) Well, if we accept your premise that people's sexual tastes are shaped by their DNA, you can't really call anything perverse - that's a subjective opinion. You probably can't even rationally explain why you think they're perverse - your disgust is a natural reaction to you. In the exact same way that other people's disgust of homosexuality is a natural, instinctive reaction to them. Why should you be allowed your right to be disgusted while dismissing other people's right to the same thing? As for God, which God are you talking about? If the Biblical God truly hates homosexuality and approves of gays being stoned, I think he'd probably be slightly miffed at them getting off lightly by only being denied a wedding cake. Think about it, you say? I've already done the thinking, TB - now it's your turn.

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