Persecuting “religious pathologies”

The French government is planning a crack-down on people with what is being called “religious pathologies,” including those that are overly orthodox and traditional, want to be separate from secular society, or believe in creationism.   From Reuters:

France will deport foreign-born imams and disband radical faith-based groups, including hardline traditionalist Catholics, if a new surveillance policy signals they suffer a “religious pathology” and could become violent.

A French Islamist shooting spree last March that killed three soldiers and four Jews showed how quickly religiously radicalized people could turn to force, Interior Minister Manuel Valls told a conference on the official policy of secularism.

His warning came two days after President Francois Hollande announced the creation of an agency to track how the separation of church and state is upheld in this traditionally Catholic country with Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish minorities.

Valls and two other cabinet ministers told the conference on Tuesday evening the Socialist-led government would stress the secularist policy called “laicite” that they said was weakened under the previous conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“The aim is not to combat opinions by force, but to detect and understand when an opinion turns into a potentially violent and criminal excess,” he said.

“The objective is to identify when it’s suitable to intervene to treat what has become a religious pathology,” said Valls, whose ministry oversees relations with religions.

France’s official secularism sidelines faith in the public sphere, but a trend towards a more visible religious identity among some Muslims, Jews and Catholics has made defending it a cause for the traditionally secularist left-wing parties.

Valls stressed the focus would be not only on radical Salafi Muslims recruiting among disaffected youths, but also on groups such as Civitas, a far-right lay Catholic movement that protests aggressively against what it calls insults to Christianity. . . .

Valls said the government had a duty to combat religious extremism because it was “an offence to the republic” based on a negation of reason that puts dogma ahead of the law.

Giving examples of religious extremists, he mentioned creationists in the United States and the Muslim world, radical Islamists, ultra-traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews who want to live separately from the modern world.

via France steps up struggle against religious radicals | Reuters.

Notice the psychologizing of the issues.  Religion will not be persecuted because of their beliefs but because those who hold those beliefs will be considered to have a “pathological” condition.

Do you think this will spread from France?  Is this what Christians will be facing everywhere, including in the United States?  Perhaps a mental hospital if you believe in creationism?

 

HT:  Trystan Bloom

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    Thought crime. And you thought the surveillance state would never, couldn’t possibly ever, descend to the depths of 1984. Wait until they apply it to whole political parties: ‘It’s not that we disagree on policy, but they’re absolutely crazy! They need to be removed from society.’ Seems like the Soviets did something similar; merely proving in a roundabout way that the well of socialism has run dry, but they’ll still man the pumps.

  • SKPeterson

    Thought crime. And you thought the surveillance state would never, couldn’t possibly ever, descend to the depths of 1984. Wait until they apply it to whole political parties: ‘It’s not that we disagree on policy, but they’re absolutely crazy! They need to be removed from society.’ Seems like the Soviets did something similar; merely proving in a roundabout way that the well of socialism has run dry, but they’ll still man the pumps.

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s the website of the bomb-throwing French radicals:
    http://www.civitas-institut.com/

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s the website of the bomb-throwing French radicals:
    http://www.civitas-institut.com/

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Oh wow… that’s pretty freaky…

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Oh wow… that’s pretty freaky…

  • Tom Hering

    Do you think this will spread from France? Is this what Christians will be facing everywhere, including in the United States? Perhaps a mental hospital if you believe in creationism?

    Maybe this is happening in France because … they’re French. A people with an anti-religious culture and history that’s unique to them.

    But I guess we all like to engage in some form of apocalyptic, tribulationist thinking. Even as we snicker at the End Times scenarios of cultists and New Agers.

    I mean, how do you go from a French minister mentioning creationists in the United States, to seriously asking if American Christians might also be institutionalized, when (according to Gallup) half our population is creationist, and a third are theistic evolutionists? It’s a whole different ball game over here.

  • Tom Hering

    Do you think this will spread from France? Is this what Christians will be facing everywhere, including in the United States? Perhaps a mental hospital if you believe in creationism?

    Maybe this is happening in France because … they’re French. A people with an anti-religious culture and history that’s unique to them.

    But I guess we all like to engage in some form of apocalyptic, tribulationist thinking. Even as we snicker at the End Times scenarios of cultists and New Agers.

    I mean, how do you go from a French minister mentioning creationists in the United States, to seriously asking if American Christians might also be institutionalized, when (according to Gallup) half our population is creationist, and a third are theistic evolutionists? It’s a whole different ball game over here.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Really glad that the government finally gets a hold of all those jew-bombing French creationists!

    But seriously speaking, this will in practice lead to discrimination of Jewish and Catholic communities, since all the would-be terrorists in France are already located in the islamistic no-go areas, where the police has zero control anyway.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Really glad that the government finally gets a hold of all those jew-bombing French creationists!

    But seriously speaking, this will in practice lead to discrimination of Jewish and Catholic communities, since all the would-be terrorists in France are already located in the islamistic no-go areas, where the police has zero control anyway.

  • Josh

    I hear the echoes of CS Lewis’s essay “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”.

  • Josh

    I hear the echoes of CS Lewis’s essay “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”.

  • Michael B.

    But do the events of 9-11 at all change your opinion on how we should view religious fundamentalism? A lot of people, particularly on the Left, will attribute the actions of the 9-11 hijackers to non-religious reasons. But clearly these hijackers believed in a literal tenets of Islam. For example, that those who died in jihad would go to heaven and enjoy many virgins. (The writings of these terrorist organizations are are online if you doubt this.) For those who want to attribute Muhammad Atta’s actions to say the conflict in Israel, you should note that the Tibet occupation by China has been far worse than anything done by the Israeli government, and you don’t see Tibetian suicide bombers hijacking planes and blowing up innocent people.

  • Michael B.

    But do the events of 9-11 at all change your opinion on how we should view religious fundamentalism? A lot of people, particularly on the Left, will attribute the actions of the 9-11 hijackers to non-religious reasons. But clearly these hijackers believed in a literal tenets of Islam. For example, that those who died in jihad would go to heaven and enjoy many virgins. (The writings of these terrorist organizations are are online if you doubt this.) For those who want to attribute Muhammad Atta’s actions to say the conflict in Israel, you should note that the Tibet occupation by China has been far worse than anything done by the Israeli government, and you don’t see Tibetian suicide bombers hijacking planes and blowing up innocent people.

  • Trey

    Basically, the French government would declare Jesus as having a pathology. I only wish the secularist would acknowledge that evolutionary belief especially of the beginnings of our world is a faith too since it is unobservable and untestable,I.e., non-science.

  • Trey

    Basically, the French government would declare Jesus as having a pathology. I only wish the secularist would acknowledge that evolutionary belief especially of the beginnings of our world is a faith too since it is unobservable and untestable,I.e., non-science.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The reaction here is pretty predictable. But read the article again:

    “The aim is not to combat opinions by force, but to detect and understand when an opinion turns into a potentially violent and criminal excess,” he said.

    Note that the idea is not to persecute religious folks, but to stop the development of violent strains. Sure, there is overkill here as well, but don’t read into it what isn’t there.

    Furthermore, some political context is needed. Hollande barely defeated Sarkozy – and it is argued that the latter could have won if his lavish lifestyle did not belie his austere economic policies. Since Hollande’s takeover, the French economy has not been doing well, and his economic policies are worsening the situation. Therefore the Socialists need to be seen acting on something, and with the spate of religious attacks in South-Western France (Toulouse, especially), this move is the equivalent of political low-hanging fruit.

    Some further context:

    Valls stressed the focus would be not only on radical Salafi Muslims recruiting among disaffected youths, but also on groups such as Civitas, a far-right lay Catholic movement that protests aggressively against what it calls insults to Christianity.

    Police were already observing Civitas closely because its protest campaigns skirt “the limits of legality,” he said. “All excesses are being minutely registered in case we have to consider dissolving it and defending this before a judge.”

    The French Catholic Church has kept its distance from Civitas, which is close to the far-right National Front and the rebel traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), and encouraged its members to join only Church-backed protests against the planned legalisation of same-sex marriage.

    At a Civitas march against gay marriage in Paris last month, some demonstrators attacked a French feminist journalist and several Ukrainian feminists who came dressed as nuns or bared their breasts to mock the ultra-traditionalists.

    And especially this context:

    Salafi Muslims, whose stern version of Islam also sets followers apart from Western society, sometimes act in a sectarian way to control youths seeking an identity, he said.

    France actively pursues and sometimes bans sects and cults considered a threat to public order but radical Islamist groups have mostly been treated as security problems. Classifying them as sectarian could lead to preemptive legal action against them.

    Announcing his initiative on secularism on Sunday, Hollande said the new observatory – a public agency to monitor policy issues and propose solutions – would also study ways to introduce classes on secular morality in state schools.

    Education Minister Vincent Peillon told the conference the classes would stress the French values of equality and fraternity that teachers say pupils – especially in poorer areas with immigrant populations – increasingly do not respect.

    “We have to teach this and it’s not being done,” he said. “If we don’t teach it, they won’t learn it.”

    Valls urged the more militant secularists at the conference not to see religions as sects to be opposed and to understand that established religions could help fight against extremists.

    “We have to say that religions are not sects, otherwise sects are religions,” he said.

    Note especially that last sentence.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The reaction here is pretty predictable. But read the article again:

    “The aim is not to combat opinions by force, but to detect and understand when an opinion turns into a potentially violent and criminal excess,” he said.

    Note that the idea is not to persecute religious folks, but to stop the development of violent strains. Sure, there is overkill here as well, but don’t read into it what isn’t there.

    Furthermore, some political context is needed. Hollande barely defeated Sarkozy – and it is argued that the latter could have won if his lavish lifestyle did not belie his austere economic policies. Since Hollande’s takeover, the French economy has not been doing well, and his economic policies are worsening the situation. Therefore the Socialists need to be seen acting on something, and with the spate of religious attacks in South-Western France (Toulouse, especially), this move is the equivalent of political low-hanging fruit.

    Some further context:

    Valls stressed the focus would be not only on radical Salafi Muslims recruiting among disaffected youths, but also on groups such as Civitas, a far-right lay Catholic movement that protests aggressively against what it calls insults to Christianity.

    Police were already observing Civitas closely because its protest campaigns skirt “the limits of legality,” he said. “All excesses are being minutely registered in case we have to consider dissolving it and defending this before a judge.”

    The French Catholic Church has kept its distance from Civitas, which is close to the far-right National Front and the rebel traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), and encouraged its members to join only Church-backed protests against the planned legalisation of same-sex marriage.

    At a Civitas march against gay marriage in Paris last month, some demonstrators attacked a French feminist journalist and several Ukrainian feminists who came dressed as nuns or bared their breasts to mock the ultra-traditionalists.

    And especially this context:

    Salafi Muslims, whose stern version of Islam also sets followers apart from Western society, sometimes act in a sectarian way to control youths seeking an identity, he said.

    France actively pursues and sometimes bans sects and cults considered a threat to public order but radical Islamist groups have mostly been treated as security problems. Classifying them as sectarian could lead to preemptive legal action against them.

    Announcing his initiative on secularism on Sunday, Hollande said the new observatory – a public agency to monitor policy issues and propose solutions – would also study ways to introduce classes on secular morality in state schools.

    Education Minister Vincent Peillon told the conference the classes would stress the French values of equality and fraternity that teachers say pupils – especially in poorer areas with immigrant populations – increasingly do not respect.

    “We have to teach this and it’s not being done,” he said. “If we don’t teach it, they won’t learn it.”

    Valls urged the more militant secularists at the conference not to see religions as sects to be opposed and to understand that established religions could help fight against extremists.

    “We have to say that religions are not sects, otherwise sects are religions,” he said.

    Note especially that last sentence.

  • dan kempin

    Come on, gang. The problem in France is Islam. Everyone knows that. Europe is demographically Muslim–they just don’t know it yet. (True, the Muslims are only 7-10% of total population right now, but the non-muslim population has a negative birthrate.) These laws are a much belated attempt by France to walk back the “all religions are equal and Islam is not a threat” tolerance that led them to where they are right now.

    Of COURSE they have to include “radical” Christians and Jews in the policy, otherwise they are big fact hypocrites. But will this institutional power, intended to protect against Islam, lead to the persecution of Christians?

    Yes. Yes it will.

  • dan kempin

    Come on, gang. The problem in France is Islam. Everyone knows that. Europe is demographically Muslim–they just don’t know it yet. (True, the Muslims are only 7-10% of total population right now, but the non-muslim population has a negative birthrate.) These laws are a much belated attempt by France to walk back the “all religions are equal and Islam is not a threat” tolerance that led them to where they are right now.

    Of COURSE they have to include “radical” Christians and Jews in the policy, otherwise they are big fact hypocrites. But will this institutional power, intended to protect against Islam, lead to the persecution of Christians?

    Yes. Yes it will.

  • SKPeterson

    KK @ 9 – the issue becomes how to define a tendency toward violence. Further, the strongholds of Civitas are in regions of France that have long-standing traditions of animus against the central French state going back to the end of the ancien regime. Places like Normandy and Brittany in particular.

  • SKPeterson

    KK @ 9 – the issue becomes how to define a tendency toward violence. Further, the strongholds of Civitas are in regions of France that have long-standing traditions of animus against the central French state going back to the end of the ancien regime. Places like Normandy and Brittany in particular.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – yes, it’s rather like that “intoxication debate” of yesterday. That being said, one should not ignore the context given towards the end of the quotes I listed in my comment @ #9. What we would call the “para-church ministry / movement”, that works outside the traditional religious hierarchy and broader society, and encourages confrontation leading to violence would be the prime target of the agency. Thus Civitas, and not a cloister of Benedictines.

    But I do get the context of regionalism you mention too. Of course, that explains some other things – the Quebecois are largely descendants of settlers from Normandy and Brittany (tongue firmly in cheek…).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – yes, it’s rather like that “intoxication debate” of yesterday. That being said, one should not ignore the context given towards the end of the quotes I listed in my comment @ #9. What we would call the “para-church ministry / movement”, that works outside the traditional religious hierarchy and broader society, and encourages confrontation leading to violence would be the prime target of the agency. Thus Civitas, and not a cloister of Benedictines.

    But I do get the context of regionalism you mention too. Of course, that explains some other things – the Quebecois are largely descendants of settlers from Normandy and Brittany (tongue firmly in cheek…).

  • Dan

    Sounds like the Definition of Religion Act from Wolf Time…

  • Dan

    Sounds like the Definition of Religion Act from Wolf Time…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    One other thing, from a personal point of view, which also informs my reaction here:

    As I have often said – I grew up in a fundamentalist sect / cult. So I know damn well what a religious pathology looks like, although there was little tendency towards outside violence in my experience. It does exist people, within the confines of “evangelical Christianity” (broadly defined), and it is very ugly too.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    One other thing, from a personal point of view, which also informs my reaction here:

    As I have often said – I grew up in a fundamentalist sect / cult. So I know damn well what a religious pathology looks like, although there was little tendency towards outside violence in my experience. It does exist people, within the confines of “evangelical Christianity” (broadly defined), and it is very ugly too.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@9+ and SKP@11:

    No, the issue becomes whether the State ought to possess the power and prerogative to determine which ideas are distasteful or “violent.”

    Personally, I think there’s a long tradition of jurisprudence that would prevent an American citizen from being expelled or imprisoned for such “violent” ideas (cf. Brandenburg v. Ohio). But, on the other hand, that won’t–and hasn’t!–stopped the various Alphabet Agencies from harrassing those with “violent” ideas anyway.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@9+ and SKP@11:

    No, the issue becomes whether the State ought to possess the power and prerogative to determine which ideas are distasteful or “violent.”

    Personally, I think there’s a long tradition of jurisprudence that would prevent an American citizen from being expelled or imprisoned for such “violent” ideas (cf. Brandenburg v. Ohio). But, on the other hand, that won’t–and hasn’t!–stopped the various Alphabet Agencies from harrassing those with “violent” ideas anyway.

  • rlewer

    It was the Soviet Communists who imprisoned their dissidents, especially the religious, as insane.

  • rlewer

    It was the Soviet Communists who imprisoned their dissidents, especially the religious, as insane.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus: Well, generally the State does, everywhere. Also, generally, should any such threats be carried out (as has happened a couple of times now in France), the repercussions from the populace (you knew, why didn’t you…!!!!) would be considerable, and would likely be a major political disaster. Hence the preemptive action. Balancing that action against repercussions from the populace if it be perceived as too intrusive and heavy handed becomes an equally difficult tight-rope.

    There is a lot less ideology, and a lot more tight-rope politics in these matters than most people think. After all, a politician’s main aim is too keep his/her job!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus: Well, generally the State does, everywhere. Also, generally, should any such threats be carried out (as has happened a couple of times now in France), the repercussions from the populace (you knew, why didn’t you…!!!!) would be considerable, and would likely be a major political disaster. Hence the preemptive action. Balancing that action against repercussions from the populace if it be perceived as too intrusive and heavy handed becomes an equally difficult tight-rope.

    There is a lot less ideology, and a lot more tight-rope politics in these matters than most people think. After all, a politician’s main aim is too keep his/her job!

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@17:

    Well, generally the State does, everywhere.

    I’m aware that Canada’s protections on free speech are considerably less than those afforded by America’s First Amendment. But even so, since when do the “Western liberal democracies” assume the role of arbiter of acceptable ideas? I know it occurs at the margins: debating what should appear in public school curricula, for example. But, in the United States at least, it is regarded as extremely prejudicial–and indeed unconstitutional–for the State to silence ideas that it may find objectionable, much less deport or imprison those who subscribe to said ideas, no matter how dangerous they are.

    Let me remind you of the facts of Brandenburg: A KKK leader who was blatantly and explicitly advocating race war in front of a crowd of angry racists was deemed to be engaging in protected speech. As long as the speech isn’t determined to be a direct incitement to immediate violence–and Brandenburg set the bar here very high!–it’s licit. In America, you could never constitutionally get away with expelling a citizen who preaches terrorism, for example. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, but it couldn’t happen constitutionally given current jurisprudence.

    In short, what are you talking about?

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@17:

    Well, generally the State does, everywhere.

    I’m aware that Canada’s protections on free speech are considerably less than those afforded by America’s First Amendment. But even so, since when do the “Western liberal democracies” assume the role of arbiter of acceptable ideas? I know it occurs at the margins: debating what should appear in public school curricula, for example. But, in the United States at least, it is regarded as extremely prejudicial–and indeed unconstitutional–for the State to silence ideas that it may find objectionable, much less deport or imprison those who subscribe to said ideas, no matter how dangerous they are.

    Let me remind you of the facts of Brandenburg: A KKK leader who was blatantly and explicitly advocating race war in front of a crowd of angry racists was deemed to be engaging in protected speech. As long as the speech isn’t determined to be a direct incitement to immediate violence–and Brandenburg set the bar here very high!–it’s licit. In America, you could never constitutionally get away with expelling a citizen who preaches terrorism, for example. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, but it couldn’t happen constitutionally given current jurisprudence.

    In short, what are you talking about?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus, The more people utter violent ideas, the more the state gets interested in them (in general terms) Of course, in the US, there is a greater tolerance for “mouthing off”. But replace “KKK” with “Salafi Muslim” preaching “death to the infidel”, and see how far the tolerance goes.

    But this discussion is based on events in France, not in the US, with a specific political context, as noted above.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus, The more people utter violent ideas, the more the state gets interested in them (in general terms) Of course, in the US, there is a greater tolerance for “mouthing off”. But replace “KKK” with “Salafi Muslim” preaching “death to the infidel”, and see how far the tolerance goes.

    But this discussion is based on events in France, not in the US, with a specific political context, as noted above.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@19:

    1) “See how far the tolerance goes.” On the one hand, I want to grant your point as a strong critic of the state. But, really, we’ve waged a “war” on “terrorism” for 11 years and counting, and our prisons as of yet are not filled with Muslims, radical or otherwise. The occupants of Guantanamo weren’t mere advocates of terrorism, but actually implicated in terrorist plots. So I’m not sure the double-standard your suspect actually exists in practice–in state practice, that is, not popular sentiment.

    2) Yes, this is an event in France, whose socio-political context is much, much different from ours. But Veith explicitly implied a potential connection with future events in America.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK@19:

    1) “See how far the tolerance goes.” On the one hand, I want to grant your point as a strong critic of the state. But, really, we’ve waged a “war” on “terrorism” for 11 years and counting, and our prisons as of yet are not filled with Muslims, radical or otherwise. The occupants of Guantanamo weren’t mere advocates of terrorism, but actually implicated in terrorist plots. So I’m not sure the double-standard your suspect actually exists in practice–in state practice, that is, not popular sentiment.

    2) Yes, this is an event in France, whose socio-political context is much, much different from ours. But Veith explicitly implied a potential connection with future events in America.

  • Cincinnatus

    “explicitly implied”

    Fail. We need an edit comment feature.

  • Cincinnatus

    “explicitly implied”

    Fail. We need an edit comment feature.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus – I had thought in my initial response to KK to articulate something akin to what you not above, but I deleted it. It is important, but I haven’t quite worked out how one even begins to define the scope and extent of a surveillance state couple with a legal predilection towards preemptive intervention. When does a legitimate concern for public safety (leaving alone how to define legitimate at this point) descend into simply engaging agents provocateurs aimed at discrediting and criminalizing opponents of the current political regime. It sets a dangerous precedent, one that we in the U.S. have largely adopted as “necessary” with many of the provisions in the NDAA.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus – I had thought in my initial response to KK to articulate something akin to what you not above, but I deleted it. It is important, but I haven’t quite worked out how one even begins to define the scope and extent of a surveillance state couple with a legal predilection towards preemptive intervention. When does a legitimate concern for public safety (leaving alone how to define legitimate at this point) descend into simply engaging agents provocateurs aimed at discrediting and criminalizing opponents of the current political regime. It sets a dangerous precedent, one that we in the U.S. have largely adopted as “necessary” with many of the provisions in the NDAA.

  • kerner

    Hey, to secular psychology, we are all talking to our Friend who lives in the sky that nobody can see. They don’t have to move very far to consider that pathological.

  • kerner

    Hey, to secular psychology, we are all talking to our Friend who lives in the sky that nobody can see. They don’t have to move very far to consider that pathological.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP: Exactly. In free democracies, it seems that the State experiments with public opinion in striking that point of balance. Witness the eventual outcry against excessive safety camera’s in the UK. Or the Bush Administration attempt at monitoring your library loans. The initial suggestions during the implementation of the War on Terror wrt public monitoring were widely decried from left and right.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP: Exactly. In free democracies, it seems that the State experiments with public opinion in striking that point of balance. Witness the eventual outcry against excessive safety camera’s in the UK. Or the Bush Administration attempt at monitoring your library loans. The initial suggestions during the implementation of the War on Terror wrt public monitoring were widely decried from left and right.

  • BW

    Well, I think the US has encountered this situation before at both Ruby Ridge and Waco. In both situations the people in question were seen as scary, fringe types. And In both cases the violence didn’t break out until the Federal Government caused a direct confrontation. The question was raised that can you take action against someone because of what the believe, if you feel they may become violent? The Constitution seems to indicate “No, you can’t.” I don’t think the US has fully settled that question and maybe the country never well.

  • BW

    Well, I think the US has encountered this situation before at both Ruby Ridge and Waco. In both situations the people in question were seen as scary, fringe types. And In both cases the violence didn’t break out until the Federal Government caused a direct confrontation. The question was raised that can you take action against someone because of what the believe, if you feel they may become violent? The Constitution seems to indicate “No, you can’t.” I don’t think the US has fully settled that question and maybe the country never well.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    kerner,

    That opinion (of yours, not psychology) is often expressed, but I have found no evidence that it is widespread in psychology at all. It seems that in psychology, religion is studied as a phenomenon, with good or ill effects. Of course, I’m not a psychologist, so anyone who is is welcome to contradict me with evidence.

    There is even a society, with a decent academic journal on the psychology of religion. Looking at the indexes of recent issues, I cannot find evidence of consistent bias. It seems to be a straightforward study of the interaction of mind, behaviour and religion. (see here: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/arp/)

    Do not take the opinions of fringe atheists as representative of the thoughts of “secular” intelligentsia.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    kerner,

    That opinion (of yours, not psychology) is often expressed, but I have found no evidence that it is widespread in psychology at all. It seems that in psychology, religion is studied as a phenomenon, with good or ill effects. Of course, I’m not a psychologist, so anyone who is is welcome to contradict me with evidence.

    There is even a society, with a decent academic journal on the psychology of religion. Looking at the indexes of recent issues, I cannot find evidence of consistent bias. It seems to be a straightforward study of the interaction of mind, behaviour and religion. (see here: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/arp/)

    Do not take the opinions of fringe atheists as representative of the thoughts of “secular” intelligentsia.

  • SKPeterson

    KK – Here’s the bad news for the U.S. right on the front page of the WSJ: U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap A Vast Database of Citizens. Created by bureaucratic fiat. Apparently, just post a notice in the Federal Register and everything’s okay.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324478304578171623040640006.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird#articleTabs%3Dinteractive

  • SKPeterson

    KK – Here’s the bad news for the U.S. right on the front page of the WSJ: U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap A Vast Database of Citizens. Created by bureaucratic fiat. Apparently, just post a notice in the Federal Register and everything’s okay.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324478304578171623040640006.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird#articleTabs%3Dinteractive

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Of course, bureaucratic ineptitude plays into this as well. I’m reminded of the line from that otherwise mediocre movie, “The Astronaut Farmer”.

    Well, if it was a weapon of mass destruction, you guys would not have been able to find it

    :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Of course, bureaucratic ineptitude plays into this as well. I’m reminded of the line from that otherwise mediocre movie, “The Astronaut Farmer”.

    Well, if it was a weapon of mass destruction, you guys would not have been able to find it

    :)

  • Stephen

    KK @ 26

    Excellent points about psychology. As a general rule for therapists at least, they typically do not challenge the truth claims of a clients religion. They are interested in helping them establish a sense of personal well-being and regard religion as a possible aid in doing so.

    But what I wanted to say was:

    The government should monitor sectarian groups with violent rhetoric. It’s their job. They do not bear the sword in vain. And they already do it in the US and have for a long time. As BW pointed out, Waco? Handled badly perhaps, but it was a powder keg ready to go off. A similar thing is happening in Texas right now with the fundamentalist Mormons, and for similar reasons having to do with the welfare of children who are suffering violence in the form of rape. (Let’s not forget that Waco actually started with investigating reports of child endangerment and escalated from there.) The bar is set high and should be. And it always comes down to what someone actually does (stock piling weapons in concert with inflamed, anti-government rhetoric ought to rouse suspicion, or raping children in the name of god) and not what they might do.

    But to look at it biblically, if one were to summarize St. Paul’s prescriptions for citizenship in this world it would be to keep your head down and your mouth shut. Don’t rock the boat. Your responsibility to your neighbor is to treat him with kindness and gentleness, to serve him and show mercy, not to cheat him, and to otherwise leave him alone. The whole of the law is to love your neighbor, not control him. Your responsibility to the government or any ruler (like an employer perhaps) is to obey him, give him proper honor, be happy with what you have, and not rouse his wrath (4th Commandment).

    What happens, however, is certain “sects” obsess over the sins of others. They do not comport with the sin lists in the bible (or so they think) and then seek political power and/or force, sometimes in the form of violence, to institute behaviors they feel are lacking in others. This is given emotional power through the use of the Bible (or the Koran, which is all law) as weapon, not for faith, but for control of these behaviors. All law and no gospel. Or better, all legalism clothed in piety and devotion, which is even worse.
    Control is the government’s job, not for the sake of control, but so that we can live in peace – the godly desire of all people of good will, not just Christians.

    1 Thess 4:9 “Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

  • Stephen

    KK @ 26

    Excellent points about psychology. As a general rule for therapists at least, they typically do not challenge the truth claims of a clients religion. They are interested in helping them establish a sense of personal well-being and regard religion as a possible aid in doing so.

    But what I wanted to say was:

    The government should monitor sectarian groups with violent rhetoric. It’s their job. They do not bear the sword in vain. And they already do it in the US and have for a long time. As BW pointed out, Waco? Handled badly perhaps, but it was a powder keg ready to go off. A similar thing is happening in Texas right now with the fundamentalist Mormons, and for similar reasons having to do with the welfare of children who are suffering violence in the form of rape. (Let’s not forget that Waco actually started with investigating reports of child endangerment and escalated from there.) The bar is set high and should be. And it always comes down to what someone actually does (stock piling weapons in concert with inflamed, anti-government rhetoric ought to rouse suspicion, or raping children in the name of god) and not what they might do.

    But to look at it biblically, if one were to summarize St. Paul’s prescriptions for citizenship in this world it would be to keep your head down and your mouth shut. Don’t rock the boat. Your responsibility to your neighbor is to treat him with kindness and gentleness, to serve him and show mercy, not to cheat him, and to otherwise leave him alone. The whole of the law is to love your neighbor, not control him. Your responsibility to the government or any ruler (like an employer perhaps) is to obey him, give him proper honor, be happy with what you have, and not rouse his wrath (4th Commandment).

    What happens, however, is certain “sects” obsess over the sins of others. They do not comport with the sin lists in the bible (or so they think) and then seek political power and/or force, sometimes in the form of violence, to institute behaviors they feel are lacking in others. This is given emotional power through the use of the Bible (or the Koran, which is all law) as weapon, not for faith, but for control of these behaviors. All law and no gospel. Or better, all legalism clothed in piety and devotion, which is even worse.
    Control is the government’s job, not for the sake of control, but so that we can live in peace – the godly desire of all people of good will, not just Christians.

    1 Thess 4:9 “Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

  • SKPeterson

    “stock piling weapons in concert with inflamed, anti-government rhetoric…” – Going on about those Colonial types in Lexington and Concord again?

  • SKPeterson

    “stock piling weapons in concert with inflamed, anti-government rhetoric…” – Going on about those Colonial types in Lexington and Concord again?

  • DonS

    “The aim is not to combat opinions by force, but to detect and understand when an opinion turns into a potentially violent and criminal excess,” he said.

    Giving examples of religious extremists, he mentioned creationists in the United States and the Muslim world, radical Islamists, ultra-traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews who want to live separately from the modern world.

    Violent creationists? This is the first time I’ve ever seen creationists, at least Christian ones in the U.S., associated with violence. Am I missing something?

  • DonS

    “The aim is not to combat opinions by force, but to detect and understand when an opinion turns into a potentially violent and criminal excess,” he said.

    Giving examples of religious extremists, he mentioned creationists in the United States and the Muslim world, radical Islamists, ultra-traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews who want to live separately from the modern world.

    Violent creationists? This is the first time I’ve ever seen creationists, at least Christian ones in the U.S., associated with violence. Am I missing something?

  • Cincinnatus

    Historically (he declares groundlessly…), law enforcement agencies in the United States were tasked with punishing crime (and thereby deterring crime), not predicting and preventing crime. Until the emergence of J. Edgar Hoover (and some foreshadowing in the Lincoln administration), the government did not see its role as “surveilling” “dangerous” “sects.” After all, who defines the acceptable bounds of surveillance, what constitutes dangerous rhetoric, and who counts as a sect?

    Punishing and preventing are radically distinct mandates, and latter requires a much more intrusive apparatus. I reject the notion that it is the government’s “job” to detect “dangerous” rhetoric that could lead to violence. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Cincinnatus

    Historically (he declares groundlessly…), law enforcement agencies in the United States were tasked with punishing crime (and thereby deterring crime), not predicting and preventing crime. Until the emergence of J. Edgar Hoover (and some foreshadowing in the Lincoln administration), the government did not see its role as “surveilling” “dangerous” “sects.” After all, who defines the acceptable bounds of surveillance, what constitutes dangerous rhetoric, and who counts as a sect?

    Punishing and preventing are radically distinct mandates, and latter requires a much more intrusive apparatus. I reject the notion that it is the government’s “job” to detect “dangerous” rhetoric that could lead to violence. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • BW

    Stephen,

    I guess my point is 1) Who makes the determination that a group should be monitored? The Government? This is not easy to define at all. A bit like the intoxication discussion the other day.

    2) At both Ruby Ridge and Waco, the groups in question weren’t being violent until the Federal Government stepped in. Sure at Waco you had the child endangerment allegations but I don’t think those were ever cut and dry? Correct me if I’m wrong on that. Secondly, by all accounts the Branch Davidians were willing to talk to and show the government all their weapons and paperwork, and were liked by their neighbors. They had been around since the 1950s.

  • BW

    Stephen,

    I guess my point is 1) Who makes the determination that a group should be monitored? The Government? This is not easy to define at all. A bit like the intoxication discussion the other day.

    2) At both Ruby Ridge and Waco, the groups in question weren’t being violent until the Federal Government stepped in. Sure at Waco you had the child endangerment allegations but I don’t think those were ever cut and dry? Correct me if I’m wrong on that. Secondly, by all accounts the Branch Davidians were willing to talk to and show the government all their weapons and paperwork, and were liked by their neighbors. They had been around since the 1950s.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus, although it seems to be the beginning of the slippery slope, I’d refer you to my earlier comment regarding the political repercussions of not monitoring groups. In other words, it seems that it is a societal-driven thing to find “subversion”. The politicians do what they think the people want.

    Of course, the prime example of this (ie, finding subversion, monitoring ideas) in the West, comes from the right: Joseph McCarthy.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus, although it seems to be the beginning of the slippery slope, I’d refer you to my earlier comment regarding the political repercussions of not monitoring groups. In other words, it seems that it is a societal-driven thing to find “subversion”. The politicians do what they think the people want.

    Of course, the prime example of this (ie, finding subversion, monitoring ideas) in the West, comes from the right: Joseph McCarthy.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK:

    So your point is really a moot point, then. Yeah, obviously, there will always be political pressure to “monitor” unpopular groups. And? What does that say about the normative propriety or implications of such monitoring?

    The question isn’t whether some folks want this to happen–clearly, they do–but whether those folks should get their way.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK:

    So your point is really a moot point, then. Yeah, obviously, there will always be political pressure to “monitor” unpopular groups. And? What does that say about the normative propriety or implications of such monitoring?

    The question isn’t whether some folks want this to happen–clearly, they do–but whether those folks should get their way.

  • Rick Ritchie

    A case can be made for some of these actions on the part of government. But I don’t trust government even when it’s doing its assigned job. So even if I accept some of the arguments in theory, in fact, I think the government should stay out of all of it.

  • Rick Ritchie

    A case can be made for some of these actions on the part of government. But I don’t trust government even when it’s doing its assigned job. So even if I accept some of the arguments in theory, in fact, I think the government should stay out of all of it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – we are operating on different planes / under different assumptions. You are looking at a theoretical state of perfect implementation of laws and observance of a constitution. I’m looking at things not as an ideal, but as a messy reality.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – we are operating on different planes / under different assumptions. You are looking at a theoretical state of perfect implementation of laws and observance of a constitution. I’m looking at things not as an ideal, but as a messy reality.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    With some exceptions, it is clear that most people accept the reality of such things happening, but balk at their implementation due to opportunity of abuse.

    Would it then suffice to say that the key missing element is a system of legal and operational checks and balances? That is how civilized societies normally work.

    It wasn’t clear from the news reports, how much of this would be implemented in the French system.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    With some exceptions, it is clear that most people accept the reality of such things happening, but balk at their implementation due to opportunity of abuse.

    Would it then suffice to say that the key missing element is a system of legal and operational checks and balances? That is how civilized societies normally work.

    It wasn’t clear from the news reports, how much of this would be implemented in the French system.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not looking at a “perfect” anything, KK. I’m objecting to the idea that it is appropriate for the (American) State to police the speech of unpopular groups. If I’m reading your comments correctly, it seems that you’ve essentially concluded by adding nothing whatsoever to the description of events Veith provides.

    Yup, a group in France wants to stifle objectionable speech–and quite coercively at that. And? So? What else? It seems that you’re just accepting this state of affairs without comment, even being willing to shrug off the extension of such policies to Canada or the United States.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not looking at a “perfect” anything, KK. I’m objecting to the idea that it is appropriate for the (American) State to police the speech of unpopular groups. If I’m reading your comments correctly, it seems that you’ve essentially concluded by adding nothing whatsoever to the description of events Veith provides.

    Yup, a group in France wants to stifle objectionable speech–and quite coercively at that. And? So? What else? It seems that you’re just accepting this state of affairs without comment, even being willing to shrug off the extension of such policies to Canada or the United States.

  • Tom Hering

    Some perspective:

    “I utterly condemn – it’s obvious, but it’s necessary to say it – attacks on places of worship and worshippers. We must combat such attacks with the utmost determination. The police and gendarmerie and, beyond that, all the authorities are actively engaged in fighting the deep-seated evil of anti-Semitism, just as they are engaged in fighting all forms of racism, xenophobia and religious hatred [meaning hatred against religions]. The Interior Ministry, with the support of its victims’ delegation, is working closely with the religious faiths … I can assure you of the intransigence and determination of the government, and particularly the Ministers of the Interior and Justice, in combating religious hatred and all forms of violence.” – Reply by M. Manuel Valls, Minister of the Interior, to an undebated question in the National Assembly (excerpts) Paris, 27 November 2012

    Hmm. He’s not quite the enemy of religion I had assumed.

    One might ask what Minister Valls – a naturalized French citizen of Brazilian origin – means by “creationists.” Does he mean what anyone in the United States would understand the term to mean, i.e., just someone who believes in creationism? Or does he mean something else? Perhaps his English eez not so good.

  • Tom Hering

    Some perspective:

    “I utterly condemn – it’s obvious, but it’s necessary to say it – attacks on places of worship and worshippers. We must combat such attacks with the utmost determination. The police and gendarmerie and, beyond that, all the authorities are actively engaged in fighting the deep-seated evil of anti-Semitism, just as they are engaged in fighting all forms of racism, xenophobia and religious hatred [meaning hatred against religions]. The Interior Ministry, with the support of its victims’ delegation, is working closely with the religious faiths … I can assure you of the intransigence and determination of the government, and particularly the Ministers of the Interior and Justice, in combating religious hatred and all forms of violence.” – Reply by M. Manuel Valls, Minister of the Interior, to an undebated question in the National Assembly (excerpts) Paris, 27 November 2012

    Hmm. He’s not quite the enemy of religion I had assumed.

    One might ask what Minister Valls – a naturalized French citizen of Brazilian origin – means by “creationists.” Does he mean what anyone in the United States would understand the term to mean, i.e., just someone who believes in creationism? Or does he mean something else? Perhaps his English eez not so good.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – I was commenting on the fact that this is not some persecution mania (as was subtly implied, originally). It was a normal, to-be-expected response given the circumstances, both from a security as well as a political point of view. In addition, I as well as folks like SKP @ #22, and Rick @ #36 highlighted the implementation problems of such policies. Then I questioned what to me is key to such policies, namely checks and balances, @ # 38.

    Capice?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – I was commenting on the fact that this is not some persecution mania (as was subtly implied, originally). It was a normal, to-be-expected response given the circumstances, both from a security as well as a political point of view. In addition, I as well as folks like SKP @ #22, and Rick @ #36 highlighted the implementation problems of such policies. Then I questioned what to me is key to such policies, namely checks and balances, @ # 38.

    Capice?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Whereas the act of being religious is not a psychological disorder, and is not medically identified as such, a persecution complex could land one in an institute for observation.
    ;) ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Whereas the act of being religious is not a psychological disorder, and is not medically identified as such, a persecution complex could land one in an institute for observation.
    ;) ;)

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 42, yes, well … I think what we have here is people jumping on a statement they want to believe confirms their worst suspicions. About Socialists and Europeans in general, and the French in particular. Another instance of a hasty conclusion jumping from blog to blog before anyone stops to give it a minimum of thought or fact-checking … from First Things to Cranach to Free Republic. (I’m sure the echo posts will increase considerably before the week is over.)

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 42, yes, well … I think what we have here is people jumping on a statement they want to believe confirms their worst suspicions. About Socialists and Europeans in general, and the French in particular. Another instance of a hasty conclusion jumping from blog to blog before anyone stops to give it a minimum of thought or fact-checking … from First Things to Cranach to Free Republic. (I’m sure the echo posts will increase considerably before the week is over.)

  • Rick Ritchie

    I don’t know that we need new checks and balances. I think the First Amendment is a very elegant one. I’m sure there are ways of looking for individuals with brain disorders who might be prone to violence without bringing religion into the question. In fact, if you define your task in such a manner, you might catch people who don’t fit the religious profile, people you might not otherwise have suspected were dangerous.

  • Rick Ritchie

    I don’t know that we need new checks and balances. I think the First Amendment is a very elegant one. I’m sure there are ways of looking for individuals with brain disorders who might be prone to violence without bringing religion into the question. In fact, if you define your task in such a manner, you might catch people who don’t fit the religious profile, people you might not otherwise have suspected were dangerous.

  • Stephen

    SKP @ 30

    Ah, touché! However, I think there is a logical fallacy in your argument by analogy that I am at the moment too fuzzy headed to name.

    BW

    I don’t know too much about Ruby Ridge and am certainly no expert on Waco, though I do believe the first to come knocking at the Branch Davidian compound were Child Welfare people and not the Feds, though they were keeping an eye on things.

    Like Rick @ 36 I’m cautious and skeptical about government keeping an eye on things based on fanatical beliefs. But then it also seems true, wouldn’t you say, that when one of these types (like the 911 terrorists) does act there is all kinds of criticism of government not doing their job? And I think the latter is true in the case of 911. Some folks were asleep at the wheel, and no thanks to the 911 Commission we’ll never get any satisfaction on that one. Everyone was to blame and no one was, which to me is the epitome of passing the buck until it pretty much disappears. Kinda like the mortgage crisis.

    Rick @ 44

    Now you are really talking thought crimes.

  • Stephen

    SKP @ 30

    Ah, touché! However, I think there is a logical fallacy in your argument by analogy that I am at the moment too fuzzy headed to name.

    BW

    I don’t know too much about Ruby Ridge and am certainly no expert on Waco, though I do believe the first to come knocking at the Branch Davidian compound were Child Welfare people and not the Feds, though they were keeping an eye on things.

    Like Rick @ 36 I’m cautious and skeptical about government keeping an eye on things based on fanatical beliefs. But then it also seems true, wouldn’t you say, that when one of these types (like the 911 terrorists) does act there is all kinds of criticism of government not doing their job? And I think the latter is true in the case of 911. Some folks were asleep at the wheel, and no thanks to the 911 Commission we’ll never get any satisfaction on that one. Everyone was to blame and no one was, which to me is the epitome of passing the buck until it pretty much disappears. Kinda like the mortgage crisis.

    Rick @ 44

    Now you are really talking thought crimes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@18)

    In America, you could never constitutionally get away with expelling a citizen who preaches terrorism.

    The government could, however, murder him — as long as he wasn’t located in America.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@18)

    In America, you could never constitutionally get away with expelling a citizen who preaches terrorism.

    The government could, however, murder him — as long as he wasn’t located in America.

  • dust

    Cin at 39….Canada already limits free speech, at least the media has many restrictions we don’t have in the good ole USA :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    Cin at 39….Canada already limits free speech, at least the media has many restrictions we don’t have in the good ole USA :)

    cheers!

  • SKPeterson

    Stephen – It is close to “weak analogy” (I think), but rhetorically it’s killer. :)

  • SKPeterson

    Stephen – It is close to “weak analogy” (I think), but rhetorically it’s killer. :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    dust, could you please enlighten us as to these media restrictions?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    dust, could you please enlighten us as to these media restrictions?

  • BW

    Stephen @45,

    I certainly agree there’s all kinds of backlash. I also see the government routinely bungle their preventative efforts (see what came of the arrest of the “Hutaree”? Nothing. Note though, that another militia group, which some organizations would call extremist, help alert authorities to their activities).

    Timothy McVeigh had said he was partly motivated to do what he did as a result of the government’s role in situations like Waco and Ruby Ridge.

    I guess my concern is that of late there has been a greater focus nationally on the increase in militia groups, and “extremist, right-wing” groups, (people like the Weavers on Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians), and this may do more harm than good as most of these people aren’t exactly dangerous to the nation if they’re left alone. Does that make sense?

    tODD @ 46, Great point.

  • BW

    Stephen @45,

    I certainly agree there’s all kinds of backlash. I also see the government routinely bungle their preventative efforts (see what came of the arrest of the “Hutaree”? Nothing. Note though, that another militia group, which some organizations would call extremist, help alert authorities to their activities).

    Timothy McVeigh had said he was partly motivated to do what he did as a result of the government’s role in situations like Waco and Ruby Ridge.

    I guess my concern is that of late there has been a greater focus nationally on the increase in militia groups, and “extremist, right-wing” groups, (people like the Weavers on Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians), and this may do more harm than good as most of these people aren’t exactly dangerous to the nation if they’re left alone. Does that make sense?

    tODD @ 46, Great point.

  • dust

    KK….well, heard you mustn’t say certain things about her majesty, and guess certain gruesome aspects and pictures that americans find fascinating are off limits…am thinking of the beheaded greyhound bus driver a few years ago?

    am not saying it’s bad, in fact, our media is disgusting, but it should be by choice, not something forced on folks?

    on the other hand, maybe not?

    hope this helps :)

    cheerio!

  • dust

    KK….well, heard you mustn’t say certain things about her majesty, and guess certain gruesome aspects and pictures that americans find fascinating are off limits…am thinking of the beheaded greyhound bus driver a few years ago?

    am not saying it’s bad, in fact, our media is disgusting, but it should be by choice, not something forced on folks?

    on the other hand, maybe not?

    hope this helps :)

    cheerio!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    In other words, you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, except spouting off some half-ass opinions. I’m so surprised….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    In other words, you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, except spouting off some half-ass opinions. I’m so surprised….

  • Stephen

    BW,

    That makes sense.

    “I also see the government routinely bungle their preventative efforts”

    Now I’m going to pull the “it’s the media’s fault” card. I can only speak anecdotally, but a family friend was in the FBI and there’s a great deal more that goes on we never hear about in terms of successes. But playing off your quote, that’s exactly what happened in regards to 911 in my view.

    I’ll admit it’s a mixed bag, and the anxiety that people in authority feel can create over reaction. In my city, you can’t wear a cap in the public library unless you turn the brim around. To me this is silly. But there you go . . .

  • Stephen

    BW,

    That makes sense.

    “I also see the government routinely bungle their preventative efforts”

    Now I’m going to pull the “it’s the media’s fault” card. I can only speak anecdotally, but a family friend was in the FBI and there’s a great deal more that goes on we never hear about in terms of successes. But playing off your quote, that’s exactly what happened in regards to 911 in my view.

    I’ll admit it’s a mixed bag, and the anxiety that people in authority feel can create over reaction. In my city, you can’t wear a cap in the public library unless you turn the brim around. To me this is silly. But there you go . . .

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Announcing his initiative on secularism on Sunday, Hollande said the new observatory – a public agency to monitor policy issues and propose solutions – would also study ways to introduce classes on secular morality in state schools.

    Education Minister Vincent Peillon told the conference the classes would stress the French values of equality and fraternity that teachers say pupils – especially in poorer areas with immigrant populations – increasingly do not respect.

    Oh, this is just rich. Could it be that the immigrants don’t respect these ideas because the immigrants aren’t Christian? Because those ideas are Christian not secular. There is no fraternity or equality in the survival of the fittest.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Announcing his initiative on secularism on Sunday, Hollande said the new observatory – a public agency to monitor policy issues and propose solutions – would also study ways to introduce classes on secular morality in state schools.

    Education Minister Vincent Peillon told the conference the classes would stress the French values of equality and fraternity that teachers say pupils – especially in poorer areas with immigrant populations – increasingly do not respect.

    Oh, this is just rich. Could it be that the immigrants don’t respect these ideas because the immigrants aren’t Christian? Because those ideas are Christian not secular. There is no fraternity or equality in the survival of the fittest.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sg, you know that the cry of the French revolution was Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! , right?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sg, you know that the cry of the French revolution was Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! , right?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Klasie (@55), yes, and not only was that the motto of the Revolution, but the Revolution was highly anti-clerical (and, as such, remarkably anti-Christian; this is where modern France gets its staunchly secular mien).

    So for SG to say that those ideas are “Christian not secular” is a wee bit funny.

    Also, fun fact: an earlier version of the motto was “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ou la Mort”. And then the Reign of Terror happened, and for some reason that last part wasn’t as popular anymore. (I just happen to be reading Tale of Two Cities right now.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Klasie (@55), yes, and not only was that the motto of the Revolution, but the Revolution was highly anti-clerical (and, as such, remarkably anti-Christian; this is where modern France gets its staunchly secular mien).

    So for SG to say that those ideas are “Christian not secular” is a wee bit funny.

    Also, fun fact: an earlier version of the motto was “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ou la Mort”. And then the Reign of Terror happened, and for some reason that last part wasn’t as popular anymore. (I just happen to be reading Tale of Two Cities right now.)

  • SKPeterson

    Todd @56 and KK @ 55 – As I pointed out somewhere above, the remnant Catholic backlash against those anti-clerical tendencies centered in places like Brittany and Normandy, which is where the Civitas organization appears to have its greatest strength. I maybe didn’t make it clear, but your comments help to flesh out the notion that this is a long-standing internal French system of grievances between provincials and a centralizing state. My concerns being, again, the use of surveillance state apparati to marginalize or criminalize those long-standing political and cultural differences. The French have overreached before. Shocking, I know.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd @56 and KK @ 55 – As I pointed out somewhere above, the remnant Catholic backlash against those anti-clerical tendencies centered in places like Brittany and Normandy, which is where the Civitas organization appears to have its greatest strength. I maybe didn’t make it clear, but your comments help to flesh out the notion that this is a long-standing internal French system of grievances between provincials and a centralizing state. My concerns being, again, the use of surveillance state apparati to marginalize or criminalize those long-standing political and cultural differences. The French have overreached before. Shocking, I know.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sg, you know that the cry of the French revolution was Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! , right?

    Yes. So what? Do you think those were thoughts were original to the French Revolution? Seriously? Or maybe they sprang from from some older social institution?

    yes, and not only was that the motto of the Revolution, but the Revolution was highly anti-clerical (and, as such, remarkably anti-Christian; this is where modern France gets its staunchly secular mien).

    So for SG to say that those ideas are “Christian not secular” is a wee bit funny.

    No, it isn’t. It is just calling out their effort to label themselves with ideas they could sell because we saw what they actually did.

    You are confusing a label with what they actually believed. The leaders of the French Revolution quite obviously just wished to replace their rulers with themselves. Not unlike the Russian Revolution. All that talk of liberty, fraternity and equality was for the useful idiots they needed as foot soldiers. But you knew that.

    It didn’t take the new rulers long to invent their own new religion with themselves at the top as the new gods.

    Their secularism gave rise to their brutality. Christian ideals were mere slogans for the masses.

    FYI, A Tale of Two Cities is fiction.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sg, you know that the cry of the French revolution was Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! , right?

    Yes. So what? Do you think those were thoughts were original to the French Revolution? Seriously? Or maybe they sprang from from some older social institution?

    yes, and not only was that the motto of the Revolution, but the Revolution was highly anti-clerical (and, as such, remarkably anti-Christian; this is where modern France gets its staunchly secular mien).

    So for SG to say that those ideas are “Christian not secular” is a wee bit funny.

    No, it isn’t. It is just calling out their effort to label themselves with ideas they could sell because we saw what they actually did.

    You are confusing a label with what they actually believed. The leaders of the French Revolution quite obviously just wished to replace their rulers with themselves. Not unlike the Russian Revolution. All that talk of liberty, fraternity and equality was for the useful idiots they needed as foot soldiers. But you knew that.

    It didn’t take the new rulers long to invent their own new religion with themselves at the top as the new gods.

    Their secularism gave rise to their brutality. Christian ideals were mere slogans for the masses.

    FYI, A Tale of Two Cities is fiction.

  • Hanni

    Lots of luck, France, in tracking when to intervene in “religious pathology! This cracked me up, am still lauging.

  • Hanni

    Lots of luck, France, in tracking when to intervene in “religious pathology! This cracked me up, am still lauging.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sg, you know that the cry of the French revolution was Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! , right?

    Yeah, and “Arbeit macht Frei” was the banner at Auschwitz, so…

    Well, we have to take every murderous regime at its word, right?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sg, you know that the cry of the French revolution was Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! , right?

    Yeah, and “Arbeit macht Frei” was the banner at Auschwitz, so…

    Well, we have to take every murderous regime at its word, right?


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