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Old 10-02-2013, 02:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanspeur View Post
What Christian values are you talking about?
Laws against abortion, same sex marriage, etc.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post
As an atheist, I'd like to see religion out of public life.

What that means is:

1) I want the state taking no affirmations of religion whatsoever. Permitting individual religious expression is not an affirmation of religion by the state.
Is it an affirmation of religion by the state when an elected official - congressman, governor, president etc. enacts or promotes a law/ agenda that he or she believes is guided by Christian (religious) values and principles? This happens all the time.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Is banning religious clothing a step in the right direction? Or is this simply an attack on religious freedom - a right granted by constitutions of MOST Western countries.
I live in a college town and there's a guy I see sometimes downtown who is covered in tats, like the Illustrated Man, and always dies his hair green. I tend to regard religious garb as being in the same category. I don't think Green Tatoo Man is harming anyone (other than arguably making a fool of himself) and should not be micromanaged. Same goes for Man in Pointed Hat and Dress (Catholic Bishop) or Woman in Burlap Sack (Burka).

A community like this tends, of course, to be more tolerant of such things. Back in my native midwest, Green Tattoo Man, who also is a mutterer, would probably be picked up by the police and spirited off to the looney bin or at least driven off to haunt some seedier neighborhood than the environs of a major shopping district. Here he probably holds down a menial job someplace and goes to a free mental health clinic for his meds every day and sleeps at a homeless shelter -- doubtless with Street Magician of Questionable Talent and Bug Eyed Long Haired Drooler.

As others have pointed out, diversity is mostly a Good Thing and nothing to get one's knickers in a twist about.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 7,288,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Is it an affirmation of religion by the state when an elected official - congressman, governor, president etc. enacts or promotes a law/ agenda that he or she believes is guided by Christian (religious) values and principles? This happens all the time.
Not if it has a demonstrable secular purpose.

Look, people are broadly guided by religion. I would wager that a great many laws - from general prohibitions of theft to programs that care for the poor and otherwise needy, and so forth - from a great many politicians of all religious stripes, have in their root a worldview that is based in part on religion.

So, no, I can't convince myself that Medicare Part D is "an affirmation of religion" because, undoubtedly, some of those in the Congress which passed the bill (and perhaps the President who signed it) did so in part because of religion.

Nor is it even possible to parse such influence out. Anyway, it would be a bit of a problem to toss out all laws against murder on the basis that, inevitably, many of those legislators passing such laws had at least in part religious motivations in doing so.

However, when certain laws are widely advocated for expressed religious purposes (ie, laws against same-sex marriage) and when advocates of such laws turn to secular excuses only when it dawns on them that religious justifications are politically or constitutionally problematic, then it is clear that such laws (or proposed laws) are indeed "affirmations of religion by the state".
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I live in a college town and there's a guy I see sometimes downtown who is covered in tats, like the Illustrated Man, and always dies his hair green. I tend to regard religious garb as being in the same category. I don't think Green Tatoo Man is harming anyone (other than arguably making a fool of himself) and should not be micromanaged. Same goes for Man in Pointed Hat and Dress (Catholic Bishop) or Woman in Burlap Sack (Burka).

A community like this tends, of course, to be more tolerant of such things. Back in my native midwest, Green Tattoo Man, who also is a mutterer, would probably be picked up by the police and spirited off to the looney bin or at least driven off to haunt some seedier neighborhood than the environs of a major shopping district. Here he probably holds down a menial job someplace and goes to a free mental health clinic for his meds every day and sleeps at a homeless shelter -- doubtless with Street Magician of Questionable Talent and Bug Eyed Long Haired Drooler.

As others have pointed out, diversity is mostly a Good Thing and nothing to get one's knickers in a twist about.
A comparison between the man in a funny hat and a woman in a Burlap Sack (burqa) is futile - it is not the same thing. GIVEN the history of the burqa, and it's current use in much of the world, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the burqa is nothing but a sign of extreme misogyny. To put this in perspective - this is worn by women in societies where you can be killed for having an extramarital affair.

I get your point. Diversity in a community is a good thing. But you generally have to suppress other essential freedoms to uphold freedom of religion for a woman in a burqa.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
I get your point. Diversity in a community is a good thing. But you generally have to suppress other essential freedoms to uphold freedom of religion for a woman in a burqa.
I don't think this follows... It is perfectly acceptable to respect the freedom of a woman to choose to veil herself, and simultaneously not respect the right of someone to force her to wear it.

I get that freedom of religion does not include the freedom to, for example, sacrifice other people. One of the places where I think we walk the finest line right now is infant circumcision (or genital mutilation, depending on your perspective). We accept some as normal and reasonable and others as horrific and abusive, mostly based on how "normal" the religion demanding it is.

In general I think that religious practices involving only the individual believer, like wearing headscarves, kippot, cassocks,or crosses,getting ritual tattoos, piercings, or scarification, or other outward symbols of belief should not be discriminated against.

-NoCapo
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I don't think this follows... It is perfectly acceptable to respect the freedom of a woman to choose to veil herself, and simultaneously not respect the right of someone to force her to wear it.
Although what gets tricky is, women often choose to veil themselves, or rationalize it, exactly because they are forced to do it, practically speaking. In the absence of massive societal pressure and religious dogma they very likely not only wouldn't choose to do it, but it would never occur to them to do it. Teasing all that apart is devilishly hard though, and ultimately it probably comes down, as you say, to discouraging the requiring of it while allowing the voluntary compliance. It's imperfect but the best one can do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
One of the places where I think we walk the finest line right now is infant circumcision (or genital mutilation, depending on your perspective). We accept some as normal and reasonable and others as horrific and abusive, mostly based on how "normal" the religion demanding it is.
Yes. I definitely don't appreciate that I was circumcised. It definitely changes the dynamic of sexual sensation. But my parents did it with basically zero awareness because in the US at least the medical profession has taken it up as a routine procedure based on some vague and misguided notion of better hygiene. You don't even need a religious reason in this country, it's just customary, quite apart from whether or not you're a sufficiently conservative and observant Jew, or a conservative Christian borrowing from Judaism.

Similarly my wife, a lifelong atheist, was married to a nominal Presbyterian who is the biological father of her children ... she headed him off at the pass on the circumcision thing on the grounds that she wasn't getting an empirical reason to do it, nor a sound reason why she shouldn't just refrain from doing it on the theory that letting the natural course of things play out was likely best absent any clear reason to the contrary. At any rate, her son and my son are uncircumcised and today we both feel very good about that decision. My grandsons are uncircumcised as well. I suspect this is playing out in the current generation all over the US and is probably undermining the old defaults. Doctors in some areas are probably (*gasp*) asking parents if they want it done or not. Imagine!
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
In general I think that religious practices involving only the individual believer, like wearing headscarves, kippot, cassocks or crosses, getting ritual tattoos, piercings, or scarification, or other outward symbols of belief should not be discriminated against.
Agree.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Although what gets tricky is, women often choose to veil themselves, or rationalize it, exactly because they are forced to do it, practically speaking. In the absence of massive societal pressure and religious dogma they very likely not only wouldn't choose to do it, but it would never occur to them to do it. Teasing all that apart is devilishly hard though, and ultimately it probably comes down, as you say, to discouraging the requiring of it while allowing the voluntary compliance. It's imperfect but the best one can do.
Absolutely right! For me, I feel that the appropriate line is physical coercion or the threat of violence. While I dislike the use of social and family pressure, or economic consequences to get compliance, I don't think we can do much about that without gutting our principles of freedom of speech and religion. That sort of pressure can really only be counteracted by a an open and welcoming society, and a lot of people willing to help counsel and support those escaping from that sort of environment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Yes. I definitely don't appreciate that I was circumcised. It definitely changes the dynamic of sexual sensation. But my parents did it with basically zero awareness because in the US at least the medical profession has taken it up as a routine procedure based on some vague and misguided notion of better hygiene. You don't even need a religious reason in this country, it's just customary, quite apart from whether or not you're a sufficiently conservative and observant Jew, or a conservative Christian borrowing from Judaism.
What stuns me about the circumcision thing is that if it is done to girls it is mutilation, if it done to boys it is an accepted part of society. The only reason one is acceptable and the other not, is that one is part of "normal" religions and was pushed as being hygenic by modern medicine, the other is practiced by brown people who are Muslims and pagans. In any other context, would we permit someone to cut parts off of their infant in the name of religion? Logically it does not compute, but there is so much culture invested in it, that we as a society cannot bring ourselves to change our mind.

-NoCapo
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
What stuns me about the circumcision thing is that if it is done to girls it is mutilation, if it done to boys it is an accepted part of society. The only reason one is acceptable and the other not, is that one is part of "normal" religions and was pushed as being hygenic by modern medicine, the other is practiced by brown people who are Muslims and pagans. In any other context, would we permit someone to cut parts off of their infant in the name of religion? Logically it does not compute, but there is so much culture invested in it, that we as a society cannot bring ourselves to change our mind.
Yes, it's a reprehensible double standard, although, as I understand it, the genital mutilation of girls is far more damaging to their ability to function sexually and has more biological collateral damage.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:05 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 39,811,608 times
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I couldn't care less.
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