Concern widens over 'anti-religion' book

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Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]This phrase - religious nutjobs - is intolerant and shouldn't be used on a progressive site, in my opinion....[/b]

Oh, I'm sorry. From now on, I'll call religious book censors "religious fuckwads".

Does that make you feel better? And here, I'll type really, really slowly so that hopefully the point will be understood. Not all religious people are religious nutjobs or religious fuckwads. Only the ones who ban books because of their religion. And teach children that people from other religions are going to hell. And lobby against birth control and condoms because of their religion. And try to control women's bodies because of their religion. And are homophobic because they think God hates fags.

Do you do those things because of your religion? No? Then I didn't mean you. I meant the other ones. The fuckwads. And the nutjobs.

quote:

Tolerance means tolerating intolerance.

What a pile of horseshit. I don't tolerate any religious fuckwad trying to tell me what I can do with my body, or using public funds to ban books or teach kids to hate gays and discriminate against women. That's not tolerance, that's being a doormat.

[ 26 November 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]This phrase - religious nutjobs - is intolerant and shouldn't be used on a progressive site, in my opinion....[/b]

Oh really? Wasn't this also your opinion:

quote:

Also originally posted by Michael Hardner, on the very same day:
[b]Tolerance means tolerating intolerance.[/b]

I think I get it. We have to tolerate fanatical religious attacks on basic human freedoms. We have to respect not only people's right to their own beliefs, but their efforts to impose those beliefs on others.

But we must under no circumstances call some self-styled "religious" person anti-human, neo-fascist, anti-freedom, homophobic, anti-woman, anti-Aboriginal - because that would be impolite.

I'll write all that down and try to govern myself accordingly.

[ 26 November 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]

Michelle

[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Michael Hardner

U,

quote:

Dumping Catholic public schools in Quйbec and N&L caused no strife - only relief.

What makes you so pessimistic about Ontarians? More importantly, if you understand the need to cut the Catholics off, what makes you so much smarter than everyone else?


I wouldn't say that I'm smarter, only calmer.

Why am I pessimistic ? I wouldn't say that I am. I'm probably more cautious though.

I think it would help if a group of Catholics formed to advance some positive way in which this goal could be achieved.

Michael Hardner

Jan,

quote:

Everyone on this board should read this author's whole article.
To quote "It is a beautiful story, and a Christian story. It is a story that could prompt believers to reflect on their faith. It is just not a story that everyone may want you to read."

Thanks for posting that. It makes me feel better about the work as a whole. However, I still think that there are problems conveying the subtlety of these ideas to children.

By the time they're able to see the difference between the Church, its customs and culture, its problems then they're probably too old to read such a book anyway.

Does anyone know what age range is targeted for these books ? It seems like under 10 to me, but I'm not a parent...

Michael Hardner

U,

quote:

I think I get it. We have to tolerate fanatical religious attacks on basic human freedoms.

No.

quote:

We have to respect not only people's right to their own beliefs, but their efforts to impose those beliefs on others.


No.

quote:

But we must under no circumstances call some self-styled "religious" person anti-human, neo-fascist, anti-freedom, homophobic, anti-woman, anti-Aboriginal - because that would be impolite.


YOu can call an individual person whatever you like, but when you label a group based on your prejudices then that's not fair, in my opinion.

There are many progressives who came from a religious background, including relatives of mine who used their faith to help people around the world, and I don't like to let it pass when all religious people are slandered for a stereotype, or for the crimes of a handful.

I don't think I have much more to add than that.

Michael Hardner

Michelle,

quote:

Oh, I'm sorry. From now on, I'll call religious book censors "religious fuckwads".

Does that make you feel better? And here, I'll type really, really slowly so that hopefully the point will be understood. Not all religious people are religious nutjobs or religious fuckwads. Only the ones who ban books because of their religion. And teach children that people from other religions are going to hell. And lobby against birth control and condoms because of their religion. And try to control women's bodies because of their religion. And are homophobic because they think God hates fags.


Ok, so I can use the term Islamic nutjob, idiot woman, or black idiot or similarly hyphenated hate term to get away with saying whatever I like then ?

You can set the rules, but I don't have to say that it's ok with me, and it's not.

quote:

Do you do those things because of your religion? No? Then I didn't mean you. I meant the other ones. The fuckwads. And the nutjobs.


Hyphenate away, then, and if you rationalization makes you feel better than I suppose that works for you.

I know a lot of religious people, and members of any group that make the world a better place and I don't like to let these kind of smears go uncommented.

quote:

What a pile of horseshit. I don't tolerate any religious fuckwad trying to tell me what I can do with my body, or using public funds to ban books or teach kids to hate gays and discriminate against women. That's not tolerance, that's being a doormat.

The 'public funds' argument was a great one that Mike Harris liked to use to rationalize whatever he wanted to do. By calling people 'taxpayers' we turn society into a set of cash transaction relationships, rather than a community of peoples that strive do to better individually and as a group.

As I said to Unionist, these are my feelings on the issue and I don't have much to add, nor do I want to get into a long thread of rationalizing why it's ok to use the term 'religious nutjobs' but not make fun of someone's race or nationality.

I've been there before, though it's usually with right-wing types. Arguing these types of things with progressives tends to depress me.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]There are many progressives who came from a religious background, including relatives of mine who used their faith to help people around the world...[/b]

If it's possible to use faith to help people around the world, then I'm definitely interested, because I want to help people around the world.

Please tell us what faith we may adopt for this purpose, and explain how exactly such faith on our part will help such people.

Michelle

It's not progressive to let religious flakes use public funds to push hateful beliefs on children. It's just stupid. Sorry, but there's a big old progressive movement out there that has been fighting religious fascism for centuries. It's why we no longer have heretics burned at the stake, and other religious persecution, at least not here, thank dog.

As for "Islamic nutjob", there's really no need, as "religious nutjobs" pretty much cover anyone, whether it's the occasional Muslim who believes in stoning women who have sex outside of marriage, or the occasional fundamentalist Christian who believes in book banning.

I didn't target one religion, and I didn't even target everyone who is religious.

You're starting to remind me of those homophobic trolls who used to come to babble and whine because we refused to "tolerate" their hate posts against gays and lesbians on babble. That argument may be fun when you're wanking around in a first year philosophy seminar, but in real life, progressives are not required to "tolerate" people who spread hate because God Told Them To.

[ 27 November 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Michael might have a point except that it seems that most of the people who are considering (considering? Why is this a "problem" to be mulled over?) pulling the book aren't "nutjobs" at all. Well, not really. They're principals, administrators and employees of a public institution. There should be no discussion. If you want to start talking about banning books (banning books? Christ!) you don't get to play.

I'm sorry, Michael. I know you might feel targeted by the criticism here, but I think it's a mugs' game. And you aren't helping yourself by doorjamming Christians in the same oppressed category as women, Muslims and blacks.

Michael Hardner

M Spector

quote:

If it's possible to use faith to help people around the world, then I'm definitely interested, because I want to help people around the world.

Please tell us what faith we may adopt for this purpose, and explain how exactly such faith on our part will help such people.


Yes, it is possible. Many faiths may assist you in helping people. I advise you to peruse a few and pick a good one.

Michelle

I agree, Catchfire. Besides, it's a dumb analogy. I've often thought of certain women as "idiots" and even said so. But no, I wouldn't say "idiot woman" because generally when women do something idiotic, they're not doing it in the name of being female. But when I call someone a religious nutjob, it's because they've done something stupid or hateful in the name of their religion.

In that case, why not call a Muslim who does something awful in the name of Islam an "Islamic nutjob"? Well, I guess because first of all, in our society, Muslims are discriminated against, and Christians aren't, at least not in any meaningful way. I mean, yeah, to hear some Christians whine, you'd think they were the most put-upon people in society - all those mean people who won't tolerate us hating people! - I remember the whining well from my church days - but Christianity is in fact the dominant religion in our society. So, yeah, "Islamic nutjobs" or "Jewish nutjobs" sound worse than "religious nutjobs" because first of all you're singling out one particular religion, and secondly, they're minority religions with a history of persecution in our society.

You'll notice I didn't say "Catholic nutjobs". That's because I knew people would think I was singling out Catholics, when in fact, I think no one of any religion should be given public funds to spread hate and ban books in publicly funded schools.

[ 27 November 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Michael Hardner

Michelle,

quote:

You're starting to remind me of those homophobic trolls who used to come to babble and whine because we refused to "tolerate" their hate posts against gays and lesbians on babble. That argument may be fun when you're wanking around in a first year philosophy seminar, but in real life, progressives are not required to "tolerate" people who spread hate because God Told Them To.

I'm sorry, but I would label people who are able to rationalize away their prejudices as more philosophical than me.

I'm not a troll, nor am I homophobic. I have marched for gay rights, and even been persecuted as being gay, although I am straight.

I guess we both have learned that not all progressives are in lock step with each other...

Michael Hardner

CF,

quote:

I'm sorry, Michael. I know you might feel targeted by the criticism here, but I think it's a mugs' game. And you aren't helping yourself by doorjamming Christians in the same oppressed category as women, Muslims and blacks.

No problem... I'm not religious myself so I don't feel targeted. I just feel the need to speak up on such things.

Thanks for the good word.

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]I'm not a troll, nor am I homophobic. I have marched for gay rights, and even been persecuted as being gay, although I am straight.[/b]

I didn't say you were either. I said you remind me of them, because they kept posting over and over again that people on babble have to be "tolerant" of people who hate gays, etc.

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]
Thanks for posting that. It makes me feel better about the work as a whole. However, I still think that there are problems conveying the subtlety of these ideas to children.

By the time they're able to see the difference between the Church, its customs and culture, its problems then they're probably too old to read such a book anyway.

Does anyone know what age range is targeted for these books ? It seems like under 10 to me, but I'm not a parent...[/b]


They are good books, which is to say, they are for all ages. The fantasy adventure, romance, and tragic aspects work on all levels. I'm not sure how old a child would have to be in order to have the reading level required; I'd guess 10-12 for most kids. Personally I had to do a bit of research to really get the reference to Pope John Calvin and understand why the Magisterium was centred in Geneva.

As for the subtlety of ideas, there is no way to avoid that other than banning all books. There are no neutral ones. They all either intentionally or unintentionally say a lot about the world (and if they didn't what good would they be?).

Why would it be okay to teach children that the church is an entirely good thing, either explicitly or through "subversive" methods like the Narnia series, but not allow them access to criticisms of that view? If they are ready for one, they should be ready for the other. Unless the goal is to wait until indoctrination has taken sufficiently deep root that the children lack the capacity or desire to contemplate any ideas that challenge it.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]Yes, it is possible. Many faiths may assist you in helping people. I advise you to peruse a few and pick a good one.[/b]

Okay, you're keeping the Good News to yourself.

Not very Christian of you.

Michael Hardner

M Spec,

quote:

Okay, you're keeping the Good News to yourself.

Not very Christian of you.


Not sure what you're getting at, but I'm not in a position to evangelize, really, since I'm not religious myself.

Sineed

I read the books last year, and 10-12 is a little young; my 12 year old picked up The Golden Compass recently, and she's finding it a bit challenging. Teens and older, I'd say.

And I'm all in favour of the book ban. Look what it did for [i]Catcher in the Rye.[/i] What with all the fuss, kids will be reading the trilogy in larger numbers than ever.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]...but I'm not in a position to evangelize, really, since I'm not religious myself.[/b]

And yet, you don't hesitate to advise others to embrace religion in order to assist them in "helping people around the world."

Pardon me if I doubt your sincerity.

Michael Hardner

I was answering your request:

quote:

Please tell us what faith we may adopt for this purpose...

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Except that you didn't answer it at all.

In response to my very specific question you made some general suggestion about "perusing" a few faiths and picking one.

And the only reason I asked is that you had been touting the benefits of a "religious background" for helping people around the world.

CharlotteAshley

quote:


Originally posted by Trevormkidd:
[b]I can't believe that wikipedia didn't include Ian McEwan in their list of atheist authors. Outspoken atheist and winner of many literary prizes.[/b]

Or Umberto Eco!

Charlotte

Unionist

I trust everyone is aware that you can edit Wikipedia and add these authors' names?

Wikipedia is us.

Michael Hardner

MS,

quote:

Except that you didn't answer it at all.

In response to my very specific question you made some general suggestion about "perusing" a few faiths and picking one.

And the only reason I asked is that you had been touting the benefits of a "religious background" for helping people around the world.


That's a slight rewording of what I said, but what exactly are you looking for here ?

Yes, faith can be an excellent motivator to encourage good works. I know people who have experienced this. No, I don't have a specific faith to 'push' as I'm not religious myself.

I'm not sure what else I can give you.

Unionist

Thanks to Heph for posting on EM this fresh example of Ontario Catholic school board book-banning:

[url=http://www.slapupsidethehead.com/2007/11/group-bans-diversity-book/]Wate... Catholic Board pulls teachers' resource book at demand of anti-gay group[/url]

quote:

A teacher’s resource book has been removed from staff rooms in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board after an anti-gay group, Defend Traditional Marriage and Family, lobbied to have it pulled.

The book, entitled Open Minds to Equality, advises on how to deal with ageism, sexism, and homophobia in schools. While the resource was available for teachers to consult, it was not required reading, nor accessible by students directly.

Jack Fonseca, a spokesperson for Defend Traditional Marriage and Family, was thrilled by his lobbying victory:

"[The removal] will make it more difficult for the book to get into the hands of teachers who might’ve been misled by the flawed lessons within."


Kaspar Hauser

So, Michelle, would you agree that your argument--that religious people who do cruel and oppressive things because of their religion can appropriately be called "religious nutjobs" or "religious fuckwads"--might apply to atheists who do cruel and oppressive things because of their atheism? I'm thinking here of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, who argue that the West should use torture and the most grotesque imperial means to impose their will upon "islamofascists", who do their best to cultivate intolerance against all devout Muslims, and who explicitly ground their arguments in their own atheism? Is it appopriate to refer to such people, and to those like them, as "atheist fuckwads" and "atheist nutjobs"? Do you agree that, by your criteria, they are "atheist fuckwads" and "atheist nutjobs"?

[ 01 December 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]

oldgoat

Ooh, an argument! Can I jump in???

If Mr. Hitchens, or anyone else, said we should use torture, ban books, or whatever, because atheism supported or demanded it, and furthermore if such a belief had any kind of constituency, then I would think "atheist fuckwads" would apply. Maybe I've missed it, but I'm not seeing this. I do see torture and repression of thought put through the lens of religion and justified that way though.

So in the case you described, I think fascistic fuckwads may be more appropriate, but the speakers atheism is not relevant. In the case of Hitchens, fuckwad with personal issues, maybe.

Kaspar Hauser

Oldgoat: So, you don't see a constituency for Hitchens and Harris? Have you noted the popularity of their books lately? Or checked out the posts made by their supporters on various discussion boards? Or noticed how often they're invited as commentators in major media? There is certainly an enthusiastic audience for their views among atheists who are looking for a supposedly non-religious reason to demonize religious people in general, and Muslims in particular. Their supporters vote and are politically active, which makes them a constituency. Their brand of atheism is an ideological buttress for neo-conservatism, just like fundamentalist versions of Christianity and Judaism are ideological buttresses for neo-conservatism.

As for book-burning, no, they have not advocated that. They have, however, advocated torture and Western imperialism, they have dismissed the most wrenching cries for justice from Muslim countries as expressions of barbaric irrationality, and they have explicitly...and I have to stress this, explicitly...justified this advocacy with atheist rhetoric. Hitchens has gone so far to use atheist rhetoric to justify genocide, as you can find here:

[url=http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=11768]http://www.antiwar.com/ju...

Given this, while they may qualify in general as "fascist fuckwads" and "fascist nutjobs," they qualify in particular as "atheist fuckwads" and "atheist nutjobs."

[ 01 December 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]

Unionist

What utter demagogy and sophistry.

When we point to the bigoted reactionary anti-democratic actions of some Catholic school boards in Ontario, it shows the bigoted reactionary anti-democratic nature of those Catholic school boards.

It says nothing about "catholicism" - still less about people of Catholic faith, most of whom I would venture to say are far more openminded and tolerant than the institutions which purport to speak in their name.

You, however, attribute the disgusting Islamophobia of Harris and Hitchens to "atheism", and you smear atheists with their bigotry, their pro-U.S. imperialist raving.

You have inherited the methodology of the blood libel. If that's the only way you can defend the Catholic superstition in 2007, then perhaps it does say something about Catholicism after all. But I'm not prepared to jump to that conclusion just on the basis of the behaviour of one of its practitioners.

oldgoat

Michael, you missed my point entirely! Of course they have a constituency, or they wouldn't sell books or get on TV.

They are not advocating torture because it is demanded or supported by atheism. I'm an atheist, and have never felt that they in any way spoke for me. There are people in many religions who support all sorts of horrid things using their religion as a justification. The fact that a close and scholarly reading of their basic religios texts would reveal them to be wrong notwithstanding. Close and scholarly readings never worked up a good mob or got the vote out.

[ 01 December 2007: Message edited by: oldgoat ]

Unionist

By the way, in case it's not already clear, I would humbly request that the moderators not allow this important thread to be derailed by one person's desire to discredit atheism. Let him open another thread and try his damnedst. This thread is about censorship in Ontario Catholic schools.

Kaspar Hauser

Unionist: Please take the time to understand my argument. It's shouldn't be hard, I'm not using big words.

I'm not advocating calling anyone "atheist fuckwads" or "atheist nutjobs." I'm saying that the logic Michelle was using to justify the use of the terms "religious fuckwads" and "religious nutjobs" was equally applicable to people like Hitchens and Harris and their followers. If Michelle doesn't think that the terms "atheist fuckwads" and "atheist nutjobs" should be used to describe Harris, Hitchens, etc, then it seems to me that she should retract her use of the term "religious fuckwads" and "religious nutjobs".

In this case, what's good for the theist goose is good for the atheist gander.

Oldgoat and Unionist, if you think that to use the terms "atheist fuckwad" and "atheist nutjob" to describe Hitchens and Harris slanders ALL atheists, then do you similarly think that Michelle's use of the terms "religious fuckwad" and "religious nutjob" slanders ALL religious people?

[ 01 December 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]

oldgoat

Yeah, you're right. Michael, take it to Rabble Reactions if you think that this particular deceased equine requires further flogging.

I read the books last spring, and quite enjoyed them. I was actually a bit surprised to see them as childrens books, and thought the literacy level was at least into the teen range, but if I underestimate young readers then good for them.

I also thought, especially toward the end, that they were actually a bit dark. My son, wisely IMO, pointed out that there is lots of very dark childrens literature out there which is very good, such as a lot of Roald Dahl's work, and of course [i]Where The Wild Things Are[/i]. Children already know there are dragons, what good books do is assure them they can be slain.

Kaspar Hauser

Well, you heard the grand Poo-Bah, Michael Hardner.

For future reference, it's okay in threads like this to use the terms "religious fuckwads" and "religious nutjobs" in response to the actions of a subset of Catholics, but it's not okay to question this use within the thread in which these terms are used, and it's not okay to use the terms "atheist nutjobs" or "atheist fuckwads" in response to the actions of a subset of atheists. Whereas the use of the terms "religious fuckwads" and "religious nutjobs" does not imply that all religious people are "fuckwads" and "nutjobs", the use of the terms "atheist fuckwads" and "atheist nutjobs" DOES imply that all atheists are "fuckwads" and "nutjobs."

Furthermore, if you come anywhere close to making
your point through the use of logic, rest assured that you will be accused of derailing the thread and directed to "rabble reactions" so that serious atheists can continue to launch half-baked, unchallenged, and sarcastic attacks on religion and the religiously-minded at their leisure.

[ 01 December 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Nenonen:
[b]Unionist: Please take the time to understand my argument. [/b]

Ok, I understand your argument. In condemning (for example) a torturer or a bookburner, it is not advisable to refer to them as "religious torturer" or "religious bookburner", as that may cast aspersions on all religious people and indeed it may attribute their bad behaviour to their religious beliefs.

I agree with you on that point.

Did you have an opinion on publicly-funded assholes banning books in schools, or did you just take a wrong turn and happen into this thread?

oldgoat

Grand Poo-Bah? Ok, I can live with that. I confess in this thread to have perhaps lost track of which Michael I was talking to. Would one of you be a dear and change your name to Larry or Walter or something? Ta very much.

I'm glad this little matter is closed as far as this thread goes, except that any part of Michelle's post upthread which could be interpreted as an admonition about what flies on a progressive board still stands.

Unionist

Can I be the Lesser Poo-Bah please?

oldgoat

You can be my Li'l poo-pah any time. All this poo-bah talk will have Makwa in here.

Kaspar Hauser

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]Can I be the Lesser Poo-Bah please?[/b]

Yeah, you just keep dreaming, Rubble.

Unionist

How about an answer, M. Nenonen? Do you support the removal of Pullman's books from these public schools? What about the removal of the teachers' resource guide?

My reading of Jesus indicates that he would have been merciless in his critique of such anti-human activities. He would forgive them, of course, but he would at least have a comment to make. How about you?

Kaspar Hauser

I was away for a while, so I didn't realize I'd been asked a question. My apologies for taking so long to reply.

I think the decisions to pull the book and the resource guide are expressions of anti-atheist and homophobic bigotry and are therefore deplorable. Frankly, we're seeing quite a bit of this sort of thing coming out of the Catholic Church and related institutions lately, as evidenced by Ratzinger's recent tirade.

[ 01 December 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]

Unionist

Philip Pullman is on CBC Radio One [b]right now[/b] (Eastern time), being interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel. And [url=http://cbc.ca/writersandcompany/media/071125_pullman1.ram]here[/url] is the audio of last week's part one.

[ 02 December 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]

viigan

It's fitting that the French Revolution was mentioned above. It's a good example of how a movement can easily be usurped by rabid fanatics who mirror the ugliness of those they overthrow in the name of their own cause.
I don't believe in censorship of any kind, but I find generalizing terms such as "religious fuckwad" no different than the demeaning terms of previous decades levelled at other members of society.
Somebody throw the dogs a bone to gnaw on, or let them start their own progressive church where they can beat everyone else with their own particular stick of superior enlightenment.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by viigan:
[b]It's fitting that the French Revolution was mentioned above. It's a good example of how a movement can easily be usurped by rabid fanatics who mirror the ugliness of those they overthrow in the name of their own cause.[/b]

Umm, sorry, it's too late to reverse that one. Keep trying with Bill 101, though, it's only been 30 years.

viigan

sit...
maybe you should consider reading a little more about the French Revolution than what can be found in a high-school textbook.
Though I do suspect you know better, but are convinced that those you converse with don't
(which would explain your stance on 101 incidentally).

[ 03 December 2007: Message edited by: viigan ]

Pearson's Fan

As someone who was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school, and knows the beauty of christianity and tyranny of catholicism, I'm going to read me that book. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

edited for spelling.

[ 03 December 2007: Message edited by: Pearson's Fan ]

Yibpl

What comedian was it who said "As long as there are exams there will be prayer in public schools!"?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The same person who, during WWI or WWII said, "there are no atheists in the trenches"?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

That was because atheists knew better.

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