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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The all over the map War on Religion Thread. (Page 3)

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Author Topic: The all over the map War on Religion Thread.
MrSquicky
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I'm totally on board with the school having policies against verbal bullying. It's the idea that we should have laws against it that I don't agree with.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
I'm totally on board with the school having policies against verbal bullying. It's the idea that we should have laws against it that I don't agree with.

Do you think we should not have laws against making actionable threats or sexual harassment?

If so, how do you think actionable threats and/or sexual harassment differ from the kind of verbal bullying you think should be legal.

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fugu13
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quote:
Do you think we should not have laws against making actionable threats or sexual harassment?

If so, how do you think actionable threats and/or sexual harassment differ from the kind of verbal bullying you think should be legal.

I'm surprised you don't see the differences. For instance, a bunch of kids standing around and singing about two kids "k-i-s-s-i-n-g" would be verbal bullying, but wouldn't remotely reach the level of actionable threats or sexual harassment in statutes. Or everyone calling someone a sissy, or any of a wide variety of verbal bullying options. Those are all verbal bullying, but I think it is obvious both why they don't fall under such statutes, and why they shouldn't: they aren't severe enough to override free speech. They can be dealt with at an administrative level in schools because the schools are acting in the place of parents in keeping order and providing guidance about civil behavior, but attempting to legislate that among children is repugnant. (On a side note, even sexual harassment only rises to the level of statutory violation in certain contexts -- between random strangers out in public, it generally isn't illegal).

This is before we even get to the public choice problems: passing such a law invites school officials to pass the buck upwards and outwards, to the courts and police, something we're already seeing more and more of. There are times the courts and police need to be involved in the behavior of children, but the general case of "verbal bullying" is not sufficient cause.

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MrSquicky
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Actionable threats I have a few reservations on, but I definitely fall on the side of having blatant ones be illegal.

With sexual harassment, you'd have to specify what you are actually talking about. I think that we've rolled several different concepts into this term. The (I think) original meaning of a superior pressuring a subordinate to having a sexual relationship or punishing them for no agreeing to such a relationship definitely should be illegal. Workplace harassment that has sexual tones to it, I think should be illegal under the laws against general harassment/hostile work environment and not have specific laws concerning. I don't believe that people who are uncomfortable with the sexual language or imagery in the workplace rises to the level of laws and that we've gone done a bad path with condoning law suits for this.

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The Rabbit
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MrSquicky, Sexual harassment is treated by law as a form of illegal employment discrimination. Although there are criminal statues, the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment cases are civil suits. I don't know the details,

Its would be nice to say that general laws against harassment and a hostile work environment should be enough to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. But that's rather naive. Sexual harassment laws and policy aren't a response to an imagined problem. When I first entered the workplace as a teenager, it was pretty much accepted that having your butt pinched and listening to degrading sexual innuendo were just something you had to tolerate as a working woman. Thanks to sexual harassment laws and policies, it isn't that way any more.

These laws and policies have resulted in a significant improvement in the workplace environment for many women. Ideally, they wouldn't be necessary but the fact is that they are.

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The Rabbit
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By now you've probably heard about the controversy with the TV show "All-American Muslim".

I read the following at Florida Family Values (the group who persuaded Lowe's to pull its advertisements from the show) and I think it says some revealing things about the Christians who think there is a war on Christianity.

quote:
The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.

One of the most troubling scenes occurred at the introduction of the program when a Muslim police officer stated "I really am American. No ifs and or buts about it." This scene would appear to be damage control for the Dearborn Police who have arrested numerous Christians including several former Muslims for peacefully preaching Christianity. Dearborn Police falsely arrested Nabeel Qureshi and Paul Rezkalla in 2010 and Sudanese Christian Pastor George Saieg in 2009 for preaching Christianity at the Annual Arab International Festival. Information on these two arrests are posted below.

They are upset because this show is portraying American Muslims as regular people not dangerous terrorists. They are deeply troubled by a Muslim police officer stating he's a real American.

I looked into the "false arrest" that happened at the Muslim Festival. I found a video of one of the arrested missionaries taken at the Muslim Festival where he was arrested. link. He isn't simply handing out Christian literature, he is arguing that Islam is a fundamentally violent dangerous religion at a Muslim festival. At the time of the arrests, he had drawn a large angry crowd and police claim he was shouting into the crowd and causing a riot. He was arrested for disturbing the peace and refusing to follow police orders. And evidently there was enough evidence to support this charge, that the courts refused a request for its dismissal.

These people are complaining about a war on Christianity while leading a war on Islam and seem completely blind to the irony of the situation.

I agree that people should have the right to express themselves in public places and thing the courts were probably right to find favor of this missionaries. But what the laws should allow people to do and what people should do are not the same thing. Its stupid, rude and inflammatory to preach about how evil and violent Islam is at an Islam festival. When you do something like that, its hypocritical to play the victim.

It reminds me of the way children will often try to get someone in trouble by deliberately provoking them. Except of course kids are smart enough to understand that this is what they are doing.

[ December 15, 2011, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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kmbboots
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http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=14104

quote:
Concerns that religious liberty is being eroded by government action and policymaking prompted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to open a campaign in 2011 to head off what they consider dangers to the rights of people of faith and conscience.
Looks like it isn't just the evangelicals. The good news is that, while the bishops might be getting bent out of shape, from what I can tell, regular Catholics aren't. This was posted on FB and the comments ran like this:

quote:
Speaking as one person, I think the bishops are dead wrong. This is a created issue at a time when...we have very real issues in this country.
quote:
How about the rights of the poor to survive???
quote:
As we've found from other comments, the right-wing is already running with this "religious liberty' issue and treating it as fact. It's a diversionary tactic and gets us away from the real issues facing us.
quote:
Sadly many Catholics don't bother to check the facts and ARE "diverted" from real issues, believe the misinformation, take as fact that our Catholic faith and Church are under siege by the government, we are in danger of our freedom of religion rights being taken away, etc., etc., etc. My question is how can we break through in an organized voice?
Of course, my exposure to more right-wing Catholics is (by preference) limited.
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Scott R
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Here are the things the bishops are worried about:

quote:
- Interim rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in August that would mandate no-cost coverage of contraception and sterilization in most private health insurance plans, accompanied by a proposed religious exemption that Catholic and other religious leaders considered too narrowly drawn.

-- The denial of grant funding by the Department of Health and Human Services to the bishops' Migration and Refugee Services to continue providing case management services to foreign-born human trafficking victims because the agency declined to refer for or provide contraceptive service, abortion and sterilization if a client request such services.

-- The U.S. Agency for International Development's requirement that Catholic Relief Services and other contractors include condom distribution in their HIV prevention activities and provide contraception in a range of international relief and development programs.

-- The Department of Justice's actions to mischaracterize the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which states that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, as an act of bigotry and to actively attack its constitutionality.

-- The Justice Department's efforts to undermine the "ministerial exception" that exempts religious institutions from some civil laws when it comes to hiring and firing.


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Scott R
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I'd like to understand how much government funding the Catholic Relief Service and the Migration and Refugee Service receive. How many referrals do they normally get, and how are those referrals being handled now that the Catholic institutions aren't getting them?
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kmbboots
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Good questions. The bottom line, though, is that the Church denies itself those opportunities to be of service by clinging to outdated rules that most American Catholics disagree with anyway. We could, if we considered it a priority, continue providing assistance to those who need it.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Here are the things the bishops are worried about:

I'll certainly agree that the government, right alongside with society in general, are currently taking stances and actions in opposition to the goals of the leadership of many religions in the USA, including the Catholic Church.

It's just that, when they do so, the rhetoric is often used in a way to imply that things are completely neutral and balanced in every other way, and that therefore a given current events political or social issue is an example of a sharp attack by society or government against them, rather than one piece in a very large, complicated relationship between the three that very often goes in religion's favor.

Sticking with the political angle, see how much control evangelical Christians have exerted over Republican politics over the past...well, decade, really despite the fact that they constitute a minority among American Christians, much less Americans as a whole.

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Scott R
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quote:
The bottom line, though, is that the Church denies itself those opportunities to be of service by clinging to outdated rules that most American Catholics disagree with anyway. We could, if we considered it a priority, continue providing assistance to those who need it.
Hm... This seems like an appeal to populism ("most American Catholics..."). Is that really a road you're comfortable walking, in terms of how you approach religion and its influence in society?

I am not, for the record. Religious action should be governed by doctrine, not by popular opinion.

Rakeesh: I'm not sure that it's not the opposite of your proposal-- I'm wary of the GOP's control over religion.

Tomatoes, potatoes, maybe.

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kmbboots
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Scott, Catholic doctrine is, in part, determined by "populism". Here is an article that sort fo encapsulates this.

http://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/when-dissent-not-just-dissent


quote:
Discussing Vatican II, Benedictine Bishop B.C. Butler acknowledged that if a teaching "failed in the end to enjoy reception on the part of the church, this would prove it had not met the requirements" for enforcement. And in 1969, the theologian Joseph Ratzinger (currently Pope Benedict VI) spoke about even infallibly proposed teachings: "Where there is neither consensus on the part of the universal church nor clear testimony in the sources, no binding decision is possible. If such a decision were formally made, it would lack the necessary conditions and the question of the decision's legitimacy would have to be examined." What Butler and Benedict are getting at is the very real possibility of legitimate non-reception.
Even if that weren't the case, there is the question of whether that particular doctrine should outweigh the clear mandate to serve the poor. And the question of whether not being allowed to have one particular doctrine of ours bind a secular government and whether that approaches the level of religious persecution.
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