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  #351  
Old 06-12-2019, 08:19 AM
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Legal and legislative arguments aside, do you disagree?
Should have said: Legal and legislative impediments aside, do you disagree?
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  #352  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:20 AM
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Max, re your long and involved post #349:

We already had that vote and that constitutional amendment. See my post #340.

Have we always lived up to it? Of course not; we haven't always lived up to anything in the Constitution -- well, except having elections, come war, civil war, or high water. But that doesn't mean that we have to vote on it all over again every time somebody wants to say 'we should write civil law to suit my particular religious beliefs'.
  #353  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:51 AM
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What's your point with the above, Max? Are you trying to impress upon me that changing or passing actual laws in order to implement my world view re: limiting religious argument in legislative processes, to be unlikely? If so, I concede that point, as I have to ISiddique. I'm not sitting here holding my breath, believe me. Fact is, humans are irrational and I find myself to be in good company in that respect; It's irrational for me to expect people to suddenly abandon belief systems that are so entrenched mentally, institutionally and socially. Be that as it may, I think it would be beneficial for humanity at large to at least limit public policy decisions to more secular lines of reason.

Legal and legislative arguments aside, do you disagree?
I haven't yet read most of the posts #328-348, but I'll quickly respond to this one and hopefully I can catch up later today.

The point is that my construction of your argument with premise #2 is illogical unless you do qualify it upon the majority of people abandoning religious belief systems. You cannot think it is beneficial for humanity to limit public policy decisions to more secular lines of reason, not the way I understand your argument. That is why I am asking for your help to understand your argument.

~Max
  #354  
Old 06-12-2019, 10:29 AM
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I haven't yet read most of the posts #328-348, but I'll quickly respond to this one and hopefully I can catch up later today.

The point is that my construction of your argument with premise #2 is illogical unless you do qualify it upon the majority of people abandoning religious belief systems. You cannot think it is beneficial for humanity to limit public policy decisions to more secular lines of reason, not the way I understand your argument. That is why I am asking for your help to understand your argument.

~Max
I'm not sure why you assume that my position requires the majority of people to abandon of religious systems. Particularly when most do so anyway as part of daily life to some extent or another. I don't think a religious person can avoid compartmentalization of their belief systems in the modern world and a more distinct separation of church and state could hardly be an undue burden on most. You cannot argue that this is an ongoing trend in most develop-ed/-ing nations.

What you've taken great pains to point out as illogical seems perfectly logical to me. I can think of any number of examples where non-secular public policies have caused actual harm to specific groups of people in society. We've discussed them already. I don't recall you citing examples of the opposite where secular policies have cause actual harm to groups of religious adherents, unless you consider the relaxation of theocratic and religious rules/laws/practices to be harmful on the same level as their enforcement on those who don't adhere to them.
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  #355  
Old 06-12-2019, 10:58 AM
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What you've taken great pains to point out as illogical seems perfectly logical to me. I can think of any number of examples where non-secular public policies have caused actual harm to specific groups of people in society. We've discussed them already. I don't recall you citing examples of the opposite where secular policies have cause actual harm to groups of religious adherents, unless you consider the relaxation of theocratic and religious rules/laws/practices to be harmful on the same level as their enforcement on those who don't adhere to them.
I don't think there's anything illogical in your opinion that non-secular public policies cause actual harm to specific groups of people in society, or even causes actual harm to society. That all goes under premise #1. The illogical part is when you say preventing what you consider harmful to society should always be good for society, but fail to assert that the majority of society agrees with you, such agreement properly being the aggregate individual decisions of the public informed by public debate.

~Max
  #356  
Old 06-12-2019, 11:02 AM
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Be that as it may, I think it would be beneficial for humanity at large to at least limit public policy decisions to more secular lines of reason.

Legal and legislative arguments aside, do you disagree?
Well I disagree. It may be for a similar reason as Max S. (if I understand him correctly) - that banning a viewpoint from public policy decisions that a substantial amount of the population holds appears to violate the fundamentals of democracy (or democratic republics, if you will).
  #357  
Old 06-12-2019, 11:30 AM
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I'm fully confident that a religious person(s) can make a compelling secular argument that would align with their non-secular views. I would happily see those heard and debated.
I disagree. In the linked discussion I came to the conclusion that there are no compelling (convincing) secular arguments that support pro-lifers. This is backed up by a 2012 Pew survey of 403 self-identified athiest/agnostics found that only 14% them think abortion should be illegal in all/most cases. The number jumps up to 24% if you include the other 872 religiously unaffiliated respondents, but those include a good number of people who identify themselves as "religious" or "spiritual".

Besides, if you take away the religious motivation you are cutting away the legs of the table. Without religious arguments you get threads such as "Pro-lifers want to control women's bodies" - Okay, but........why?", and indeed there is hardly any defense to such an accusation if you disqualify the religious arguments central to the pro-life movement. If religious arguments were disqualified from public policy debate, you are effectively forcing the pro-life faction out of the picture without changing their minds on the issue.

And so it goes with other controversial topics, for example homosexual conduct or contraception.

~Max

Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life. "Nones" on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-conte...eRise-full.pdf
  #358  
Old 06-12-2019, 11:42 AM
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I don't think there's anything illogical in your opinion that non-secular public policies cause actual harm to specific groups of people in society, or even causes actual harm to society. That all goes under premise #1. The illogical part is when you say preventing what you consider harmful to society should always be good for society, but fail to assert that the majority of society agrees with you, such agreement properly being the aggregate individual decisions of the public informed by public debate.

~Max
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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
Well I disagree. It may be for a similar reason as Max S. (if I understand him correctly) - that banning a viewpoint from public policy decisions that a substantial amount of the population holds appears to violate the fundamentals of democracy (or democratic republics, if you will).
I think I'm starting to understand where our paths diverge.

I think you understand my position to be such that:

- Effective today and now, all legislative bodies should restrict public policy debate to arguments based on secular principles of reason.

Which is in fact my aspirational thinking position.

What I may not have expressed with sufficient clarity is:

- I do not expect legislature to take up my position today and now because the majority of legislators and electorate, do not agree with my views.

Now, do I believe that majority views are always more correct than minority views? Not for a second. Neither do you, I suspect. But I do believe in challenging majority views, even if the minority view is not exactly popular, as long as it can be argued and reasoned that it is morally "right" for all (not just those who happen to think it's right). Making that argument isn't un-democratic, do you agree?
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-12-2019 at 11:43 AM.
  #359  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:03 PM
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I disagree. In the linked discussion I came to the conclusion that there are no compelling (convincing) secular arguments that support pro-lifers. This is backed up by a 2012 Pew survey of 403 self-identified athiest/agnostics found that only 14% them think abortion should be illegal in all/most cases. The number jumps up to 24% if you include the other 872 religiously unaffiliated respondents, but those include a good number of people who identify themselves as "religious" or "spiritual".

Besides, if you take away the religious motivation you are cutting away the legs of the table. Without religious arguments you get threads such as "Pro-lifers want to control women's bodies" - Okay, but........why?", and indeed there is hardly any defense to such an accusation if you disqualify the religious arguments central to the pro-life movement. If religious arguments were disqualified from public policy debate, you are effectively forcing the pro-life faction out of the picture without changing their minds on the issue.

And so it goes with other controversial topics, for example homosexual conduct or contraception.

~Max

Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life. "Nones" on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-conte...eRise-full.pdf
My position on separation of religion from public legislative policy has been consistent. Believe whatever you want and practice it freely within the context of your home, house of worship and public square. Have your own media channel. Shout while standing on a box and hand out newsletters. Your religious rights shall not be restricted. Right up to the edge of the legislative house steps.

And if secularist pro-life views don't have a compelling argument to make about restricting abortion rights, why is it incumbent on the rest of us to give them more than 14% support? A bad argument isn't made better just because it happens to come from secularists any more than if it comes from non-secularists.
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  #360  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:13 PM
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And so it goes with other controversial topics, for example homosexual conduct or contraception.

~Max
Do you think the subject of homosexuality and contraception remain very controversial among most religious groups? Seems to me they've long ago accepted contraception and have made great strides towards accepting homosexuality. Do you think acceptance of those issues started out as a popular majority view, or did it start out slow and gradual with growing voices of minority support before it slowly became the accepted norm among the majority?
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  #361  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:15 PM
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Well I disagree. It may be for a similar reason as Max S. (if I understand him correctly) - that banning a viewpoint from public policy decisions that a substantial amount of the population holds appears to violate the fundamentals of democracy (or democratic republics, if you will).
Almost. I think banning a viewpoint from public policy decisions before the public has a chance to determine whether that viewpoint should be banned violates fundamental democratic principles.

~Max
  #362  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:29 PM
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I think I'm starting to understand where our paths diverge.

I think you understand my position to be such that:

- Effective today and now, all legislative bodies should restrict public policy debate to arguments based on secular principles of reason.

Which is in fact my aspirational thinking position.

What I may not have expressed with sufficient clarity is:

- I do not expect legislature to take up my position today and now because the majority of legislators and electorate, do not agree with my views.
I believe your aspirational thinking is illogical, I cannot understand the argument, unless you dispute one of the aforementioned premises or assert that the majority of the electorate does agree with your views. (ETA: this last clause would be illogical too, as it is assuming the conclusion)

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Now, do I believe that majority views are always more correct than minority views? Not for a second. Neither do you, I suspect.
I am not sure what my actual position is on that question. What you have written is in fact the fundamental principle democracy. Without assuming there is one true epistemology (or universal morals if you replace "correct" with "moral", which makes more sense in context), I fail to see any reason to disagree.

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But I do believe in challenging majority views, even if the minority view is not exactly popular, as long as it can be argued and reasoned that it is morally "right" for all (not just those who happen to think it's right). Making that argument isn't un-democratic, do you agree?
Not necessarily un-democratic, but it is a circular argument. The question is whether an argument can be presented regarding whether a particular act is moral or immoral, and you say the argument can be presented so long as it can be argued that the argument is moral.

~Max

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  #363  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:31 PM
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Almost. I think banning a viewpoint from public policy decisions before the public has a chance to determine whether that viewpoint should be banned violates fundamental democratic principles.

~Max
Once more with feeling...

Separation of church and state is not a new or novel idea I've just introduced. I'm arguing for its stricter enforcement in legislative public policy affairs.
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  #364  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:34 PM
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Once more with feeling...

Separation of church and state is not a new or novel idea I've just introduced. I'm arguing for its stricter enforcement in legislative public policy affairs.
Seperation of church and state also only applies when a law is actually enacted, not during public debate.

Even when a law is actually enacted, I would disagree that separation of church and state extends to laws with purely religious rationale, but the Supreme Court made it clear that this is not the current interpretation of the Constitution.

~Max
  #365  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:44 PM
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I believe your aspirational thinking is illogical, I cannot understand the argument, unless you dispute one of the aforementioned premises or assert that the majority of the electorate does agree with your views. (ETA: this last clause would be illogical too, as it is assuming the conclusion)
Are you asking me to reverse my position until such time as the majority of the electorate agrees with my position?

Now who's being illogical, Max?


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I am not sure what my actual position is on that question. What you have written is in fact the fundamental principle democracy. Without assuming there is one true epistemology (or universal morals if you replace "correct" with "moral", which makes more sense in context), I fail to see any reason to disagree.
No Max, I mean "correct". It may be "moral" based on theocratic law, to kill apostates and heretics. I am not playing that game. It is correct not to kill them. And please let's not have that "axiomatic argument" conversation again. It never goes anywhere.
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  #366  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:48 PM
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If it please the court, allow me then to re-phrase:

Arguments that boil down to, "Because my God/Religious doctrine says so", should be excluded from public policy debates when legislation is being made. Not because I disagree with the theists out of some personal animus, but because theism lacks evidence, is rife with inconsistencies, contradictions, and is damaging to humanity.
Does that change anything? I would think "theists" are people who believe in a superhuman controlling power, especially God, which means "theists" is synonymous with "religious people", a theistic argument is a religious argument, and a theistic axiom is a religious axiom.

So saying theism instead of religion changes nothing, we may as well call a spade a spade. Perhaps you define theism differently?

~Max
  #367  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:50 PM
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Does that change anything? I would think "theists" are people who believe in a superhuman controlling power, especially God, which means "theists" is synonymous with "religious people", a theistic argument is a religious argument, and a theistic axiom is a religious axiom.

So saying theism instead of religion changes nothing, we may as well call a spade a spade. Perhaps you define theism differently?

~Max
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Seperation of church and state also only applies when a law is actually enacted, not during public debate.

Even when a law is actually enacted, I would disagree that separation of church and state extends to laws with purely religious rationale, but the Supreme Court made it clear that this is not the current interpretation of the Constitution.

~Max

Max, you seem like a good guy and I don't think you're being disingenuous. But we've been around this block more times than I care to count. I just can't anymore. It's not you, it's me.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-12-2019 at 12:52 PM.
  #368  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:01 PM
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Are you asking me to reverse my position until such time as the majority of the electorate agrees with my position?

Now who's being illogical, Max?
Yes I am. It is my understanding that your position is that certain arguments should be disqualified from public debate, and your position if adopted would constitute a public policy. Public policies should be adopted only when the majority of the electorate agrees to adopt them after having a public debate on the matter, but you would have certain arguments disqualified before that public debate occurs.

I do not ask that you reverse every position until such time as the majority of the electorate agrees with your position, only such positions that are inherently invalid as demonstrated above. So you can continue to think religiously motivated policies are harmful for society.

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No Max, I mean "correct". It may be "moral" based on theocratic law, to kill apostates and heretics. I am not playing that game. It is correct not to kill them. And please let's not have that "axiomatic argument" conversation again. It never goes anywhere.
I have not developed a personal philosophy of what is or is not "correct", so I can't answer your question. But I think the question is irrelevant. What difference would it make if the majority opinion is "correct"? How does that affect public policy at all? If the majority opinion is that a policy is moral, they will pass a law binding upon the minority and send police to enforce that law.

~Max
  #369  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:15 PM
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Now, do I believe that majority views are always more correct than minority views? Not for a second. Neither do you, I suspect. But I do believe in challenging majority views, even if the minority view is not exactly popular, as long as it can be argued and reasoned that it is morally "right" for all (not just those who happen to think it's right). Making that argument isn't un-democratic, do you agree?
I don't believe that challenged majority views should be banned from the policy decision making discourse, especially not because someone thinks they can out-reason those arguments. If one can argue the minority right is morally right for all, then I also believe that someone should be allowed to argue that the majority right is morally right for all as well - even if that is currently illegal.

You want to argue that slavery should be reinstituted in the halls of Congress, in spite of the 13th Amendment? Well that should be your right to do so.

One can, of course, argue and reason for the moral right of all sorts of things (depends on where you start from). It's a limitation of 'rational' debate - there is not one end that all people who use reason will end up at. People will likely reason themselves into all sorts of contradictory positions.

I also don't consider myself to worship at the Cult of Reason either... so I'm not a big fan of restricting debates solely to the provenance of reason (or what someone thinks reason obviously leads to)

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  #370  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:19 PM
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I see no compelling reason to entertain faulty arguments, even those that are ostensibly in agreement, as a way of showing...what?... our tolerance of faulty reasoning. In service of what?
The compelling reason is that any alternative requires judgement as to which arguments are faulty and thus undeserving of presentation. Who will be the judge, if not the public during public policy debate? Are we going to elect a gatekeeper as to which arguments can be admitted on the senate floor?

Think about our form of government. We already have gatekeepers - we elect our own representatives who do the gate-keeping themselves. We elect a separate set of electors who elect a president, who actually enforces the law. The president nominates and our representatives confirm judges, who interpret the acts of our representatives. The system is designed to "entertain faulty arguments".

~Max
  #371  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:21 PM
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-- notes Max gives a location in the USA

-- points out the First Amendment

-- thinks this is sufficient evidence that everyone else should not have to comply

-- also thinks that a legislator in the USA should not be arguing that we should violate the First Amendment, at least unless they're making a straighforward argument for repealing it first
I don't think I disagree with anything in your post.

~Max
  #372  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:24 PM
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Does that change anything? I would think "theists" are people who believe in a superhuman controlling power, especially God, which means "theists" is synonymous with "religious people", a theistic argument is a religious argument, and a theistic axiom is a religious axiom.

So saying theism instead of religion changes nothing, we may as well call a spade a spade. Perhaps you define theism differently?

~Max
I would add that it is nigh on impossible to remove your strongly held personal beliefs from the public positions you take. And the notion that I hear from time to time that theists should just leave their personal beliefs at the door when discussing their position on things is dumbfounding. Most of my personal public policy beliefs are deeply instructed by my faith. If you take my faith out of it, my policy beliefs would undoubtedly change significantly (as they did when I converted - and went from a moderate Republican in the McCain/Kasich mold to a progressive Democrat in the Warren mold who shares AOC tweets regularly).
  #373  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:34 PM
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The compelling reason is that any alternative requires judgement as to which arguments are faulty and thus undeserving of presentation. Who will be the judge, if not the public during public policy debate? Are we going to elect a gatekeeper as to which arguments can be admitted on the senate floor?

Think about our form of government. We already have gatekeepers - we elect our own representatives who do the gate-keeping themselves. We elect a separate set of electors who elect a president, who actually enforces the law. The president nominates and our representatives confirm judges, who interpret the acts of our representatives. The system is designed to "entertain faulty arguments".

~Max
All Gaul is divided into three parts. It has always been thus.
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  #374  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:40 PM
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Sure you are. Flat Earthers are not a part of the national debate. So far no legislator I'm aware of has proposed a motion condemning NASA for teach sphericalism.
Flat earthers are definitely part of the national debate, their arguments are just so unconvincing and their numbers so small that nobody takes them seriously, and they get no coverage other than the "what, seriously?" factor.

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Lack of debate? Where have you been?
Deep in GOP territory...

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All of these things have been refuted many, many times. How many times must we refute the flat earth story before we give up and just start laughing? Ever watch a video from a YEC? The bullshit just streams out of their mouths. How many times must scientists refute this crap?
Think about what you are saying.

How long has The Straight Dope been fighting ignorance? Surely the motto does not imply there will literally be a time when all ignorance is extinguished.

Do you think there should come a point when a new user asks a bona fide question which has been answered many times before, and the board gives up and starts laughing instead of pointing to the previous discussions?

~Max
  #375  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:46 PM
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Max, you seem like a good guy and I don't think you're being disingenuous. But we've been around this block more times than I care to count. I just can't anymore. It's not you, it's me.
Thank you, I really do appreciate your participation and I have learned a lot debating you. If you ever do return to the thread I'll be glad to pick up where we left off.

~Max
  #376  
Old 06-12-2019, 02:33 PM
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The point is that my construction of your argument with premise #2 is illogical unless you do qualify it upon the majority of people abandoning religious belief systems.
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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
banning a viewpoint from public policy decisions that a substantial amount of the population holds appears to violate the fundamentals of democracy (or democratic republics, if you will).
Are you both under the impression that all people who have religious belief systems basically agree with each other, about abortion or about anything else?

That is most certainly not true. It's not "a" viewpoint, it's dozens or hundreds or thousands of viewpoints. Nobody (in this thread at least) is asking anybody to abandon any of those viewpoints in their personal life, or even in how they affect their own public positions; we just don't want Congress to spend its time arguing what the correct interpretation of specific verses is, what the correct translation of specific words is, whether a specific verse even belongs in the book in the first place, which book ought to be the one in use, and whether any book at all is the controlling authority. None of those questions can possibly be settled, all of them are things that religious people disagree on, and none of the opinions based on any of this should be imposed on everyone who disagrees with them.

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I disagree. In the linked discussion I came to the conclusion that there are no compelling (convincing) secular arguments that support pro-lifers. [ . . . ] Besides, if you take away the religious motivation you are cutting away the legs of the table.
So what you are saying is exactly that you want to impose your particular interpretation of your particular religion on everybody else, and think that you should be allowed to do so?

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Almost. I think banning a viewpoint from public policy decisions before the public has a chance to determine whether that viewpoint should be banned violates fundamental democratic principles.
For the third time, please see post #340.

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I don't think I disagree with anything in your post.
Oh. You did see it, and you're claiming to agree with it.

Since what it says flat out contradicts what you're saying, I am confused by this.
  #377  
Old 06-12-2019, 03:20 PM
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Are you both under the impression that all people who have religious belief systems basically agree with each other, about abortion or about anything else?

That is most certainly not true. It's not "a" viewpoint, it's dozens or hundreds or thousands of viewpoints. Nobody (in this thread at least) is asking anybody to abandon any of those viewpoints in their personal life, or even in how they affect their own public positions; we just don't want Congress to spend its time arguing what the correct interpretation of specific verses is, what the correct translation of specific words is, whether a specific verse even belongs in the book in the first place, which book ought to be the one in use, and whether any book at all is the controlling authority. None of those questions can possibly be settled, all of them are things that religious people disagree on, and none of the opinions based on any of this should be imposed on everyone who disagrees with them.
There are plenty of people who have a similar view on these topics due to something they feel is true in their particular faith tradition. If they didn't, we wouldn't even be having this discussion because no one would care.

And therefore there are a not insubstantial amount of people who have this point of view that derives from what they believe their faith tradition teaches. And so, as per principles of democracy, they should be allowed to discuss those in public policy decisions (applying them upon others may depend on other external factors like the US Constitution in the US).

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So what you are saying is exactly that you want to impose your particular interpretation of your particular religion on everybody else, and think that you should be allowed to do so?
If a majority of others agree and there is no controlling external force that disagrees, I don't see an issue with that. Do we believe in democracy and freedom of speech or do we not?

I mean people impose particular interpretations of morality on everyone else all the time. It makes no difference to me if that is a religious or secure interpretation you are imposing. After all, people will come up with all sorts of fascinating things regardless of where they start from - so alt-right members can be Traditional Catholic Steve Bannon or strident Atheist Richard Spenser.

Last edited by ISiddiqui; 06-12-2019 at 03:22 PM.
  #378  
Old 06-12-2019, 04:07 PM
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If a majority of others agree and there is no controlling external force that disagrees, I don't see an issue with that. Do we believe in democracy and freedom of speech or do we not?
I was under the impression that we also believed in freedom of religion. Apparently you don't.
  #379  
Old 06-12-2019, 04:12 PM
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If a majority of others agree and there is no controlling external force that disagrees, I don't see an issue with that. Do we believe in democracy and freedom of speech or do we not?
Sorry, I can't let this stand. Would you tolerate, as you had mentioned previously, someone standing up in congress and making a case to restore slavery? I bet you would not and I bet a bunch of money that any person making that argument would receive censure almost immediately. So yes, we have a democracy and freedom of speech. One that (I hope) abhors racism now - which didn't used to be the case in my lifetime. And one that not only tolerates but encourages discrimination based on selectively preferential religious beliefs.

And how convenient it is to remind people that democracy means majority makes the rules while conveniently forgetting that it also means non-discrimination and protection of rights of minorities.
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  #380  
Old 06-12-2019, 04:40 PM
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I was under the impression that we also believed in freedom of religion. Apparently you don't.
Which includes the right to push for things that may be important to your religious faith. Now if those things actually end up passing, they may not go forward if they do indeed infringe on other faith (the aforementioned Constitution applies over any law that is passed). But how does simply advocating a policy based on your religious faith infringe on anyone else's freedom of religion?

I mean does anyone still believe that religion is merely an internal thing for one's own personal peace and has no external compulsion?

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Sorry, I can't let this stand. Would you tolerate, as you had mentioned previously, someone standing up in congress and making a case to restore slavery?
As I said before, yes, I would.

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I bet a bunch of money that any person making that argument would receive censure almost immediately.
Censure just means the body disagrees strongly with that person and that's all. What you are looking for is expelling a member. However that is never been done because the body felt what the representative was saying was beyond the pale. Congressmen and Senators have been mostly expelled for taking up arms against the US (the Civil War... one for trying to incite the Creek and Cherokee to assist the UK to invade Spanish Florida, which was considered treason). Or being convicted of a crime.

I mean Hell, even Representative Steve King hasn't been censured or even reprimanded for his nonsense yet.

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One that (I hope) abhors racism now
Where have you been the last 2+ years?

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And how convenient it is to remind people that democracy means majority makes the rules while conveniently forgetting that it also means non-discrimination and protection of rights of minorities.
I have pointed out the controlling external forces (Constitution in the US, etc) more than a few times. And non-discrimination and protection of minority rights have never meant the silencing of discriminatory people. The KKK marched through Skogie, Illinois not too long ago and the ACLU supported their right to do so (which is one of the reasons I give money to them every month).

I mean I'm not the one advocating taking someone else's rights away here. If someone was to make the case of majority should always prevail (and not merely just have a voice in the policy debate), then I probably would stress the protections from democracy that our republic has put in place.

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  #381  
Old 06-12-2019, 05:32 PM
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Flat earthers are definitely part of the national debate, their arguments are just so unconvincing and their numbers so small that nobody takes them seriously, and they get no coverage other than the "what, seriously?" factor.
Defined broadly enough, the tinfoil hatters are part of the national debate. "Nobody takes them seriously" is exactly what I'm getting at. If "because God said so" is given the same treatment as the flat earth, I'd be quite satisfied.
There appear to be places in Europe where this is the case.
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Deep in GOP territory...
I'm in a state where in the last election candidates competed on how much they hated Trump, and I know there is a national debate.
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Think about what you are saying.

How long has The Straight Dope been fighting ignorance? Surely the motto does not imply there will literally be a time when all ignorance is extinguished.

Do you think there should come a point when a new user asks a bona fide question which has been answered many times before, and the board gives up and starts laughing instead of pointing to the previous discussions?

~Max
There is a debate on how much real scientists should pay attention to loons like creationists, and whether engaging them in debate legitimizes them. Or even science popularizers.
A while ago we'd frequently get new posters popping into GD to evangelize us. There was almost a template for responding to them, it didn't take a lot of thought, and a lot of people laughed at them if they didn't want to debate honestly. I had the impression that these people had talking points from their church and didn't know how to respond when these points got demolished.
Now what we do here is of little import to the world at large, so letting people spout doesn't hurt anything.
And it depends on what the response is to our response. If it is honest, people don't laugh. If it reiterates the script, then people laugh.
Those in the public debate I want to laugh at have been refuted over and over again. Do you think we should respond as if they wanted an honest debate?
  #382  
Old 06-12-2019, 05:56 PM
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Censure just means the body disagrees strongly with that person and that's all. What you are looking for is expelling a member. However that is never been done because the body felt what the representative was saying was beyond the pale. Congressmen and Senators have been mostly expelled for taking up arms against the US (the Civil War... one for trying to incite the Creek and Cherokee to assist the UK to invade Spanish Florida, which was considered treason). Or being convicted of a crime.

I mean Hell, even Representative Steve King hasn't been censured or even reprimanded for his nonsense yet.
He was removed from every committee, ostensibly limiting his influence in congress. More should have been done.

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Where have you been the last 2+ years?
I've been watching the rate of hate crime rise dramatically across the nation, due in no small part to Rep. Steve King.

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I mean I'm not the one advocating taking someone else's rights away here. If someone was to make the case of majority should always prevail (and not merely just have a voice in the policy debate), then I probably would stress the protections from democracy that our republic has put in place.
Seems to me you're okay with allowing religious arguments in legislative bodies that influence the passing of laws that do indeed discriminate. Not sure how you can claim "probably" standing up for protection of minority rights. Is that you having it both ways?
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  #383  
Old 06-12-2019, 06:50 PM
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When you get down to it, today the axiom "god exists" is based on faith. That was not always the case when a god was the best known solution to problems such as the origin of man.
I disagree. The axiom "God exists" is and always has been based on faith, otherwise it would not be an axiom. I suspect for many people the existence of God is not an axiom itself, but at some point down the line one makes a "leap of faith". Whether that be the authority of a bible or minister, or multiple life experiences inexplicable without a "leap of faith", it makes no difference. A set of axioms that implies God exists is just as religious as the single axiom asserting the existence of God.

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Now some religions think that they could be wrong about this premise, and thus do not want to impose it on others. I'm talking about the god exists, therefore we know what he wants, therefore all must follow what he wants. Which was the law when religions had secular power, and still happens in places where religions are heavily involved with the government.
What do you think "making America a Christian nation" is about?
I am also talking about those kinds of religion.

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Of course you don't, and of course you don't support the premise. But why do you think they were wrong to do this? Are they less wrong or more wrong than those who want to take away abortion rights based on religious arguments?
I'm not sure if Spain was objectively wrong to impose the Spanish inquisition because I have my doubts that objective morality exists. By my personal standards, of course it was wrong because I do not accept the premises used to justify the inquisition.

I'm not sure what to think if the entire public voted on the matter according to rules agreed upon by a supermajority of all people, and the inquisition was voted into effect. That would be a direct conflict between different principles I hold dear - the principle of democracy and the fact that I seriously disagree with the majority. It is a real cognitive dissonance for me and I am very uncomfortible with my decision.

If I were a Catholic who somehow disagreed with the rationale for inquisition, I would argue against the inquisition, refuse to obey the order to kill my neighbors, and petition for exile, but accept death if that was the judgement handed down to me for the crime of heresy.

If I were not a Catholic I would petition for exile. If I never had the opportunity to leave the country of my own will, and the people had no say in whether or not to start an inquisition, then I would resist. Otherwise, I would accept the judgement handed down to me for the crime of heresy.

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Any religious argument based on unverified revelation is equally invalid.
Invalid for you, not to the person who had the revelation. If the majority of people had revelations or otherwise come to consensus on some point...

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I'm Jewish, and when I was religious as a kid our rabbi never once said that anyone not Jewish should do anything based on our beliefs. Even the Orthodox limit their requirements to Jews. I can't think of any Jewish legislators pushing laws based on their religion. If religions follow this model, then I'm happy to limit examination of their axioms to religious debate forums.
According to the Talmud there are seven sheva mitzvot b'nei Noah in Genesis which apply to all of humanity (Sanhedrin 56b:26). Six of these laws were given to Adam who may have passed them on to Noah. Noah was either given all seven laws from God directly, or just one from God and six from his ancestors. Later all seven were given again to Moses in the book of Genesis. These laws are:
  1. to prohibition idolatry
    • Given to Adam in Genesis 2:16 which contains an alliteration to Exodus 20:2 (Sanhedrin 56b:6)
    • Given to Moses via Exodus 20:2
  2. to prohibition blasphemy
    • Given to Adam in Genesis 2:16 which contains an alliteration to Leviticus 24:16 (Sanhedrin 56b:6)
    • Given to Moses in Leviticus 24:16
  3. to establish courts of justice
    • Given to Adam in Genesis 2:16 which contains an alliteration to Genesis 18:19 (Sanhedrin 56b:5)
    • Given to Moses via Genesis 18:19
  4. to enforce capital punishment for the crime of murder
    • Given to Adam in Genesis 2:16 which contains an alliteration to Genesis 9:6 (Sanhedrin 56b:6)
    • Given to Moses in Genesis 9:6
  5. to prohibit arayot (forbidden sexual relations)
    • Given to Adam in Genesis 2:16 which contains an alliteration to Jeremiah 3:1 (Sanhedrin 56b:6), also implied by Adam himself in Genesis 2:23, as explained by Genesis 2:24. The meaning of that passage is that sexual relations are forbidden between a man and anyone except his wife (another man, another man's wife, a woman who is not his wife, beasts), also prohibited are sexual relations between a man and either his father's sister and his mother's sister, or his father's wife and his mother (a disagreement between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva respectively, I think R. Eliezer's interpretation is better). Sanhedrin 57b:10-58a:8.
    • Given to Moses in Genesis 2:24
  6. to prohibit theft
    • Given to Adam in Genesis 2:16 when God gives Adam permission to eat from trees in the garden of Eden, it is implied that Adam was prohibited from eating animals because God had not given him permission to do so, thus the animals belong to God and to eat them would amount to theft (Sanhedrin 56b:4).
    • Given to Moses in Genesis 2:16.
  7. to prohibit eating living flesh
    • Not given to Adam, who was never allowed to eat flesh at all.
    • Given to Noah in Genesis 9:4.
    • Given to Moses in Genesis 9:4.
Not all of Jewry accepts the Talmud as authoritative, but Orthodox Jews (I think it's the largest denomination) definitely do. Orthodox Jews do in fact believe non-Jews deserve capital punishment for performing abortions after 40 days. Genesis 9:6 applies to killing the fetus (Sanhedrin 57b:5), although a fetus is merely water, not yet a person until 40 days after conception (Yevamot 69b:10).

~Max
  #384  
Old 06-12-2019, 07:01 PM
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Max, re your long and involved post #349:

We already had that vote and that constitutional amendment. See my post #340.

Have we always lived up to it? Of course not; we haven't always lived up to anything in the Constitution -- well, except having elections, come war, civil war, or high water. But that doesn't mean that we have to vote on it all over again every time somebody wants to say 'we should write civil law to suit my particular religious beliefs'.
If someone wants to propose a statutory ban on say, abortion after conception, that would need to come as a constitutional amendment because there is no secular rationale that would pass the Lemon test*. See my response to QuickSilver's hypothetical in post #237, where I played a religious lawmaker given the choice of supporting a discriminatory law based on my religion.

*ETA: unless the proponent thinks the current court will overrule Planned Parenthood v. Casey

~Max

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  #385  
Old 06-12-2019, 07:25 PM
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My position on separation of religion from public legislative policy has been consistent. Believe whatever you want and practice it freely within the context of your home, house of worship and public square. Have your own media channel. Shout while standing on a box and hand out newsletters. Your religious rights shall not be restricted. Right up to the edge of the legislative house steps.

And if secularist pro-life views don't have a compelling argument to make about restricting abortion rights, why is it incumbent on the rest of us to give them more than 14% support? A bad argument isn't made better just because it happens to come from secularists any more than if it comes from non-secularists.
You misunderstand the point of that post. Here is the sub-thread:

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Does it not concern you that you are determining which arguments are disqualified prior to the discussion? Does rational debate require you have to submit your underpinnings of your position to a gatekeeper first? And it seems that you would not appreciate it if instead of you being the gatekeeper for the qualifying basis of reason in public policy debates would be someone more positively inclined toward religion. And what if people used other Christian Humanism buzz words for religious language? Would the gatekeeper have a buzzer?
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I'm fully confident that a religious person(s) can make a compelling secular argument that would align with their non-secular views. I would happily see those heard and debated.
And then I basically said no, there are religiously motivated political positions which have no compelling secular equivalents.

~Max
  #386  
Old 06-12-2019, 07:39 PM
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And then I basically said no, there are religiously motivated political positions which have no compelling secular equivalents.

~Max
There are pseudo-scientific claims which are not supported by science. We don't give them special merit because they are popular among a self-identified group who earnestly believe them. Anti-vaxers, for example, or Scientologists.
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  #387  
Old 06-12-2019, 08:04 PM
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There are pseudo-scientific claims which are not supported by science. We don't give them special merit because they are popular among a self-identified group who earnestly believe them. Anti-vaxers, for example, or Scientologists.
No, we don't. But we don't disqualify them from public debate, either.

~Max
  #388  
Old 06-12-2019, 08:17 PM
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No, we don't. But we don't disqualify them from public debate, either.

~Max
You mean like on Facebook?
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  #389  
Old 06-12-2019, 08:59 PM
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Seems to me you're okay with allowing religious arguments in legislative bodies that influence the passing of laws that do indeed discriminate. Not sure how you can claim "probably" standing up for protection of minority rights. Is that you having it both ways?
Our system of governmental rights (in the US) are absolutely about having it both ways. All groups have free speech rights to make the points they want while also limiting their legislative actions through Constitutional means. That's the whole point.

And once again it isn't only religious arguments that influence the passing of discriminatory laws. And religious people have stood against discrimination in the public policy debate using religious reasons. Therefore trying to use that to argue for the banning of religious arguments in public policy debates seems to be a not so subtle ruse (and this is after saying you wanted to ban it due to the lacking of suitable reason for the policy debate) - this is merely about anti-religious animus. No more, no less.

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  #390  
Old 06-12-2019, 09:08 PM
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Basically, I don't think you were really arguing in good faith. It wasn't about rational debate in the legislative process or not allowing discrimination advocacy in public policy debates, but you believe religion is a specific evil which is not shared by anything else that shouldn't be allowed. A specific objection rather than a general (all irrational or all discrimination) objection.

If I had known that starting out, I wouldn't have bothered.

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  #391  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:25 AM
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I disagree. The axiom "God exists" is and always has been based on faith, otherwise it would not be an axiom. I suspect for many people the existence of God is not an axiom itself, but at some point down the line one makes a "leap of faith". Whether that be the authority of a bible or minister, or multiple life experiences inexplicable without a "leap of faith", it makes no difference. A set of axioms that implies God exists is just as religious as the single axiom asserting the existence of God.
No. God at one time was the best known answer to the problem or origins and the organization of the natural world. Paine specifically used the structure of the solar system as the basis for his belief in a God. Just not the Christian one.
As scientist found better answers, there was a reduction in mention of God in scientific papers, since he was no longer a good answer. This is pre-1800. Now of course there is no mention at all of God.



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I'm not sure if Spain was objectively wrong to impose the Spanish inquisition because I have my doubts that objective morality exists. By my personal standards, of course it was wrong because I do not accept the premises used to justify the inquisition.
I'm far more interested if you think that their use of the axiom I mentioned before was valid. Sure you disagree with it, but you seem to think that it is improper to argue against an axiom. Remember the axiom is that those not accepting Jesus will be doomed to eternal torment. Given that, the forcible conversion of nonbelievers follows rather naturally, since it is in their best interest to convert, and temporary worldly torture is far better than eternal torture.
My position would be that since there is no proof or even evidence for hell and eternal torment, their premise is invalid and thus their actions are unethical.
Your position seems to be that you wouldn't support their actions because you don't agree with their axiom. Which is fine for you personally, but seems a bit weak in arguing against their actions. All axioms are created equal in your book, it seems.

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Invalid for you, not to the person who had the revelation. If the majority of people had revelations or otherwise come to consensus on some point...
If a majority of people had consistent revelations that gave evidence of something they couldn't know without it, then there would be evidence for whatever the revelation revealed. One person having a revelation don't mean diddly. If a guy says he is talking to god, he could at least ask god for the winners of the next day's races at Belmont. That would be evidence.
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According to the Talmud there are seven sheva mitzvot b'nei Noah in Genesis which apply to all of humanity (Sanhedrin 56b:26).
Not all of Jewry accepts the Talmud as authoritative, but Orthodox Jews (I think it's the largest denomination) definitely do. Orthodox Jews do in fact believe non-Jews deserve capital punishment for performing abortions after 40 days. Genesis 9:6 applies to killing the fetus (Sanhedrin 57b:5), although a fetus is merely water, not yet a person until 40 days after conception (Yevamot 69b:10).

~Max
I'm aware of some laws that are supposed to apply to all humanity, but I'm unaware of any Jewish effort to enforce them.

By the way, Orthodox is hardly the largest denomination. This souce puts them third in the US, and significantly behind secular and non-denominational Jews even in Israel. And of course there is no body making laws for all Jews, let alone gentiles.
  #392  
Old 06-13-2019, 08:05 AM
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Our system of governmental rights (in the US) are absolutely about having it both ways. All groups have free speech rights to make the points they want while also limiting their legislative actions through Constitutional means. That's the whole point.
The point is, those actions are not as limited as you would like everyone to believe. And when they are limited, it is not in large part due to religious conscientious objectors quoting biblical texts advocating tolerance and acceptance, but by secular arguments.

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And once again it isn't only religious arguments that influence the passing of discriminatory laws. And religious people have stood against discrimination in the public policy debate using religious reasons. Therefore trying to use that to argue for the banning of religious arguments in public policy debates seems to be a not so subtle ruse (and this is after saying you wanted to ban it due to the lacking of suitable reason for the policy debate) - this is merely about anti-religious animus. No more, no less.
If and when a bigot stands up in congress and argues for bigoted policies, he/she is usually criticized. I have yet to see the same kind of criticism leveled at a religious argument that advocates for discriminatory policies because of religious convictions. You may find the latter excusable as a right of religious expression. Many do not.

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Basically, I don't think you were really arguing in good faith. It wasn't about rational debate in the legislative process or not allowing discrimination advocacy in public policy debates, but you believe religion is a specific evil which is not shared by anything else that shouldn't be allowed. A specific objection rather than a general (all irrational or all discrimination) objection.

If I had known that starting out, I wouldn't have bothered.
I have gone to some pains to make clear that I do not wish to exclude religious thought, speech and practice from the public sphere. However, based on my understanding of the OP and the ensuing discussion, I have suggested that American public/legislative policy could benefit from a better defined line of separation of church and state. Which is not a new or novel idea in American politics. It's certainly an idea that other democratic societies have managed to accomplish without insult or injury to religious thought and practice in people's lives. If you think religion absolutely must continue to play an integral part in politics, it's not enough to simply say, "It has always been thus!" The onus is on you to show evidence of significant social/legislative good it has contributed over time and is continuing to do so.

I grant you that there are many religious individuals who argue and support social justice. I do not suggest all religious thought is bad in all contexts. But you cannot ignore the recent laws passed limiting women's rights to abortion, limiting LGBTQ rights, repeated demands(not yet laws) of equal standing of teaching creation myths with evolution - all based on religious doctrine - and claim that is simply an expression of religious freedoms guaranteed by the constitution and therefore a net good for society. And all those who disagree can just lump it and take it up with the religious majority. Even more amazing is how the religious majority manages all aggrieved and oppressed when the secular minority suggests a little more equity in legislative policy procedures.
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  #393  
Old 06-13-2019, 10:01 AM
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The point is, those actions are not as limited as you would like everyone to believe. And when they are limited, it is not in large part due to religious conscientious objectors quoting biblical texts advocating tolerance and acceptance, but by secular arguments.
The design of the limiting document was supposed to, well, limited. I'm well aware of how limited it is (I took Constitutional Law in Law School). And it was intended as more of a neutral arbiter, so therefore it is written in non-religious legal terms. If the government were to apply laws otherwise, it would be considered a violation of 1st amendment protections (another limiter in the limiting document).

Of course this whole thing seems to purposely ignore people of faith who push for progressive laws or push against regressive ones. I think it maybe somewhat intentional. After all, the people of the US have mostly considered themselves religious until quite recently. Why ignore those who advocated for things you may like because of their faith? For all the talk about religion being used to advocate for slavery and segregation, there is an ignorance (or secularwashing?) of the strong faith advocacy for abolition and Civil Rights (John Brown and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke very openly about their faith being the reasons they were doing what they were doing). More recently, Catholic leaders (mostly Democrat) speak of their faith when they talk about the abhorrent things done at the border to migrants and refugees (Congressman Beto O'Rourke called a protest against the administration's family separation policies to be a "religious experience" and talked about his Catholic faith).

Whole denominations, of course, are for a woman's right to choose and pro-LGBTQ accordance with their faiths - and have advocacy arms in Washington that lobby against discrimination (my denomination is one of those).

Pete Buttigieg is not the first "religious left" person (in fact all of the major candidates running for the Democratic nomination, with the exception of Senator Bernie Sanders, are people of faith).

I have, of course, mentioned the alt-right having religious and atheist members, but they do not get the same response that their free speech rights be curtailed in the halls of policy debate.

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If you think religion absolutely must continue to play an integral part in politics, it's not enough to simply say, "It has always been thus!" The onus is on you to show evidence of significant social/legislative good it has contributed over time and is continuing to do so.
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Even more amazing is how the religious majority manages all aggrieved and oppressed when the secular minority suggests a little more equity in legislative policy procedures.
It's sounds bit Orwellian to claim the limiting of freedom of speech rights (and yes, that's exactly what banning religious arguments in policy decisions is) is simply 'a little more equity' and that those who wish to keep an equal right to speech in the policy decision process need have the onus, as opposed to those who wish to deny those rights.

And I find it completely absurd to say one is ok with religious arguments in the public arena, but it should be taken out in the public policy debate. Aren't public policies ideally supposed to reflect the desires and wants of the population... which are evidenced by the debate in the public arena? If something has mass approve in the public arena, telling those individuals who represent those populations to come up with different justifications (which will end up be easily seen through anyway - the other politicians participate in the same public arena) seems absurd.
  #394  
Old 06-13-2019, 11:18 AM
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Seems we're just going to keep talking past each other. Let's just call it a draw.
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  #395  
Old 06-13-2019, 12:26 PM
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Which includes the right to push for things that may be important to your religious faith. Now if those things actually end up passing, they may not go forward if they do indeed infringe on other faith (the aforementioned Constitution applies over any law that is passed). But how does simply advocating a policy based on your religious faith infringe on anyone else's freedom of religion?
If said policy if enacted would infringe on others' freedom of religion -- say, for instance, their freedom to perform a gay marriage -- then yes, you are arguing that you ought to be able to infringe on others' freedom of religion. If you can make no secular argument for doing so, then you are arguing specifically that your religion ought to be established over theirs. If this argument is taking place in a context in which the arguers have sworn to uphold the US Constitution, they're in violation of their sworn oath and in violation of their legal purpose.

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I'm not sure if Spain was objectively wrong to impose the Spanish inquisition because I have my doubts that objective morality exists. By my personal standards, of course it was wrong because I do not accept the premises used to justify the inquisition.
Only the premises? Are you saying that your personal standards would have no problem with the means if you accepted the premises?

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
If the majority of people had revelations or otherwise come to consensus on some point...
If the overwhelming majority of people came to consensus about religious issues, I'd take that as evidence of something -- something about the nature of humans, at any rate, if not necessarily evidence of the existence of some specific god. But that doesn't happen.

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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
Of course this whole thing seems to purposely ignore people of faith who push for progressive laws or push against regressive ones. I think it maybe somewhat intentional. .
I have been doing my very best to point out the existence of such people, and that their religious rights would be violated by imposing laws based solely oh other people's religious beliefs.
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:04 PM
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I'd encourage a progressive arguing for good causes based on religion to find better arguments. There are certainly those who argue for LGBTQ rights based on the Bible, but their argument seems a lot weaker than those who claim the Bible is against these rights. Biblical quote mining is a poor justification for nearly anything, and the history of religion in regard to these things is not very encouraging.
The problem is that if religion is a good argument for the good side, why isn't it an equally good argument for the bad side?
Unfortunately, progressive are too with it to claim that Jesus appeared to them and came out for LGBTQ rights. Maybe someone should try it. He changed all the rules once, after all.
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:19 PM
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I'd encourage a progressive arguing for good causes based on religion to find better arguments.
If they're arguing in formal political bodies, then I agree with you (except that if they're answering someone else in the same venue who's specifically trying to make public policy based on a religious agreement, they could briefly point out that religious viewpoints differ). If they're arguing in church, or at a family dinner, or whatever, with others claiming to be following the same scriptures, then I hope they keep at it.
  #398  
Old 06-13-2019, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
If said policy if enacted would infringe on others' freedom of religion -- say, for instance, their freedom to perform a gay marriage -- then yes, you are arguing that you ought to be able to infringe on others' freedom of religion. If you can make no secular argument for doing so, then you are arguing specifically that your religion ought to be established over theirs. If this argument is taking place in a context in which the arguers have sworn to uphold the US Constitution, they're in violation of their sworn oath and in violation of their legal purpose.
Regarding the oath thing: one can reasonably say that they are arguing for a policy that would violate current Constitutional jurisprudence, but may not comport with their viewpoint of what the Constitution says, of course. And part of our system allows for that - you can agitate for changing the document. It's why we have an amendment procedure after all. So therefore they can reasonably assert that they are not violating their oath. They may also have the viewpoint that establishment clause refers incredibly narrowly in an originalist POV (only actual establishment would do). Settled Constitutional jurisprudence can and is argued against all the time when it comes to the making of laws (more than a few Congresspeople and Senators have argued against Citizen's United or its predecessor, Buckley v. Valeo).

In the end this is a debate on the limits of freedom of speech, and I think that the bar to ban speech in public policy debates should be insanely high. If anything I think in that arena freedom of speech should be considered mostly sacrosanct. I think it is for that reason that you are unable to be sued for anything you say in any speech or debate in Congress (Art 1, Section 6, clause 1), in order to preserve that ability.

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I'd encourage a progressive arguing for good causes based on religion to find better arguments. There are certainly those who argue for LGBTQ rights based on the Bible, but their argument seems a lot weaker than those who claim the Bible is against these rights. Biblical quote mining is a poor justification for nearly anything, and the history of religion in regard to these things is not very encouraging.
The problem is that if religion is a good argument for the good side, why isn't it an equally good argument for the bad side?
Unfortunately, progressive are too with it to claim that Jesus appeared to them and came out for LGBTQ rights. Maybe someone should try it. He changed all the rules once, after all.
How may progressive Christians do you know? I feel that a lot of people in thread don't know the long history of theological debate because there is an assumption the progressives treat Scripture similar to conservatives but end up in a different place. Progressives tend to Biblical quote-mine far less than conservatives - as progressives aren't believers of inerrancy. Though every once in a while, it comes in handy, such as pro-immigrant and refugee verses (I'm generally not in favor of it because I have issues with the quote-mining you reference). Progressives tend to stress the whole body of work rather than a few verses here and there like the literalists tend to do.

And a lot of Christian progressives are not at all shy about saying that the Holy Spirt led them to understand that God's love for all means LGBTQ people deserve rights and God wants them to have those rights. During the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. said as much when it came to African-American rights (as he talked about doing God's will).

The issue I have with progressive non-believers is an inverse of your own statement: if religion is a 'good' argument (so to speak) for the bad side, then why can it not also be an equally good argument for the good side? Instead of shooting yourselves in the foot with believers who may be inclined to listen, why not make common cause with those who believe in a particular cause you are trying to achieve? Are you more concerned with stamping out religion, even those who believe in the social concerns that you do, than fighting for gender equality, racial justice, LGBTQ rights?

After all, as I've shown a few times, you don't have to be religious to be a white supremacist or a support of patriarchal norms.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
God at one time was the best known answer to the problem or origins and the organization of the natural world.
There are people who still argue that God the watchmaker and intervenor is the most pragmatic cosmology. There was once a time where that theory was widespread among scientists, although as you say that time has passed. Even back then, to assume that God exists due to a lack of suitable alternative theories for some phenomena, rather than to admit that you don't know, is still to make a leap of faith. A God-of-the-gaps argument was faith-based then and is faith-based now.

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I'm far more interested if you think that their use of the axiom I mentioned before was valid. Sure you disagree with it, but you seem to think that it is improper to argue against an axiom. Remember the axiom is that those not accepting Jesus will be doomed to eternal torment.
It's not an axiom, it's a premise. There's a big difference, because it is easier to argue against a non-axiomatic premise than an axiomatic premise, because non-axiomatic premises may have their underlying arguments examined while an axiom can not (both can be checked for inconsistency with the other premises accepted by the debator). Even so, that is not at all the rationale behind the Spanish Inquisition, which never had formal jurisdiction over non-Christians (see spoiler).

SPOILER:

Historically speaking, the Spanish Inquisition only had jurisdiction over Christians. An inquisition was a determination of heresy for one of the Christian faith, if the individual repents they are The Inquisition was, on paper, intended to stop anti-semetic riots, not to kill Jews. Spain had a large number of conversos, or Jews who converted (often at knifepoint) to Catholicism to avoid public anti-semetic violence instigated by Archdeacon Martinez in the late fourteenth century. These conversos were given legal protection by the Church and the Crown, but unsurprisingly they did not fully assimilate and kept certain Jewish traditions such as the Sabbath and kosher diet. The public did not appreciate the conversions which seemed to be in name only, and directed their anti-semetic ire towards the conversos, often declaring them heretics and burning them at the stake during public riots. I'm guessing Ferdinand II and Isabella I could not care less about the Jews (Isabella thought they were good for the economy), but both of them wanted to unite all of Spain under Roman Catholicism. So in 1478 Pope Sixtus IV, under pressure from Ferdinand II, authorized Spain to appoint "two or three" inquisitors to test the conversos in Castile and see whether they were Crypto-Jews or Crypto-Muslims or otherwise heretical (Real Academia de la Historia, 1889). The Spanish Crown stretched that inch into a mile and extended the inquisition , which proceeded to execute many conversos who failed the test. Unfortunately abuses abounded as inquisitors had no funding except via confiscation and so had an incentive for corruption, which the Pope specifically denounced along with expansion of the inquisition into Aragón and its territories, which then included Southern Italy, Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia. Sixtus IV repeatedly considered calling off the inquisition but apparently Ferdinand pressured him out of this.

That being said, the Spanish Inquisition was accompanied by the taking of Granada on January 2, 1492. This event, probably the most important that year, not only set the stage for Colombus's voyage but also resulted in the Alhambra Decree. That Alhambra Decree gave Jews four months to either convert, leave Spain, or die. The decree was motivated by suspicions that the practicing Jewish population was influencing conversos and providing a temptation to revert to Judaism, which would be heretical (although practicing Judaism itself was not heresy). The 100,000 (or fewer) expelled Jews and their descendants constitute a diaspora known as the Sepharidim, or "the Jews of Spain". And so after August of 1492 the entire "Jewish" population of Spain was subject to the inquisition.

The Treaty of Granada, signed at the end of 1491, required Spain to protect its newly conquered Muslim population from religious and civil discrimination. Initially, the treaty was followed as a tolerant converso, Hernando de Talavera, was appointed Archbishop of Granada and confessor to Isabella. In 1499 Cardinal Cisneros, Archbishop of Toledo, took over for both of Talavera's jobs. Cisneros was religiously intolerant and started burning Arabic manuscripts and forcing Muslims to convert. Cisneros also imprisoned the wives of former Christians who had converted to Islam, effectively holding them hostage. One such hostage-taking led to a crowd coming to the woman's rescue, killing the constable, arming themselves, and marching to Cisneros's house. Talavera and the Captain General Mendoza managed to defuse the situation after ten days of negotiation. Cisneros was called before the king and queen to explain his breach of the treaty. Cisneros managed to convince the monarchs that the Muslims had started an armed uprising and were thus responsible for breaching the treaty, but he begged that they be pardoned if they convert to Christianity. The monarchs assented and Muslims, unwilling to convert, fled to the nearby Alpujarra mountains and started the Rebellion of the Alpujarras among the almost exclusively Muslim population there. The ensuing war, led by Ferdinand personally, saw many Catholic atrocities such as the enslavement of entire villages, the destruction of a mosque with women and children inside, and the execution of thousands of prisoners of war. After victory, Ferdinand gave the Muslims of Granada a choice between conversion, exile (for an outrageous ten gold coins), or death or slavery.

Muslims were still tolerated in other regions. In February of 1502 Isabella decreed that Muslims in the rest of Castile had just over two months to leave, while also forbidding travel to pretty much anywhere except Egypt from anywhere except one port on the north coast. That means people would have to sell all of their property and walk up to 1000km within two months, then pay the exorbitant fare for one of the few ships to Egypt. In September, Isabella issued another edict forbidding newly converted Muslims from leaving the kingdom for two years. Ferdinand himself was the king of Aragón, but he had sworn an oath of coronation not to forcibly convert his Muslim subjects (Granada was part of Castile). Ferdinand's successor, Charles V, also took the oath of coronation. It was not until 1524 when Charles V persuaded Pope Clement VII to release him from the oath, and in November of that year he ordered the Muslims to leave the kingdom within two to three months (depending on which kingdom). As before, it was nearly impossible to leave: Aragón controlled the eastern third of the peninsula but the designated port was on the northwest corner, in Castile.

Not surprisingly, most Muslims stayed behind and were converted to Catholicism. The newly "converted" population became known as Moriscos and were subject to Catholic laws, including inquisition.

Real Academia de la Historia. (1889). Boletín de la real academia de la historia, Tomo XV, Año 1889, p 447-451. Retrieved from http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/obra...4_15.html#I_2_


If the question is whether a nation has the right to kill or expel subsets of its own population for religious reasons, I fail to distinguish this from the general case. Could a nation have the right to kill or expel subsets of its own population? If I were to believe in universal morality, the answer could be a clear yes or no (depending on my system of universal morality). If I were to believe in the supremacy of democracy in determining what is ultimately moral, that is, morality is defined by the majority, the answer would be yes. A positive answer is in fact necessary to justify capital punishment. If I were to generalize the "nation" into "the whole of humanity", a positive answer is required to justify war. But this might be problematic, I am reminded of Niemöller who said:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
But then I look deeper. I have clear evidence that descriptive moral relativism is true - some people do not agree on issues of morality. Therefore to assert universal morality would be rather narcissistic of me. After all, the issue respondents to this thread seem to have with religiously justified laws is that they push someone else's morality upon society. So I tend to avoid that position unless the law is passed according to rules agreed upon by a supermajority.

Can a democratic society morally deprive subsets of its citizenry of rights? We already do, with felons and draftees. Felons are deprived of liberty, while draftees are potentially deprived of life. But what justification do we have for doing so? If not universal morality, and not might makes right, then what?

So as before, I am incredibly uncomfortable with my own position. I would consider the axiom to be invalid, but their use of it to be valid if done with the democratic consent of society.

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
All axioms are created equal in your book, it seems.
Not all, just the ones agreed upon by a plurality of society according to rules agreed upon by a supermajority. Not equality of outcome, equality of opportunity to the maximum feasible extent.

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
If a majority of people had consistent revelations that gave evidence of something they couldn't know without it, then there would be evidence for whatever the revelation revealed.
But what about people who have revelations that don't give evidence for anybody except themselves? Who said the revelations need to be consistent? It might be a personal matter, and they might reject monistic physicalism. Not that most people understand those terms, but that Pew report I linked earlier gives statistics on a 2009 poll. Doing a bit of math I find about 51% of 3,545 respondents said yes, they have "had a 'religious' or mystical experience, that is, a moment of sudden religious insight or awakening".

Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life. "Nones" on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation, p 54. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-conte...eRise-full.pdf

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I'm aware of some laws that are supposed to apply to all humanity, but I'm unaware of any Jewish effort to enforce them.
Of course, to enforce a Jewish law on the rest of America, without a vote, would be unconstitutional. To enforce a law that passed the vote but contradicts the constitution would be unconstitutional, unless the law was a constitutional amendment. That's why they lobby instead, and I don't mean this in a pejorative way, Jewish societies literally ask Jewish people to support political stances just like any other religion. New York state has a significant orthodox community and I remember reading a longform article about the effects of an orthodox community in municipal politics (I can't seem to find the article now) - they move in with large families and out-vote the secular people. They don't go to public schools, their private schools probably don't teach things like science or English, they only go to kosher restaurants, they don't buy normal groceries, clothes, or other products, they don't support abortion, or contraception, or homosexuality, or marijuana, or tattoos, they circumcise their children, they do support Israel, they do reinforce gender roles, they don't like paying taxes for things they don't use.

None of this surprises me, and I might think their policies are immoral, but unless/until it violates the constitution I don't think it's wrong for them, and it would be wrong for me to resort to extralegal methods to prevent such things. Similarly, if the nation was dominated by orthodox Jews, I think I would feel the same way if they started amending the constitution. Unfair? Absolutely. Universally wrong? I tend to think not.

Rabbinical Council of America. (2019). RCA Opposes New York State's Reproductive Health Act. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/41912672482...type=3&theater
Strauss, V. (August 17, 2018). 15 ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in NYC deny entry to city investigators, schools chief says. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...?noredirect=on

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
By the way, Orthodox is hardly the largest denomination. This souce puts them third in the US, and significantly behind secular and non-denominational Jews even in Israel. And of course there is no body making laws for all Jews, let alone gentiles.
You got me, although a good number (most?) of conservative Jews also accept the Talmud as authoritative. Also, a secular Jew is not a follower of the Jewish religion, it is someone with Jewish heritage - two different uses of the term "Jew", just like secular Mormons aren't usually counted when asking how many Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is authoritative.

From a 2009 Atlantic interview with Erica Brown, an Orthodox Jew: "Judaism upholds certain ethical values grounded in the book of Deuteronomy -- "And you shall do what is just and good in the eyes of God" -- that some Jews choose to ignore. In other words, there are Jews and there is Judaism, and they are not the same thing."

Goldberg, J. (July 27, 2009). The Morality Crisis in Orthodox Judaism. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/internat...judaism/22137/

~Max
  #400  
Old 06-13-2019, 07:34 PM
thorny locust is offline
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Regarding the oath thing: one can reasonably say that they are arguing for a policy that would violate current Constitutional jurisprudence, but may not comport with their viewpoint of what the Constitution says, of course. And part of our system allows for that - you can agitate for changing the document. It's why we have an amendment procedure after all. So therefore they can reasonably assert that they are not violating their oath.
They would not be violating their oath by arguing for an amendment. As you say, there's an amendment process in the Constitution.

But they're not doing that. They're arguing that their specific religious beliefs should be imposed on the rest of us by ignoring the First Amendment, without bothering with the process necessary to change it. That is not upholding the Constitution.

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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
Are you more concerned with stamping out religion
Nobody, nobody, nobody in this thread is trying to stamp out religion. We are trying to prevent beliefs specific to certain interpretations of certain religions from being imposed on people of other religious beliefs as well as on nonbelievers. If anything, this protects religion. Why are you trying to stamp out religious practices different from whatever's being argued loudest in the public square?

-- whoops, Max S posted while I was typing. Will read that long post later.
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