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[P]
When sports, religion and freedom of speech collide

By DeadBaby in Op-Ed
Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 11:12:41 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

In a recent issue of the New York Times magazine New York Knick players Allan Houston and Charlie Ward made anti-Semitic comments, including the assertion that Jews were "stubborn" and had "the blood of Jesus on their hands". This story hasn't caught the outrage of the American people in the same way the racist and homophobic remarks that baseball player John Rocker made but it has seemed to upset New York Jews. Are Ward and Houston being treated differently because they're black? Could have New York Knicks center Travis Knight, a white man, gotten away with these same comments? Why are sports figures being held to a higher standard than the average man? Where do we draw the line on personal and private comments?


I personally think the comments Ward & Houston made were very ignorant but they're well known fanatical Christians. Charlie Ward is rarely seen during post game press conferences without a hat on that proudly states "JESUS" and Allan Houston is reported to have a copy of the bible installed on his Palm Pilot. The comments were made while a reporter sat in on a bible study class. I can't understand how private comments made at a bible study can be run up the flag pole yet Ward and Houston's various charitable efforts barely receive any national press.

I feel it's very unfair to the ethnic and religious harmony in the United States when the media purposely reports incidents of freedom of speech as hate crimes. What I find most outrageous about this story is the overall sense of entitlement that various political, ethnic and social groups have come to expect. To their credit, the mass media has not tried to pitch this story the way they did with John Rocker. Maybe they learned their lesson.

Yesterday afternoon I heard on a New York radio show (I have no clue the name, I'm not a regular radio listener) a host talking about Charlie Ward and Allan Houston's comments being especially outrageous since they have both made tremendous efforts to help children and commonly contribute to various charities with their time and money. For example, Charlie Ward has played a major role in the Born to Read program.

Simply can't understand how anyone could be outraged at Charlie Ward's comments being more hurtful to children than say, The 50% of marriages that end in divorce. Freedom of speech should never be confused with freedom of action. If people want to spend time being outraged at people they should stop attacking something as fundamental as free speech and ideas and focus on real actions with definitive impact.

My question to the K5 community is this, When you were growing up did the actions of sports figures impact your life at all? Did they impact your life more than the immediate interaction with your family and friends? Is personal freedom of speech different from public freedom of speech? Secondarily, are these players getting away with more than John Rocker? If so, why?

Some of the media coverage:

David Stern blasts Ward as "Uninformed religious zealot"

Ward Apologizes

American Jewish Congress criticizes Knicks' Ward, Houston

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Poll
Does personal freedom of speech differ from public freedom of speech?
o Yes, but only in cases where the person is a "role model" 1%
o Yes, public figures shouldn't be overly scrutinized 18%
o No, "Role models" should be perfect 3%
o No, racist, homophobic or ethnic remarks are never acceptable. 24%
o Religious zealots should just shut up 52%

Votes: 61
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Born to Read
o David Stern blasts Ward as "Uninformed religious zealot"
o Ward Apologizes
o American Jewish Congress criticizes Knicks' Ward, Houston
o Also by DeadBaby


Display: Sort:
When sports, religion and freedom of speech collide | 123 comments (110 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hate crimes. (4.16 / 12) (#1)
by Alarmist on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 09:35:21 AM EST

What, exactly, is a hate crime?

As they are generally understood in the United States, a hate crime is just like a regular crime, except that it was motivated by some sort of racial, religious, or sexual hatred that the criminal had for the victim.

This strikes me as a bit stupid, because I don't think that society should waste an awful lot of time worrying about why Dick called Jane a dirty name and beat her up. Why can't we just prosecute them on the basis of what they did (assault and battery, in the case of the example)?

I don't believe in extra penalties for crimes motivated by hatred, because I can't see how that's much different from telling people what they can and can't think. The world is full of assholes that need to be punished, but we should punish them for what they do, not for what they think.

In the case you cited in your article, the players are just being stupid. Should action be taken against them? Aside from snubbing them, probably not. They didn't do anything wrong--holding an unpopular (foolish/stupid/wrongheaded/etc.) opinion, while it makes you few friends, is not yet against the law.


Your definition is wrong. (3.66 / 6) (#6)
by Electric Angst on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 09:55:30 AM EST

A hate crime is not simply a normal criminal action with one particular set of motivations. A hate crime is an act of terrorism commited against a segment of our society. Matthew Shepard's death wasn't simply a murder, it was also a statement that one runs the risk of being tortured and killed because of one's sexual orientation.

The term 'hate crime', while the traditional name for such acts, often leads to an incorrect view of why such actions should be prosecuted. A more accurate term would be 'social terrorism', and these crimes should be punished as acts of terrorism.


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
[ Parent ]
I disagree. (3.85 / 7) (#10)
by Alarmist on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:14:16 AM EST

A hate crime is not simply a normal criminal action with one particular set of motivations. A hate crime is an act of terrorism commited against a segment of our society. Matthew Shepard's death wasn't simply a murder, it was also a statement that one runs the risk of being tortured and killed because of one's sexual orientation.

How is this different from killing someone just for the sake of killing someone?

I'm sorry that Matthew Shepard was killed. It frustrates and angers me to see people killed for no reason other than their orientation. But people are killed for lesser reasons every day, and we don't consider those acts of terrorism. Why? Why is a random street shooting, a gang-related killing, or practically any other crime that does not involve some sort of racial or sexual overtones considered to be just a murder? What about racial and sexual killings makes them acts of terrorism?

People can be killed for any reason. Any reason at all. It doesn't matter whether you're gay, straight, both, neither, black, white, or purple with pink polka dots. It does not matter. If you're going to say that killing someone just because the victim was gay is a terrorist act, then I will have to say that killing anyone is a terrorist act.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

And swastika on a synagogue wall is just vandalism (4.00 / 3) (#21)
by Electric Angst on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:32:23 AM EST

Look, you seem to have the increasingly popular "if we just pretend everything is colorblind, then the problems will go away" attitude, so I"m going to make this painfully simple:

In this day and age, there are still people who are at risk of being harrased, beaten, or killed because of their differences, particularly when concerning gender, race, and sexuality. When these crimes are commited, they serve not only as a violent action against the individual victim, but also as a message of terror against people who share the trait that caused that person's attack. Thusly, the person who suffered the violence is not the only victim. We should take into account the people who must live with the knowledge that they could very well lose their lives because of someone else's hate when we judge the criminals who commit these acts.

If we simply prosecute them for the act of violence against the individual, then we are ignoring the majority of the victims of the crime.

A traditional terrorist isn't simply prosecuted for the simple acts of violence they commit, so why should a hate terrorist be treated any different?


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
[ Parent ]
Differences vs. similarities; the colorblind law. (3.50 / 4) (#31)
by Alarmist on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:21:02 PM EST

Look, you seem to have the increasingly popular "if we just pretend everything is colorblind, then the problems will go away" attitude, so I"m going to make this painfully simple:

This is the wrong way to start off if you're actually trying to change my mind.

In this day and age, there are still people who are at risk of being harrased, beaten, or killed because of their differences, particularly when concerning gender, race, and sexuality. When these crimes are commited, they serve not only as a violent action against the individual victim, but also as a message of terror against people who share the trait that caused that person's attack.

I'm not disputing this, so there's no need to regard me as if I'm an idiot child.

People are harrasse, beaten, and killed because they're just there, as well. A fair number of people have died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. These people, these humans, were killed for no reason other than the fact that they were there. Should we then regard those crimes as acts of terror against all of humanity?

I thought that one of the great principles of law was the equality of all before it. Why then are we treating some victims preferentially? Why are they more important than others? We cannot treat the victims inequitably, or the tacit principles on which law is based--that all people deserve protection under the law and that the law is the means whereby order confounds chaos--are violated.

If we simply prosecute them for the act of violence against the individual, then we are ignoring the majority of the victims of the crime.

A crime perpetrated against an individual cannot be held to have been perpetrated against all of a particular subgroup. Either it was perpetrated against an individual or it was against all of humanity. Why reinforce differences by treating people differently? This sort of treatment cannot do anything but force us to recognize the differences we have with others, rather than our commonalities. It will enforce the perception that we are all different, and that perception will continue to compel people to act against others.

Why can we not instead concentrate on our commonalities? We are all human. We all experience pain and pleasure, and none of us is better or worse than any other simply by virtue of accidents of birth. Black people are not better or worse than white people or any other kind. The same goes for gay people, or Jewish people, or any other kind of people. It is what we do with our talents, our strengths, weaknesses, and skills, that makes us different.

Instead of looking at this, we are instead forced to regard each other as different, to look at someone else and see not a fellow human, but an alien, an outsider.

Maybe it is idealistic, but it's a hell of a lot better than dividing the whole of humanity into a bunch of xenophobes.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

See, you're just ignoring the problem! (4.00 / 3) (#35)
by Electric Angst on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:47:29 PM EST

Look, I agree that people should be treated fairly. In fact, I think that 'hate crime' laws are actually a step in the right direction in this regard. We can acknowledge our similarities 'till we're blue in the face, but we have yet to reach the point in our society where equal treatment is de facto. Thusly, we require the law's intervention to ensure that people get the fair treatment that they deserve.

If those of us with social consciousness simply affirm to ourselves that people are equal and don't attempt to enforce that equality, it will give those who don't hold such noble ideals the oppertunity they need to act on their own prejudices, and it will be the objects of their hatred that will ultimantly suffer.

Yes, in an ideal society, hate crime laws wouldn't be needed, but then again, in that situation, we wouldn't require any laws at all.


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
[ Parent ]
Tribalism (3.33 / 3) (#45)
by aphrael on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:51:15 PM EST

Instead of looking at this, we are instead forced to regard each other as different, to look at someone else and see not a fellow human, but an alien, an outsider.

Which do you think is more likely to make me view gay people as part of my tribe and straight people as outsiders: the fact that in some parts of the country I stand a good chance of being killed if i'm open about my sexuality, or the fact that there are laws designed to protect me from that?

The laws aren't what's causing us to regard each otehr as different and alien. Tribalism is a *basic* force in human interaction; it's almost as though we're hard wired for it. The laws in question are poorly implemented attempts to patch the basic problem --- and yeah, they do cause a backlash among people that aren't members of the protected minority. But taking the laws away will simply leave the problem they're intended to solve unaddressed; we'll *still* be divided, and minorities will be *more* likely to band together than they are now, because there's protection in numbers.

I don't know what the solution is. Hate crime laws have negative side effects --- but the lack of hate crime laws do, as well.

[ Parent ]

crimes against the group vs the individual (4.33 / 3) (#47)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 02:19:52 PM EST

A crime perpetrated against an individual cannot be held to have been perpetrated against all of a particular subgroup.

Cannot? Hate laws have been upheld everywhere so someone disagrees with you.

Hate laws are written precisely in opposition to the reason you give - that a crime against a person for their perceived identification with a group becomes legally recognized a crime against the group. When you kill someone for money, money is not victimized. When you kill someone because they are black, blacks are victimized. All blacks, not only one dead guy in particular. You merely have to look around in the present and examine history to see how obvious this is and how useful hate laws can be or would have been.

Why then are we treating some victims preferentially?

This is not about individual victims, it is about hostility to a group. It is novel only because, historically, societies were insular and regarded themselves highly for that insularity. Since members of society write laws, discrimination laws were not written and the moral basis for laws which were written did not engage arguements for or against discrimination.

Now we are that much wiser.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: crimes against the group vs the individual (3.00 / 4) (#48)
by rpm on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 02:39:25 PM EST

When someone is killed for money, the money is not victimised, but the group of people with money might feel differently.

[ Parent ]
you can shed your property (4.00 / 2) (#52)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:02:41 PM EST

You cannot shed your skin. That group is identifiable in their tangible possessions and infringements of property laws are not civil rights infringements.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

good God (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:22:31 AM EST

I thought that one of the great principles of law was the equality of all before it. Why then are we treating some victims preferentially?

The depth of legal confusion that could have produced this sentence is such that I don't see how any reply shorter than a textbook could help, but here goes.

Victims are not "before the law". It's a fairly fundamental principle, of which we are reminded at the top of every criminal case, that the prosecutor in a criminal trial is the state (/United States/Crown/jurisdiction). You may personally be of the view that the seriousness of a sentence is a benefit or otherwise to the victim, but this has very dubious legal backing, other than in jurisdictions where "victims' rights" laws have been passed (usually, unconstitutionally).

Since the victim is not a party to the case, half of your argument is simply irrelevant. Since society as a whole is the prosecutor, it is not unreasonable for society to make laws which say that crimes which attack the social fabric are more serious than crimes which only affect individuals. Someone who paints swastikas on Jewish graves is committing a crime against "all of humanity" rather than just Jews, and the fact that you don't recognise this is pretty worrying for the state of the world.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Inequality of Victims (none / 0) (#103)
by Maclir on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 11:15:11 PM EST

Victims are not "before the law". It's a fairly fundamental principle, of which we are reminded at the top of every criminal case, that the prosecutor in a criminal trial is the state (/United States/Crown/jurisdiction).
No, but the status of the victim is brought up repeatedly in cases. Have you heard of "victim impact statements"? Can you imagine the effect on the jury if they hear testimony from the victim's partner / child / parent on what a fine upstanding person they were, a pillar of society, and so on. Now say that the same crime (a random, sensless act of murder) is committed against a homeless vagrant, with no one to speak for them? Do you believe the accused (assuming found guilty in both situations) will get the same penalty? Does that mean the life of someone without anyone to say what a kind / loving / generous person is worth less than someone else?

And if some mindless vandal desecrates my grave, should my relatives feel less insulted and degraded then relations of a person of jewish (race? religion? enthic origin?) whose grave is desecrated with a swastica?



[ Parent ]
I disagree also (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by Ratnik on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:36:34 AM EST

I disagree with your overall statement just for the fact that I have seen crimes that have been labeled hate crimes. When the the only mitigating fact was the victim belonged to one of the "hated" groups. The criminal in these cases could of cared less what race, religion, or sex the victim was. They were just the unfortunate ones to be there at the wrong place and time.

[ Parent ]
hate crime == downfall of USA legal system (4.00 / 9) (#12)
by jester69 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:26:02 AM EST

Hate crimes are a DUMB idea anyway.

There are plenty of laws on the books to deal with crime. This country used to be a place where a man/woman was judged upon their actions in a court of law. It didnt matter what your reason, if you beat up, harassed or intimidated someone, the punishment fit the crime.

Hate crime laws, on the other hand, punish thoughts and speech. Think about it, what is the difference between a murder that woudl be termed a hate crime, and one that would be termed a plain old murder. Nothing but the thoughts and words of the accused. Those that believe differently than Big Brother would have them are punished more than those who dont.

I dont condone racicsm or any ism like that, and if I meet people like that I tend to avoid them like the plague. But legislating that ones thoughts and speech can get them a longer and more stringent scentence is the start of a slippery slope, and this kind of law will have a *very*bad* impact on all our freedoms in the long run.

I wish people would wake up and smell the sh*t they are shoveling.

peas,

Jester, 69
Its a lemming thing, Jeep owners would understand.
[ Parent ]
So, a strawman'll push us down that slippery slope (3.50 / 2) (#25)
by Electric Angst on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:01:05 PM EST

Well, since your primary argument seems to rest on a falsehood, and you then backup your position with the famously invalid "slippery slope" argument, we're supposed to agree with you why?

This nation has been prosecuting similar crimes differently based on intent since the very beginning. That's why there are such things as first- and second- degree murder. So I don't think that this will somehow lead to a "corruption" of the system.

Also, by your logic, someone who steal food to feed their families is the same as someone who steals for their own pleasure. How could you possibly justify that?


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
[ Parent ]
even better (2.00 / 1) (#59)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 06:48:45 PM EST

This nation has been prosecuting similar crimes differently based on intent since the very beginning.

Actually, the US has been prosecuting crimes differently based on a separation of its citizens according to various class criteria. Not intent, class. Kill a vagrant, see what happens. Kill a policeman, oops. Sodomize a supreme court justice, feh. Sodomize a child, oops.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

oops, sentence fart (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 09:25:12 PM EST

That should read "Not merely intent, class." Intent is a necessary consideration, of course, being the difference between murder and manslaughter, for example.

The problem people have with hate laws is the consideration given for the motive of an intent. Motive, it is argued, is relevant to apprehension and to demonstrating conviction but not to sentencing because it would create classes of citizens. Which is true if you consider a hate crime a crime against an individual but not true if you look upon it as a crime against a class (of people.) People are having a hard time accepting that a crime can be perpetrated against anything other than an individual.

Anway, the point is that US law has always discriminated by class.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

falsehood? what falsehood (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by jester69 on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 10:57:27 AM EST

I dont think anything I said was untrue. Perhaps I just wasnt clear enough.

Manslaughter Vs murder does not go to intent, it goes to state of mind. If the killing was premeditated (i/e planned ahead of time) it is murder, if it was heat-of the moment, it is manslaughter. The thing prosecutors try to prove is that they planned their actions ahead of time to bump the charge from manslaugter to murder.

Barfights often break out over nothing, have you ever heard of someone recieving a more severe punishment because "he was looking at me funny" trumps "jerk spilled a beer on me" which trumps "he drove a camaro, I hate camaros." No you havent and that is because it is the crime not the thought that counts. Under these laws, they define which completely undefensible reasons are okay, and which arent. You can kill someone because he or she has squeaky voice and you hate that, or because you hate Chevies, but if you hate a "protected" group, you are up the creek.

premeditated == Murder. heat of the moment/ accidental == Manslaughter. Prosecutors should try to prove wether or not you meant to do the crime and if you planned it, why you did either is or should be largley irrelevant.

A man, at a bar, lets say he is black. He doesnt really mean any harm to gay people but always cracks gay jokes. This is rude but protected speech so far. he is cracking his rude gay jokes to his friends. Another man there, a gay man, overhears and takes offense and starts making black jokes. A fight breaks out and the gay man is beaten to death by the black man. For the sake of argument assume that these two men were just violent men and would have used any excuse to fight, there are plenty of those around, unfortunately.

You *know* the prosecutor will play the "hate crime" trump card to its full advantage. He will parade witnesses through to testify to his dislike for gays. What was a simple barfight would become a hate crime case, and the man who would have recieved a manslaughter scentence previously is probably now facing life in prision because "hate" motivated his crime.

Make the dead gay man black, and the manslaughtering straight man white, and you are probably looking at a death scentence.

Different rules for the same crime based on your beliefs, wether or not they affect the situation, *is* a bad thing. Just because one might go around spouting off racist jokes, doesnt make one a hate criminal. But you can rest assured that would come up a trial.

The scenario I see happening, is that neighbors that hate each other, if they happen to be different, will call the police and start screaming "hate crime" to get the people they dislike punished more, even tough in reality they are just bad neighbors that hate *each other* not any particular group.

And on your logic about feeding families being an okay motivation for crime, that is ridiculous. So by your logic, is robbery okay to feed a family? how about murder, if i kill 20 people to feed my family (cannibalism, burp) is that okay, where if I had done it for pleasure I would be deserving of punishment?

take care,

The Jester, 69


Its a lemming thing, Jeep owners would understand.
[ Parent ]
oops, mis-spoke in second paragraph (none / 0) (#92)
by jester69 on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:24:41 AM EST

I said:
Manslaughter Vs murder does not go to intent, it goes to state of mind.

I meant to say:
Manslaughter Vs murder does not go to motive, it goes to state of mind, also known as intent.

as you can see I am not a lawyer and get my terms mixed up.

peas,

Jester69
Its a lemming thing, Jeep owners would understand.
[ Parent ]
hate laws are equitable laws (none / 0) (#28)
by eLuddite on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:14:51 PM EST

There are plenty of laws on the books to deal with crime.

What law will protect the emotional damage suffered by negros in a community where a radio station continuously pumps out a stream of low grade, hatefully inspired remarks like "all negros look alike to the white men they are cuckolding?" What free speech right does a community have for making its minorities feel inadequate and resentful?

Hate legislation is a form of anti-defamation. Hate crimes make certain civil rights offenses (those motivated by hostility towards the victim's race, religion, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, gender) easier to prosecute. If you dont legislate them, landlords will have an easier time getting away with refusing jehova witnesses, companies will have an easier time ignoring women applicants, and pickpockets will feel better about themselves picking only black pockets. If you do legislate them, who's civil rights will you diminish? Those who are ignorant about race? Since when was ignorance a defense against objectionable action?

It didnt matter what your reason, if you beat up, harassed or intimidated someone, the punishment fit the crime.

I hope so. Motivation carries weight in consideration of a sentence. If you set fire to your neighbors' home because they are gay then you should be punished for the arson and for the extreme discriminatory bias that singled out your neighbors. Normal motivations like profit are neutral with regard to their victim's civil rights. Hatred intentionally is not.

Hate crime laws, on the other hand, punish thoughts and speech.

So does defamation, libel and slander. Technically speaking, only the expression of hatred is punishable. You can think hateful thoughts all day long with immunity.

Think about it, what is the difference between a murder that woudl be termed a hate crime, and one that would be termed a plain old murder. Nothing but the thoughts and words of the accused.

Why do people who resent hate laws always select murder as the benchmark crime? Murder is too biased to begin with.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Yes but (4.00 / 3) (#43)
by aphrael on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:46:20 PM EST

it's a pretty well accepted principle of legal theory, going back centuries, that the criminality of a particular *act* depends on circumstance. Example: it's OK to kill someone who has broken into your house (in most states), but it's not OK to kill a random person on the street. Either way, it's the same physical act.

How does this relate to hate crimes? Imagine that I spray a swastika on the door of an immigrant from Iran and on the door of a prominent Jew. The former is going to react to the desecration of their property; the latter is going to react to the desecration of their property *with the symbol of a group that massacred his people*. The latter is threatening in the way the former is not; it *should* be a higher level of crime than the former.

[ Parent ]

but (none / 0) (#82)
by vsync on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 02:21:29 PM EST

What if you don't know if he's Jewish or not? What if you just get a kick out of spraying swastikas on doors?

--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
[ Parent ]
depends (none / 0) (#87)
by eLuddite on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:25:01 AM EST

Hate crimes are extraordinarily difficult to prosecute. The likelihood that you will be prosecuted under a hate law, much less convicted, is proportional to the perniciousness of your speech and your actions. You have to be a real hateful bastard with a history of damaging hatred before anyone does anything other than simply hate you in return.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

All crime is thought crime (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by error 404 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:15:03 PM EST

And that's as it should be. There are civil liability situations that aren't thought crimes, and some traffic laws that aren't. But for the most part, the thoughts of the perpetrator are key.

Thought is the difference between first degree murder, self defence, and an accident.

I was at the gym this afternoon. Had I left the locker room with another man's wallet, the difference between a rather serious theft and a mistake to be laughed off by all involved would be entirely in my mind: did I realize I had the wrong wallet?

I was at the bank this morning. I took $100. Not a crime, but only because I beleived (and still do, and the bank agrees) that I withdrew it from a valid account that belongs to me and is credited with more than that amount of money.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Hate crimes attack an entire population (4.57 / 7) (#39)
by DontTreadOnMe on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:02:16 PM EST

Hate crimes are defined as such because they target a far larger group than just the immediate victim. They are designed to instill fear in everyone who shares whatever defining characteristic the victim had that made them a target, such as being female, being black, or being gay.

As such, hate crimes resemble more an act of terrorism than a simple crime. Gunning down a child because it has black skin puts all black people in fear, whereas a random driveby shooting of the same black child by a white or latino gang terrorises at most the targeted gang and immediate neighborhood, not the entire demographic population. The immediate result of both crimes is the same -- a child has been murdered -- but both the motivation and ramifications of the crime are drastically different.

It was judged, correctly in my opinion, that hate crimes terrorising entire segments of our population were something our society could not tolerate, and that the punishment should fit the crime, in particular its vastly wider scope and effect on the affected group and our society as a whole. Motivation does matter ... that is why we treat accidental shootings differently from deliberate, cold blooded murder, and it is why we treat hate crimes of terror differently than other types of crimes.


--
http://openflick.org - Fighting Copyright with Free Media
[ Parent ]

Thank you! (3.00 / 1) (#107)
by Jman1 on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 03:25:50 PM EST

That's the first good defense of hate crimes laws I've seen.

[ Parent ]
This is different (1.66 / 6) (#3)
by 0xdeadbeef on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 09:40:34 AM EST

Because as we all know, only rednecks from the South can be racist. And besides, people have a choice in their religion. You can choose to be a hell-bound heathen, but you can't choose to be 'black'.

here goes. (4.63 / 11) (#7)
by Crashnbur on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:08:45 AM EST

First, this article has a tremendous capability to stir up some lively talk, but what's the point? It seems to me like the point is to upset a few people, get them to retaliate, thus upsetting more and getting them to retaliate. This is not the way it should be.

Personally, I think the media has done a great job ... letting it go. I'm really sick of most of today's news, simply because most of the networks focus on matters that don't matter, such as John Rocker's "racist and homophobic" remarks of a little over a year ago. (Using such terms clearly expresses your bias. Such things aren't important and only stir up trouble... why go around repeating them?)

I think the Sports Illustrated writer that spilled Rocker's comments - out of context, while that may not matter to most people - should have been fired. Why should we care what John Rocker thinks? He's a baseball player, and by his admission and several of his teammates', he just opened his mouth at the wrong time - it was a moment of immaturity. As a result, he could have easily been killed. Who knows how many New Yorkers the Sports Illustrated article pissed off? I know I wouldn't want to have half of that city pissed at me... let alone the rest of the country. (I think one of my favorite comedians said it best: "He would have deserved the shame and press coverage ... if he had been wrong.")

Second, tell me, please, what the hell makes these two basketball players' comments so particularly "outrageous" just because they have worked so hard for charities and the like? Don't you think that, just maybe, this should have had the opposite effect? Perhaps it should have reduced the weight of their comments? Maybe they didn't know what they were saying, or maybe they were too stupid to keep their mouths shut for one moment, but if you pay very close attention, their money isn't where their mouths are, their money is going out to charities (not to mention all the personal benefits of making millions of dollars).

The point is, what they said was not so horrible and does not need to be heard. There is absolutely no point in stirring up such trouble.

Everyone has a right to free speech.
No one has a right to be heard.

crash.neotope.com


Age old heresy (3.92 / 13) (#13)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:29:11 AM EST

This is an age-old heresy that just won't die. The "stubborn" part is usually drawn from the Old Testament, reading the major prophets. In these passages, the people of Israel are called stubborn and stiff-necked because they refuse to repent of their idol worship and return to the grace of God Almighty. This is, of course, the OT--i.e. happened way before Christianity. So it cannot be thought of as an accurate description of the Jewish people outside the time it was written. If anything, it serves as a larger description of humanity in general.

Combine this with Paul's attempts to explain how God is still faithful even when the "chosen people" refuse to accept the Messiah, and you get the age-old heresy that the Jews are "stubborn people, unable to accept the truth of God." Paul wanted to ensure that everyone understood that God was faithful and that he kept his promises. So he needed to explain how the Jewish people's refusal to accept Christ does not make God unfaithful. People often make the mistake of applying Paul's philosophical points about a people to individuals. Either that or they make it a characteristic of the people (i.e. racism at work).

The kicker is that the statement ("being stubborn") is, in reality, true of anyone who hears the gospel message but refuses to acknowledge the place of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ or Messiah. So this really isn't anything to do with the Jewish people but with people in general. To apply it to the Jewish people outside this greater understanding (i.e. that for some reason the Jewish people are any more "stubborn" than anyone else) is just idiocy.

The real one that frustrates me is the "blood of Christ on their hands" bit. I'm not precisely sure when this came into being, but it has largely been an excuse for anti-Semtism throughout the ages. I.e. it is not a truth, but a lie constructed to defend hate. Anti-semtism predates Christianity. But when the Roman empire became Christendom (i.e. the great church-state), we had a whole lot of "normal folk" (non-theologians) who suddenly started on the path of Christianity. Misunderstandings and lies led to the justification of Anti-semitism because they "killed Jesus".

Which is bull. The church of Christ was founded in Jerusalem and at first was all Jewish. The reason Gentiles are even Christian today is owed to Jewish believers. Additionally, from a theological understanding, it is everyone who has the blood of Christ on their hands. His death was to pay our debt. It is for our sins that he died. We are all, in fact, guilty.

Sigh. The greatest enemy of Christians is often ignorant Christians. :-(



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Veritas otium parit. --Terence
Sorry (3.25 / 4) (#16)
by Ratnik on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:40:15 AM EST

Sorry I have no debt to be repaid.

[ Parent ]
Sure you do! :-) (3.00 / 5) (#18)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:05:58 AM EST

Well, you do, even if you don't think you do--at least, according to Christian theology.

I, of course, do not regard myself as an infidel in need of conversion, but that is what Islamic theology implies :-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
The church's response (2.83 / 6) (#14)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:32:51 AM EST

The response of the Christian church should be an open condemnation of these men's comments.

Their own Church should confront them with their heresy and misunderstanding. They should then be confronted on how much hate this causes, and what they are guilty of. They should then acknowledge this before their church.

Following that discipline, they should then make ammends to the public with a public apology and explaination of how they were wrong.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
"The Christian church"? (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:32:17 AM EST

Would that be the Catholic Church? The Russian Orthodox? The Church of England? African Methodist Episcopal? Crazy Harry's Snake Handling Tavern and Chapel?

Christianity makes the Democratic Party look organized :)

[ Parent ]

My intent (none / 0) (#30)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:19:55 PM EST

Since these players most likely belong to a local Church, which is probably a part of a denomination, I was first implying their denomination. Additionally, I was assuming that many Christian denominations or groups would want to distance themselves from this heretical and hateful speech by issuing their own statements.

I was, in many ways, refering to the Church as a whole--i.e. all that call themselves Christians. Thus, the "Christian Church". Since this is only news (or I assume so) in the USA, I would expect that the USA based denominations and representatives would want to make statements. Especially if this is as big a story as it sounds like it is becoming.

So yes, while that statement is broad, I intended it that way. But I don't really expect any representatives of the Chruch outside the US to feel the need to chime in and contribute.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
That's the point... (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:02:52 PM EST

there is no "Christian Church". Some (probably most) denominations would indeed prefer to distance themselves from statements like these. Others would agree with them, and while I question their understanding of Christianity (it's at least different from mine), it's not like it's a trademarked term.

"Heretical" thinking is precisely what causes churches to split. Luther was a heretic from the Roman church, and the Roman Pope is a heretic in the eyes of many Orthodox denominations.

What's the joke about Italian politics: "get together two Italians and you'll have parties; add a third and you'll have a faction"? I can't speak for Italians, but it's demonstrably true of Christians. Certainly there is nobody who could speak for even American Christians with any real credibility. The Mormon take on things is not always in line with Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses have a different angle than Quakers, and David Koresh's fans had another. Every once in a while some churches will get all warm and ecumenical and admit that maybe the people next door don't all deserve to burn in hell for all time, but that's about as far as it goes.

[ Parent ]

I'd disagree on some points (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:48:34 PM EST

I understand your point, but see the issues differently. I'd disagree that the term "Christian Church" is an invalid umbrella label. But then my understanding of what is Christian and what is not might be different.

I agree that the Church has many voices and one cannot answer for all. But then I wasn't expecting one person to say "I speak for the Church and I say they are wrong." As I said, I would expect that representatives might want to chime in to denounce this whole thing, to clarify what they do believe.

My definition of Christian is broad because I fall back mainly to the early church creeds, specifically the Nicean creed (which formulates the experience of the early church into doctrine). Even the Catholic and the Independent Baptist churches agree on the doctrine of that creed.

As for the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and others, I again go back to the early Church Council creeds. And in that sense, I do not include these (and others) in the umbrella of the Christian church. This is because they do disagree with this fundemental doctrines.

Which isn't me trying to be a jerk. It is just that we fundementally disagree on what "Christianity" means if we both don't agree with the doctrines of the early church creeds (especially the Nicean).

Islam is not Christianity, and Christianity is not Islam--we do not agree on who Jesus Christ is. We both have beliefs about it, but we do not agree in those beliefs. In the same way that we can differentiate between Islam and Christianity, I believe we can also differentiate between that which is Christianity and that which seems like Christianity (but is not). Christianity would be classified as that which agrees with the early creeds. Denominations would be those churches which diverge on issues other than those basic doctrinal issues. Unfortunately, this denominations will not leave well enough alone, and they tend to elivate these characteristics of identity to the level of fundemental doctrine. <sigh>

I believe Christianity is a "big family". Unfortunately, it tends to act like a big family. It has its squabbles, its fights. It has "brothers" and "sisters" who do not speak to one another, who deny that they are even from the same family. It is very saddening :-(



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Clearly I'm in over... (none / 0) (#53)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:14:36 PM EST

my pointy little head. It might be cool to discuss this sometime -- I do have some doubts that 325 AD should be considered the "early church", unless I'm an "early American" -- but it would be increasingly OT, and really it would be mostly logic-chopping on my part, since I'm a non-believer. What the hell, we're both unhappy with the comments these guys made, so let's leave it at that.

[ Parent ]
Hehe (none / 0) (#56)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:32:21 PM EST

What the hell, we're both unhappy with the comments these guys made, so let's leave it at that.

Agreed :-)

BTW, I didn't mean to be over-the-top. I just have done some study on these topics and thought I could clear them up a little. Oops :-)

Also, "early" is a bit like "common era"--a label. It is early more in the sense that doctrine had not been set down in written form but was generally agreed upon by all. Which is to say that while the creeds did not come about until 325, they in the end voiced what believers had experienced for almost 300 years.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Heresy? (none / 0) (#26)
by kaemaril on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:04:15 PM EST

What heresy? I don't see anything there that was heretical. Then again, I'm not a Christian... could you enlighten me? What exactly did they say that was heretical?


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Heresy about the "Christ killers" (none / 0) (#27)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:14:10 PM EST

See my other comment.

Heresy is an accurate word, but often misunderstood in modern connotations. Heresy is a departure from orthodoxy (orthodoxy meaning "right thought"). Many Christians today espouse heresy due to everything from simple misunderstandings to gross negligence.

Heresy can best be understood with a little programming idiom: it is much like "off by one" errors. It looks ok until you dig into the implications. It appears correct lexically and logically, but when you follow it to the conclusion, you are in a wholly wrong place.

The heresy here is that the Jewish people carry some sort of curse upon their people for the crucifixation of Christ. Which is just rubbish, and it has never been held as true by the Church.

Now, held as true needs to be clarified: i.e. that it has been considered accepted doctrine and a part of orthodoxy. Just because something is not held true by the Church does not mean that its members will not hold these beliefs--mistakenly or out of ignorance.

I could clarify more on the "Christ Killer" heresy part if you want. But that was my basic gist.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Heresy about the "Christ killers" (none / 0) (#34)
by kaemaril on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:37:26 PM EST

Ah, I see. Well, the only potential heresy I saw is the statement "the jews killed Jesus".

Which they did. Well, OK, them and the Romans. As a factual statement it's bang on, from what little I can remember. Of course, it's just as factual to say "Oh no, the Americans killed JFK"... ;)

But if you're talking about curses and the like, I agree completely. That's a stupid idea, and worthy of derision imho. Of course, I'm an atheist so I don't really care much for the whole thing ;)

But are you sure it's never been held true by the Church? ISTR that during the middle ages etc the jewish people got a bit of a rough ride (massive understatement) for precisely this sort of idea, and the Church didn't appear to be rushing to their aid...


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
The heresy through the ages (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:55:05 PM EST

Ah, I see. Well, the only potential heresy I saw is the statement "the jews killed Jesus".

Yes, but the one thing quoted in the article was that they had "blood on their hands"--which is basically what the whole "Christ Killers" heresy is about. Since they killed the Christ, his blood is upon their hands. So whatever consequences befall them is because of this great sin.

And that is a heresy :-)

But are you sure it's never been held true by the Church?

That's why I clarified the "held true by the Church". Christian doctrine was defined by Church councils. There is a lot of history in why each council met and what the creeds they defined did for the Christian faith. Suffice to say, each time a Church council met, it met because of a doctrinal struggle in the church. Each of these struggles was prompted by one or more heresies that were being taught or championed in the church at the time.

As for my definition of "held true", I prefer to stick to the councils and their creeds because so much theological debate and research is done before and after them--and much of it does not necessarily reflect "core" beliefs or doctrines.

Additionally, the church split east and west. Then the western church had the split of the Reformation. And the Reformation started a lot of splitting :-) But all Christian churches can be grouped by their core beliefs--and short of a few fringe groups--most agree with the core beliefs of the orginal councils.

During the Middle Ages, the Western Catholic Church made alot of mistakes (as did the Eastern Orthodox Church for that matter). But I do not believe they ever made it a Church doctrine that the Jews were guilty of Christ's death and therefore deserving of persecution.

Which is not to say that priests or bishops might not have preached that exact message. But in that, they went beyond the belief and the doctrine of the church and engaged in heresy. Thus the title of my other comment, "Age-old Heresy". It started way back in the anti-semitism of the Gentile church following Roman Christendom, and it has been an awful mistake ever since.

But that mistake has never been acknowledged as doctrine by the Church as a whole.

Just so you understand, my drawing of distinctions is not to let the Church off for the mistakes it has made in the past, but to simply point out that it was a mistake and heresy in the first place. I.e. that the church, in its mistakes, failed its God and Savior by maligning his name with such trash as this "Christ Killers" thing.

It is my attempt to explain the ignorance, blindness, and failings of previous church generations <sigh>. Thanks for your questions!



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Did the pope know? (none / 0) (#58)
by kaemaril on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:55:06 PM EST

Which is not to say that priests or bishops might not have preached that exact message. But in that, they went beyond the belief and the doctrine of the church and engaged in heresy. Thus the title of my other comment, "Age-old Heresy". It started way back in the anti-semitism of the Gentile church following Roman Christendom, and it has been an awful mistake ever since.

So what you're saying is, it's never been the official policy of the church, but the priests and bishops might have done it anyway? And that this was, in effect, a heresy?

I think it would be unrealistic, given that the church would often stamp down on heresy pretty unmericfully, to assume that this was done without the pope and cardinals knowing. Silence must surely have implied consent? I mean, in effect we are saying here that the pope (arguably the most important religious figure of the time) turned a blind eye to what was going on?


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
I don't quite agree (none / 0) (#61)
by a humble lich on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 08:55:52 PM EST

Now there are others in this thread who seem more knowledgeable than I, but I don't think stamping out heresies is quite as simple as you think. Many of the important early heresies were still quite popular regardless of what the Pope of Patriarchs said. When the Iconoclasts were in power in Constantinople and made it heretical to make images of holy figures that did not in the slightest mean that the priests and monks stopped revering icons. Similarly the Arian heresy (the belief that Jesus was a perfect man and not partly divine) remained popular for a long time even after being condemned by several councils.

I think that you are strongly over estimating the power and influence of the Pope and other church officials in the early church.

[ Parent ]

Possibly so... (none / 0) (#66)
by kaemaril on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:31:12 PM EST

Possibly so, I'm no expert on the early Church. However, let's try this one:

"Hello, I'm the Pope. I'm speaking for God right now, when I pronounce that the Jews are NOT eternally cursed with the blood of Christ on their hands, and that this is a monstrous heresy which I'll stamp out by arranging for the immediate excommunication of any priest or bishop who should promulgate such vileness".

That might have given somebody second thought, but AFAIK no such pronouncement was ever made. Again, I'm no expert, so if anybody knows otherwise please free to correct me....

Hmmm... I have no idea why I'm continuing this... oh, well....


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
The sad story ... (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by kostya on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:49:15 AM EST

"Hello, I'm the Pope. I'm speaking for God right now, when I pronounce that the Jews are NOT eternally cursed with the blood of Christ on their hands, and that this is a monstrous heresy which I'll stamp out by arranging for the immediate excommunication of any priest or bishop who should promulgate such vileness".

This never happened. You are correct. And by not doing this, the Catholic church in the middle ages, Luther in the Reformation, and modern Protestantism has implicitly allowed it to be accepted as true.

If you asked any Christian theologian whether or not the "Christ Killer" assertion was valid, they would ephamtically say, "No!" However, has such a statement ever come from the Pope or other major leaders? Not that I am aware of (it might have, but I don't think so). Additionally, short of some quotes from Luther that show his own anti-semitism, I do not believe that anyone made it a doctrinal cannon either. Which leaves it as one of those issues that no one has weighed in on either one side or the other--officially.

Which is sad and tragic and wrong. The doctrine has caused immeasurable pain and suffering, and no one seems to be determined to make a doctinral statement to oppose it. This may be because they think it is in the past and no longer is pertinent.

But then I think we agree that this story points out that it is :-(



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
I agree (none / 0) (#83)
by kaemaril on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 02:41:54 PM EST

But then I think we agree that this story points out that it is :-(

Sadly true. I'm in complete agreement.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Stamping out heresy (none / 0) (#80)
by kostya on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:41:32 AM EST

Heresy and "stamping out" is not quite as simple as it sounds.

First reason, heresy didn't have the intense meaning we assign to it. It merely means teaching that departs from what is considered accepted and correct. Exile was a common thing, with sometimes parties exiling and excommunicating one another. Think of it as two captains declaring each other unfit for duty--which one is correct or takes precedence? This is especially confusing when both opinions are accepted in the church by different factions. Athanasius, who championed the deity of Christ around the 325+ was exiled something like 5 times--but he eventually prevailed ;-)

Second, heresies are frigging persistent. I mentioned Athanasius above. He stood in opposition to Arianism which was hyperrational and stood opposed to Jesus being God. This position was argued over and finally declared as heretical (not orthodox) in 325. But Arianism still exists today, and churches regularly espouse it and start all manner of craziness.

Which is to say, on this particular heresy (i.e. in that it misrepresents common understandings of scripture, the nature of God's judgment and mercy, and the process of redemption), it may have been denounced at some time, but it still persists today. Like mental phages, these ideas tend to spread and keep popping up once they make it into the "wild".



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
heteromoxy (none / 0) (#50)
by Rand Race on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 02:58:31 PM EST

Although I am not sure, I imagine both these men are protestants. The most basic idea behind protestantism is the idea that the individual has the right to interpret scripture as the individual sees fit, "The Church" has no say in how a protestant believes. There is no "heresy" in protestant sects. In fact the protestant sects themselves are heretical to either Catholic or Orthodox dogma. Sure the protestant sects themselves have their own doctrines, some of which specificaly hold jews accountable for the death of Christ, but as they are all heretical to both of the orthodox sects (who in turn have considered each other to be heretics since the Great Schism) it is but a matter of degree.

The only heresy here is the one Martin Luther started when he nailed his theses to the cathedral door and so started the reformation... the BIG heresy as it were.

Oh well, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "Orthodoxy is my doxy, heterodoxy is your doxy."


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Strong disagreement (none / 0) (#55)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:28:08 PM EST

The most basic idea behind protestantism is the idea that the individual has the right to interpret scripture as the individual sees fit, "The Church" has no say in how a protestant believes.

While the Reformation was founded on a creed of "Sola Scriptura" (Scripture Alone), that creed does not imply what you have stated above.

The meaning of "Sola Scriptura" is that doctrine is founded in Scripture alone. This is to mean that doctrine is not added from extra-scriptural sources or influences. It was articulated in such a way as to demonstrate to the Church the true intention of the reformers--to reform the Church and to get it back to the basics and fundementals of the faith.

Do not confuse deconstructionalism, a wholly Postmodernist and 20th century concept, with the 15th century reformation creed of "sola scriptura". They are not the same, and I strongly doubt Luther would agree with what you just said.

There is no "heresy" in protestant sects.

I highly disagree again. Protestant denomations may be split over a wide variety of issues that have been elevated to a "do or die" level of importance, but they agree on the fundamentals. Again, as I have stated in other posts, despite their differences most Christian denominations and sects agree on the fundementals (as defined in early church council creeds). It is these fundementals that they draw their Christian identity from.

The "Christ Killer" heresy is not the same level of heresy as denying Christ's divinity, but it would still be considered heresy--improper reasoning and belief. Especially since it misrepresents God and his mercy.

The only heresy here is the one Martin Luther started when he nailed his theses to the cathedral door and so started the reformation... the BIG heresy as it were.

Luther was acting in the spirit of the church, as it had been for over 1400 years. The church councils of the first millenium resulted out of the publication of opposing view points and critiques of the points of others. Luther sought a reformation of the Church, one that would bring about clearer and more true doctrine and practice. As it is, Luther did not want to split with the Catholic church and fought to reach an understanding with the Catholic church. As to how he ended up split off, that s a bit more complicated :-) Suffice to say it was a little bit of everyone's fault and a touch of politics thrown in for good measure.

I'm curious why you would point to this as the "great heresy". I'm not sure the Orthodox church would agree with you (since they regard papal supremacy as intolerable and Luther was also fighting that).



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Orthodomoxy (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by Rand Race on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 08:48:48 AM EST

Follow the doctrine of Scripture Alone to one of it's logical conclusions: The belief in scripture alone denies the doctrine of good works and therefore removes the power of the sacrement from the priests thus breaking down the barrier between clergy and laity and leads to what Luther called the "Priesthood of the Laity". This is a fundamental belief of the protestant sect, that scripture can only be interpreted in the light of the individual man's own reason and conscience.

We should note very carefully that the Lord Jesus orders Christians and gives them authority to be judges over all doctrine, to pronounce judgement on whether it is correct or not.... This Gospel completely overthrows the papacy and all councils. We are not obliged to accept what the pope enjoins or what men set up. Therefore I say once more, take careful note of this Gospel. Neither the pope nor the councils have received the command to set up and determine what faith is.

-Martin Luther SL.XI.1394,3-5

As for "The Christ Killer" heresy, neither the Catholic, Orthodox, or any major sect of Protestantism has ever specificly denied such a theory. Certainly Martin Luther never denied it:

"...it all coincides with the judgment of Christ which declares that they (Jews) are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil, who sting and work harm stealthily wherever they cannot do it openly.

-Martin Luther The Jews and Their Lies 1543

Oh, BTW, I did not refer to the Reformation as the great heresy but rather the big heresy as it were which in this case means it is the major point of the discussion. The Great Schism between the Orthodox and Catholic churches is a different matter entirely.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

The purpose versus the outgrowth (none / 0) (#78)
by kostya on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 10:54:57 AM EST

Follow the doctrine of Scripture Alone to one of it's logical conclusions

I will not disagree with you that the concept of Sola Scriptura can naturally lead to deconstructionism--but I will argue that was never the intent of Sola Scriptura.

Luther: "... We are not obliged to accept what the pope enjoins or what men set up. Therefore I say once more, take careful note of this Gospel. Neither the pope nor the councils have received the command to set up and determine what faith is."

Here the intent seems clear: to disagree and combat papal primacy. To be fair, it should be understood that papal infallability had not been established as doctrine (although probably held in concept by most). So Luther saw a need to reform the church, to call it back to its original truths. And he saw the Papal system of authority as a direct obstacle to that.

For that matter, Luther did extensive review of the church creeds and accepted all of them--plus adding his own thoughts here and there. So Luther, while fighting the authority of the Pope and the Bishops did not divorce him from the traditional foundations of the Christian faith.

I'll not disagree with the fact that Sola Scriptura has been interpreted to mean a kind of deconstruntionism for the Protestant faith. But I do not believe that can be held to be the intent. And as Luther argued extensively with other reformers (such as Zwingli) over other issues, it seems clear that he did not take a Post

As for Luther and the "Christ Killer" stuff, he was a far cry from a perfect man. He was wrong, and his error has led to more error. :-(



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Orthodomoxomy (none / 0) (#84)
by Rand Race on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 03:50:32 PM EST

I don't know, it seems to me the addition of "what men set up" to "what the pope enjoins" makes it pretty clear that Luther accepted no authority but his own conscience. Every nonsectarian historical document I can find lists the "Clergy of the Laity" right with "Salvation through Scripture" as the very basic protestant beliefs (this includes many histories which predate deconstructionism). You are doing it yourself by decrying Luther's anti-semitism, obviously your interpretation of scripture differs significantly from Luther's.

"For that matter, Luther did extensive review of the church creeds and accepted all of them..."

What!? He denied the doctrine of good works in favor of the doctrine of salvation through scripture. That is a major, gargantuan split in basic belief (and, if I might add, one of the things I find so despicable about pauline protestantism).


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Faith, not scripture ;-) (none / 0) (#85)
by kostya on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:16:57 PM EST

By "For that matter, Luther did extensive review of the church creeds and accepted all of them..." I meant the early church creeds and confessions. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

As it is, Luther did not reject good works or them as an outflow of a genuine life of faith. He just rejected the concept that man could acquire or earn favor with God via his own efforts.

He denied the doctrine of good works in favor of the doctrine of salvation through scripture.

No. No, he did not. He denied that salvation could be earned. He put forth a concept of justification based on faith, not scripture. His doctrine of Sola Scriptura was only for the defense of his theses and the need to reform the church. It has nothing to do with how someone is saved or justified before God. Where did you get that idea?

You are aware that the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church just recently published a paper that clarifies that they agree on justification, right? I.e. that they agree on how one is saved and justified?

You seem to have a strange idea of what Protestants/Lutherans believe. Where are you getting your facts? I have never heard Luther ascribed with salvation through scripture. EVER. I'm not the most wide-read man in the world, but I have read quite a bit on this topic. Additionally, Luther had a very strong doctrine of good works--but based on a faith. Luther primarily fought what he saw as works preceding or bringing about faith. In his mind, since man cannot save himself, he cannot even really generate the faith needed (which is a Gift from God). Luther wanted it to be faith leading to good works.

From that was born the real doctrine of the Reformation, Sola Fide--faith alone.

P.S. I could understand if Luther gets under your skin. He actually thought James was a marginal book because of its emphasis on works. I would disagree with him :-) OTOH, he lived in the 15th century, and he was reacting to an excess of the church of the time. So perhaps he had some very good reasons for feeling as extreme as he did



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't shit ya (none / 0) (#93)
by Rand Race on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:22:58 PM EST

I have never heard Luther ascribed with salvation through scripture.

Sorry, I am using shorthand. Fully it is: The holy doctrine of Salvation through Faith in Scripture.

"As it is, Luther did not reject good works or them as an outflow of a genuine life of faith. He just rejected the concept that man could acquire or earn favor with God via his own efforts."

How many sacrements in Catholicism? Seven. How many in Protestantism? Two. Why? The rejection of the doctrine of good works. No he didn't reject out of hand good works themselves but rather the specific church "Doctrine of Good Works" upon which the authority of the clergy lay.

"You are aware that the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church just recently published a paper that clarifies that they agree on justification, right? I.e. that they agree on how one is saved and justified?"

So? As a protestant denomination the Lutherans are perfectly free to decide on such matters themselves. That those matters agree with Catholicism on some points is incidental.

"You seem to have a strange idea of what Protestants/Lutherans believe. Where are you getting your facts?"

My contention is not controversial, the idea of personal interpretation of scripture as a basis of Protestantism has been accepted for centuries. I am getting my facts from every single non-fundamentalist piece of information I have EVER read on the subject.

First let me reccomend you read Luther's treatsie "Concerning Christian Liberty". Part one is here and part two is here (the introduction, basicly sucking up to Pope Leo X is here).

From Ask Jeeves: "His [Luther's] basic principle was an appeal to conscience, personally enlightened by the Holy Spirit, against what he called the "accretion of the Roman Church". From 1521 until his death in 1546, Luther elaborated this theory of conscience to include the whole construct of the Reformation. The conscience, he taught, is bound up with the word of God in the scriptures. Therefore, instead of popes and councils, the scriptures alone became the source of religious knowledge."

From Johann von Dollinger (a Catholic defender): "For themselves, it is true, Lutherans and Calvinists claimed liberty of conscience . . ." (51;v.6:268-9/1)

This page has some good info on Protestant beliefs. Specificaly, under Lutheranism: Authority: The Bible as interpreted by each individual.

This page says, as a central belief of protestantism,:"No need for professional intermediaries (priests, confessors, etc.) between the individual and God."

About.com's protestant section says: Authority of the Bible: We rely upon the Bible as authoritative both in matters of faith and as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, we respect the "right of private judgement," and often don't agree on interpretation of the scripture." and "Universal priesthood of believers: We enlarge the role of the laity, encourage individual study and meditation, and reject the imposition of other humans as mediators between us and God."

Luther doesn't get under my skin any more than the vast majority of religous people. He was spectacularly anti-semitic (doesn't this make him a heretic in your light?) but at least he was more rationalistic than the catholics before the counter-reformation.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

My (none / 0) (#94)
by kostya on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 04:40:16 PM EST

That's a lot of quotes. :-)

I'll respect you by reading them all first, but I still see a few places where we are running into some semantic problems (i.e. you hold up a quote and says it means one thing while I have never heard it used that way).

I'll post a response after reading all the resources you posted. Still, I see some problems with different perspectives.

Luther doesn't get under my skin any more than the vast majority of religous people.

Could I inquire what that means? I'm curious.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Human Condition (none / 0) (#95)
by Rand Race on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 08:44:15 AM EST

"Could I inquire what that means? I'm curious."

I find the vast majority of religous people... ok, people in general... twist their beliefs to fit their preconceived notions. Luther didn't like jews so he naturaly read antisemitism into the Bible (sort of an unconscious deconstruction) even though it is painfully obvious that such an idea is ludichrous; Jesus was jewish for kibo's sake. I must admit that many people do this with science and rationalism as well so I'm not realy picking on the religous, it seems to be a part of the human condition. As a rationalist myself I find religion to be, well, irrational, but at it's best there is no doubt of the inspiration and decency that it can create. Unfortunatly it's worst, with it's hatred and reactionaryism, is too often in evidence.

I do want to mention that this debate has sparked a new interest in the period from me. Most of my historical knowledge and interest is in the ancient world; My knowledge of the Reformation being mostly from religous survey courses in school. It is truly a fascinating time in western Europe, my thanks for piqueing my interest.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Alas ... (none / 0) (#96)
by kostya on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 09:55:09 AM EST

I find the vast majority of religous people... ok, people in general... twist their beliefs to fit their preconceived notions.

This is very true. It is very difficult to remain open to insight. Some would argue that this is a sign of ignorance, but I have seen it happen in the "intelligent" as well. I think a lot of it has to do with fear, pride, or a mix of both.

This might be a good place to answer your other question: does Luther's anti-semtism make him a heretic then by my definition? Yes.

The only qualification I would offer is that those who have been called heretics in the past, or who we ascribe that label to now, have usually been confronted by orthodoxy and had a chance to recant. In this case, I don't think (unfortunately) that many, if any, of Luther's contemporaries would have argued with him. So Luther held a heretical belief along with his Reformer and Catholic colleagues. No one confronted him on this, and so he is left in his heresy.

With your interest in ancient history, perhaps you have read up on the various church councils. In most cases, the people on the heretical side cared just as much about the truth of Christianity as did the orthodox. Sometimes they were trying to defend something they saw as important (Origen defending God from the Monarchists, Arius defending the supremacy of God), but in their quest to make their point they swung a bit too far to the extreme.

So I see Luther as someone trying to champion something he saw as critically important: that man is saved by faith. He got quite worked up over it and said some extreme things (e.g. back to that wanting to exclude the book of James). He also held some heretical beliefs about the Jews. Does that make him a heretic? On the Jewish issue, yes. Does that negate his passion and his attempts to change the church for good? I would hope not.

I do want to mention that this debate has sparked a new interest in the period from me.

I as well. I have read some great books on the ancient history of the church, but I have never heard these perspectives on Luther before. Granted, I can see how people (especially non-Protestants) might perceive him that way; but it still intrigues me that he could be taken (IMO) in such the opposite way as he intended. I intend to do some research myself and try and understand the reasons for some of these perspectives. Thanks.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Faith Alone (LONG) (none / 0) (#98)
by kostya on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 03:25:15 PM EST

I apologize for the length. Please take it as my respect for your points of discussion. Sorry :-(

I'm going to try and group these together so I can answer them as one (let me know if I butcher your intent):

Fully it is: The holy doctrine of Salvation through Faith in Scripture.

From Ask Jeeves: ... Therefore, instead of popes and councils, the scriptures alone became the source of religious knowledge.

From About.com: ... We enlarge the role of the laity, encourage individual study and meditation, and reject the imposition of other humans as mediators between us and God

Rand Race: My contention is not controversial, the idea of personal interpretation of scripture as a basis of Protestantism has been accepted for centuries.

Ok, so what were we discussing? :-)

Sola Scriptura: what does it mean, what does it not mean? Especially in light of me claiming that the "Christ Killers" sentiment was heresy?

Your contention, as I understand it, is that Luther claims Sola Scriptura--i.e. salvation found only in scripture and that scripture interpretation is founded solely in personal interpretation. Examples of this would be in Luther's elimination of the doctrine of works (sacraments).

Assuming I have butchered your thoughts correctly into an accurate summary, let me respond.

1) Sola Scriptura: meaning and purpose in context; the Sacraments and works for Luther

Sola Scriptura is Luther's attempt to explain why his approach and demands represented the ancient church better than the Roman Catholic church of the time (RC would debate that, but I digress ...). The illuminating tidbit to this part of the puzzle is your own sig:

"This question has no answer except in the history of how it came to be asked." -JJ

Not that this doesn't have an answer, but it does have a more clear answer in the history of why this creed was even put forth. Why did Luther insist on Sola Scriptura, that the only authority for the beliefs and doctrines of the church must be scripture and scripture alone?

The answer is the history of the time. You've mentioned some of your readings, so I'll assume you have a good background of what is going on in the 15th century. But to sum it up for those following along, the Catholic church had some troubling doctrines that led to some inconsistencies in how one lived their faith. Indulgences (purchased "forgiveness" via a gift to the church) are always brought out as the reason, but the fact is that those are only one of the things Luther had an issue with.

The prevading attitude of the time was that "Certainty of salvation was unknown, and to long for such would have been presumptious." (Lohse 159). The sacraments were understood in an Aristotelian fashion, as in "matter" and "substance". The sacraments are understood to "contain grace". They are then broadened to be the only mediator of grace--i.e. one can only receive grace through the sacraments. The definition was refined further to say that the sacraments imparted grace to any who did not "interpose an obstacle" (Lohse 152).

This is the environment, the backdrop for Luther. One cannot know assurance that one is indeed saved, and one is to not seek such assurance. Grace is obtained through the sacraments, and they alone are the mediator, the vehicle by which you receive grace. It should be noted that to state it this way would be extreme, but correct. I.e. it would reflect a good portion of the belief, but it should also be noted that many would point out the need for faith. The question would then become how can one have faith without grace? And how can one know if your faith is true?

The last part, from my reading and understanding, is the part that drove Luther to fits of despair. He knew his own propensity towards sin--so how could he trust in his own actions? How could confession ever be pure? Surely God could see his selfish motives--so how could his confession impart him grace? Clearly he was bringing an obstacle.

For Luther, the concept of receiving grace via sacraments inevitably lead to a doctrine of salvation by works--i.e. that man could be saved via his own efforts. In his examination of the Bible and the early concilar creeds, he saw that this was not possible nor what the church believed. Thus the Sola Fide--we are saved by grace, obtained through faith which is itself a gift from God.

Where did this leave works? To quote Lohse again:

Man is not only spiritual, however, but also corporeal. If he were entirely spiritual, no further efforts would be required of him. As long as man remains on earth, however, the new righteousness, which is imputed to him fully [through faith], according to his spiritual nature, is never present in final form, but always in an incipient and incomplete state. "Here the works begin," writes Luther, "here a man cannot enjoy leisure; here he must indeed take care to discipline his body by fastings, watchings, labors, and other reasonable discipline and to subject it to the Spirit so that it will obey and conform to the inner man and faith and not revolt against faith and hinder the inner man, as it is the nature of the body to do if it is not held in check." Those works are not to be done with the idea that through them man becomes righteous and pious in God's sight. Rather they are to be done out of love, freely and graciously. Good and pious works never make a good and pious man, but a good and pious man does good and pious works. (Lohse 163)
So for Luther, works were vitally important (his reclaimation of Vocation is wonderful) to faith, as they are a natural outflow of genuine faith. One cannot have true faith without works, and so works become real and done out of genuine intentions instead of trying to curry favor with God.

As for the sacraments:

How many sacrements in Catholicism? Seven. How many in Protestantism? Two. Why? The rejection of the doctrine of good works.
The original seven: baptism, confirmation, Lord's supper, repentance, extreme unction, ordination of priests, marriage. The final two of the reformation: baptism and the Lord's Supper.

The reason? Primarily, these are the only sacraments instituted by Jesus himself, as accounted in the Gospels. That is really the only reason. A secondary reason would be that these two are the only ones that are really associated with the "substance" understandings of the sacraments. Were they removed in a radical attempt to usurp "Peter for Paul", as you put it? No. The other sacraments were present in one form or another in Luther's practice of faith. But they did not possess the ability to impart grace by partaking simply without "interposing and obstacle".

Yes, they dropped 5 of the sacraments, but they did it in an attempt to be more like the ancient church--as it defined itself in the first three concilar creeds. Sola Scriptura is NOT the source of salvation, but the justification for they reforms--i.e. they were getting back to the original roots of the church. The creeds were the church's explaination of what it thought scripture meant, and Luther endeavored to get back to that.

2) Sola Scriptura: Personal Interpretation

This does not mean the modern meaning. Relying on Reason in the pre-modern/classicist period was something entirely different from relying on Reason in the modern or postmodern period.

I could try to explain this further, but this isn't something I am as well versed in. So I will not insult your intelligence. Clearly you understand the differences in philosophical thought and approaches to rationalism in the 15th century as compared to the 20th century. So I'll not bother with that.

I will point out one more time that Luther (and the Reformers) regarded themselves as getting back to the purpose of the ancient church, especially as expressed via the concilar creeds. Luther accepted and put forth the orginal creeds as correct. And his practice and his movements practice showed that.

Additionally, Luther's actions here are more telling than his polemics. As I mentioned in the other post, Luther was fighting something he saw wrong, so he often took the extreme point to make his argument. He was arguing, not building systematic theology (as later people would). So his writings are geared towards that. But his actions tell a more accurate story.

The Reformation did much as the Catholic Church before it did--i.e. they moderated the beliefs of their church via a definition of orthodoxy. For them, orthodoxy was represented in scriptures and in the understandings of the ancient church on scriptures. So interpretation of scriptures was assumed to be taking place in this framework--one that relied upon and judged itself by orthodoxy.

That's the reality of what Luther did. Much like Paul in Galatians decrying the law, he harangues against justification via works; but just like Paul who in Titus stresses the importance of works, so he practiced works and orthodoxy in how the church was lived with and through him.

3) Heresy: possible with Protestants?

Yes, I believe it is possible to judge orthodoxy from within the Protestant framework; but it is not nearly as simple as it would be under the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches.

As I have said, Luther and the Reformers held to the ancient church creeds. So too has protestantism, and many will often use the Nicean creed in their statement of doctrine. As the ancient creeds are foundational, and in many ways, a definition of what it means to be Christian, you can indeed judge the orthodoxy of a Protestant sect by whether it does or does not hold to these original creeds.

That is indeed fairly simple. Unlike the Catholic or Orthodox church, they can't be pronounced anathema or excommunicated. They can be shunned, to a lesser degree. But you can't stop them from believing--not that anyone can do that really to anyone else.

This Christ Killer heresy--well, that is much harder, but still possible. While not in direct conflict with early church creeds, it violates the intent and spirit of many. So the argument would be much harder, but I believe it would be possible.

Again, can we make them stop believing or saying that? No, we can't. We can try to show them the error and hope that they will yield to reason and insight eventually.

4) Fundamentalist

I am getting my facts from every single non-fundamentalist piece of information I have EVER read on the subject.
Hopefully, I have shown myself to be a little more than a raving fundie. I am not a fundamentalist, but I got the impression that you might think I am. Hopefully the discussion has been as worthwhile for you as it has been for me. I have truly enjoyed this.

P.S. Forgive my only citing one source. I am at work and could only bring one book with me.

Lohse, Bernard. A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Fortress Press, Philadelphia. 1978 (translated by F. Ernest Stoeffler)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Not so long ;) (none / 0) (#105)
by Rand Race on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 03:06:20 PM EST

Sorry, I don't have time for a long reply. Not that one is really needed, your expanded point I don't have any beef with.

"Yes, I believe it is possible to judge orthodoxy from within the Protestant framework; but it is not nearly as simple as it would be under the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches."

Certainly protestant sects do have their orthodoxy and I suppose they have their heretics. I suppose my point was that protestantism as a whole, or rather what protestantism became, by it's very nature splits off sects of what would be heretics into new protestant denominations. What were Puritans and Quakers if not Anglican heretics?

But yes, obviously there are certain basic bits of creed that one must believe in to be a Protestant, or a Christian in general (divinity of Christ for example), but at that point are we talking heresy or apostasy? (no matter, we're talking semantics anyhow ;)

"Hopefully, I have shown myself to be a little more than a raving fundie. I am not a fundamentalist, but I got the impression that you might think I am. Hopefully the discussion has been as worthwhile for you as it has been for me. I have truly enjoyed this."

No offense to fundamentalists (OK, a little), but it was quite obvious from your tone and eruditeness that you are not a fundie. I was just hedging my claims against some of the frothing at the mouth, whacked out fundamentalist derived drivel that I came upon in my research. One of my favorite jokes is somewhat relevant here: Catholicism represents the victory of Peter's theology over Paul's, Protestantism is the victory of Paul's theology over Peter's, and Fundamentalism is the victory of Paul's theology over Jesus'.

Yow, longer than I thought. It has definately been fun and enlightening.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Puzzled by moderation (none / 0) (#38)
by pw201 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:58:34 PM EST

I'm puzzled by the moderation of this comment. It seems entirely reasonable that the church these people belong to might have something to say to them, and that they should apologise for their comments. So, why the 1 and 2 ratings?

[ Parent ]
It is interesting ... (none / 0) (#46)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:57:26 PM EST

The comment, I felt, was reasonable. And the conversation it has created seems both helpful and stimulating.

My assumption would be that the posters just didn't like the blatant "religiosness" of the comment. Which is fine by me. To each their own. I felt a clarification that Christian churches (on a whole) do not endorse or tolerate this heresy would be helpful.

OTOH, perhaps it is the thought of church discipline. I could see how that might offend some of our atheist posters, but it is valid. I would think those who do not hold Christian beliefs would welcome Christians correcting mistaken believers. But perhaps the idea "church discipline" is a bit scary for those who are not religious? Perhaps it invokes bad connotations?

For my part, despite the unexpected moderation directions, I am enjoying the discussion it has brought.

There is also the problem that people disagree over what moderation really is and how it is to be used :-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
THE Christian Church? (none / 0) (#62)
by electricbarbarella on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 09:20:59 PM EST

Um, there is no "The" Christian Church, far as I know. So, what church are you TALKING about?

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
[ Parent ]
Welcome to the discussion! (none / 0) (#65)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 09:51:41 PM EST

Have you been reading the thread? Because davidduncanscott kind of beat you to the punch. You'll notice it right there on the same tree level as your comment.

:-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
*shrug* (none / 0) (#86)
by electricbarbarella on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 10:16:40 PM EST

I looked for it (cause I was SURE someone would have beat me to the punch), but I must have missed it. I AM only human. sorry.

-Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
Not everything is quantifiable.
[ Parent ]
Just teasing anyways! (none / 0) (#91)
by kostya on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 10:50:32 AM EST

I AM only human. sorry.

No problem. I was just teasing anyways. :-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Guilty of Heresy and Misunderstandings? (none / 0) (#100)
by fsh on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 09:08:50 PM EST

I've been following along with your discussions, and thought that I might as well reply directly to this post.
Their own Church should confront them with their heresy and misunderstanding. They should then be confronted on how much hate this causes, and what they are guilty of.
While the attitudes these two people have certainly seems immoral, I can't help but think that this line of thought stems directly from the teachings of the protestant churches. From a very early age, Sunday School teaches that Good People go to Heaven, and Bad People go to Hell. This is a necessary simplification, since your average 5yo probably wouldn't understand 1 word in 20 of the conversations you've had with others inthis thread. As one grows older(teenager), the true message is taught, that only people who believe in Christ are destined for eternal life, in Heaven, with God. Because of the earlier teachings, people who are going to Heaven are still associated with those that are Good.

Therefore, those who do not accept Christ as their Lord and Savior are destined to eternal damnation, or Hell, and are thus Bad.

In addition to this, however, is the fact that Christianity is the dominant religion in our hemisphere, and as such is the only religion most people have any experience with whatsoever. With the sole exception of the religion which Christianity grew from: Judaism. Now, the Old Testament in some places contradicts the New Testament, and this is explained by saying that the New Testament supersedes the Old. Incidentally, the Old Testament is also used by the Jewish people - here's the introduction of your average person's second religion. Therefore (as simple teenage logic would have it), the Christian (New Testament) religion, which requires one to believe in Christ to go to Heaven, is more correct than the Jewish (Old Testament) religion, which does not acknowledge Christ, and is bound for Hell. It is just a simple extra step to equate Christians with Good and Jews with Bad.

The next step that youthful logic would have you follow is to take the seriously bad people from the New Testament, the people who didn't follow Christ, and set them up as the typical Jewish Stereotype. Especially the Easter Stories; the story of the Death of Christ is some of the most beautiful prose in the entire Bible, and can sway the emotions like few things I have ever read. Easter is also the time when everyone comes to Church, so it would be the story most likely known by all Christians, even the ones who don't read the Bible for themselves. Thus we have Judas, the original money-grubber, and Pontius Pilate, who washed Jesus' blood from his hands; these are the two most commonly used stereotypes by Christians against Jews, and I think that this is the cause. I have absolutely no idea if there's any basis to these conjectures of mine, but there seems to be a great ring of truth to them in my mind. As an agnostic, I take the meaning of these two people completely differently; Judas I see as Capitalism and Pilate I see as the Conscience or Rational Thought. Of course, a literal reading is required by the church, so these interpretations were frowned on in my Bible class.

Now, I fully understand the arguments you've had with other people. However, how can you possibly lay the blame on these young men for coming to a rational conclusion based on what they've been taught?

When I was young, I thought I wanted to be a preacher for the Southern Baptists. At church camp one year, I asked one of the preachers what I thought was a very serious, well thought out question. I went to school with a young woman who was Hindu. This person was the single nicest person I had ever met, the kindest, and the most moral person I knew. I explained this to my preacher, and asked, "Can she still go to Heaven if she doesn't believe in Christ?" The answer was obvious. Of course she can't. The preacher then proceeded to ask me why I hadn't tried to bring her to Christ if I was really her friend.

That's a hard thing to take when you're only 16, and is the reason that I no longer believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord or my Savior. I do not want a Lord who requires unthinking obedience from His subjects. Neither do I want a Lord who sends moral people to eternal damnation for such a small trangression; eternity, as they say, is a very long time.

I don't claim to say that any of this is the same for the Catholic Church, or even any other Protestant or Southern Baptists churches. But this is how it was taught to me, and I see these same beliefs and attitudes all around me. The most recent example: When I ate lunch at a bar on Easter, my waitress asked me why I wasn't at church. I told her I was an agnostic, and she looked at my with these beautiful, sad eyes. She was sorry for me, because I was going to Hell. She then started to tell me a little bit about what God and Jesus meant for her, how they filled a place inside her that was empty. I soon came to realize that I knew the Bible better than she did, and that some of what she said might actually be considered heresy (especially the way you define it). However, she is a very moral person, and I know she works hard at two jobs to provide for her children, now that her husband left her. So I let her proselytize to me, knowing full well she had no chance, and did not lash out at her like I used to do when I was younger. But mainly because she was explaining it the way I wished it had been; she said that God is Good, and we should be Good because we want to please God, and live in eternal paradise.

I value the Bible, for it is the combined teachings of people from hundreds and hundreds of years ago, but it is not enough for me. I can also learn from the Buddha and from Mohammed. When Jesus requires my faith in him, he steals from me my ability to learn from others, and makes it easier for others to use my blind obediance against me, Christian and non-Christian, capitalist and statesman. I say that I am agnostic instead of atheist, however, because if I ever find someone to follow who does not require blind obediance, I might follow them.

I Might.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

Great questions ... (none / 0) (#104)
by kostya on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 01:04:54 PM EST

First, let me say thanks for replying. You have made some great points and I appreciate you sharing your background. I'll try and address some of your points and concerns.

Teaching, heresy, orthodoxy, and "punishment"

Let me try and summarize your basic point (correct me if I butcher this too much):

"While the attitudes these two people have certainly seems immoral, I can't help but think that this line of thought stems directly from the teachings of the protestant churches. From a very early age, Sunday School teaches that Good People go to Heaven, and Bad People go to Hell."

"... It is just a simple extra step to equate Christians with Good and Jews with Bad."

"Now, I fully understand the arguments you've had with other people. However, how can you possibly lay the blame on these young men for coming to a rational conclusion based on what they've been taught?"

To distill and summarize: How can you hold these two responsible for making logical conclusions based on over-simplified teaching they received when children?

First, let's clarify "held responsible" in terms of what heresy and orthodoxy really mean. What is orthodoxy and what is heresy?

Orthodoxy means "right thinking". Now when the average person (including myself until a few years ago) hears orthodoxy, they think of a list of exact beliefs. I.e. that orthodoxy defines the exact points of truth and doctrine for a belief system. This is not actually the case, at least in the case of Christianity. Orthodoxy, as it was laid down by the ancient church is more of a set of boundaries which define what is "in play" theologically and what is "out of bounds" theologically. You can see this in the early church creeds in how they often denied the extremes of both sides, taking the truth in each and synthesizing.

In a way, orthodoxy (in Christianity) is more about what is not true and than what is true. This is mostly due to the complexity and richness of the truth that Christianity is trying to express to the world.

Heresy, by that definition, is then doctrine which falls outside the boundaries of correct doctrine. There is no assigning of malice or intent, simply that the doctrine or teaching is not correct according to the boundaries of orthodoxy. It should be noted, however, that in this case, there are serious repercussions to this particular heresy. It portrays God as capricious and malevolant--a violation of OT, NT, and 2000 years of belief. So heresy, while simply defined as improper doctrine, can vary in the severity of its consequences.

Additionally, many of us have the middle-ages and the Inquisition in our minds when we hear the term "heretic". Again, that's not the intent. I just wanted to use the word heresy to properly flag the degree of problems and misunderstandings this doctrine was bringing about. To misrepresent God and the message of Christ to such a degree (granted, unknowningly) is very serious.

In the case of these young men, are we seeking to "punish"? No. However, their error has had large consequences (according to article links). As spokesmen (willing or unwilling) for Christianity, they need to acknowledge the consequences of their error. Does this make them bad people? No. Does this put them in a tough spot of being under public scrutiny? Yes.

I have taught heresy before (unknowingly). Does it make me evil? No. Mistaken? Yes. However, I must live with the consequences as well--I feel I have given some people in the past the wrong impression of who God really is. And that troubles me to this day. Once shown the error of my ideas, I was left with the responsibility of owning up to it.

Which shows the importance of watching what you say and do when you are representing your beliefs--whatever they might be.

Christianity and Exclusion

I was tempted to go into a philosphical debate of truth here, but that would be a disservice to what matters: what about your friend?

You seem to have grown up in the church, so I am curious if you have ever read the book of Romans. Many have, but most seem to skip chapter 2 or forget it. C.S. Lewis even wrote about it in his Narnia chronicles. In the last book, The Last Battle, he offers a novel (but orthodox) explaination of Romans 2.

I recommend reading Romans 2. Not to spoil the punch-line, but the preacher at camp was wrong. I recommend reading the whole of Romans so you can get the proper context. It isn't as long as you might think. You could easily read the whole thing in under an hour.

A largely unknown, but wonderful quote from Luther goes something like this (sigh, I can't remember the exact words): "Remember the cross. Remember what God truly did there. Anything that denies the mercy and grace of the cross does not truly represent who God is and how he acts." The preacher only had a part of the truth, and I think you might find the rest very interesting.

Many might argue over what this passage truly means, but I believe the answer is pretty simple (but not "pat"): God is righteous and full of mercy, and he will judge all people based on what was revealed to them.

Jesus and Blind Obedience

Well, this is easy to understand. Christiantity, along with a lot of society, took a very anti-intellectual turn a hundred years back. A discussion of when, why, and who is a bit involved for here. But I just want to acknowledge it as a true experience: many Christians are anti-intellectual.

But that is not who Jesus is. I recommend reading John Henry Newman or C.S. Lewis for proof. Both of these men fully engaged God with their whole intellect. Christ does not require blind obedience to fools (although many fools will claim this to their own advantage). There are many examples in the Bible that show the exact opposite. Romans 12 talks about being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Paul encourages his readers to think on and dwell on excellent things in Philippians. In Isaiah 1:18, God through Isaiah says to all men, "Come now, let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." They are many more.

Yes, many Christians in this world can be very anti-intellectual. But that is not who Christ is. Men may be afraid of your questions, but God is not. He welcomes a genuine and searching heart, a mind that tests and turns things over. Your intellectual honesty is a good thing. I am sorry your background largely punished you for it :-( Perhaps investigating Christianity for yourself would be rewarding. I can recommend a few books if you like.

Thanks again for responding. If you have any more questions or would like to discuss some other topics, feel free to email me.

P.S.

I say that I am agnostic instead of atheist, however, because if I ever find someone to follow who does not require blind obediance, I might follow them.

I Might.
I know you have been burned, but for what it is worth, I believe Jesus is that person.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
[OT] A Very Atypical Agnostic (none / 0) (#112)
by fsh on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:26:35 AM EST

Just because I'm agnostic doesn't mean I don't read my Bible. ;) Seriously, as I said, I consider the Bible to be just as important as all the other works of the ancients, including the Greek Mythos, the stories of the Buddha, the Norse, the Japanese, the Apocrypha; all of it. To sum up my beliefs, however, I agree with most of what Jesus is reported to have said, but I also believe that all the miracles atrributed to him are analogy, most especially his rebirth. For me, the story of his life is much more powerful if he is 'merely' human, the Son of Man. Unfortunately, this in itself brands me as an heretic, and makes it uncomfortable to talk about my beliefs in the setting of the church. One of my first controversial ideas, again when I was a teen, was about Pontius Pilate being a good man or the conscience, while he is typically condemned by most Christians I've ever met. This idea was met with disbelief and disapproval from my peers and our teacher.
To distill and summarize: How can you hold these two responsible for making logical conclusions based on over-simplified teaching they received when children?
Well, substitute 'rational' for 'logical', and you mostly have it. My main point is that it doesn't help to instruct only these two people; I believe this is a very widely held belief by many Christians. My second point is that it requires a great deal of knowledge to fully understand why the idea of Jews as hell-bound isn't so, and contradicts the teachings of the church, that the only way to avoid eternal damnation is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. My third point is that since many 'Christians' (non-practicing, of course) only go to church on Christmas and Easter, this misconception will only spread unless the church actively denounces it during the Easter sermon.
I was tempted to go into a philosphical debate of truth here, but that would be a disservice to what matters: what about your friend?
I appreciate your understanding, and this is exactly why I put my story in this post. I've had this discussion more than once, obviously. Not only am I a C.S. Lewis fan, but I actually whipped him out when talking to that preacher way back when; his reply was his writings in no way superceded the truth of the Gospel. I have since read his excellent book Mere Christianity. While I certainly agree with the interpretations of C.S. Lewis, however, I would like to note that the Church disagreed with some of his writings on these points (John 12:48). I have read most of the New Testament several times, and especially Romans; I am also a 'student' of Roman and Greek history. It is important to note that one of objects of this text is to specifically calm down the 'circumcision' vs. 'non-circumcision' debates in the Roman church, which were starting to turn ugly. Because of one too many rebellions, the Romans were sending Jews off to concentration camps left and right through the simple expedient of yanking their shorts down and checking if they had been circumcised. While the letter certainly preached tolerance, it is interesting to know the full background.
The preacher only had a part of the truth, and I think you might find the rest very interesting.
As I said, I pretty much knew that at the time, and stayed a devout Christian for many years afterward. The more I learned, however, the more I came to realize that a great deal of what was in the Bible was exagerration and analogy, while it was being actively taught to be True. When legitimite questions were raised, I was told that I must have Faith. This was unacceptable to me, so I started to read for myself. This is where I hit a snag. I found that I simply couldn't agree with the Judeo-Christian tenet of Original Sin.

When I read the story of the Garden of Eden, I see a story about life. I see the story of how a person is born, grows, and leaves the protection of the parents to enter the real world. I see the fruit of the Knowledge of Good & Evil to be absolutely essential, just as the disobeying of God's/Parent's command to not eat it was; I see both as necessary gates to mature development. To me, this story flat out says that children have no knowledge of Good and Evil; it is something they learn once they are done with childhood, and they then enter the real world, which is full of suffering and joy. The problem here is that the absolute nature of morality which permeates all of Christian thought (C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters) is basically tossed out the window with this line of thought; how can morality be relative if God, the source of morality, is perfect and all-knowing? For this and several other personal beliefs which label me as an unorthodox heretic, I no longer think I am Christian. I believe in Jesus, see, but I do not believe in God. I believe that God is simply an attempt to create an external Conscience for people, and I believe that this is not the best way to make a moral society. I believe that myths such as these are great ways to keep the children in line until they understand morality on a personal level. At that point, they leave the paradise of the mythos and enter into the real world.

I am sorry your background largely punished you for it :-( Perhaps investigating Christianity for yourself would be rewarding. I can recommend a few books if you like.
I am a very atypical agnostic; just because I don't believe that Jesus will allow me to live forever doesn't mean I find no value in the Bible. Also, while your sympathy is appreciated, it is largely misplaced. Sure, I had some bad times in the church, but I had a lot of good times, too. But I'm always in the mood for more books. Anything you can recommend from the other author you mentioned, John Henry Newman, would be appreciated. Especially if any of his works are on the web somewhere already (I'm poor).
I say that I am agnostic instead of atheist, however, because if I ever find someone to follow who does not require blind obediance, I might follow them.

I know you have been burned, but for what it is worth, I believe Jesus is that person.

I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm not so sure. I've certainly hitched a long ride with him, but he's not quite heading in the same direction as I am.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

[OT] Figured as much ... (4.00 / 1) (#115)
by kostya on Tue May 01, 2001 at 09:52:22 AM EST

Just because I'm agnostic doesn't mean I don't read my Bible ... I have read most of the New Testament several times, and especially Romans; I am also a 'student' of Roman and Greek history.

I figured as much, but I wanted to make sure I brought it up. For you (in case) and for others who might be reading. Many who are not Christians are unaware of Romans 2 and its implications.

As for the object of Romans, I might disagree with you. But that is something to be discussed in a diary entry. I think there is a bit more to that passage than circumcision. But that's for another day :-)

Also, while your sympathy is appreciated, it is largely misplaced.

I'm sorry if that came off the wrong way. It was more of a sadness on my part--your story (background) is not uncommon. It bugs me, and it also makes me sigh when I run accross it. Which kind of explains the tail end of my post: "The greatest enemy of Christians is often ignorant Christians".

As for Newman, I hit jackpot trying to find the quote that follows. You can go to the Newman Reader. Remember that he was a 19th century writer, so his prose can tend to be a bit "purply" :-) However, that aside, much like Mellville, his prose is almost poetry in its own write.

For your own enjoyment, here is a passage from Sermon 13: Implicit and Explicit Reason:

The mind ranges to and fro, and spreads out, and advances forward with a quickness which has become a proverb, and a subtlety and versatility which baffle investigation. It passes on from point to point, gaining one by some indication; another on a probability; then availing itself of an association; then falling back on some received law; next seizing on testimony; then committing itself to some popular impression, or some inward instinct, or some obscure memory; and thus it makes progress not unlike a clamberer on a steep cliff, who, by quick eye, prompt hand, and firm foot, ascends how he knows not himself; by personal endowments and by practice, rather than by rule, leaving no track behind him, and unable to teach another. It is not too much to say that the stepping by which great geniuses scale the mountains of truth is as unsafe and precarious to men in general, as the ascent of a skilful mountaineer up a literal crag. It is a way which they alone can take; and its justification lies in their success. And such mainly is the way in which all men, gifted or not gifted, commonly reason,--not by rule, but by an inward faculty.
That's good stuff, whether you are a Christian or not ;-)

Intersting anecdote, Newman thought largely through writing. When age progressed, he found he had a hard time thinking without the use of the pen--which arthritis robbed him of.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
[OT] Romans and Circumcision (none / 0) (#120)
by fsh on Wed May 02, 2001 at 03:56:08 PM EST

As for the object of Romans, I might disagree with you. I think there is a bit more to that passage than circumcision.
I never meant to suggest it was the only purpose behind the Letter to the Roman Churches, but it is definitely one of the purposes. I like to think of the letter as preaching tolerance, while at the same time offering concrete examples, such as the battles between the circumcised and the uncircumcised, and between the Christian and the Jew.

It was more of a sadness on my part--your story (background) is not uncommon. It bugs me, and it also makes me sigh when I run accross it.
I find that it is best to keep emotions out of it; especially when that emotion may be misconstrued as pity. For instance, how would you feel if I said that it made me sad every time I came across someone who accepted the irrational Bible as truth, the path to everlasting life? It just doesn't sit well with the audience. I always try and convert people to my way of thought, that humans are better off not having that need for external authority that causes us to submit to the exploitation and domination of State rule and Capitalism. Suggesting that my way is more right than their own typically just upsets people. I prefer to present my own ideas in a rational fashion, not making any value judgements, and allow people to make their own decisions.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

[OT] EEEK! (none / 0) (#121)
by kostya on Wed May 02, 2001 at 11:12:51 PM EST

I find that it is best to keep emotions out of it; especially when that emotion may be misconstrued as pity.

Not my intent! Not my intent! Not my intent!

My "sadness" was not over you "not believing", but in the bad experience you had in church. It just bugs me that so many churches are doing such an effective job of driving people off :-( My "sigh" was over what I thought I read--a church not very flexible in its approach to answering questions or in teaching contributing to the reasons one chose not to believe. Because that isn't how church should be!

Which is to say, that if you looked at Christianity, and it was portrayed for you in the best way it could be conveyed, and you said, "Nope. No thanks. I don't believe that is the best way," I would have no issue. That's your choice. And you have your reasons and you have thought it through for yourself. I support that!

No, my issue is that when the people who are supposed to be representatives for Christ do a poor job of it. I'd give some examples, but I think you get my point. I don't mind people not choosing Christianity based on its merits (or lack thereof). But when people's ignorance or fear (those representing) gets in the way of people's questions (those testing and questioning) and turns them off, well, that's upsetting to me. Then again, maybe I read your post wrong and you had a wonderful time and still went your own way--if so, my apologies!

That was my intent. I in no way meant anything towards your choice of belief. Sorry if it came off as me "pitying the poor agnostic"--not my intent AT ALL :-( Think of it more of from your own position--if you saw an agnostic (or take something else you have strong beliefs on) and saw them portraying your world view so poorly that they were doing your "cause" damage, it might distress you or frustrate you a bit. Right?

If anything, I was trying to say, "Man, that sucks! I'm sorry that was your experience with church. My church experience was much better!" It would be much like you turning to someone who had a bad philosophy teacher and say, "Man, that sucks! I've heard that teacher. It's a shame you had him--my teacher was so much better!"



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
[OT] no worries (none / 0) (#122)
by fsh on Thu May 03, 2001 at 04:40:49 PM EST

Not my intent!
I understand, that's why I said 'misconstrued'. I merely wanted to point out to you how you can come across, especially in a text-only forum. As I stated earlier, I prefer to keep my own emotions out of such a debate. I apologize for the accusatory tone of my last message. I hoped that the story I related earlier about the waitress would have explained my position, but then I probably shouldn't assume someone would remember the details of the first post after going a bit farther into the discussion.
Then again, maybe I read your post wrong and you had a wonderful time and still went your own way--if so, my apologies!
Apology accepted. As I said, I didn't make my decision until many years after that incident, and most of my relations with the church were very positive and uplifting. The reason I eventually left it, as I said, was because of my problems with the Authority structure as well as the sexism and racism inherent in most Christian churches (all of which I see as interrelated). My point was that what we were discussing (that Jews are damned) is a *very* common viewpoint, even among some of those who hold authority in the church. I do not mean to imply that anyone in particular holds these views, merely that if people in authority hold such a view, then it will certainly be held unquestioningly by those below him. And since the basketball players in question were discussing this in a Bible class, I think it likely that everyone in that class, including the teacher, probably shared those views.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

What I'm driving at ... (none / 0) (#117)
by kostya on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:00:52 AM EST

Well, substitute 'rational' for 'logical', and you mostly have it. My main point is that it doesn't help to instruct only these two people; I believe this is a very widely held belief by many Christians.

Well, that's kind of my point, in a round about way :-)

I see some potential good coming out of this situation. Which is that the Christian Church as a whole can use this opportunity to clarify what is and what is not believed. The fact that Christ is "the way the truth and the life" is one thing. The assigning to the Jewish people an eternal condemnation because Jesus was supposedly "killed by the Jews" and they "accepted the curse" is entirely another--rubbish through and through.

Thus the reason for my post--this is a great opportunity for the church to raise the issue and deal with it appropriately. Many have pointed out in this thread (including myself), that this is a long standing error. Good can come from this if the church siezes this opportunity to deny this error and clarify the truth. Now would be a good a time as any to put a stake through this error.

Hehe ... stake ... what I'm driving at ... that's a good pun ;-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Martin Luther on the Jews (none / 0) (#110)
by anonymous cowerd on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 09:08:22 PM EST

Which Christian church are you talking about? On the face of it, true, it seems unthinkable that a church whose prophet was himself a Rabbi could ever condemn Jesus's fellow Jews. Read the words of that prophet - until seventy times seven - have a stab at interpreting them, and the absurdity mounts to infinity, at least it seems that way to me, dim as I am. But here is Martin Luther, creator of Protestantism, discussing Jews:

...Therefore, wherever you see a genuine Jew, you may with a good conscience cross yourself and bluntly say: "There goes a devil incarnate"...

Though it could just be sort of an omnidirectional slander, I've read this appalling pamphlet of Luther's was a great inspiration to Adolf Hitler.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

the Earth's blue as an orange
[ Parent ]

Discussed in thread (none / 0) (#111)
by kostya on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 09:53:04 PM EST

You might want to try davidduncanscott's thread for a discussion of "what church?"

For the heresy part, you might want to try kaemaril's thread of whether it is heresy or not. For further discussion on how can it be heresy, you might want to read specifically Rand Race's discussion of Luther, the Protestant Church, and Orthodoxy. This hits on several points, especially the question of "is Luther a heretic then?"

And, to have a good understanding of the terms, you might want to read fsh's thread where what heresy and orthodoxy are by definition and why these players should be held accountable (and what that means). However, this is also discussed throughout the other threads, especially kaemaril's thread and Rand Race's.

I know the thread has gotten huge (almost a story in its own right), so it would be easy to miss the specific points. But most (if not all)of the points you have brought up are in there. If you think we have missed some spots, I'm sure the thread would benefit from your additional questions. But you might want to check those guys out, as they all dug into each area pretty specifically.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
[OT] Luther (none / 0) (#118)
by kostya on Tue May 01, 2001 at 10:17:59 AM EST

Sorry if the other post seems abrupt. I've just said about all I can on most of your questions. Perhaps it is a sign of my feeble mind that I can't answer the same question more than a few times ;-)

Now, about Luther ... ;-)

...Therefore, wherever you see a genuine Jew, you may with a good conscience cross yourself and bluntly say: "There goes a devil incarnate"...

What a quote. That is a true gem that demonstrates the levels of Luther's (and most likely the society of the time) antisemitism. Yep, he was an antisemite. I've got no defense for him there :-(

I was talking about it with some friends, and beyond the theological climate, there was also some societal pressures at the time that encouraged this kind of anti-semitism. Jews were forbidden to own land, which left only a few jobs for them, mainly money lending. But this put them in powerful economical positions (we can see this today, but back then argiculture was the dominate form of economic endeavor). Add anitsemitism to economic power and you have a bad situation. Not an excuse, but it helps you understand how someone who got quite a bit right got this particular one very, very wrong.

OTOH, I have never offered up any of these guys as perfect or infallible. They are quite the opposite :-( My only points of contention have been with the misinterpretation of some reformation creeds and statements.

Though it could just be sort of an omnidirectional slander ...

Kind of, kind of not ;-) It does show how various people can be used to inspire or justify all sorts of atrocities. I have also heard that Sartre was the inspiration of the Cambodian Killing Fields. Such is stupidity, I suppose. <sigh>



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Reply to you questions (4.60 / 5) (#17)
by tnt on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:50:39 AM EST

You first asked:

When you were growing up did the actions of sports figures impact your life at all?

No. And I should say that, growing up, I was (and still am) very athletic, and played alot of sports. So it is not like I wasn't involved with sports. I never had (or wanted) any idols. I never put anyone on a pedestal. To me anyone and everyone was capable of doing good things and bad things. And I observed everyone, for the good and bad thing that they did, to learn from them.

You next asked:

Did they impact your life more than the immediate interaction with your family and friends?

No. ... This has actually (sort of) come up in converations I've had, with other people, before. Although a sports figure, or actor (or actress), or someone else famous has at the most, no more impact than the people I see working a the supermarket [... and usually have alot less impact], I've noticed I am in the minority.

Friends of mine will talk to me about some actor, actress, sports figure, royalty, or someone else famous. Maybe talk about something they said, or something they did. And talk about it like it is some great revaluation;... talk about it like it is one of the most important things in the world. And all I can think is, "Why the fuck should I care", "Who are these people to me, that I should give a shit", "How does any of that affect me in any way more than say the people who live in a neighboring city". [If any of you are offended by the swearing, sorry, but I that is usually the way I say it, word for word.]

To me, the people who live around me and that I grew up with have more of an impact on my life. I see friends of mine infatuated with anyone with a bit of fame. Infatuated with anything they do. Infatuated with anything they say. Or just infatuated with them. To me, for example, I might like a song that some (famous) music artist made,... but I couldn't care less what he or she does in his or her private life; or what he or she say, or does. When I watch a movie, I really don't care who the actors and actresses in the movie were, as long as they do a decent job in their role.

But I guess I'm starting to rant, so I'll stop.

You next asked:

Is personal freedom of speech different from public freedom of speech?

I'm not really sure what you mean by `personal freedom' and `public freedom'. Could you define these please.

[The last question I won't bother answering, since I don't really remember the previous case that you were talking about. I guess I wasn't giving any attention to it.]



--
     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
__________________________________________________
  Kuro5hin user #279

Laugh, life is too much fun (3.20 / 5) (#22)
by skim123 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:35:35 AM EST

I saw a pretty terrible movie last night, Picking Up the Pieces, but it had it's bright spots. Woody Allen was in it, a Jew, and in one scene he's confessing to a Catholic priest (David Schwimmer, ewww...). Anyway, Woody makes comments like, "Pastor, I want you to know, uh, that I, uh, personally, had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the death of Jesus, I wasn't even there." Another line he quotes a late comedian (don't recall the comedian's name): "[late comedian's name] was once asked if he felt any personal responsiblity for the death of Jesus Christ and, uh, he said, um, 'No, no, I don't. I think it was just a party that got a little out of control.'"

I agree with you that Ward and Houston's positive contributions should receive more press than their negative comments. I respect their right to say and believe what they choose, but it is a little upsetting that they hold such generalized views toward an entire religion. Stereotypes are a sign of ignorance. I blame those damn Christians.

Sorta like being gay: you're walking around, you know something's up, you just don't know what it is yet.


Um... (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by Zeram on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:52:35 AM EST

if Marlon Brando couldn't get away with making anti-semectic remarks (a couple of years ago on Larry King Live) then no one can.


<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
So you don't like freedom of speech? (4.88 / 9) (#29)
by Electric Angst on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:17:15 PM EST

It seems you're arguing for limiting the freedom of the press, so that the media doesn't have the right to bring up things like this. Some idiots made anti-semitic comments, and you're upset that the media is getting so upset at them for saying it.

To that I say: So fucking what?

No one's being arrested, no one's getting sent to a prison camp. Two people exercised their freedom of speech to say something stupid and other people are exercising their freedom of speech to call those first two people stupid. I don't see any right violation here.

Oh, and about the comment being hurtful to children, yes, I'd have to say that a child being introduced to anti-semetic rhetoric from someone who is in a position of respect is a bad thing. I'm sure there are plenty of K5ers who never looked up to sports heros as role models, but it's a simple fact that there are a lot of children out there who do. Fortunantly, we have other people in positions of respect denouncing the anti-semitism of these two athletes. Oh wait, those are the people you're complaining about...


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
The point.. (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by DeadBaby on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:34:46 PM EST

Is that freedom of speech should be like equal rights. When you hold someone's free speech to a different standard than others you're cheating everyone.

Yea, you can't yell FIRE in a movie theater but in this case it's like saying the common man can yell FIRE, a rich movie star can't, a poor black man can, etc.

Applying race, fame, etc, to free speech is very unfair.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Oh, you want "Freedom From Being Griped At&qu (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by Electric Angst on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:58:05 PM EST

Look, the "'Fire' in a theatre" analogy is in reference to being held criminally liable for your speech. These guys aren't. In fact, I'd say they're being treated pretty equitably. If some asshole at the bar I worked at started spouting the same shit these guys did, than I'd be quick to point out his idiocy. The difference between these guys and that example is that these guys have a voice that, because of their position, is heard by many, not just the people at a single bar. So, naturally, because their statements are heard by many, they can expect a greater amount of people complaining about their idiocy.

The only thing that is constant in all of the situations I've mentioned, is that no one's free speech is being violated. The idiots are allowed to speak, and others are allowed to call the idiots idiots.


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
[ Parent ]
Where is freedom of speech being violated? (5.00 / 13) (#32)
by error 404 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:23:31 PM EST

Some baseball players said some things that other people considered bad. And those other people said so. Nobody was prevented from saying anything.

This is exactly how free speech is supposed to work. Bad speech was met with more speech.

Free speech doesn't mean "I can say whatever I want and you can't disagree". When you speak freely you risk other people speaking freely in response. The more people are listening, the greater the risk. Free speech has consequences - if you say something stupid and bigoted, people will consider you stupid and bigoted. On the other hand, if you say something wise and noble, people will consider you wise and noble. Free speech without consequences is mere noise.

Free speech isn't pretty - people get upset with each other and contradict each other and call each other's opinions wrong and bigoted and stupid. It is ugly and messy and very human and alive.

***************************

And now to the questions:

No, I never paid much attention to the ideas of sports stars. I never paid much attention to them in any way at all - I'm not into spectator sports, never have been. But I knew kids who did. Not all that many - most kids have different role models for different roles.

I don't think this kind of thing should be made such a big deal. Baseball players are hired to play baseball, not debate theology and social policy or raise people's kids. A professional sports player, even one of excellent character, makes a poor model for most roles. Can you learn to be a father from one? No, you don't see enough of his fathering, and if you did, during the season he probably doesn't spend enough time with his kids and on the off-season he has more time than you will. Can you learn to manage your money from one? No, even if you did see enough, their financial situation is too atypical. Can you learn how to earn a living? No, again the situation is too atypical. Build a relationship? Enjoy a glass of wine? Participate in politics? Grow artisticaly? Be an old man? Come to terms with life and death? No. And kids aren't stupid, they don't (except in odd cases) look to sports stars for examples of how to do much besides play sports, look cool, buy stuff, and make a ton of money being a sports star.

In short, I don't think baseball players should be prevented from speaking freely. And these weren't.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Freedom of speech (4.50 / 12) (#41)
by ucblockhead on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:20:16 PM EST

Freedom of Speech is the right to say what you want. It is not the right to avoid being viewed as an idiot for saying something stupid.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
Why? (4.57 / 7) (#42)
by aphrael on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:38:35 PM EST

I really don't understand how the *freedom* to say what you want has been confused in american poltical discourse with the idea that it's *ok* to say whatever you want. I have the legal right to walk up to you and denounce you in public, but does that mean it's a good thing for me to do it? If nothing else, it's *rude*.

In quite the same way, it's rude for this athelete to accuse all modern Jews of being responsible for the death of Jesus --- hell, that's like accusing all modern British of being responsible for the deaths of the American Indians. He has the right to say it. But I would expect anyone who doesn't share his views to be shocked and offended, and to be of the opinion that he's an intolerant anti-Semitic asshole.

Is it a hate-crime? No, it isn't illegal, and it shouldn't be. But it *is* motivated by hate, and it *is* reprehensible, and standing up and saying so does not make you anti-free-speech.

I don't worship superstars (3.50 / 6) (#49)
by weirdling on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 02:46:46 PM EST

It is idiotic to believe that a person who is really good at running down a wooden court and putting a leather ball through a hoop is also good at understanding life, philosophy, or even the difference between Wendy's and McDonald's. In this society, however, children aren't often taught how to avoid idolizing someone like that.
The same could be said of movie stars, football stars, or any kind of star. For me, most of these people are dingbats, given to emotionally supporting whatver fad comes down the pike, with no intellectual integrity at all, often believing in mutally exclusive notions. Take John Travolta. As a role model, he's pathetic, and responsible for many new Cult of L Ron Hubbard (Scientology) members because people feel that somehow as John Travolta has been a successful actor (professional lyar, and very good at it), he must be in possession of truth.
I personally don't care if these people are total racists, addicted to drugs, or insist on gambling their life savings away. If they play well or are entertaining to watch, they're doing what they're paid for. Children should be encouraged to find role models that have some knowledge of whatever the thing is the child wishes to emulate, so if the child wishes to be a basketball player, emulating a basketball player's way of approaching basketball is good, but if a child wishes to learn how to correctly live his life, it might not be such a good idea, given the normal idiocy that sports people subject themselves to. A federal judge might be a good role model, though...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Matthew 27:24-25 (4.33 / 9) (#57)
by Blarney on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:45:05 PM EST

This quote is from the Gospel of Matthew, a fundamental book which is venerated as the word of God by all Christians. From the New International Version Bible:

24: When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "it is your responsibility!"
25: All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and our children!"

"All the people" here are, by the simplest interpretation, the Jews of the time, and "our children" are all Jews that will exist afterwards. The crowd was of inhabitants of Judea who were very likely all Jewish. Every Jew has the blood of Jesus on him.

I have heard it claimed by certain Catholic persons that "All the people" here actually refers to every human alive at the time, and that therefore every human has the blood of Jesus on him/her. However, this might be a self-serving interpretation by the Catholic Church - the story would then portray all people, except for the Roman authorities (represented by Pontius Pilate) as being guilty of killing Jesus. By extension, the Roman Church is innocent, while all others are guilty.

Oh well, don't shoot the messenger. I'm a Jew, but I can't get all offended at these couple of ballplayers. They've just got the guts to say what a great many people believe. The belief is immoral and wrong, and has been a justification for a great many killings of Jews over the past 2000 or so years. Mr.'s Ward and Houston are just quoting this well-known Bible passage to the media - they didn't write it, they didn't think it up.



"Let his blood be on us and our children!&quo (none / 0) (#60)
by DoubleEdd on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 07:16:18 PM EST

"Let his blood be on us and our children!"
Who said that? The Jews present only, (if that, and what right do they have over the morality of their children (beyond the doctrine of original sin)), and whilst I'm not suggesting you think that it referred to all (since it seems clear you don't), I'm shocked that anyone would be of that inclination.

Fanaticism is no excuse for irrationalism.

[ Parent ]

Uh ... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by kostya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 09:46:34 PM EST

There is one problem with this particular point:

I'm a Jew, but I can't get all offended at these couple of ballplayers. They've just got the guts to say what a great many people believe. The belief is immoral and wrong, and has been a justification for a great many killings of Jews over the past 2000 or so years. Mr.'s Ward and Houston are just quoting this well-known Bible passage to the media - they didn't write it, they didn't think it up.

The problem is that the passage you are quoting doesn't mean that at all ;-) Granted, these guys didn't dream this up on their own. It was actually started way back, and had its roots in long standing Gentile anti-semitism in the Roman Empire. But just because they are voicing stupidity doesn't mean they are not still wrong and should not be corrected.

Of course, I'm not claiming that perescution has not taken place for well over 2000 years (which kind of predates Christianity, but that's ok because it was happening before the Church, so it's still an accurate estimate). It did. And many may claim to have good reasons. And some may even try to use the quotations from the Bible.

But neither their sincerity, nor their rational reasons, nor their quotations of the Prophets, the Law or the Epistle of Matthew would make it right. I hope you can see that.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Predates Christianity != Predates Church (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by Blarney on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 02:20:07 AM EST

When you say "Before Church" and "Before Christianity" as if they're equivalent, you're confusing the issue. The Catholic Church predates Jesus. It is an adaption of Roman Empire government and the Temple of Jove to the Christian faith conceived by Paul. These institutions existed for a long time before they became Christian.



[ Parent ]

!(The Catholic Church predates Jesus) (none / 0) (#76)
by kostya on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 08:20:11 AM EST

I think Christianity and the Church are equivalent--because, by definition, they are.

OTOH, if you want to discuss the church-state that then subsumed the Christian church after Constantine, that might be a different matter. The Roman Empire converted because of Constantine's personal belief, but also because Constantine needed something to glue his empire together. He saw the church filling that role. So not only did the church become accepted (i.e. not persecuted), it became the official religion.

Depending on who you talk to, that event is either a semi-good thing or a very bad time in the Church.

The Catholic Church does not predate Jesus. It is, by definition, founded on the person of Jesus. I'd be curious to know where you are getting your facts.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
pronoun referents (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 06:43:39 AM EST

All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and our children!"

"All the people" here are, by the simplest interpretation, the Jews of the time, and "our children" are all Jews that will exist afterwards. The crowd was of inhabitants of Judea who were very likely all Jewish. Every Jew has the blood of Jesus on him.

Yeah, right. So all the Jews of the time answered "Let his blood be on us and our children", then?

Anyway, how could you possibly know that "us" and "our" here refer to "us Jews", or to "us in this crowd"?

--em
[ Parent ]

Crowd before Pilate can curse all they want . . . (none / 0) (#106)
by J. J. Ramsey on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 03:12:24 PM EST

. . . but that doesn't make their curse happen. The Jews who were in front of Pilate could have said "My foot is a kumquat!" and their feet wouldn't have become kumquats. Likewise, Pilate can *say* "I am innocent of this man's blood," but that doesn't mean he doesn't share the blame, only that he doesn't want to be responsible.

The sin of the world is the reason Christ undertook the crucifixion, and that means the whole world is guilty, if not of the crucifixion itself, then of what caused the crucifixion to be necessary. A Christian who blames solely the Jews for the crucifixion has not come to terms with what Christ's death really means.

--I am a fool for Christ. Mostly I am a fool.--
[ Parent ]
when I was young (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by speek on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 12:24:27 AM EST

I read a few books. That's really all that was necessary to counter any possible influence a professional athlete's bad behavior might have had on my thinking. I highly recommend it to everyone.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

PC is killing us (and I don't mean Intel) (3.42 / 7) (#68)
by decaf_dude on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 01:40:41 AM EST

If you beat the crap out of a guy who makes a nasty remark, you're likely to get arrested for public misdemeanor and maybe even sued for bodily harm.

If, on the other hand, you beat the crap out of a Jewish guy who makes a nasty remark, you're gonna be called an anti-Semite, you'll get Anti Defamation League on your back, there'll be a story about you on evening news, peppered with always-handy pictures of holocaust, and you'll likely never get good credit rating in USA.

Similar goes for gay, black, or any other "endangered" Group dé Jour.

Maybe I think that way because I'm single, white, university-educated, early-twenties guy who rakes in 6 figures a year and drives that prime example of fine German engineering. Then again, maybe I get the privilege of seeing things the way they are because I don't have a chip on the shoulder the size of Jupiter.

--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


Here's an Easy Solution (4.66 / 3) (#71)
by moshez on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 04:56:54 AM EST

Don't beat people up.


[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
oh the irony (4.00 / 3) (#72)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:09:34 AM EST

Then again, maybe I get the privilege of seeing things the way they are because I don't have a chip on the shoulder the size of Jupiter.

Yeh. Yeh. Anything you say ..... [backing nervously away]

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

yeah, yeah... (2.66 / 3) (#74)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 06:37:21 AM EST

Similar goes for gay, black, or any other "endangered" Group dé Jour.

The word "de" doesn't have an accent.

Anyway, care to explain why gays and blacks get beaten up by police or discriminated on a daily basis?

--em
[ Parent ]

You do... (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 05:05:00 AM EST

have it, the size of the the known Universe, just you can't see it.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
minority ^ 2 (5.00 / 2) (#101)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 12:59:08 PM EST

...drives that prime example of fine German engineering.

Hey I used to have a VW too! '67, white, sunroof. Zoom zoom!

Anyway, let's talk about math. Suppose you've got a city full of people; one-point-one-four million of them. An even million - seven out of eight - are white. Then there's those other 142,857 of them who are black. Outnumbered seven to one.

Someday go read Durkheim, the ur-sociologist, on Suicide. The fascinating part of it, from my point of view (once I was a math major at college) is that even in that most unnatural and idiosyncratic of personal actions, self-extinction, people in a mass act as though they were driven by some statistically-driven hidden force field, like particles in a gas. In other words, in a given society, a certain percentage, which does vary wildly from society to society, but in any particular society, the rate of suicide is relatively stable. And the same goes for the various crimes, of which trans-racial physical assault, what we quaintly but deliriously term "hate crime," is one.

So let's go on to assume that in our hypothetical society, on any given day, for any given citizen, there's one chance in a million that that bad old KKK bug will crawl up his ass and bite him, causing him, for some mad reason, to bust loose and go beat up one of the other race. All right, it's arithmetic time! There are one million whites, times one per million, times 365 days in the year. That's 365 "hate crimes" annually by the whites. Similarly there's 1/7 million blacks, times 1/1,000,000, times 365 days/year, or 52 "hate crimes" by the blacks. Now suppose you are black; during any given year your chance of being the victim is 365/142,857, or about one chance in four hundred. Suppose you are white; the corresponding chance is 52/1,000,000, or only about one chance in twenty thousand. The exact ratio is 49 to 1.

You can generalize this ratio simply; if minority "A" is outnumbered n-to-one by majority "B", then everything else being equal, the chance of an individual member of minority "A" being victimized is greater by a factor of n squared. I call this the minority-squared law. Rather than there being some special bias on the part of "bleeding-heart liberals" who made up these "hate crime" laws, it's this simple fact of arithmetic which explains why, so long as any society has to endure the fact of racial bias occasionally erupting into violence, there are, and there should be, special provisions in the criminal law to doubly protect members of sometimes-disliked minorities such as blacks or gays.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

the Earth's blue as an orange
[ Parent ]

Made up numbers? (none / 0) (#114)
by Mantle on Tue May 01, 2001 at 07:17:13 AM EST

Two questions:

And the same goes for the various crimes, of which trans-racial physical assault, what we quaintly but deliriously term "hate crime," is one.

Do you have a source for this? I scanned the Suicide article and didn't find a mention of it. How do you know it's the same for "the various crimes"?

Secondly, how do you know you can consider black people and white people to be in the same society? What is society? The way people interact socially with each other? The way people interact with their cultural group is often different than the way they act with people outside of that circle. A society is not just a group of people living in the same geographical area.

I think a fatal problem with your argument is making the tendency for a black person to commit a hate crime against a white person the same as the tendency for a white person to commit a hate crime against a black person without first demonstrating how they are both in the same "society." (You just imply that they are.) Mantle

[ Parent ]

It's "du" (none / 0) (#116)
by Requiem on Tue May 01, 2001 at 09:55:37 AM EST

As in the contraction of "de le", which means "of the". I'm fairly certain there's no "dé" in the French language.

[ Parent ]
In the spirit of my post: (none / 0) (#119)
by decaf_dude on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:29:36 AM EST

... like I give a fuck!

--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
To clear up my story a bit: (4.14 / 7) (#89)
by DeadBaby on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:38:29 AM EST

I'd re-edit my story with the additional info but I think many people understood the main dilemma in the application of free speech I presented. I'll do my best to clarify.

Many people felt Charlie Ward should have been suspended for his private comments. I believe (I'm not a big baseball fan, sorry) that John Rocker was suspended for his remarks. I find it upsetting that people (commonly the media or religious groups) can't understand the difference between private and personal views.

The question isn't of restricting free speech. It's very clear Ward & Houston said exactly what they wanted to and as a result, many people now associate them with their remarks. If that's not a perfect example of free speech, I don't know what is.

Here's my problem:

I think free speech is becoming a straw man that is quickly torn down in the sake of "the children", "decency", "religious harmony" and the like. Sure, you can say whatever you want but if you happen to be famous your remarks are portrayed as gospel and you're treated like a heretic for "NOT THNKING ABOUT THE CHILDERN!!! (To quote a semi-famous Simpson's character.) Or otherwise having responsibilities thrust onto you that you could never dream of before you used your freedom of speech.

Certainly if your message reaches more people there is a greater chance of it causing controversy but it seems people are still scared of freedom of speech. I don't think it's fair to anyone if we take random people's usage of free speech and try to twist it into a political agenda. Free speech is being restricted in new, less obvious ways. You should be held accountable for how you use your freedom of speech but you shouldn't be given responsibilities of raising children or protecting a cooperate image. Personal freedom of speech is entirely different than public freedom of speech in my mind.

If you disagree with Charlie Ward it is certainly your right to do so but you're NOT entitled to be upset that he is dirtying your children's minds with anti-Semitic drivel. You can't expect the world to cater to your moral views, you can't expect Charlie Ward to come to your house and read bed time stories to your kids.

It seems political correctness has become a cancer on freedom of speech.



"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
I'll be upset about whatever the hell I want. (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by error 404 on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 03:48:44 PM EST

It's called free speech. Bite me.

It is so damned PC to whine "pc pc pc" anytime somebody gets noticed being a butt-head.

"PC" has joined "racist" and "sexist" and "whateverthehellelseist" as something you can politicaly-correctly call somebody and then ignore everything they have to say.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

public figures/ free speech (4.33 / 3) (#97)
by thejeff on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 03:17:31 PM EST


It doesn't seem to me that there is any real free speech issue here. No criminal charges are being pressed. All that has happened is their speech has been more widely publicized than they would have liked. And condemned in the process.
I agree that the media pays way too much attention to "celebrities", athletes, movie stars, rock stars etc, but that they pay attention whenever a celebrity does something interesting, good or bad. Bad usually attracts more attention, but that's just the nature of the media.
These two are public figures. They're athletes, yes, but their real job is entertainers. Teams and leagues suspend people for things like this because they're afraid that the bad publicity will keep people from watching the games and hurt their bottom line.
As for these being private comments, there was a reporter sitting in on the bible class. That sounds like he was there for a story, not as a participant. I doubt he was hiding his presence. If there is a reporter sitting in on your conversation in his official capacity, it's not a private converstion no matter what the setting is.
Personally, I don't think there should have been a reporter there, but that's only because I don't think that athletes at a bible study class is newsworthy. Apparently much of the US disagrees with me.
thejeff

suppose they weren't just dumb sports guys? (none / 0) (#109)
by anonymous cowerd on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 08:18:19 PM EST

oops duh, I posted this before but as the wrong kind of comment...

Maybe, as a non-sports fan I am just biased; but I have a hard time getting all worked up over some sports jerks have to say. Sure they're tall and healthy and well-practiced at throwing balls through hoops, and that's very admirable and all, but hell, you can train a seal to balance a ball on his nose. I find it hard to believe that the political opinions of a couple of ball players amount to anything to anyone.

Except, of course, that they affect ticket sales; after all, professional sports is a business like any other, and you generally don't want to spit in your potential customers's eyes. That's why my surveying company banned bumper stickers on our work trucks, after some dumb damn yahoo in a branch office pasted a white-supremacist sticker on his work truck. I mean, we have quite a few clients who are black; does management want to say "fuck off" to them every time we pull onto the job site? Similarly I suspect that quite a few Jews buy tickets to Knicks games, or at least they used to. So here's management leaning on the players to shut the fuck up and stop screwing up sales. Well, as well as they pay them, I suppose the managers can insist that their hoop stars jump through a few hoops themselves. It's all show biz; either read your lines right or find another employer.

The opinions, offensive as they may be, of empty-headed ball players like these two nitwits or like that bozo John Rocker, don't really impress me too much. So I just blow off their "right," such as it is, to freely speak their so-called minds. Too lazy, maybe too much of a too-good-for-sports snob. Thus I evade the question. OK then, what about the opinions of, say, an Ezra Pound? What can you do about something like this:

With Usura
With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that design might cover their face
with usura
hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luthes
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision,
with usura
seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
no picture is made to endure nor to live with
but is made to sell and sell quickly
with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling.
Stone cutter is kept from his stone
weaver is kept from his loom
WITH USURA
wool comes not to market
sheep bringeth no gain with usura
Usura is a murrain, usura
blunteth the needle in the maid's hand
and stoppeth the spinner's cunning. Pietro Lombardo
came not by usura
Duccio came not by usura
nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin' not by usura
nor was 'La Calunnia' painted.
Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
Came no church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit
Not by usura St. Trophime
Not by usura St. Hilaire,
Usura rusteth the chisel
It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
It gnaweth the thread in the loom
None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
Emerald findeth no Memling
Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man's courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom
      CONTRA NATURAM
They have brought whores for Eleusis
Corpses are set to banquet
at behest of usura.

Gorgeous, no? Yet one can't help detect around the edges a faint whiff of those infamous abattoirs. Who ever could stomach to censor that? yet we all know who exactly he meant by "usura," don't we?

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

the Earth's blue as an orange

uwhata? (none / 0) (#113)
by Glacky on Tue May 01, 2001 at 06:01:37 AM EST

who is Usura? I thought it meant usury, not a person.

please explain for those of us without English PhDs :)


[ Parent ]
Ezra, be silent! (none / 0) (#123)
by anonymous cowerd on Fri May 04, 2001 at 09:59:38 PM EST

Alas I fear he only meant those bad old Jooooos...

So anyway I went down to the used bookstore to buy my daughter a history book, and while I was there bethought myself, to pursue this discussion, to get a copy of the Cantos, looking in particular for that appalling hair-raising one (#52) I read up in the USF library so long ago about "Stinkschuld's sin drawing vengeance;" that scared me as bad to read it as that annoying recurring nightmare where I just got through senselessly murdering some short guy and burying him under some motel's floor slab... Here's a New Directions edition, with the famous mugshot portrait for the frontispiece, and I almost made it to the cash register when I found, to my amazement, that the editors had with bold blank black lines censored the "Stinkschuld" lines right out of it!

I guess this problem which gives me such pause, whether or not to bring down the censor's axe, for the directors of New Directions it was no problem at all to resolve...

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

breathe deep, breath high, breathe life, don't breath a lie
[ Parent ]

When sports, religion and freedom of speech collide | 123 comments (110 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
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