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View Full Version : Joe Lieberman Can Kiss My Godless Backside


Eve
08-28-2000, 08:34 AM
Just what we need, another religious fanatic in politics! I read in the Times this morning a speech Lieberman just gave in Michigan: "As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purpose . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY [my emphasis] for a moral and religious people . . . George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion." He also added that the Constitution "guarantees freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion."

Well, bite me. And bite me again. Does anyone know the best address for me to get in touch with this guy so I can tell him he has just lost a life-long Democrat? Should I write to the Democratic National HQ, or to his Senate office in CT? I mean, why the hell should I support someone who calls me immoral and bad for the country, and says the Constitution is not for ME?

Bastard. Can I marry any of you Brits or Aussies so I can leave this beknighted country?

Eve
08-28-2000, 09:11 AM
OK, I found his Senate address and just sent him the following letter. I'm sure he'll never even see it, but at least it makes ME feel better:

Dear Senator,

I was disappointed and disturbed by the text of your Michigan speech, as reported in the New York Times this morning. As a lifelong Democrat, a good loyal American and an atheist, I don’t know how I can, in good conscience, support you for Vice President.

You are quoted as saying, “As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God’s purpose . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY [my emphasis] for a moral and religious people . . . George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.” You also added that the Constitution “guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”

Why should I vote for someone who publicly states that I am immoral, bad for this country and have no constitutional rights, simply because I don’t believe in religion? I pay my taxes, do volunteer work, am kind to my family and friends, I pick up earthworms from the sidewalk after a storm and put ’em back on the grass. I Remember Pearl Harbor and I Look for the Union Label!

Will you please explain why I am not a good American?

Profane
08-28-2000, 09:26 AM
Put my name on there too Eve! I totally agree.

Green Bean
08-28-2000, 09:35 AM
Eve, I completely agree with you.

I guess I count as part of the "Jewish vote" that they think that they are going to get with Lieberman on the ticket. And I admit, when I heard that Gore had chosen a Jewish running mate, I thought to myself "wouldn't it be nice to have a Jew in the White House?" But as soon as I learned a little more about him, any urge that I had to vote for him vanished. Last thing we need is another politician cramming religion down our throats--even if it is a religion that I am ostensibly a part of.

And no, I am not an atheist.

Would you mind posting his Senate address?

Eve
08-28-2000, 09:47 AM
If the Mods want to edit this out, feel free—I don't know what the rules are about posting public addresses, so I won't be offended if this is cut. Write to him at either of these addresses:

Senate Hart Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

One State Street, Suite 1420 Hartford, CT 06103

London_Calling
08-28-2000, 09:53 AM
I caught a couple of interviews with this guy and he does seem to imbue a lot of High Morality into his spiel. I actually quite liked the mild shot across the bows he gave the Hollywood death and gory film makers a couple of weeks ago but this association with 200 year old morality does seem a little uncomfortable.

I wonder if the context is quite accurately reported – where does the NYT stand on the Demo’s this time around ?

Also, I’m out of touch but, as a long shot, I guess the Demo’s are thinking Gore isn’t going to pull in any of the righteous vote so someone’s got to go for it. Isn’t it just electioneering...



Originally posted by Eve


Bastard. Can I marry any of you Brits or Aussies so I can leave this beknighted country?

Don’t think you can escape over here, Eve. Your reputation is shot asunder after the incident with the dusty wobbly desk and the librarian at Westminster Abbey. The police are saying they don’t have fingerprints but they’d like to take a look at your knees.

Satan
08-28-2000, 09:55 AM
Please someone post a link to a transcript of the speech or news coverage of same? I would like to see everything in context.

If I see exactly what I think I will see based upon the quotes in the OP, I will write letters until the cows come home.
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sdimbert
08-28-2000, 10:00 AM
OK, Eve, I understand your point and applaud both your efforts and indignation.

But here's my question. You quote Lieberman as saying:
[list]
“As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God’s purpose . . .
John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY [my emphasis] for a moral and religious people . . .
George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”


There are three statements there. The second two are not Leiberman's, they are John Adams' and George Washington's, respectively. So, obviously, you're not taking issue with them, right?

So, let's take a look at his first stamement. If I understand you, you take offense at Lieberman's suggestion that we, "as a people," renew our dedication to God and his purpose.

You do know where you live, right? I mean, I feel odd (as a Jew) pointing this out, but this is a de facto Christian country. Seperation of Church and State exists as policy because it needs to; ours is a deeply religious nation, both in its politics and it constituents.

You accuse Leiberman of calling you, "immoral" and, "bad for this country." You say he denies your constitutional rights, simply because you don’t believe in religion.

Where does he say these things?

I admit that religion is a touchy point in politics... I am not sure how I feel about a candidate selected because of his religion (and not despite it). Nevertheless, I don't see how the vitriol of your OP can be defended.

Weirddave
08-28-2000, 10:17 AM
Do you really think Dubba is going to be any better? His idea of freedom of religion is chosing what type of Baptist you wanna be. Both these guys suck, what a choice. I think I'm gonna write in a vote for Mickey Mouse.

Eve
08-28-2000, 10:21 AM
"The police are saying they don’t have fingerprints but they’d like to take a look at your knees."

—Oh, if I had a dime for every man who's said THAT . . .

Satan—I wish I had a link, but I clipped this out of today's NYT. It was a weekend speech, though, so I'll bet most of the online newswires would have covered it.

sdimbert—I found his quoting of outdated 200-year-old morality offensive. Yeah, I'll bet I WOULD argue a few points with Washington and Adams today!

I'll pull an old trick here to show how horrifying I found his speech. Pretend you're black and you heard Lieberman say, "As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to white people and the Aryan purpose . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY for white anglo-saxon Protestants . . . George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without untainted white blood." And that the Constitution "guarantees freedom of racial discrimination, not freedom from racial discrimination."

OK, I admit that's not QUITE the same thing, but as an atheist, it's just as scary.

oldscratch
08-28-2000, 10:23 AM
Here is one story on it for Satan and others. Also, thank you Eve. I was going to post almost exactly the same subject, but you beat me to it. Do we really want a religous freak like this in a position of power? One who said he doesn't want atheists running the country.

Joe's Godly Agenda (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/08/28/MN79106.DTL) This is the actual title, I swear it.


Just goes to show, you can't trust either canidate.

BeerDog
08-28-2000, 10:24 AM
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Eve


Can I marry any of you Brits or Aussies so I can leave this beknighted country?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Does this rule out Canadians? If not,

<bad Morrocian accent>

"Come with me to the Casbah."

</bad Morrocian Accent>

In this case, the Casbah is a small town in Atlantic Canada. It's kinda boring, but we can have whatever religiuos views we want (including none at all).

lawoot
08-28-2000, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by Eve

I'll pull an old trick here to show how horrifying I found his speech. Pretend you're black and you heard Lieberman say, "As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to white people and the Aryan purpose . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY for white anglo-saxon Protestants

But he DID. Remember the only people who were able to vote when this country was formed were free, white 21 year old males. Wonder if Joe wants to return to THAT idea of the founding fathers, as well.

Fretful Porpentine
08-28-2000, 10:32 AM
Damn. I was afraid of this.

I think Ralph Nader may be getting my vote after all.

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by Eve
I found his quoting of outdated 200-year-old morality offensive. Yeah, I'll bet I WOULD argue a few points with Washington and Adams today!
Good. That's the way our government works.


I'll pull an old trick here to show how horrifying I found his speech. Pretend you're black and you heard Lieberman say, "As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to white people and the Aryan purpose . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY for white anglo-saxon Protestants . . . George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without untainted white blood." And that the Constitution "guarantees freedom of racial discrimination, not freedom from racial discrimination."

OK, I admit that's not QUITE the same thing, but as an atheist, it's just as scary.

Eve, you are right. The preceeding statement, while fictional, is scary. And it is, definitely not the same thing at all.

What you are forgetting is that between Adams and us is over 200 years of American political history.

You can kick and scream and shout from your soap box all you want, but the fact of the matter is that America Loves God. Look at our currency, our foreign and domestic policy, etc etc etc. Ours is a religious country.

Of course, it must be said that ours is a religious country that practices freedom of religion. This means that Joe and I are just as free to practice as you are not to.

So, you object to his language? Fine. Write him a letter, as you have. Form a lobby. Hell, don't vote for him if you want.

I just wanted to alert you to the fact that, as an univolved outsider, I didn't understand exactly what remarks Joe made that upset you. I still don't. I don't see where he called you (as an atheist) names or denied you a thing.

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 10:57 AM
Eve,

What of this, taken from Lieberman's speech (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/08/28/MN79106.DTL):


Let us reach out together to those who may neither believe nor observe and reassure them that we share with them the core values of America, that our faith is not inconsistent with their freedom, and that our mission is not one of intolerance but one of love.


I personally find some of his rhetoric distasteful, but what of the message? Faith is not inconsistent with freedom from faith.

BunnyGirl
08-28-2000, 10:59 AM
I typically don't post in the pit but I've got to add my $.02.

As a Christian, I don't think I'd want a person who runs on the platform of "being a Christian" in the White House. Why? Because I am a firm believer that you cannot mandate morality (I mean belief systems, etc, not the general laws. Let's not get too technical). If you are a Christian, then live like one, vote for what you belive is good and let your life speak for itself. Once you make "being a Christian" part of your campaign, it becomes simply that - a platform.

Eve
08-28-2000, 11:04 AM
sdimbert—Yeah, I read that other part of his speech as well. I found it a little hard to swallow after the past few weeks of hearing him cram the Old Testament down my throat.

You really can't understand how an atheist would find his remarks offensive and frightening? I don't know what else I can do to explain it for you. Anyone else wanna jump in?

And yes, I agree that—unfortunately—this is a bible-bangin' country, and neither I nor anyeone else is going to change that. And yes, I agree that the Republicans are even worse. But that doesn't make me feel any better about the Democrats suddenly going all holier-than thou.

It's all very depressing—I'm certainly not going to vote for Bush, or the Mini-Me candidates (Nader, Buchanan). So what do I do? I wish they had an "I don't want ANY of 'em!" space on the ballot.

Gaudere
08-28-2000, 11:21 AM
Sdimbert, what if a Christian Veep canidate had said: "As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to Christ and Christ's purpose . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY [my emphasis] for a Christian people . . . George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without Christianity.” Wouldn't a non-Christian feel that the prospective Veep had deliberately excluded non-Christians from the consititution and any claim to morality?

I'm rather pissed with Lieberman too. I wanted to like him, but it looks like he's going for the conservative Christain vote at the expense of those of us who do not worship any deity, and don't like being told I can't maintain morality without religion.

Nen
08-28-2000, 11:24 AM
Originally posted by sdimbert
I don't see where he called you (as an atheist) names or denied you a thing.

sdimbert, pay attention to the following.

Lieberman stated, "We know that the Constitution wisely separates church from state, but remember: the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."

Does that statement not imply that atheism will not be tolerated?

Lieberman stated, "As a people, we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purposes."

Does that statement not imply that religious overtone will heavily color political positions should Lieberman be elected?

Lieberman stated, "John Adams, second president of the United States, wrote that our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,"

Does that statement not exclude atheists from United States citizenship?

Lieberman stated,"George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition ‘that morality can be maintained without religion.’"

Does that statement not imply that atheists are immoral?

Lieberman stated, "I want to talk to you this morning about another barrier that may fall, as well, as a result of my nomination," which I assume was in conjunction with this statement, "I hope it will enable people, all people who are moved, to feel more free to talk about their faith and about their religion. And I hope that it will reinforce the belief that I feel as strongly as anything else, that there must be a place for faith in America's public life."

Does that statement not imply that religious overtones will color public life as a result of executive order (barring those already conceded by the first amendment)?

Lieberman stated, "Let us reach out together to those who may neither believe nor observe and reassure them that we share with them the core values of America, that our faith is not inconsistent with their freedom, and that our mission is not one of intolerance but one of love,"

Does that statement not seem inconsistent with the others? Perhaps it isn't. Perhaps we can continue to live the way we wish provided we subject ourselves to an inundation of religious propaganda. Perhaps atheists, agnostics, buddhists, et cetera are okay provided our beliefs aren't represented in the government and Lieberman's are. If he considers a belief in god to be a core value of America which does not differ from my belief, he's got another thing coming.

Does this post clarify how one might take offense at Lieberman's statements?

Revtim
08-28-2000, 11:26 AM
I was very disappointed to read this thread about Lieberman. I was hoping that as a Jew, one of the most persecuted peoples in all of history, he would tolerate all views.

The problem is, if freedom of and from religion is key to you, who do you vote for? I thought I read that it was likely that there would be some Supreme Court justices retiring in the next term (I will have to verify this), and I sure as shit don't want a conservative administration appointing new justices if I can help it. (Not even a "compassionate" conservative).

If it turns out that it's likely there will be new Supreme Court justices appointed, I'm going to have to still go with Gore/Lieberman. My gamble is that long-term this will be better for freedom of/from religion than if Bush appoints new justices.

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by Eve
You really can't understand how an atheist would find his remarks offensive and frightening? I don't know what else I can do to explain it for you.

You know what I think the problem is? As an observant Jew, I am used to politicians saying religious things that I don't agree with.

I mean, yeah, I agree with you in theory... politics and religion shouldn't mix. But, I'm more pragmatic about the whole situation.

And, I don't see why Leiberman's remarks offend and frighten you more than Bush's. Or Buchanan's. Or Carter's. Or any other politician's.

Also, remember to whom Lieberman was speaking at the time. This address was given to a Church audience... I think you can cut the man a little slack. When speaking to Church groups, he emphasizes religion. I'll bet that if he was invited to DavidB's house, his tune would be different. That's politics.

Ignoring his beliefs, what do you think of the man's stand on issues?

QuickSilver
08-28-2000, 11:29 AM
As unpleasant and distasteful Joe's speach was to me, I find that I can rationalize his motivation for making these statements. Politics is a dirty game and not a single successful politician exists that cannot speak out of both sides of his face. I think this was simply a calculated attempt at trying to win over the undecided leftish conservative voters. Perhaps even an attempt to lure away some left leaning republicans.

I find it crass. Disgusting. Immoral. And entirely political. You cannot trust any of these bastards farther than you can throw them. They'd sell their mother for a hundred votes.

Eve
08-28-2000, 11:35 AM
Thanks, Nen, you explained it better than I could.

This whole thing is very depressing—like Revtim, I just don't know what to do. I guess Gore/Lieberman ARE the lesser of the evils, but still . . .

Sdimbert—His other views? Well, I don't like how he was the first Democrat to attack Clinton, and I don't like his voting for the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. But that just puts him in league with just about every other pol.

I repeat, I want to lobby for a "none of the bastards!" choice on the November ballot . . .

Nen
08-28-2000, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by sdimbert
Also, remember to whom Lieberman was speaking at the time. This address was given to a Church audience... I think you can cut the man a little slack. [snip] Ignoring his beliefs, what do you think of the man's stand on issues?

Sure, Lieberman was speaking to a religious congregation, but does a politicians platform change as a result of the audience to which he addresses. Lieberman stated, "As a people, we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purposes." I'd be damn confused if Lieberman felt that the nation needs to dedicate itself to god only while he addresses the theistically oriented. His stance on the nation and god seems like an issue which is an integral part of his platform. You can't ignore his beliefs in that regard.

oldscratch
08-28-2000, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by sdimbert

And, I don't see why Leiberman's remarks offend and frighten you more than Bush's. Or Buchanan's. Or Carter's. Or any other politician's.

Speaking for me. They don't. they do illustrate that atheists and those who favor not having prayer in schools can't trust him anymore than they can trust bush. It simply shows how much the two canidates and they're Veeps are alike.


Ignoring his beliefs, what do you think of the man's stand on issues?

Also fairly conservative, moral, and scary. His stand on the entertainment industry is frightening.

divemaster
08-28-2000, 11:39 AM
This statement was reported in the Washington Post immediately after Gore named Lieberman as his VP pick:

"He (Lieberman) believes, as I do, that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof," Mr. Gore said..."And as I stand next to him today, I believe in my heart that we are one step to truly being one nation under God."

One Nation Under God???

I bet it doens't stop the ACLU and the People for the American Way (et al.) from contributing to the Gore/Lieberman campaign, however.

Gaudere
08-28-2000, 11:41 AM
You know what I think the problem is? As an observant Jew, I am used to politicians saying religious things that I don't agree with.As an atheist, Izzy, I bet I have to deal with a lot more politicans saying religious things I don't agree with than you do. Most politicians go for a generic "God" reference, which is not antithetical to *your* beliefs, but it is for mine. I'd like to think that if a major politician implied that Jews couldn't be moral, you'd be up in arms, and rightfully so--and I'd stand beside you. And if Bush, Carter or Buchanan makes comments excluding a group from genuine morality based on their religion, I'll be pissed at them too. I'm mostly angry at Lieberman because I expected better from him; I already know Buchanan's an ass.

Nen
08-28-2000, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by Eve
I wish they had an "I don't want ANY of 'em!" space on the ballot.

Those votes should deduct one vote from each candidate. I'd love to see a politician with a negative vote count.

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 12:05 PM
Gaudere:
Nice to see you! Haven't debated with you in a while. Here goes...

Originally posted by Gaudere
...what if a Christian Veep canidate had said: "As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to Christ and Christ's purpose . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY [my emphasis] for a Christian people . . . George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without Christianity.” Wouldn't a non-Christian feel that the prospective Veep had deliberately excluded non-Christians from the consititution and any claim to morality?

First of all, politicians have been saying things just like that for a while. See my earlier post to Eve - I'm used to it.
Secondly, while your theoretical point is a good one, it is only theoretical. John Adams and George Washington never said those things. And, if they had, the 200+ years of American political history since them would have dealt with the issue already.


I'm rather pissed with Lieberman too. I... don't like being told I can't maintain morality without religion.

I'm not going to touch that one with a ten-foot pole. I've been over that with you before. Suffice it to say that, yes, Lieberman is a religous candidate. I would love to see a Jew on the ticket despite his religion instead of because of it. But, I believe that he's a more reasonable man than the media is making him out to be. I am willing to wait and see. After all, I have been warily watching religious politicians for a long time. At least this time he's my kind of religion!


Nen:

Lieberman stated, "We know that the Constitution wisely separates church from state, but remember: the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."

Does that statement not imply that atheism will not be tolerated?

Honestly? I don't think so.

I read his statement to be saying that religion is not a taboo in politics despite what some hard-line Seperationist might believe.


Lieberman stated, "As a people, we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purposes."

Does that statement not imply that religious overtone will heavily color political positions should Lieberman be elected?

Honestly? I don't think so (again).

Look, this is a county where schoolchildren recite, "One nation, under God..." isn't it? Nobody clamors over the Seperation of Church and State on that one, do they?

Don't get caught up in his rhetoric. As I said earlier, politicians have been saying things like this for a long time. This time, it happens to be a Jewish one. BFD.


Lieberman stated, "John Adams, second president of the United States, wrote that our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,"

Does that statement not exclude atheists from United States citizenship?

No, literally, it excludes them from the group of people for whom the Constitution was made. Whatever that means. :rolleyes:

Look - The statement isn't Leiberman's, it's Adams'. You got a problem with John Adams? You're blaming the wrong person! For better or for worse, that statement is part of the cannon of American Political Literature. If you're unhappy with that, you're barking up the wrong tree.


Lieberman stated,"George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition ‘that morality can be maintained without religion.’"

Does that statement not imply that atheists are immoral?

It implies that George Washington felt that morality can not be maintained without religion. The fact that Lieberman used it in a speach implies that he is like-minded.

Good thing he's not running for the office of Vice-President of Morality.


Lieberman stated, "I want to talk to you this morning about another barrier that may fall, as well, as a result of my nomination," which I assume was in conjunction with this statement, "I hope it will enable people, all people who are moved, to feel more free to talk about their faith and about their religion. And I hope that it will reinforce the belief that I feel as strongly as anything else, that there must be a place for faith in America's public life."

Does that statement not imply that religious overtones will color public life as a result of executive order (barring those already conceded by the first amendment)?

No. It implies that Lieberman wants more people to be able to feel comfortable with their religions. Did you skip the part where he said, "all people who are moved"?

I don't mean to be rude, but I think you're taking an alarmist viewpoint here, reading too much into his statements. Again, nothing he said here is new. It's just Jewish this time.


Lieberman stated, "Let us reach out together to those who may neither believe nor observe and reassure them that we share with them the core values of America, that our faith is not inconsistent with their freedom, and that our mission is not one of intolerance but one of love,"

Does that statement not seem inconsistent with the others? Perhaps it isn't. Perhaps we can continue to live the way we wish provided we subject ourselves to an inundation of religious propaganda. Perhaps atheists, agnostics, buddhists, et cetera are okay provided our beliefs aren't represented in the government and Lieberman's are. If he considers a belief in god to be a core value of America which does not differ from my belief, he's got another thing coming.


Sarcastic much?


Does this post clarify how one might take offense at Lieberman's statements?


Yes, it does. It illustrates that if one takes every statement at face value, ignoring those that are inconsistent with one's thesis and ascribes an evil motivation to ideas that are as old as the US itself, one might take offense.

Eve
08-28-2000, 12:12 PM
Sdimbert—you may think I am just getting hysterical over Lieberman, but I get upset when ANY politician tries to cram religion down my throat (ANY religion).

As someone else here pointed out, it's particularly disappointing coming from a Jew and a Democrat. Just reminds us atheists how really despised and alienated we are in this country, still.

Gaudere
08-28-2000, 12:19 PM
First of all, politicians have been saying things just like that for a while. See my earlier post to Eve - I'm used to it.If they've been saying that a person can't be moral without worshipping Christ, they were wrong to say that, and if I were you I'd be pissed off. I'm "used" to having atheism blamed for everything from pot-smoking to murder, but I'll be damned if I let politicians go on their merry way denigrating other religions or the irreligious without me making my opinion of that rather loudly known. Why do you allow politicians to imply that non-Christians are less moral than a Christian, and not only do you not do anything about it yourself, you counsel others to do nothing either? Remember, "turn the other cheek" is a Christian tenet--us atheists and Jews *can* fight for respect. ;) And I think we should.

But, I believe that he's a more reasonable man than the media is making him out to be.I thought he was a reasonable man; I'm no longer terribly impressed with him. It's not "the media" that said those things--he did.

IzzyR
08-28-2000, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by Gaudere
As an atheist, Izzy.............Gets hard to tell these Orthodox Jews apart, sometimes...

Gaudere
08-28-2000, 12:27 PM
Huh? I know you're Jewish--I was saying, "Speaking as I am as an atheist, Izzy, blah blah blah blah..." I was not saying you were an atheist, I was simply referring to you by name. Sorry if I was unclear.

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 12:32 PM
Eve.

Again, lay off the extremist rhetoric.

Nothing Lieberman has said even approaches suggesting that he despises atheists. Or anyone else for that matter.

He didn't cram religion (or anything else) down your throat.

Hell, he wasn't even talking to you.

EVERYBODY CALM DOWN!


Stop labelling.
Stop ascribing motives and motivations that are not obvious.
Stop reading things into other people's statements.
Stop alarming others when no alarm is justified.


All of these things are exactly what the media does wrong.


Gaudere,


If they've been saying that a person can't be moral without worshipping Christ, they were wrong to say that, and if I were you I'd be pissed off.
First of all, just for clarity's sake, you mentioned Christ, not Joseph Lieberman.


Why do you allow politicians to imply that non-Christians are less moral than a Christian, and not only do you not do anything about it yourself, you counsel others to do nothing either?


Look - Joe Lieberman doesn't need my permission to say anything. I didn't "allow" him to say what he said any more than I "allowed" the sun to rise this morning.

I reiterate the first point I made in this post (to Eve): Calm down. Lieberman wasn't talking to you when he said the things he said.

Of course you have the right to frame your opinions of him based on everything he says and does. But do yourself a favor and stop End-of-the-Worlding every statement he (and others) make.

USA Today and TV Newsmagazines do a good enough job of over-reacting, reading out of context and reading into people's remarks. Let's let our discussion here be of a more civilized nature.


(And, BTW, Izzy was pointing out that the remarks to which you originally responded were mine, not his.)

Nen
08-28-2000, 12:46 PM
sdimbert,

Gaudere stated:
I...don't like being told I can't maintain morality without religion.

To which you responded:

I'm not going to touch that one with a ten-foot pole.

However, you responded to my similar remark:

Lieberman stated,"George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition ‘that morality can be maintained without religion.’"

Does that statement not imply that atheists are immoral?

With this statement:
[/quote]It implies that George Washington felt that morality can not be maintained without religion. The fact that Lieberman used it in a speach implies that he is like-minded.[/quote]

Since you touched it with your ten-foot pole, as it were, you have stated that Lieberman maintains Washington's belief, ergo, Lieberman believes atheists are immoral.

Originally posted by sdimbert
Honestly? I don't think so.

I read his statement to be saying that religion is not a taboo in politics despite what some hard-line Seperationist might believe.

That's a valid interpretation; however, I believe in complete separation of church and state, so I still find it offensive.

Originally posted by sdimbert
Honestly? I don't think so (again).

Look, this is a county where schoolchildren recite, "One nation, under God..." isn't it? Nobody clamors over the Seperation of Church and State on that one, do they?

I sure as hell do. I got reprimanded for not pledging my allegiance.

Originally posted by sdimbert
This time, it happens to be a Jewish one. BFD.

I don't care what his religious orientation is, I just don't want it interfering with government.

Originally posted by sdimbert
No, literally, it excludes them from the group of people for whom the Constitution was made. Whatever that means.

And the Constitution was made for whom?

Originally posted by sdimbert
Look - The statement isn't Leiberman's, it's Adams'. You got a problem with John Adams? You're blaming the wrong person!

Lieberman implied that he adhered to Adams' beliefs in the same fashion as he did Washington's.

Originally posted by sdimbert
No. It implies that Lieberman wants more people to be able to feel comfortable with their religions.

Lieberman mentioned nothing of comfort. I personally have no problem with people being comfortable with their respective religions; however, executive mandates regarding religions in a public forum are unnecessary and offensive.

Originally posted by sdimbert
I don't mean to be rude, but I think you're taking an alarmist viewpoint here, reading too much into his statements. Again, nothing he said here is new.

Regardless of whether or not it is "new", it is unsettling. I am very critical of politicians. Their words bear heavily on the future of this society. Politicians should be capable of placing precise meaning into their statements.

Originally posted by sdimbert
Sarcastic much?

Frequently, but how is that relevant to my statement?

Originally posted by sdimbert
Yes, it does. It illustrates that if one takes every statement at face value, ignoring those that are inconsistent with one's thesis and ascribes an evil motivation to ideas that are as old as the US itself, one might take offense.

I utilized all quotations availble from the referenced media. I ignored nothing; moreover, I ignored nothing inconsistent with my thesis.

2nd Law
08-28-2000, 12:49 PM
Yet another reason to vote Libertarian (and I'm not referring to the poster by that name). I just looked at their website and their position on religion is acceptable to me, and I'm an atheist.

Gaudere
08-28-2000, 12:56 PM
::slapping self in head:: Ok, I get it. Forgive me, I'm a moron. I always get confused when two people argue the same side, since I rarely look carefully at who is posting, and you two don't have distinctive enough "voices" that I can tell you apart without your SNs. I could use my Secret Moderator Powers to fix the name, but I can't do that invisibly. Curses, I guess I'm left looking like a twit.

First of all, just for clarity's sake, you mentioned Christ, not Joseph Lieberman.Well, I'd hardly expect him to. ;) You said you were used to religious politicians saying things like Lieberman, except denigrating your beliefs instead of mine. I then stated that it would be wrong for a person to imply that either non-Christians or non-theists cannot be truly moral. I'm not sure why you are pointing out that Lieberman did not mention Christ, except to note that he is not excluding Jews from being capable of genuine morality--just atheists, agnostics, Buddhists...


Look - Joe Lieberman doesn't need my permission to say anything. I didn't "allow" him to say what he said any more than I "allowed" the sun to rise this morning.No, of course not, but if someone was implying that you couldn't be moral without worshipping Christ, I'd expect you to get a bit peeved. Since politicians have actual power over our lives, a belief that non-whatevers cannot be truly moral seems a dangerous belief for them to hold, and I feel we should point out to them that their voters do not all agree with them on that issue. It may make them less likely to do things to help make non-whatevers into whatevers, for the good of society of course, since non-whatevers can't really be moral.

IzzyR
08-28-2000, 01:03 PM
Gaudere:I always get confused when two people argue the same sideStrangely enough, I've not actually posted any arguments to this thread. As I said, these Orthodox Jews are hard to tell apart....

Gaudere
08-28-2000, 01:15 PM
Dammit, don't argue with my attempt to look slightly less clueless! ;) Ok, I guess I just must have been thinking of you since I was just reading your posts in GD and so I used the wrong name. This'll teach me to pay better attention.

Eve
08-28-2000, 01:18 PM
Sdimbert—I don't think I am being alarmist or extremist; a politician has made statements I strongly disagree with and which make me uneasy, so I am writing him a letter to tell him. I haven't used any unladylike words or even the blessed Wally's "putz"—I guess I am Unfit for the Pit . . .

Gotta get back to GD, where I am mud-wrestling Libertarian . . .

oldscratch
08-28-2000, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by IzzyR
Strangely enough, I've not actually posted any arguments to this thread.

Oh come on Izzy you should be flattered. You've made such a dent in the board that the mods can't keep their minds off of you.

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 01:29 PM
Nen:

I said that:

It [Washington's remark, quoted by Lieberman] implies that George Washington felt that morality can not be maintained without religion. The fact that Lieberman used it in a speach implies that he is like-minded.

You responded:

Since you touched it with your ten-foot pole, as it were, you have stated that Lieberman maintains Washington's belief, ergo, Lieberman believes atheists are immoral.


No. Again, you are reading into my remarks. I said that Lieberman implied that he feels that morality can not be maintained without religion." I did not say that I think he said that "Atheists are immoral."

I believe that there is a difference between those two statements.

Moving on, your post establishes that you believe in a total separation between Church and State, you think the wording of the Pledge of Alliegence is offensive and you don't care at all what religion Lieberman practices as long as it doesn't interfere with his governing.

That is all fine. The point where you and I disagree is that point at which (I think) you over-react. You said:


I personally have no problem with people being comfortable with their respective religions; however, executive mandates regarding religions in a public forum are unnecessary and offensive.


I'm not even sure where to begin my response to that remark. Taken out of it's context and momentum, doesn't it look a little excessive?

What "executive mandate" has Lieberman made? He has no executive power yet! And, even if elected, he will not have power to make "executive mandate" (whatever that is) because he is running for Vice-President!

You go on:

Politicians should be capable of placing precise meaning into their statements.


I agree. They should also be capable of solving difficult problems related to world peace in a fortnight. And fly. (Now I guess it's me being sarcastic ;) )

Look, everyone is misunderstood sometime. I am not suggesting that you misunderstood me, or Lieberman or that I misunderstood you. All I want everyone to do is calm down and stop automatically pigeon-holing a man who is unlike any political figure who ever came before him.

You say that you, "utilized all quotations availble from the referenced media" and that you, "ignored nothing inconsistent with my thesis." Yet you neglected to touch upon his, "our faith is not inconsistent with their freedom" remark in your original attack.

I find that inconsistent.


Gaudere:
You points are well-made and well-taken.

You are correct to point out that those who find Lieberman's remarks troubling should point out to him that they feel this way.

It will be interesting to see how he chooses to deal with the Atheist constituency.

But I feel the need to point out again that he is not the first candidate to run on a religious platform; far from it, in fact.


Also, could you chime in on the point I'm trying to make with Nen, above? I don't want to re-open the whole "Can Atheists Be Moral" Debate, but can you speak to my point that there is a difference between the following statements:

Morality can not be maintained without religion
Atheists are immoral


Eve:

You're right. I think I have committed the same sin as the illustrous Gaudere, confusing your posts for Nen's.

Nice to be in such good company! :)

Drain Bead
08-28-2000, 01:35 PM
Look, this is a county where schoolchildren recite, "One nation, under God..." isn't it? Nobody clamors over the Seperation of Church and State on that one, do they?

Somehow, (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=25272) I (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=22430) think (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=30875) you're (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=22217)
mistaken. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=23090)

I could have found more, but I'm lacking time.

Nen
08-28-2000, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by sdimbert
I said that Lieberman implied that he feels that morality can not be maintained without religion." I did not say that I think he said that "Atheists are immoral."

I believe that there is a difference between those two statements.

I don't see a difference between the two statements. If morality cannot be maintained without religion, where religion is operated by the religious, then those without religion cannot maintain morality. Gaudere, catch sdimbert's drift, please enlighten me.

Originally posted by sdimbert
Taken out of it's context and momentum, doesn't it look a little excessive?

No.

Originally posted by sdimbert
What "executive mandate" has Lieberman made? He has no executive power yet! And, even if elected, he will not have power to make "executive mandate" (whatever that is) because he is running for Vice-President!

None. True. He will have significant influence.

Originally posted by sdimbert
I agree. They should also be capable of solving difficult problems related to world peace in a fortnight. And fly. (Now I guess it's me being sarcastic ;) )

Sarcasm aside, being a politician requires that one must be able to convey one's ideas. Frequently, such expression is the arena of public speaking. I simply feel that such statements, which can be easily misconstrued, should be omitted from one's speech if the content does not infer the intended meaning.

Originally posted by sdimbert
All I want everyone to do is calm down and stop automatically pigeon-holing a man who is unlike any political figure who ever came before him.

I am calm. If I got irate over this stuff I'd be dead.

It's irrelevant, but:



Lieberman is "unlike any political figure", yet his statement are "nothing new."



Originally posted by sdimbert
You say that you, "utilized all quotations availble from the referenced media" and that you, "ignored nothing inconsistent with my thesis." Yet you neglected to touch upon his, "our faith is not inconsistent with their freedom" remark in your original attack.

If you read my first post once again, you'll find the referenced quote. Secondly, I offered an explanation regarding how Lieberman's statements could be considered offensive; I did not attack, but that's irrelevant.

Originally posted by sdimbert
Gaudere:
You points are well-made and well-taken.

Wait a second! I make the same points pertaining to the same topic and you understand her but not me?! Well, she is more eloquent, but I must protest.

Spiritus Mundi
08-28-2000, 02:18 PM
I am an athiest. I find Lieberman's statements offensive.

I find similarly statements from other politicians equally offensive. That in no way invalidates any complaints I have against Lieberman.

I take a hard line on the separation of church and state. I object to the presence of religious ideas in the Pledge of Allegiance and on our currency. Even if I did not, it would not invalidate a complaint about Lieberman's words.


there is a difference between the following statements:

Morality can not be maintained without religion
Atheists are immoral

Yes, there is. One addresses the qualities of morality, the other addresses the qualities of athiests. However, both statements depend upon the position that no basis for morality can be found without religion. I find this position both incorrect and offensive.

Most importantly:

Joe Lieberman Can Kiss My Godless Backside

Um, Eve, I thought you were mad at him? Isn't this sending mixed signals?

Eve
08-28-2000, 02:44 PM
"Joe Lieberman Can Kiss My Godless Backside

Um, Eve, I thought you were mad at him? Isn't this sending mixed signals?"

—Not at all, dearest. Nen will be taking a photo of our encounter and we will send it to the Washington Post. Let's see how THAT effects his campaign!

John Corrado
08-28-2000, 03:02 PM
Eve, I cannot possibly believe that you said that. I am just *shocked* by the ignorance you're showing here. It just amazes me that you can hold such a position.


It would affect his campaign. It would have an effect upon his campaign.


Sorry; I just expected better from a writer.



(::ducking and running like hell::)

Nen
08-28-2000, 03:13 PM
Thanks, John, you just have to bring up holding positions while I have to take photographs and try not to make a wise comment about needing a wide angle lens for the shot.

"Yeah, just hold that pose--I need to switch lenses."

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 03:20 PM
Nen:
Originally posted by sdimbert
I said that Lieberman implied that he feels that morality can not be maintained without religion." I did not say that I think he said that "Atheists are immoral."

I believe that there is a difference between those two statements.


Originally posted by Nen
I don't see a difference between the two statements. If morality cannot be maintained without religion, where religion is operated by the religious, then those without religion cannot maintain morality.


Let me try it this way:

Religious people believe that Morality exists, as directed by God.
Atheists don't.
A Religious Person says, "Morality can not be maintained without religion."
Atheists get upset.
Religious Person explains what he meant: Religious people believe that Morality = "What God Says It Is." Without religion to tell us what that is, Morality can not be maintained.
Does this mean that Atheists are not Moral? Yes, according to the definition used by Religous Person and his Religious Friends.


In other words, I don't think that George Washington was saying that Atheists are immoral. He was saying that, according to religious people, atheists are immoral.

Is this a big secret? Nen, Gaudere, DavidB, Eve, does it shock you that some religious people feel that those who deny God's existance are incapable of Morality? I have seen this issue argues in GD many times!

If I were an atheist, I might find Joe Lieberman's announcement of support for Washington's statement troubling, unless I also heard him say, in almost the same breath, that room exists for those who believe differently.

Joe Lieberman said both of these things.

Drain Bead,

Thanks for the links. You are right, of course, many people here have debated whether or not God belongs in the Pledge of Alliegence. I maintain, however, that in general society, God's place there is a fairly well accepted thing.

Back to Nen:

You are also right - of course Lieberman, if elected, will have "significant influence." I objected to the term "executive mandate." I still have no idea what it means; it is not a political or legal term I have heard before.

You posted:

being a politician requires that one must be able to convey one's ideas. Frequently, such expression is the arena of public speaking. I simply feel that such statements, which can be easily misconstrued, should be omitted from one's speech if the content does not infer the intended meaning.

:sheepish grin:
I forgot what we're arguing about. Which statements are you referering to?

Regarding my apparant self-contradiction ("nothing new" and "unlike any figure before"): Joe Lieberman's comments regarding religion are "nothing new." He, as a candidate, is "unlike any figure before him" because he is an Orthodox Jew.


Spiritus Mundi:

Thanks for clarifying my remark.

However, your assertion that, "both statements depend upon the position that no basis for morality can be found without religion" should be appended with the words, "for the religious."

Finally, Nen, I just cruised over to the People Pages to take a look at Eve pic. Uhhh... can I have a copy of those shots of her and Lieberman?
;)

Myron Van Horowitzski
08-28-2000, 03:21 PM
Eve, I know exactly what you mean. Your alarm isn't so much over Lieberman as it is more general outrage on what's becoming an ugly trend everywhere, with the Lieberman speech only the latest chapter.

Even so, I gotta tell ya,
those who may neither believe nor observe
gives me the total heebie-jeebies; the government is gonna pigeonhole me like that so they can "reach out?" <Shudder!>

Seriously, I am serious here... how much would the press take notice if all us Dopers wrote in for Cecil on the the Presidential ballot? I'm serious, let's do it.

Eve
08-28-2000, 03:37 PM
"Wide-angle lens?" Why, I outta . . .

Nen
08-28-2000, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by sdimbert
Let me try it this way:

Religious people believe that Morality exists, as directed by God.
Atheists don't.
A Religious Person says, "Morality can not be maintained without religion."
Atheists get upset.
Religious Person explains what he meant: Religious people believe that Morality = "What God Says It Is." Without religion to tell us what that is, Morality can not be maintained.
Does this mean that Atheists are not Moral? Yes, according to the definition used by Religous Person and his Religious Friends.


In other words, I don't think that George Washington was saying that Atheists are immoral. He was saying that, according to religious people, atheists are immoral.

Ergo, Lieberman, a religious man, states atheists are immoral by citing Washington.

Originally posted by sdimbert
If I were an atheist, I might find Joe Lieberman's announcement of support for Washington's statement troubling, unless I also heard him say, in almost the same breath, that room exists for those who believe differently.

Joe Lieberman said both of these things.

Lieberman did say both. Just like I don't mind (insert racial, sexual, or otherwise preferred slur here).

Originally posted by sdimbert
I objected to the term "executive mandate." I still have no idea what it means; it is not a political or legal term I have heard before.

Executive mandate: a command issued from the executive branch of government.

Originally posted by sdimbert
:sheepish grin:
I forgot what we're arguing about. Which statements are you referering to?

Touché, but I'm not a politician.

Finally, photos will be available to all Dopers.

John Corrado
08-28-2000, 03:39 PM
No, no, thank you, Nen- by making the much more egregious insult, you deflected all possible abuse I might have received.

Good to see that some people will still throw themselves on their swords for complete strangers. Again, muchly appreciated.

Nen
08-28-2000, 03:42 PM
Eve, darling, I would never so much as insinuate that one would be necessary. Oh, I said wide-angle? I thought I said zoom. A zoom lens is necessary for something so small, firm and shapely. Please forgive the typo.

John, I'm gonna kill you.

Eve
08-28-2000, 03:48 PM
Well, thank goodness I didn't say he could BITE my backside, like I was going to . . . For all I know, my backside isn't even kosher . . .

John Corrado
08-28-2000, 03:48 PM
(:bouncing around the Pit like Daffy Duck:)

Woo Hoo! Woo Hoo! Woo Hoo!

sdimbert
08-28-2000, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by Nen
[quote]
Ergo, Lieberman, a religious man, states atheists are immoral by citing Washington.

Again, I'll nitpick far enough to say that Lieberman, a religious man, states that atheists are immoral as far as religous people are concerned.

Am I the only one who notices an important difference?


Lieberman did say both. Just like I don't mind (insert racial, sexual, or otherwise preferred slur here).

You've lost me. :confused:


Executive mandate: a command issued from the executive branch of government.

I understand what the words mean, it's the concept I'm having trouble with. Can you give an example of an "executive mandate" that has been made before?


Finally, photos will be available to all Dopers.


Now I'm dancing like Daffy Duck!

Gaudere
08-28-2000, 04:03 PM
But I feel the need to point out again that he is not the first candidate to run on a religious platform; far from it, in fact.I don't think a religious platform requires denigrating those whose beliefs are different than yours.

Nen, Gaudere, DavidB, Eve, does it shock you that some religious people feel that those who deny God's existance are incapable of Morality? I have seen this issue argues in GD many times!I'm hardly shocked, but when religious sorts with power over me start saying I am incapable of morality, I start to wonder what they're going to do to me. I mean, you can't have these loony immoral atheists running around free, can you? Better convert them! Better preach to them 24-7! Better post your religion's Holy Statements all over the public schools, so their children learn the One True Moral Way! Better keep a close eye on them, who knows what they'll do!

It is dangerous for a group to have those in power decide that their group is inherently immoral. It's often used as an excuse for predjudical treatment--you know how white supremecists like to cite the high crime rate of blacks to show how blacks are inferior and deserving of less freedom than the inherently more "moral" whites. And Lieberman feels he can express his belief that atheists lack genuine morality without fear of any strenuous objections--the sad thing is, it seems he's pretty much right. Which means a heckuva lot of people agree completely that I can't be truly moral. I wonder what laws these fine upstanding citizens will pass to make sure I don't run amok.

Nen
08-28-2000, 04:17 PM
sdimbert,

Originally posted by sdimbert
Again, I'll nitpick far enough to say that Lieberman, a religious man, states that atheists are immoral as far as religous people are concerned.

Am I the only one who notices an important difference?

I don't see how the difference is important. 1) If Lieberman doesn't feel that atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, et cetera are deemed moral by those who are religious and 2) Lieberman is religious, then 3) Lieberman doesn't deem atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, et cetera moral.

Originally posted by sdimbert
You've lost me. :confused:

Calling someone immoral based on religious orientation is similar to stating one is inferior due to melanin concentration, hence, the racial slur innuendo.

Originally posted by sdimbert
Can you give an example of an "executive mandate" that has been made before?

Anything the president signs is an executive mandate, especially when congressional approval isn't necessary.

Gaudere, well said.

Eve, I suppose it would be Kosher provided that he left your breasts alone. The mixing of meat and milk is usually frowned upon.

pldennison
08-28-2000, 04:29 PM
I wasn't going to vote for his ticket anyway, so this doesn't change anything, but it's enlightening to know that the candidates on both sides feel they need to run on how pious they are. Whoopee.

I'm voting for Kodos.

Spiritus Mundi
08-28-2000, 04:52 PM
Again, I'll nitpick far enough to say that Lieberman, a religious man, states that atheists are immoral as far as religous people are concerned.

Am I the only one who notices an important difference?

Pardon me? If I say that Jews are immoral, and I am running for political office, would you reassure yourself by saying, "Oh, he only meant Jews were immoral as far as non-Jews were concerned."

Do you really see this as a distinction worth consideration?

andros
08-28-2000, 05:43 PM
I'm voting for Kodos.

Phil, you FOOL!

Kang is the only choice of the rational, thinking, succulent human!

APB9999
08-28-2000, 06:25 PM
1) The man says:
I feel as strongly as anything else, that there must be a place for faith in America's public life.

I disagree. Faith belongs in private life. Public life must include all, and for those of us who are atheists or agnostic, that means religion must be avoided in public life. It's called "separation of church and state." The supreme court has agreed with me. That a vice presidential candidate would voice his opposition to this central, important, American principal is very alarming.

2) The fact that some people are complacent about this, or "used to it", does NOT mean the rest of us are overreacting when we are outraged. I would suggest YOU need to get a bit MORE excited.

3) the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
I disagree. For atheists, freedom of religion IS freedom from religion, and it IS guaranteed by the constitution; again, the supreme court has agreed. This is NOT a Christian country. It is a HETEROGENEOUS country. The government represents us all, or should, right? The fact that a majority of Americans are Christians is completely irrelevant. Rights are those spheres of life where individual desires trump the will of the majority. In fact, that's the whole point of civil rights, like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms, and FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Democracy does not, and can not, obviate civil liberties or deny them to anyone. So majority views are irrelevant.

4) our mission is not one of intolerance but one of love

How often have we heard the exact same line from proselytizing fundamentalists? If it rings a little hollow at this point, can anyone not see why?

5)``John Adams, second president of the United States, wrote that our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,'' he said. ``George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition `that morality can be maintained without religion.'

Washington may have said that, I don't know. He was a man of absolutely unimpeachable character, but he was far from the most astute thinker of his day, particularly in politics - although given his contemporary company that is not exactly a harsh condemnation. I would guess that even if he said it, he probably wasn't talking about governmental policy so much as about social structure, i.e. PRIVATE life.

Frankly I have serious doubts about the Adams quote. I suspect it is either a misquote or taken grossly out of context. Can anyone venture a source for this quotation? It is true that Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Act, in complete violation of the first amendment, so even if he did say it, that isn't necessarily a ringing endorsement.

Lemur866
08-28-2000, 06:54 PM
Originally posted by Eve
Well, thank goodness I didn't say he could BITE my backside, like I was going to . . . For all I know, my backside isn't even kosher . . .

Do you have cloven hooves and chew your cud? If you do, then your backside is kosher. If you chew your cud but do not have cloven hooves, or if you have cloven hooves but do not chew your cud, or if you do not have cloven hooves or chew your cud, then your backside is kosher.

My tentative conclusion is that Joe Lieberman, being an observant jew, would refrain from biting your backside. Especially if you put cheese on it.

Lemur866
08-28-2000, 06:58 PM
Do you have cloven hooves and chew your cud? If you do, then your backside is kosher. If you chew your cud but do not have cloven hooves, or if you have cloven hooves but do not chew your cud, or if you do not have cloven hooves or chew your cud, then your backside is kosher.


Change the last sentence to "...then your backside is NOT kosher. Cripes, try to make a simple jest.....

Little Nemo
08-29-2000, 04:46 AM
Personally, other than thoughts of Eve's backside, I don't see a lot to get excited over here. With Leiberman as a candidate, religion is obviously going to be an issue in this campaign. I think his speech was the equivalent of telling mainstream American voters "Don't worry about me being a Jew because I promise to act just like a Christian." In terms of actual political impact if Leiberman is elected (or even if he becomes President) I expect it to be about as meaningful as Bush's pledges of "compassionate conservatism".

matt_mcl
08-29-2000, 06:52 AM
Originally posted by APB9999
5)``John Adams, second president of the United States, wrote that our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,'' he said. ``George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition `that morality can be maintained without religion.'
Frankly I have serious doubts about the Adams quote. I suspect it is either a misquote or taken grossly out of context. Can anyone venture a source for this quotation? It is true that Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Act, in complete violation of the first amendment, so even if he did say it, that isn't necessarily a ringing endorsement. [/B]

Note that he also wrote in the Treaty of Tripoli that, quote, "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

PunditLisa
08-29-2000, 06:53 AM
Well, this certainly has stirred the pot! Personally, I like Lieberman. He speaks his mind, and doesn't try to hide it or neutralize it to be politically correct.

At least you know where he stands, so you can make an informed choice. I'd take that anyday over the other guys whose rhetoric changes daily, depending on a) the group he's addressing; and b) who wrote his speech that particular day.

GLWasteful
08-29-2000, 08:13 AM
Well, at the very least it's disturbing. However, knowing that politicians must pander to the religious, I can only hope that this is an instance of Joe saying whatever it takes to be elected. Otherwise, I'm going to run out of people to vote for while voting against other people.

And Gary Kamiya, of Salon, has this (http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/08/29/piety/index.html) to say.

Waste
Flick Lives!

Eve
08-29-2000, 08:32 AM
Once again, APB9999 jumps in and wins my heart! You can bite my godless backside anytime, dear heart.

I note in the Times today that even the Anti-Defamation League has asked Lieberman to kindly shut the hell up. Not in those exact WORDS, of course . . . Oh, I also read that Cheney is about to start pounding the Bible on a Midwest tour. [Frank Nelson voice:] "Oh, GOOOODIE."

Satan
08-29-2000, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by matt_mcl

Note that he also wrote in the Treaty of Tripoli that, quote, "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

I would not be so quick to use that as a citation, matt_mcl. The Treaty of Tripoli is somewhat of an urban legend. The line is not in the original Arabic text of the treaty, and it is quite possible that anti-Christin Thomas Paine-ally Joel Barlow made it up out of qhole cloth hen he translated it. In any event, a revised Treaty of Tripoli was ratified a decade later with no mention of that.

http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/arguments.html#usanot has some information about this. Even though the tone of what is mentioned tries to put a positive spin (positive for "The Atheism Web" position) on it, I think if you look at the fact, it is a dubious claim at best.
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IzzyR
08-29-2000, 09:48 AM
There is a difference between saying that religion promotes morality, and even that morality would not be maintained without religion, and saying that all athiests are immoral. It would seem to me that lieberman has said the first concept, but it is being interpreted as if he said the second. I personally hold to both of these positions (i.e. that religion does promote morality, but that many athiests are moral). I am also not running for any office, so you will not have a chance to vote against me.

And, Gaudere, these are indeed my words, so you may hold me to them.

APB9999:I disagree. Faith belongs in private life. Public life must include all, and for those of us who are atheists or agnostic, that means religion must be avoided in public life. It's called "separation of church and state." The supreme court has agreed with me. That a vice presidential candidate would voice his opposition to this central, important, American principal is very alarming.There is no justification for the idea that "faith belongs in private life", and the Supreme Court has never agreed with anything of the sort. Separation of Church and State refers to official governement law and policy. To imply that government officials must hide their religion is rediculous.

Spiritus Mundi
08-29-2000, 11:20 AM
There is a difference between saying that religion promotes morality, and even that morality would not be maintained without religion, and saying that all athiests are immoral.

1) Religion promotes morality
2) Many athiests are moral
There is no contradiction.

1) Morality is necessary for morality
2) Many athiests are moral
These statements contradict each other.

Lieberman chose to cite the warining, "never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion." Now, the only real question is whether this should be interpreted at the societal level only or also at the personal level.

If it is interpreted only at the societal level, it implies directly that a society without religious underpinings cannot be moral. Now, if individual athiests can be moral then I find the proposition that a population of athiests must necessarily become immoral to be untenable. If this is Lieberman's position, then I am unimpressed with his ability to reason.

If it is interpreted at the personal level, it implies that athiests inevitably become immoral over time, even if they do not begin as immoral. If this is Lieberman's position, then I am personally offended.

If neither of these represents Lieberman's position, then he should choose his citations more carefully.

If it is interpreted

Spiritus Mundi
08-29-2000, 11:26 AM
There is no justification for the idea that "faith belongs in private life"

You might want to take some time to explicate this more completely. This statement fairly begs for misinterpretation.

BTW -- the last sentence in my post above was a C&P error. Please disregard.

Eve
08-29-2000, 11:28 AM
Well, I mailed him that letter yesterday—shall we all hold our breath while I await a response?

By the way, I posted his addresses—are any of you going to write to him, as well, or am I the only loudmouth here?

IzzyR
08-29-2000, 11:46 AM
Spiritus Mundi,1) Morality is necessary for morality
2) Many athiests are moral
These statements contradict each other.I assume the first line should read "Religion is necessary for morality". This is not a contradiction, as noted earlier. The first line refers, as you suggest, to a society. The second line refers to an individual. Obviously once a society has lost its morality the individual members will ultimately be affected as well.Now, if individual athiests can be moral then I find the proposition that a population of athiests must necessarily become immoral to be untenable. If this is Lieberman's position, then I am unimpressed with his ability to reason.I find this position to be quite tenable - true in fact, whatever it may say about my ability to reason. In any event, I'm quite sure that this is indeed Lieberman's position, and don't think it should be represented otherwise, barring evidence to the contrary. In fact, it would seem to me that this is the meaning of the quotes from Washington and Adams (if indeed they are genuine).There is no justification for the idea that "faith belongs in private life"You might want to take some time to explicate this more completely. This statement fairly begs for misinterpretation.Just what would that misinterpretation be?

GLWasteful
08-29-2000, 11:53 AM
Eve: I put mine in the mail this morn. I, too, will be waiting with bated breath for a response.

Waste
Flick Lives!

Mr. Cynical
08-29-2000, 12:49 PM
Just a bit of info about the situation ("http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000829/ts/campaign_religion_dc_2.html')

Mr. Cynical
08-29-2000, 12:51 PM
Just a bit of info about the situation (http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000829/ts/campaign_religion_dc_2.html)

Jodi
08-29-2000, 01:30 PM
From the ADL's letter:

''We feel very strongly, and we hope you would agree, that appealing along religious lines, or belief in God, is contrary to the American ideal,'' the letter said. ''The First Amendment (of the Constitution) requires that government neither support one religion over another nor the religious over the non-religious.''

See, this kind of bugs me. Who is the ADL to decide what "the American ideal" is? I certainly am not in favor of injecting religion into politics in any serious way, nor in exploiting faith for secular purposes, but I do think that a person of faith -- whose faith is a central part of his or her life which, to give Joe Lieberman credit, his apparently is -- should not be expected to entirely set that faith aside simply because he or she is in the public realm. Nor do I necessarily see the relevance of the First Amendment, since J.L. is not running as part of the government but as a private citizen, and he will not be a part of the government (again) unless or until he is elected.

There has to be some middle ground here somewhere. As a political candidate, I should not be required to check my moral and religious beliefs at the door. I'm with the Catholics and Moslems on this one. And please note, before you flame me, that I am not defending Liebermans God uber alles comment, which I agree was over the line in the other direction.

SouthernStyle
08-29-2000, 02:15 PM
Jumping in a bit late....

Arguing about Lieberman's "quotes" seems like a silly waste of time. There are only three reasons to quote someone else: 1) To use that statement to reinforce your own; 2) To argue against the statement; and 3) to enter it into a conversation.

Clearly Joe did NOT argue against the statement, and as it was a speech he also could not have meant it as a point of conversation. Which leaves .....


John, I'm surpries that you let Eve get by with "outta" when she really meant "oughta".


Now let's get back to the discussion of Eve's cheesy .. oh, nevermind.

Eve
08-29-2000, 02:18 PM
"Arguing about Lieberman's 'quotes' seems like a silly waste of time."

—Well, yeah; when you come right down to it, this whole MB is a silly waste of time, isn't it? That's why we're HERE.

[dammit, I was hoping my typo had slipped by unnoticed . . . ]

Satan
08-29-2000, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by Jodi

Who is the ADL to decide what "the American ideal" is?

I think that they have as much right - and some backing evidence to boot - to make their assertions as those who claim that we are a "Christian nation" and those who make the claims as stated in the OP.
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Zenster
08-29-2000, 02:55 PM
As a devout agnostic, all of this pandering to the "moral majority" (which is neither) makes me wanna hurl. If you think the Al and Joe show is revolting, just try to imagine what George and Dick have in store for us. Georgie would institute state religion if he could get away with it. It's all really quite simple. There is really only one touchstone worth mentioning in this entire election. The issue is choice, be it reproductive, sexual OR religious. The Democrats are the only party with a chance in Hell of getting elected who will defend these core elements of our Constitution, and it's as simple as that. In order to vote against Bush, I will have to hold my nose (choke down my vomit) and vote for Gore. Unless all of you women out there want to return to the Stone Age, you may wish to do the same. Bush is the biggest threat to our nation since Communism and I dread to think what his Administration would be like.

Question: How did a candidate like Bush receive millions of dollars in early campaign contributions without taking a concrete stand on a single substantial issue?

Answer: By hanging a "For Sale" sign around his neck.

Yes, I know, the Democrats aren't much better, but beware the Jabberwock my son. There will be Hell to pay if Georgie gets ahold of the reins. Trust me.

Please refer to my new thread for more fun on the topic of this year's presidential election. It is located at:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=36285

GLWasteful
08-29-2000, 03:01 PM
Well, Zenster, while I most assuredly won't be voting for Shrub, I don't think that society will crumble if he wins. Besides, I can always comfort myself with the result the last time someone named Bush wound up in the White House.

Waste
Flick Lives!

Nen
08-29-2000, 03:10 PM
Eve, I'll be giving Lieberman the opportunity to "clarify" his intent via a letter as well. (Your "outta" typo did not go unnoticed, but in light of my "wide-angle lens" typo I erred on the side of caution).

SouthernStyle, it is your opinion that Lieberman utilized the quotes to support his beliefs. I concur on that point; however, I disagree with the beliefs the quotes support. That fact is the reason for discussing the quotes.

Jodi, I must agree with your statement:

Originally posted by Jodi
I certainly am not in favor of injecting religion into politics in any serious way, nor in exploiting faith for secular purposes, but I do think that a person of faith...should not be expected to entirely set that faith aside simply because he or she is in the public realm.

It should not be necessary for one to relinquish one's beliefs to hold a public office; however, that is not the issue at hand. As the ADL stated:

[/quote]
Candidates should feel comfortable explaining their religious convictions to voters. At the same time, however, we believe there is a point at which the emphasis on religion in a political campaign becomes inappropriate and even unsettling in a religiously diverse society such as ours.[/quote]

You asked:

Originally posted by Jodi
Who is the ADL to decide what "the American ideal" is?

and stated:

Originally posted by Jodi
Nor do I necessarily see the relevance of the First Amendment, since J.L. is not running as part of the government but as a private citizen, and he will not be a part of the government (again) unless or until he is elected.

The ADL does not compose "the American ideal." The ADL recognizes that Lieberman's statements may have serious ramifications should he be elected. Obviously, Lieberman has freedom of speech. But his comments specifically exclude (to some extent) those who are not theistically oriented. For that reason, the invocation of the First Amendment is completely relevant.

As the ADL stated:

The First Amendment (of the Constitution) requires that government neither support one religion over another nor the religious over the non-religious.

Lieberman as an individual may maintain any perspective he prefers. Lieberman as Vice President may not. The implications of his statements, should he attempt to bring his campaign foci to fruition, would be unconstitutional. I presume Lieberman must be fairly tolerant; however, the alienation and condescension evident in his speech are offensive.

Spiritus Mundi
08-29-2000, 03:20 PM
I find this position to be quite tenable - true in fact, whatever it may say about my ability to reason.

Well, let's see.

1) Athiests can be indivdually moral.
.
.
.
conclusion) A population of athiests cannot remain moral

Please supply the missing steps.


There is no justification for the idea that "faith belongs in private life"

Possible misinterpretations/areas of confusion:

Faith does not belong in private life
No argument can possibly be made to support the idea that faith should not be officially sanctioned by a government agent/agency
the antonym of private is public, which can be interpreted as either openly displayed or supported by government funds/sanction
what exactly is the "justification" of an idea, anyway?

However, if you are certain that your statement clearly and unambiguouisly expresses your idea, who am I to suggest otherwise. I will rebut as follows:

The cannonical literature of every major western religion supports the idea that faith must be expressed in an individuals private life. Contrary to "no justification", there is in fact a widely recognized requirement for faith to be internalized, not merely given hollow public expression. Your statement is not only false, it is egregiously inaccurate.

Eve
08-29-2000, 03:22 PM
OK, so far this is what we have running for office:

• Gore, glancing down nervously at his WWJD? bracelet.
• Lieberman, who thinks atheists are immoral and bad Americans

• Bush, who wants to put prayer back into schools
• Cheyney—we'll find out more horrors about HIM this week . . .

So, Snoopy and Pat Paulsen are dead, huh? Is Alfred E. Newman running this year?

Jodi
08-29-2000, 03:27 PM
SATAN says:

I think that they (the ADL) have as much right - and some backing evidence to boot - to make their assertions as those who claim that we are a "Christian nation" and those who make the claims as stated in the OP.

And I agree. But you realize, of course, that this serves to defend Lieberman's actions in refusing to set aside his religious beliefs; if we all have "as much right" as everyone else, the ADL can no more tell him what not to say than I can tell them what not to say.

NEN points out that the ADL said "we believe there is a point at which the emphasis on religion in a political campaign becomes inappropriate and even unsettling in a religiously diverse society such as ours." Okay. But with respect, there are a lot of people who are theists (without necessarily promoting or even supporting greater mixing of religion and politics) but who do not consider the current level of "emphasis" on religion to be either inappropriate or unsettling. I recognize that the ADL does. I do not.

The ADL recognizes that Lieberman's statements may have serious ramifications should he be elected. Obviously, Lieberman has freedom of speech. But his comments specifically exclude (to some extent) those who are not theistically oriented. For that reason, the invocation of the First Amendment is completely relevant.

Explain to me how it is relevant, please. Based upon what he might do as V.P. (that position of power), in light of his own religious beliefs but in spite of the oath he will take to uphold the Constitution? In any event, I have never defended -- and do not intend to defend -- his comments, which I have already said I thought were over the line. But I am personally not overly alarmed by hypothetical, prospective attacks on the Constitution. It is my experience and belief that the Constutition, with a little help from zealous defenders, usually manages to come out on top. Besides, if your true concern is the Constitutional implications of the election, your time would be better spent considering who will appoint justices who will foster or follow an agenda you personally agree with. If you're in favor of liberal construction of the Constitution -- including the First Amendment -- you may well decide to vote for Gore and Lieberman, theist or not. I mean, look at the alternative.

John Corrado
08-29-2000, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by Zenster
Georgie would institute state religion if he could get away with it.

Please, please, tell me how you know. Go on. Try and prove that said statement has any validity whatsoever.

In order to vote against Bush, I will have to hold my nose (choke down my vomit) and vote for Gore. Unless all of you women out there want to return to the Stone Age, you may wish to do the same.

Of course. Lord knows, Bush wants to make women barefoot and pregnant, take away their vote, and reclassify them as property.

Take your hyperbole and shove it up your ass, okay?

And I include the following statements

Bush is the biggest threat to our nation since Communism and I dread to think what his Administration would be like.

Question: How did a candidate like Bush receive millions of dollars in early campaign contributions without taking a concrete stand on a single substantial issue?

Answer: By hanging a "For Sale" sign around his neck.

in the list of hyperbole you can fuck yourself with.


Please refer to my new thread for more fun on the topic of this year's presidential election.

BTW- are you ever going to return to that thread and, say, support the arguments that me and Chaim have rebutted? Or do you think that a vitriolic hit-and-run attack is the same thing as a well-reasoned argument?


You're a fuck-wit, Zenster. You don't have any real arguments, so you couch your words in innuendo, exaggeration and hate ("Worse than Communists! He'll return women to the Stone Age! He'll turn the Supreme Court into the new Inquisition!") and put your fingers in your ears when people try to give you a few facts. You're a demagouge, Zenster, and people who take your attitude- that slander is better and easier than truth, and that hyperbole isn't lying, and that whatever it takes to win is okay- are the reason that so many people are disgusted by the modern political process.

You want to debate? Fine, get some fucking facts together and show up in Great Debates. I'll be there with my facts, and we'll have some reasoned discourse. Want to just spread some slime and vitriol and pretend that it's not ignorance and hate in motion? Go get a chainsaw and give yourself an impromptu lobotomy. Your critical thinking and communications skills will remain unchanged, but you're far less likely to spread your shit over this message board.




My apologies for the hijack; I just despise people who think that hyperbolizing and fear-mongering is an acceptable way to discuss matters. I'm going to go lie down until my blood pressure cools down a little. Please, carry on with the original discussion.

SouthernStyle
08-29-2000, 03:38 PM
Apologies, Eve -- the rant had gotten side-tracked by arguing semantics in an election year (a thread for "Great Debates" if ever there was one!)

I have zero love for Gore -- and still don't know where I stand on Lieberman. I find his "differences" with the party line quite refreshing, but so far he's not shown me any reason to trust him -- quite the contrary. He bucked the party by being the voice of dissension during the impeachment proceedings and then voted contrary to his own rhetoric. He's had long-standing positions on major issues that were contrary to the party, but abandoned them to join the presidential ticket.

I don't trust him.

But no matter what I eventually decide about Joe, his presence will not persuade me to vote the ticket. I just can't go along with Big Al.

Eve
08-29-2000, 03:38 PM
Jodi—

Imagine how you'd feel if you were—as you are—religious, and the VP candidate in the party of your choice said,

"As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to Godlessness and the absence of religion . . . John Adams wrote that our constitution was made ONLY for a moral and atheistic people . . . George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained with religion."

You'd be pretty ticked-off and upset, wouldn't you? That having been said, I too will probably vote Democratic. I just won't be HAPPY about it.

Myron Van Horowitzski
08-29-2000, 03:45 PM
It seems to me and others in this thread, that the answer is campaign reform. How are we gonna do that?

So, Snoopy and Pat Paulsen are dead, huh? Is Alfred E. Newman running this year?

Ahem....I really am serious. I know it's a hypothetical question, but I really would like to know: If ten thousand Dopers wrote in Cecil for POTUS, would anyone notice?

sdimbert
08-29-2000, 03:47 PM
John,

First in GD and now here...

Nice Post!

I'm gonna quit my job and just follow you around, cheering.

:: picking up pompoms ::

Gimme a "J!" Gimme an "O!" ...

IzzyR
08-29-2000, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by Spiritus Mundi

I find this position to be quite tenable - true in fact, whatever it may say about my ability to reason.

Well, let's see.

1) Athiests can be indivdually moral.
.
.
.
conclusion) A population of athiests cannot remain moral

Please supply the missing steps.Please note that I did not say that one followed from the other. Merely that they are not contradictory. As such, there are no steps, missing or otherwise. If you see a contradiction, feel free to point it out.There is no justification for the idea that "faith belongs in private life"......However, if you are certain that your statement clearly and unambiguouisly expresses your idea, who am I to suggest otherwise[/QUOTE]The statement may not be clear on its own, but was very clear from the context in which it was originally used by APB9999. When referring to it, I helpfully quoted the entire paragraph, so as to avoid this sort of confusion. In light of this, your rebuttal, while mildly cute, is pointless. I would suggest that you refer to the original usage of this term, and see if you can do a better job of figuring out what it means.

John Corrado
08-29-2000, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by Myron Van Horowitzski
Ahem....I really am serious. I know it's a hypothetical question, but I really would like to know: If ten thousand Dopers wrote in Cecil for POTUS, would anyone notice?

Unfortunately, probably not.

There are already three major 'minor' party candidates out there (Nader, Buchanan, and the other Reform Party candidate); add to that the Socialist and Libertarian candidates (who, despite getting hundreds of thousands of votes each election, don't get taken seriously either), and you've got a huge field of people the press wants to advertise as "the candidates of the disillusioned". Another ten thousand votes for a write-in candidate would be well below the radar, what with the millions already going the disillusion route.

You're best off voting for Nader if liberal, or Buchanan if conservative; make enough discontent to actually get some electoral votes or elect some local reps, and the mainstream pols will sit up and take notice (remember the flurry around Ventura when he was first elected?).

John Corrado
08-29-2000, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by sdimbert
John,

First in GD and now here...

Nice Post!

I'm gonna quit my job and just follow you around, cheering.

:: picking up pompoms ::

Gimme a "J!" Gimme an "O!" ...



Aw, geez. Thanks. I'm blushing.

You know, you keep up this kind of praise, I'm gonna get a swelled head.

Not that that means you should stop.


Again, thanks. I really do appreciate- and hope for- any and all praise.

Nen
08-29-2000, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by Jodi
But with respect, there are a lot of people who are theists (without necessarily promoting or even supporting greater mixing of religion and politics) but who do not consider the current level of "emphasis" on religion to be either inappropriate or unsettling.

I am an atheist. This fact should not come as a surprise. I find the religious vein prevalent in the current campaigns unsettling. I understand that many theists may not feel similarly. I understand that a candidate may wish to appeal religious people to obtain votes. That is a smart course of action--religious people are in the majority. I have no problem with a religious man in office. I do have a problem with a religious man who may implement religiously oriented programs/laws.

The ADL recognizes that Lieberman's statements may have serious ramifications should he be elected. Obviously, Lieberman has freedom of speech. But his comments specifically exclude (to some extent) those who are not theistically oriented. For that reason, the invocation of the First Amendment is completely relevant.

Originally posted by Jodi
Explain to me how it is relevant, please.

Lieberman has a platform. That platform dictates a reaffirmation of faith and focus of the people and nation toward God and God's purpose. Liberman is a senator. Lieberman, as a member of the goverment, has issued a statement from which one may infer he supports theistic orientation, i.e. he supports on religion over another. His statements violate the First Amendment. Any future efforts to enforce the perspectives evident in his platform will also constitute infractions.

Originally posted by Jodi
If you're in favor of liberal construction of the Constitution -- including the First Amendment -- you may well decide to vote for Gore and Lieberman, theist or not. I mean, look at the alternative.

Yeah, that alternative looks positively stellar. I don't like Bible-thumping Dubya, but I don't like derisive comments either. Which is the lesser of two evils? Do I have a third option?

Jodi
08-29-2000, 04:00 PM
Eve, I don't know how to respond without seeming to minimize your point and your feelings, which I don't intend to do. I can see why his statement would piss you off.

But would it piss me off if he had made the statement you set forth? Honestly, no. I believe the Constitution can largely take care of itself through the mechanism of the courts. I also truly believe that 99.9% of what gets said by candidates during campaigns is hot air and mouth noises. Far more important to me personally is the candidates track record on issues I think are important -- that's where the rubber hits the road, IMO. So while I can see why you (and others) might be upset -- and I agree his statement was over the line -- to me it's just so much blah-bity blah-blah. Now, I'm not saying that a candidate could not make a statement so outrageous or offensive that I would not immediately write him or her off -- I'm sure they could. But Lieberman's statements were not, for me, of that calibre, and neither would be the hypothetical opposite you posted.

? That having been said, I too will probably vote Democratic. I just won't be HAPPY about it.

Me, too and, considering that I'm a Republican, me neither.

MEBuckner
08-29-2000, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by matt_mcl

Note that he also wrote in the Treaty of Tripoli that, quote, "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

I would not be so quick to use that as a citation, matt_mcl. The Treaty of Tripoli is somewhat of an urban legend. The line is not in the original Arabic text of the treaty, and it is quite possible that anti-Christin Thomas Paine-ally Joel Barlow made it up out of qhole cloth hen he translated it. In any event, a revised Treaty of Tripoli was ratified a decade later with no mention of that.

http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/arguments.html#usanot has some information about this. Even though the tone of what is mentioned tries to put a positive spin (positive for "The Atheism Web" position) on it, I think if you look at the fact, it is a dubious claim at best.

Well, no. If the question is, "What was the attitude of the U.S. Senate at that time regarding the statement 'The United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion'?", then the Arabic text doesn't really matter. (It's not clear if the anti-"Christian Nation" text was omitted in the original Arabic treaty or if it got removed later--I believe no one noticed it wasn't in the Arabic text until the 1930's.) The passage was in the English text, which is what the U.S. Senate unanimously ratified. Furthermore, the whole treaty was reprinted in newspapers--treaties were a lot shorter back in those days, and newspapers probably a good bit duller--yet the U.S. Senate wasn't lynched for its wickedness. (Note also that the entire treaty was only a few pages long, so this isn't something the godless Joel Barlow slipped into Paragraph 8, Section 34, Appendix J, on page 1194 of the treaty, and none of the staffers of the Senate Sub-Committee on North African Affairs happened to notice until it was too late.) It is true that subsequent treaties with assorted Barbary States didn't contain that language, and it was probably a pretty lousy treaty anyway--we basically agreed to pay the bastards off, and (surprise, surprise) they kept on seizing our ships anyway. Obviously, the treaty is not legally in force today or anything like that. However, it shows that both the Powers That Were and the People in 1797 weren't too shocked by the idea that the U.S. is not "founded on Christianity". Since this is only a few years after the adoption of the Constitution, it may therefore shed some light on original intent, and help dispel the notion that the Founding Fathers were all deeply devout Fundamentalist Protestants who meant to establish a theocracy, but just forgot to put it in the Constitution anywhere.

sdimbert
08-29-2000, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by John Corrado
[QUOTE]Originally posted by sdimbert Aw, geez. Thanks. I'm blushing.

You know, you keep up this kind of praise, I'm gonna get a swelled head.


You keep talking about your "swelled head," (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=35706&pagenumber=2&postid=693782) and I'm gonna start blushing... (Read down at the bottom of the page)

Jodi
08-29-2000, 04:10 PM
NEN says:

Lieberman has a platform. That platform dictates a reaffirmation of faith and focus of the people and nation toward God and God's purpose.

It does? The whole platform, huh? Wow. That's news to me.

Liberman is a senator. Lieberman, as a member of the goverment, has issued a statement from which one may infer he supports theistic orientation, i.e. he supports on religion over another. His statements violate the First Amendment.

No, they do not. Lieberman is campaigning as a private citizen, not as a senator. He can say any damn-fool thing he wants on the campaign trial at it would not violate the First Amendment separation of church and state. He can run on a platform of American For Jewish White Folks Only, And Only If You Were Born In Connecticut, and no one can accuse him of violating the First Amendment becasue he, like you and like me, can say anything he wants on his own time and in his capacity as a private citizen. Indeed, to hold otherwise would violate his right to freedom of speech.

Yeah, that alternative looks positively stellar. I don't like Bible-thumping Dubya, but I don't like derisive comments either. Which is the lesser of two evils? Do I have a third option?

You would have to decide which is the lesser of two evils, which would turn, I imagine, on just how offended you were by the comment in question. As far as the question of whether you have any "third options" . . . theoretically, yes, two -- Buchannan or Nader. Practically speaking, no.

Nen
08-29-2000, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by Jodi
It does? The whole platform, huh? Wow. That's news to me.

Jodi, for fuck's sake, use some sense. The entire platform is not based on the nation's focus on faith and God. I did not imply such nonsense.

I stated:

Liberman is a senator. Lieberman, as a member of the goverment, has issued a statement from which one may infer he supports theistic orientation, i.e. he supports on religion over another. His statements violate the First Amendment.

To which you replied:

Originally posted by Jodi
No, they do not. Lieberman is campaigning as a private citizen, not as a senator. He can say any damn-fool thing he wants on the campaign trial at it would not violate the First Amendment separation of church and state. {snip} Indeed, to hold otherwise would violate his right to freedom of speech.

Firstly, you neglected to respond to the rest of the paragraph which continued thusly, "Any future efforts to enforce the perspectives evident in his platform will also constitute infractions." You may argue that congressional or judicial intervention may halt such efforts, but it is not as if the Supreme Court never needed to overturn an unconstitutional law.

Secondly, it isn't important whether he runs as a citizen or as a senator (although he is both). Momentarily conceding the notion of "campaigning as a private citizen," consider the following. Liberman has asserted his perspective as a part of his platform. His platform is effectively an announcement of planned achievements when elected. Lieberman is either a liar now or will be in violation of the First Amendment in the future. If he is considered a senator, which he is, he is currently in violation of the First Amendment. The violation must come now, later, or he is lying.

Gaudere
08-29-2000, 04:39 PM
But would it piss me off if he had made the statement you set forth? Honestly, no. I believe the Constitution can largely take care of itself through the mechanism of the courts.I think to a certain degree you are also trusting in the comfortable majority and societal approval your religion enjoys. If theists were a small minority, and your children said a pledge every day to "one nation, without any God" and before public school football games the atheist majority would sometimes offer up "spontaneous" public speeches praising a life lived without belief in God, your money stated "we trust in no Deties", devoutly impious politicans thought that making children listen to a codified statement every day denying the existence of God would prevent school shootings and canidates for political office constantly harped on how strongly they lacked any belief in God , etc. you might find Lieberman's comments a bit more unsettling. When apparently a significant group of people believes that atheists cannot maintain morality, as Lieberman does, well... I trust the constitution fairly strongly too, but the constitution can always be interpreted differently or changed if a great many people believe it should. I don't want to be an alarmist, and politicians have denigrated atheists before without any great infringement of atheist's rights coming about as a result of their thinking, but it *does* bother me that a politican can expect to get strong support for such statements.

sdimbert
08-29-2000, 04:52 PM
Originally posted by Gaudere
I think to a certain degree you are also trusting in the comfortable majority and societal approval your religion enjoys...

<snip, snip>

...but it *does* bother me that a politican can expect to get strong support for such statements.

Gaudere,

Am I missing something?

Why are you bothered by the fact that "a politician can expect to get strong support for statements" supported by a "comfortable majority" of his constituents?

Am I too cynical?


Look - I don't think that Lieberman intended any of the hullabaloo that has erupted since he made these statements. Consider the following - He might be thinking of Atheists as "neutral on God" while you and others are more "anti-God."

Could that be the source of misunderstanding here?

Jodi
08-29-2000, 05:11 PM
NEN, if you don't want me to point out overgeneralized statements made by you, then I suggest you don't make them. I'm managing to maintain my patience with you as you make indefensible declarations of what is and is not unconstitutional, so I expect you to maintain a degree of patience with me as I point out that you are extrapolating wildly from one statement to an entire platform.

Firstly, you neglected to respond to the rest of the paragraph which continued thusly, "Any future efforts to enforce the perspectives evident in his platform will also constitute infractions."

I didn't respond to it because it's such an over-generalization that I wasn't sure how to begin to respond. Any future efforts? Including what? Meetings with lobbyists? Testifying in church? Talking to people in the context of campaigns, or talking to people in the context of being the vice-president? Whether or not the furtherance of that agenda (or any agenda) by him (or by anyone) is unconstitutional depends entirely on context, especially when discussing separation of powers, since, in that regard, private citizens can engage in an entire raft of actions that government representatives cannot. Nothing he says or does as a private citizen constitutes a violation of separation of church and state. Not "all future efforts;" no future efforts. None. Unless you are looking down the road to when he is elected V.P. and then uses the vast power of that office to pursue some particularly theistic (and theistic to the point of being unconstitutional) agenda. Which, of course, you are free to do, but I am not required to join you in interpreting a few comments of a vice-presidential candidate as a pressing constitutional crisis.

You may argue that congressional or judicial intervention may halt such efforts, but it is not as if the Supreme Court never needed to overturn an unconstitutional law.

I go beyond that; I argue that I have seen little or no indication that "such efforts" are planned for the future, which is why I'm refusing to get my panties in a twist over this.

Secondly, it isn't important whether he runs as a citizen or as a senator (although he is both). Momentarily conceding the notion of "campaigning as a private citizen," consider the following.

Listen, if you want to raise the issue of constitutionality -- which you did -- then don't tell me that the capacity in which he acts is "not important." It's crucial.

Liberman has asserted his perspective as a part of his platform. His platform is effectively an announcement of planned achievements when elected.

Oh, bushwa. Every politician wants to "put family first" and "help the country grow into a bright future" and "make us a thousand points of light" and blah-bity blah-blah. If you want to consider Lieberman's comments an indication of some theistic take-over agenda, fine. But I am not inclined to join you.

Lieberman is either a liar now or will be in violation of the First Amendment in the future.

Huh???? The only way a person could attempt to influence society "back to God," if so inclined, is by violating the constitution? Baloney, and indefensible baloney at that. I agree that a person running for public office should not make comments about who or what "our great nation" includes or should include, which is why I do not and have not defended his statement. But I refuse to join you in your apocalyptic predictions of what will come from it.

If he is considered a senator, which he is, he is currently in violation of the First Amendment.

For fuck's sake, Nen, NO HE IS NOT. He is acting as a PRIVATE CITIZEN, NOT AS A SENATOR. I don't expect you to agree with me on the issue of the import of his remarks, but your insistence that he is acting unconstitutionally in making them is simply indefensible.

GAUDERE -- You may be right that I might feel differently about the issue if I were an atheist. But I'm not. So all I can do is ask myself if I am upset by this in my own position (no), and whether I think I'd be upset by this if I were an atheist (oh, probably a little, but not enough to change my vote).

Gaudere
08-29-2000, 05:13 PM
Why are you bothered by the fact that "a politician can expect to get strong support for statements" supported by a "comfortable majority" of his constituents?The fact that a lot of people believe in God does not mean that they have to believe that atheists cannot maintain morality without religion. The "comfortable majority" protects theist's rights by sheer size and clout; if that same theist majority did *not* believe atheists were inherently inferior in the morality--or any other--department, neither group would have much to worry about in terms of infringement on their rights.

When a politician says "I believe in God" and the theist majority goes, "Wow! He believes in God--*I* believe in God! Yay! *clapclapclap*", I'm not bothered (although not terrible impressed--whether a person believes or disbelieves in whatever the heck religion or lack thereof as *I* do has not been an at all effective way for me to determine whether they're worth spit, and I wish more people would realize that just because someone believes or disbelieves in whatever deity you do/do not, it's not automatically good reason to praise or support them). It's like him saying "I hate broccoli" to a The National Organization of Broccoli Haters. When he says "you cannot mantain morality without religion" and the theist majority goes, "Wow! He thinks atheists can't be truly moral--*I* think atheists can't be truly moral! Yay! *clapclapclap*", I am bothered. If the majority of people out there think *I* can't be truly moral as an atheist, what will they do to ensure I become "truly moral" like themselves?

Look - I don't think that Lieberman intended any of the hullabaloo that has erupted since he made these statements. Consider the following - He might be thinking of Atheists as "neutral on God" while you and others are more "anti-God."Huh? I'm anti-God? Don't forget I'm anti-invisible-faeries, too! ;) Seriously, could you explain a bit more?

Spiritus Mundi
08-29-2000, 05:37 PM
Please note that I did not say that one followed from the other. Merely that they are not contradictory. As such, there are no steps, missing or otherwise. If you see a contradiction, feel free to point it out.

You said it was a true statement that a population of athiests must necessarily become immoral. You have also said that it is true that indiviual athiests may be and remain moral. Now, if we take as axiomatic that it is possible for a society to remain moral if it is composed of moral indivduals, then we have the following logic:

1) a society of moral individuals can remain moral
2) athiests can be moral individuals
conclusion) a society of athiests can remain moral

You have explicitely denied this conclusion. If you accept the premises, then that position is contradictory. I am curious as to your reasoning. It seems unlikely to be based upon logic. Personally, I suspect religious prejudice, but I have asked you to clarify.

Now -- you are certainly welcome to deny axiom 1. If you do so, then it makes no sense to argue for the presence of religion in a society since it will necessarily degrade to immorality no matter what.


The statement may not be clear on its own, but was very clear from the context in which it was originally used by APB9999.

Hmmmmm, apparently you think I was asking for a more detailed thesis for no reason other than to waste your time and mine. I cannot imagine why you would leap to that conclusion. My "mildly cute" rebuttal was intended to demonstrate only the most absurd of the possible areas of misinterpretation. I listed several others, which you have declined to address.

I am fine with that. I can happily dismiss as worthless any argument which the author disdains to develop clearly, even when asked politely. One might even say there is no justification for acceppting such ideas.

Spiritus Mundi
08-29-2000, 05:45 PM
He might be thinking of Atheists as "neutral on God" while you and others are more "anti-God."

Hmm, we are in the PIT. Nevertheless, I will try to say this politely first.

Please cite the statements by an athiest in this thread which can be construed as being anti-God.

sdimbert
08-29-2000, 06:28 PM
Gaudere, et al,

Me:
Look - I don't think that Lieberman intended any of the hullabaloo that has erupted since he made these statements. Consider the following - He might be thinking of Atheists as "neutral on God" while you and others are more "anti-God."

You:
Huh? I'm anti-God? Don't forget I'm anti-invisible-faeries, too! ;) Seriously, could you explain a bit more?

Then, Spiritus Mundi:

Please cite the statements by an athiest in this thread which can be construed as being anti-God.


OK. First of all, Spiritus Mundi, thank you for being polite. ;)

Nowthen, I knew as soon as I hit the "Submit Reply" button that I wasn't wording things the way I meant to. Serves me right for Doping 3 minutes before I had to run a Training Session.

Anyhoo, let me try again. What I meant is that maybe Lieberman didn't think any atheists would be bothered by his remarks because he thought that, as far as you guys are concerned, God is just not an issue, while, in point of fact, you feel that God's non-existance is is the issue.

Somehow I don't think that's any clearer. Ummm...

[VALLEY GIRL]
Lieberman thought that Gaudere was like, totally like, "Well, I don't care about God one way or the other." And really, Gaudere is like, "I care about God - I care about my belief that there is no God.
[/VALLEY GIRL]

Any better?

Last try:

Lieberman thinks that Gaudere doesn't care about his position on religion since religion is a non-issue to Gaudere.
In fact, Gaudere does care about Lieberman's position on religion since religion is an important issue to her.


:throwing up hands:

Did any of that help?

Gaudere
08-29-2000, 06:43 PM
Anyhoo, let me try again. What I meant is that maybe Lieberman didn't think any atheists would be bothered by his remarks because he thought that, as far as you guys are concerned, God is just not an issue, while, in point of fact, you feel that God's non-existance is is the issue.I am not bothered by Lieberman nattering on about God, although I'm not particuarly impressed by it either. I am bothered when he says someone cannot maintain morality without a belief in God. Whether I just never think about God, or whether I have solemnly and seriously considered all the theistic arguments and come to a firm lack of belief in God...when someone implies I can't be as moral as a theist because I do not worship a God, I get pissed! When they potentially have considerable power over my life, and make a point to say that the Constitution was not written for the likes of me and that my morality is suspect, I get nervous about whether they will respect my rights to the same degree that they respect the rights of theists--whether or not I care a great deal about my lack of belief in God, or very little at all. Whether I care a great deal or scarcely at all, I am still an atheist, still "unable to maintain morality" in his opinion, still not the sort of person he says the Constitution was written for.

sdimbert
08-29-2000, 06:48 PM
Gaudere,

I did where you're coming from, friend. I was just trying to posit a possible cause of the misunderstanding.

But on to the important stuff... You didn't comment on my [VG] tags! And after I went through all the trouble to tease my hair to get it so BIG?!?!

Gaudere
08-29-2000, 07:00 PM
Well, you had the hair, but you were actually more-or-less comprehensible, so you don't quite have it down pat yet. Did you pouf your sideburns too?

Lieberman may have misconceptions about what atheists are like, I agree. However, I do not think believing that atheists simply never think much about God gives one good reason to say that they can't be truly moral, or to emphasize that the Constitution was written solely for theists. He still seems to be excluding atheists from true morality and a claim to the Constitution, and whether he thinks we simply never think about God or whether he thinks our lack of religion is very important to us, I would still think a reasonable man would be able to tell that those comments would be offensive to those who "neither believe nor observe". I suspect he 1) never thinks much about the opinions of atheists/agnostics/Buddhists or 2) thinks that pissing off a small minority is acceptable since the religious right will eat his comments up like animal crackers.

Spiritus Mundi
08-29-2000, 07:04 PM
I think Gaudere covered why an athiest might object to Lieberman's specific statements nicely. As to why an athiest might be concerned with religious issues in general, I just posted this to another thread. Being an ecological-minded fellow, I will recycle it here:

Your [faith] is meaningful to me in [five] ways:

1) as a rich and compelling literature
2) as a philosophical influence on western culture(s)
3) as a motivational principal in history/politics
4) as a threat to my personal liberty and welfare
5) As an important part of the lives of certain people that I love or respect.

I believe that 3 and 4 apply to this particualr debate.

Zenster
08-29-2000, 07:04 PM
Nice to see that you can bring the English language to new lows in what has been otherwise a fairly civil thread. Yes, my views are srtictly my own, but the degree of pandering to the religious right that Shrub has engaged in would give pause to anyone like myself who is outside of their Theistic envelope. And it is that which has begun to shroud this campaign. As someone who has become increasingly conservative in their viewpoints in recent years, I have difficulty in expressing how sorely the Republicans have lost the thread of Conservatism. The divisive nature of Republican policies goes against the very core of the pluralistic and diverse foundations of this great nation. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between the agendas of either party, as in Joe's call to religious arms, but all of this does not bode well for what has always made this country great. We have achieved our status as the Great Experiment in Democracy directly from the fact that we separate Church and State. Shrub's fundamentalist bedfellows do not take such a benign view of religious diversity, I'm afraid. Any candidate who appeals to this intolerance is a danger to our free society, and that is precisely how I view Bush. I can only see Al and Joe as the far lesser of two evils. My sincere apologies to Eve for this highjack.

capacitor
08-29-2000, 10:49 PM
Besides, John, do you want to have George Bush institute a national Jesus Day in June, so that everybody across America can march in the name of Jesus? Wait a minute. You probably do.

John Corrado
08-30-2000, 07:50 AM
Originally posted by capacitor
Besides, John, do you want to have George Bush institute a national Jesus Day in June, so that everybody across America can march in the name of Jesus? Wait a minute. You probably do.

Oh, fuck off, capacitor. Obviously you haven't bothered to look into any of the atheist/agnostic/Christian threads of late in GD where it's pretty damned obvious that I'm an agnostic.

As for Jesus Day- I kindly suggest you read the snopes (http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/jesusday.htm) article about it and Bush's support. Read carefully for the "Jesus is God" part of Bush's declaration, and how sinner burn in the fire of hell without accepting his grace.

Oh! No, wait! You won't find that in there, 'cause it ain't in there! It's a request that people take the day to help out the poor and the homeless, and "follow Christ's example by performing good works in their communities and neighborhoods"! It hypes Christ as the philospoher, not Christ the Son of God. But I guess you wouldn't know that; it's enough for you to hear "Jesus Day" and assume that it was a day of forced conversion for Texans. In fact, it's closer to MLK Day in spirit.


Zenster wrote:
Nice to see that you can bring the English language to new lows in what has been otherwise a fairly civil thread.

Ah. I swear, and it's a terrible offense. You spout lies through exageration and hyperbole, and you're trying to have a civil discussion. I see.

So, may I ask, what legislation has Bush proposed as a candidate or as Governor of Texas which so convinces you that he plans to turn our country into a theocracy? Or is this some insidious "master plan", where Bush gets elected and then six months later we somehow wake up in a theocracy, the Supreme Court replaced with the Supreme Inquisition, Congress disbanded for the Congregation, and Jews please report to the showers?

IzzyR
08-30-2000, 08:36 AM
Spiritus MundiYou said it was a true statement that a population of athiests must necessarily become immoral. You have also said that it is true that indiviual athiests may be and remain moral. Now, if we take as axiomatic that it is possible for a society to remain moral if it is composed of moral indivduals, then we have the following logic:

1) a society of moral individuals can remain moral
2) athiests can be moral individuals
conclusion) a society of athiests can remain moral

You have explicitely denied this conclusion. If you accept the premises, then that position is contradictory. I am curious as to your reasoning. It seems unlikely to be based upon logic. Personally, I suspect religious prejudice, but I have asked you to clarify.As you seem to like these 123 steps, I'll give it a shot.

1) Any atheist can be moral in any society.
2) Any atheist (and religious person too) is more likely to be moral if they are in a moral society.
3) Society as a whole is significantly more moral than it would otherwise be due to the influence of religion.
4) Ergo, if religious influence was removed or significantly lessened, society as a whole, including but not limited to any atheists in it, will, on average, be less moral than they otherwise would be.I can happily dismiss as worthless any argument which the author disdains to develop clearly, even when asked politely. One might even say there is no justification for acceppting such ideas.Unless you have any actual point to make, which apparently you don't, that just about sums it up. Be my guest.

Ura-Maru
08-30-2000, 08:47 AM
1) a society of moral individuals can remain moral
2) athiests can be moral individuals
conclusion) a society of athiests can remain moral

You have explicitely denied this conclusion. If you accept the premises, then that position is contradictory. I am curious as to your reasoning. It seems unlikely to be based upon logic. Personally, I suspect religious prejudice, but I have asked you to clarify.


Why, it's obvious, Spiritus. Indavidual athiests can remain moral only if they're surrounded by thiests. Otherwise their lack of faith will slowly corrupt them, until they become -shudder- ethical humanists. Bless those wonderful thiests for showing giving us the gift of morality to fill the dark and vile place that was ment to house our souls. Or, I would bless them, if I was enlightend enough to belive in something that could, and had the moral capacity for gratitude, which I obviously don't.

Actually, I'm an agnostic. Does that mean I can maintatain a sort of vauge, undefined morality?

Man, this is a crappy election. But I belive someone might have pointed that out already.

--
"What's the worst that could happen? Buchannan wins, and I leave the country."

Spiritus Mundi
08-30-2000, 09:06 AM
1) Any atheist can be moral in any society.
2) Any atheist (and religious person too) is more likely to be moral if they are in a moral society.
3) Society as a whole is significantly more moral than it would otherwise be due to the influence of religion.
4) Ergo, if religious influence was removed or significantly lessened, society as a whole, including but not limited to any atheists in it, will, on average, be less moral than they otherwise would be.

This, of course, is a radical weakening of your earlier position which stated that a moral society could not be maintained without religion. I note that you have apparently not even noticed the shift. I also note that point 3 above is a pretty big lump of assumption to swallow axiomatically. Perhaps you have some support for that statement?


Unless you have any actual point to make, which apparently you don't, that just about sums it up. Be my guest.

My point was that your thinking in this matter lacks rigor and clarity. I believe that hypothesis has been well supported by the evidence collected in this thread. I would be happy to reassess that position should you ever provide data which does not fit the model.

IzzyR
08-30-2000, 09:51 AM
Spiritus MundiThis, of course, is a radical weakening of your earlier position which stated that a moral society could not be maintained without religion. I note that you have apparently not even noticed the shift.It has not escaped my thought process that not every single atheist will become a mass murderer in the absence of a religious influence. Any discussion of morality or lack thereof can only be done in relative terms. If there was any genuine lack of clarity on this point in my original post, I apologize for this.I also note that point 3 above is a pretty big lump of assumption to swallow axiomatically. Perhaps you have some support for that statement?Actually I am not asking you to swallow it. My original purpose in posting to this thread was more to clarify what I believe is confusion over the true stance of Lieberman (and the "quotes" from the Founding Fathers). As you suggested that this calls Lieberman's ability to reason into question I disputed this, and in further support of this stated that I agree with it. Whether you "swallow" this or not, it is not unreasonable, and your fears for Lieberman's sanity may be allayed.

Having said this, I will disclose my reasons for believing as I do. 1. The unceasing propaganda by religious leaders to lead a moral life is bound to have some positive moral effect. 2. The belief in a God who wills you to lead a moral life and can deliver eternal reward/punishment is a powerful additional incentive to lead a moral life that would not otherwise be present.

But, as mentioned, this is not really a part of this discussion. Perhaps this is worthy of thread of its own.My point was that your thinking in this matter lacks rigor and clarity.My point is that my thinking does not lack rigor, and probably not clarity either. If you try to dispute this by ignoring the context of what I (and APB9999) said, I do not feel that you have added anything. If you feel that my words in context are still lacking clarity, you may wish to point it out. To this point you have not done so.I believe that hypothesis has been well supported by the evidence collected in this thread.What hypothesis? That my thinking lacks rigor and clarity? That of APB9999? I don't think either of these has been demonstrated in this thread at all.

Eve
08-30-2000, 09:52 AM
SURPRISE, SURPRISE—LIEBERMAN BACKTRACKS!

Like all politicians, Lieberman has buckled under and back-pedaled, after getting flack from the media—and from Gore, probably. He said yesterday that he wouldn't object to an atheist president "as long as I thought he was a moral person," and that he does indeed know immoral religious people and moral nonreligious people.

I of course am not impressed—did anyone really believe Jesse Ventura when he took back his original opinion that "religion is a crutch for the weak-minded?"

Jodi—all I ask is that you understand why I am angry with Lieberman, and you DO understand. I am somewhat surprised, though, that you wouldn't be upset with a strongly ANTI-religion candidate. Why not?

sdimbert
08-30-2000, 10:01 AM
Originally posted by Eve
SURPRISE, SURPRISE—LIEBERMAN BACKTRACKS!

Like all politicians, Lieberman has buckled under and back-pedaled...

Cite?

Cite?

Cite?

Little Nemo
08-30-2000, 10:56 AM
It's pretty obvious what happened. Gore called Leiberman in and chewed him out: "Why the hell were you thinking Joe? You've pissed off Eve and you know we need that Movieline endorsement if we're going to win this thing."

Eve
08-30-2000, 10:59 AM
Cite?
Cite?
Cite?

Don't have any links, but there was a sizeable article in today's NY Times (Weds.). Should be in most newspapers (you need to register to access the Times online, so screw 'em).

Spiritus Mundi
08-30-2000, 11:54 AM
It has not escaped my thought process that not every single atheist will become a mass murderer in the absence of a religious influence. Any discussion of morality or lack thereof can only be done in relative terms.

Religion is necessary for morality. [when referring to society]

I accept your apology for a lack of clarity on this matter.


My original purpose in posting to this thread was more to clarify what I believe is confusion over the true stance of Lieberman (and the "quotes" from the Founding Fathers). As you suggested that this calls Lieberman's ability to reason into question I disputed this, and in further support of this stated that I agree with it.

Yes. But the relative statement you are supporting now is not the blanket statement that Lieberman (and you) originally espoused. That statement reflected a lack of reason unless predicated upon the idea that either individual athiests cannot be moral or no society can remain moral. Your present statement is simply grounded in religious prejudice. It is not, on its face, unreasonable.


I will disclose my reasons for believing as I do. 1. The unceasing propaganda by religious leaders to lead a moral life is bound to have some positive moral effect. 2. The belief in a God who wills you to lead a moral life and can deliver eternal reward/punishment is a powerful additional incentive to lead a moral life that would not otherwise be present.

1) Unless you predicate that a soceity based upon a secular moralitty would necessarily have less interest in fostering that morality within its populace then this point is irrelevant to the question of whether a religious society is necessarily more moral than a non-religious society.
2) This is simply a recasting of the idea that religious individuals will behave, in some aggregate measure, more morally than athiests. Do you have any objective support for such an idea? My own readings have done little to convince me that religious people are less likely to lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc. than anyone else.
3) Both points, of course, ignore the question of whether the behavior codified within a specific religious system can indeed be considered moral. There have been religions in this world that advocate warfare, rape, genocide, murder, theft, etc. Your argument seems predicated upon the idea that if a priest/rabbi/monk/shaman/holy book/personal revelation tells you it is what God(s) want then it is moral. I disagree.


Perhaps this is worthy of thread of its own.

I agree.


My point is that my thinking does not lack rigor, and probably not clarity either. . . If you feel that my words in context are still lacking clarity, you may wish to point it out. To this point you have not done so.

I listed several areas of otential confusion several posts ago. In particular, I pointed out that when considering the statement, "There is no justification for the idea that 'faith belongs in private life'," it would be nice to know if you are opposing private with public in the sense of "openly displayed" or in the sense of "supported by government funds or sanction." It seems to be a relevant point when discussing issues of religion and the US Government. I also wondered exactly what justification you were looking for? Do you feel no idea has merit unless it has been thougt by someone famous? Do you require a legal precedent for the idea? Is Constitutional scholarship sufficient justification or must it actually accord with a decision by the Supremem Court? Is popular opinion worthy justification? If so how popular is enough?


What hypothesis? That my thinking lacks rigor and clarity?

I specifically restricted the hypothesis to your thinking on this subject. But, with that clarification, yes.

Nen
08-30-2000, 12:11 PM
Part I: Generalizations

Originally posted by Jodi
NEN, if you don't want me to point out overgeneralized statements made by you, then I suggest you don't make them.

I will reiterate, I haven't made any "overgeneralized statements." I said:

Lieberman has a platform. That platform dictates a reaffirmation of faith and focus of the people and nation toward God and God's purpose.

How is that a generalization? He announced, "as a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purpose." He asserted a portion of his platform. Did I indicate that the concept in question was the sum total of his platform? No, I did not.

Originally posted by Jodi
I'm managing to maintain my patience with you as you make indefensible declarations of what is and is not unconstitutional, so I expect you to maintain a degree of patience with me as I point out that you are extrapolating wildly from one statement to an entire platform.

Prove that my constitutionally oriented declarations are indefensible. I have proven that I haven't asserted a fallacy.

For the second alleged generalization, I stated:

Firstly, you neglected to respond to the rest of the paragraph which continued thusly, "Any future efforts to enforce the perspectives evident in his platform will also constitute infractions."

To which you replied:

Originally posted by Jodi
I didn't respond to it because it's such an over-generalization that I wasn't sure how to begin to respond.

The preceding sentences clarified the perspectives in question. Technically speaking, I grant you that the word "the" prior to the word "perspectives" should be "these" so that the sentence could stand alone. I did not foresee a misunderstanding as to what those perspectives were. You were clear on the infractions I referenced, perhaps there was a reading error on your part.

Part II: Citizen vs. Senator

Originally posted by Jodi
He is acting as a PRIVATE CITIZEN, NOT AS A SENATOR. I don't expect you to agree with me on the issue of the import of his remarks, but your insistence that he is acting unconstitutionally in making them is simply indefensible.

Is Lieberman a citizen? Yes. Does Lieberman cease being a citizen when he steps out of the country? No. Is Lieberman a senator? Yes. Does Lieberman cease being a senator when he steps out of the office? No. Is Lieberman male? Yes. Can Lieberman act both as a male and a citizen? Yes, in fact he must have a sex change or renounce his citizenship to act in only one of the two capacities. Can Lieberman act both as a citizen and a senator? Yes, in fact he must quit his job or renounce his citizenship to act in only one of the two capacities.

Originally posted by Jodi
Listen, if you want to raise the issue of constitutionality -- which you did -- then don't tell me that the capacity in which he acts is "not important." It's crucial.

The issue isn't crucial for the reasons enumerated in Part III.

Part III: Ramifications

Originally posted by Jodi
I go beyond that; I argue that I have seen little or no indication that "such efforts" are planned for the future, which is why I'm refusing to get my panties in a twist over this.

Lieberman never made any such indication with the statement, "as a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purpose." Nope. That assertion cannot be remotely construed as his intention to make "such efforts." As I stated previously, "Liberman has asserted his perspective as a part of his platform. His platform is effectively an announcement of planned achievements when elected."

Originally posted by Jodi
If you want to consider Lieberman's comments an indication of some theistic take-over agenda, fine. But I am not inclined to join you.

I am simply taking Lieberman's comments at face value. He voiced a need to focus on faith and God as a nation. I think that the phrase "theistic take-over agenda" is a bit more radical than what he intends, but the future implementation of laws or programs that initiate a theistic tone in the national state is a message he has conveyed.

Originally posted by Jodi
The only way a person could attempt to influence society "back to God," if so inclined, is by violating the constitution? Baloney, and indefensible baloney at that.

Lieberman wants to take the nation "back to God." Would such an act constitute a violation of the First Amendment? Is it a violation for the government to support one religion in lieu of another? Would a government focus on faith and God constitute support of one or more religions in lieu of others? The answer to all three questions is "yes." Consider the "indefensible" defended.

Allow me to attempt this explantion once more in hope that you will follow the logic. There are four possible scenarios in which Lieberman is elected Vice President. Herein are the reasons why his citizen/senator status is irrelevant.

1. Lieberman is a citizen. He has no intention of following through with his theistically oriented bent.
Lieberman lied.

2. Lieberman is a citizen. He intends to follow through with his theistically oriented bent when elected.
Lieberman will violate the First Amendment.

3. Lieberman is a senator. He openly assaulted those who are not religious and supported one or more religions in lieu of others.
Lieberman has violated the First Amendment.

4. Lieberman is a senator. He intends to follow through with his theistically oriented bent when elected.
Lieberman will violate the First Amendment again.

Part IV: An Aside

I don't want to see Lieberman incarcerated for a constitutional violation. I could care less what events precipitate as a result of his statements. I simply want Lieberman to be aware that he has greatly offended many people with his slanderous accusations and that continuing along the same vein will not be tolerated.

Originally posted by Jodi
GAUDERE -- You may be right that I might feel differently about the issue if I were an atheist. But I'm not. So all I can do is ask myself if I am upset by this in my own position (no), and whether I think I'd be upset by this if I were an atheist (oh, probably a little, but not enough to change my vote).

You seem to understand Gaudere's perspective. Mine is very similar to her's. Why do you have such a problem with mine?

Grendel69
08-30-2000, 12:17 PM
I think that what some people haven't clarified is that there is a difference between Lieberman (or any other highly religious politician) making those remarks and the typical politician doing it.

When Clinton, for example, makes a speech at a black baptist church down south, I expect it to be peppered with religious references and rhetoric because that's POLITICS.

When Lieberman says the same things there is a different more disturbing spin on it as it is less motivated by politics and more by personal belief.

IzzyR
08-30-2000, 12:47 PM
Spiritus MundiBut the relative statement you are supporting now is not the blanket statement that Lieberman (and you) originally espoused. That statement reflected a lack of reason unless predicated upon the idea that either individual athiests cannot be moral or no society can remain moral. Your present statement is simply grounded in religious prejudice. It is not, on its face, unreasonable.The relative statement that I am now supporting is the same as that which I originally said, and which Lieberman espoused. As I've noted earlier, statements are best understood in context, and all statements about lack of morality are to be understood to be relative.

Your comments concerning the morality of an atheist society have been noted. I would be glad to discuss these in a separate thread.In particular, I pointed out that when considering the statement, "There is no justification for the idea that 'faith belongs in private life'," it would be nice to know if you are opposing private with public in the sense of "openly displayed" or in the sense of "supported by government funds or sanction." Some history. Joe Lieberman made the statement that "I feel as strongly as anything else, that there must be a place for faith in America's public life". What does this mean to you? Is he proposing to support faith by some government funds or sanction? Has anyone made such a proposal in this campaign? No, clearly he meant that people, and public figures should be open and public about their religious feelings and thoughts. Now, step 2. APB9999 said in response "I disagree. Faith belongs in private life. Public life must include all, and for those of us who are atheists or agnostic, that means religion must be avoided in public life. It's called "separation of church and state." The supreme court has agreed with me. That a vice presidential candidate would voice his opposition to this central, important, American principal is very alarming." This implies that faith should not be publicly practiced and espoused. No such principle has ever been decided by the Supreme Court. If APB9999 meant government funds or sanction he should clarify this (and give some rationale for this strange interpretation of Lieberman's words). I gave him the opportunity to do so. But he has dropped out of this debate.

Justification refers to inherent justification. As in "there is no justification for all this obfuscation about such simple matters".

Eve
08-30-2000, 01:27 PM
"But he has dropped out of this debate."

—APB9999 is moving this week and his computer's unplugged and packed up. I'm sure he'll be zooming back in as soon as he can.

Spiritus Mundi
08-30-2000, 02:10 PM
As I've noted earlier, statements are best understood in context, and all statements about lack of morality are to be understood to be relative.

No. You may believe all statements about morality should be understood as relative, but that is by no means a universal attitude. In particular, it is by no means a universal attitude among people of faith that atheists can be moral.

The statement Lieberman quoted and you agreed with makes no nods to moral relativism. In fact, it quite explicitely makes an absolute statement that we should not believe that morality can be maintained without religion. It may make you more comfortable to read some element of moral relativism into the statement, but it does not exist in the original.

For that matter, even the "morally relative" reading you prefer seems based upon nothing but religious prejudice. I am hardly appeased by an attitude which can be summarized, "Sure, athiests can be moral, they are just less likely to be moral than religious folk."

re context
I am aware of the context of your remarks, having read this thread from the beginning, but I thank you for your recapitulation. Apparently, you have live i the US but have remained ignorant of the long history of government efforts to promote/suppress specific religious practices/images through public sanction. Just in the present day there are issues of posting religious codes in courtrooms, sanctioning prayer in mandatory classroom settings, disallowing unpopular religious practices because they conflict with public policy, etc. I can see how ignorance of such a social context would allow you to say:

Is he proposing to support faith by some government funds or sanction? Has anyone made such a proposal in this campaign? No, clearly he meant that people, and public figures should be open and public about their religious feelings and thoughts. . . If APB9999 meant government funds or sanction he should clarify this (and give some rationale for this strange interpretation of Lieberman's words).

Yes, people have made such proposals. Many times. Lieberman's statements included: "we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purpose" and "our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people". Given that context I do not think it unreasonable to interpret the private/public dichotomy as referring to government support/sanction. Nor do I think it requires a "strange" interpretation of Lieberman's words.

You, of course, have been consistent in asserting that your words require no clarification and the issue could not possibly be interpreted in any way other than your own.

I disagree.

Spiritus Mundi
08-30-2000, 02:13 PM
I got distracted and forgot to mention it, but I also sent a note to Lieberman. Thank you for posting the address.

IzzyR
08-30-2000, 03:06 PM
Spiritus MundiFor that matter, even the "morally relative" reading you prefer seems based upon nothing but religious prejudice. I am hardly appeased by an attitude which can be summarized, "Sure, athiests can be moral, they are just less likely to be moral than religious folk."Agree or disgree, just characterize the issue correctly. (BTW, the "summary" is also incorrect).Apparently, you have live i the US but have remained ignorant of the long history of government efforts to promote/suppress specific religious practices/images through public sanction. Just in the present day there are issues of posting religious codes in courtrooms, sanctioning prayer in mandatory classroom settings, disallowing unpopular religious practices because they conflict with public policy, etc. I can see how ignorance of such a social context would allow you to say......Yes, people have made such proposals. Many times.Can I draw your attention to the words "Is he proposing and "anyone made such a proposal in this campaign? Despite my alleged ignorance of social context, I was careful to put these words in to make clear what I meant. You may extrapolate from Lieberman's words what he is likely to do about those other issues, but to interpret his words as meaning this is to take them out of context. But hey, why should Lieberman's words be different than mine?Lieberman's statements included: "we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purpose" and "our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people". Given that context I do not think it unreasonable to interpret the private/public dichotomy as referring to government support/sanction. Nor do I think it requires a "strange" interpretation of Lieberman's words.Again you are extrapolating what Lieberman likely would do about such issues. There is no doubt that he was not actually referring to such actions with the words that he spoke. (Nor was John Adams, for that matter).

Nen
08-30-2000, 03:44 PM
(I erred enter the code which resulted in a quotation error. Lynn, please delete my previous post).

As Eve noted, an article in today's New York Times quoted Lieberman's response to previous statements which were addressed by the ADL. There has been much controversy surrounding two issues in this thread. Lieberman has amended both his statement regarding the morality of those not religiously oriented and his statement regarding a national focus on God and faith. Lieberman said:

"Religion in my opinion can be, and in my opinion usually is, a source of good behavior," he said. "But two things: I know religious people who I consider not to be moral, and I also know people who are not religious who I consider to be extremely moral. So, you know, I'm talking here about probabilities."

I am pleased to know Lieberman does not deem all irreligious people immoral. I continue to take offense that he believes the irreligious have a greater probability of being immoral. Lieberman also stated:

"This is really less a matter of programs or legislation than it is of giving respect to the constructive role that faith can play in the lives of individuals, and in the lives of the community,"

Some have asserted that Lieberman has no plans to sanction or support any particular religion(s). As is evident from the aforementioned comment, he will continue to advocate faith; moreover, it is his intention that this advocation be supported by the implementation of programs and legislature. It may be "less a matter of programs and legislation," but some still constitutes a violation of the First Amendment. Lieberman opined:

"I think there's a difference here between respecting faith and feeling free to talk about the way in which it informs and benefits American life, and talking about it in a way that may make some people feel excluded,"

Clearly, Lieberman has not grasped the concept of which he speaks, or knowingly disregards said concept. I take offense at the two previous quoted statements--they are exclusionary. Lieberman continues slander and voice plans for constitutional infractions.

Spiritus Mundi
08-30-2000, 03:59 PM
Agree or disgree, just characterize the issue correctly. (BTW, the "summary" is also incorrect).

I have ben characterizing the issues quite carefully. However, I will await your own summary of the statements:

1) Society as a whole is significantly more moral than it would otherwise be due to the influence of religion.
2) The unceasing propaganda by religious leaders to lead a moral life is bound to have some positive moral effect.
3) The belief in a God who wills you to lead a moral life and can deliver eternal reward/punishment is a powerful additional incentive to lead a moral life that would not otherwise be present.

I am not surprised that you object to my own summary of these viewpoints. Nor am I surprised that you have failed to deal with the logical implications of your own statements. I await your own summary of those points as they relate to the relative morals of religious and non-religious populations.


You may extrapolate from Lieberman's words what he is likely to do about those other issues, but to interpret his words as meaning this is to take them out of context.

Hmmm -- you apply your framework to his statements and decide the meaning is absolutely clear. If another framework is applied to his words you complain that it is unfounded extrapolation. Another example of rogor in the IzzyR idiom, I am sure.

Perhaps you could apply the same careful readings that you use for your own posts to mine. If you do, you might realize that I never claimed Lieberman had spoken directly to those issues. I simply pointed out that the fact that those areas of contention exist within our political spectrum combined with Liebermans quoted statements (I helpfully bolded one of them so it should be easy to pick out) support a reasonable interpretation that the public/private dichotomy to which APB9999 made reference was to a government sanction or suport.

You, in your astounding clarity and amazing contextual understanding think that it requires a "strange" interpretation of Lieberman's words to arrive at such an idea. My thoughts on your thoughts have, I hope, been made clear.


There is no doubt that [Lieberman] was not actually referring to such actions with the words that he spoke. (Nor was John Adams, for that matter).

I have not criticized Lieberman for what he meant. Unlike yourself, I do not know what he meant in his private heart. I have criticized the words he spoke. I have also criticized two possible interpretations of some of those words: one which implies athiests are immoral, and one which implies a sloppiness of thought.

You have identified yourself with one of those positions.

I have seen no reason to modify my conclusion.

IzzyR
08-30-2000, 04:34 PM
Spiritus MundiI simply pointed out that the fact that those areas of contention exist within our political spectrum combined with Liebermans quoted statements (I helpfully bolded one of them so it should be easy to pick out) support a reasonable interpretation that the public/private dichotomy to which APB9999 made reference was to a government sanction or suport.

You, in your astounding clarity and amazing contextual understanding think that it requires a "strange" interpretation of Lieberman's words to arrive at such an idea. My thoughts on your thoughts have, I hope, been made clear.I'm not sure what you mean with all this. Your interpretation of Lieberman's words was, and remains, unreasonable.

In addition, I note that in the previous post by Nen, he cites Lieberman's own explanation of his remarks and lo! they are as I have been saying. So the world wonders. Will Spiritus Mundi find it within himself to retract his previous "interpretation"? Don't hold your breath folks. Tune in next post for another exciting edition of Spin City.you apply your framework to his statements and decide the meaning is absolutely clear. If another framework is applied to his words you complain that it is unfounded extrapolation.I am sure a great master of reason and a rigorous thinker such as yourself is familiar with the diference between an an interpretation of a statement and an extrapolation of that statement to another.

Your three bolded statements seem fine to me. I'm not sure what you're bringing them for. I have already indicated that I would discuss them in another thread. But then, perhaps you've interpreted my words differently. Take it slowly. 1. Another 2. Thread.

Spiritus Mundi
08-30-2000, 06:16 PM
since I feel myself more and more inclined to remember that we are in the PIT. Feel free to open up this other thread you keep talking about, though. Or were you expecting me to post in it before it existed?


I'm not sure what you mean with all this. Your interpretation of Lieberman's words was, and remains, unreasonable.

It is increasingly clear that you lack understanding in a number of areas. Nevertheless, I see that you have no difficulty declaring unreasonable that which you do not understand.

I have given you many opportunities to address specific points in this thread, most of which you have ignored. I will give you the opportunity to ignore another one:
what, exactly, is my interpretation of Lieberman's words.
Surely this will not be too difficult for you? Simply find the passages where I have interpreted Lieberman's words, quote it, and interpret it. Extra credit for developing a clear argument that the interpretation is unreasonable.


I note that in the previous post by Nen, he cites Lieberman's own explanation of his remarks and lo! they are as I have been saying. So the world wonders. Will Spiritus Mundi find it within himself to retract his previous "interpretation"?

I note in this post by IzzyR that he remains unable to read carefully. Perhaps if you complete exercise 1 it will help you understand your error here, too. I will give you a hint:

1) Religion promotes morality
2) Many athiests are moral
There is no contradiction.

1) [Religion] in necessary for morality
2) Many athiests are moral
These statements contradict each other.

Lieberman originally said the second. Now he says the first. See if you can take it from there and figure out why I feel no need to recant anything I have posted.

Or perhaps you meant this passage instead:

This is really less a matter of programs or legislation than it is of giving respect to the constructive role that faith can play in the lives of individuals, and in the lives of the community

If that is the case, then I again point you to problem 1. Please find a place where I have interpreted Lieberman's words in a manner contradictory to this statement.


Don't hold your breath folks. Tune in next post for another exciting edition of Spin City.

I have made it a point to answer every specific question or issue that you have raised in our conversation. You have been far less generous with your thoughts. I leave it to others to decide which mode of behavior is most reminiscent of political spin doctoring.


Your three bolded statements seem fine to me. I'm not sure what you're bringing them for.

The statements seem fine??????

You continue to amaze me.

But not with your ability to comprehend written english.

I am not amazed that the statements seem fine to you, they are your own statements. They are your own statements. They express a viewpoint which I characterized as religious prejudice, specifically the prejudice that a religious population, and therefore the individuals who compose that population, is likely to be more moral than a non-religious population. You objected to that characterization. You also objected to my summary of those viewpoints. I offered you the chance to give your own summary.

Said summary, apparently, is "seem[s] fine to me".

That much is clear. It does not "seem fine" to me.

Zenster
08-30-2000, 07:05 PM
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

It's just plain difficult, except in the context of "transparent pandering", to figure out how religion is such a crucial issue in deciding who will hold an office that is explicitly prohibited from intervening in religious affairs. Wait a minute, that is, unless there are hidden agendas being pursued (Gasp!). One would think that expertise and real leadership, not this flim-flam "Charisma" crap, would be the central issue. I wish that all of this religion garbage* was a smoke screen for some other issue. However, it is not. This election is actually focussed on something that should remain largely outside of election criteria. Surprise!!!! (Dear EVE, hopefully this was not a highjack.)

*Only in it's pertinence to politics.

PS: John, if you peruse my other thread you'll see that my concerns re: the Supreme Court are justified.

capacitor
08-30-2000, 10:21 PM
He also said in the message, essentially, for all Texans to behave like "good Christians":

"I urge all Texans to answer the call to serve those in need. By volunteering their time, energy or resources to helping others, adults and youngsters follow Christ's message of love and service in thought and deed."

It must thrill the Muslims, atheists and pagans who live there to know that Bush essentially declared that Christ had the exclusive message of love ond service.

I would insult you back since this is the Pit, John, but unlike you I rather keep this particular thread a civil debate.

Navigator
08-31-2000, 07:56 AM
Why do I feel like I'm sliding down hill while reading this entire thread???

John Corrado
08-31-2000, 08:06 AM
Originally posted by capacitor
He also said in the message, essentially, for all Texans to behave like "good Christians":

"I urge all Texans to answer the call to serve those in need. By volunteering their time, energy or resources to helping others, adults and youngsters follow Christ's message of love and service in thought and deed."

Geez. Y'know, I thought the big deal in Christianity was the idea of Christ dying in order to save the world from sin and all that. I had no idea that the *exclusive* message of Christianity was to do good works with one's fellows. But obviously, if you think that suggesting that people do good works is in essence telling them to "go be Christian", then that's what's being said.

It must thrill the Muslims, atheists and pagans who live there to know that Bush essentially declared that Christ had the exclusive message of love ond service.

Y'know, given how, in the first paragraph I've quoted, you immediately associate "good works" with "must follow Christ", that's a real ironic statement to make.

Read the damned thing again, capacitor. Please let me know where:

1.) Bush identifies Christ as the Savior of the World, Son of God, or even the main figure in a religion.

2.) Bush states that the message of love and good works is exclusively one of Christ.


To take offense at this document is to go into it *looking* for matieral to take offense at, and to jump to specious conclusions in order to do it. Which is exactly what you're doing.

Read the document again, except use "Martin Luther King Jr." instead of "Jesus Christ". Does it still sound like Bush is trying to push people into a religion?


I would insult you back since this is the Pit, John, but unlike you I rather keep this particular thread a civil debate.

Whoa. Irony of ironies, ladies and gentlemen- an athiest with a holier-than-thou attitude. Will wonders never cease?

Nen
08-31-2000, 08:50 AM
IzzyR, you said:

Originally posted by IzzyR
In addition, I note that in the previous post by Nen, he cites Lieberman's own explanation of his remarks and lo! they are as I have been saying.

Where did you offer the explanations of his remarks?

Spiritus, can you enlighten me? I rather thought his clarifications bolstered my original understanding (which I find to be similar to yours).

Eve
08-31-2000, 08:52 AM
Capacitor—Oh, I agree; I find Bush and Cheyney more terrifying from a religious standpoint (and a few others) than Gore and Lieberman.

My original rant was because I expect BETTER of the Democrats (and I'd think a Jew would be more considerate and careful about demonizing other [non] religious minorities).

IzzyR
08-31-2000, 08:55 AM
Spiritus Mundisince I feel myself more and more inclined to remember that we are in the PIT.In this regard you seem to be doing fine as is. But if you feel the need to express yourself more fully feel free to do so.Feel free to open up this other thread you keep talking about, though.What could have possbily given you the impression that I was going to open another thread? You keep bringing up unrelated matters, in an apparent attempt to divert the discussion to areas in which feel you are on stronger ground. My response to these is that I would discuss them, but not as part of this debate. Go ahead.what, exactly, is my interpretation of Lieberman's words.
Surely this will not be too difficult for you? Simply find the passages where I have interpreted Lieberman's words, quote it, and interpret itSee below.Extra credit for developing a clear argument that the interpretation is unreasonable.Try here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?postid=697178#post697178).

I note that in the previous post by Nen, he cites Lieberman's own explanation of his remarks and lo! they are as I have been saying. So the world wonders. Will Spiritus Mundi find it within himself to retract his previous "interpretation"?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I note in this post by IzzyR that he remains unable to read carefully. Perhaps if you complete exercise 1 it will help you understand your error here, too. I will give you a hint:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1) Religion promotes morality
2) Many athiests are moral
There is no contradiction.

1) [Religion] in necessary for morality
2) Many athiests are moral
These statements contradict each other.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lieberman originally said the second. Now he says the first. See if you can take it from there and figure out why I feel no need to recant anything I have posted.Lieberman clearly meant the second from the start. I, despite what you claim is an inability to read carefully or comprehend written English, pointed this out from the start (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?postid=693498#post693498). Also here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?postid=693882#post693882).You, with your superior abilities in so many areas, insisted otherwise. When the speaker himself confirmed my interpretation, you insisted that he still "originally said" the first. Somehow I am not surprised.Or perhaps you meant this passage instead:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is really less a matter of programs or legislation than it is of giving respect to the constructive role that faith can play in the lives of individuals, and in the lives of the community

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If that is the case, then I again point you to problem 1. Please find a place where I have interpreted Lieberman's words in a manner contradictory to this statement. here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?postid=697511#post697511)I have made it a point to answer every specific question or issue that you have raised in our conversation.You have also made a point of substituting your own interpretation for the clear intentions of others, and insisting that they were retractions even when the makers of those statements insisted otherwise.Said summary, apparently, is "seem[s] fine to me".

That much is clear. It does not "seem fine" to me.I can live with that. And I think those statements stand on their own. To repeat, what do want?

IzzyR
08-31-2000, 09:07 AM
Originally posted by Nen
IzzyR, you said:

Originally posted by IzzyR
In addition, I note that in the previous post by Nen, he cites Lieberman's own explanation of his remarks and lo! they are as I have been saying.

Where did you offer the explanations of his remarks?

Spiritus, can you enlighten me? I rather thought his clarifications bolstered my original understanding (which I find to be similar to yours). Areas of dispute include whether lieberman originally intended to say that all athiests must necessarily be immoral, and whether his call for religion in public life refers to programs and laws etc. I am not surprised that you agree with your esteemed colleague Spiritus. This appears to be the position of all the atheists in this thread. This was, in fact, the purpose of my original post. However, despite such unified beliefs among the atheists, I believe this interpretation is the result of a heightened sensitivity to church/state issues, more than a reasonable interpretation of his words in context.

Nen
08-31-2000, 09:33 AM
IzzyR:

Originally posted by IzzyR
Lieberman clearly meant the second from the start.

Lieberman stated,"George Washington warned us never to indulge the supposition ‘that morality can be maintained without religion.’"

Lieberman clearly stated the first from the start, regardless of his intentions. Now Lieberman has clarified that irreligious people are simply more probably immoral.

Originally posted by IzzyR
When the speaker himself confirmed my interpretation...

He did no such thing (see above).

Originally posted by IzzyR
Areas of dispute include whether lieberman originally intended to say that all athiests must necessarily be immoral, and whether his call for religion in public life refers to programs and laws etc. ...I believe this interpretation is the result of a heightened sensitivity to church/state issues, more than a reasonable interpretation of his words in context.

I completely disagree. Lieberman originally stated:

"As a people, we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purposes."

He then clarified that statement with the following:

"This is really less a matter of programs or legislation than it is of giving respect to the constructive role that faith can play in the lives of individuals, and in the lives of the community,"

Emphasis mine.

He said, "less a matter of...", not "not a matter of..."

My original "interpretations" coincide precisely with his statements. I extrapolated no information in an unreasonable fashion.

IzzyR
08-31-2000, 11:31 AM
Nen,

Your first point has been addressed at length.

Your second is a good one. Nonetheless, I do not believe that the guy meant for his original statements to be interpreted as a call for legislation etc. His use of the term is meant to describe the general concept of public life etc. is more etc. But you may reasonably disagree with that.

Zenster
08-31-2000, 02:38 PM
As a Capitalist, devout Agnostic, scientist and artist, all of the foregoing discussion about non-religious people being incapable or less capable of moral behavior really cracks me up. A theory that I am currently developing called, "Hot Logic", (as opposed to scientific 'cold logic') points up the fact that societal structures that merely follow rational and logical behavior patterns will also arrive at moral forms of conduct. Scientists are currently observing several different species, (from insect to primate) who have developed sharing strategies that promote survival and cohesive behavior (despite redistribution of personal gain). The human mind is quite capable of arriving at similar schemes WITHOUT religion. This is not to say that religion cannot also instill moral conduct. I am just amused at the notion of an overarching, ritualistic fabrication like religion being touted as the "only" path to morality. Sensibility and coherent philosophy also dictate the value of moral conduct. Please note how the "Golden Rule" (Do unto others...) of Christianity manifests in almost every other culture on Earth, religious or not. This is why Lieberman, Gore, Bush, Cheney et al, all come across as sanctimonious, exclusionary, pandering nit wits on these religious issues. To continue to bring up "Christian" values in their run for office in our nondenominational government is a slap in the face for all other nonchristian religious practicioners plus athiests and agnostics as well. That they are willing to marginalize a population segment that is specifically addressed and protected by our wonderful Constitution only points up their political and philosophical bigotry.

capacitor
08-31-2000, 08:31 PM
John, what if a governor declares an Ayatollah Khomeni Day, in appreciation of his philosophy? He was a religious revolutionary like Jesus, and he actually created a theocratic state that the revolutionaries at Jesus's time thought that Jesus would create. Now you see why the American Jewish Congress says that the proclamation violates the"spirit and intention of the First Amendment of the Constitution." (http://www.jewishsf.com/bk000721/usbushjesusday.shtml)

John, George Bush is not explicit about condemning non-Christians, but he is known not to be too subtle about it.

capacitor
08-31-2000, 08:36 PM
And John, I am no athiest. I am just non-religious. And my gnostic friend, I would not speak about holier-than thou attitudes if I were you.

capacitor
08-31-2000, 08:38 PM
Make that agnostic friend.

Spiritus Mundi
08-31-2000, 10:49 PM
Spiritus, can you enlighten me? I rather thought his clarifications bolstered my original understanding (which I find to be similar to yours).

Sorry. I have no ability to explain IzzyR's convolutions of thought. Reading his last post to me confirms, among other things:

He cannot tell the difference between a position held and a position explained.
He believes that saying a thing again is the same as defending/explaining it.
He believes that Lieberman explaining what he meant to say is the same as Lieberman never saying the fist thing.
He believes that my explaining what Lieberman said is the same as my interpreting what Lieberman meant.
He believes that somewhere, apparently several somewheres, I have been trying to argue what Lieberman intended to say rather than what he did say.
He believes that, even though Lieberman has felt the need to clarify statements that many people found to be extreme, any such interpretation of the original remarks is unreasonsable.
He believes that "not the same as IzzyR" is the same as "unreasonable".
He believes that no human being could ever make a statement about morality that was not intended to be relative, no matter how many people have been killed throughout history because their beliefs were considered immoral.
He believes that showing off his skills with UBB code is equivalent to making a reasoned response.
He believes that "quote and interpret" is synonymous with "link"
He believes that, in responding to his questions and statements, I have somehow been trying to guide this discussion into a direction of my liking.
He is unable to appreciate the ability to logically understand a position without supporting it personally.
He is unable to understand that careless words can be offensive or dangerous if the speaker did not intend them to be offensive or dangerous.
He is unable to examine his own position dispassionately enough to see the inherent prejudice of his belief.

I could go on, but I think this list has become wearisome enough.

IzzyR, since the OP did not complained about any of the digressions in this thread I saw, and see, no reason to start another. You apparently felt differently and raised the idea that perhaps a different thread should be started. I was willing to follow you to one if that was how you felt. Instead, it seems you prefer to simply use the idea of another thread as an excuse to avoid answering questions you find uncomfortable.

As to the words you continue to say are fine. Those words reflect prejudice. You are a religious bigot. You objected when I characterized the words that way before, and I have given you more than one opportunity to rephrase them or expand upon them. You have refused.

It hardly makes you the first bigot to feel smugly correct in his prejudice.

As to what I want, I want to live in a world where ognorance and bigotry absent. Failing that, I console myself with pointing them out when I see them trupmeted on this message board. I understand that the bigot in question is unlikely to reexamine his beliefs, but perhaps the example will spur someone else to actually think about some subtle prejudice in their own heart.

Spiritus Mundi
08-31-2000, 10:51 PM
Oh, I almost forgot.

IzzyR, in all of his careful reading, also seems to have overlooked, or been unable to comprehend, this statement:

I have not criticized Lieberman for what he meant. Unlike yourself, I do not know what he meant in his private heart. I have criticized the words he spoke. I have also criticized two possible interpretations of some of those words: one which implies athiests are immoral, and one which implies a sloppiness of thought.

You have identified yourself with one of those positions.

Danielinthewolvesden
08-31-2000, 11:26 PM
OK, lets us compare two positions: Joe L would like "for Americans to have (more) faith". Ok- personally I agree with this, but I feel it was inappropriate coming from a Political leader. Joe was wrong, here. He later admitted this & retracted the statement. Note, that at no time did he suggest legislating his faith or morality, and I do not beleive he would do so. All right, could be better, but he did retract. I'll let him get off the hook, this once.

Now, Bush wants to have a CONSTITUTIONAL admendment that would allow prayer in schools. And, he wants to force his religous views on abortions on all Americans. He would make it a CRIME to go against the Religous Right's religous/moral opinions (on abortions). So, Bush would force, by gunpoint, HIS religion/faith on us. :rolleyes:

Joe thinks it would be nice if we all had a little more faith. No laws, no forcing, no Admendments.

SO- which Politician has the more "scary" religous views?

Spiritus Mundi
08-31-2000, 11:59 PM
SO- which Politician has the more "scary" religous views?

That one's easy. Pat Buchanon.

Danielinthewolvesden
09-01-2000, 02:33 AM
OK, Spiritus- you win. "Oooohh, that one scares even me."

IzzyR
09-01-2000, 08:08 AM
Spiritus Mundi,

This is just to acknowledge your last post. At this point, there's not much that's not been covered. Or, one might claim, I realize that I've been completely destroyed by your logic. In any event, I'm going to let it rest here.

sdimbert
09-01-2000, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by Danielinthewolvesden
OK, lets us compare two positions: Joe L would like "for Americans to have (more) faith". Ok- personally I agree with this, but I feel it was inappropriate coming from a Political leader

Here's the thing that's *still* bothering me:

Why is it "inappropriate" for a political leader to say that he would like Americans to have more faith?

First of all, JL is not a "political leader," he is a political candidate. Yes, I know that this was touched upon earlier, but please, everyone, before jumping on me, consider the following distinction: It is illegal for Joe Lieberman to use his resources as a Senator to aid him in his bid for the Vice-Presidency. If that is the case, then any interpretations of statements he makes as a candidate must ignore his Senate position.

Anyhow, my real point is that a political candidate can say that he wants... well, anything at all. If I were running for office, I could get up on a soapbox and say that I want all Americans to eat less red meat. Or more. Or that I wanted to pass a law requiring all male children to be named "sdimbert". Whatever.

Of course, your response would be to not cast your vote for me. Or maybe you would cast your vote for me. Either way, a candidate can say whatever he wants, and JL was speaking as a candidate, not a Senator. And, even if he was speaking as a "political leader" (ie, as a Senator, not a candidate), all he did was express his opinion - still legal (and appropriate) as of the last time I checked.

'Nuff said.

Eve
09-01-2000, 10:44 AM
Sdimbert—I agree with you completely (everyone stop and catch their breath in amazement). I WANT to know the best AND the worst about every candidate; so the more they mouth off, the better. If Al Gore believes that all kittens should be drowned at birth, I want to know NOW.

What my OP stated was that I think Joe Lieberman's statements reveal him to be a narrow-minded fundie jerk. I'm glad I know he's a jerk, though I will still probably vote Democratic anyway, as Bush and Cheyney are even MORE narrow-minded fundies. It's just that I am disappointed to learn the truth about him.

Spiritus Mundi
09-01-2000, 10:57 AM
sdimbert
Saying that someone's words are offensive is not the same as saying they should not be allowed to speak those words.
Saying a position is inappropriate in a leader in a diverse society is not the same as saying that it is inappropriate for a leader in a diverse society to express his opinion.

George Wallace ran for president on a platform of racial segregation. It was not inappropriate for him to speak his position. His position, however, was inappropriate.

Bucky
09-01-2000, 12:06 PM
Oh. Drat! My mistake. I was going to offer to kiss Eve's backside, godless or otherwise, but I appear to have stumbled into the wrong part of the Edwardian mansion.
Tee hee!

Lord B

sdimbert
09-01-2000, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by Spiritus Mundi
Saying a position is inappropriate in a leader in a diverse society is not the same as saying that it is inappropriate for a leader in a diverse society to express his opinion.

George Wallace ran for president on a platform of racial segregation. It was not inappropriate for him to speak his position. His position, however, was inappropriate.
First:
Why? How can you say, "in a diverse society," that George Wallace's position was inappropriate? Inappropriate for what?

Second:
I say again, Joe Lieberman was not speaking as a leader when he made the remarks which sparked this thread. He was speaking as a candidate.

Spiritus Mundi
09-01-2000, 12:33 PM
first
Inappropriate is a value judgment. Obviously, when I say that a position is inappropriate for the leader of a divers society I mean that it conflicts with the values of a diverse society. I should, perhaps, additionally clarify by specifying a diverse society predicated upon equality for its citizens.

In short, segregating a class of citizens contradicts the presumption of equality for those citizens. This is an inappropriate attitude for an official of a government that is predicated upon that presumption.

second
I have not claimed that Lieberman, or Wallace, was speaking as a government leader. They were, however, speaking as men aspiring to a position of leadership. Surely you do not contend that the words of a candidate should not be used to determine the attitudes he would hold and the actions he would take if elected?

sdimbert
09-01-2000, 12:50 PM
Originally posted by Spiritus Mundi
first
In short, segregating a class of citizens contradicts the presumption of equality for those citizens. This is an inappropriate attitude for an official of a government that is predicated upon that presumption.

It would be an interesting thought experiment to construct a situation wherein a government official would have to create a situation of inequality for some citizens to maintain equality for an entire society.

Harrison Bergeron springs to mind. But that is neither here nor there. Point conceded.

second
Surely you do not contend that the words of a candidate should not be used to determine the attitudes he would hold and the actions he would take if elected?
I would say that those words may be considered to reflect a candidate's attitudes; they are a far cry from promises of action.

And, remember, even if they are promises, they would be only "campaign promises" at best.

My point remains that Leiberman's comments were only a statement of his feelings on an obviously personal point. He directed them to a religious audience and felt it appropriate at that time to admit how he felt.

Is it possible for a man to firmly believe in an idea and ignore that conviction while doing his job? Certainly.

Spiritus Mundi
09-01-2000, 01:57 PM
Of course. It is wuite possible that Wallace would not have enacted any policies to protect or promote segregation had he been elected president.

Nevertheless, many people did not feel comfortable with the thought that a political leader would harbor and publicly espouse such attitudes. The situation with Lieberman is analagous in enough respects that some of us have voiced our reaction both upon htis board and to the gentleman in question.

Philosophocles
03-14-2003, 02:43 AM
Cool thread title

blowero
03-14-2003, 03:23 AM
Looking for some negative attention, Philosophocles?

Fenris
03-14-2003, 07:03 AM
Originally posted by Philosophocles
Cool thread title

Poster behaving moronically by resurrecting ancient threads apparently just to annoy people.

Revtim
03-14-2003, 08:14 AM
I don't mind people being reminded of Lieberman's views. If anybody really believes that freedom of religion includes freedom *from* religion they could do a lot better than support this guy. Well, I hope they can, I guess I don't know the other dems views on the subject. I know I'll never vote for Lieberman because of this speech.