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Old 08-17-2018, 07:04 AM
ohiomstr2 ohiomstr2 is offline
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Pastafarian denied rights

(inserting tongue firmly in cheek)

So I just saw news that the high court of the Netherlands denied a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster the right to wear a sacred collander for her ID photo. The court declared that pastafarianism is a satire and not a real religion.

Now this feels like blatant discrimination to me, other believers are apparently allowed to wear religious head gear in their pictures. The Monster does not appear to be any more of a satire than any of the others, so I think this is really unfair.

What do you think?

(Removes tongue to have more coffee)

Dear moderator, it occurred to me after I posted this that it probably belongs in IMHO so please move it as you see fit. Sorry about that Thanks.

Last edited by ohiomstr2; 08-17-2018 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:16 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is online now
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Court and government rulings are all over the place on this one; some countries and US states have allowed colander headgear in official photos such as driver's licenses; others have not.

IANAL and so am not sure to what extent this sets a precedent on formal recognition of new religions, but the problem with this particular faith is that for some people professing it it will be satire, for some (strangely enough) it will be an actual religion, and for some it will be a little of Column A, a little of column B. That said, Pastafarianism is no more ridiculous than Scientology and arguably a lot more benign - but then the consensus on Scientology isn't entirely settled either.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:26 AM
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If by satire you mean insincere, then I'd say it's factually true that Pastafarians beliefs are not sincerely held. I'm not sure if that's a valid reason for dismissing them. The 1st Amendment says Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. There's nothing in there about that only applying to sincere religions.

This reminds me of holidays. I used to criticize Kwanza because it was a made-up holiday. Then I realized that all holidays are made-up. It's just a question of the time scale.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:26 AM
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Dear moderator, it occurred to me after I posted this that it probably belongs in IMHO so please move it as you see fit. Sorry about that Thanks.
Moving thread from GQ to IMHO.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:41 AM
Tired and Cranky Tired and Cranky is offline
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Originally Posted by ohiomstr2 View Post
(inserting tongue firmly in cheek)

So I just saw news that the high court of the Netherlands denied a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster the right to wear a sacred collander for her ID photo. The court declared that pastafarianism is a satire and not a real religion.

Now this feels like blatant discrimination to me, other believers are apparently allowed to wear religious head gear in their pictures. The Monster does not appear to be any more of a satire than any of the others, so I think this is really unfair.

What do you think?

(Removes tongue to have more coffee)
In the U.S. at least, religious accommodations, like wearing a colander in an ID photo, are generally granted only if the religious belief is sincerely held. I don't know how the Dutch do it so I can't comment. The sincerity test thus should mean that it's effectively impossible for a U.S. court to declare any particular religion a "real religion" or a "satire" because the court has to evaluate each individual's beliefs. There can't be any categorical determination for a particular religion.

Let's say a parent participates in Pastafarianism rituals and trappings insincerely to protest against organized religion. His professed beliefs are insincere and he is not entitled to a religious accommodation. But, if he raises his child in the Pastafarian faith and his child never catches on to the joke, his child might wind up with a sincerely-held belief that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is real and that he must wear a colander on his head at all times. For that son, the belief is sincere, and the son may be entitled to a religious accommodation. Thus, two people in the same family ostensibly practicing the same religion have different entitlements to religious accommodation. Teach your children well.

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If by satire you mean insincere, then I'd say it's factually true that Pastafarians beliefs are not sincerely held. I'm not sure if that's a valid reason for dismissing them. The 1st Amendment says Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. There's nothing in there about that only applying to sincere religions.

This reminds me of holidays. I used to criticize Kwanza because it was a made-up holiday. Then I realized that all holidays are made-up. It's just a question of the time scale.
Sincerity has been long upheld as the linchpin of religious accommodation law in the U.S. The gist is that if you don't sincerely hold a belief, it's not really a religious belief to you, and thus, you aren't entitled to a religious accommodation. It doesn't matter that all holidays are made up to some degree; the issue is whether the people celebrating those holidays sincerely believe their religion requires, or perhaps at least encourages, them to celebrate those holidays.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:41 AM
ohiomstr2 ohiomstr2 is offline
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AI is a wonderful thing. Thanks for correcting the error. 😂
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:48 AM
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But how is it possible to definitively determine a sincerely held belief and satire?
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:56 AM
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Is the claim that Pastafarians are required to wear a colander at all times? That would be easily refuted by documenting all of the times that the person did not wear one. Or is it only the claim that Pastafarians are required to wear a colander when sitting for ID photos? That would, to be sure, be a peculiar religious belief, but that could be explained by the fact that photography is much younger than most religions. And I'm not sure how one would refute it.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:58 AM
ohiomstr2 ohiomstr2 is offline
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Missed the edit time limit.

I meant from not and
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Old 08-17-2018, 08:24 AM
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Sincere belief has its issues though.

My daughter has anxiety, and one of her comfort things is a hat. So we had her doctor write her a hat note and she had a hat exception to the dress code policy - which also allows religious exceptions for headgear.

Her youth minister was rather disappointed to discover the doctor got to write the note, because I told her she was my backup plan. UUs have no headgear requirement, but we do have a sincere belief that people should be treated with respect, and that everyone is entitled to their own voice, and therefore, if she wants to wear a damn hat she should wear a damn hat.

It is a sincerely held belief among Pastafarians that religious practices are a the very least a little ridiculous. One way to reinforce that belief is v wearing a colander on your head in an ID picture.
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Old 08-17-2018, 08:49 AM
Tired and Cranky Tired and Cranky is offline
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But how is it possible to definitively determine a sincerely held belief and satire?
The person claiming the religious accommodation has to prove their sincerity with whatever evidence they choose. Evidence generally includes things like readings from scripture, the testimony of their religious leaders, and evidence of consistent religious practice. The finder of fact (judge or jury) will determine if they succeeded in proving their sincerity.

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Is the claim that Pastafarians are required to wear a colander at all times? That would be easily refuted by documenting all of the times that the person did not wear one. Or is it only the claim that Pastafarians are required to wear a colander when sitting for ID photos? That would, to be sure, be a peculiar religious belief, but that could be explained by the fact that photography is much younger than most religions. And I'm not sure how one would refute it.
I don't really know anything about Pastafarianism, so I might have mischaracterized their colander practices. Please forgive me.

Note that religious beliefs don't necessarily have to be perfectly practiced to be sincerely held. Otherwise, Catholics wouldn't need confession. Evidence that one is not consistently practicing their professed beliefs is evidence that the belief is not sincerely held but it's not dispositive.

Finally, even iconoclastic sincerely-held religious beliefs should theoretically receive accommodations in appropriate circumstances. If I were the only Pastafarian who sincerely believed that I should wear a toilet seat around my neck in ID photos, in theory, I should be entitled to a similar accommodation given to colander wearers. In practice, it's hard to prove that your particularly unique belief is sincerely held.
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Old 08-17-2018, 08:50 AM
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Sincerity has been long upheld as the linchpin of religious accommodation law in the U.S. The gist is that if you don't sincerely hold a belief, it's not really a religious belief to you, and thus, you aren't entitled to a religious accommodation. It doesn't matter that all holidays are made up to some degree; the issue is whether the people celebrating those holidays sincerely believe their religion requires, or perhaps at least encourages, them to celebrate those holidays.
How the heck do you test for sincerity? And in particular, how would you tell the difference between someone who insincerely holds a belief, vs someone else who holds it sincerely, but caves in the test because they feel very intimidated to have their sincerity tested?
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:17 AM
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If I were the only Pastafarian who sincerely believed that I should wear a toilet seat around my neck in ID photos, in theory, I should be entitled to a similar accommodation given to colander wearers.
Splitter!
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:22 AM
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The Monster does not appear to be any more of a satire than any of the others
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:26 AM
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How the heck do you test for sincerity? And in particular, how would you tell the difference between someone who insincerely holds a belief, vs someone else who holds it sincerely, but caves in the test because they feel very intimidated to have their sincerity tested?
Seems to me that this question is valid phrased another way: "What do you, the applicant, do to demonstrate that this is a sincerely held belief of yours?"

If someone can't present a credible case that Pastafarianism is a sincerely held belief; it would seem to invalidate the question of having the government disprove that it is a sincerely held belief.
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:32 AM
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IANAL and so am not sure to what extent this sets a precedent on formal recognition of new religions, but the problem with this particular faith is that for some people professing it it will be satire, for some (strangely enough) it will be an actual religion, and for some it will be a little of Column A, a little of column B.
I'm going with this. IRL I have not come across any Pastafarians of any intent so I don't have first-hand knowledge; just what I get from places like this. But considering some of the crazy things I know of that people do in "official photos" from lucky shirts to having the same hair-band they wore for their college ID I don't have much of a problem with it.
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:37 AM
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How the heck do you test for sincerity? And in particular, how would you tell the difference between someone who insincerely holds a belief, vs someone else who holds it sincerely, but caves in the test because they feel very intimidated to have their sincerity tested?
Typically it's based on the longevity of the belief and usually there is pretty wide latitude given. Insincere belief is typically invoked for things that seem to obviously be skirting the law. For instance, a bar that calls itself a 'church' to get around alcohol sales restrictions. Or a business that calls itself a 'church' to get around zoning laws.

In the US, we're usually pretty forgiving of outre beliefs and our Freedom of Speech and Religion laws are so broad that it's rare to actually see much individual behavior clash with the state. Pastafarianism is a bit strange though because it almost has more features in common with hate groups than with religious groups, so it starts to blur the line. I think that's typically why we see more of these types lawsuits with the Church of Satan which has a formalized belief system and somewhat of a consistent history that gives it more standing to say their beliefs are sincerely held.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:14 AM
ohiomstr2 ohiomstr2 is offline
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From Wikipedia

"Because of its popularity and exposure, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is often used as a contemporary version of Russell's teapot—an argument that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon those who make unfalsifiable claims, not on those who reject them. Pastafarianism has received praise from the scientific community and criticism from proponents of intelligent design. Pastafarians have engaged in disputes with creationists, including in Polk County, Florida, where they played a role in dissuading the local school board from adopting new rules on teaching evolution.[13]"

Hard to see how this is comparable to a hate group, unless you are a creationist of course.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:37 AM
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But how is it possible to definitively determine a sincerely held belief and satire?
When I was hanging out in an Orthodox Jewish community, there was talk about a lawsuit that supposedly had recently happened (it could have been a FOAF story, but bear with me): the sincerity of a woman's beliefs had come into question in regard to her wearing a hat in a courtroom (she was a recorder), when other people were expected to remove headgear. Supposedly, she usually wore a sheitl (wig), but once in a while, showed up in some other kind of hair covering.

Anyway, she had become frum as an adult, and married a man who was from an Orthodox family, and they were raising their children Orthodox, etc., etc., but someone had evidence that she sometimes spoke on the phone to her mother on Shabbes. That supposedly conflicted with Orthodox standards, and the plaintiff tried to use it as an example of her not being consistent in her beliefs, and therefore, not sincere in them when she was "being Orthodox," or however you want to term it.

Now, family harmony is a Jewish value, and it's generally allowed that people who are ba'al t'shuvah (people raised in liberal or non-observant homes, who become Orthodox) can adopt slightly lax standards when dealing with their family of origin: no one is supposed to cut ties with their original family in order to become ba'al t'shuvah.

This woman's father was ill, and her mother was calling her when she needed to discuss his care with her, and it happened that the time that was convenient for the mother was Saturday. I don't remember why, it just was. I don't think it was the only time they talked, but sometimes the mother needed to speak to her on Saturday-- maybe he was in a facility that had offices open on Saturday, but not Sunday. I don't remember.

But the defendant prevailed.

However, that would be the kind of thing that could be offered as an example of insincerity of beliefs.

I imagine another would be trying to observe more than one religion. If you tell your boss you need Yom Kippur off, then later you say you need time off for Diwali, they are probably going to look at you askance, and don't be surprised if you get denied.

I have no comment on whether those are either right or wrong. I'm not offering the story because I want to debate it. It's just an example I happen to know of regarding someone trying to demonstrate to a court that religious beliefs weren't sincere.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:45 AM
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Seems to me that this question is valid phrased another way: "What do you, the applicant, do to demonstrate that this is a sincerely held belief of yours?"

If someone can't present a credible case that Pastafarianism is a sincerely held belief; it would seem to invalidate the question of having the government disprove that it is a sincerely held belief.
This might be reasonable if it were applied when a Christian came in and said s/he had a sincerely held belief that s/he should do or not do x. You shouldn't be able to demonstrate sincerity by saying in effect, "Look this is a common religion; lots of people believe this." How does that prove your sincerity? And if it does do so, how does that not effectively "establish" the given religion and not establish the other.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:58 AM
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From Wikipedia

"Because of its popularity and exposure, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is often used as a contemporary version of Russell's teapot—an argument that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon those who make unfalsifiable claims, not on those who reject them. Pastafarianism has received praise from the scientific community and criticism from proponents of intelligent design. Pastafarians have engaged in disputes with creationists, including in Polk County, Florida, where they played a role in dissuading the local school board from adopting new rules on teaching evolution.[13]"

Hard to see how this is comparable to a hate group, unless you are a creationist of course.
I think if you were to move its context to race instead of belief it becomes clear how it's comparable (I'm not saying that it IS a hate group, just that it is closer to a hate group than to a religious group.) It's not a group dedicated to a proposition, but dedicated to showing how other propositions are ludicrous and ridiculous. Pastafarianism is not about celebrating the FSM or even about celebrating rationalism or secularism. It's about blocking moves by other groups and attempting to culturally isolate and ridicule them. The focus is strongly on how the 'other' is bad. I would liken it to say a Slovak-American social club. If the focus of the club is on making Bacovsky Rezen and playing the fujara, it's just a cultural club. If the focus is on stopping the agenda of every other racial group, it becomes a hate group. Of course, Pastafarians could counter that it's justified and the other group started it first and their actions are simply defensive in nature, but that's suspiciously like the language that white supremacist groups use as well. It doesn't hurt that much of what they do is not original in nature, but a mocking derivative of other belief systems. I think that mocking derivatives that caricature other beliefs or cultures are pretty par for the course for hate groups. If I were to dress in black face and talk about eating southern foods in an exaggerated Gullah accent, you would likely say, "What the heck, man?! That's seriously racist." When a Pastafarian does it parodying say Judaism or Islam, is it really closer to a religious ceremony than to hate speech? Really?

Of course, it also has to be noted that Pastafarianism is not really a group or even a movement per se and much closer to simply a cultural 'virtue signal,' so in that
regard calling it a group of any kind is wrong.
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Old 08-17-2018, 11:42 AM
ohiomstr2 ohiomstr2 is offline
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But Scientology routinely attacks psychiatry without being labeled a hate group. And even if the CFSM is primarily a satire, adherents can still believe that this is "the Way."

Can't see the difference between this and believing that if you might be reincarnated as a fly or that failing to accept a savior will doom you to hell.

Fundamentalist Christians and Islamists routinely denounce and even attack abortion rights advocate (for one example). Does this make them a hate group?

I still contend that sincerity is impossible to prove or disprove. A government entity does not have the right to question my beliefs.
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:49 PM
senoy senoy is offline
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But Scientology routinely attacks psychiatry without being labeled a hate group. And even if the CFSM is primarily a satire, adherents can still believe that this is "the Way."

Can't see the difference between this and believing that if you might be reincarnated as a fly or that failing to accept a savior will doom you to hell.

Fundamentalist Christians and Islamists routinely denounce and even attack abortion rights advocate (for one example). Does this make them a hate group?

I still contend that sincerity is impossible to prove or disprove. A government entity does not have the right to question my beliefs.
I would say that if a Christian pastor were to stand up, put on a fake beard and pretend to be a Muslim imam in a way which is directly designed to portray Islam as savage and worthy of destruction then that message is closer to hate speech than religious speech. If the majority of what his church did was this, then they are closer to a hate group than a religious group. (See Westboro Baptist)

Denouncing is not a problem. There are plenty of atheist groups that denounce Christian ideals without it treading into hate speech. Obviously, violence is never OK, but whether it is hate-based or not is probably depending upon the context. The problem is dehumanizing speech and actions designed to isolate and ridicule. It's one thing to be an imam that says, "Christianity is wrong-headed and ultimately harmful to society. I urge Christians to repent and follow Allah." It's quite another to say, "Look at me, I'm a Christian who eats Jesus. I'm a cannibal." and then holds up a doughnut hole and says, "Look, I'm eating the balls of Christ." The first is a free exchange of ideas and a disagreement. The second is intended to denigrate and dehumanize. The first is fine and should be lauded in a free society, the second should be rejected by any clear thinking individual. The first is religious disagreement, the second is hate speech. I contend that Pastafarianism has far more in common with the second than the first and is thus closer to a hate group than a religious one.
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:28 PM
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The funniest bit of the judgement was when they said

Quote:
Pastafarianism lacked the “seriousness and coherence” required of a religion.
I believe it was said with a straight face.
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:34 PM
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Still can't see how opposing the teaching of creationism is hate speech.

I only know about these guys from looking at their website and wiki atricle but I still can't see how their beliefs are any sillier than any other. In fact, since they seem to rely on science as a fundamental basis for their gospel, they make a good deal more sense than many religions.

My personal belief is that all religious thinking is counter productive and stifles self awareness and social progress. Simply questioning someone else's beliefs and opposing the imposition of those beliefs on others by introducing them into science education is not hate speech. Perhaps insertjng a study of pseudoscience in a science class may be acceptable.

Parody or not, these guys have as much right to promote their agenda as anybody else. I find the CFSM to be kind of silly myself, but I feel that way about most "isms".
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:50 PM
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Still can't see how opposing the teaching of creationism is hate speech.
It appears that failing to take something seriously is considered hate speech now.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:09 PM
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Denouncing is not a problem. There are plenty of atheist groups that denounce Christian ideals without it treading into hate speech. Obviously, violence is never OK, but whether it is hate-based or not is probably depending upon the context. The problem is dehumanizing speech and actions designed to isolate and ridicule. It's one thing to be an imam that says, "Christianity is wrong-headed and ultimately harmful to society. I urge Christians to repent and follow Allah." It's quite another to say, "Look at me, I'm a Christian who eats Jesus. I'm a cannibal." and then holds up a doughnut hole and says, "Look, I'm eating the balls of Christ." The first is a free exchange of ideas and a disagreement. The second is intended to denigrate and dehumanize. The first is fine and should be lauded in a free society, the second should be rejected by any clear thinking individual. The first is religious disagreement, the second is hate speech.
The ridicule of ridiculous ideas is not hate speech. If you can't grasp the distinction between mocking an innate characteristic such as skin color versus mocking someone's freely-chosen beliefs, that sums up why "hate speech" laws are so dangerous to free speech.

Sure, being an persistent asshole about criticism might not make one a nice person. But sometimes mockery and ridicule is the only way to expose deeply-ingrained bad ideas. Sometimes mockery and ridicule is the only was to achieve social progress. And to suggest that the tone of criticism of ideas and beliefs is something that should be policed by hate speech laws is just woefully misguided. If you can't see how that approach is headed for a disaster of arbitrary censorship where "hate speech" = "speech I just don't like", I have little recourse but to ridicule you.

Last edited by Riemann; 08-17-2018 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:24 PM
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Still can't see how opposing the teaching of creationism is hate speech.
It's not, as I said above. Hate speech is dehumanizing and denigrating. Pastafarianism comes close to this standard. Simply stating an opposing belief is not dehumanizing nor denigrating. Again, an example of fine speech would be to say, "Native Americans have a problem with alcoholism in their communities and we need to find ways to address that." is no dehumanizing. Putting on a headdress and sitting on a porch stoop holding a 40 is. The first is an expression of one's beliefs. The second is degrading and dehumanizing. I think the difference is clear.

Quote:
Parody or not, these guys have as much right to promote their agenda as anybody else. I find the CFSM to be kind of silly myself, but I feel that way about most "isms".
I'm not arguing with you there. I believe in a very broad definition of freedom of speech. They can say what they want and do what they want. I think Nazis should be able to march in Charlottesville too for that matter. I'm never a fan of stifling speech. As far as colanders on driver's license photos, I'm not really sure what their point is. Is their point simply to stop Jews from wearing yamulkes in their photos? If so, that seems like a douche move to me. I don't have any religiously subscribed headgear, but if a Muslim wants to wear a hijab and it's still easy to see what she looks like from her photo, I think trying to stop her is kind of dickish. How exactly does it hurt them if someone else is wearing religious headgear in their license photo? What oppression exactly are they fighting? It seems to me that they are just trying to make others suffer for their beliefs and that's kind of hate-filled if you ask me. You can disagree.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:27 PM
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The ridicule of ridiculous ideas is not hate speech. If you can't grasp the distinction between mocking an innate characteristic such as skin color versus mocking someone's freely-chosen beliefs, that sums up why "hate speech" laws are so dangerous to free speech.

Sure, being an persistent asshole about criticism might not make one a nice person. But sometimes mockery and ridicule is the only way to expose deeply-ingrained bad ideas. Sometimes mockery and ridicule is the only was to achieve social progress. And to suggest that the tone of criticism of ideas and beliefs is something that should be policed by hate speech laws is just woefully misguided. If you can't see how that approach is headed for a disaster of arbitrary censorship where "hate speech" = "speech I just don't like", I have little recourse but to ridicule you.
I don't know that I ever called for laws against such things. I merely called it what it was-closer to hate speech than religious speech. I don't like 'hate speech' laws. I'm completely against them. I more than recognize their potential for abuse. I favor letting people decide for themselves which ideas they like.

I would also like to point out that the Civil Rights era didn't come into being via mockery and ridicule. I would challenge you to find any socially progressive movement whose main method of fighting against in-grained beliefs consisted of mockery and ridicule. That's a Trumpian view on social progress, not a civilized one.

Last edited by senoy; 08-17-2018 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by senoy View Post
It's one thing to be an imam that says, "Christianity is wrong-headed and ultimately harmful to society. I urge Christians to repent and follow Allah." It's quite another to say, "Look at me, I'm a Christian who eats Jesus. I'm a cannibal." and then holds up a doughnut hole and says, "Look, I'm eating the balls of Christ." The first is a free exchange of ideas and a disagreement. The second is intended to denigrate and dehumanize. The first is fine and should be lauded in a free society, the second should be rejected by any clear thinking individual.
Says you. I think your judgement of what is or is not acceptable is fit for yourself only. There is no-one I'd trust to make a judgement over what is acceptable speech regarding the mockery of religious beliefs.

Religions should be mocked. Loudly and often and done so in direct proportion to the ridiculousness and potential impact of their claims.

We have no problem in ridiculing political beliefs, exactly the same standard should apply to religions.

Don't want your beliefs ridiculed? don't hold ridiculous beliefs.

Last edited by Novelty Bobble; 08-17-2018 at 02:54 PM.
  #31  
Old 08-17-2018, 03:02 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Says you. I think your judgement of what is or is not acceptable is fit for yourself only. There is no-one I'd trust to make a judgement over what is acceptable speech regarding the mockery of religious beliefs. [see query 1]

Religions should be mocked. Loudly and often and done so in direct proportion to the ridiculousness and potential impact of their claims... [see query 2] [bracketed material added]
1. But the government you would? Or only a government comprised and determined by you and like minded people only?

2. And the proportion of mockery, ridiculousness, and impact is determined by you and like minded people only?

Ah yes...you have Science! and the Enlightenment on your side. Jacobin much?

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 08-17-2018 at 03:02 PM.
  #32  
Old 08-17-2018, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ohiomstr2 View Post
(inserting tongue firmly in cheek)

So I just saw news that the high court of the Netherlands denied a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster the right to wear a sacred collander for her ID photo. The court declared that pastafarianism is a satire and not a real religion.
Satire IS my religion!
  #33  
Old 08-17-2018, 03:17 PM
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I don't know that I ever called for laws against such things. I merely called it what it was-closer to hate speech than religious speech. I don't like 'hate speech' laws. I'm completely against them. I more than recognize their potential for abuse. I favor letting people decide for themselves which ideas they like.
Well, if you don't want to be misunderstood, I really think you should stop using the term "hate speech" if what you mean is "impolite and disrespectful tone".

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I would challenge you to find any socially progressive movement whose main method of fighting against in-grained beliefs consisted of mockery and ridicule. That's a Trumpian view on social progress, not a civilized one.
How can you possibly know the contribution of various factors to social change, and how do expect anyone to prove this? Anecdotally, mocking exposure of the preposterous ideas of biblical literalism certainly led me to question and ultimately abandon the entire Christian worldview of my family, with its typical accompanying bigotry toward LGBT people. In Europe at least, a large decline in religiosity in recent decades has been accompanied by an increase in tolerance. Proving causation is next to impossible, but my experience as a young person may not have been atypical. I agree that ridicule of ingrained ideas rarely gets people to change their views, if anything it may entrench them. But exposure of bad ideas to mockery may increase the likelihood that younger people examine the values of their forebears more critically. And progress is often a function of old bigots just dying off and being replaced by younger people with more progressive values.
  #34  
Old 08-17-2018, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
1. But the government you would? Or only a government comprised and determined by you and like minded people only?

2. And the proportion of mockery, ridiculousness, and impact is determined by you and like minded people only?

Ah yes...you have Science! and the Enlightenment on your side. Jacobin much?
This is a complete non sequitur to what Novelty Bobble said, fyi.
  #35  
Old 08-17-2018, 03:26 PM
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It's not, as I said above. Hate speech is dehumanizing and denigrating. Pastafarianism comes close to this standard. Simply stating an opposing belief is not dehumanizing nor denigrating. Again, an example of fine speech would be to say, "Native Americans have a problem with alcoholism in their communities and we need to find ways to address that." is no dehumanizing. Putting on a headdress and sitting on a porch stoop holding a 40 is. The first is an expression of one's beliefs. The second is degrading and dehumanizing. I think the difference is clear.
I remain unconvinced that anything pastafarians do comes within a hundred miles of being hate speech. I do not expect to convince you of this (or anything, really - this is the internet), but I suggest that you will do no better in convincing other people to agree with you.
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:36 PM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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1. But the government you would? Or only a government comprised and determined by you and like minded people only?
no, there should be no restrictions placed on it by government. I thought that much was clearly implied.

Quote:
2. And the proportion of mockery, ridiculousness, and impact is determined by you and like minded people only?
You are assuming some objective standard. There isn't one. No determination is needed. Each person is free to assess and ridicule any idea as they see fit. Religious, political, philosophical, artistic......whatever.

There really isn't any other way for a truly free society to function and religion should not be given special treatment.

Quote:
Ah yes...you have Science! and the Enlightenment on your side. Jacobin much?
Science and The Enlightenment are good things, on balance I'm in favour. You?
  #37  
Old 08-17-2018, 03:45 PM
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I remain unconvinced that anything pastafarians do comes within a hundred miles of being hate speech. I do not expect to convince you of this (or anything, really - this is the internet), but I suggest that you will do no better in convincing other people to agree with you.
Maybe, but I think I have a convincing argument. I think that most people would agree that if similar types of speech were aimed at a race rather than a religion that it would be hate speech. The only defense offered that I see that it isn't hate speech is because it's aimed at a belief system and not at a person with an 'innate characteristic.' That's a fine counterargument, but it doesn't hold water. If Bob shoots Mohammed because he's Muslim, we don't say, "That's not a hate crime because Mohammed was shot because of his beliefs and not his race." I think that most of Western society has determined that a religious grouping can certainly be the victim of hate. So if you have speech that is hateful when directed against another group and it is speech directed against a group that we agree can be the victim of hate, then why exactly is it not hate speech? Because you agree with it and it's funny? My drunk uncle can tell quite a few jokes about black people that are arguably funny, doesn't mean it's not hate speech, although I guess he would disagree.
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:54 PM
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Maybe, but I think I have a convincing argument. I think that most people would agree that if similar types of speech were aimed at a race rather than a religion that it would be hate speech. The only defense offered that I see that it isn't hate speech is because it's aimed at a belief system and not at a person with an 'innate characteristic.' That's a fine counterargument, but it doesn't hold water. If Bob shoots Mohammed because he's Muslim, we don't say, "That's not a hate crime because Mohammed was shot because of his beliefs and not his race." I think that most of Western society has determined that a religious grouping can certainly be the victim of hate. So if you have speech that is hateful when directed against another group and it is speech directed against a group that we agree can be the victim of hate, then why exactly is it not hate speech? Because you agree with it and it's funny? My drunk uncle can tell quite a few jokes about black people that are arguably funny, doesn't mean it's not hate speech, although I guess he would disagree.
There's a qualitative difference between shooting somebody and mocking them because you think that wearing colanders on your head is dumb or that it's stupid to worship a ball of spaghetti.

Hey, if it's good for the goose it's good for the gander - if mocking christianity is hate speech then so is failing to give proper respect to pastafarianism. The fact that the FSM was literally designed to be mocked is utterly irrelevant to that fact.
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:08 PM
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I guess you guys missed the tongue firmly in cheek part.

I wasn't trying to bash anybody's belief system (ramain forgive!) Just trying to get some opinions on what constitutes sincerity and if it is the government's right to determine it for someone.

The CFSM, if I am reading it correctly, was founded to combat forcing a belief system on people. In my way of thinking, using parody is a valid and desirable way to accomplish this.

From the Eight Condements:

1 I’d Really Rather You Didn’t act like a sanctimonious Holier-Than-Thou ass when describing my Noodly Goodness. If some people don’t believe in Me, that’s okay. Really, I’m not that vain. Besides, this isn’t about them so don’t change the subject.
  #40  
Old 08-17-2018, 04:14 PM
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Maybe, but I think I have a convincing argument. I think that most people would agree that if similar types of speech were aimed at a race rather than a religion that it would be hate speech. The only defense offered that I see that it isn't hate speech is because it's aimed at a belief system and not at a person with an 'innate characteristic.' That's a fine counterargument, but it doesn't hold water. If Bob shoots Mohammed because he's Muslim, we don't say, "That's not a hate crime because Mohammed was shot because of his beliefs and not his race." I think that most of Western society has determined that a religious grouping can certainly be the victim of hate. So if you have speech that is hateful when directed against another group and it is speech directed against a group that we agree can be the victim of hate, then why exactly is it not hate speech? Because you agree with it and it's funny? My drunk uncle can tell quite a few jokes about black people that are arguably funny, doesn't mean it's not hate speech, although I guess he would disagree.
No, your use of the example "Muslim" is the problem with your argument here. I think it's a misleading case because "Muslim" is not just a belief system, it encompasses a cultural/ethnic identity. And at this stage in history, it's difficult to disentangle the two, in part because there are so few "secular Muslims". (For Jews, the distinction is much clearer, since there are many secular Jews who retain their cultural/ethnic identity but are not religious believers.)

This is why the word Islamophobia is troublesome. On the one hand, there is very real and widespread prejudice against a Muslims as a monolithic ethnic group, something that's no different from any other kind of racism. On the other hand, the reality of this racial prejudice is exploited by some Muslims to attempt to poison the well of any criticism of their value system and tar it as Islamophobic racism. And it works: many people are extremely reluctant to criticize the tenets of Islamic ideology for fear of being branded racists.

But all of this makes it even more important to keep a clear head about the distinction between racism (including hate speech) and the criticism of freely chosen ideas & beliefs. The distinction is a qualitative one, it is not a question of the tone of the criticism.

Last edited by Riemann; 08-17-2018 at 04:18 PM.
  #41  
Old 08-17-2018, 04:15 PM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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If Bob shoots Mohammed because he's Muslim, we don't say, "That's not a hate crime because Mohammed was shot because of his beliefs and not his race."
Do you think it is a hate crime if someone is shot for their political beliefs?
  #42  
Old 08-17-2018, 04:18 PM
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I wasn't trying to bash anybody's belief system (ramain forgive!) Just trying to get some opinions on what constitutes sincerity and if it is the government's right to determine it for someone.
I'm of the opinion that the government doesn't have the right to either dismiss an adherent's claims of belief or to dismiss a religion on the grounds of it not being serious enough (especially since there's nothing as stupid as christianity). If I claim my religion is sleeping in, that should get full first amendment protections. If Joe says sacrificing virgins to Baal is his religion he should get full first amendment protections. First amendment protections for everyone!

The government apparently doesn't see eye to eye with me on this, though.
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:27 PM
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I guess you guys missed the tongue firmly in cheek part.

I wasn't trying to bash anybody's belief system (ramain forgive!) Just trying to get some opinions on what constitutes sincerity and if it is the government's right to determine it for someone.

The CFSM, if I am reading it correctly, was founded to combat forcing a belief system on people. In my way of thinking, using parody is a valid and desirable way to accomplish this.

From the Eight Condements:

1 I’d Really Rather You Didn’t act like a sanctimonious Holier-Than-Thou ass when describing my Noodly Goodness. If some people don’t believe in Me, that’s okay. Really, I’m not that vain. Besides, this isn’t about them so don’t change the subject.
  #44  
Old 08-17-2018, 04:39 PM
ohiomstr2 ohiomstr2 is offline
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Ramin

Sorry about the double post. Got distracted by some breaking news about spaghetti

https://www.livescience.com/63338-sp...p-machine.html

Seriously, branding comedy as hate speech is pushing the envelope. The point Henderson (?) was making is that pushing a belief system on others is the problem. The idea was that believeing that a pasta God made the universe is just as valid as creationism or Intelligent Design.

That he did so with humor is not hate speech.
  #45  
Old 08-17-2018, 04:42 PM
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No, your use of the example "Muslim" is the problem with your argument here. I think it's a misleading case because "Muslim" is not just a belief system, it encompasses a cultural/ethnic identity. And at this stage in history, it's difficult to disentangle the two, in part because there are so few "secular Muslims". (For Jews, the distinction is much clearer, since there are many secular Jews who retain their cultural/ethnic identity but are not religious believers.)

This is why the word Islamophobia is troublesome. On the one hand, there is very real and widespread prejudice against a Muslims as a monolithic ethnic group, something that's no different from any other kind of racism. On the other hand, the reality of this racial prejudice is exploited by some Muslims to attempt to poison the well of any criticism of their value system and tar it as Islamophobic racism. And it works: many people are extremely reluctant to criticize the tenets of Islamic ideology for fear of being branded racists.

But all of this makes it even more important to keep a clear head about the distinction between racism (including hate speech) and the criticism of freely chosen ideas & beliefs. The distinction is a qualitative one, it is not a question of the tone of the criticismt.
Ummm... Muslims aren't a monolithic ethnic group. Not even close. Muslims range from Africans to Indonesians and everything in between. They have a wide divergence of ethnicities and beliefs. Malaysian forms of "secular Islam" are very different than Omani fundamentalists. Also, Arabs are not all Muslims, there are large numbers of Arab Christians. The idea that Islam is a monoculture of a single ethnicity strikes me itself as a very stereotyped idea with literally no basis in reality.
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:58 PM
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Ummm... Muslims aren't a monolithic ethnic group.
Of course not. The "monolithic" part is a description of racism, not reality.

But to the vast majority of Muslims, their religious beliefs and their (various) cultural identities are deeply intertwined - largely because the level of religiosity among Muslims is extremely high, the notion of a "secular Muslim" analogous to a secular Jew is rare. The fact that secular culture and religious belief have not been unbundled as they have elsewhere makes it particularly easy for criticism of ideas to be mistaken for racism.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Import...ion_by_country

Last edited by Riemann; 08-17-2018 at 05:02 PM.
  #47  
Old 08-17-2018, 06:35 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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I still contend that sincerity is impossible to prove or disprove. A government entity does not have the right to question my beliefs.
Or, conversely, to disregard everyone's, rather than only disregarding someone's.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:00 PM
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I don't know that I ever called for laws against such things. I merely called it what it was-closer to hate speech than religious speech. I don't like 'hate speech' laws. I'm completely against them. I more than recognize their potential for abuse. I favor letting people decide for themselves which ideas they like.

I would also like to point out that the Civil Rights era didn't come into being via mockery and ridicule. I would challenge you to find any socially progressive movement whose main method of fighting against in-grained beliefs consisted of mockery and ridicule. That's a Trumpian view on social progress, not a civilized one.
Satire, parody, and humor are ancient methods to poke at the powerful. They are not so-called Trumpian. And this idea that any sort of negative commentary is hate speech is as ridiculous as it is predictable.

Honestly, the whole idea that mythology needs to be protected by the state is ludicrous.

That said, a colander on the head is ludicrous as well.

Last edited by octopus; 08-17-2018 at 07:02 PM.
  #49  
Old 08-17-2018, 07:20 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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It's not, as I said above. Hate speech is dehumanizing and denigrating. Pastafarianism comes close to this standard. Simply stating an opposing belief is not dehumanizing nor denigrating. Again, an example of fine speech would be to say, "Native Americans have a problem with alcoholism in their communities and we need to find ways to address that." is no dehumanizing. Putting on a headdress and sitting on a porch stoop holding a 40 is. The first is an expression of one's beliefs. The second is degrading and dehumanizing. I think the difference is clear.

I'm not arguing with you there. I believe in a very broad definition of freedom of speech. They can say what they want and do what they want. I think Nazis should be able to march in Charlottesville too for that matter. I'm never a fan of stifling speech. As far as colanders on driver's license photos, I'm not really sure what their point is. Is their point simply to stop Jews from wearing yamulkes in their photos? If so, that seems like a douche move to me. I don't have any religiously subscribed headgear, but if a Muslim wants to wear a hijab and it's still easy to see what she looks like from her photo, I think trying to stop her is kind of dickish. How exactly does it hurt them if someone else is wearing religious headgear in their license photo? What oppression exactly are they fighting? It seems to me that they are just trying to make others suffer for their beliefs and that's kind of hate-filled if you ask me. You can disagree.
Having your beliefs thoroughly and even unfairly ridiculed is not related to being hated. Hate speech means (perhaps among other things) threatening or inciting others to threaten. If I say all missionaries who proselytize are evil (which indeed I do say), then that's my opinion. If I said we should all go out and shoot missionaries because of what they do (which I DON'T say), that would be hate speech.

Example: The cartoons of Muhammad were not hate speech, but some people's verbal reaction to them (conspiring to kill the artists or publishers) was hate speech. But if a certain Muslim said "Nobody ought to be hurt over this, but seriously, drawing this kind of pictures of the Prophet was wrong" - that's not hate speech.

A statement can be very bad without being hate speech. Even saying "That girl should have sat at the back of the bus" would not be hate speech - but saying "I'll show her who's boss" could be.

And... The oppression that Pastafarians are fighting is a free speech issue. They protest against religion's claims to being exempt from intellectual examination, criticism, and ridicule. Pastafarians believe that discussing religion should be as free as discussing football.

Imagine if Chicago passed a bylaw making it illegal to question the decisions of the coaching staffs of the Cubs, the White Sox, the Bears, the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the Fire, the Red Stars, and the Sky, and illegal to make discouraging or disparaging comments about the teams or anyone associated. And further, that they had the influence to get this passed federally - no one in the entire country can ridicule the Chicago sports teams, everyone must speak of them with complete respect, and their decisions must be considered a priori correct, because they are Chicago sports teams - so of course their decisions are correct.

Should Chicago's city government pass such a bylaw? If yes, should it also pass federally?

Last edited by DavidwithanR; 08-17-2018 at 07:22 PM.
  #50  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:10 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Obviously I missed the edit window, but as far as I'm aware, Pastafarians are not mostly focused on legal issues, but are focused on making it socially acceptable to question and criticize everyone's religious beliefs including their own. That we all are qualified to judge, and all SHOULD judge, each other's religions, without getting violent or threatening of course. That it's your right to subject my religion to your logical and critical analysis, and my right to do the same with yours, and that we should exercise that right frequently and with gusto.
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