Fuck Jesus, Raymond Burke, and Bill Donohue

To the four or five loyal readers I have, you know I’m a happy guy when political issues spill over into sports. Imagine my glee when I’m perusing the fabulous blog With Leather and come across these babies:

Majerus Has Opinion, Catholics Freak Out

ESPN’s Dana Jacobsen Is In Trouble

Majerus’ offense:

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said this morning that… Majerus should be disciplined over his public comments supporting abortion rights and stem cell research [...]

Jacobsen’s offense:

A Catholic advocacy group charges the sports TV network ESPN has failed to respond properly to a graphic rant by anchorwoman Dana Jacobson in which she “attacked Jesus Christ.”

Jacobson, reportedly intoxicated, was speaking at a celebrity roast in Atlantic City, N.J., when she unleashed a profane tirade, saying, “F— Notre Dame,” “F— Touchdown Jesus” and finally “F— Jesus.”

It’s not surprising that in both instances, it’s Catholics doing the whining. Even funnier is that the redress required by both Raymond Burke and Bill Donohue is a formal apology, because we all know that when you sin, you can confess and pray to Jesus and it all goes away.

Are you a homosexual pedophile? Jesus can fix that.

Like getting fellatio in airport bathrooms? Pray and your sins will wash away.

A fan of using power to force teenage boys into sexual acts? He is a forgiving God.

All jokes aside, I’d like to point out some of the idiocy on display from the Catholics that I’ve pulled from the articles. First, the Majerus scandal:

Let’s start off with a hanging slider:

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said this morning that St. Louis University basketball coach Rick Majerus should be disciplined over his public comments supporting abortion rights and stem cell research.

Majerus should be punished for having an opinion — a differing opinion?

Later on in the article:

“It’s not possible to be a Catholic and hold those positions,” Burke said. “When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don’t have to embrace everything the Catholic church teaches. But you can’t make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic church.”

This is just downright hilarious. “Think whatever you want, but don’t express your contrarian opinion.”

Yeah, I get it — SLU is a private, Catholic school and they don’t want their employees expressing statements that go against what they believe in. But to me, that just shows weakness. If you’re not willing to have your beliefs scrutinized and questioned, how strong are they in the first place? If the Catholic ideals are so right, shouldn’t they stand being tested?

Look throughout history and the ideals that have been most forcefully and authoritatively stated and defended are the ones that have been the most incorrect. Archbishop Burke just wants everyone in his little bubble to think just like him so he never has to critically think about the views he espouses.

If you read further down in the article, a Missouri Supreme Court case is cited with a conflict regarding the use of tax money for SLU’s new stadium.

The debate came down to two words: “control” and “creed.” Does the guiding mission of a Catholic university align with the specific system of religious faith espoused by the Catholic church? And if so, does that system of faith control the actions of the university?

Do a Google search (I did a Yahoo! search) for St. Louis University. This is what comes up:

It says that exact same thing in the “About Us” page on their website. They are a self-identified religious college. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that the government cannot support anything religious, or non-religious for that matter (for clarification, that means something like an atheist group wanting to use taxpayer money for some event, similar to SLU wanting to use taxes for their stadium).

I just find it hilarious how mind-numblingly hypocritical and close-minded people can be.

Anyway, onto the Jacobsen rant. This is even more mind-numbing because Jacobsen works for ESPN, which is not a pro-Catholic organization, and is not affiliated with any religion in any way.

A Catholic advocacy group charges the sports TV network ESPN has failed to respond properly to a graphic rant by anchorwoman Dana Jacobson in which she “attacked Jesus Christ.”

Why should ESPN or Jacobsen have to respond at all for attacking Jesus? Not everyone worships the same God you do, Mr. Catholic Advocacy Group. Deal with it.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue said he pressed ESPN on the issue and received an e-mail with an unsatisfactory statement by Jacobson.

The statement said, in part, “My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words.”

Donohue contended the response “fails on several counts.”

Even when you make a superfluous apology to people who have no jurisdiction on your behavior, it’s still not enough for these close-minded Jesus freaks.

Frankly, I think Ms. Jacobsen chose her words well. While I don’t follow college football closely at all, especially not enough to have a distaste of Notre Dame, I do share her sentiment in regards to Mr. Christ. The figure of a religion responsible for millions of deaths, the backing of slavery, misogyny, and the mistreatment of animals (I can cite Bible verses if you’d like), and the intolerance of homosexuals, polygamists, atheists, believers of other Gods, disobedient teenagers, people who work on the Sabbath… is not someone to whom I am wont to kneel.

Anyway, how did Jacobsen’s statement “fail on several counts”?

“First, there is no evidence that ESPN is taking this matter seriously,” he said. “Are we to believe that her hate speech is of no consequence?”

Extreme lulz at Donohue citing Jacobsen’s drunken rant as “hate speech” being that he belongs to a religion that has done nothing but hate anyone who isn’t a white male Christian. Go through Donohue’s Wikipedia entry and look at all of the innocuous things he’s whined about. He’s an ideological tattletale.

Donohue argued Jacobson’s comments were at a public event where she represented ESPN.

Yes, and if ESPN wants, it can reprimand Jacobsen. No one — not Donohue, the Super League of Catholics, or anyone else — has jurisdiction on the matter.

Secondly, he pointed out, racist remarks by the late sports commentator Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder during a luncheon interview in 1988 resulted in his prompt firing by CBS, despite an apology.

Donohue added, “It is also important to note that being drunk didn’t help Mel Gibson’s case when he made bigoted remarks about Jews.”

Yes, because “fuck Jesus” — an attack on the “icon” of a religion — is on par with “Fucking Jews…Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” — an attack on all of the adherents of a religion.

Finally, the Catholic leader said, “By far the most offensive thing she said, ‘F— Jesus,’ isn’t even addressed!”

Does it need to be addressed? No.

“It is obvious, then, that neither Jacobson nor ESPN is dealing with this matter in a professional way,” Donohue declared.

The only one being unprofessional is one Mr. William Donohue.

“To put this issue behind them, ESPN must deal with this issue quickly, publicly and fairly, something it has yet to do. After all, most Christians are yet unaware of this event, but once they learn of it, they are sure to demand accountability.”

Accountability… for… having… a differing opinion, and emphasizing it via the F-word?

Fuck Jesus, and fuck Bill Donohue.

Leave a Reply

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43 comments

  1. CJ

    January 24, 2008 10:15 AM

    I don’t get all the fuss. Majerus knew the deal when he was hired, and agreed to it. He knows his employers are pretty passionate about abortion and stem cells.

    He was hired to coach basketball, avoid (publically) a few positions, and keep his clothes on around his players.
    He only managed one out of three: withleather.com/post.phtml?pk=4801

    He’s well-compensated. If he can’t live up to his agreement, work somewhere else.

    As for Jacobson, she apologized for being an ass. (She wasn’t making any great political statement…she was just drunk and wanted to piss people off.) That should have been the end of it.

    If the Catholic League wants to continue with its extreme reaction of ISSUING STATEMENTS, big deal. No one’s taking to the streets, or blowing people up, or cutting off heads, like actual extremists do.

    I’m not very religious, so I have no dog in this race. Both sides overreact.

    To be fair, how far is this….:

    “he belongs to a religion that has done nothing but hate anyone who isn’t a white male Christian.”

    ….From this:
    “Fucking Jews…Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”

  2. Mark D

    January 24, 2008 01:58 PM

    We get it, you’re anti-Catholic. Good for you!
    Now can we get back to more entertaining topics like pissing off Bill Conlin.

  3. Bill Baer

    January 24, 2008 02:25 PM

    Nah, I’m not just anti-Catholic, I’m anti-religion in general.

    CJ, the fuss is the Catholic close-mindedness.

    As for your comparison of my statement to Gibson’s, my statement is factual, his is not.

  4. CJ

    January 24, 2008 03:31 PM

    Sorry Bill, “a religion that has done nothing but hate anyone who isn’t a white male Christian” ?

    One main difference is you had time to think about this and edit yourself, and Gibson didn’t.

    You can’t really believe this, or that objecting to “fuck Jesus” is a sign of close-mindedness. The ESPN chick wasn’t trying to open any minds, she just wanted to piss people off, and used the standard schtick to do it. Fine. The result was expected. And like I said, Catholics take it pretty well. No one has threatened to cut off Jacobsen’s head, so there’s that.

  5. Bill B.

    January 24, 2008 05:01 PM

    CJ, are you saying that Christianity, and Catholics in particular, haven’t played favorites with white male Christians? If so, that’s a laughable notion, especially when you consider what’s written in the Bible about women being subservient to men, the backing of slavery, and so forth.

    They have no authority to object to “fuck Jesus” and expect Jacobsen to be reprimanded. They can bitch about it all they want but to expect ESPN and Jacobsen to apologize for it, and for some kind of punishment to be enforced — that’s over the line.

    And it doesn’t matter what Jacobsen’s intentions were. Donohue has no authority on the matter, he’s just being a wailing siren.

  6. CJ

    January 24, 2008 05:27 PM

    Bill, name one major “establishment” entity — nation, organization, religion, anything that has done anything of note in recent centuries — that wasn’t dominated by males. Usually white males. Acting like this is a “Catholic thing” or a “Christian thing” or an “American thing” is just fantasy perpetuated by aging liberals like Bill Maher who still get off peeing on whatever their parents’ generation valued.

    There’s plenty to criticize about that generation, and the Catholic church etc., without sounding like Donohue’s alter ego.

    Correct me if I am wrong (really), but the leading abolitionists were Christians, who used their belief to fight US slavery, no?.

    No one needs “authority” to complain to a major network about a controversial remark. (And yeah, “fuck Jesus” is controversial, accept it). It’s free speech. It’s not worth the fuss. The ESPN chick said something….then Donohue says something….then you react…and I chime in….it’s all good.

  7. Bill B.

    January 24, 2008 06:05 PM

    Bill, name one major “establishment” entity — nation, organization, religion, anything that has done anything of note in recent centuries — that wasn’t dominated by males.

    This male-first mindset has been perpetuated by religion. If it wasn’t for religion, women would have been had more of an impact on history before the last 50 years or so. And most religions — Christianity included — still have women below men. In fact, women still can’t hold higher positions of power in churches.

    aging liberals like Bill Maher who still get off peeing on whatever their parents’ generation valued.

    Why can’t it be that Maher doesn’t like certain mindsets that the majority his parents’ generation happened to value? I doubt you’ll find anyone who dislikes someone, or a group of people, or an idea, just because their parents liked it.

    the leading abolitionists were Christians, who used their belief to fight US slavery, no?

    Parts in the Bible that support slavery:

    Genesis chapter 17, verse 12
    Exodus chapter 12 verse 43
    Exodus Chapter 21, verse 1
    Exodus Chapter 21, verse 20
    Exodus Chapter 21, verse 32
    Leviticus Chapter 22, verse 10
    Leviticus Chapter 25, verse 44
    Luke, Chapter 7, verse 2
    Colossians, chapter 3, verse 22
    Titus, chapter 2 verse 9

    Just in case there was any confusion.

    And the Christian abolitionists fought slavery in spite of their religion, not because of it.

    No one needs “authority” to complain to a major network about a controversial remark.

    That’s not what this is about. I support Donohue’s right to be a wailing siren and an ideological tattletale. He has no authority to demand action over Jacobsen’s remark.

  8. Mark D

    January 24, 2008 07:06 PM

    Anti-relgious or not, your rants make you no better than that dimwit Donahue.

  9. Bill B.

    January 24, 2008 07:11 PM

    My distaste for inequality and the suppression of speech puts me on the level of a bigoted Jesus freak?

    Do explain!

  10. CJ

    January 24, 2008 10:10 PM

    **This male-first mindset has been perpetuated by religion.

    This “mindset” has been perpetuated by any entity that can perpetuate anything, throughout time. Within religion, without, everywhere. You don’t want to take a broad brush. The most oppressive ideology of the 20th century was anti-religion and women-friendly, but still the bloodiest, most oppressive ideology of the century.

    **Why can’t it be that Maher doesn’t like certain mindsets that the majority his parents’ generation happened to value?

    It certainly can, and often is. But when I see people cherry-picking negative aspects of human history and trying to attribute them to convenient, PC targets, like the US or Catholics, red flags go up.

    **And the Christian abolitionists fought slavery in spite of their religion, not because of it.

    That would be news to them Bill. Also news the knuckleheads who led the fight for civil rights, those Christians.

    As for your ire against critics of Jacobsen, I wonder if you were as bugged at the demands that Rush Limbaugh had to go after making the perfectly reasonable – though, in this case inaccurate – charge that the media was easy on McNabb because he was a black quarterback. It was just an opinion, and not unfathomable. And it wasn’t deliberately offensive like Fuck Jesus.

    I’m not religious and there are plenty of legitimate shots for you and Maher to take at Catholics, which is why commentators for the last half-century have done just that. Once my kids grow up I’ll probably just go atheist. But it’s worth keeping mind that in many states, for the better part of a century, Catholic Charities has been the largest, nongovernmental social services provider in the US. My best friend from high school became a priest after life in the business world…he spends most of his time with dying, lonely people. No one else will. Not a rebuttal to all of your charges, of course. Just sayin….

    I just don’t look out at the country, at the growing number of crotch-grabbing kids without fathers, in a culture that just wants to turn them into sex-starved consumers, a culture where people gather round the TV to watch reality shows in which real people are told to act like dicks to each other for entertainment and profit, where the dumb and the crude is celebrated and no one can say “civility” without giggling…I don’t look at all of that and say, “You know, what we need is less religion.”

  11. Bill B.

    January 24, 2008 11:11 PM

    This “mindset” has been perpetuated by any entity that can perpetuate anything, throughout time.

    It all started with religion, and religion has been a constant throughout human history.

    The most oppressive ideology of the 20th century was anti-religion and women-friendly, but still the bloodiest, most oppressive ideology of the century.

    I assume you’re talking about Communism. I’m surprised, as a self-described near-atheist, that you went with the anti-atheist talking point here. I get the “zOmg! Communism!” sentiment a lot.

    I’ll quote Richard Dawkins on the subject on atheism and its effects on Communism from p272-73 of his book, The God Delusion:

    Even if we accept that Stalin [was an atheist], [he] [...] also had [a] moustache, as [did] Saddam Hussein. So what? The interesting question is not whether evil (or good) individual human beings were religious or were atheists. We are not in the business of counting evil heads and compiling two rival roll calls of iniquity.

    [...]

    What matters is not whether [...] Stalin [was an atheist], but whether atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. There is not the smallest evidence that it does.

    But when I see people cherry-picking negative aspects of human history and trying to attribute them to convenient, PC targets, like the US or Catholics, red flags go up.

    I don’t get what you’re trying to prove here. Are you insinuating that I was cherry-picking? If so, could you demonstrate how?

    That would be news to them Bill. Also news the knuckleheads who led the fight for civil rights, those Christians.

    It would probably be news to them because people have a hard time looking at religion — especially their own — with an objective eye. Religion has always been given a free pass.

    I wonder if you were as bugged at the demands that Rush Limbaugh had to go after making the perfectly reasonable – though, in this case inaccurate – charge that the media was easy on McNabb because he was a black quarterback.

    I was indifferent on the matter. I dislike Limbaugh’s politics and Limbaugh as a human being, but I support his right to opine, however offensive it may be.

    And it wasn’t deliberately offensive like Fuck Jesus.

    Does it matter if it was deliberately offensive?

    But it’s worth keeping mind that in many states, for the better part of a century, Catholic Charities has been the largest, nongovernmental social services provider in the US.

    This is interesting — can you cite this for me?

    Either way, doing something nice doesn’t make up for thousands of years of death and oppression.

    I don’t look at all of that and say, “You know, what we need is less religion.”

    Well, one of the instances you cited — “sex-starved consumers” — is a product of religion.

    And I look at all of the death caused by religion throughout history, and all of the bigotry that has existed and still continues to exist today, and I think exactly the opposite of what you think; I think we need much less religion. I would never be in favor of outlawing it, just to make that clear. I think that in some odd scenario that Americans actually start becoming better-educated, religion will just naturally phase out. There’s a reason why belief in God is negatively correlated with intellect.

  12. CJ

    January 25, 2008 10:38 AM

    **It all started with religion, and religion has been a constant throughout human history.

    Only to the extent religion was one of the first means of maintaining a structured society. The non-religious utopia you suggest existed, never did. But I’m glad you’ve moved from making it a Catholic thing, to a Christian thing, to a more general religious thing. You’re heading in the right direction Bill.

    “What matters is not whether […] Stalin [was an atheist], but whether atheism systematically influences people to do bad things.”

    I’m surprised you resorted to Dawkins when I wasn’t implying that. I meant that you’re very passionate in your belief that religiosity and stature of women are crucial measuring sticks in evaluating societies. I wasn’t arguing cause-effect (although the Catholic church took a hard line against communism when the secular left would not). I was simply pointing to the dreadful societies that would otherwise score very well by your scoring system.

    “But when I see people cherry-picking negative aspects of human history and trying to attribute them to convenient, PC targets, like the US or Catholics, red flags go up.”

    *I don’t get what you’re trying to prove here. Are you insinuating that I was cherry-picking? If so, could you demonstrate how?

    More of a general observation, Maher et al, where humanity’s shortcomings (racism, sexism, etc) are attributed to groups they don’t like. But, again, your targeting “white male Christians” for special criticism implies that it was their race, gender and religion that brought about shortcomings that cross all lines. It’s simply not the case.

    *It would probably be news to them because people have a hard time looking at religion — especially their own — with an objective eye. Religion has always been given a free pass.

    I’m sure I’m not the first to warn you that secularism, liberalism and atheism are just as susceptible to lack of objectivity and self-criticism. And some of the most powerful culture-shapers of the last four decades – film, music, academia – have hardly given religion a free pass. I’d say you’re nearly 180 degrees off on that one.

    *Does it matter if it was deliberately offensive?

    Of course. It doesn’t mean everything, but it means…something. We’re talking about speech here. Expression of ideas. Civilized people will have a lot more patience for speech they don’t like if it’s an honest attempt to express an idea, as opposed to just being a prick. Both are legally protected, of course. But only one is worth a damn.

    *This is interesting — can you cite this for me?

    Ha. I wondered if you’d let me slide on that. It’s been awhile since I read that and I don’t have the source. It’s promoted now as “The largest private network of social service organizations in the United States works to support families, reduce poverty, and build communities.” Not too shabby. But I think you’ll at least concede that this has been part of the church mission over the last century and more. Soup kitchens. Orphanages. Child care, etc. And more often than not in struggling communities. Please tell me you acknowledge that beneath the hot-button issues and the silly chants and the robes, they provide a lot of basic charity, day in and day out. Oh, and schools in which kids score higher, at a much lower per-pupil spending rate.

    *I think that in some odd scenario that Americans actually start becoming better-educated, religion will just naturally phase out.

    Agreed. And if most of the problems and challenges remain, as I think they will, we’ll have to find another target.

  13. Nick

    January 25, 2008 11:07 AM

    So you really have it in for Bill Donohue– who is just trying to keep an level playing field in this PC world where bashing Catholics and making fun of Jesus Christ is rampant… he is harmless with his little “statements”. However, it is interesting to ponder that if she had said “Fuck Mohammad” the PC police would have gone in to full crisis mode; press conferences and media frenzy. But let us remember that Dana Jacobson is Jewish, and the more relevant, cogent, honest analog would be; what if some Christian said: “Fuck Israel!” or “Fuck The Chosen People!” or “Fuck Abraham, Isaac, and Moses!” Do you have the balls and the honesty to ask and answer that question? She is, sadly, a dumb cunt, a bad drunk, and many other things… and what is now clear is that she has an axe to grind against Notre Dame BECAUSE it is a Catholic University… Thank God for freedom of speech; but the fact remains that she has a voice and gets press and coverage and because of that she should be duly skewered for this. Her being a woman and Jewess has bought her a lot of slack. The problem with freedom of speech, is that it cuts both ways… so be careful when you pick of that sword! You say Fuck jesus and Fuck Bill Donohoe… well Fuck Islam, Fuck Judaism, Fuck the child molesting Rabbis and Priests and Imams, fuck all the Jews in Hollywood, fuck all the Hollwyood, lefty idiots with their agendas… oh, my one could just go on…

  14. Bill B.

    January 25, 2008 04:23 PM

    But I’m glad you’ve moved from making it a Catholic thing

    If I’ve insinuated that it’s a Catholic thing, I apologize. I never thought it was a specific sect — they’re all bigoted and oppressive.

    But, again, your targeting “white male Christians” for special criticism implies that it was their race, gender and religion that brought about shortcomings that cross all lines.

    Their race and gender has a smaller effect on it than their religion does. They just happened to be the ones in power. If the ones who initially seized power were black women, and all things being hypothetically equal, I’d probably be railing against black female Christians.

    I’m sure I’m not the first to warn you that secularism, liberalism and atheism are just as susceptible to lack of objectivity and self-criticism.

    Liberalism, perhaps, but not secularism/atheism. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in God, nothing else. There’s very little to not be objective about, besides the existence of a God. And most atheists don’t believe in God because there hasn’t been any evidence. Atheism is probably one of the simplest ideologies out there, since there are very few — if there are any at all — strings attached.

    I guess secuarlism can fail to be objective, though it’s simply the belief that religion and government should be separate. Like if someone complains about a kid praying when individuals have the complete right to pray in school as long as that prayer is not sanctioned by any school officials.

    Civilized people will have a lot more patience for speech they don’t like if it’s an honest attempt to express an idea

    I guess we’re on different wavelengths on this one. But yeah, people are more tolerant of un-prick-ish expression of contrarian ideas.

    Please tell me you acknowledge that beneath the hot-button issues and the silly chants and the robes, they provide a lot of basic charity, day in and day out.

    I have acknowledged this, and I said that it doesn’t erase their gross misdeeds. They’d have to do a whole hell of a lot more charity to make up for what’s been done in the name of Jesus and Christianity (and all of the subsets).

    ==========

    So you really have it in for Bill Donohue– who is just trying to keep an level playing field in this PC world where bashing Catholics and making fun of Jesus Christ is rampant…

    This doesn’t make sense. If you’re railing against this society being too politically correct, then you shouldn’t be supporting Donohue’s wailing.

    And he’s not trying to keep a level playing field. The table has always been tilted in favor of Christians. It’s only been in the last 10-15 years or so that atheists, agnostics, and other skeptics really started to speak up.

    She is, sadly, a dumb cunt, a bad drunk, and many other things… and what is now clear is that she has an axe to grind against Notre Dame BECAUSE it is a Catholic University…

    Uh-oh, you used the c-word. :)

    Like I said, I don’t follow college sports close enough to have an opinion on Notre Dame athletics, but I know I won’t be sending any kids I have to Notre Dame simply because it is a Catholic school.

    You say Fuck jesus and Fuck Bill Donohoe… well Fuck Islam, Fuck Judaism, Fuck the child molesting Rabbis and Priests and Imams, fuck all the Jews in Hollywood, fuck all the Hollwyood, lefty idiots with their agendas…

    I’d be careful to label those with agendas simply leftists. We all have agendas — left, right, middle; Democrat, Republican, Independent.

  15. CJ

    January 25, 2008 11:01 PM

    *If I’ve insinuated that it’s a Catholic thing, I apologize. I never thought it was a specific sect — they’re all bigoted and oppressive.

    As opposed to that non “oppressive” society over in…well, the one next to that other one…you know, over there…just west of Utopia.

    *If the ones who initially seized power were black women, and all things being hypothetically equal, I’d probably be railing against black female Christians.

    Why? If things aren’t perfect, why would their race, gender and religion be an issue? Maybe the fact is it isn’t so easy taking man from fish, to mammal, to monkey, to… blogger/blogger reader, regardless of who “seized” power.

    Not to bitch too much about the standard gripe over white, male Christians, but it’s hard to not notice that most people who make such sweeping criticisms would cut off their arms before they’d offer any race/gender/religion opinion other than the safe, PC-approved mix.

    *Atheism is simply a lack of belief in God, nothing else.

    And Christianity is simply a belief that there is a god, and his son came down and died and went back to heaven. Of course, with both, there’s a lot more baggage. You’re a smart guy, but you didn’t arrive at the point of erroneously declaring Catholicism “a religion that has done nothing but hate anyone who isn’t a white male Christian” without accepting, religious-like, a certain amount of beliefs on faith.

    *I guess we’re on different wavelengths on this one. But yeah, people are more tolerant of un-prick-ish expression of contrarian ideas.

    We’re close. We disagree on what “contrarian ideas” are. Limbaugh was contrarian, and expressed them in standard TV style, and he was jettisoned without debate.

    “Please tell me you acknowledge that beneath the hot-button issues and the silly chants and the robes, they provide a lot of basic charity, day in and day out.”

    *I have acknowledged this, and I said that it doesn’t erase their gross misdeeds.
    They’d have to do a whole hell of a lot more charity to make up for what’s been done in the name of Jesus and Christianity (and all of the subsets).

    I don’t think you’ve really tried to comprehend the scope of what they do, day after day after day. And I don’t know what your idea is for replacing it, once you’ve killed it, beyond the conventional standby- da government. We’ll all just pay a little more taxes and, whatever…

    You’ve targeted Christianity on race and gender issues, which happens to be what the most powerful opinion shaping institutions have done for decades…academia, film, music, TV….you’re actually on the side of conventional wisdom.

    So we snuff out religion…who speaks up for, say, fatherless kids? It’s just, statistically speaking, the disproportionate cause of poverty, failing schools, violence and all of the racial disparities you can name. Where are all of these intellectual, facts-based atheists to step up? The race-gender thing is more than covered. Who covers non-hip issues that cornball churches now take on?

    That’s the question. But, maybe not for here. I’m just glad you crunch the numbers and break down the Ryan Howard situation. And you link to other smart sports blogs that are making the Old Guard sports writers obsolete. I’d say “bless you” if either of us knew what it meant.

  16. Bill B.

    January 25, 2008 11:45 PM

    As opposed to that non “oppressive” society over in…well, the one next to that other one…you know, over there…just west of Utopia.

    Are you insinuating that societies are naturally oppressive?

    Why? If things aren’t perfect, why would their race, gender and religion be an issue?

    Does it not matter that the overwhelming majority of people buying and selling slaves were white?

    Does it not matter that the only people who were in favor of not giving women equal rights were men?

    Race, gender, and religion always play into a person’s beliefs.

    but it’s hard to not notice that most people who make such sweeping criticisms would cut off their arms before they’d offer any race/gender/religion opinion other than the safe, PC-approved mix.

    Well, count me out of that group. I’m as much against political correctness as you seem to be (check my blogs for my entry “Political Correctness Has Gone Too Far”).

    And Christianity is simply a belief that there is a god, and his son came down and died and went back to heaven.

    And Christianity is based on a book full of genocide, slavery, misogyny, and so forth.

    You’re a smart guy, but you didn’t arrive at the point [...] without accepting, religious-like, a certain amount of beliefs on faith.

    Like what? I get the “atheism is faith-based, too” claim a lot, and I’m interested to see if that’s where you’re headed.

    I don’t think you’ve really tried to comprehend the scope of what they do, day after day after day.

    Am I supposed to forgive their misdeeds because they donated some money or painted a school? Christians are also partly responsible for the continuous spreading of AIDS in Africa, because they’re sending missionaries there to tell them that condoms and other methods of birth control are evil, and that abstinence is the only way.

    And I don’t know what your idea is for replacing it, once you’ve killed it, beyond the conventional standby- da government.

    What’s “it”?

    You’ve targeted Christianity on race and gender issues, which happens to be what the most powerful opinion shaping institutions have done for decades…academia, film, music, TV….you’re actually on the side of conventional wisdom.

    I disagree. It’s only been in the last few years that religion has really been allowed to be attacked. There’s a reason why Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett are mainstream authors now. “The God Delusion” wasn’t even Dawkins’ best work; one might say that would be “The Blind Watchmaker.” But atheism was still in the proverbial closet when he wrote that.

    So we snuff out religion…who speaks up for, say, fatherless kids?

    Do they need to be spoken up for? And what, exactly, is a fatherless kid? Is it a kid whose father has left him and his mother? Is it a kid whose father died? Both?

    And why do we need religion for this?

    Where are all of these intellectual, facts-based atheists to step up?

    There aren’t nearly as many atheists nor nearly as many people who would trust these atheists for them to have an effect on much. Besides, it’s nearly impossible to organize a group of atheists because there’d be no other continuity in beliefs. There’s a reason why they say that grouping atheists is like herding cats.

    I’d say “bless you” if either of us knew what it meant.

    How philosophical!

    Ha ha. Thanks for the discussion, if this is the end of it.

  17. CJ

    January 26, 2008 03:48 PM

    You probably have to move on to other topics, and you can declare this over if you want, BUT since you asked several questions:

    *Are you insinuating that societies are naturally oppressive?

    “Oppressive” is such a vague, loaded term. Every society has laws, which means it has to enforce them, which automatically means imposing control, which some will call “oppression.” And every society has social mores, customs, etc., which present more opportunities to declare “oppression.” Surely you know that scores of Catholic women would say they aren’t, and weren’t, “oppressed.” And you know that about two-thirds of women don’t consider themselves “feminists.”

    *Does it not matter that the overwhelming majority of people buying and selling slaves were white? Does it not matter that the only people who were in favor of not giving women equal rights were men?

    You must mean ‘the majority of people enslaving people of another race being white.’ Because slavery and variants of it was practiced pretty much everywhere at some time. With people of color just as likely. Overall, no, it’s not a “white” thing. Why didn’t Africans enslave whites, but enslave other Africans? Mainly, because they couldn’t. Not because they were morally superior.

    And it’s not correct that to say that only men opposed “equal rights” for women. There were plenty of women opposed to the women’s rights movement, throughout the 20th century. Now, the suffragettes’ cause was ultimately the right one, of course, but many of the warning from opponents turned out to be dead on. It did lead to more family instability, and did, to a degree, sacrifice the wellbeing of kids for that of grown women. It didn’t have to be that way, perhaps, but it is.

    *Like what? I get the “atheism is faith-based, too” claim a lot, and I’m interested to see if that’s where you’re headed.

    Not really. Because lack of belief in a god is simply acknowledging what the facts imply, It’s a lack of relying on pure faith on the issue of god. But it doesn’t mean its proponents are immune to believing what they want to believe, like: Catholicism is “a religion that has done nothing but hate anyone who isn’t a white male Christian,” which is demonstrably false.

    *Am I supposed to forgive their misdeeds because they donated some money or painted a school?

    You’re vastly underestimating the amount of time and resources they commit to social causes. For example, before they painted the school, the built the thing. Then staffed it, and turned out generations of well educated, responsible young adults. As for AIDS, I agree the abstinence-only message has done damage. It’s also should be needless to say that sexual restraint is part of the solution to this and all sex-related problems. Except no enlightened seculars have the balls to say it. So, again, after we kill off the churches, who fills the void?

    “You’ve targeted Christianity on race and gender issues, which happens to be what the most powerful opinion shaping institutions have done for decades…academia, film, music, TV….you’re actually on the side of conventional wisdom.”

    *I disagree. It’s only been in the last few years that religion has really been allowed to be attacked. There’s a reason why Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett are mainstream authors now…

    I guess we’re talking about two different things, criticism of the church in general, and atheism in particular. I am correct that when Christianity and church in general was referenced or explored over the last 40 years, by society’s most influential opinion-shapers, it was cast negatively. But you’re right that atheism specifically was not really addressed.

    “So we snuff out religion…who speaks up for, say, fatherless kids?”

    *Do they need to be spoken up for? And what, exactly, is a fatherless kid? Is it a kid whose father has left him and his mother? Is it a kid whose father died? Both?

    Bill, how can you not appreciate the most significant change in rearing children in modern times? Statistically, the most troubled child will be the one produced out of wedlock. That’s the closest to the definition of “fatherless.” The significant number of kids whose dad abandoned them at an early age would also be covered. Fatherless kids whose dad died are a quaint throwback. Anyway, the only reason you’d want to speak up for them is if you want to reduce poverty, violence, educational disparities and all of the other social ills statistically linked to out of wedlock births, more than any other variable. This will be a real test for the “we just want to improve society and follow where the facts lead and aren’t just trying to piss of Christians” message of atheists.

    *And why do we need religion for this?

    We don’t. But no other institution has demonstrated the stones. Give me some good Phils news.

  18. Bill B.

    January 28, 2008 01:28 AM

    Surely you know that scores of Catholic women would say they aren’t, and weren’t, “oppressed.”

    You are correct that anyone can claim that they’re being oppressed, but to be more specific, I’m talking about being slighted as a result of race, gender, religion, etc.

    So, just because some women didn’t feel that women weren’t being repressed (because their religion said that women should be subservient to men) doesn’t mean they weren’t.

    Because slavery and variants of it was practiced pretty much everywhere at some time. With people of color just as likely. Overall, no, it’s not a “white” thing.

    I realize that blacks sold black slaves as well, but it was an overwhelmingly “white” thing, mostly because whites were the ones viewed as superior because of their skin color.

    And it’s not correct that to say that only men opposed “equal rights” for women.

    Yeah, this is true.

    It did lead to more family instability, and did, to a degree, sacrifice the wellbeing of kids for that of grown women.

    It has nothing to do with the gender, though, it has to do with the roles. You’ve no doubt heard of “stay at home dads,” right? Well, if that father decides to just get a job instead, is the family going to become instable? Of course.

    Families became unstable because there were no homemakers, not because women got rights. Men could’ve filled those homemaker roles, but didn’t because of gender bigotry.

    But it doesn’t mean its proponents are immune to believing what they want to believe

    No argument here.

    Catholicism is “a religion that has done nothing but hate anyone who isn’t a white male Christian,” which is demonstrably false.

    “done nothing” is hyperbole. It’d be more accurate to say, “Christianity is a religion that has overwhelmingly been a religion that has been bigoted towards anyone not white, male, and Christian.”

    You’re vastly underestimating the amount of time and resources they commit to social causes.

    Either way, it doesn’t make me forgive them for their awful bigotry. I’m sure Enron donated a lot of money to charity. Doesn’t make me feel any better about the company.

    For example, before they painted the school, the built the thing. Then staffed it, and turned out generations of well educated, responsible young adults.

    Eh… I guess “responsible” is subjective.

    It’s also should be needless to say that sexual restraint is part of the solution to this and all sex-related problems. Except no enlightened seculars have the balls to say it.

    I think it’s been a part of the “safe sex” curriculum for a while. I always hear, to paraphrase, “abstinence [b]is[/b] always a reliable method to prevent unwanted pregnancies, spread of STD’s, etc.”

    So, again, after we kill off the churches, who fills the void?

    What void needs to be filled?

    I am correct that when Christianity and church in general was referenced or explored over the last 40 years, by society’s most influential opinion-shapers, it was cast negatively.

    I’m assuming you’ve been alive for those 40 years, so you’d probably know better than me — I’m a child of the ’80’s.

    Statistically, the most troubled child will be the one produced out of wedlock.

    I always have a problem with these kinds of statistics because they only paint a small part of the picture.

    Will a child be better off with one parent or two? Obviously two. Better yet, a child would be better off with three parents. Four. You get the point.

    Anyway, the only reason you’d want to speak up for them is if you want to reduce poverty, violence, educational disparities and all of the other social ills statistically linked to out of wedlock births, more than any other variable.

    I must ask you to cite this for me.

    Give me some good Phils news.

    Eh, it’s January.

    Mike Lieberthal retired, though. :(

  19. CJ

    January 28, 2008 11:36 AM

    *Families became unstable because there were no homemakers, not because women got rights. Men could’ve filled those homemaker roles, but didn’t because of gender bigotry.

    This doesn’t apply to real problem: there is no father in the house to begin with, to work, clean, anything. The feminist cry for change was “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Cute, except for when the woman has children. Then, yeah, she needs a man. Her kids need one too, especially. The feminists were disastrously wrong.
    And I don’t think the entire hunter-gatherer male-female relationship since the time humans walked upright was a result of “gender bigotry.”

    *Either way, it doesn’t make me forgive them for their awful bigotry. I’m sure Enron donated a lot of money to charity. Doesn’t make me feel any better about the company.

    I tried to explain it’s much more than just cutting checks. I guess that if your view is shaped so thoroughly by real and perceived “bigotry,” nothing else will ever soften your stance.

    “For example, before they painted the school, the built the thing. Then staffed it, and turned out generations of well educated, responsible young adults.”

    *Eh… I guess “responsible” is subjective.

    Sure. But if, in this case, it means getting good grades, committing less crime, getting jobs and eventually taking care of their kids – generally not being a drag on society – the church did better than the government schools, for less money. I know Hollywood loves the storyline of the repressed religious kid reeking havoc on the community, but it’s pretty much a fantasy.

    *I think it’s been a part of the “safe sex” curriculum for a while.

    Safe sex is great. But it’s not the same as ‘keep your pants on.’ When the most powerful influences in society are relentlessly advocating a sex-centered life, someone has to speak up for a more grownup alternative. Right now, the only one to do it is the church. There’s no getting around it.

    *I’m assuming you’ve been alive for those 40 years, so you’d probably know better than me — I’m a child of the ’80’s.

    Yeah, I lived most of it.* But more importantly, having been a liberal-turned-“conservative” and reporter-turned-media critic, I’ve really studied it. I only mention it to make the point that once churches are gone, all of the powerful voices will mainly be saying the same thing. I don’t see a true counter-culture anymore.
    (*I grew up in the 70s, when the Phils were among the best teams in baseball, annually. Flyers won two cups. Eagles on the rise and Sixers playing for the title. To say I was being set up for disappointment later in life is an understatement.)

    *Will a child be better off with one parent or two? Obviously two. Better yet, a child would be better off with three parents. Four. You get the point.

    It’s like when people argue for “smaller class sizes.” Sure, I guess it will help. A 1:1 teacher-student ratio will help even more, but it’s not realistic. The difference is, every kid starts with two parents. So, it’s realistic to have two. The experiment with removing one of them has been a clear disaster. That was not realistic.

    “Anyway, the only reason you’d want to speak up for them is if you want to reduce poverty, violence, educational disparities and all of the other social ills statistically linked to out of wedlock births, more than any other variable.”

    *I must ask you to cite this for me.

    This is a quick roundup. Not all-inclusive, but just to show that it’s not an irrational observation:

    The analysis provided here uses four family/home factors that previous research has shown to be linked to student achievement. To some degree, each is likely to be related to the others: singleparent families, parents reading to young children every day, hours spent watching television, and the frequency of school absences. Together, these four factors account for about two-thirds of the large differences among states in National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) eighth-grade reading scores.
    www.ets.org/Media/Education_Topics/pdf/6635_highlights.pdf

    For example, research now shows that the percentage of fatherless families in a community more reliably predicts that community’s rate of violent crime than any other factor, including race. The same can be said for rates of child poverty. In fact, interestingly, white children in fatherless families are significantly more likely to live in poverty than African-American children who have a father in the home.
    www.allianceformarriage.org/site/c.jjJZIgMWLwG/b.2059107/k.E9CA/Fatherless_Families.htm

    While having an illegitimate child often dooms the mother to a life of poverty, illegitimacy may doom her child to far worse. Prisons, foster-care homes, and homeless shelters teem with fatherless children. Tamiesha’s baby is three times more likely to fail at school, three times more likely to commit suicide, and from 20 to 33 times more likely to suffer child abuse than are the children of low-income married parents. His prospects in later life are just as grim: 70 percent of long-term prisoners, 60 percent of rapists, and 75 percent of adolescents charged with murder grew up without fathers.
    www.city-journal.org/html/8_1_a1.html

    From the very beginning, children born outside of marriage have life stacked against them. In addition to poverty, children born into illegitimacy are more likely to experience retarded cognitive development (especially verbal development); lower educational achievement; lower job attainment; increased behavioral and emotional problems; lower impulse control; and retarded social development. Such children are far more likely to engage in sexual activity; have children outside of marriage; be on welfare as adults; and engage in criminal activity.
    www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=403

    I don’ think there’s much debate about the (general) stats anymore, but about what should be done, if anything. I’d love to atheists and other church critics to show that it’s not just conservatives and churchies with the balls to tackle this. I really think that addressing it, in 2008, makes you just as unpopular as saying there is no god.

    Rest in Peace, Lieby. Oh, wait, he’s not dead…

  20. Pope Guido Laguamba

    January 29, 2008 06:00 PM

    ehhhhh – thats a spicy meatball!

  21. LSUfan

    January 30, 2008 05:12 PM

    Hello Ultra!

    I am Catholic, and I dont see what is wrong with the Catholic coming out in religions defense.

    Is it any different, then when someone calls out atheists? You come to atheists defense right? Or Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, coming out when they think someone said something racist.

    It is all freedom of speech on both sides.

    In fact, you are the one being closed minded here. You say,”Fuck Catholics….”. Why? B/c they exercised their rights just as the drunk chick did? Let the drunk chick say whatever stupid stuff she wants to, I dont care. She is the one that looks like an idiot.

    Look at the chick on the Golf channel that got suspended, after The Justice Brothers got wind of it. How come you arent shouting them down for that?

    Neat website you got here, I wont agree with 99.99999999& of it but still looks great!

  22. LSUfan

    January 30, 2008 05:14 PM

    By the way, the Catholic CHurch does more for people around the world then any other organization. They dont cater to white males. My family is involved in a Mission to Haiti, through the CHurch and I can assure you there are no white guys down there, except for the mission people. The Mission just drilled its first well of water and is in teh process of getting a chicken industry up and running. All this is being done for non-white males.

  23. Bill B.

    January 30, 2008 10:08 PM

    LSU, again, that’s in spite of their religion, not because of it.

    I dont see what is wrong with the Catholic coming out in religions defense.

    There’s nothing wrong with expressing their displeasure over it. My problem is with the Catholics’ expectation of a punishment and apology.

    Is it any different, then when someone calls out atheists? You come to atheists defense right?

    It depends. If someone said, “Fuck atheists,” I’d have something to say about it but I wouldn’t demand they be punished and apologize to me.

    Look at the chick on the Golf channel that got suspended, after The Justice Brothers got wind of it. How come you arent shouting them down for that?

    I didn’t even follow that story. Golf ain’t my thing.

    Thanks for the feedback on the site layout.

    CJ, I will give those links a look tomorrow.

  24. Bill B.

    January 31, 2008 06:03 AM

    www.ets.org/Media/Education_Topics/pdf/6635_highlights.pdf

    ^ This doesn’t really prove anything. It says that single-parent families are one of four factors that account for two-thirds of the large differences among states in 8th-grade reading scores.

    Single-parent families could be very crucial in that regard, or they could be not crucial at all — they don’t say. They just lump it in there.

    www.allianceformarriage.org/site/c.jjJZIgMWLwG/b.2059107/k.E9CA/Fatherless_Families.htm

    It shouldn’t surprise me that a website called “Alliance for Marriage” will have pro-marriage facts.

    Notice the way they word it: they say that “research now shows [...]” but they don’t cite that research.

    My favorite is the last sentence in the paragraph you quoted:

    In fact, interestingly, white children in fatherless families are significantly more likely to live in poverty than African-American children who have a father in the home.

    What does race have anything to do with it? It’s an appeal to emotion. If you’re not reading it carefully, you’ll be surprised that white children are more likely to live in poverty than black children, because it preys on the assumption that most black kids are impoverished.

    www.city-journal.org/html/8_1_a1.html

    This is good stuff. This website has facts to back up the claims. I wish they would have cited where they got the statistics from, though.

    www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=403

    Nothing came up…

    I’d love to atheists and other church critics to show that it’s not just conservatives and churchies with the balls to tackle this.

    I’d love to see if “conservatives and churchies” would have “the balls to tackle this” if they didn’t some ancient book telling them that marriage is only to be between a man and a woman, and that people aren’t to have sex until marriage.

    As humanitarian as they seem, I am highly skeptical of their motives.

    And there are non-religious-based charities. I don’t think too many of them are atheist per se, but the groups aren’t religious in nature (you couldn’t call them Christian charities, either, for instance).

  25. LSUfan

    January 31, 2008 12:03 PM

    “It’s not possible to be a Catholic and hold those positions,” Burke said. “When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don’t have to embrace everything the Catholic church teaches. But you can’t make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic church.”

    This is just downright hilarious. “Think whatever you want, but don’t express your contrarian opinion.”

    Wait….lol. You are pissed about him saying this to Majerus?

    Tell me, if you work for a company, say Foxsports, and you go out in public and start talking about how you dont agree with the stuff you cover and what the channel stands for that you wont be fired for it? You would get canned in a heartbeat! Or if Coach whoever started talking to the public about the how bad the owners of his team and his idealogy were he wouldnt get canned for it?

    Your just so anti-religious you cant see straight Ultra. Good grief…lol.

  26. CJ

    January 31, 2008 03:30 PM

    “In fact, interestingly, white children in fatherless families are significantly more likely to live in poverty than African-American children who have a father in the home.”

    *What does race have anything to do with it? It’s an appeal to emotion. If you’re not reading it carefully, you’ll be surprised that white children are more likely to live in poverty than black children, because it preys on the assumption that most black kids are impoverished.

    What?? The only reason white children are “more likely” to live in poverty is that…there are more white children period. They’re not appealing to emotion. They are appealing to your appreciation of facts. It’s pointing out that, for all of your complaints about racial bigotry, there is a larger variable that you can’t keep ignoring.

    *I’d love to see if “conservatives and churchies” would have “the balls to tackle this” if they didn’t some ancient book telling them that marriage is only to be between a man and a woman, and that people aren’t to have sex until marriage.

    Well, I don’t read that “ancient book” and here I am, addressing the issue. You don’t need the bible to tell you that out-of-wedlock births are a serious problem, the facts do a good enough job.

    *This doesn’t really prove anything. It says that single-parent families are one of four factors that account for two-thirds of the large differences among states in 8th-grade reading scores.
    Single-parent families could be very crucial in that regard, or they could be not crucial at all — they don’t say. They just lump it in there.

    Well, it was not easy to “prove” the earth isn’t flat either, Bill, but common sense has to kick in at some point. When you consider the four factors, as cited: “To some degree, each is likely to be related to the others: single parent families, parents reading to young children every day, hours spent watching television, and the frequency of school absences.” Common sense tells you that kids will get less attention with one parent than two, and will therefore read less and watch TV more.

    This is my main concern with the atheist movement, and people who giggle at “family values” in general. It’s easy to rail against government and churches. It’s harder to point the finger at ourselves, and the life choices free people make.

  27. Bill B.

    January 31, 2008 04:21 PM

    They are appealing to your appreciation of facts.

    They made an unequal comparison. It’s like, if I was trying to prove that bicycles are safer than rollerblades, I said, “Rollerblades with green laces are more likely to malfunction than bicycles with streamers.”

    The rollerblades’ lace color and the presence of streamers on the bike mean nothing in regards to their safety. Likewise, in the statement in question, the color of the child means nothing. Look at it this way:

    White: Fatherless
    Black: Father

    See the unequal comparison?

    You don’t need the bible to tell you that out-of-wedlock births are a serious problem, the facts do a good enough job.

    Exactly my point. We don’t need religion for these issues to continue being covered.

    Common sense tells you that kids will get less attention with one parent than two, and will therefore read less and watch TV more.

    No, common sense won’t tell you that; assumptions will.

    Tell me, if you work for a company, say Foxsports, and you go out in public and start talking about how you dont agree with the stuff you cover and what the channel stands for that you wont be fired for it?

    You can then sue FOX Sports for wrongful termination. You cannot be fired for your race, gender, age, or religious/political beliefs (generally).

  28. CJ

    January 31, 2008 09:48 PM

    Bill, it’s either true or not: “In fact, interestingly, white children in fatherless families are significantly more likely to live in poverty than African-American children who have a father in the home.”

    Are you challenging that statement, or not?

    “You don’t need the bible to tell you that out-of-wedlock births are a serious problem, the facts do a good enough job.”

    *Exactly my point. We don’t need religion for these issues to continue being covered.

    But they’re not covered now. After we blow up the churches, they’ll be less likely to be covered.

    “Common sense tells you that kids will get less attention with one parent than two, and will therefore read less and watch TV more.”

    *No, common sense won’t tell you that; assumptions will.

    No, it’s logic. If you have one good parent, they can spend X amount of time with their kid. If you have two good parents, they can spend 2 x X amount of time with the kid. That’s the fat, juicy logic that atheists are supposed to defend, Bill.

  29. Bill B.

    January 31, 2008 10:02 PM

    Are you challenging that statement, or not?

    If the statement is “children in fatherless families are significantly more likely to live in poverty than children who have a father in the home,” no. I’m just pointing out how they’re slanting the facts to appeal to emotion.

    But they’re not covered now. After we blow up the churches, they’ll be less likely to be covered.

    How are they not covered? There are non-religious charities that focus on single-parent families.

    If you have one good parent, they can spend X amount of time with their kid. If you have two good parents, they can spend 2 x X amount of time with the kid.

    The assumption is that the parents spending time with the kid yields a positive effect. Would you say that if Britney Spears and Kevin Federline spent a lot of time with their kid, the kid would be better off?

    Sometimes, one or both of the parents are bad parents.

  30. CJ

    February 02, 2008 12:24 PM

    “If you have one good parent, they can spend X amount of time with their kid. If you have two good parents, they can spend 2 x X amount of time with the kid.”

    *The assumption is that the parents spending time with the kid yields a positive effect. Would you say that if Britney Spears and Kevin Federline spent a lot of time with their kid, the kid would be better off? Sometimes, one or both of the parents are bad parents.

    The negative outcomes associated with lack of parental involvement aren’t assumptions, they’re accepted fact. Parents with drug problems and mental illness are unrelated variables.

    This goes back to my main point. Atheists want to rid the world of religion without a plan for filling the void. The fact that I have to spend so much time trying to convince you the world isn’t flat is proof that these topics aren’t being addressed in the secular world.

    And there’s this: it’s generally the more educated who dismiss religious fables. What do with do with the, uh, slower folk? Fear of hell is key motivation for them to behave, especially the young. Since being “judgmental” is now a major no-no in culture, what do we do? Who’s going to stand up and say which behavior is good and bad? Or do we just go ahead a live like wolves? Slamming religion is like shooting fish in a barrel. But maintaining a civil society is hard.

  31. Bill B.

    February 03, 2008 09:12 AM

    The negative outcomes associated with lack of parental involvement aren’t assumptions, they’re accepted fact. Parents with drug problems and mental illness are unrelated variables.

    They’re totally related. How many “perfect” parents are there?

    I’m not trying to say that having two parents around isn’t helpful, but I think its effect is being overstated.

    Atheists want to rid the world of religion without a plan for filling the void.

    Not true. Not all atheists want to rid the world of religion. In fact, I don’t; I’d prefer religion to die off naturally, rather than forcefully vacuum it out of society.

    And again, you assume that religion is actually useful for something, which it isn’t.

    Fear of hell is key motivation for them to behave, especially the young.

    I think you’re talking about a very, very minute percentage of theists. I have rarely met a theist who has actually reeled in his behavior because of fear of punishment from God, and I come from a very devout Christian family. Most theists generally adhere to the doctrines, but don’t use them as a shock collar of sorts.

    Who’s going to stand up and say which behavior is good and bad?

    Do we need religion for this? I think law-making is a reasonable alternative, no?

    I hope you’re not going into the “you can’t have morality without religion” argument.

  32. CJ

    February 04, 2008 04:17 PM

    *They’re totally related. How many “perfect” parents are there? I’m not trying to say that having two parents around isn’t helpful, but I think its effect is being overstated.

    It’s overstated only if you think the effect of parenting is overstated when it comes to a child’s intellectual development, and if you think the effect of income-earners is overstated in household poverty. Otherwise, it’s a tad bit more than “helpful.”

    *And again, you assume that religion is actually useful for something, which it isn’t.

    I guess we disagree on the meaning of “useful.”

    *I have rarely met a theist who has actually reeled in his behavior because of fear of punishment from God, and I come from a very devout Christian family.

    Could be. My family wasn’t very devout, but my wife’s was, and she said it made a difference. I hadn’t thought about it until she told me. But our personal, anecdotal experiences don’t mean much. It just makes sense to me that avoiding eternal hell would discourage some believers from doing something they feel they would otherwise get away with. Again, I wouldn’t mind replacing a religious myth with some regular societal pressure, but we don’t pressure people to behave anymore. We just bitch to the cops.

    “Who’s going to stand up and say which behavior is good and bad?”

    *Do we need religion for this? I think law-making is a reasonable alternative, no?

    That’s it? Da Guvment? Make a law against leaving your family to bang the secretary? Send the cops around every time a punk tells the crossing guard to go f-herself? There’s a whole list of transgressions that fall under “morality” or even “common decency” that we can’t legislate against.

    *I hope you’re not going into the “you can’t have morality without religion” argument.

    Not at all. But someone has to do it. It doesn’t come naturally, and I see no evidence that any institution outside of religion will do the work.

  33. Bill Baer

    February 04, 2008 07:47 PM

    It’s overstated only if you think the effect of parenting is overstated when it comes to a child’s intellectual development

    I do.

    if you think the effect of income-earners is overstated in household poverty.

    What, specifically?

    I guess we disagree on the meaning of “useful.”

    What I mean is that religion provides nothing unique.

    Again, I wouldn’t mind replacing a religious myth with some regular societal pressure, but we don’t pressure people to behave anymore.

    The assumption here is that behavior needs to be regulated. In extreme cases — murder, rape, theft — it does, but in cases you cited — polygamy, foul language — behavior regulation is not needed in the least.

    It doesn’t come naturally, and I see no evidence that any institution outside of religion will do the work.

    Knowing that it’s wrong to kill, rape, and steal doesn’t come naturally? Of course not, but again, do we need religion to enforce this? Absolutely not.

  34. CJ

    February 06, 2008 11:11 AM

    “It’s overstated only if you think the effect of parenting is overstated when it comes to a child’s intellectual development”

    *I do

    Meaning, what’s more important? Money? Other things are more important, the ones that individuals can be excused of being responsible for? I think research is on my side here.

    “if you think the effect of income-earners is overstated in household poverty.”

    *What, specifically?

    One income vs. two, for starters.

    *The assumption here is that behavior needs to be regulated. In extreme cases — murder, rape, theft — it does, but in cases you cited — polygamy, foul language — behavior regulation is not needed in the least.

    Really? All those things that the guvment can’t regulate: Civility. Humility. Compassion. Courtesy, etc…just let ‘em die? Because they don’t exist if society doesn’t have the balls to insist on them. There’s a reason it’s called *common* decency and *common* courtesy. They are expected to be shared traits. They don’t just happen.

    (Polygamy?)

    Funny thing is, when you stop enforcing common courtesy, you don’t get a more free culture, you get more rules, and more laws. Holy Jeebus, NYC had to pass a LAW to get people to turn off their cell phones in movie theaters. When free people say they don’t want to police each other’s behavior, it doesn’t mean the behavior doesn’t have to be regulated, or that people are suddenly OK with people acting like dicks. It just means the government has to do it. There aren’t enough laws to keep Mexican men from groping women on buses anymore, so the guvment had to start a women-only bus service. That’s what you get when free people refuse to policy themselves.

    This explains why you won’t acknowledge that the church does anything worthwhile. You minimize the tens of millions of dollars in charity provided through the years, and flat-out deny the rest. You’re well-versed on the oft-cited bad stuff, but you must think that acknowledging anything positive will weaken the atheist argument, or slow the demise of organized religion. I think it’s just the opposite Bill.

  35. Bill B.

    February 07, 2008 11:38 AM

    Meaning, what’s more important? Money?

    I don’t believe there’s one overwhelming factor that positively or negatively influences a child’s development.

    One income vs. two, for starters.

    Aren’t two-income families worse, since the child is never around the parents? That seems to go against your theory.

    Civility. Humility. Compassion. Courtesy, etc…just let ‘em die?

    All those are subjective.

    There’s a reason it’s called *common* decency and *common* courtesy. They are expected to be shared traits.

    Well, I guess you’re a moral absolutist then? I’m a moral relativist.

    Funny thing is, when you stop enforcing common courtesy, you don’t get a more free culture, you get more rules, and more laws.

    Irony at its finest.

    Holy Jeebus, NYC had to pass a LAW to get people to turn off their cell phones in movie theaters.

    That’s pathetic on the legislators’ part. The movie theater could’ve just enforced a “no cell phones” rule and had a couple people in each room.

    There aren’t enough laws to keep Mexican men from groping women on buses anymore, so the guvment had to start a women-only bus service.

    Is this in Mexico? If not, I don’t see the significance of their being Mexican.

    You minimize the tens of millions of dollars in charity provided through the years, and flat-out deny the rest.

    If I acknowledged that the money they’ve raised for different causes makes them good people, it’d basically be like allowing them to buy their way out of their wrongdoings. Their wrongdoings are far, far, far worse than anything positive they’ve done.

    I’m sorry, but endorsing slavery, misogyny, the mistreatment of animals, and genocide is something that no amount of money will ever erase.

    You’re well-versed on the oft-cited bad stuff, but you must think that acknowledging anything positive will weaken the atheist argument

    I don’t argue against religion as an atheist; I argue against religion as a human being. My atheism, rhetorically, has nothing to do with being anti-religion.

    or slow the demise of organized religion.

    While I would like to see organized religion fade away, I would like to stress that I wouldn’t want this to happen legislatively, i.e. by restricting or banning religion. I think that’s what you’re alluding to and that’s not what I’m supporting.

  36. CJ

    February 10, 2008 05:23 PM

    Damn. I responded to this a couple days ago and it didn’t take. Have to do it again…Fuck

    “Meaning, what’s more important? Money?”

    *I don’t believe there’s one overwhelming factor that positively or negatively influences a child’s development.

    I think you’re up against science on this one Bill. Parenting matters. Parents matter. It is indeed the overwhelming factor. It just sucks that we can’t protest bad parents, or throw money at the problem.

    “One income vs. two, for starters.”

    *Aren’t two-income families worse, since the child is never around the parents? That seems to go against your theory.

    On TV maybe. In real life, people do what my wife and I do. She works nights and weekends. The kids are always around a parent, and we’re able to earn two incomes. (1.5 really.) She sacrificed a lot to do that.

    “Civility. Humility. Compassion. Courtesy, etc…just let ‘em die?”

    *All those are subjective.

    But they exist, right? Define them how you will, but they matter, right?

    “There’s a reason it’s called *common* decency and *common* courtesy. They are expected to be shared traits.”

    *Well, I guess you’re a moral absolutist then? I’m a moral relativist.

    Huh? The only people who believe in common decency are “more absolutists?”

    “Funny thing is, when you stop enforcing common courtesy, you don’t get a more free culture, you get more rules, and more laws.”

    *Irony at its finest.

    Actually, it’s not “irony,” since the results are totally expected. It’s just “surprising” because it doesn’t follow pop wisdom: once the stuffy old teacher lets lightens up and drinks Mountain Dew, she’s does back flips and all is well.

    “Holy Jeebus, NYC had to pass a LAW to get people to turn off their cell phones in movie theaters.”

    *That’s pathetic on the legislators’ part. The movie theater could’ve just enforced a “no cell phones” rule and had a couple people in each room.

    You’d think. But you acknowledge the challenge: you gotta pay people to enforce what was formerly enforced by societal standards. (And good luck finding the teenage help able to intimidate obnoxious adults into turning off their phones.)

    “There aren’t enough laws to keep Mexican men from groping women on buses anymore, so the guvment had to start a women-only bus service.”

    *Is this in Mexico? If not, I don’t see the significance of their being Mexican.

    Of course it’s in Mexico. Google it. It’s a capitalist democracy, like us, that had to resort to absurd measures when it realized there aren’t enough police to cover for a population that used to be able to police itself.

    “You minimize the tens of millions of dollars in charity provided through the years, and flat-out deny the rest.”

    *If I acknowledged that the money they’ve raised for different causes makes them good people, it’d basically be like allowing them to buy their way out of their wrongdoings.

    But most of them ARE good people. As good as you or the average person.

    *I’m sorry, but endorsing slavery, misogyny, the mistreatment of animals, and genocide is something that no amount of money will ever erase.

    Name me one centuries-old society or institution that didn’t feature one or all of those sins.

    *I don’t argue against religion as an atheist; I argue against religion as a human being. My atheism, rhetorically, has nothing to do with being anti-religion.

    That’s reasonable. But combined with you’re refusal to acknowledge that individuals are most responsible for the development of their children, it seems that you’re just targeting whatever authority symbol you can.

    *While I would like to see organized religion fade away, I would like to stress that I wouldn’t want this to happen legislatively, i.e. by restricting or banning religion. I think that’s what you’re alluding to and that’s not what I’m supporting.

    I don’t think you support that at all. It’s clear religion will fade away, mainly because people can’t buy into a supreme being or an afterlife. I’m with you on a lot. First, the whole god thing. Second, and more importantly to you, the role religion played in a lot of bad stuff throughout history. My point is, those things didn’t happen because of religion, or Christianity, or America. They were flaws in humanity. If you can accept that modest suggestion, you’ll be able to consider that maybe the religious finger-waggers served a non-religious purpose that we should step up to fill.

    The Phils are on their way to Fla.

  37. Bill Baer

    February 10, 2008 08:38 PM

    Parenting matters. Parents matter. It is indeed the overwhelming factor.

    Overwhelming? I don’t think so. It is a factor, that I am not denying. As I said, I think it’s being overstated.

    In real life, people do what my wife and I do.

    Not everyone has the luxury to have the schedule you and your wife have. I assume both you and your wife are high school graduates and at least have some college seasoning, no?

    But they exist, right? Define them how you will, but they matter, right?

    The great thing about what you’ve mentioned — “Civility. Humility. Compassion. Courtesy” — is that they, for the most part, are not enforced. When you start enforcing them, they completely lose their meaning.

    Huh? The only people who believe in common decency are “more absolutists?”

    No. I’m a moral relativist and, as a socialist, I’m all for civility and compassion and all that. I’m against enforcing it as you seem to want.

    once the stuffy old teacher lets lightens up and drinks Mountain Dew, she’s does back flips and all is well.

    Well, going back to your claim: when you stop enforcing common courtesy, you don’t get a more free culture, you get more rules, and more laws

    Can you cite this in any way? It seems like something you just threw out there.

    you gotta pay people to enforce what was formerly enforced by societal standards

    Do you really need to enforce a “no cell phones” rule? It’s a slipperly slope to authoritarianism. I personally have no problem with cell phones in movie theaters and rarely have a problem with obnoxious talkers, incessant ringtones, and the like. I think you’re just taking a problem and exaggerating it (as others have).

    But most of them ARE good people. As good as you or the average person.

    I disagree. Religion warps the mind; it makes people not only hate themselves, but hate others.

    Name me one centuries-old society or institution that didn’t feature one or all of those sins.

    You’re being an apologist for religion by using the “but everybody else was doing it!”

    Religion, as a whole, has billions of adherents — probably between 67% and 75%. Before the last 50 years or so, it was a larger percentage. Thus, a large percentage of the world’s population was told to view women as inferior and to embrace slavery.

    There is no institution that even remotely compares to religion in terms of population. And that’s why religion has been and continues to be so dangerous.

    But combined with you’re refusal to acknowledge that individuals are most responsible for the development of their children

    Children are most responsible for their development.

    it seems that you’re just targeting whatever authority symbol you can

    I think what you’re trying to say is that I’m naturally (and correctly) skeptical of anyone who is in a position of power. And that’s true. I question the U.S. government almost as harshly as I question religion.

    My point is, those things didn’t happen because of religion, or Christianity, or America. They were flaws in humanity.

    They’re one and the same.

  38. CJ

    February 12, 2008 02:09 PM

    *[Parenting] Overwhelming? I don’t think so. It is a factor, that I am not denying. As I said, I think it’s being overstated.

    I asked you before what factor is more important to a child’s development than parenting. I don’t you told me.

    *Not everyone has the luxury to have the schedule you and your wife have. I assume both you and your wife are high school graduates and at least have some college seasoning, no?

    It’s not a “luxury,” Bill. It’s a sacrifice. You don’t “have” a schedule, you make one. She worked in accounting and put that aside to take lesser jobs in evenings and weekends. Yes, like the vast majority of Americans we are high school graduates. We also went to college. Again, it all took work. Some do it, some don’t. We also waited until we got married to have kids. If you do two things, it is virtually impossible to be poor in America: graduate from high school and get married before you have kids. But you won’t find many “advocates” sharing that nugget, and you won’t find hardly anyone outside of religion to share the second tip.

    “But they exist, right? Define them how you will, but they matter, right?”

    *The great thing about what you’ve mentioned — “Civility. Humility. Compassion. Courtesy” — is that they, for the most part, are not enforced. When you start enforcing them, they completely lose their meaning.

    I asked if you think they matter. It seems you think they don’t. And of course they are “enforced” – by the people. They don’t come naturally. Being selfish is natural. Self-promotion is natural. Without societal norms discouraging boorish behavior, society becomes one big reality TV show.

    *I’m a moral relativist and, as a socialist, I’m all for civility and compassion and all that. I’m against enforcing it as you seem to want.

    How did we “enforce” respect for gays and minorities and women in the workplace (to the extent we have)? Through laws, or by encouraging them via culture – films, TV, music, news articles, etc.? We “enforce” lots of cultural traits in this country without the government.
    And actually, socialists are the ultimate “enforcers” of compassion – they take money from those who have “too “much” and redistribute to those “in need.” (They’re also pretty good at enforcing political views, as the residents of Castro’s prisons will tell you.)

    “Well, going back to your claim: when you stop enforcing common courtesy, you don’t get a more free culture, you get more rules, and more laws Can you cite this in any way? It seems like something you just threw out there.”

    I’m not the first to suggest it. The theater cell phone ban and women-only buses were two examples. Speech and “dating” codes on college campuses are others. Once-unregulated acts now regulated right in the bastions ‘don’t judge others’ campuses.

    *Do you really need to enforce a “no cell phones” rule? It’s a slipperly slope to authoritarianism. I personally have no problem with cell phones in movie theaters and rarely have a problem with obnoxious talkers, incessant ringtones, and the like. I think you’re just taking a problem and exaggerating it (as others have).

    I didn’t pass the law. NY City Council did. I’m not for it, I’m just demonstrating what happens when common courtesy is not enforced by the people. Surely you know people who will tell you there are movie theaters they can’t go to anymore because they’ve become too rowdy, beyond phone use. They used to be a place where people could come together. Something changed.

    “But most of them ARE good people. As good as you or the average person.”

    *I disagree. Religion warps the mind; it makes people not only hate themselves, but hate others.

    Lots of things cause hate. They remain, on average, as good as you or the average person.

    “Name me one centuries-old society or institution that didn’t feature one or all of those sins.”

    *You’re being an apologist for religion by using the “but everybody else was doing it!”

    No, I’m challenging your claim that religion is unique regarding women and slavery. I don’t buy the idea that history would have been all love and sunshine if not for religion. I’m sure that religious policy reflected humanity’s flaws at least as much as it dictated those flaws. I could be wrong, but you could be as well.

    *Children are most responsible for their development.

    This makes much more sense now that I know you’re a socialist. It relieves individuals – parents – from the bulk of responsibility and shifts it to the collective society. I’m sure you don’t really think a 5-year-old is “responsible” for developing traits and skills he doesn’t know exist. But, a government preschool program would. So the individual responsibility goes no further than supporting socialism and paying taxes. Am I close?

    “My point is, those things didn’t happen because of religion, or Christianity, or America. They were flaws in humanity.”

    *They’re one and the same.

    I’m pretty sure humans predated the founding of the United States.

  39. Bill Baer

    February 12, 2008 06:34 PM

    I asked you before what factor is more important to a child’s development than parenting. I don’t you told me.

    The child him or herself.

    It’s not a “luxury,” Bill. It’s a sacrifice.

    It’s a luxury in the sense that you have the options. There are a lot of people who would love to have your options.

    If you do two things, it is virtually impossible to be poor in America

    Way, way, way too simplistic.

    It seems you think they don’t.

    They’re relative. It’s nice to have them but I don’t think they should be enforced at any level.

    Without societal norms discouraging boorish behavior, society becomes one big reality TV show.

    What is boorish? Society tends to get these definitions wrong. Many believe pornography is bad and degrading, when neither is true. Many believe homosexuality is a flaw when it’s really an inborn trait.

    I don’t trust society to establish anything, they’re usually on the wrong side of it.

    We “enforce” lots of cultural traits in this country without the government.

    Well, that’s what I’m saying. “Civility. Humility. Compassion. Courtesy” — I’m fine with them being socially expected, as bad as society is on these things.

    And actually, socialists are the ultimate “enforcers” of compassion

    Technically, they don’t take money from the rich unless it’s a country transitioning from the free market. A clean slate socialist nation won’t have economic classes, so there is no “rich” to take from. Everyone earns about the same amount.

    They’re also pretty good at enforcing political views, as the residents of Castro’s prisons will tell you

    This is a common misconception. Think of Communism like a rectangle and socialism like a square. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Similarly, all Communist nations are socialist, but not all socialist nations are Communist.

    Cuba is Communist — it’s socioeconomic.

    I’m not the first to suggest it.

    I don’t get your point (what you said after this).

    I’m just demonstrating what happens when common courtesy is not enforced by the people.

    You’re making a broad generalization. As I’ve mentioned, it’s all subjective.

    Lots of things cause hate.

    Not as openly and as effectively (especially given the populations) as religion.

    I don’t buy the idea that history would have been all love and sunshine if not for religion.

    That’s not what I’m claiming. Religion is responsible for a large chunk of the wars, genocides, murders, slavery, and other forms of oppression in the history of this planet.

    Without religion, you’d still have war and genocide and murder and slavery and oppression, but significantly less and it’d have been much harder to get people into agreeing with it. Religion is the ultimate cop-out: there’s a supreme being out there, but you can’t see him. And if you don’t obey him, he’ll punish you.

    That was enough to get primitive people to buy into whatever those in power were selling. And more and more and more people bought into it.

    I’m sure that religious policy reflected humanity’s flaws at least as much as it dictated those flaws.

    Religion is reflective of humanity’s flaws. But without religion, it’s much harder to get millions of people go to along with gross infringements of human rights.

    I’m sure you don’t really think a 5-year-old is “responsible” for developing traits and skills he doesn’t know exist.

    What I meant was that there’s a lot parents can’t do to affect the child. For instance, I was brought up in a highly religious, highly “Republican” family. I never had problems with my parents or anyone in my family, I never had struggles as a child, and I didn’t do well in school until I decided to put the effort in. Now, I’m a highly liberal, atheist with a 3.5 GPA.

    I don’t think my parents had a lot to do with my development aside from keeping me alive.

    So the individual responsibility goes no further than supporting socialism and paying taxes. Am I close?

    I don’t understand what you’re getting at.

    I’m pretty sure humans predated the founding of the United States.

    Again, what?

    Christianity isn’t just relegated to the U.S. They have and have had significant numbers throughout the world throughout history.

  40. CJ

    February 13, 2008 03:54 PM

    “I asked you before what factor is more important to a child’s development than parenting. I don’t you told me.”

    *The child him or herself.

    Your self-parenting theory aside, how about besides the kid?

    *It’s a luxury in the sense that you have the options. There are a lot of people who would love to have your options.

    You don’t “have” options. You work your ass off to access the options available to everyone. In this case, the first thing you have to do is not cut the number of parents in the household by half. The first step toward that is choosing marriage. Even as a non-religious guy I acknowledge that the church is the only institution left to encourage this logical step in poverty-prevention.

    “If you do two things, it is virtually impossible to be poor in America”

    *Way, way, way too simplistic.

    Yet statistically accurate.

    *They’re relative. It’s nice to have them but I don’t think they should be enforced at any level.
    Relative to what?

    “Without societal norms discouraging boorish behavior, society becomes one big reality TV show.”

    *What is boorish? Society tends to get these definitions wrong. Many believe pornography is bad and degrading, when neither is true. Many believe homosexuality is a flaw when it’s really an inborn trait.

    Homosexuality is not a behavior. The fact that I actually have to define boorish behavior argues for, not against, the defense of “common” decency. Grabbing your crotch and showing your underwear and leering at girls and butting in line and cursing in public and cutting off a fellow driver and acting like a dick a sporting events so dads can’t take their sons, that’s boorish. Popular culture used to discourage it. Once the boomers took that over, religion used to discourage it. Once we kill religion, who will? The government can’t.

    *I don’t trust society to establish anything, they’re usually on the wrong side of it.

    But you’d trust it so establish a socialist government, giving it more control over individuals than ever in history.

    *Well, that’s what I’m saying. “Civility. Humility. Compassion. Courtesy” — I’m fine with them being socially expected, as bad as society is on these things.

    As any parent will tell you, you can’t just sit back and “expect” good behavior. You have to encourage it. Again, it doesn’t come naturally. It’s the glaring weakness in the godless socialism thing.

    *Technically, they don’t take money from the rich unless it’s a country transitioning from the free market. A clean slate socialist nation won’t have economic classes, so there is no “rich” to take from. Everyone earns about the same amount.

    Since we would be a “transitioning” country, there’s going to be a lot of serious “enforcing” going on. And then, of course, all socialist nations have to enforce against the human instinct to better oneself. In addition to making sure no one is too poor, socialism has to enforce the soul-sucking rule that no one is too successful.

    *Similarly, all Communist nations are socialist, but not all socialist nations are Communist.

    That’s fine. It’s important for would-be socialists to know their cousins, though. They both require strict control. It’s just a matter of extremes.

    “I’m just demonstrating what happens when common courtesy is not enforced by the people.”

    *You’re making a broad generalization. As I’ve mentioned, it’s all subjective.

    No it isn’t. If that’s “subjective” than so is “oppression.” So everything is a matter of opinion.

    “Lots of things cause hate.”

    *Not as openly and as effectively (especially given the populations) as religion.

    Show me a socialist culture with “less hate.” Sweden? Where until recently everyone was pale white, and as soon as people of people of color moved in they experienced the same problems as the U.S.? Welfare states like France and England, where the exact same thing happened? Soviet Union, where ethnic hatred was subdued at the end of a gun, that once lifted retuned to the surface? See Bosnia, et al. “Hate” is just as likely socialist democracies with weak religion.

    *That’s not what I’m claiming. Religion is responsible for a large chunk of the wars, genocides, murders, slavery, and other forms of oppression in the history of this planet.

    Again, you seem to just be targeting history itself, not religion. Many of the wars attributed to religion are actually territorial disputes or ethnic clashes with associated religions.

    *Religion is reflective of humanity’s flaws. But without religion, it’s much harder to get millions of people go to along with gross infringements of human rights.

    I concede that, to a degree. Of course, human rights is subjective.

    *What I meant was that there’s a lot parents can’t do to affect the child. For instance, I was brought up in a highly religious, highly “Republican” family. I never had problems with my parents or anyone in my family, I never had struggles as a child, and I didn’t do well in school until I decided to put the effort in. Now, I’m a highly liberal, atheist with a 3.5 GPA.

    Hard to say, but it sounds like they did what two parent households do better than others: protected you the struggles and serious problems so that you would be able to succeed once you decided to put in the effort.

    “So the individual responsibility goes no further than supporting socialism and paying taxes. Am I close?”

    *I don’t understand what you’re getting at.

    It’s the whole point of the conversation. Churches are the last institution to promote individual responsibility. That’s why I think they serve a role that will need to be filled if they’re gone. I’m trying to gauge what you think individual responsibility entails, if anything.

    “I’m pretty sure humans predated the founding of the United States.”

    *Again, what?

    You claimed religion, the US and humanity were “one in the same.” I say they are clearly not. I am saying, again, that you are attributing human flaws to the nearest, easiest, most popular targets: The US and Christians.

  41. Bill B.

    February 13, 2008 05:33 PM

    Your self-parenting theory aside, how about besides the kid?

    Your question, if you ignore my “there is no overwhelming factor” statement, seems to ignore the gradient, so to speak. You want to know which is “more important,” but it’s really irrelevant and, once again, subjective. Some factors, to some kids, are more important than others. There’s no set standard.

    You don’t “have” options.

    Sure you do.

    The first step toward that is choosing marriage.

    All marriage does is legalize the union. A non-married couple is just as effective for a child than a married couple. You basically just make it so they have to file a bunch of papers and possibly go to hearings if there’s a dispute over the union or over property.

    Yet statistically accurate.

    Can you cite this?

    Relative to what?

    People.

    Homosexuality is not a behavior.

    Yes, it is.

    Grabbing your crotch and showing your underwear and leering at girls

    I don’t believe any of these behaviors are “boorish.” No one is hurt by them.

    cursing in public [...] acting like a dick a sporting events

    Ditto.

    But you’d trust it so establish a socialist government, giving it more control over individuals than ever in history.

    Socialism doesn’t enforce societal standards, despite the name. Socialism is a system of economics.

    Again, you’re confusing socialism with Communism, which is socioeconomic.

    you can’t just sit back and “expect” good behavior.

    It depends on what your standards are.

    It’s the glaring weakness in the godless socialism thing.

    You don’t understand socialism.

    Since we would be a “transitioning” country

    When did we establish that the U.S. is becoming full-on socialist?

    all socialist nations have to enforce against the human instinct to better oneself

    This goes against your argument. It’s a human instinct to be “boorish.” Yet you want that regulated.

    socialism has to enforce the soul-sucking rule that no one is too successful

    You say this as if it’s a bad thing.

    They both require strict control. It’s just a matter of extremes.

    No, it’s not.

    Socialism = Economic
    Communism = Socioeconomic

    No it isn’t. If that’s “subjective” than so is “oppression.”

    Common decency being subjective != Oppression being subjective.

    Show me a socialist culture with “less hate.”

    Again, socialism has nothing do with social standards. Socialism doesn’t advocate or impugn “hate.”

    “Hate” is just as likely socialist democracies with weak religion.

    No.

    Many of the wars attributed to religion are actually territorial disputes or ethnic clashes with associated religions.

    …based off of religion. You know the dispute over Israel? That’s territorial but entirely religious. Ditto most of the wars due to religion.

    Stop being an apologist for religion.

    Of course, human rights is subjective.

    Not really. There is an established criteria. See: Geneva Convention.

    but it sounds like they did what two parent households do better than others: protected you the struggles and serious problems so that you would be able to succeed

    Who’s to say a one-parent family couldn’t do that?

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I think the environment in which the child is situated (the parents have a degree of control over this) is more influential to a child’s development than the parents themselves.

    Also, consider this, regarding cigarettes and alcohol:

    “In fact, older siblings may be more influential than parents or friends, according to a new study.”

    Churches are the last institution to promote individual responsibility.

    No. They’re the most prominent, certainly, but not the last.

    I’d like you to cite this “last” claim of yours.

    I’m trying to gauge what you think individual responsibility entails, if anything.

    Not killing, stealing, raping, or otherwise infringing on another’s rights. Cursing, having visible undergarments, not holding the door open, etc. do not fall under this criteria.

    You claimed religion, the US and humanity were “one in the same.”

    No, I didn’t. I claimed that the flaws in religion, that you instead attributed to humanity, are one and the same.

    I am saying, again, that you are attributing human flaws to the nearest, easiest, most popular targets: The US and Christians.

    Are religion and the U.S. government not created by humans? Why can’t I criticize their flaws?

  42. CJ

    February 17, 2008 11:19 AM

    “Your self-parenting theory aside, how about besides the kid?”

    *Some factors, to some kids, are more important than others. There’s no set standard.

    There are few “set standards” for anything. But there are measurable standards. The reason this is important is that you want to drastically remake society. The impact of society on families, and families on society, is the most important measurement of any culture.

    “You don’t “have” options.”
    *Sure you do.

    Nope. You create them. At least in the case of raising your kids. The notion that it’s all a matter of luck is one reason why some parents make such bad choices – they are told their decisions don’t really matter.

    “The first step toward that is choosing marriage.”

    *All marriage does is legalize the union. A non-married couple is just as effective for a child than a married couple.

    Not true:
    Nearly half of non-married expectant mothers are cohabiting with the father at around the time of their child’s birth. Overall, some 95 percent of non-married mothers express positive attitudes about marrying their new baby’s father in the future. Yet only 9 percent of couples will actually marry within a year after their child’s birth. Within a few years, the relationships of **most of the non-married parents will deteriorate and the mother and father will split up.**
    www.heritage.org/Research/Family/cda0306.cfm

    *You basically just make it so they have to file a bunch of papers and possibly go to hearings if there’s a dispute over the union or over property.

    The old “marriage is just a piece of paper” response from the 70s. This is the fatal flaw in your argument, that everything can be reduced to just filing the right papers with a socialist government that can free people of individual responsibility.

    Religion aside, there is a logical advantage to securing a familial bond if a couple stands up in front of their family, friends and – for the many who are influenced by it – their god and declaring the commitment….vs quietly ‘filing papers’ and sharing the tender moment with the desk clerk. If you want to try to argue that marriage doesn’t benefit children, you’ll lose. Doesn’t kill your overall point, but you will lose that one.

    *Can you cite this?

    The education/work factor is pretty obvious, this stuff focuses on the role that marriage plays in preventing poverty. All of these are based on this Princeton study
    www.fragilefamilies.princeton.edu/

    **The erosion of marriage and the increase in single-parent families are major causes of child poverty and welfare dependence in the United States. Nearly three-quarters of government means-tested welfare aid to children goes to single-parent families.[14] Over 80 percent of long-term child poverty occurs in broken or never-married families.[15]

    **…from the Census Bureau’s 2004 Current Population Survey.There’s one segment of the black population that suffers only a 9.9 percent poverty rate, and only 13.7 percent of their under-5-year-olds are poor. There’s another segment of the black population that suffers a 39.5 percent poverty rate, and 58.1 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. Among whites, one population segment suffers a 6 percent poverty rate, and only 9.9 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. Another segment of the white population suffers a 26.4 percent poverty rate, and 52 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor.What do you think distinguishes the high and low poverty populations? The only statistical distinction between both the black and white populations is marriage.
    www.townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2007/10/31/are_the_poor_getting_poorer

    Their parents don’t work much, and fathers are absent from the home.
    www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/bg1796.cfm

    As Chart 2 shows, 55 percent of the mothers in the Fragile Families Study will live in poverty if they remain single and are employed part-time. By contrast, if the mothers marry, their poverty rate plummets to 17 percent. In other words, the father’s normal earnings, combined with the part-time earnings of the mother, are sufficient to raise 83 percent of the families above the poverty line.
    www.heritage.org/Research/Family/cda0306.cfm

    “Relative to what?”
    *People.

    So as I suspected, you don’t really believe there is such a thing as “common decency” or social mores. If you do, list some examples. Otherwise we have to conclude that the concept just doesn’t have a place in your atheist/socialist Vision of Tomorrow.

    “Homosexuality is not a behavior.”
    *Yes, it is.

    Woah. Back to the 70s again. I thought it was agreed it’s an orientation. Genetic wiring. If it was just an act, ‘discrimination against homosexuals’ would be impossible, because you can not “discriminate” against an act.

    *Grabbing your crotch and showing your underwear and leering at girls
    “I don’t believe any of these behaviors are “boorish.” No one is hurt by them.”

    Really? Impeding a person’s right to walk down the street without being made to feel like a piece of meat, or intimidated, doesn’t hurt anyone? I have to call you on this one too, you don’t really believe anything would be “boorish” behavior do you?

    cursing in public […] acting like a dick a sporting events
    “Ditto.”

    See above challenge.

    *Socialism doesn’t enforce societal standards, despite the name. Socialism is a system of economics. Again, you’re confusing socialism with Communism, which is socioeconomic.

    No I’m not. The whole point of the socialist economic model is to take more taxes from people and provide more services to people. It is, as I said, a vast expansion of government power into the everyday lives of citizens…much more than a preacher giving a sermon. And you’ve already conceded the only channel for enforcing any code of behavior whatsoever is the government, via laws. Everything else is useless.

    “you can’t just sit back and “expect” good behavior.”

    *It depends on what your standards are.

    No it doesn’t. As soon as you set *any* standard, it has to be encouraged and enforced, or why call it a “standard?” I’m pretty sure your atheist/socialist society just wouldn’t have standards because you don’t believe in them.

    *When did we establish that the U.S. is becoming full-on socialist?

    Beats me. We established you feel it is a deeply flawed nation, and that you support socialism. But whatever degree of socialism you’re referring to will require a corresponding degree of seizing “wealth” from citizens and redistributing.

    “all socialist nations have to enforce against the human instinct to better oneself”
    *This goes against your argument. It’s a human instinct to be “boorish.” Yet you want that regulated.

    ‘Better oneself’ refers to making money, furthering ones education in order to make money, developing innovative products for a profit motive, buying their family the biggest house possible, etc. All that stuff that makes U.S. so attractive to outsiders. Those people can be boorish. That’s why we need standards regulated by the people. This all supports my argument.

    “socialism has to enforce the soul-sucking rule that no one is too successful”
    *You say this as if it’s a bad thing.

    Why would you let the government decide what “successful” is?

    *Socialism = Economic… Communism = Socioeconomic

    Again, government redistribution of private wealth, and keeping it “properly” distributed, requires, inherently, significant control. I’m not saying it requires gulags. And I haven’t even said the name Chavez yet.

    “No it isn’t. If that’s “subjective” than so is “oppression.””
    *Common decency being subjective != Oppression being subjective.

    It’s easy to dismiss standards with by declaring: ‘subjective!’

    ““Hate” is just as likely socialist democracies with weak religion.”
    *No.

    I offered examples that it is. If you have some contrary evidence, go for it. Once again, your confusing human traits with religious/capitalist traits.

    *Stop being an apologist for religion.

    I’m not an apologist. I’m not even religious. I just don’t like beating up strawmen. I think most of the same bad ‘religious’ things you cite would have existed without religion.

    “Of course, human rights is subjective.”
    *Not really. There is an established criteria. See: Geneva Convention.

    Read it. They’re very subjective. Oppression is subjective. (Some people are genuinely oppressed, some just don’t like rules.) But being subjective doesn’t mean we don’t try to set and enforce standards. And I contend that it’s better when fellow citizens do it as part of a common culture.

    “but it sounds like they did what two parent households do better than others: protected you the struggles and serious problems so that you would be able to succeed”
    *Who’s to say a one-parent family couldn’t do that?

    Logic. Statistics. Of course, many singe-parent families do it. But it’s more like with likely with two, for obviously reasons.

    *Now that I’m thinking about it, I think the environment in which the child is situated (the parents have a degree of control over this) is more influential to a child’s development than the parents themselves.

    Yes Bill. And parents have the ULTIMATE degree of control over environment. Every definition of “home environment” would be linked to the parents.

    “Churches are the last institution to promote individual responsibility.”
    *No. They’re the most prominent, certainly, but not the last.

    What other institution does? The largest and most powerful (media and government) promote the opposite.

    “I’m trying to gauge what you think individual responsibility entails, if anything.”
    *Not killing, stealing, raping, or otherwise infringing on another’s rights. Cursing, having visible undergarments, not holding the door open, etc. do not fall under this criteria.

    So, again, if the government has not declared it illegal, you can do it and still be considered a responsible person?

    Question: would living in a community of 1,000 courteous and polite people be any different from living in a community of 1,000 discourteous and impolite people? (In community A people let each other merge on the road, they say Hi, they keep an eye on each other’s kids, they shovel each other’s sidewalks. Community B does the opposite, but respects your rights.) Any difference?

    *I claimed that the flaws in religion, that you instead attributed to humanity, are one and the same.

    You concede that humanity preceded religion, right?

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