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Old 04-03-2006, 11:22 PM   #136
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Originally posted by Irvine511
aggressively religous? certainly, in comparison to western europe and australia.

god bless america? in god we trust? one nation under god?

no other modern country does this. no other modern country talks about god in the political arena in the way that Americans do. no other country has a president that says that they consult their "higher father" when deciding when and how to go to war. no other country has a party held hostage by evangelical Protestants. no other country gives even a 2nd thought to Intelligent Design.

and that's just the big picture stuff.
And, to you, this is aggression?

As was posed earlier, a little time in a Middle Eastern country and you would learn aggression. Limit your view to Western Europe won't do you much better considering the longer history of religious influence (or even state sponsored churches!).

As for the continued "held hostage" references, I can understand the motivating factors for the rants, but the facts don't hold up.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:26 PM   #137
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Limit your view to Western Europe won't do you much better considering the longer history of religious influence (or even state sponsored churches!).

How do you explain Canada then?

Here a mention of religion could cost you an election. The Cons have a majority and that's in large part because the PM, who is an economic Conservative and IMO doesn't give a shit about social concerns, muzzled his caucus, since he knew that bringing up God, abortion and so on is the end of the line in this electorate.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:27 PM   #138
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sorry, the "secular dilution" of religion is your own delusion,
Without an understanding of faith and the influence of the "things of this world" you must first grapple with your own delusions.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:28 PM   #139
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Four "Great Awakenings" and a deluge of romanticism each time.

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Old 04-03-2006, 11:33 PM   #140
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My point was that it's going to take a lot more than prying Focus on the Family, etc. out of prime political influence to combat homophobia, just as pursuing the right to gay marriage through the courts won't suffice to address how its religious opponents came to have so much formal political clout to begin with.
You won't ever end or homophobia, just like racism you never will.

But there are no organized groups who are attacking gay marriage other than religious ones.

Destroying slavery, segregation, etc didn't kill racism but it made huge strides.

But passing gay marriage and showing people that marriage and society doesn't fall apart, will make huge strides in tolerance. Right now Conservative Religious Organizations are the only thing stopping this.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:35 PM   #141
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Too many non-religious support the ban to support your statement.
If the leaders of every Christian church from the Pope to Dr. James Dobson supported gay marriage, it would be a reality in America today.

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Old 04-03-2006, 11:37 PM   #142
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Destroying slavery, segregation, etc didn't kill racism but it made huge strides.
Fair enough, good point. Although religion isn't usually what gets blamed in the history books for Jim Crow laws, etc.--even though a selective perusal of Southern (white) church history at that time might suggest otherwise. Of course religious beliefs were a crucial motivator for many civil rights activists, though, too.
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The Pledge of Allegiance
No one is required to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and anyhow its pervasiveness is considerably exaggerated; I never once attended a school/classroom where it was said regularly, and in fact I always have to struggle for a few seconds to remember the words, few though they are. But yes, the "under God" bit was added in in 1954, during "Red Scare" days, to distinguish us from those Godless, freedom-hating Soviets.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:54 PM   #143
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Originally posted by yolland


No one is required to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and anyhow its pervasiveness is considerably exaggerated; I never once attended a school/classroom where it was said regularly, and in fact I always have to struggle for a few seconds to remember the words, few though they are. But yes, the "under God" bit was added in in 1954, during "Red Scare" days, to distinguish us from those Godless, freedom-hating Soviets.
It's actually a law in IL. It is said every day in schools.
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:08 AM   #144
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Huh. News to me. How long has that been the case, and what do they do about children who don't wish to say it (Jehovah's Witnesses etc.)?
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:22 AM   #145
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I started teaching in 2002-2003 and it has been the case since then. I'm not sure of its exact start date. Per the Supreme Court, children can not be required to say the pledge. I just require that my students are quiet during the pledge. I tell them if they'd like to say it, fine. If not, act as if another country's national anthem is being played and remain quiet until it's over. I don't really get any objections from my kids. Some say it, some don't, some omit the under God business. I leave it up to them.
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:46 AM   #146
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ihave been to North Africa, and i would still say that the United States is the most aggressively religious first world nation, especially among nations with the ability to blow up the world several times over.
I think your overstating the case a bit here, Irvine. While, as my posts show, I agree with your views on strict seperation of church and state, I think your personal distaste for conservative Christianity is coloring your thinking. It seems to me that what bothers you is not just that some Christians (and I really think it's important to point out that this is some--a very vocal and visible group--but hardly representative of all conservative fundamentalist Christianity) are aggressively pursuing a religo-political agenda. What really seems to be bugging you is that there are just so many religous people in America at all. It would seem you'd prefer it if we just lived in a less religious country. Some of your posts suggest that you feel that people who believe in the Bible, or who believe in Intelligent Design or who are in other ways are raving lunatics. Of course it is your right to feel that way, and I won't take issue with that but those views certainly can't be embraced by our government either.

I would say it's accurate that Americans on average are far more religious than most Europeans, Australians etc. But that does not translate into a religously "aggressive" government. I don't think we're anywhere near there. We definitely need to be on guard so that we don't get there--but we're not there, not by a long shot.

Regarding the issue of homosexuality, I think it is unfair to say that all prejudice against homosexuality is rooted in Christianity. Nazi Germany is recent example of non-Christian, ruthless state-sponsored persecution of gays and lesbians. There are other cultures where homosexuality is frowned on where the motivation is not conservative Christian beliefs. A quote from the Lonely Planet guidebook to Korea that I read just last week says that people in Korea will try to tell you that homosexuality doesn't exist there. (Course there are other countries such as Thailand where homosexuality is much more accepted).

And I do think that there are Christians who can engage in meaningful discussion about the issues of homosexuality and gay marriage. Many Christians I know (including me) want to reconcile what the Bible seems to say about homosexuality with Christ's principles of love and acceptance. No genuine Christian can blindly accept the hatred and intolerance directed at gays and lesbians while at the same time claiming to believe in a God of love.

To tell the truth a lot of Christian's self-righteous hostility and Bible thumping over homosexuality has more to do with the "ick" factor than anything else. As I've said before, religion has always being used as a convenient cloak to hide darker motives. Most Christians don't get so worked up about about say "ignoring the poor and the widows" or "covetousness" or even "adultery" (which are also prohibited by scripture) as they do about homosexuality. As always intolerance and prejudice have more to do with fear of the unknown "other" than they do religious faith. Sadly, faith just provides a convenient cloak to wrap that fear in. And if that particular cloak wasn't there, people would just find another one.

But I'm getting off topic.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:46 AM   #147
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lol, the whole thread is off topic at this point--though since the resulting discussion is constructive and the thread-starter seems fine with it, I'm not too concerned about that.

I agree with much of what you said, maycocksean, especially your closing paragraph. But I would also like to add as a qualifier of sorts that far, far too many gay people have been deeply wounded in ways the rest of us will never really, fully understand by people whose cruelty is strongly motivated by (or promotes itself as motivated by) religious convictions. As a Jew I'll admit that it's never completely possible for me to disentangle my own anger over centuries of church-sanctioned anti-Semitism and what it's directly or indirectly done to my people and family, from of my own distrust of politicized Christian conservatives. And I'm not fully "wrong" or irrational in this distrust, either--the dangers are real even if the extent isn't always gauged or directed appropriately. You do make an important point though (if I'm understanding you correctly) that sympathetic religious people can also be inadvertently wounded and alienated in this process, and for that reason prudence about what failings precisely one means to target is always a good thing. Still, this need for attention to just what your listener might hear in your criticisms or defenses (are you implicitly dismissing the reality of people's pain? are you implicitly branding people incapable of moral clarity for their beliefs?) does cut both ways.

p.s. And a belated welcome to FYM
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:03 AM   #148
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You are very right, yolland and your point is well taken.

I'm very hesitant to enter into discussions on these issues precisely because of the concerns you've mentioned. I often feel that I don't have the right to blithely make pronouncements about what gays and lesbians should or shouldn't do because it's too easy for me. I haven't been there. I don't "know how it feels." So usually, I just keep my mouth shut. I know that Christians (well-meaning and otherwise) have deeply wounded gays in ways that I will never understand. I've seen gay friends of mine deal with the trauma of the collision between a church & faith they love and want to be a part of and a part of themselves that the church brands as evil. It's tough, ugly stuff. I know that. The same goes for the painful history between Christians and Jews.

I wasn't trying to imply that you or Irvine or anyone else is "wrong" or irrational in feeling distrust towards Christians, especially those of the conservative stripe. I'll grant you there is a lot to distrust especially among these really visible vocal
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:38 AM   #149
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Please don't be hesitant to enter into any discussions--your positions are always thoughtful and well-put, which is what really matters. Actually Irvine and I have (gently) butted heads plenty of times over the depth of the relationship between faith and intolerance because I'm religious myself. And for sure, Christians have no monopoly on prejudice towards gays--I grew up in an Orthodox community, and saw plenty of the painful collisions you describe there. I was only citing my own background as an example of why I feel it's important, if difficult, to always keep in mind the different kinds of resonances different people will hear in what you say where longstanding, historic prejudices are concerned--I'm sure you could offer analogies from your own experience as well. It's a struggle for everyone, I think, and I was thinking out loud to myself as much as I was addressing anyone else.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:15 AM   #150
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
[B]

And, to you, this is aggression?

in comparison to other first world nations -- and the separation of religion from government seems to be a characteristic shared by all first world nations -- we are certainly far more aggressive in our use of religion in political discourse. perhaps you are taking my use of the word "aggression" to mean "violent," which i don't mean, at least not yet, on a national level, but yes, there are many conservative Christians who do seem to be both violent and aggressive, and their political influence has been growing over the past 15 years. this aggression is manifested in pre-emptive wars, the sanctioning of torture, tax cuts for the rich, the nonchalant raping the earth, and the refusing water to dying migrants while at the same time blaming them for the nation's problems.




[q]As was posed earlier, a little time in a Middle Eastern country and you would learn aggression. Limit your view to Western Europe won't do you much better considering the longer history of religious influence (or even state sponsored churches!).[/q]


thank you for the lovely suggestion, but i have spent plenty of time in North Africa, and while it was a wonderful place to visit, there is no way i'd like to live there. in fact, one of the reasons why respect for atheism/agnosticism is so important to me, and why i am so troubled the really gauche way in which God is invoked by Republican politicians, is precisely because i have spent time in theocratic societies -- when, in fact, they aren't genuinely theocratic and more autocratic and religion is used to manipulte and control the citizens of the country in order to increase government power.

it could happen here. and it will if we aren't vigilant.

go ahead. mock my concerns. it's your head in the sand, not mine.


[q]As for the continued "held hostage" references, I can understand the motivating factors for the rants, but the facts don't hold up.[/q]


erm, you've not provided a single fact to counter any of my examples of, first, the original intent of this thread -- the irrational, discrminatory "distrust" of atheists, which is used to deny parents custody of their children in divorce settlements -- and also how this thread has expanded to discuss the chipping away of the barriers between church and state.

for a comment such as the one above to be taken seriously, you're going to have to elucidate what precisely these "facts" are, instead of blithely asserting that they exist.

and, in fact, it actually is a little bit hurtful to be so patronizingly dismissive of "rants." i am very much in love with someone who has been harmed, in so many different ways, by Christianity and by a fire-and-brimstone Baptist culture that has told him that no matter how well he does, how much money he makes, how much he volunteers, how good a person he is, it is ALL negated by the simple fact that he is in love with another man. he has dozens and dozens of cousins, many of them get knocked up at the age of 17 and get married by 18, and, praise be!, that's all fine and dandy.
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