'Islam must not be shielded from criticism or scrutiny'

'Islam must not be shielded from criticism or scrutiny' February 27, 2009

TROUBLED by attacks on free expression by groups wanting to shield Islam from criticism or scrutiny, free speech advocates are today unveiling a campaign for an “international First Amendment”.

Wilders and Hedegaard
Wilders and Hedegaard
The initiative by the International Free Press Society (IFPS) is being launched in Washington, DC, with Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician in attendance.
The event incorporates a screening of Wilders’ Fitna.
According to this report, recent years have seen an escalating drive by Islamic countries, working through the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), to counter what they regard as blasphemy – anything calling into question the assertion that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion.
Seeking to make it more difficult for people to challenge or criticise Islam, the OIC is promoting resolutions at the UN against “religious defamation,” based in part on the argument that anti-Islamic sentiment is a “contemporary form of racism.”
In a number of Islamic countries, blasphemy laws are enforced, often targeting Muslims who convert to another faith and are considered apostates under Islamic law (sharia), but also anyone who questions Islamic teaching or practices associated with Islam.
In non-Muslim countries, especially in the West, “hate speech” regulations are sometimes used to similar effect, and Wilders himself is due to stand trial in the Netherlands soon on charges of “inciting hatred and discrimination.”
Frank Gaffney
Frank Gaffney
Centre for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, who is taking part in the IFPS event, was scheduled to discuss the dangers to America’s national security and civil liberties imposed by global oppression of free speech.
He said in a statement:

The insinuation of sharia legal codes and practices into free world societies includes the effort to impose shari’a blasphemy, slander and libel laws in the West. According to sharia, it is impermissible to engage in speech or writings that ‘defame’ Islam or otherwise offend its followers. We must oppose all these efforts.

In its “international First Amendment” campaign, the IFPS will push for a ban on hate speech laws.
IFPS president Lars Hedegaard, a Danish historian and journalist, said these laws, common in many European countries, are vague and unequally applied, and should be repealed.

The way to deal with controversial, offensive or even hateful statements – unless they are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action – is to expose them to public debate and criticism.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Godless not gormless

    Sense at last!!!!!
    Will they succeed though? Let’s hope so. This is so badly needed and has been too long in coming. The UN is guilty of letting us all down by bowing to pressure from these people to change the declaration on human rights from being one which would seek to protect people from discrimination and oppression, to one which protects religion from criticism and by default (especially where islam is concerned) protects the oppressors and leaves people open to oppression.
    I can’t understand why these people even have a voice at the UN. The governments of these islamic countries are religious organisations and therefore should not be represented. Their religion is all about oppression, is clearly a crime against humanity and should itself be under srvere scrutiny by the UN. Instead, they are allowed to distort all that the UN was set up to do.
    Surely the very name “Organization of the Islamic Conference” should be enough for the UN to tell them where to go. The people of these countries need the UN more than most of us and it’s the people not the governments which should be represented. If only there was a ruling at the UN that only secular organisations could be involved.

  • Bob

    Good idea, providing a repeal of “hate speech” legislation also includes speaking against Gay perversion. Free speech is precious and that includes the right of Christians to criticise gay behaviour. (Also the right to post on this blog!).

  • Methinks you doth protest too much Bob, are you a closet gay?

  • Methinks you doth protest too much Bob, are you a closet gay?

  • Methinks you doth protest too much Bob, are you a closet gay?

  • Methinks you doth protest too much Bob, are you a closet gay?

  • Serai

    Bob you have no ‘rights’ to post on any blog other than your own, the owner of the blog has those rights and can quite happily moderate, delete, edit and mock anything you post with no fear of any repercussions, to suggest otherwise highlights your ignorance.

  • Bob

    It is a question of consistency. If one promotes free speech and complains about restrictions on free speech then it is not consistent to delete people for engaging in free speech.

  • Big Andrew

    Bob
    I absolutely ADORE your use of words sweety-pie. Words like “engaging”, and “consistency”. I can just imagine your tongue rolling around words like “perversion” and “restriction”. Oh, it’s all so sexy. You sound like a real hunk Bob, but someone who still manages to keep in touch with his feminine side. Do you fancy a date? I know Christians don’t like to move too fast on these things, so we needn’t go all the way first time. A cuddle and a few slobbery kisses maybe.
    Lots of love.
    Big Andrew

  • As it should be. No ideology should be immune to criticism. The notion that anything should be off limits just because you slap the label faith or religion on it is one of the most insidious ones foisted on humanity.
    Bob,
    Go fornicate with your crucifix you bigoted piece of human scum.

  • H. Davids

    Free speech may at times be unpalatable, but if I don’t like to be curtailed in my freedom, I have to be prepared to be ‘offended’ when someone else uses his or her freedom. It’s all a matter of having a thickish skin and not be afraid of some criticism, which can be a problem for people with fixed perceptions, be they religious or political. As for hatemongering: tough one, where does it start? I don’t want a thought-police or to be forced to become politically correct, but I can understand people not wanting a bunch of crazies like the Westboro Baptist Church coming over to gloat over a member of the family dying in Iraq of Afghanistan. I understand they’re planning to picket funerals of people killed in this week’s plane crash in Holland. Let them in, I say, we’ll give them a warm welcome.

  • 1Freethinker

    Bob,
    Your comments keep me comming back to the site. Thanks.

  • valdemar

    Geert Wilders is a bit of an embarrassment, though, isn’t he? Publicity seeking, vain, calling for the Koran to be banned (why not the Bible as well, to be consistent)?
    Muslims themselves should have the sense not to push Westerners too hard. I’m surprised – a bit – that some Muslim leaders don’t realise that by insisting on special privileges when it suits them, and equal treatment when it doesn’t, makes them obnoxious to us. But maybe that’s one effect of religion – it totally wrecks your ability to see yourself as others see you.
    I only hope the backlash, when it comes, leads to peaceful reform in the West and more freedoms for all.

  • Godless not gormless

    valdemar
    “Geert Wilders is a bit of an embarrassment, though, isn’t he?”
    It’s the hair isn’t it?
    Regarding your other point, they really don’t give a shit what we think. They are just so full of hatred and contempt for anyone who’s not a muslim. Their only concern is destroying the west. They think our way of live is disgracefull yet their own standards would have to come a long way up just to reach the gutter! Double standards are standard with religious types.

  • the Biggest Kafir

    The problem is, there is much protection and shielding against all religions. If I was to walk down the street proclaiming big Mo’ was a kiddie fiddler then chances are I get either slotted or arrested.
    There is not one religion that can defend itself objectively against criticism from the bull-shit it preaches without falling back on “it’s my faith” which is not really objective thinking, is it Bobby Bob Bobster?.
    (take that as an invition Bob).
    Islam has obviously attracted more attention because by-and-large its followers are mentally ill, violent and divisive.
    Christianity based faiths seem more tolerant; but their followers rarely seem to do anything much ‘christian’.
    (Again, Bob, what are you doing blogging away with your time – go and feed the homeless or do something more christian you hypocrite).
    I really would like to witness many nations signing up for this “International First Amendment”.

  • Karin

    It is obvious that the “United Nations” isn’t what it was built up to be. I am so tired of these religious nut jobs.
    Ironically, religious people are full of faith. Yet, I hold absolutely no faith in them to make a sound intelligent decision.
    The age of reason is quite mute!
    I agree with the 1st comment above that secular groups should be given the intellectual tasks as I feel they are more driven to **FACTUAL OBSERVATIONS**.

  • Bob

    To “the Biggest Kafir”: You ask why I am blogging. Answer: to uphold the principle of free speech that you people keep going on about.

  • valdemar

    Bob, feel free to speak and type freely, but you aren’t making any converts. As for Buffy, perhaps she’s a bit cheesed off at a world where the most unsubstantiated and irrational claims are the ones accorded the most ‘respect’. It is bizarre that smoking can be banned (reasonably) for the harm it does, but bigotry is apparently a human right.

  • Stonyground

    I’m not sure that Wilders did actually call for the Koran to be banned, I think that he questioned the logic of Mein Kampf being banned while the Koran was not. Please feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken. Certainly both the Koran and the Bible could be classified as hate literature, in fact I wrote to the government pointing this out during the discussion on the infamous religious hatred bill.
    I think that anyone wanting to have critisism of their views, religious or otherwise, banned is basically owning up to the fact that they don’t have a case. If your beliefs are true you can defend them with reasoned argument, you don’t have to go around gagging those that you dissagree with.

  • Big Andrew

    Bob
    You replied to everyone but me. I feel quite hurt. I hope you’re not going to play hard to get.
    Love and kisses
    Big Andy

  • Bob

    Stonyground: I agree with you when you state that anyone wanting to have criticism of their religion banned is basically owning up to the fact they don’t have a case. I do not wish to see people banned from criticising the Christian faith and I disagree with Stephen Green when he tried to use the law to ban the Jerry Springer show. All people should be free to state their beliefs as long as they don’t incite violence.

  • Someone check the IP address from Bob’s last post – make sure it’s not from an imposter – he just typed a halfway sensible post :o)
    Now, if he could only grasp that his own religion’s homophobic stance incites violence – and that all religion needs criticising out of existence.
    Granted christians aren’t as openly vile as muslims, but their minds are repressed cesspits obsessed with the sexual activity of others – or at least that is how they come across.
    (wow – check out that alliteration!)

  • wileysnakeskins

    What does islam have to be so scared about? They are scared non-muslims will read and understand the true intents and purposes of the teachings of the koran, hadith and examples of the false prophet mohammed. If we all knew the following was what they literally had in mind for us; would we so happy to let them migrant to our countries, no matter how much money the coporations made from their cheap labor?
    Just what kind of mutual interest and mutual respect can we there be with people who profess this?
    Quotes from the Koran:
    –The unbelievers are your inveterate enemy. (4:101)
    — Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve. (8.55)
    — Mohammed is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. (48:29).
    — It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer, accidents excepted. (4:92)
    — Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. (5:51)
    — Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme. (8:40)
    — Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme. (2:193)
    — The true believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. (4:76)
    — We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. (3:151)
    — I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers. (8:12)
    Quotes from the sayings of mohammed:
    Muhammad said to the Jews: “If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. “
    Sahih Bukhari [4:52:176] Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar:
    Allah’s Apostle said, “You (i.e. Muslims) will fight with the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, ‘O ‘Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’ ”
    Mohammed said, “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah..” (otherwise it will not). Vol. 4:196
    Mohammed said, “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.” Vol. 9:57
    Mohammed said, ” No Muslim should be killed for killing a Kafir” (infidel). Vol. 9:50
    Muhammad said:
    Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, …(Sahih Muslim 4294)
    YUSUF QARADAWI, the spiritual leader of the Muslim brotherhood and the most popular and influential Islamic religious authority in the world today, is on the recommended reading list of local mosques. Among other Islamist-supremacist things, he wrote:
    “Islam came to be followed, not to follow; to be dominant, not subordinate.”
    “Islam came with its complete, comprehensive and eternal sharia (law) for the whole of mankind.”
    ABUL MAUDUDI, the most important and popular Islamic writer of the 20th Century, wrote: “The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power that gets in the way of that goal, Islam will fight and destroy.”
    ________________________________________
    The statements about Islam above are from the most highly revered and respected Islamic sources, not from “Islamophobes”!

  • Angela K

    There should be freedom for everyone to criticise an idea, especially religion because it has proved itself to be a very stupid and damaging idea. The notion that an idea or proposition should be afforded special privileges or protection is ridiculous. The muslims, christians, catholics et al want special protection for their crazy ideas so they can continue to persecute those with whom they disagree.

  • Bob

    Shargraves: It is not true that the Christian faith has a homophobic stance that incites violence. I do not approve of gay behaviour but would not encourage violence against them.

  • Bob,
    While you claim you don’t encourage violence toward gay people plenty of Christians do. They then turn around and claim that they’re just “expressing their deeply held religious beliefs” or “preaching the Bible” when called on it. Hence the screams of protest in the US whenever any attempt is made to include LGBT people in the very same hate-crimes legislation that protects people based on their religion, race, gender and myriad other factors. It’s sickening the way some people go to such lengths to protect their self-proclaimed “right” to preach, and even engage in, harm toward other people.

  • Bob

    Buffy: Apart from Fred Phelps, who is so extreme even conservative evangelicals disown him, can you give evidence of any Christians who have openly stated that they hate gays and/or want to see them killed.
    I know many evangelical Christians and, while they disagree with gay behaviour, they deplore violence against gays. Why can’t you simply take our word for it that we don’t hate gays? You can state that certain conduct is sinful without hating those who engage in that conduct.

  • Barry Duke

    Bob, please stop playing the slippery eel. You should be perfectly aware of the fact that when your lot preach intolerance against homosexuality, this is bound to translate into acts of acts of violence by knuckle-dragging morons. And it does. In spades! For you to then stand back – after using hate-inducing words like “perversion” – is both cowardly and dishonest. Gay people exist. They did so long before Christianity – which really IS a perversion – blighted the world, and will continue to so so long after Christianity joins the long list of other dead religions.

  • Urmensch

    Bob
    Surely, by Christian standards, the fact that someone has not accepted Jesus; actually denies his divinity, makes everything they do sinful. Even if I do something charitable, the fact I do it for my own reasons and not for the glory of god, means it is still sinful(not that I accept the concept of sin any more than I do halal or kosher).
    I can’t help wondering why you have such a bug up your arse about certain sins while ignoring others. Is it any wonder that Christian obsession with gay sex raises eyebrows. Aren’t you lot just cowardly in going after the minority?

  • Get real, Bob. Phelps is superior to your ilk in so many ways. He’s honest about who and what he is. He comes right out and says he hates gays, so you know what you’re getting and you can steer clear.
    What’s dangerous are the slimy types who purport to love gay people while engendering intolerance toward them. “Oh, we only want the best for you, which is why we call you bad names and deny you all forms of the rights we enjoy. We treat you like dirty vermin because we cherish you, why can’t you see that? ”
    We’re not so bloody stupid that we fall for that garbage you peddle. We are not your recalcitrant children who need your “guidance” nor do we want or need your “saving”. We want you to leave us the hell alone and stop preaching your hateful, intolerant bullsh*t. If you could get that through your skull you might see less of that “persecution” you’re always whining about.
    You do realize that once upon a time being a Christian meant you went to church and worshiped god, not that you went around and made life hell on Earth for everyone else?

  • I’ll blaspheme any religion I dam well please!
    Mohammad and Allah are deluded hallucinating sodomizing child molesters, and we as US Citizens have every good reason to blaspheme the shitty name of Islam. The Sunni-bitches and the Shits too. Oh, and Jesus and Moses are gay lovers on cloud 69 in Middle Heaven too, they like to have a 4-way fuckfest with Allah and Mohammid, they even let the camels get in on it too while Shiva and Buddha watch. Oh, and Satan likes to drink a 40 ouncer while cornholing Zues and Neptune.

  • Big Andrew

    > Why can’t you simply take our word
    > for it that we don’t hate gays?
    I’m so glad to hear you don’t hate gays. It would break my heart if you turned out to be one of those horrible homophobes.
    > they deplore violence against gays.
    I’m not against a bit of rough from time to time, but let’s not get carried away here. I thought we could start with a nice romantic dinner for two. Do you like Italian? I’d love to see you sucking on spaghetti, with me on the other end. Wouldn’t that be fun?
    Cuddles
    Big A

  • Bob

    Barry: I am not playing the “slippery eel” at all. I am simply answering the points made with honesty and clarity. As far as the word “perversion” is concerned I would suggest you pick up the New International Version of the Bible (the most widely read modern English translation) and read Romans 1 v 27 – the word “perversion” is used.
    Urmensch: The reason why we Christians appear to have an obsession with gays is because we are so often bombarded with gay rights propoganda that we have to make a response.

  • Talitha

    It’s common knowledge amongst Christians that Homosexual behavior is a lifestyle choice that can be cured by the Blood of Jesus.
    I am sure Bob will agree with me here.
    If they choose not to let Jesus enter them and carry on mocking God in this way they will surely end up in Hell.
    As far as violence goes, the good Book says it all:
    Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them”.
    Big Andrew, you should be ashamed of yourself.
    Spaghetti is an abomination from Italy.
    It therefore comes from a country full of Mary Worshiping, Ring Kissing Catholics who obviously invented Pasta for their own sexual deviance’s.
    Jesus weeps.

  • Bob,
    Did you ever think the reason you are faced with so much “gay rights propaganda” is that people like you think it’s OK to withhold rights from us for no legitimate reason? People who have full human and civil rights don’t have any need to demand them. In other words, if you’d end your hateful war on us you’d not hear anything more from us about our rights.
    How come you guys aren’t out demanding bans on adultery and divorce? The former is forbidden in the 10 Commandments and Jesus himself forbade the latter (not to mention they’re both condemned far more in the Bible than is homosexuality). But no, you guys choose to wage war against gay people who aren’t doing a damn thing to you, while adulterers, liars, divorcees, child molesters and countless other “sinners” fill the pews of your precious churches. You’re a bunch of freaking hypocrites!

  • Marcus

    Just seen a greetings card in a gay shop that says:
    “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. This doesn’t mean god doesn’t love heretosexuals, it’s just that they need more supervision”

  • Urmensch

    Bob
    The difference between gay people and Christians is that gay people fight for equality, that we shouldn’t be denied our civil rights because of our sexuality. Christians bray about being persecuted when they are actually seeking to be privileged due to their lifestyle choice, which is belief in some mythical being and his putative divine son.
    We aren’t on a mission to make homosexuality compulsory, no matter what the voices in your head tell you.
    You lot, on the other hand, aren’t satisfied with having the freedom to follow your archaic dogmas but insist that everyone else should be forced to abide by them as well.
    It is this paranoid inversion of reality in the minds of Christians that is one of the main indications that religion is damaging to mental health.

  • Urmensch,
    Indeed. These handy graphics explain it quite well.
    Heterosexuals under attack by Gay Mafia
    Oppressed Christians

  • Angela K

    Quote Bob: “The reason why we Christians appear to have an obsession with gays is because we are so often bombarded with gay rights propoganda [sic] that we have to make a response”.
    Er…. so what about the Radio, TV, newspapers, The Government, stupid poster slogans outside your theatres of mumbo-jumboism bombarding sane, rational queer people like me with religious propaganda?

  • Alun

    Bob
    Sounds like Big Andrew would be tumescent to hear from you.
    Rude to ignore him.

  • Angela,
    Er…. so what about the Radio, TV, newspapers, The Government, stupid poster slogans outside your theatres of mumbo-jumboism bombarding sane, rational queer people like me with religious propaganda?
    They’re just expressing their “deeply held religious beliefs” and spreading the Gospel like Jesus told them to. If you object you’re denying them their rights as Christians. After all, they’re a majority so they should have free run of the world.
    But of course we’re just shoving The Homosexual Agenda down their throats, we nasty gays. They’re so under attack and in danger from the giant 10% of the population that they need special protections from us in the form of oppressive laws and the like.
    Don’t you love the double standard?

  • Alun

    Buffy
    Back from the pub and just about sentient.
    What you do with your genitalia is your business and no-one elses. Why is it then, that Bob has chosen to make it his? Is he the sort of bloke that steals underwear off washing lines or supports womens’ sports teams for the wrong reasons?
    The biggest pervies always seem to have religion at the heart of their character. The depravaties of catholic priests are well known but in the 80’s, me and my mates were laughing at the case of a vicar that had done a very bad thing. I can’t remember the specific crime but what the guy did was to enter a chapel of rest (nothing unusual there for a man of the cloth) then whip the deceased with electric flex.
    A corpse wouldn’t bruise so someone must have caught him at it.

  • Quite true, Alun. A recent study found that conservatives, and residents of Utah in particular (those pesky Mormons again) are the largest per-capita consumers of Internet pornography. They love to preach about “morality” and make laws to try to force others to live according to their archaic bullcrap, but they’re always into it deeper than anybody. Can you say hypocrisy? I knew you could.

  • Alun

    Bob
    I once saw a Dalek on Dr Who blow a circuit and start shouting “Repent! Repent!” in that harsh electronic voice. Was that you inside the suit?

  • Stonyground

    Bob. If you really think that these “well documented cases” that you speak of constitute persecution you really have no idea of the meaning of the word. Historically, the greatest persecutors of all time, and by a very large margin, have been Christians and there is no reason to doubt that if we let our guard down for one second they would be so again. Also don’t think that you would be safe as they are just as happy to persecute each other as they are us infidels.

  • Talitha

    See, there you go jumping to conclusions.
    When a Godly man looks at Pornography It’s not to get depraved pleasure from those Ungodly images.
    I expect the Women involved in Pornography are all Demon possessed Atheists needing Salvation.
    When my Pastor invites the Menfolk around to his house for a film and a Prayer, It’s an attempt to Save the Souls of those poor Women.
    That article “New SINtist” is both misleading and untrue. The Bible has something to say about the evils of Science:
    1 Timothy 6:20-21 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
    Bob will understand the power of Prayer.
    You all should thank Bob for being here. He is a ray of Sunshine in a cloud of Sin.
    Yours in
    HIM
    Talitha

  • Barry Duke

    Talitha, old darling, time to ‘fess up, no? That monumental arse Bob thinks you for real – a True Christian (TM) – but you and I know otherwise. Put the deluded twat out of his misery. And ours!

  • John Owen

    First time to your site. I am an atheist too. And I believe in free speech. Yet. It is going to be a while before believers get rational, if ever. There are ingrained reasons that religions and wacko beliefs persist and we all have to get along in this world in the meantime, even if there are those who are extremely disruptive. Being liberated from the chains of belief may make us want to jump and click our heels togther, and embolden us to get in the face of what now seem to be idiots. It may be counterproductive and immature of us to not have a little more tact when it comes to how we interact with those who are still under the spell. I don’t mean to compromise on the facts. I don’t mean political correctness. I just mean not to stoop to the immature theatrics or the shoving matches. To have fun but to have a little class. John in St Petersburg ps: an interesting site for discussion of Christianity: http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

  • Godless not gormless

    Talitha,
    In an earlier post regarding sinful homosexual perverts you said:
    “If they choose not to let Jesus enter them and carry on mocking God in this way they will surely end up in Hell.”
    Is this a new tactic by xtians to try to persuade `gays` to give up their lifestyle by suggesting that if they do they can have homosexual sex with Jesus as a compromise? Or is Jesus the name of your local pastor/minister/priest and you’re just repeating what he tells young boys when he gets them on their own?

  • Urmensch

    John Owen
    “It may be counterproductive and immature of us to not have a little more tact when it comes to how we interact with those who are still under the spell.”
    While on one level there is truth to what you say, on another I think you’re too generous.
    I came to this site because I relate to people who are freethinkers and who, like myself, are worried about those who, given a chance, would drag us back in to the dark-ages.
    I look for good ideas to fight this and it can also be hard to get all the mental stimulation I need otherwise.
    When there is a conversation about attacks on free speech and someone like Bob comes along and all he has to contribute is the fact that he wants to have the right to tell gay people that we are perverts, I maintain the right to tell him he’s a credulous fool.
    Why take that lying down or be polite?
    If you are rude, to me or others, I will be rude right back at you. I’m not a xtian and don’t have to turn the other cheek. That’s me.
    I don’t go along to xtian spaces to laugh at the poor benighted fools, any more than I go out to fetish parties to laugh at people indulging in kinks I don’t share.
    Some people like sub/dom play and I have no problem with it. We did evolve from apes with hierarchical structures and instincts and if people want to find a way to indulge, explore and express that, good for them.
    However, I am quite vanilla in my tastes. If you come up to me and keep bugging me, insisting I let you tie me up and whip me, I will tell you no thanks. I’m you persist I’ll be more forceful.
    For me, religions are just another way for people to indulge in this roleplay, with their god as the ultimate Dom.
    Part and parcel of their role-playing is that their über-Dom lets some of them stand in for him while others act the submissive. Fine. If you consent to that and find it satisfying.
    Just don’t come to me and insist I have to go along with it.
    Where I find religion inferior to the sub/dom crowd is that they don’t like to take no for an answer and will even compel others against their will, under pain of torture and death.
    I think the world would be a better place if they could find a more constructive way to get their rocks off.

  • Urmensch

    John
    Thanks, by the way, for the link to that site. It looks interesting.

  • Talitha,
    It’s a common belief among Christians that homosexuality is a behavior that can be changed thorough prayer, exorcisms, electrocution of the genitals, shaming by religious peers, and payment of many thousands of dollars to charlatans with an agenda(among other things).
    According to all legitimate medical, psychiatric, psychological and medical professionals however, sexual orientation is a natural inborn trait that is not changeable. In fact attempts to change it are ineffective and typically lead to mental, spiritual and even physical harm to the individual. But I suppose your type doesn’t care how badly a gay person his harmed, so long as he pretends to be straight for Jesus, eh? It’s all about controlling people’s minds and behaviors with you guys.

  • Alun

    John Owen
    Welcome.
    The sort of quiet atheism you advocate is how I live my public life. When I visit “The Freethinker” however, I know I’m speaking to people who share my views so my comments can be a little risque.
    I do not believe it possible to get the majority of religious folk to renounce their faiths with reasoned argument. Either their brains are hardwired for it, they’re mentally ill or have some ulterior motive for professing it, such as Vatican PLC. The best we can do is persuade the cowering masses to ignore these morons.
    Any god-botherer that posts here initially tries to use “reason” so we adopt their faith, usually after criticising someones sexuality or lifestyle. When that fails they often resort to repeatedly quoting scripture and flaccidly bashing at us with their dogma. This is an atheist blog after all so when they’ve finished it’s our turn, and they get what they deserve.
    Shortly after I started commenting here a gentleman called “Bob” urged me to “repent”. I thought about composing a response but others got there first and sent him packing. They always seem to gang up on evangelists like that. I’m not very academic about my atheism, I’m more likely to take the piss which is why I keep coming back.
    Hope you have fun.

  • John Owen,
    I’m quite reasonable with believers who are decent and act like rational people. My own mother and a sister are ardent Christians and we get on quite well. They don’t preach hateful anti-gay crap at me or tell me I’ll burn in hell if I don’t believe in god. They actually do that stuff Jesus preached like “love your neighbor” and “do unto others”. Other believers who, like them, use religion as a tool to guide their own lives rather than as a battering ram against others find no opposition from me.
    The Bobs of this world, who feel the need to preach incessantly and use the Bible as a weapon against specific groups (such as gay people) while ignoring everything else the book says will feel my wrath. For them I have little or no patience, as it is filth like them who have been eroding and eradicating my rights for decades. It is because of people like Bob that my marriage is currently in legal limbo. I refuse to try to “reach out” to his ilk, because they are by choice unreachable. I’d no sooner ask a black man to reach out to the KKK or a Jew to reach out to the Neo-Nazis.
    But you deal with them as you please, as is your right, and I wish you the best in your attempts to reach them.
    Buffy

  • John Owen

    Dear Buffy, Alun, and Urmensch,
    Thank you for your replies. My post did not address what is involved when a religious type is actively trying to interfere with one’s freedoms and rights. It would be natural to see such ugliness met with other ugliness, even though this is not a rational response. I think that an organized response by relatively thoughtful means may have a superior long term effect. The means used to respond to the Bobs of the world makes a difference. I admire those who have rationally dismantled the rubish that has been dumped on your site by the likes of Bob without undue emotion. Since Bob is only the tip of the iceburg of bigots out there, and since those bigots are standing in the way of society progressing, perhaps it is a gift for someone like Bob to offer samples of their crap so that we can get a little group practice in the art of skillful dismantling. John Owen PS, has anyone else enjoyed reading a book called “The Bible Unearthed”?

  • Urmensch

    John
    I myself, when I’ve encountered the homophobic type of Christian, have tried to argue that the Bible has to be understood in the context of the time it was written.
    Bar the one episode in Sodom (which of course never really existed) all the mention of homosexuality in the Bible refers to the practice of men sleeping with homosexual priests who served in the pagan temples all over the Middle East. When it says in the Bible that this is ‘to’evah’, what has come to be translated as abomination, it meant that it was forbidden to the Jews as being ritually unlawful.
    Easy to understand why the priests didn’t want the Jews engaging in the religious practices of competing gods.
    In fact, the first time this term was used was when Moses said to Pharaoh that the rituals of the Jews were ‘to’evah’ to the Egyptians.
    Obviously he can’t have meant the rituals were abominable. Just that they were foreign, weren’t meant for the Egyptians.
    Even the animals that were forbidden to the Jews to eat were mostly sacred to the pagans.
    So ‘to’evah’ was actually a cultural rather than an ethical injunction.
    Never once have I succeeded in getting one to budge from their own interpretation. I concluded that the reason is that they want to hate. That in fact they look to the Bible for justification for their hatred.
    These same people never picket seafood establishments because they sell shrimp, or someone remarrying a divorcée, or attack gardeners who plants two different types of plant together etc., all equally ‘to’evah’. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.
    This is why Buffy said what she did about getting Black people or Jews to reach out to Nazis or the KKK.
    Because the source of their hatred is irrational, they are immune to reason.
    I tend to agree with her.
    If however, a Christian could admit to even a scintilla of doubt about their scriptures, in that case there might be some profit to be had in reasonable discussion.

  • John Owen

    Urmensch
    Yes, it doesn’t seem that one can rationally discuss the terms of their insanity with believers. This has also been my experience on numerous occassions.
    It is a better use of time for non-believers to join together formally to be recognized as a force to be dealt with, and I commend you for being associated with other non-believers.
    But when someone like Bob comes along, there may be a way to engage without debating the terms of their belief system. Every liberated person I have met has had a waking up point, be it at 2 years or 40 years. That waking up point is not going to crack until a threshold is met if ever; we can hinder it coming along or we can help it to come along. If someone looks at a non believer as a decent sort of chap or lady, it is much more likely that the encounter will have the desired affect. No, I am not reaching out to believers on the terms of their insanity. Perhaps the following will be my first stab at dealing with Bob:
    Dear Bob,
    Your comment has been a contribution to the freethinker website in so far as it provides a clear depiction of the price a person and society pays for belief in your particular brand of Christianity. Even in the context of the deluded thinking that you have demonstrated, I do not sense a shred of original thought or technique in your post. It is a shame that as a person of European decent, whose ancestors were probably converted to Christianity at the threat of death and against their will, that you have embraced a system of Middle Eastern and Greek gnostic thought that is crippling your intellectual capacity and contributing to misery in the world. It is disturbing that you selectively use this inconsistent body of mythology in order to justify hatreds and intolerances and that you would willingly be an agent for the continuation of the disasters that your form of Christianity as brought to the planet. Your post will be moved to the section “posts by believers” after one week in order to serve as an example of what happens to someone of ill motive who has taken a plunge into the deep end of a dangerous belief system. Perhaps if you are ever healed of your mental virus, you will be able to retrieve this post and put it into the scapbook that documents your recovery and embrace of rational thinking. In the meantime, it will serves as a reminder to us of the misfortune that can befall a peson such as you who has not discovered the gift of critical thought. John