Pregnant professor ordered to marry or dump her boyfriend

Pregnant professor ordered to marry or dump her boyfriend March 25, 2017

Back in 2015, Coty Richardson, above, was sacked by administrators at a small evangelical Christian college in Oregon after she refused their demand to marry or dump her partner.
But this week a federal judge ruled that Northwest Christian University, a private, 700-student school in Eugene, had illegally discriminated against Richardson, who had been an assistant professor teaching biomechanics, human kinetics, nutrition and other science courses. She had been on the faculty since 2011.
Judge Ann Aiken wrote in her 33-page opinion and order:

This is the unusual employment discrimination case in which the facts are largely undisputed. At its heart, this lawsuit is about what happens when an employment policy based on an employer’s sincerely held religious belief conflicts with an employee’s rights under federal and state discrimination laws.

In late July 2015, Northwest Christian administrators fired Richardson via a letter from Dennis Lindsay, the Vice President for Academic Affairs. According to the lawsuit, the letter stated that:

Sexual relations outside of marriage is contrary to the university’s core values.

In a previous missive, Lindsay explained that “having a child out of wedlock while still continuing a relationship with the father” sets “a bad example” for the fully grown, adult students who attend Northwest Christian.
Richardson, now 37, informed officials at Northwest Christian of her pregnancy in the spring of 2015.
School officials told her she had to marry the father right away or else dump the unborn child’s father and declare the pregnancy an error, the lawsuit contended.
Richardson, already a mother of two, and the unidentified boyfriend had been together for 12 years at the time.
She chose neither alternative offered by school officials, she said. Instead, she asked for personal privacy.
When she filed her lawsuit, Richardson alleged that Northwest Christian has not fired male employees who have fathered children out of wedlock.
The summary judgment in Richardson’s favour on the marital status discrimination claim rejects Northwest Christian’s claim that the school is immune to employment discrimination claims. In a nutshell, the court ruled, Northwest Christian cannot discriminate any more than any other institution unless the hiring and firing is specifically related to ministers.
Judge Aiken decreed:

First, plaintiff’s title, assistant professor of exercise science, was secular. Second, plaintiff did not undergo any specialised religious training before assuming her position. Third, although there is ample evidence plaintiff held herself out as a Christian, there is no evidence she held herself out as a minister.

Richardson, Aiken noted:

Was expected to integrate her Christianity into her teaching and demonstrate a maturing Christian faith. But any religious function was wholly secondary to her secular role.

The judge ruled that a jury will have to decide several of Richardson’s other claims against Northwest Christian. There will also be a trial over damages. Richardson originally sought $650,000 for lost wages and for suffering discrimination.
The ex-professor holds a master’s degree from A T Still University, an osteopathic medical school in Missouri, and a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University.
After she was fired, she had difficulty finding work commensurate with her education.
Northwest Christian University President Joseph Womack told Inside Higher Ed that the school does not yet have a public comment concerning the summary judgment decision.
Womack says on the college website:

I believe the best of what we do is manifest through a collegiate atmosphere that is transformative in experience, rigorous in study, and reverent in posture; an environment where students are encouraged to passionately seek God’s call on their lives and endowed with the knowledge, experiences, skills, and character to answer that call successfully.

Joseph Womack
Daniel Kalish, Richardson’s lawyer, suggested to Inside Higher Ed that the judge’s ruling means that religious schools “don’t get a free pass” to engage in employment discrimination.
According to the Northwest Christian student handbook:

The university expects that non-married students will not engage in sexual intercourse.

Spending the night in a dorm room inhabited by a member of the opposite sex is not allowed. Additionally, alcohol and tobacco are forbidden on campus. “Mooning, ‘streaking’ and public urination” are verboten. “Prolonged displays of physical affection” are “not considered appropriate.” And absolutely no pornography of any kind.

The law firm representing Richardson has created a petition asking Northwest Christian University to reinstate Richardson as a professor. It says:

Tell NCU it’s NOT OK to fire a woman for being pregnant!

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  • I am an atheist who lives in Oregon. I disagree with this court decision. Right or wrong (and take a guess which I think) religious schools are exempt from many laws that apply from secular schools. Labor laws and disability laws do not apply.
    Separation of church and state works to the benefit of both. If the state can tell this religious group what their religious practices are, then that is the establishment of a state religion.
    My preference would be for no religious exemptions to exist in the law. That is not the current situation.
    My preference would be for staff and students who elect to go to a religious school stop flapping their jaw like a landed fish when they learn that – surprise! – the rules of the religious school they elect to go to apply even to them. That is also not the current situation.

  • Prior

    Mr Blake … you are a jackass if you really mean what you wrote.
    The law must apply to all … no exceptions.

  • Stephen Mynett

    So, Trevor Blake it is OK to discriminate against disabled people in certain circumstances. Obviously I chose to born with a disability and enjoy using it to my advantage.
    Trevor you are a fucking asshole.

  • RayJ

    Mr Blake an Atheist? no atheists believes that the religious should have special privileges above the rest of us. the state is not telling this religious group what their religious practices are they are telling them they cannot be bigots or discriminate (unless Prior is right).

  • remigius

    Prior and Stephen, I think you have misinterpreted what Trevor wrote.
    He is very obviously against religious exemptions, especially when it comes to labor and disability laws which do not apply to religious establishments.
    I agree with Trevor. There should be absolutely no exemptions.

  • L.Long

    Trevor is correct! And if you don’t like the idea that these religious aholes have a special place to hate women and allow males to do as they wish, then get out and vote to remove the special privileges of ALL religions!!!! And make them no different than any other business!!! If people are in the religion and don’t like what they do then get the fuck out and stop whinnying about it. I don’t like what religions do so I don’t work for any!!! Simple!

  • Brian Jordan

    What sort of people are these? They don’t mind if she doesn’t get married, just so long as she deprives her child of its father!

  • Stephen Mynett

    Long, I and many others have campaigned or voted against discrimination for a long time, unfortunately we have failed to win. So it is our fault for not winning, you are also a fucking asshole.
    Barry Duke, have you considered having a Freethinker Victim Blaming award, there would be a good few up for it.

  • L.Long

    So stephen if you are driving too fast and the cop stops you and gives you a ticket then it is OK to whine about and blame the cop. After all you should not be at fault for joining the club (drivers) and violating their rules?!?!? SHe was or still is in their club, she broke their rules, she was punished. I’m not blaming her for being a victim, I’m blaming her for being stoopid! Remember in religion only MALES are allowed to break the rules!!!

  • Smokey

    I don’t see how marital status is relevant to this situation. She teaches non-religious classes at a school.
    But even if it was relevant, why are only women punished?
    Also, it’s high time we got rid of the expression “sincerely held beliefs”, religious or not. It doesn’t belong in a rational society. Oh, wait…

  • Brian Jordan

    @Smokey
    I don’t see how marital status is relevant to this situation. She teaches non-religious classes at a school.
    Indeed: teaching biomechanics, human kinetics, nutrition and other science courses
    Hardly fitting material for a bible college – especially if they were creationists as well. Maybe they were quite glad to see the back of her..

  • Paul

    I think the most serious concern is in this statement from the school in its previous letter :-
    [she and her behaviour….] sets “a bad example” for the fully grown, adult students who attend Northwest Christian.”
    Note :
    Fully grown.
    Adults.
    Are these fully grown adults really in need of being kept from real life and real life relationships and pregnant teachers.

  • Prior wrote: “The law must apply to all … no exceptions.”
    I wrote: “My preference would be for no religious exemptions to exist in the law.”
    Stephen Mynett wrote: “So, Trevor Blake it is OK to discriminate against disabled people in certain circumstances.”
    I wrote: “My preference would be for no religious exemptions to exist in the law.”
    RayJ wrote: “no atheists believes that the religious should have special privileges above the rest of us.”
    I wrote: “My preference would be for no religious exemptions to exist in the law.”
    Prior, Stephen and RayJ: I say the law currently allows discrimination, AND THEN I SAY THAT I PREFER THAT THE LAW WOULD NOT ALLOW DISCRIMINATION. I’ve repeated myself three times and then once more in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS.
    I hope this clarifies what I have said.

  • John the Drunkard

    Considering that the school didn’t seem to be eager to define what they expected from faculty in non-religious departments, the discrimination charge is pretty fair. A ‘Christian’ (undefined) is hired to teach secular subjects and never required to toe any lines…until she becomes pregnant WHILE working for the school. She had a 12 year relationship, already had two children, so their pearl-clutching about her ‘morals’ is obviously bogus.
    Supposedly, male faculty were not harassed about impregnating their unmarried partners. This is obviously a capricious and inconsistent exercise on the part of the school.

  • barriejohn

    Surely, this hinges upon what her contract of employment stated?
    Sexual relations outside of marriage is contrary to the university’s core values.
    That may be so, but is not an obligation upon employees, and sacking someone for “setting a bad example” is ridiculous, as well as being apparently arbitrary. Who sets the rules, and who makes the decision?
    However, I’m quite sure that there is no pornography on the site, as all are Christians, although students who would like to get their hands on some might be able to by means of a scheme like this:
    https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/family/item/679-texas-atheists-trade-porn-for-bibles
    The Examiner did not miss the opportunity to take its own stabs at the Bible in defense of the atheist group:
    “Members of Atheist Agenda are quick to point out that the Bible and other religious texts are just as obscene as any pornography. According to the group, the Bible contains all sorts of misogyny, violence, torture, and questionable sexual practices. Indeed, the Bible, the Koran, and other religious texts are often filled with the most disgusting, degrading images: genocide, infanticide, incest, and the sexual abuse of children.”
    Besides representing an unbelievable misunderstanding of the Christian Bible, the Examiner’s assertions indicate the unfortunate success that atheistic groups have had on the undermining of Christian faith in recent years.

    Oh dear.

  • Michael Organ

    @Trevor Blake
    The law applies equally to all. To allow any institution or entity to modify the law to accommodate their own personal or corporate prejudices sets up a very dangerous precedent. Imagine where this would lead if it were allowed to stand. Imagine a Muslim college demanding that all unmarried female staff, undergo physical examination before they were employed and periodically whilst they were employed to confirm that they were still hymen intact. Imagine that also being applied to the student body. Now imagine many different employers making rules and demanding that those rules be adhered to by all employees even if those rules contradicted the legal code. Keep imagining until the law of the land is so fractured it becomes irrelevant and every little tin pot dictator acting as an employer can run rough shod over every right you and I have. That sir is not a civilised modern society, that is anarchy.
    I find it hard to understand why this poor lady needed to sue in the first place. This should have been dealt with by the civil authorities as a crime. But this is the USA where Theists seem to have a kind of immunity from the legal code or at least they argue they should have.
    The separation of Church and State does not work both ways and never has. The Church is a private entity which cannot interfere in State business but as a part of the State it has no immunity from the laws of the State. The Church resides in the State not the State in the Church a fact that many US Christians do not like never the less they have to accept.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Long. pure sophistry and you are still a fucking arsehole, Blake you should have been clearer at the start, still not sure I believe you. Both, post whatever replies you want, I do not fucking care. Broga was right to leave, although I am still sorry to see he is gone.

  • Michael Organ: we agree there should not be religious exceptions to the law. I’ve said so six times on this page alone. But if you think suchcexceptions do not exist you are mistaken.

  • Kevin I. Slaughter

    Two comments, then I’m done.
    The statement “no atheists believes…” followed by anything but “…in a god”is the height of hubris.
    Stephen Mynett is “a fucking asshole”.

  • jkarov

    It wasn’t until the year 2000 that Bob Jones university decided to let black and white students “date” while on campus.
    What’s next for “sincerely held religious belief?”
    If a school kicks you out for needing a blood transfusion? Jehovah Witnesses think that’s sinful
    How about if you need a prescription but the pharmacists disagrees with contraception?

  • Michael Organ

    @ Trevor Blake
    You’re right such exceptions exist but it doesn’t make them right. Only in the US could that happen and that in itself is a sad state of affairs. I trust that those few errors in law will be corrected in time by less religiously driven law makers. Never forget the Pi Bill of 1897 when the Indiana General Assembly passed a law stipulating that PI was no longer 3.142.. but was to be 3.14159, happily this was corrected otherwise circles would today be illegal in Indiana.
    The worrying thing in the US is the election of leaders who openly support crackpot religious agenda’s such as the Bushes and Regan with Trump yet to show his colours in this regard. We can only hope that the constitution and other organs of Government in the US hobble those who would distort the founding fathers intentions.
    The other sad fact is that the once bright beacon of freedom and justice the USA is fast losing its luminosity and being replaced by a confused world of ultra-fundamentalist regimes who have flooded into the vacuum created faster than maggots into rotting flesh. The hope now lies in a tattered Europe where religiosity is declining but disunity is increasing.
    A world is coming and not one that looks or feels either secure or peaceful and in the death throes of religion there is going to be a lot of collateral damage. The very time that the world need strong leadership and direction the US and Europe are becoming increasingly absent.

  • Daz

    Speaking of religious exemption: Inside Shepherd’s Hill, The Christian Academy With A History Of Alleged Abuse. It’s a two-part post; the second is linked from the first.

  • Michael Organ

    @@ Trevor Blake
    Sorry I edited the Wrong value of PI the bill was to change Pi from 3.14159.. to 3.2

  • Stephen Mynett

    Great Troll post Kevin you fucking cunt.

  • Daz

    @Michael Organ

    “the once bright beacon of freedom and justice the USA”

    I’ve seen/heard this claim many times. Has it ever been true?

  • Michael Organ

    @Daz
    I read that with my mouth open and with shock and horror. How on earth in the 21st century in the civilised world can such a place exist let alone be licenced. This is proof indeed that the USA cares little for human rights or those who are abused if those that are abusing are Christian notjobs.
    I hope with all my heart that this type of modern day concentration camp could never exist in the EU. If this place were in the UK those running it would long since have been made guests of HMP system and banned from contact with children for life.

  • Michael Organ

    @Daz
    Yes Daz during and after WWII for example. without the US, Europe would either have been under the Jackboot or absorbed into the USSR. So yes it was a very bright beacon of Freedom and Justice. May we never forget.

  • Michael Organ

    @Stephen Mynett
    By joining @Kevin I. Slaughter in using appalling language you just reduce yourself to his level and undermine Atheists and Freethinkers everywhere.
    He is a typical close minded foul mouthed theist who proclaims the love and goodness of his god whilst wishing to burn the unbeliever. We have enough Muslim jihadists and Christian fundamentalists already. Atheists do not need to join them mealy stand outside with dignity and wait as their deluded followers desert them and join us.

  • Daz

    I once read an account by a black US serviceman who, after fighting in Europe for freedom and justice during WW2, went home to be told “We don’t serve your kind in here boy.” Yep! That’s a beacon of something alright. I just don’t think its either freedom or justice.
    Sorry ’bout the OT. My original comment re this was meant as a rhetorical bit of (justified, I think) cynicism. I never thought anyone would actually reply.

  • Daz

    @ Michael Organ

    “We can only hope that the constitution and other organs of Government in the US hobble those who would distort the founding fathers intentions. “

    Sadly (from the second post of the piece I linked earlier):

    “Under the auspices of the Trump administration and powerful far-right politicians and pundits, religious indoctrination has been propped up as a key element of educational development. Evangelical leaders have been celebrating what they see as the end of government intrusion on matters of faith and family, and recently confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has a history of steering tax dollars away from public schools and toward private, often religious, alternatives. Mother Jones reported that DeVos’ $100 million in donations over the last decade “show an overwhelming emphasis on funding Christian schools [and] evangelical missions.”
    Meanwhile, the administration has made it clear that the anti-LGBT measures common at these religious camps and treatment centers will have its support. Before assuming her cabinet post, DeVos donated millions to anti-LGBTQ organizations that advocate for conversion therapy. And as governor of Indiana, Mike Pence not only provided businesses in the state the legal right to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals in an effort to protect so-called religious freedom, but proposed taking federal dollars away from HIV/AIDS prevention by redirecting that funding “toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.””

  • Stephen Mynett

    Michael, I say what I want so fuck off.

  • tonye

    This post has saddened me.
    Like any website that covers such a diverse subject like religion, there are bound to be occasions when we disagree on a subject.
    We have recently lost Broga, who was, in my opinion, an outstanding contributor.
    I’d hate to see anyone else leave, this site has been a breath of fresh air in my life.
    The clue is in the title – Freethinker.

  • barriejohn

    @tonye: I agree that it is a tragedy that we seem to have lost such a valued contributor as Broga (maybe Barry can reason with him?). I can’t believe how personal some of the comments have been just recently, and we all need to remember that the webmaster is Barry Duke, and it is up to him to decide what people are allowed to post here and what is not suitable. I know that it can be a fine line sometimes, but we have to stick to attacking views expressed and not insulting the poster. Personally, I see it as a mark of success when someone, for instance, tells me to “wind in my neck” (yes – I’m not going to forget THAT in a hurry – though that was from a religiot, of course), because they’ve obviously lost the argument, but not everyone sees it that way, and some are more sensitive than others. We need to stand together on this site as far as is possible, and not fall out unnecessarily.

  • StephenJP

    Rather distressed at some of the comments above.
    What I find odd is why this place is respected – even regarded – as a University. For instance,do potential employers say “wow, this person went to Northwest Christian University; he/she is clearly just the one we need”? And while I am sympathetic to Ms Richardson’s position…osteopathy? Really? What else does this “University” claim to teach?

  • Michael Organ

    @Stephen Mynett
    And so as the foul mouthed miscreant you are the majority will ignore you and thus anything you have to say will be moot. Sad really.
    As for what I can do I will stay here thanks. Your authority is limited to you and that can only be a good thing.

  • Michael Organ

    @Daz
    The world is not a happy place at the moment and I suspect the US is even less content.
    Religion will if it is not strictly controlled drive even the most advanced society back into the dark ages. I believe that the rise of Christianity was the worst thing that ever happened to the Roman Empire and if its allowed to it will have an equally devastating effect on the USA.

  • Michael Organ

    @barriejohn
    Sorry to butt in Barrie. I agree with you. I always see bad language and personal attacks as a cheap strategy to win an argument. Of course it’s not even that it’s bullying. But the bully is best countered by calling them out.
    In my experience the bully is one of two types. They either have no self-respect due to feeling inferior to those they engage with or they are billy no mates who blame the world for their condition.
    Barry Duke should deal with it but he is one and they are many.

  • Paul

    This is quite pathetic to be honest.
    Nevertheless let me disabuse Michal Organ from his rather idiotic post about the US saving Europe from the Germans – not Nazis but the Germans, for it was Germany that we were at war with. It took the US nearly three years to engage in a truly global war.
    You (as the US) didn’t save us, Britain and the Commonwealth stood alone against the Germans until some years after 1939 the US saw they could do several things 1. Make a significant amount of money, 2.Create a new empire for themselves, 3. Destroy the European empires existing at that time namely Britain, France and Germany, and 4. Wait but then get on the winning side.
    And factually first it was us and us alone with our commonwealth that managed to keep hope alive the Germans would not take over the entirety of Europe or the world and secondly after Hitlers silly mistake attacking the Russians (don’t forget they had a pact to divide all of Europe between themselves if they had won) the Russians won the war for us all. You in the US included. Some 20-35 million dead Russians can attest to that.
    So keep your ridiculous US ‘aren’t we great and saved the world’ sabre rattling where it belongs – with no respect up your arse.

  • Bubblecar

    I can sympathise with Trevor Blake’s position, which is quite straightforward. He believes that religious employers should not be exempt from the laws that everyone else has to follow. But unfortunately, under current laws, they are exempt.
    It could therefore be questionable for the courts to intervene and tell religious employers which of their superstitions they should enforce and in which context. Since none of their beliefs make any sense, any such decision is basically arbitrary.
    Such action by the courts might be pursued in the name of secularism, but it could actually have the effect of making the exemptions for the religious look “reasonable” if they agree to abide by court decisions.
    On the other hand, I’m not familiar with US laws and the ruling in this case – that the religious school is only exempt when it comes to the employment of ministers – might be an accurate one.
    It’s up to lawmakers to insist that their laws apply to everyone and to ensure there are no exemptions on the entirely unjustified basis of supernatural beliefs.
    I also agree with those dismayed at the amount of personal abuse creeping into the comment section on the Freethinker. It’s a very poor advertisement for a site upholding the virtues of rational thinking and rational debate.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Michael, as a disabled person I have always known I was in a minority that is often ignored or abused, thanks for wasting your time to tell me that.
    Many of you on here are very quick to jump on discrimination against the LGBT community and you are right to do so but few bother with or ignore disability discrimination. Only one, Agent Cormack I think posted after a particularly disgusting comment about Stephen Hawking.
    So fuck you Michael, I am happy alone in my minority, I know where I am there.

  • tonye

    @barriejohn,
    Agreed.

  • Michael Organ

    @Stephen Mynett
    Your such a nice person and now I note you are a victim.
    Disability is something I think I know a little about having recently lost my left leg.
    Do I now have the right to abuse and bully people because when I left the hospital that wasn’t in the list of things they gave me to do or the leaflet on disability entitlements.
    I am more than a little angry but I won’t resort to foul language, instead I will tell you this. Dont presume to know someone without first getting to know them. Never ever assume you are the only person in the world with problems. Don’t ever believe those problems give you the right to bully and abuse and finally if you want to feel better then resist the temptation to use your disability as a hammer then see everything in the world as a nail.
    Remember there are a lot of disabled people on the net you are not unique.

  • Tony

    Stephen Mynett; If you think that foul language is cool or clever then you are sorely mistaken. It just proves that you are short of vocabulary and poor in rational argument. Four letter abuse may be impressive in low-brow environments but does your standing no favours on this site.
    No doubt you will now unleash a further torrent of abuse but this will be proof once more that you lack the ability to interact civilly with intelligent people. By all means keep lowering the tone here, all the while convincing everybody that you are out of your depth. We will then be reduced to viewing your contributions as the not so light entertainment they are. Best wishes and maybe you will move to pastures new, where the grazing will suit your lowly standard a little better.

  • Daz

    Okay…
    • The law, as it stands, states that religious exemptions are allowed. Trevor has, quite rightly, pointed out that no matter how unfair a law may be, it should be applied to all (or, I suppose, quietly ignored and applied to none). I think we’d all agree on that. However Trevor seems to have missed where it says that…
    • The court’s ruling was that the religious exemption does not apply to those employed in a non-religious capacity; therefore it does not apply to Coty Richardson. I see nothing wrong with that reading, and it’s certainly within a judge’s remit to make such interpretations.
    • We all agree that the law, as it stands, is an arse. No such exemptions should exist.
    And beyond that, everybody seems to be shouting and swearing at each other over misreadings of each others’ comments.

  • Michael Organ

    @Paul
    The US came to our aid in 1940. Without the considerable assistance the UK and our Allies would have collapsed well before Dec 1942. It is a falsehood that we stood alone pure unbridled fiction. We would have starved in short and Germany would have walked into the UK without much fuss.
    My Father joined the RAF in 1939 at the age of 18 and left in 1975. He and his friends were in no doubt the assistance that the US gave us and how important that assistance was. For example in 1941 my Father was in North Africa, during that time most of the food supplies were canned goods from the US transported by US loaned ships which were manned by Royal Navy sailors but had American engineers, the so called volunteers.
    My Father trained pilots and airborne troops, he was a very young jump instructor (but that was the war) and he told us that most of the parachutes he was issued were made in the USA. Without that the Allies in North Africa would have collapsed within months.
    I am not an American I am a Brit and have never lived in the US. As the rest of your comment shows a complete lack of knowledge of the historical reality of WWII I understand how in your chauvinist rant you would assume, which as we know makes an ass of you and me.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Michael, grow up, I was talking about the disabled in general not just me, in fact I have done fairly well compared to many of my disabled kith, a lot who are far more qualified than I am have struggled to find work simply because of prejudice. Especially better than my fellow haemophiliacs, many of whom died of AIDS.
    Things are much better than they were but the “Does he take sugar” syndrome still exists. I am sorry you lost a leg but do not presume, as you accuse me of, that you know about my situation or that of others. That is one of the big problems, even for those who want to help and understand, there are such a wide variety of disabilities.
    So if I see my kith being treated wrongly/badly I will rant in whatever way I want.
    As for whoever went on about swearing showing a lack of vocabulary that is plain pants, it is just a choice. Trevor Blake chose to shout and stamp his feet (use of upper case and upper case bold if you do not know what I mean) and I chose to tell a few of you to fuck off, something that Barry Duke can choose to ban me for if he wishes but it is certainly not your choice or mine what language other people use.
    I strongly suggest you contemplate this post while sticking your head in the rear of a flatulent bison.

  • Paul

    Michal organ
    On one point only – I did say we and our Commonwealth. The US did nothing whatsoever for free – absolutely nothing. And you are wrong / no we would not have starved.
    You really have no idea what you are talking about.
    I would reply but I can’t be bothered.
    Damn I just replied.

  • Daz

    @Michael Organ

    “The US came to our aid in 1940”

    And we finally finished paying for that aid on the 29th of December 2006.
    The USA was the only country involved in WW2 to come out of it richer than it went in. The UK, meanwhile, was basically flat broke and dependent on further loans from the US well into the 1970s, and then from the IMF until North Sea gas revenue finally made itself felt in the mid 1980s. A circumstance which successive presidents made full use of when attempting to steer Britain in the US’s chosen political and military direction. (Older readers might remember Harold Wilson getting a lot of stick from the public because he didn’t pressure the USA over the Vietnam war. Turns out the yanks were threatening to withhold loans unless he’d commit British troops. He somehow managed to keep the money coming by the “compromise” of merely not denouncing the war.)
    But that aside, my original point still stands. The only period you can name in which you believe the US to have truly been a “beacon of justice and freedom” is a period when black people were still being legally discriminated against.

  • remigius

    “The US came to our aid in 1940”
    “And we finally finished paying for that aid on the 29th of December 2006.”
    Both of these are true – up to a point!
    In the late summer of 1940 Britain had been engaged in a bloody war with Germany for nearly a year. We were broke, and lacked the resources to continue the fight. We needed a miracle – and that miracle came in a small tin box full of paperwork.
    For the early part of the war America was strictly neutral – it supplied food, munitions, and raw materials to both Britain and Germany, at a cost. We desperately needed the supplies, but had no money to pay for them. So Churchill sent a secret delegation to the US, they carried the tin box with the papers and offered the Americans a deal – the box in exchange for whatever supplies Britain needed to wage, and win, the war.
    When the Americans learned of the contents of the box they agreed. In total they supplied us with nearly half a trillion pounds worth (in today’s money) of food and materials – with a very generous discount and interest rates. Our total repayments for this half trillion pound loan were merely several billion pounds (in today’s money) payable over a period of nearly sixty years.
    The box contained, among other things, plans for the jet engine, the atomic bomb, and most important of all the blueprints for the Cavity Magnetron – a vacuum tube oscillator that could emit radio waves with a 10cm wavelength.
    In hindsight Britain probably got a raw deal. The magnetron alone is worth many trillions, however we were desperate so had no choice.
    But we won.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6331897.stm
    “But that aside, my original point still stands. The only period you can name in which you believe the US to have truly been a “beacon of justice and freedom” is a period when black people were still being legally discriminated against.”
    I don’t think America has ever been a ‘beacon of justice and freedom’.
    When Thomas Jefferson (the inventor of the swivel-chair) was drafting the Declaration of Independence he included a strong rebuke against Britain’s involvement in slavery. This was tippexed out by the Continental Congress who pointed out that a fledgling USA would need slaves, and as Jefferson himself owned several hundred on his plantation it was a tad hypocritical.
    When the slaves were emancipated nearly a century later women were still second class citizens. When woman were eventually granted suffrage African-Americans were still treated badly. When they were given equal rights in the 1960’s (and there is still a bloody long way to go there) the gays were saying ‘What about us?’.They still are.
    America is slowly creeping towards that beacon, but that prick they’ve just elected is bound to hamper whatever progress they have made.

  • Michael Organ

    @ Stephen Mynett
    At 61 it is far too late for me to ‘Grow Up’. And that coming from someone as immature as you is a tad galling.
    You did not talk about disabled people in general but you in particular with a glancing reference to others. It is unfortunate for you that on this website Omar Khayyám’s quote applies
    “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
    You are hung on your own words and now desperately attempt to justify it. It is sir, not justifiable, it is as written, a sad little man complaining the world owns him and won’t pay. Well Sir may I make this suggestion to you GROW UP face the world as a MAN and stop treating your problems as a security blanket because no one is interested.
    I never said I knew your situation. That was your viewpoint which I admonished you on. Again the words are here and indelible so go look and then if you are a man apologise for your errant accusation.
    I am one of those you call kith and I have not and never will give a foul mouthed child like you the right to talk for me so don’t presume to. Are you really that arrogant that you with your poor use of language believe you have the right to talk for millions of others just because you may share something in common. I can say this that all the disabled people I have ever met would rather not have their disability in common with anyone they would rather not have it.
    The language you use certainly tells others a lot about your upbringing and your level of education. Bad language per se is not an indicator of either unless it’s used arbitrary rather than constructively. When it’s used to insult and bully it certainly is a clear indication of character and decent. Brian Blessed in an interview made it plain that his foul mouth was for effect but he never ever used it to bully or cajole he regarded that as simply base and indefensible. Your only use for bad language is to do so and is your only use for such a literary device. To do otherwise requires the kind of skill that you and I do not possess but maybe as a thespian Brian does, so let Brian use it and we should remain respectful.
    People have the right to ask you to tone down your language. We are all guests in this house, if we have manners and self respect then we abide by the rules of the house. It seems however that you as a lot of bullies feel it is your right to ignore those rules and apply your own base nature. Well it is not. Respect the host and the other guests and they will respect you but don’t and they won’t.
    You finish your post with an insulting remark that most would expect to hear in the confines of a 6th form college. You are obviously old enough to be obliquely base but not yet old enough to be truly witty. Wit without skill is language writ ugly in the users hands.

  • Daz

    Those who complain overmuch about “profanities” are, to my mind, mistakenly concentrating too much on the form of a message and far too little on the important aspect; the meaning of the message. Communicating what we mean is, after all, the purpose of language. Provided the meaning is clear, the form is irrelevant.
    We are all adults. Most adults, of all levels of educational and intellectual achievement, swear as a part of their normal conversation. Get used to it or ignore it.

  • Tony

    I complain about the use of abusive language not because I aspire to be some kind of Comstockian censor. I hold no truck with censorship and would not ask Barry Duke to censor anybody. That kind of free speech suppression more appropriately belongs to the Mary Whitehouses of this world. What I do regret is the use of abusive ad hominem attacks that don’t add anything to the argument in question and merely serve to create bad feelings amongst the parties to the discussion. So I would have no objection for e.g. Stephen to let me have a string of 50 swear words. I might even learn a few new ones, but I would just have to ask: and your point is……?

  • Daz

    Yeah, I do agree that there should actually be a point being made. Otherwise it’s just childish name-calling. But Stephen (as opposed to Kevin I. Slaughter) was making a point at the beginning of this rather tiresome argument. That Stephen had mistaken Trevor’s meaning makes it unfortunate, but Stephen thought he was replying to an extremely monstrous proposition, and, allowing for what he thought he was replying to, his response was appropriate to the anger he felt.

  • Michael Organ

    @Daz
    I agree with your sentiment, however it needs to be understood that those like Stephen have no interest in open and free discussion, as so many on the net, when they are out of their depth they turn to bullying. As they cannot do it physically they do it verbally.
    People have to understand the destructive and harmful effect that such behaviour has on others. There have been suicides because of those like Stephen. He is not a simple nuisance he is a danger and we have to stand up to him and his kind for the sake of those that cannot. To use his disability to defend that is objectionable for I share that condition. No excuse, no matter what is acceptable. I would say that as a disabled person Stephen has responsibility to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
    Remember that if he does it here with a more mature community then he will do it in forums where he may actually be talking to children and young people who are less equipped to withstand his abuse.
    I would love it if those like Stephen could be ignored by those he abuses but in reality it’s the wild west and Stephen has a gun and he is not inclined to show restraint. So we have to disarm him and if that’s ban him so be it.

  • Daz

    “I agree with your sentiment, however it needs to be understood that those like Stephen have no interest in open and free discussion”

    Really? Long experience of Stephen’s comments—in other words observation, rather than extrapolation—would seem to show that you are talking shit.
    People get angry now and again. It happens. Fucking drop it will you, and stop with the amateur psychoanalysing.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Michael, your comments are pathetic, you have decided you know a considerable about disability issues because you have recently lost a leg. As I said before I got lucky employment-wise but many of those I have helped or tried to help did not, they were discriminated against purely because of the way they looked or spoke.
    To say you have experience of disability issues is a joke if, as you say, you have recently become disabled. I am talking about people born with a disability who have had a life of being considered second rate, one who springs to mind is a brilliant mathematician who was generally considered stupid because of his cerebral palsy. It was not until the age of the internet that he found regular work that came close to matching his level of intelligence because he could hide his condition when talking to prospective clients, some of whom were very surprised when they eventually met. There are many similar stories along these lines.
    How many times have you had a complete stranger look at you, note your wheelchair, crutches or whatever prosthesis and say something like “Do you ever work.” Luckily that attitude has diminished greatly but I still hear it from people, either as an insult to others or from disabled people recounting experiences.
    I do not consider you to be kith, only those who have suffered discrimination from day one, you are ignoring basic realities and labelling people without evidence.
    Daz is correct on many things, but he is a good blogger and has written well on many topics. You should give up your amateur and pseudo psychoanalysing. You are the bully because you seem to refuse to accept others have been treated badly or believe their experiences. NB: I am talking about other disabled people not myself.
    I may have mistaken Trevor Comments, although I still think it was a clumsy post but have a lifetime of experiences, not many months short of yours, of seeing disabled people treated like shit. Did you go to a special school because for a long time disabled were not always considered good enough to have a main stream education, have you been regularly asked to justify yourself to complete strangers you have not even tried to engage with or been called a scrounger simply because of the way you look or speak. These are some of the sad realities many disabled have had to put up with and, depending on the society they live in still have to put up with to varying degrees.
    You remind me of the “wise” censors at the BBC who banned a brilliant Ian Dury song because they completely failed to see its true meaning yet were forced to broadcast it years later when it was used in the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics because, eventually, the right people were asked about what was wanted or needed.
    Ian Dury knew, as many of us do, that reasoned argument is often a waste of time with certain people and we have to shout and when I still do see decent but disabled people being vilified will do so.

  • Daz

    “How many times have you had a complete stranger look at you, note your wheelchair, crutches or whatever prosthesis and say something like “Do you ever work.” Luckily that attitude has diminished greatly but I still hear it from people, either as an insult to others or from disabled people recounting experiences. “

    If there’s any silver lining to be found in the governmental persecution of disabled people, it’s that it has drastically heightened ordinary people’s awareness of the problems they face. (Which isn’t a helluva lot of comfort to those being driven to suicide mind.)
    There will always be idiots who don’t get it though, often spurred on by the gutter press. Even I’ve had “scrounger” shouted at me a few times on the assumption, I assume, that I’m faking in order to claim benefits, and I’m not even disabled—I merely use a walking stick now and again ’cause of a bad leg.
    And there are some songs which should never be mentioned without being linked.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Daz, another I really hate, especially as it is nearly always directed at young children is the “god must have a special purpose for you in mind,” or variations on that. Still nothing like a religionist to make a situation worse.

  • Michael Organ

    @Stephen Mynett
    Tell me Stephen is there anything in this life you don’t hate. Is there anyone you don’t feel you have to insult. Is your life so empty and bitter you have decided everyone is against you.
    Remember this is the internet no one knows you are disabled unless you choose to highlight it. You choose to even it is not relevant. The relevance here was your potty mouth and no amount of disability is an excuse for that.
    Learn to interact with others without using the lens of your disability to judge those you do not know.
    A base person is a base person.
    You have now decided to recruit Daz to support your profanity thus showing your immaturity.
    Stop it you are really making yourself look pathetic and childish.

  • Daz

    I’ve been using profanities since I was a school-child. I need no “recruiting,” but thank you for assuming that I’m easily-led and have no mind of my own. Does wonders for my opinion of you, that does. And frankly, your objections to it are looking more and more like prudishness and snobbery.

  • Daz

    And this…

    “Tell me Stephen is there anything in this life you don’t hate. Is there anyone you don’t feel you have to insult. Is your life so empty and bitter you have decided everyone is against you.”

    Is a pile of that stuff usually found just to the south of a north-facing bull.
    That utterance which Stephen points out is a horrible thing to say to a child. No matter how good your intention, if you tell a disabled child that God made them disabled on purpose, the alleged reason for God’s action matters nothing. The message the child gets is that God wanted them not to be able to play football with the other kids, or ride a bicycle, or talk properly, or whatever. And damn right, that’s hateful.
    Has your dislike of Stephen become so important to you that you are now willing to justify hateful things in order to take a pop at him? Christ, who was it here who was calling people immature? Grow. The. Fuck. Up.

  • remigius

    Can I play too?
    I had to have my whole body surgically removed after a tragic trampoline / ceiling fan incident. I exist merely as a conscious stream of pure intellect flowing through the internet – yet I don’t consider myself disabled. Quite the opposite – I feel empowered. Remigius v2.0.
    The rest of you fuckers can kiss my ethereal arse.
    Am I doing it right?

  • Michael Organ

    @Daz
    Now you join him in profanity and bullying oh dear
    Stephen luxuriates in his condition. He is not unique but wants to blame the world for his situation.
    Personally I don’t think Stephen cares at all for other people so wrapped up is he in his own personal tragedy. In my experience those that truly care for others don’t make a big issue of their problems..
    Before I had to retire I was an area manager for a telecoms company. The customers we had the biggest problems with were mainly disabled. It’s a terrible thing to say but never the less its true. We had so many bad situations including threats of violence and even on one occasion when one of my engineers was threatened with a machete that we had to tell two customers we would no longer attend them unless the police or council attended with us. I am only too aware of how much frustration and anger some disabled people have. You may not realise this but I do. But I can also tell you of the many disabled people who we attended that were extremely nice and thankful.
    The problem with Stephen and now you is that you jump to conclusions and get offended at absolutely nothing. I can only conclude you need to find a reason to be angry.
    I am in no doubt that religious people say things which are hurtful and ignorant and never said otherwise so why then make a big deal of educating me. I assure you as an Anti-Thiest I object to that kind of false sympathy.
    Get off that high horse stop reading things between lines that isn’t there and above all if you want be regarded as a grown up stop using bad language.
    Oh and you could do with a little growing up it seems.

  • Michael Organ

    @Daz
    I have only just read this
    “I’ve been using profanities since I was a school-child. I need no “recruiting,” but thank you for assuming that I’m easily-led and have no mind of my own. Does wonders for my opinion of you, that does. And frankly, your objections to it are looking more and more like prudishness and snobbery.”
    Please tell me when I said you were easily led. I said no such thing. I never even insinuated it. I mealy admonished Stephen for attempting to make you an ally and it seem from your words now he has indeed succeeded.
    As for claiming to have been using profane language since you were at school that says a lot about you as a person.
    If my objection sounds prudish and snobbish then it seems that in your eyes for a society to break free of both the only way is to debase it. Not a society I want to live in so you are welcome to it.

  • Daz

    remigius:

    “The rest of you fuckers can kiss my ethereal arse.”

    Umm? Is this at all possible? Surely there can be no meaningful contact between an ethereal arse and a pair of ethereal lips? I demand that research be done by people wielding exciting-looking boxes of electronics with lots of dials and strangely-shaped antennae, that reams of gobbledegook-filled reports be written, and that meaningless graphs with ambiguously labelled axes be produced!
    [See also: How can a god who is “outside space and time” affect things which are inside space and time?]
    ———————————————————————–
    Michael Organ:

    “Now you join him in profanity and bullying oh dear”

    You would seem to have either a very thin skin or a very strange definition of “bullying.” I have no power over you. I cannot harm you or censor you, have not even insulted you to any great degree and have not threatened you.

    “I am in no doubt that religious people say things which are hurtful and ignorant”

    And yet when Stephen points this out as something to be hated, you talk about his hatred as if it were irrational and self-centred. Again, very strange.

    “Please tell me when I said you were easily led.”

    Well I’d have to be, wouldn’t I, if all it took to “recruit” me was a few comments on an internet forum, none of which even so much as hinted that he was asking me to follow his lead. Odd, isn’t it, how a person, such as yourself, who is so damned concerned with politeness in conversation, can be so very very rude and yet define their rudeness as politeness, merely because they avoided using a few words.
    In what way does the use of a few words which can express anything from extreme anger to extreme joy, from fist-bumping solidarity with a position to extreme dislike of it, or from self-reproach to condemnation of others, “debase” the language? On the contrary, I’d say that we should be thankful for the versatility of a relative handful of words which are able to add mood, tone and emphasis so very easily.

  • Michael Organ

    @Baz
    Bullying is behaviour designed to intimidate or physically threaten another. Profane language is a tool of intimidation. What part of that confuses you
    As I said before, Stephen sees everything through the lens of his disability so it’s not just hate, it hate driven by resentment.
    I did not say he recruited you I said he tried to. You confirmed that recruitment yourself by coming to his rescue. QED
    I never said debase the language I said debase the society.
    It’s amazing how you can read a short statement and make so many incorrect assumptions whilst misreading most of it then you take the time to defend your erroneous viewpoint.
    I have no problem defending my views or words but I cannot defend accusations of comments I never made or your interpretation of what you perceived between the lines. Sorry I cannot be in your mind so I just don’t know what the problem is between you reading my comment and you understanding something else.
    If you are going to accuse me of something please can you make sure I am guilty of it first and it’s not just your imagination.
    Oh and I will defend myself because to not do so allows you and Stephen to succeed with your bullying attack and that’s not something I have ever done and never will.

  • remigius

    “[See also: How can a god who is “outside space and time” affect things which are inside space and time?]”
    Simples – it can’t. The existence of a deity that is outside of space and time was conclusively disproved by a very, very odd wise man on the internets several years ago.
    https://theedixieflatline.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/on-free-will-and-prophecy/#comment-12075
    It was also conclusively ignored by all concerned. Ho hum.

  • Daz

    Remigius, you are correct and I abase myself before you. Or possibly behind, given the kissing of ethereal arses etc etc.
    —————————————————
    Michael Organ:

    “Bullying is behaviour designed to intimidate or physically threaten another. Profane language is a tool of intimidation. What part of that confuses you”

    Profane language can indeed be a tool of intimidation. Your mistake is in thinking that that is all it is used for. Try this: An axe is a tool to used split heads open. This is undeniably true, but would you say that it’s an accurate and honest description of the function of an axe?

    “As I said before, Stephen sees everything through the lens of his disability so it’s not just hate, it hate driven by resentment.”

    From whence did this mind-reading ability of yours come? Is it innate or can it be learned? Does thought-transference obey the inverse square law, or does the signal weaken over distance? Is it limited to the speed of light? What is the mechanism of transference? Enquiring minds wish to know these things?

    “I did not say he recruited you I said he tried to. You confirmed that recruitment yourself by coming to his rescue. QED”

    So, he tried to recruit me by, erm, not in any way trying to recruit me, and he was successful in this attempt; which leads to the conclusion that I must be extremely easily led. I’m not sure why you think merely rephrasing your claim makes it any less insulting. What you are doing here is gaslighting; trying to persuade me to reject reality as false in order to confuse and manipulate me. Ironically, this is a tool used exclusively by bullies.

    “I never said debase the language I said debase the society.”

    You are right. I apologise. Still an’ all, my question makes perfect sense if we merely substitute the one word for the other.

  • remigius

    “Does thought-transference obey the inverse square law, or does the signal weaken over distance?”
    Surely, that’s the same thing. The further from the point of origin the lesser the intensity. And vice verse.

  • Daz

    Aye. I suck at editing; also at typing. I could probably get a job at the Grauniad.
    (Please read as “or does the signal not weaken over distance.”)

  • Paul

    Can we go to another thread where there is something good to criticise. Please.
    Fuck and Amen.

  • remigius

    Why would you want to criticise something good?
    Surely it’s better to save our criticism for the bad, the wrong, and the downright stoopid.