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American Taliban, sans condoms, extra brimstone
March 10, 2004 7:32 AM   Subscribe

American Taliban plans theocracy - soon Theocracy Watch reports on the religious right's takeover of the Republican Party. The Bush Administration's proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is but one ploy of the new American Taliban : "with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex" ["...behind this amendment: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, Robert Bork, Rick Santorum" - via Andrew Sullivan]. Maureen Farrell chronicles the power centers of the newly powerful religious right. Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series, has the President's ear and this concerns more than jamming Creationism into your school's curriculum.

On the agenda - "The civil government of our nation, its laws, institutions, and practices must therefore be conformed to the principles of Biblical law as revealed in the Old and New Testaments." Writes Farrell - "How did this happen? - Voter apathy is the key to the phenomenal ascent of the Religious Right in the U.S. government." Pat Robertson, 1990 : "With the apathy that exists today, a small, well-organized minority can influence the selection of candidates to an astonishing degree."
posted by troutfishing (142 comments total)

 
Actually I think this whole blatant push for theocracy is going to blow the Republican party apart.

Starting in the early 80's* a symbiotic relationship seemed to form between money-conservative neocons and socially conservative fundies. The neo-cons used the sheer numbers and religious gloss of righteousness to dubious economic programs (that often hurt much of the fundie's [original, not so much now] poor southern constituency oddly enough) and the neo-cons money and political savvy help power the fundies social agenda. But I think these groups are starting to come into severe friction with eachother and when they break apart neither will be as powerful as they were before.

*pre-Reagan the evangelican community was far more fractious politically. Remember, our first born-again president was moderate liberal Jimmy Carter.
posted by jonmc at 7:50 AM on March 10, 2004


"American Taliban"???
posted by hama7 at 7:52 AM on March 10, 2004


I'm not so sure jon, maybe if the money-cons start feeling oppressed by the fundies, but by then it'll be too late. The fundies seem to know when to back off, if anything they're probably sensing a victory.
posted by black8 at 7:54 AM on March 10, 2004


I'm not so sure jon, maybe if the money-cons start feeling oppressed by the fundies,...

Not so much opressed as embarrased by them, I think is what's happening. NTM, some of the pew warmers may start to wonder why they're being told to support candidates who screw them out of jobs.
posted by jonmc at 7:58 AM on March 10, 2004


it's still rather small, but there is a new PAC for what it's worth, that is attempting to address this issue directly. GAMPAC, or Godless Americans, is trying to mobilize those who oppose religion in our government - especially this new swell of powergrabbing from the religious right.

they had a press conference on CSPAN last night that i happened to see, and discussed the difficulty in mobilizing a political force of people interested in getting religion out of government but who are also critical thinkers and non-joiners on the whole.

they said one of their board of directors ran a campagin in Michigan as an out and open Atheist and came in third.

personally, i support what they're doing but i think they need a different name. god"less" doesn't leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling of wanting to join up. when describing myself, i never say that i am god-less, i just am.

it is about time that we addressed this issue with our government with whatever means we can muster.
posted by nyoki at 8:03 AM on March 10, 2004


with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to [...] non-procreative sex"
There is one prohibition amendment I'd like to see passed. For us Canadians it would be the best reality programming ever.

The US government has be so successful preventing their citizens from obtaining illegal drugs they should have no problem at all stopping them from having sex outside of {straight} marriage.
posted by Mitheral at 8:12 AM on March 10, 2004


jonmc - there is division, yes, but I think you underestimate the cultural force of the new religious right in the US :

"A nationwide poll reported in March 2000, for example, found that 79% of Americans believe that creation should be taught in some form in public schools. The liberal group People For the American Way commissioned the poll."

On a recent Channel One poll, a majority of public school students agreed : "Channel One, a secular broadcast company that airs a daily program for public schools, asked students, ‘Which theory should be taught in your classroom?’ The choices were creation, evolution, or both. A majority of students (52 percent) said ‘both.’ Another 31 percent said ‘creation,’ and only 17 percent said ‘evolution.’"

As answersingenesis.com reports (accurately, also) "A series of Gallup polls from 1982 to 2001 reveal similar findings (although the question was framed differently).  In these surveys, almost one half of Americans said God created human beings within the past 10,000 years or so, which is essentially the Biblical model.  Another 35-40 percent believe that humans evolved over millions of years from lesser creatures, but God guided the process.  Only around 11 percent of Americans held to a strictly evolutionary view of human origins, with God playing no part in the process."
posted by troutfishing at 8:14 AM on March 10, 2004


I just don't see how Rick Santorum could get behind this...

I agree with jonmc... the cookie is starting to crumble. Especially if they take away birth control and abortion from the level headed soccer moms.
posted by togdon at 8:15 AM on March 10, 2004


personally, i support what they're doing but i think they need a different name. god"less" doesn't leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling of wanting to join up. when describing myself, i never say that i am god-less, i just am.

Yeah, and they're also automatically alienating those like me who are religous but believe in a strong separation b/w church and state. I don't know how many of us there are, but I would imagine it'd be worth their time and effort to find out.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:15 AM on March 10, 2004


Mitheral - Of course the US Government wouldn't be successful but the amendment could, in the process, wreak an awful lot of havoc and suffering.
posted by troutfishing at 8:17 AM on March 10, 2004


the cookie is starting to crumble. Especially if they take away birth control and abortion from the level headed soccer moms.

Also, Born-Again Joe might be starting to get a little pissed about being told to vote for a guy who wants to eliminate his overtime. The call of the heating bill may be louder than the bellow of the pastor.
posted by jonmc at 8:23 AM on March 10, 2004


Some may find this surprising coming from me (being a good Republican and a nice Mormon boy), but I wholeheartedly support separation of church and state. From the Doctrine & Covenants:
We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.
posted by oissubke at 8:24 AM on March 10, 2004


To reduce something, first you must expand it. I'm thinking that prohibition didn't work, and now drinking is an American pastime par excellence, nay, an American Right!

If we let the RR have its way for like ten minutes, the backlash will be McCarthian... sooner or later the RR will peak and fade, I just hope its GLORIOUS to see.
posted by ewkpates at 8:26 AM on March 10, 2004


"American Taliban"???

Did he stutter?
posted by jpoulos at 8:30 AM on March 10, 2004


Not being a Christian or an American, could someone perhaps explain to me why exactly religious folks in the United States are so concerned about the actions of their neighbours? Every time I heard about yet another civil-liberty atrocity commited or instigated by the religious right, I am still dumbfounded at the intrusiveness of it all.

Is it such a foreign concept to "mind your own business?"
posted by aubin at 8:31 AM on March 10, 2004


The US government has be so successful preventing their citizens from obtaining illegal drugs they should have no problem at all stopping them from having sex outside of {straight} marriage.

Mitheral, you're saying: because it is easy in the US to obtain illegal drugs this will never happen, I fully agree.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:38 AM on March 10, 2004


Ah yeah, American Taliban; excellent analogy. Brilliant. Because the Bush administration is cutting the hands off people who disagree and torturing people in the middle of soccer fields while forcing under threat of injury/death hundreds to watch.

Fucking idiot. You embarass people with similar politics.
posted by xmutex at 8:39 AM on March 10, 2004


aubin, it's called moral superiority. When you can explain everything you believe in with the answer "Because God says so" and then explain god with the answer "I know because I have faith that what I believe is true" you are pretty much playing God, IMO. Which entitles you to be in everyone else's business.

What it boils down to is bigotry wrapped up in a halo. There's no better explanation for something than "Jesus tells me so" because it is impossible to argue rationally with that.
posted by archimago at 8:41 AM on March 10, 2004


Ufez Jones - I suspect that you are in the silent majority, a majority which really needs to wake up now.

ewkpates - I'd advocate against letting the religious right have it's field day. History doesn't always run in the direction you describe. Sometimes ideological extremity leads to disaster first. Other times, the countervailing trend doesn't kick in for several centuries.

The American Religious Right is extremely dangerous for the fact that they are highly aware of the uses of media, propaganda, and advertising. They have patiently constructed, have the last several decades, their own christian media institutions and are intent on transforming American culture. This is no flash-in-the-pan movement. The movement has tremendous energy, depth and resilience and is in it for the long haul.

oissubke - I'm not surprised at all. I wish more conservatives recognized the distinction which is, I think, necessary to hold a culturally and religiously diverse society together.

I got an email from the "American Family Association" today. Here is a bit from their website : "Montana Minister Challenges Darwinist Monopoly in Local Schools
Ever since Curtis Brickley held a detailed Powerpoint presentation in December, challenging Charles Darwin's theories on the origin of life and evolution, the small conservative town of Darby has been abuzz."


They've got a fun online poll you can take. Strangely, it seems, 90% of evangelical christians will be voting for John Kerry! Or....
posted by troutfishing at 8:41 AM on March 10, 2004


Fucking idiot. You embarass people with similar politics.

Fucking idiot. You just did the same thing!
posted by jonmc at 8:41 AM on March 10, 2004


xmutex - I was not referring to the Bush Administration...or didn't you notice?
posted by troutfishing at 8:43 AM on March 10, 2004


zmutex, troutfishing perhaps is editorializing when using the loaded term "Taliban" but an idiot s/he is not. S/he's one of the few people at Mefi who actually provides documentation, almost excessivley, when s/he makes a point, whether it is an FPP or a comment to someone else's and doesn't resort to ad hominem attacks.
posted by archimago at 8:45 AM on March 10, 2004


Side note: Seen moonbird's site, queermeta.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:47 AM on March 10, 2004


jonmc: You overlook the role of apathy, the legacy of historical domination by elites and a general cultural environment in the Deep South that keeps such anger at bay. No one is speaking out about issues such as overtime here. If conservative evangelicals were that upset about being ripped off, they would've ditched Bush and Co. a long time ago.
posted by raysmj at 8:48 AM on March 10, 2004


GAMPAC, or Godless Americans, is trying to mobilize those who oppose religion in our government

This is what boggles me about the progressive movement in this country. They seem to assume that, no matter what the polls say (conducted by fascists! ignore them!), the American people will clasp to its bosom a movement called Godless Americans. Hey, why not go the whole hog (oops, can't say that, offends Jews and Muslims) and have the Godless Queer Flag-Burning One-World Unpatriotic Window-Smashing (When Necessary to Wake People Up) Wild-Eyed Radicals! That'll unite the country and get Bush out of there!

Why is it so hard to see what most Americans care about and stick to that? Do progressives really care so much more about ideology than actually getting things done?

[/rant]
posted by languagehat at 8:51 AM on March 10, 2004


Ah yeah, American Taliban; excellent analogy.

Why, yes, actually it is. The "dominionist" agenda, which would decimate civil rights for all minority groups, which follows the concept that "Jesus Christ is Lord in all aspects of life, including civil government" and that "Jesus Christ is, therefore, the Ruler of Nations, and should be explicitly confessed as such in any constitutional documents" (emphasis mine, both quotes from the first link in the FPP) - these things are every bit as repulsive and evil to me as what the Taliban did in Afganistan. Just because Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Tim LaHaye aren't currently calling for prostitutes and gays to be stoned to death, do not for one minute think they won't start if given enough power and opportunity.
posted by dnash at 8:52 AM on March 10, 2004


"A nationwide poll reported in March 2000, for example, found that 79% of Americans believe that creation should be taught in some form in public schools.
Majority sucks? heh...this post pancakes itself.

"Channel One, a secular broadcast company that airs a daily program for public schools, asked students, ‘Which theory should be taught in your classroom?’ The choices were creation, evolution, or both. A majority of students (52 percent) said ‘both.’ Another 31 percent said ‘creation,’ and only 17 percent said ‘evolution.’"
What am I reading: the children run the schools?
posted by thomcatspike at 8:54 AM on March 10, 2004


Not sure what side the above quotes support, this whole thread sounds "fundie".
posted by thomcatspike at 8:55 AM on March 10, 2004


Perhaps "The American Inquisition" is more apt description.
posted by herc at 8:57 AM on March 10, 2004


You overlook the role of apathy, the legacy of historical domination by elites and a general cultural environment in the Deep South that keeps such anger at bay. No one is speaking out about issues such as overtime here. If conservative evangelicals were that upset about being ripped off, they would've ditched Bush and Co. a long time ago.

You have a point re: the south, but that's not the only region experiencing this conflict. In the midwest and northeast, for instance, someone might hear his pastor stump for Bush on Sunday, but hear his shop steward tell him about his overtime at his union meeting. I wonder how long before that conflict heats up.

Or conversley, Joe Yuppie Stockbroker, who votes GOP because he wants to keep his taxes low and make a lotta money, is probably getting annoyed with people telling him that his gay co-worker is satanic and that he can't wear a condom when he picks up girls at the club Friday night.

This is gonna cause a major schism. These two factions have had an uneasy alliance for awhile, but it can't last much longer.
posted by jonmc at 8:58 AM on March 10, 2004


Did he stutter?

You know, john, for someone who constantly complains about how I make my arguments, that's a pretty silly retort to a very legitimate question. Do you or anyone seriously equating the U.S. religious right with the Taliban, or is this just super-hyperbole for effect? Even if you every dire prediction in troutfishing's post came true, you'd be nowhere near the Taliban's brutality. If you need a refresher, here's an insightful piece from 1998:
Earlier that same week, three men accused of "buggery" had been sentenced to death by being partially buried in the ground and then having a wall pushed over on them by a bulldozer, a bizarre and labor-intensive form of execution dreamed up by the supreme leader of the Taliban, the 36-year-old Mullah Mohammad Omar....

Last March, for example, the regime's radio station, the only one permitted to operate, broadcast to the nation that a young woman caught trying to flee Afghanistan with a man who was not her relative had been stoned to death. On another occasion, it was announced over the airwaves that 225 women had been rounded up and sentenced to a lashing for violating the dress code....

Now in its fourth year of existence, the pariah regime has expunged all leisure activities. Their list of what is illegal grows daily: music, movies and television, picnics, wedding parties, New Year celebrations, any kind of mixed-sex gathering. They've also banned children's toys, including dolls and kites; card and board games; cameras; photographs and paintings of people and animals; pet parakeets; cigarettes and alcohol; magazines and newspapers, and most books. They've even forbidden applause -- a moot point, since there's nothing left to applaud....

For women, the restrictions are even harsher. Female education, from kindergarten through graduate school, banned. Employment for women, banned. It's now illegal to wear makeup, nail polish, jewelry, pluck your eyebrows, cut your hair short, wear colorful or stylish clothes, sheer stockings, white socks and shoes, high-heel shoes, walk loudly, talk loudly or laugh in public. In fact, the government doesn't believe women should go out at all: "Women, you should not step outside your residence" reads one of the Taliban dictates....

If women do venture out, it must be for an essential, government-sanctioned purpose, and they must wear the all-enveloping burqa. Even then they risk their lives. Not so long ago, a young mother, Torpeka, was shot repeatedly by the Taliban while rushing her seriously ill toddler to a doctor....

It is now illegal for women to talk to any men except close relatives, which precludes them from visiting male physicians, no matter how sick....

It would probably be quicker to list what the Taliban haven't banned. The regime has even outlawed paper bags. Like many of their edicts, this would be laughable if the penalties for infractions weren't so severe. Break the Taliban's law and you risk imprisonment, flogging, or worse....

Amnesty International calls Afghanistan under the Taliban "a human rights catastrophe." Afghan women, struggling to survive in what has become a police state claiming to be a theocracy, describe themselves as the "living dead."...
So, anyone still want to carry on with this repulsive "American Taliban" equivalence? Still stand behind your "Did he stutter?" bon mot, john?
posted by pardonyou? at 8:59 AM on March 10, 2004


Ufez Jones - I suspect that you are in the silent majority, a majority which really needs to wake up now.

Oh, I've been awake for a while now, but I'd imagine that most of my religious compatriots could care less about what I think since I'm both socially and theologically liberal. Doesn't mean I don't or can't try, but you learn what's fruitless after a while.

And I'll 2nd what languagehat said. Like I said, I agree with the Godless Americans, but they've already alienated me by making it some sort of weird, dogmatic (love the irony) organization, if only just in name.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:03 AM on March 10, 2004


I'm godless and proud of it. But perhaps Bright is a better term.

American Taliban may be stretching it slightly, but only ever so. It wouldn't surprise me if our self-appointed moral arbiters decided that Old Testament teachings such as an eye for an eye should form the basis of the new scripture-based constitution they're so keen to write.
posted by cbrody at 9:06 AM on March 10, 2004


Get religion out of government.

When decisions are made and laws passed in terms of 'God said so' and not debatable arguments then there is something very, very wrong.

Religious fundementalism, especially in government, is a mind disease that corrupts followers and is exploited by those in power.

In the year 2004, get religion out of government.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2004


Also, using the 'godless' argument, I fell, is weak, as it stonewalls people.

God is for a government without religion, whether you like God or not.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:09 AM on March 10, 2004


For the more obtuse of you reading this post "American Taliban" refers to the Taliban government's imposition of religious law upon a country.

The specific instances of cruelty (speciously) described obviously aren't happening now, and anyone with a modicum of reading comprehension can see that right from the headline. It's a bit like calling someone a "nazi" in an online discussion board, it's hyperbole, used in an exhortatory sense, which is to say in order to warn people about disturbing trends which are seen by some to begin spreading in the USA. Frankly, when a whole state decides to toss out evolution of replace it with this massive fraud called "creationism" using a law it's hard not to think that the US version of the shariah is NOT just around the bend.
posted by clevershark at 9:09 AM on March 10, 2004


jonmc: Actually, what I was going to attach to my post there, but somehow did not, was: Watch as apathy and seeing the world as too complex or what have you - and therefore handing over complete power to elites and commited minority interests - does the same thing to the U.S. as a whole. Or fear that scenario. We're already headed for something akin to a national plantation economy. Keep ridding the country of workplace regulations, slip an overtime law in while no one's looking, etc., and you're there.
posted by raysmj at 9:13 AM on March 10, 2004


About time! Let's bring decency and morality back to our country! We thought all we had to do was beat the commie threat but now we find that the enemy is within, already here! This country is God's gift to mankind, and the folks coming here wanted God to be recognized in Congress (prayer before meetings), on our money (In Him we trust) and in pledge etc...no wonder we have so much rape, murder, car rage, and dirty mouths on tgv and in film and in our music! Time to turn things around. I applaud this as going in the right direction: Put God back in the schools and get the unions out of there!
posted by Postroad at 9:15 AM on March 10, 2004


What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone -- to be permitted to organize their families and communities by values and traditions which are ancient and (until not too long ago) essentially undisputed in Western society.

I think you'll find very few members of the religious right who want to shut down the art galleries and gay bars in Chelsea, or force Johns Hopkins to start teaching creationism in the medical school.

As an example, in the last week or so, I've talked to several staunchly conservative Evangelicals who are in support of Orin Hatch's "lite" version of the Federal Marriage Amendment (essentially permitting gay marriage as a state option, but ensuring that other states won't be forced to go along against the will of their electorates). They don't care for the example that gay marriage in Boston or Seattle would set for their children, but they ultimately care about making sure that a majority of likeminded people have the right to set the policy in their own communities.

If the religious right is tempted towards extremism at all, it is because they believe, with ample justification, that the secular left is completely insatiable in terms of forcing change everywhere and upon everyone, and that only equally vigorous action can result in some acceptable middle ground settlement.
posted by MattD at 9:15 AM on March 10, 2004


It's a bit like calling someone a "nazi" in an online discussion board, it's hyperbole, used in an exhortatory sense, which is to say in order to warn people about disturbing trends which are seen by some to begin spreading in the USA.
So scare people so it is on their minds constantly?
posted by thomcatspike at 9:16 AM on March 10, 2004


pardonyou, the illustrative (and button-pushing) examples you've provided refer to a Taliban in possession of totalitarian power. To point out the obvious, that the religious right in this country doesn't do such things, adds nothing but heated rhetoric to the discussion, but no clarity. They're not in a postion to do any of those things because we still have the rule of secular law. And we'd like to keep it that way even if we shared your trust the relgious right would not behave like that. if it could.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:17 AM on March 10, 2004


Still stand behind your "Did he stutter?"

Duly taken to task. I really need to count to ten before I post. Snark withdrawn.

Having said that...It's important to note that this isn't the typical "Bush administration is like the Taliban" hyperbolic bullshit. We're talking about some genuinely sick people here who are cut from the same cloth as the fundamentalists with whom we're supposedly "at war". Yes, the comparison is repulsive--that doesn't make it completely untrue.

What would be a more fitting characterization, in your view? Are these people like the (slightly less brutal than the taliban) Saudis? Like the witch-hunting puritans of the American 17th century?
posted by jpoulos at 9:19 AM on March 10, 2004


This post is almost comical in its absurdity.

Although it serves the left wing's political purposes to suggest otherwise, the alleged influence of the so called "religious right" is not going to result in the end of our democracy. I would be willing to predict that abortion and homosexuality are not going to be illegal. America is not going to have religious instruction in public schools. The Bush administration is not going to legalize stoning of prostitutes.

Radicalization of the left is the problem here.
posted by Durwood at 9:22 AM on March 10, 2004


Four years after that, a sitting President was impeached for a sexual indiscretion.

No, he was impeached (or rather, impeachment proceedings were started) because he perjured himself -- lied under oath in an investigation about sexual harrasment.

I have nothing else against Clinton as a president b'sides that, but saying that the impeachment was just about the sexual indiscretion is basically a dishonest misdirection. The point isn't that subtle and it's important, and I don't trust people who gloss over it, and especially those who are unable to concede it.

"with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex"

Wipe out access to recreational sex?

Do you realize this is just not going to happen?
posted by namespan at 9:23 AM on March 10, 2004


archimago - thanks for the kind word. I don't think I was even pushing the point too far in my choice of words - what's at stake here is an attempt to institute a Christian theocracy in the US. Such might not behave exactly like the Taliban in Afghanistan, but the two would share much in common - such as the certainty, on the part of each, that they possessed the Truth and the shared conviction that they have the right to shove that "truth" down everyone's throats.

I was intrigued to read about the Council For National Policy : "In other words, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore, and the religious right wants to be the great and powerful Oz. For your consideration, here are some of the means by which they're succeeding:

1) The Council for National Policy

Deemed by ABC News as "the most powerful conservative group you've never heard of," the Council for National Policy, which was co-founded by former Moral Majority head LaHaye, has included John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Ralph Reed, the editor of The National Review, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Grover Norquist and Oliver North among its members.

As ABC put it, "the council has deservedly attained the reputation for conceiving and promoting the ideas of many who in fact do want to control everything in the world....Secular-minded folks are likely to be most intrigued by the fact that President Bush made his rumored "king-making" speech before CNP in 1999, fueling speculation that the council was responsible for his presidential nomination. And though the Democratic National Committee and others urged Bush's presidential campaign to release the tape of his CNP speech, the Bush camp refused.....What was on that tape? Depending on who you believe, "Bush promised to appoint only anti-abortion-rights judges to the Supreme Court, or he stuck to his campaign 'strict constructionist' phrase. Or he took a tough stance against gays and lesbians, or maybe he didn't." "[ABC News]

_______________________________________________

Ufez Jones - I didn't mean to suggest that you weren't awake. I third you on Languagehat's observation on the idiocy of GAMPAC ("This is what boggles me about the progressive movement in this country. They seem to assume that, no matter what the polls say (conducted by fascists! ignore them!), the American people will clasp to its bosom a movement called Godless Americans.") That was part of my point in citing those polls of American beliefs on creationism and evolution. It's more than foolish to offend people in such a gratutious manner.

pardonyou - I think you'll find, as you look back in American history, that the most awful incidents of violence, both domestically in the US and as expressions of US foreign policy, were justified under the rubric of religion (though not expressly under the dictates of an actual theocracy). Plus, the body counts in question were much higher than those of the Taliban. I can provide historical examples if necessary.
posted by troutfishing at 9:26 AM on March 10, 2004


"the religious right could wipe out access to... non-procreative sex"

So are they going to cut everyone's hands off?
I've got your access right here, buddy...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:27 AM on March 10, 2004


Why is it so hard to see what most Americans care about and stick to that?

Because what most Americans care about is repulsive on so many levels. Maybe "progressive" means something different to you, but as far as I know, it has nothing to do with watching American Idol, eating Big Macs, and driving to the mall in your new SUV.

Shit is broken, and a good portion of the citizenry either doesn't see it, or doesn't care. Making noises about possible solutions makes people uncomfortable, and will make you unpopular. Unpopular people - suprise! - don't get elected.

So, where does that leave us? Screwed, that's where.
posted by majcher at 9:27 AM on March 10, 2004


the alleged influence of the so called "religious right" is not going to result in the end of our democracy

and

Do you realize this is just not going to happen?

You're both right, because people other than you, people you despise, will work to prevent it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:30 AM on March 10, 2004


What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone -- to be permitted to organize their families and communities by values and traditions which are ancient and (until not too long ago) essentially undisputed in Western society. [emphasis mine].

If you were speaking simply of religious people, I'd be inclined to agree MattD, but the statements and actions of the crew trout mentions show different.

If they just wanted to organize their families around their faith, I'd gladly stand up for their right to do so. But communities belong to all their citizens, so they have no right to impose their beliefs, since the community is not just theirs.

If the religious right is tempted towards extremism at all, it is because they believe, with ample justification, that the secular left is completely insatiable in terms of forcing change everywhere and upon everyone, and that only equally vigorous action can result in some acceptable middle ground settlement.

Like the "religious right," the "secular left" of which you speakis a small but loud minority of people who call themselves liberal. I wouldn't want to live in a world run bythem either, but painting the world as these two groups locked in epic struggle is dishonest.

I think you'll find very few members of the religious right who want to shut down the art galleries and gay bars in Chelsea, or force Johns Hopkins to start teaching creationism in the medical school.

I'm more concerned with them shutting down public housing and food banks to be honest.
posted by jonmc at 9:31 AM on March 10, 2004


Some may find this surprising coming from me (being a good Republican and a nice Mormon boy),
Why? Which brings out an odd statement in my viewpoint. As oissubke is an American Citizen whom I take has past his government classes and understands separation of church and state since it is common education. Why does he have to say, "some may find this surprising" when this is common knowledge. Maybe we are barking at the wrong system, religion, when education is the "starting point".

Notice more kids than ever are attending religious schools in America. Don't have the facts but this is an easy trend that is being seen in the private schools. This can also be noticed in home schooling as you have many homes with many religions and off shoots.

One thing that backs may faith fully is the education I learned by taking the time to understand the original words in The Bible.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:32 AM on March 10, 2004


What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone -- to be permitted to organize their families and communities by values and traditions which are ancient and (until not too long ago) essentially undisputed in Western society.

I think you'll find very few members of the religious right who want to shut down the art galleries and gay bars in Chelsea, or force Johns Hopkins to start teaching creationism in the medical school.

This is exactly what the Taliban wanted as well. The idea that al-Qaeda wanted to "destroy America" was a dream akin to winning the lottery but understood as a farfetched reality.

What Islamic terrorists wanted to do that they actually see as doable is make secular Arab nations more Islamic. If it wasn't for the resources and Western/European interaction in brings, most of the Middle Eastern nations under Fundmentalist rule would be perfectly content to sit around pretending everything's great in their cave while not talking to anyone and spending their evenings hating the Jews for inventing tornadoes and whatnot.

Thanks, in large part, to the ultimate in faith-based initiative that was the post-9/11 military policy ("This is a crusade!" -Bush, October 2001) the United States has been ever so happy to provide bin Laden and friends with their holy war. Afghanistan will be back under Islamic rule within a decade, and Iraq is on its way to being a less-secular state post-Saddam.

This is always countered by, as is the style of all religious-fueled policies, romantic dramatics akin to the information pardonyou? posted in his comment above. Honestly, how hard is it to compare the tales of Saddam's rape-rooms as an excuse to help Iraq to the Gibson-esque demands to follow Jesus because of his torturous life? Same concept- this is very, very, bad, ergo our mission is just. "But what about-" "shut up, hater-of-respective-policy."

What's ignored is that even with Saddam and the Taliban removed, roughly 90% of the populations of both Afghanistan and Iraq live under the EXACT SAME CONDITIONS, and likely will for even longer now that the face of the ruling government is one that the U.S. considers "friendly."

A policy of passive infliction of Western culture, though slower, likely would have yeilded better results. Instead, as we've seen in Iran, the religious-moral war climate has caused bastions of politicos insisting on "restoring the nation to it's religious roots" to quash secular improvement.

The same attempt applies here in the U.S., where a vocal minority that is the Religious Right generates a PR campaign of faux-majority support. America is, on the whole, a liberal, secular nation- it just on the whole doesn't refer to itself as such. Just as the Taliban took "Western decadence" as a poster child for a broader reach of power-grab that enveloped the rights of women and others, the Religious Right wants to rally around dirty language and television as an excuse to overpower the rights of people they can't openly express direct hatred for... yet.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:34 AM on March 10, 2004


I would be willing to predict that abortion and homosexuality are not going to be illegal.

Unless you live in South Dakota. Or fourteen other states.
posted by majcher at 9:34 AM on March 10, 2004


For the more obtuse of you reading this post "American Taliban" refers to the Taliban government's imposition of religious law upon a country.

Nice try. Who's being obtuse?

To point out the obvious, that the religious right in this country doesn't do such things, adds nothing but heated rhetoric to the discussion, but no clarity.

I'm not trying to impose clarity. I'm not even defending the religious right (in fact, I can't stand the religious right, and share the concern should they become a powerful force). I just cannot stand the rhetorical device of over-exaggeration. If your point can't be made without resorting to absurd comparisons, maybe it shouldn't be made at all.

What would be a more fitting characterization, in your view? Are these people like the (slightly less brutal than the taliban) Saudis? Like the witch-hunting puritans of the American 17th century?

I really don't think any reasonable person can believe that even if the religious right came into power in America that, for example, thieves would have their hands chopped off, or women would be denied equal rights. The U.S. Constitution clearly would prevent both of those things from happening, and the Constitution can only be amended with the approval of 3/4 of the states. All of whom are elected, and subject to removal at certain regular intervals. Moreover, the American public is accustomed to its freedoms, and isn't likely to sit idly by while Jerry Falwell makes us all go to church on Sundays -- let alone ban NASCAR, football, and Britney Spears.

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't see how strained analogies make your argument more convincing. It seems to me the issues are troubling enough without having to make up provocative labels.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:37 AM on March 10, 2004


I would be willing to predict that abortion and homosexuality are not going to be illegal. America is not going to have religious instruction in public schools. The Bush administration is not going to legalize stoning of prostitutes.

The reason these things are not going to happen is because people will fight them, not because of your complacent handwaving! The thing about fundamentalists is they have an awfully expansive definition of "being left alone to their values and traditions." So cry me a river about the radicalization of the American Left.
posted by furiousthought at 9:37 AM on March 10, 2004


Burning a cross in front of a predominantly African-American church...free speech. Waving magic underpants...may be "fighting words".

Welcome to an American Theocracy Bizarro World Utah.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2004


[aside] nothing like starting your morning off with a coffee & cigarette while reading this thead; thanks, really troutfishing like spell checks tries changing the spelling of your name, nourishing.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2004


The point I'm really trying to make regarding this "American Taliban" is this:
Do not overstate. When you overstate, the reader will be instantly on guard, and everything that has preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be suspect in his mind because he has lost confidence in your judgment or your poise. Overstatement is one of the common faults. A single overstatement, wherever or however it occurs, diminishes the whole, and a single carefree superlative has the power to destroy, for the reader, the object of hte writer's enthusiasm.
--William Strunk, Jr. & E. B. White, The Elements of Style
posted by pardonyou? at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2004


pardonyou? my man, I think you've overstated your objection to overstatement.
posted by jonmc at 9:46 AM on March 10, 2004


Get religion out of government.

Remember the bathing machine!
posted by the fire you left me at 9:48 AM on March 10, 2004


durwood - you undercut your argument with this :

"America is not going to have religious instruction in public schools"

America, my friend, already does have religious instruction in some of it's public schools. It's called Creationism or, as "dressed in a cheap tuxedo" - "Intelligent Design".

"Radicalization of the left is the problem here." - Oh, I don't call principled opposition to theocracy or the maintenance of the firewall between church and state in the US "radical", do you?

Or maybe you do - after all, the English word "radical" derives from the Latin word for "root" (radix). So to be a "radical" then is to return to the root, or roots which are, in this case, the roots of US government - one of which is the principle of the separation of church and state.

_______________________________________________

pardonyou - ( re : "the American public is accustomed to its freedoms, and isn't likely to sit idly by while Jerry Falwell makes us all go to church on Sundays -- let alone ban NASCAR, football, and Britney Spears. ) - Don't be silly. The American Taliban™ wouldn't force people to go to church let alone ban NASCAR and football, though they might gently persuade Britney Spears to wear less revealing clothes.

They could very well, however, outlaw abortion and most forms of birth control as well as institute the full-blown teaching of Creationism and Biblical verse in public schools and - in general - attempt to tie American government and legal policy to Biblical teachings (as they interpret them). Then there's foreign policy.......
posted by troutfishing at 9:48 AM on March 10, 2004


But communities belong to all their citizens, so they have no right to impose their beliefs, since the community is not just theirs.

If the people that belong to the community cannot shape the beliefs of the coummunity, what beliefs should a community hold?

So are they going to cut everyone's hands off?
LOL
posted by jlachapell at 9:50 AM on March 10, 2004


pardonyou - I rather disagree with your stylistic prescription, although not from a disagreement with Strunk.

Or, to put it obliquely - how did the word "liberal" become a pejorative in American political discourse?
posted by troutfishing at 9:53 AM on March 10, 2004


They could very well, however, outlaw abortion and most forms of birth control as well as institute the full-blown teaching of Creationism and Biblical verse in public schools and - in general - attempt to tie American government and legal policy to Biblical teachings (as they interpret them).

I agree. Those are legitimate concerns. I wouldn't want to see that happen. But just as Bush is not Hitler, the American Religious Right is not the Taliban. I apologize if I took you too literally, but I think you invite that problem when you invoke deliberately inflammatory terms.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2004


Is it such a foreign concept to "mind your own business?"

For my edification, please name one country where the government stays out of your face AND out of your wallet if you mind your own business. I would like to move there (provided there's Internet access).
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2004


If they just wanted to organize their families around their faith, I'd gladly stand up for their right to do so. But communities belong to all their citizens, so they have no right to impose their beliefs, since the community is not just theirs.

This is where the left is guilty of massive hypocrisy. In all kinds of policy discourse, it worships at the altar of community control. You can't engage in any kind of urban redevelopment or inner-city school reform without the consent and involvement of the "community" (whether or not the community foots the bill), business and property owners are to be restricted in the interests, and at the whim, of the "community," etc. In institutions controlled by the left, such as the liberal arts and non-economic social sciences, the "community" aggressively smothers out any voices in contradicition to the community's ideology (except for those few who can fly under the radar for the full 10 to 15 years it takes to go from first year graduate school to the conferral of tenure.

Ultimately, what's good for the goose must be good for the gander, and there must some kind of principled settlement of the spheres of majority and community control. If African Americans in Harlem have the right to require their schools to observe Kwanza, open each school session with a brief exhortation based upon the accomplishments of a notable African American in history and make birth control patches available at the nurse's office, than Evangelicals in Alabama have the right to require their schools to observe Easter, teach abstinence only and open class with a prayer. If I protested the African American-centric practices of the Harlem school, the left wouldn't hesitate to invite me to move out to Scarsdale. Why should the Evangelicals in Alabama be less protected?
posted by MattD at 9:59 AM on March 10, 2004


Or, to put it obliquely - how did the word "liberal" become a pejorative in American political discourse?

At least in part to conservative portrayals, the word became associated with flakiness, masochism, guilt, self-righteousness, anti-Patriotism, etc, which a lot of Americans don't want to be associated with.

Conservatives often posess all these traits, and other equally annoying ones too, but they managed to beat the left to the punch.

It's odd too, since liberal used to be associated with people like FDR, Truman, Walter Reuther, guys you could hardly call pushovers. But meanings of words cahnge with time.

You asked.
posted by jonmc at 10:02 AM on March 10, 2004


Or, to put it obliquely - how did the word "liberal" become a pejorative in American political discourse?

Well, it didn't. At least not universally. The word "conservative" is also used as a perjorative -- by liberals.

I still think you overstated, in exactly the way Strunk and White warned about. By making an absurd analogy (then retreating from it by claiming you only tried to invoke the "theocracy" element of the Taliban, rather than the brutality that the Taliban brings to mind -- although "American Taliban plans theocracy" is just a redundancy if you only meant "American Theocrats plan theocracy), you lost some -- certainly not all -- of the readers you were presumably trying to persuade.

But, as the always pragmatic jonmc notes, this is a horse that died an hour ago. I'll cease beating now.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:03 AM on March 10, 2004


Well said, MattD; it's all about the acquisition and wielding of power. If you're into that game, you're in no position to whine when it doesn't go your way.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:04 AM on March 10, 2004


Why does he have to say, "some may find this surprising" when this is common knowledge. Maybe we are barking at the wrong system, religion, when education is the "starting point".

which, IMO, is why federal mandates like "no child left behind" are gutting the viability of the pubilc school system and giving them (the bush administration, aka: the religious right) the proof-points to support federal funding of religious eduction. they're already doing this with all sorts of national policy.

it's just turning the dial one click closer to high on the pot of water all the americans are currently sitting in.
posted by nyoki at 10:26 AM on March 10, 2004


The civil government of our nation, its laws, institutions, and practices must therefore be conformed to the principles of Biblical law as revealed in the Old and New Testaments.

How does this square with "render unto Caesar"?

Nice quote from C.S. Lewis:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:28 AM on March 10, 2004


What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone

I had a discussion with my Southern Baptist friend this weekend about gay marriage and she called me a bigot. According to her, I am the one who is prejudiced and won't allow her to think the way she wants. Here are a few examples of her thinking:

She would vote against gay marriages (even though she has gay friends,) because it is morally wrong.

She would vote against allowing gays to raise children because it is morally wrong.

She would vote against selling alcohol or tobacco because it is morally wrong.

She doesn't believe schools should teach evolution because it goes against the bible.

Notice a pattern? Her morals are to be imposed on others.

I can't argue with her morals...they are set in stone. What I can argue is that her morality should be confined to herself. When it starts dictating what other people can or cannot do when they are not infringing on other people's rights, that is when I get angry.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:33 AM on March 10, 2004


What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone -- to be permitted to organize their families and communities by values and traditions which are ancient and (until not too long ago) essentially undisputed in Western society.

I think you'll find very few members of the religious right who want to shut down the art galleries and gay bars in Chelsea, or force Johns Hopkins to start teaching creationism in the medical school.


This is bullshit 1000 times over. Did you grow up in one of "their" communities? The problem with the above statement is that "their" communities happen to be located within the borders of the United States of America--a country which provides certain protection to its citizens, and which has a rich history of using (or not using, as the case may be) state institutions to protect and foster pluralism.

At the risk of getting completely anecdotal, let me tell you what it's like to grow up in one of "their communities." In 1990, the schoolboard of my hometown was reshuffled entirely, with a strong majority of religious fundamentalists taking over. Immediately, the district curriculum was overhauled to get rid of evolution, bring in creationism, create bible-study classes (with resources diverted from science and foreign-language instruction), and enforce a new set of rules about student "morality." These morality rules were enacted in a general excitement about "zero tolerance," but many of the rules went beyond disciplinary situations: religious service was added as a category to citizenship and community service requirements for various organizations and opportunities. Christian (and by no means mushy or non-denominational) prayers were said over the loudspeaker in the morning.

In short, my high school (a public high school) had been totally overhauled by the fundamentalist majority by the time I entered it in 1993. Many students were subject to institutionalized religious discrimination in my school district. I was denied entry to my school's National Honor Society chapter because I had no religious service (though I met the requirements of nearly every other school in my region) on my transcript. I also received zero of my district's many scholarships, despite having been one of the top students in that class since we all wore diapers. This hurt a great deal in terms of getting into college, obviously.

But the discrimination against a few students was nowhere near as appalling as the disservice done to all of them: we didn't learn shit! The tiny percentage of my classmates who did go on to higher education struggled mightily due to our serious lack of background. We knew nothing about science, espeially chemistry, and I for one drew terrible marks in my core science classes in college.

MattD may think this all dandy, though, as certainly a majority of the local taxpayers approved of the religifyin' of the curriculum. The problem, in legal terms, is that religion was unconstitutionally wed to an apparatus of the state. In human terms, though, the problem is that thousands upon thousands of kids have gone through that school and have been denied anything resembling a good education. Even the fundies' kids suffer from graduating stupid.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:35 AM on March 10, 2004


in related news, Salon is opening up a Washington bureau.
posted by nyoki at 10:35 AM on March 10, 2004


This country is God's gift to mankind, and the folks coming here wanted God to be recognized . . . in pledge etc...

You may want to check those facts, postroad. "Under God" is a fairly recent addition to the Pledge of Allegiance.

really don't think any reasonable person can believe that even if the religious right came into power in America that, for example, thieves would have their hands chopped off, or women would be denied equal rights. The U.S. Constitution clearly would prevent both of those things from happening

And I am pretty sure there is something in the Constitution about search and seizure and due process of law, yet witness the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay.

What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone

If you are speaking of the common man, perhaps, but not the mouthpieces of the religious right. No freakin' way. You have got to be kidding me.

I think you'll find very few members of the religious right who want to shut down the art galleries and gay bars in Chelsea

It's just the ones who speak for them that want this. If the religious right doesn't want to be conceived as this then they should be censuring the loudmouths who presume to speak for all Christians.
posted by archimago at 10:50 AM on March 10, 2004


I would welcome the chance to "go old testament" on some fundies.
Bring it on, bitches.
posted by 2sheets at 10:53 AM on March 10, 2004


"...the American Religious Right is not the Taliban" - well no, of course they aren't THE Taliban, but one of my points in stirring people up was to provoke consideration of the question "To what extent are they like the Taliban? Are they closer to religious extremism or to more tolerant expressions of religiousity, expressions that don't seek to dominate the public sphere?

Sometimes a bit of hyperbole is useful, I think. But I also would say that I find the American religious right very similar to the Taliban on this count : their desire for theocratic rule. Of course NOT all fundamentalists and evangelicals want theocracy. But the ones who do are currently politically ascendant.

For example : some on the religious right call for a return to a biblically based morality and biblical sexual codes. What would this entail? :

"...The conservative proponents of biblical sexual standards better hope that no one examines the texts they rely upon too closely for many of the Bible's ideas about sexual morality are quite alien to our own. Biblical sexual mores were centered around two concerns: preserving the property rights and honor of men with respect to the women in the household; and avoiding tebel, the improper mixing, that could threaten the order that God had imposed upon chaos.

The status of women and children in biblical times throughout the Ancient Near East was little above that of chattel. In Judges 19, the old Ephraimite man could offer his virgin daughter to satisfy gang rapists without even asking for her consent."
( Allen Brill, first published in the March 8, 2004 Charlotte Observer, reprinted here on a Christian left-leaning website called the right christians )

In fact - if one looked to the Old Testament as a guideline for legal punitive standards, human rights standards, and so on - the resulting government policies would fairly similar to those of the Taliban. The New Testament might amelioirate things a bit - it's a question of emphasis.

So - on this count - I DO find those Christians I quoted in the second half of my post to be similar to the Taliban.

_____________________________________________

I am annoyed by those who won't acknowledge religious extremism when they see it (I'm not pointing any fingers here.) and Dave Niewert, at Orcinus, wrote something today about a David Brooks/NYT op-ed which bugged me for exactly that reason - in that it seemed to downplay and soft sell the dangers of American religious extremism, to focus instead on mushy strains of American religiousity. Reading it, I thought (of the unctuous Brooks) - "Ahhh. David 'Soapy Sam' Brooks". Here's Niewert : "Brooks need look only a short distance from the New York Times Building -- to the rubble of Ground Zero -- for evidence that dogmatic religious zealotry is more than just dangerous, it constitutes a major problem for modern American society.....Of course, you could also find that same kind of zealotry in play back in April 1995 in Oklahoma City.....Now, granted, these are not what one would call "common" problems. But given the toll in bloodshed, lives, and torn social fabric, one certainly could conclude they constitute a far more "pressing" problem....However, I have yet to have observed anyone committing acts of violence or other forms of criminality after becoming a devotee of Deepak Chopra....
The same cannot be said of dogmatic, right-wing Christians who have been told that killing abortion doctors is morally justified...The difference between most mushy pseudo-religionists like Albom and religious dogmatists like Mel Gibson is fairly simple: the former blur lines and make leaps of logic that inspire a lazy and thoughtless "spirituality," while the latter insist on a Manichean dualism that inspires a judgemental and divisive religiosity.
And that extreme dualism lies at the root of such "common" problems as racism, anti-Semitism, conspiracism, and especially terrorism, both domestic and international. It is also, ultimately, the driving force that gives rise to totalitarianism. "


posted by troutfishing at 10:55 AM on March 10, 2004


I can't argue with her morals...they are set in stone.
But you must change them to yours because she would publicly vote against yours? Let take away her voting rights because her morals are not yours.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:58 AM on March 10, 2004


What the so-called "religious right" wants, more than anything else, is to be left alone -- to be permitted to organize their families and communities by values and traditions which are ancient and (until not too long ago) essentially undisputed in Western society.

....

If the religious right is tempted towards extremism at all, it is because they believe, with ample justification, that the secular left is completely insatiable in terms of forcing change everywhere and upon everyone, and that only equally vigorous action can result in some acceptable middle ground settlement.
- MattD
vs.
Why is it so hard to see what most Americans care about and stick to that?

Because what most Americans care about is repulsive on so many levels. Maybe "progressive" means something different to you, but as far as I know, it has nothing to do with watching American Idol, eating Big Macs, and driving to the mall in your new SUV.
- majcher
In other words, in majcher's eyes, being a "progressive" means you know better than all of the fucking idiots that make up the United States, and you are going to ram your 'values' down the rest of the country's throat, if they like it or not.

Well I am sure fucking glad that good people like majcher are out there to tell me what I can eat, what I can watch, where I can shop, and what I can drive, since I must be too fucking stupid to think for myself.

Thank God, there are people like majcher willing to tell me what to think! After all, that is Democracy!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:01 AM on March 10, 2004


...said Gary Bauer... "I find it incomprehensible that any Republican, Log Cabin or otherwise, would conclude the president could be agnostic on an issue so fundamental."

Interesting language shift, using words like "agnostic" and "fundamental" where perhaps others would be more commonplace.

The Taliban were characterized by 1) An enforcement of a standard of conduct for the masses based on a fundamentalist uneducated religious perspective that they themselves didn't adhere to; and 2) A violent enforcement of their platform values using paramilitary organizations as well as law enforcement.

The Religious Right only needs more power and more agents to become the Taliban. This is a difference of degree, not of kind. To argue that the Religious Right is not an American Taliban is to suggest that the Religious Right will know when to stop the codification and enforcement of its fanatical value system.

I don't think that taking evolution out of schools, ending contraceptive education and aid programs, posting the ten commandments on public property, shooting abortion doctors, bombing clinics, using tax money for their religious causes, denying minorities rights by defining governmental language by religious meaning... is a list indicative of a group that knows when its gone too far.
posted by ewkpates at 11:01 AM on March 10, 2004


I don't think that taking evolution out of schools, ending contraceptive education and aid programs, posting the ten commandments on public property, shooting abortion doctors, bombing clinics, using tax money for their religious causes, denying minorities rights by defining governmental language by religious meaning... is a list indicative of a group that knows when its gone too far.

well said ewkpates.
posted by nyoki at 11:10 AM on March 10, 2004


...and least we fall into an argument about what constitutes a "group" remember that the Taliban had bureaucrats, theocrats, enforcers, ambassadors, and politicians who agreed on generalities and who formed a "group" of overlapping allegiances. Money to George is money to Pat and vice versa.
posted by ewkpates at 11:11 AM on March 10, 2004


I was denied entry to my school's National Honor Society chapter because I had no religious service (though I met the requirements of nearly every other school in my region) on my transcript. I also received zero of my district's many scholarships, despite having been one of the top students in that class since we all wore diapers. This hurt a great deal in terms of getting into college, obviously.
So religion is to blame. Sounds like a person is to blame. Same thing happen to me, and it came down to the fact the teacher running the programs had no face to place my name with. Since I had no "subjects" with her I was ignored. Religion did not deny you this. If so it seems you could have sued.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:15 AM on March 10, 2004


ewkpates,

denying minorities rights by defining governmental language by religious meaning

1) How is it defined by religious meaning?
2) How is this denying minority rights?
posted by jlachapell at 11:20 AM on March 10, 2004


Ignatius J. Reilly

I don't mean to sound rude, but it sounds like you are making that story up. What school district was this?
posted by jlachapell at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2004


Religion did not deny you this.

I was told that the decision was made based on the rule about religious service. Religion in public schools denied it, though it is probably true that those people didn't like me. But the ultimate joke is that it didn't matter because the school lost its accreditation and I was (basically) able to talk my way into college despite having no diploma.

The point is, once deducational decision began being made based on religion rather than in the spirit of education students and preparing them for life, it created an entire generation of ill-prepared idiots.

jlachapell--
Ozark High School, Ozark, MO. It is the county seat of Christian County, if you're curious. Funny, in some Wal-Mart thread a few motnhs ago someone also thought that I was making the town up. In any case, it does exist--although it is in an atypically poor and underdevopled region--and it is a decent case study for what the religious right wants to do to the entire country.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:32 AM on March 10, 2004


Ignatious Reilly had a great autobiographical point a few comments up the thread - "....my high school (a public high school) had been totally overhauled by the fundamentalist majority by the time I entered it in 1993. Many students were subject to institutionalized religious discrimination in my school district. I was denied entry to my school's National Honor Society chapter because I had no religious service (though I met the requirements of nearly every other school in my region) on my transcript. I also received zero of my district's many scholarships, despite having been one of the top students in that class since we all wore diapers. This hurt a great deal in terms of getting into college, obviously. ....But the discrimination against a few students was nowhere near as appalling as the disservice done to all of them: we didn't learn shit! The tiny percentage of my classmates who did go on to higher education struggled mightily due to our serious lack of background. We knew nothing about science, especially chemistry, and I for one drew terrible marks in my core science classes in college."

Thomcatspike - I read Ignatious' autobiographical anecdote very differently for the fact that, as he made clear, his school's curriculum had been overhauled in accord with "Biblical" values and fundamentalist doctrines. That would not be the work of a single individual but of several or probably many. In other words, it was indeed religiously based institutional discrimination. Further, not everyone is so quick to think of resorting to lawsuits for redress - and not everyone has ready access to a lawyer.

*trundles out troutfishing boilerplate* "Is it necessary to believe in science to function in modern society? I have a relative who sends his children to a school which teaches that the world was created, by the christian god, about 6,000 years ago and that dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time!....

At a certain point, as our beliefs about the world decouple from what science teaches, we become reduced to the status of aborigines gawking at radios or of pacific island cargo cultists dressing up as US GI's to bring down planeloads of goods. We become less than "primitives" who tend to have, at least, pragmatic views, and religious cosmologies far more sophisticated and nuanced than our own. We become delusional.......should things continue down their merry path to hell, this class of Americans who reject wholesale major areas of scientific thought will slowly devolve - and as the US middle class is in cleaved in two by globalization - into a subclass of faith-based primitives who worship Jesus and the magic of cargo (and perhaps even conflate the two) who are ruled, or shepherded, by a class of scientific cognoscenti equivalent in some ways to Wells' morlocks."

_____________________________________________

"Wages of hate - anti-gay attitudes damage the economy - conversely, Gay-tolerant societies prosper. Will GOP anti-elitism and the US religious right make the U.S. a 3rd world country?" ( Metafilter post )
posted by troutfishing at 11:32 AM on March 10, 2004


I tremble for you jlachapell. The Federal Government provides a benefit to couples that establish households on a permanent basis. The State cannot discriminate in deciding which couples should receive the benefit.

Now, certain religious groups want to define "couple" as a man and a woman. Why? I'm thinking because there weren't homos in the Garden of Eden, but that's just me.

For what purpose would the government discriminate in the issuing of a benefit permit for couples? Why should the state care about the household distribution of genders in issuing the benefit permit? Why is "one man, one woman" any different from "both must be of the same skin color"?

"Marriage" is a religious term which the government has adopted as a label for the couples benefit. The government is not a religious entity itself, and does not consider the word "marriage" in terms of its religious connotation, but only as a name for the benefit assigned to that term.
posted by ewkpates at 11:33 AM on March 10, 2004


jlachapell--
I wonder why it sounds made-up? Can I ask what region you live in, and if you have ever been to the Ozarks or Appalachia? I've met a lot of people who have trouble believing that there are places in the US that are so insular and backward, and they're usually people with the good fortune to not have been born there.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:39 AM on March 10, 2004


If the people that belong to the community cannot shape the beliefs of the coummunity, what beliefs should a community hold?

why should any individual member of a community give two purple shits about what another believes? and surely there is some middle ground we can find between privately holding and expressing a belief and banning everyone else's.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:50 AM on March 10, 2004


Ignatius's experience sounds unpleasant, but it varies in absolutely no relevant extent to that which a fundamentalist Christian would experience if he was going to high school in Berkeley or Ann Arbor.

The only difference is that the religious right has no recent record of trying to force Berkeley High School to give its sweetest plums to the President of the Bible Study Club or the Pro-Life Club (in the highly unlikely event that such clubs even exist), whereas the secular left roves all throughought the country trying to impose Berkeley/Ann Arbor values on communities like those in which Ignatius grew up. If they missed out on Christian County, Arkansas, it's only a matter of time until they correct that error.

And, as far as the kids getting bad education -- let the market fix it. Parents can demand better educations for their kids, and choose the priorities that matter to them, if indeed the education results in kids having lower incomes or otherwise worse outcomes.
posted by MattD at 11:55 AM on March 10, 2004


But you must change them to yours because she would publicly vote against yours? Let take away her voting rights because her morals are not yours

No, thomcatspike, I don't want to take away her right to vote because her morals are not my morals. I want her to rethink her vote because she wants to take away the rights of others in the name of morality. If she doesn't want to smoke, drink, practice homosexuality, etc., then thats fine with me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:58 AM on March 10, 2004


The religious right's Ralph Nader keeps his options open.
posted by homunculus at 11:59 AM on March 10, 2004


MattD, what part of separation of church and state don't you understand? Public schools are funded with tax dollars. Religious instruction to the exclusion of science has no business in a public school. If you want your child to be educated in Christian values and doctrine, send him to a private school.
posted by archimago at 12:02 PM on March 10, 2004


And, as far as the kids getting bad education -- let the market fix it.
"the market" currently has no incentive to support better education for the populous of the United States. The market however, does currently have an agenda of bettering their “bottom line” on a quarter by quarter basis. Money, more money, and lots more money is the religion of “the market”.

Parents can demand better educations for their kids, and choose the priorities that matter to them, if indeed the education results in kids having lower incomes or otherwise worse outcomes.
just how do you suggest that parents demand better education for their kids by choosing priorities that matter to them? them the parents? How do parents address the priorities that they have with public education, aside from removing their kids from the public education system?
posted by nyoki at 12:05 PM on March 10, 2004


MattD: "...whereas the secular left roves all throughought the country trying to impose Berkeley/Ann Arbor values ..."

The argument that "No value" is a value is really beginning to stink. Next "Free Speech" will be considered a limit of speech based on the lack of a limit.
posted by ewkpates at 12:06 PM on March 10, 2004


ewkpates,

First of all, you definitely don´t have to tremble for me.
Secondly, I misunderstood you ... did not realize you were referring to gay marriage. Anyway, I have already debated that previously and won´t get into it here.

Ignatius J. Reilly,

I am glad you did not get offended by my question, it was difficult to make my question sound non offensive. As for the region I live in, you're right, I´ve only briefly visited Appalachia and am lucky to live where I do. It is hard for me to believe such places exist.

mcsweetie,

why should any individual member of a community give two purple shits about what another believes?

Oh man, if it were only that simple.

... surely there is some middle ground we can find between privately holding and expressing a belief and banning everyone else's.

I agree 100%
posted by jlachapell at 12:10 PM on March 10, 2004


Ignatius's experience sounds unpleasant, but it varies in absolutely no relevant extent to that which a fundamentalist Christian would experience if he was going to high school in Berkeley or Ann Arbor.

MattD, are you suggesting that you believe the people running his school district at the time were making legal, acceptable decisions? That two wrongs make a right?

I'm not familiar with Ann Arbor but I do live about an hour drive from Berkeley and I have to say I think you've got an out of date stereotype stuck in your head. The '60s have ended, even here in the Bay Area. For instance...

Just last night in San Jose, the City Council was discussing a motion to accept marriage licenses by any legal venue as meeting the requirements for employees to claim married benefits (this was in regards to their role as employers, not for issuing marriage license as that's a county function). The vast majority of the audience (400 people total per the newspaper) were local religious leaders and their flocks present to announce their outrage at the possibility of the council voting yes. Still, the mayor and council voted 8-1 to approve the motion.
posted by billsaysthis at 12:11 PM on March 10, 2004


The argument that "No value" is a value is really beginning to stink.

That ("No value" is a value) is exactly the main theme of most Islamic extremist groups' criticisms of the US. Hence, the aptness of "American Taliban." MattD's comments miss this point, there is not a symmetry between Left and Right. The Left calls for the removal of restrictions on freedoms, the RIght calls for their imposition.
posted by badstone at 12:12 PM on March 10, 2004


Oh, inflammatory. More whining that strong words so upsetting to one's cozy little world view, no matter how very accurate the words, should be dismissed because some find them inflammatory .

Really, we should all couch our rhetoric in warm milk and weasel for those with such tender sensibilities.

Anyone who doesn't see parallels between the Taliban and a particular group who wants their particular prayers in public schools, wants their particular commandments in the courthouses, wants their particular ideas about women to prevail in the workplace, wants their particular moral stewards in your bedroom, wants to replace science with their particular myths....anyone who doesn't see striking parallels there needs to consult their Euclid.

Fundamentalism is fundamentalism is fundamentalism. 'Course, there are always a few right wing apologists who can be counted on to take exception to the notion that anything American could possibly be tainted...along with a few whose blind religion is money and whose entire lives are defined almost completely by what they consume, and who will take exception to anyone pointing out that their indulgent, fat, lazy lifestyle imposes tremendous burdens on other people....and at least one perpetual milktoaster who will studiously avoid controversy by pragmatically straddling any fence encountered.

The great West Virginia holy war

Millionaire evangelists such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are still calling for America's 50 million fundamentalists to become a mighty political force and reshape society to their liking.

Well, we'd better pray that their effort doesn't turn out like a famous West Virginia example -- Charleston's 1974 war against "godless textbooks...."

When school opened, evangelists urged "true Christians'' to keep their children home. Attendance fell 20 percent -- moreso in the poor eastern end of the county. The Rev. Marvin Horan led a rally of 2,000 protesters. Mobs surrounded schools and blockaded school bus garages. Teachers were threatened. So were families who didn't join the boycott.

About 3,500 coal miners went on strike against the texts, and began picketing Charleston industries. Flying rocks, screams and danger were constant. Frightened people in some regions began carrying pistols. Many school buses couldn't run -- and then textbook pickets halted city buses, leaving 11,000 low-income people without transportation.

Pickets surrounded a truck terminal, and a terminal janitor fired a shot which wounded one. Other pickets beat the janitor savagely. The next day, an armed man panicked when pickets surged toward him. He fired a shot that wounded a bystander. Two book protesters were jailed for smashing windshields.

The school board got a court injunction against disrupters, but it didn't help. Finally the superintendent closed schools, saying the safety of children couldn't be guaranteed.
Network TV crews swarmed to Charleston. A cameraman was trounced by protesters at a born-again rally.... Schools reopened. The boycott resumed. The Rev. Charles Quigley prayed for God to kill the board members who endorsed the books. A grade school was hit by a Molotov cocktail. Five shots hit a school bus. A dynamite blast damaged another grade school. A bigger blast damaged the school central office.

Near-riot conditions continued. Robert Dornan of California, a pornography foe, addressed a crowd of 3,000. Protesters started evangelical schools. A fundamentalist magistrate led an attempt to make eastern Kanawha a separate county....Minister Horan and three of his followers were indicted for the bombings. Ku Klux Klan leaders led a Charleston rally to support them....During the trial in 1975, other followers said Horan had led the dynamite plot, telling them there was "a time to kill." [Song of Solomon] They said the plotters talked of wiring dynamite caps into the gas tanks of cars in which families were driving their children to school during the boycott. All four defendants went to federal prison.


I'm sure we'll all be waiting breathlessly for MattD to provide us with the shocking details (which for some reason he couldn't provide in his original post) of this same sort of West Virginia/Taliban nightmare happening in Berkeley and Ann Arbor. Actually, since he claims the left is doing it's thing nationwide, it should be pretty easy to provide us with links that show those dirty liberals wiring dynamite to the gas caps of Christians who won't give in to godlessness. MattD? You're on.

American Taliban? Ask some of the residents of Charleston, West Virginia....the polygamist wives and families in "Short Creek", Arizona....or some of the Branch Davidian children from Waco, Texas. See how very accurate they'll think the phrase.

American Taliban? It's an apt choice of words for a fundamentalist nightmare.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:15 PM on March 10, 2004


mattD - ( re : "...it varies in absolutely no relevant extent to that which a fundamentalist Christian would experience if he was going to high school in Berkeley or Ann Arbor" ) - oh, I'd say it sure does.

The fundamentalist Christian, for example, will learn of Evolution and science - and will benefit from that. Reilly was clear on what he learned - shit.

Creationism - and it's cousin in a tux, "Intelligent Design" - are not science. I think Popper's famous distinct can be well applied here - Creationism and "Intelligent Design" cannot fall under the province of science because they are not falsifiable, and so working scientists do not publish peer reviewed works concerning these ideas. They are faith-based.

"....the religious right has no recent record of trying to force Berkeley High School to give its sweetest plums to the President of the Bible Study Club or the Pro-Life Club" - Give them time, my friend. Give them a little time.

"...whereas the secular left roves all throughout the country trying to impose Berkeley/Ann Arbor values on communities like those in which Ignatius grew up." - values like, ummmm, teaching the sort of science which is acknowledged and practiced now everywhere on Earth (except here and there in backwaters dominated by theocratic governments such as the Taliban) ?

"And, as far as the kids getting bad education -- let the market fix it. Parents can demand better education for their kids" - Too bad for the kids who, as Ignatious was, are caught up in this process. But - to take your comment at face value, here's a hypothetical . If we are to abolish 100% of all state and federal curriculum requirements (as you seem to suggest, and which is also almost diametrically at odds with recent Bush Administration educational proposals) - Would it be OK for certain schools, if they wished, to teach cannibalism and man-on-dog sex as valid lifestyle, and that the Earth is hollow and inhabited by gnomes and elves ?
posted by troutfishing at 12:20 PM on March 10, 2004


Foldy - Great anecdote and one liner :

Metafilter - "...anyone who doesn't see striking parallels there needs to consult their Euclid."
posted by troutfishing at 12:30 PM on March 10, 2004


The point is, once deducational decision began being made based on religion rather than in the spirit of education students and preparing them for life, it created an entire generation of ill-prepared idiots.

This reminds me of something I read this morning. I don't have a link for it, but it was some study by the National Institutes of Health about teenagers who had received "abstinence-only sex education" as favored by Bush and the religious right, and who "took a pledge" not to have premarital sex. The study found 80+ percent of them ended up having premarital sex anyway, and were more likely to get sexually transmitted diseases because they'd never learned about them and how to protect themselves from them.
posted by dnash at 12:35 PM on March 10, 2004


Creationism and "Intelligent Design" cannot fall under the province of science because they are not falsifiable

Oh man. Yes they can fall under the jurisdiction of science because they ARE falsifiable.
posted by jlachapell at 12:54 PM on March 10, 2004


because they ARE falsifiable

Can you give an example of a test that would falsify creationism, or do I only get to find out when i go to hell or when jebus makes his reunion tour or something?
posted by badstone at 1:09 PM on March 10, 2004


dnash, your study is linked in a thread above this.

jlachapell--
I wonder why it sounds made-up? Can I ask what region you live in, and if you have ever been to the Ozarks or Appalachia? I've met a lot of people who have trouble believing that there are places in the US that are so insular and backward, and they're usually people with the good fortune to not have been born there.


[from a handful of experience in the Ozarks]
Don't believe it, try asking the locals in them parts where their bars are? They will tell you with the added, "they are private, you won't be served unless I go with you", if they like you.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:15 PM on March 10, 2004


Left wing secularism is a package of social and political practices which, to the extent they escape the precincts of coffeehouse speculation of radicals, are utterly and profoundly innovative and iconoclastic in terms of the traditions of American, and broader Western, society. To propose that this package is the state of nature, encompassing no values, whereas the ancient traditions and practices they seek replace are somehow distinctive values themselves, is a meritless counterfactual, and a pernicious premise for public policy.

And what about the separation of church and state? The First Amendment is words, and for 160 years they were understood to mean that communities could choose some degree of religious instruction and observance in their institutions, and all that they completely forbade was salarying preachers and constructing churches out of Federal tax revenues. They've been interpreted in another way for less than one fourth of the time since then -- it is hardly a metaphysical and absolute statment that the current interpretation is the necessarily correct one.

As for Arkansas versus Ann Arbor, I'm not saying that there aren't some conservative Evangelicals who'd like to see all the plums of the high schools in Berkeley or Ann Arbor go to the staunchly fundamentalist President of the Pro-Life Club. I'm saying that they're far from even starting that battle, whereas the secular left is 35 years into their very successful battle to force the opposite set of values everywhere that the conservative Evangelicals are the majority. What's going on now is not aggression, but self defense.

My essential contention is not that one side should win, but that a truce should be put in place, together with a set of agreed upon democratic principals of community control.

As for the market and education, I believe that parents have the exclusive responsibility, and should have the exclusive authority, to determine the content of their children's education. Assuring that public schools reflect community values is one proper modality of that, although others are surely possible. Parents decide, and let the chips fall where they may.

The Bush education policy, to the extent embodied in "No Child Left Behind" is nobly intended, in that it intends to protect children from the consequences of having parents incapable of making good decisions, and tries to put a few tools in the hands of responsible parents oppressed by the grasping teacher unions. Noble intentions aside, I'm skeptical. I doubt that anything can help the children of irresponsible parents, and I worry that on a net basis the law more heavily burdens some responsible parents and self-managing communities than it benefits other responsible parents.
posted by MattD at 1:15 PM on March 10, 2004


or some of the Branch Davidian children from Waco, Texas. See how very accurate they'll think the phrase.
Their compound was not in Waco just happen to be the nearest "city" on the map. They were not welcomed nor exist in a presence today.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:20 PM on March 10, 2004


creationism may not be falsifiable, but it's most certainly false.
posted by mcsweetie at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2004


American Taliban

Who would have thought it would happen this early in the game of politics and moral decay.

We now have activist judges, mayors, governors, etc., who go against the will of the great majority of citizens in this nation (forget that it is against the law in most of the nation!) and declare that it is the "right" of homosexual men and women to "marry."

Christians need to come up with some ammunition against this grievous sin, and soon. As it stands now, our heads are, as it were, spinning with all the degrading developments that have taken place in the past few weeks....

The actions of these people were listed along with other practices that are still considered sin: fornication, wickedness, covetousness, murder, backbiters, haters of God, proud, despiteful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without natural affection, unmerciful...

"Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:32.

That also seems crystal clear. Those who do such things, and those who think they are amusing - or innocent - are worthy of death.

Doesn't seem as if the Lord is accepting of the sin of homosexuality at all.

And Christians had better put on the breastplate of righteousness and the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The battle for souls has begun.


Still waiting for the liberal and/or secular equivalent, MattD.

What's going on now is not aggression, but self defense.

Right. Exactly like the Taliban claim "self-defense" of their imagined "right" to treat women like cattle, and impose their particular religion on a nation.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:36 PM on March 10, 2004


Creationism was a great theory for thousands of years - all the way up to the acceptance of the Copernican Model of a sun-centered solar system.

Every since then it's been down hill for religious origins... Darwin, DNA, gene theory, water on Mars... these all further cause problems for a Earth (read: Human) centered Universe.

Are there still questions to be answered? Sure. That's the beauty of science - it allows us to question things. Religion on the other hand doesn't allow questioning - at least not in its (the religion's) traditional form. Modern Creation Science and Intelligent Design Theory are coping theories dreamed up by non-traditional religionist to prop up a faltering dogma.

My advice to religious folks: Focus on the areas where science doesn't have all the answers like Sociology, ethics, and Human Nature. These sciences are still very young and it'll be several generations before religion's hold on this knowledge is threatened.

I recall how in the 60s there was an out cry from the Muslim world when the US put a man on the Moon. I think that given the right time, place and motivations the religions would smash the telescopes and computers... and that's scarry.
posted by wfrgms at 1:59 PM on March 10, 2004


Creationism was a great theory for thousands of years

Sorry, can't even give it that. A theory, especially a "great" one ought to be able to produce testable hypotheses, make predictions, etc... Creationism was simply a pronouncement that nothing about the universe is predictable or testable. It says the universe is just an arbitrary system thrown together by an all powerful being, who is unconstrained by rationality or natural laws, to house and process humans and determine where they should end up for the long run.
posted by badstone at 2:14 PM on March 10, 2004


MattD: As for Arkansas versus Ann Arbor, I'm not saying that there aren't some conservative Evangelicals who'd like to see all the plums of the high schools in Berkeley or Ann Arbor go to the staunchly fundamentalist President of the Pro-Life Club. I'm saying that they're far from even starting that battle, whereas the secular left is 35 years into their very successful battle to force the opposite set of values everywhere that the conservative Evangelicals are the majority. What's going on now is not aggression, but self defense.

Well, Let's look at it from the perspective of a child who is of a different branch of Christian faith. The religion I was raised in teaches that Evolution is not in conflict with Biblical teaching, as it is an allegorical tale, not a literal truth. Let's say I decide to raise my child in that faith. Are you saying that the school district should be allowed to teach my child religious beliefs that are in conflict with the faith I have chosen to raise my child in? I pay taxes just like anyone else, so why should I have a particular brand of religion forced upon my child when my taxes are supposed to be paying for his education not indoctrination into a faith other than the one his family chooses to practice

My parents immigrated here from Ireland in the 1950's because of limited job options and religious and ethnic prejudice in the nearest country that had available jobs (England). They chose to send us to parochial schools because they wanted us to be educated in their faith. While they bitched a bit about having to pay property taxes that went to the local public school and tuition for our schooling, they were also very adamant that religion shouldn't be part of the public school system. They rightly feared what would happen if religion was taught in public school - that children like theirs would be singled out and discriminated against for being Catholic or any other religon not practiced by the majority.

Religion is a private matter. Making it public policy in our state-run instutions is asking for trouble. It's instutionalizing discrimination against minority religions in favor of the religion of the majority. How can you even justify that? Do you really think that is fair and democratic?
posted by echolalia67 at 2:29 PM on March 10, 2004


I'm surprised in all of this discussion no one has mentioned the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. More palatable name than Godless Americans, and they've been around for almost 57 years.
posted by moonbiter at 3:24 PM on March 10, 2004


Left wing secularism is a package of social and political practices

Substantiate this please, by enumerating the contents of this "package of practices". Cite references and show that a preponderance of left-of-center proponents of secularism actually practice these things, whatever they might be. And bear in mind that many readers here are both left wing and secular, so they're not just going to take your word for it that they "practice" whatever you say they do, if they don't. Being somewhat left wing and a proponent of secularism, I nevertheless have absolutely no "practices" under that heading. My secularism, such as it is, is defined by what I don't do, like support the introduction of theistic dogma into public policy when such dogma is not shown to represent the uncontested beliefs of the population as a whole.

which, to the extent they escape the precincts of coffeehouse speculation of radicals

What precincts are those, exactly? And the last time I saw a "coffeehouse radical" it was in a cartoon produced in the 1950s. A silly stereotype.

are utterly and profoundly innovative and iconoclastic in terms of the traditions of American, and broader Western, society.

Can you substantiate this bald assertion, or is it just so because you say it is?

To propose that this package is the state of nature, encompassing no values, whereas the ancient traditions and practices they seek replace are somehow distinctive values themselves,

Show that they are not, please. Your arcument seems to be that a religious agenda in governing is the normal state of affairs for the United States. Please support this. And do bear in mind, for example that "under God", for example, was added to the Pledge in the 1950s.

is a meritless counterfactual

Taking a polysyllabic approach to simply saying "it's not true" doesn't make it any stronger an argument.

and a pernicious premise for public policy.

Nice alliteration, but pernicious why? Because you say so? You could just say it "sucks" and it would be about as well-argued.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:09 PM on March 10, 2004


and if you're not too busy with all that, maybe explain why pulling policy out of the bible is a good idea?
posted by mcsweetie at 4:35 PM on March 10, 2004


As for the market and education, I believe that parents have the exclusive responsibility, and should have the exclusive authority, to determine the content of their children's education.

The problem is that certain parents are now excercising their rights to decide what other people's kids learn. In any case, if you reject the notion that religion doesn't belong in public schools, then we can't possibly gain anything by arguing. Just imagine if a wave of new residents came into your community, such that the majority was then Jewish. Would you be cool with them teaching your kids that Jesus was a sham Messiah, or would you then be happy that you live in a country with structural impediments to publically mandated (let's not forget that kids have to go to school) religious instruction?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:47 PM on March 10, 2004


My essential contention is not that one side should win, but that a truce should be put in place, together with a set of agreed upon democratic principals of community control.

As for the market and education, I believe that parents have the exclusive responsibility, and should have the exclusive authority, to determine the content of their children's education. Assuring that public schools reflect community values is one proper modality of that, although others are surely possible. Parents decide, and let the chips fall where they may."


mattD - I do agree that there is an awful lot which needs to be worked out here. I think parents already have, in most areas of the US, considerable authority over the education of their children if and when they choose to exercise it. My brother sends his children to a christian school to learn creationism (and some actual science here and there a well).

But there is the issue of the larger societal good - should you or I or we as a society choose to exercise it. Imagine that, in my community, we are extremists (whether Christians, Muslims, or Santa Claus worshippers - whatever) who teach our children, from birth, that they must, upon reaching the age of 18, go out and commit terrorist acts upon society at large. Imagine that we have trained them to believe this is their role to play in the scheme of things. An extreme example? - Of course. But it illustrates my point, or my question : are there, or should there be, any larger guidelines, or boundaries, which larger society lays down around parent's education of their children?

I sometimes wonder, also, if it wouldn't be wise to promote the ongoing self-segregation of Americans so that those who so chose could establish quasi-autonomous regions much like the Quakers once did. In practice, like minded people could essentially take over existing states, or perhaps these communities could be much smaller than states - on the scale of towns. Whatever proves workable. I think this might be a good solution to this larger conflict, as long as the process was a voluntary one. These autonomous areas, I'd suggest, would be able to exert much more control than now accorded to US states - including over issues such as Abortion, birth control, criminal justice in general, and so on. In fact, as long as they provided for the common defense at the national level and did not attack neighboring states or regions, they would be left to run their own lives as they pleased.

This is very, very far from the current push by the US religious right wing to grab the power to set federal policy. My solution above is both laissez-faire and equitable in it's own fashion. I think it's a reasonable one although currently unlikely to be enacted
posted by troutfishing at 4:52 PM on March 10, 2004


"with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex"

Wipe out access to recreational sex?

Do you realize this is just not going to happen?
You're both right, because people other than you, people you despise, will work to prevent it.


George_Spiggot, exactly who did you decide I despise based on my posting? Because there's very few people I put in that category. Maybe you meant "people I disagree with sometimes."

And seriously, I grew up in freakin' Utah, which many people here probably regard as a bastion of conserv-fundy weirdos, and I can tell you, even most of the folks there like sex. Even non-reproductive sex. And if Utah wouldn't support a move that direction, it's a shoo-in that the nation as a whole -- and even congress -- wouldn't.
posted by namespan at 5:17 PM on March 10, 2004


namespan - going back to the link I tied to that extreme possibility, the "banning" of non-procreative sex ( via Andrew Sullivan ) , you'll see that it's tied to an overall legal analysis which asserts that the proposed Bush Federal Marriage Amendment would establish a legal opening for court challenges to freedoms and rights now considered inviolate to Americans.

I suppose I should have made that point more explicit. It deserves it's own post, I think.

Here it is, laid out quite directly ( via Andrew Sullivan ) : "Under the Constitution of the United States there is no express right to privacy, rather this right to be free from excessive government interference in our personal lives has arisen from Supreme Court precedent that cites the lack of regulation of intimate relationships and the protections of the bill of rights as the basis for an inference of the right to privacy. The right to privacy, according the Supreme Court is found in the penumbras and emanations of these two factors. A shadow of a right, very delicate and now threatened.

By including a provision regulating the most intimate of relationships into the Constitution, the traditional analysis that the court has used to limit government power will be fundamentally changed and the right to privacy, if it is not destroyed completely, will be severely curtailed. As a result, decisions like Roe v. Wade, (Abortion), Griswold v. Connecticut (Birth Control), Lawrence v. Texas (Private Sexual Acts), will all be fair game for re-analysis under this new jurisprudential regime as the Constitutional foundation for those decisions will have been altered."

posted by troutfishing at 5:55 PM on March 10, 2004


All right, trout, I still think it's alarmist -- the threat seems exaggerated to me -- but I can at least see where your comment came from and it seems more reasonable.
posted by namespan at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2004


namespan - OK, but I don't find the tipping of the balance in the US Senate towards voting patterns sanctioned by the Christian Coalition to be a soothing development. In fact, I would call it alarming - all the more so for the fact that this is happening amidst the Bush Administration's wholesale denial of the opinions of the US scientific mainstream, whether on Global warming, Evolutionary theory, stem cell research or a number of other issues.

I've watched the rise of the religious right in the US almost since it's inception as a movement - for the fact that my brother has been a movement member since, probably, 1980.

Their rise has been patient and methodical. But all the background effort is now starting to come to fruition. As the poll results I cited towards the top of this thread indicate, the religious right is gaining ground, especially with young Americans.
posted by troutfishing at 9:06 PM on March 10, 2004


Speaking of ID: A summary of the Ohio situation.
posted by homunculus at 9:15 PM on March 10, 2004


I was considering not dignifying this with a response, but here goes, anyway.

In other words, in majcher's eyes, being a "progressive" means you know better than all of the fucking idiots that make up the United States, and you are going to ram your 'values' down the rest of the country's throat, if they like it or not.

Close. It means that we know better than all the fucking idiots that make up the United States, and we don't want them ramming their "values" down our throats. You do whatever all you need to make yourself happy, man. Just keep that crap out of my face. You worship how you want to worship, you eat what you want to eat, you fuck how you want to fuck, and don't legislate the way that I (or anyone else) do likewise. Seems pretty straightforward. Oh, unless you need to feel persecuted by the "liberal elite" or whatever. Then go right ahead and do so. I'll be over here eating my hamburger, cleaning my guns, and watching my porn.
posted by majcher at 9:22 PM on March 10, 2004


I'll be over here eating my hamburger, cleaning my guns, and watching my porn.

That's just so mainstream it makes me want to puke. Real radical left secularists eat their porn, clean their hamburgers, and watch their guns warily and yet with the filthy lust inspired by their tummy full of Nuns and Nazis.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:08 PM on March 10, 2004


Time has a funny way of sculpting perspective. Twenty years ago my liberal sensibility alarms would have been shrieking. But I've grown older and wiser (and not like Phil Ochs' 'Liberal' ) and so I muse :

majcher and his compatriots might save America yet.

Metafilter : "Guns, hamburgers, and porn"
posted by troutfishing at 12:05 AM on March 11, 2004


while majcher spoke well, I'd change it just a bit:

"It means that we know better how to run our own lives than all the fucking idiots that make up the United States, and we don't want them ramming their "values" down our throats with laws that restrict our freedom and liberty. You do whatever all you need to make yourself happy, man. Just keep that crap out of my face. You worship how you want to worship, you eat what you want to eat, you fuck how you want to fuck, and don't legislate the way that I (or anyone else) do likewise. "
posted by Irontom at 4:52 AM on March 11, 2004


> Not being a Christian or an American, could someone perhaps explain
> to me why exactly religious folks in the United States are so concerned about
> the actions of their neighbours? Every time I heard about yet another
> civil-liberty atrocity commited or instigated by the religious right, I am still
> dumbfounded at the intrusiveness of it all.
>
> Is it such a foreign concept to "mind your own business?"

I'm American, though not particularly Christain (I am an Episcopalian, which sect doesn't as far as I can tell require one to believe anything in particular) but I can certainly clear this up for you.

It's precisely because those neighbors won't keep their beliefs and intrusive actions to themselves. If (if, I say--this is entirely hypothetical) I thought buggery was unspeakably vile, and my neighbor was industriously pumping buggery into the social atmosphere I and my children must breathe in every public space, it's no mystery at all why I might feel exactly the same as if said neighbor were running a home chemical plant and pumping polychlorinated biphenyls into the neighborhood swimming pool.

And likewise no mystery to anyone brighter than a milliwatt glow worm why I might feel justified in taking action to resist my neighbor's intrusion into the shared public space.
posted by jfuller at 7:37 AM on March 11, 2004


jfuller - I'm not really sure whether you are arguing for or against here. I'll have to assume against for the reason that you mention "buggery".

I once was lived in a shared house with some fellow students, and the house was closely adjacent to an average family home.

One day, the phone range. I was a bit too occupied at the time to answer the call and so a housemate of mine picked it up. It was the neighbor. I had forgotten to pull down the shade of my second floor room window - which my bed was pushed up against. In bed - sans sheets or any sort of covering - my girlfriend and I were engaged in acts which might or might not have been illegal in various US states at the time, and the neighbor's kids had been watching the - no doubt educational - show.

The incident was dealt with informally. I pulled down the shade. No laws were passed, nor legal sanctions invoked. The guilty parties ( myself, and a woman who shall go unnamed ) were heterosexual.

As far as I've ever noticed, gays as a general rule do not flaunt their lifestyle in the face of the hetero majority except in a few "safe" areas where openness over sexuality is widely tolerated - such as, for example, San Fransisco.
posted by troutfishing at 8:13 AM on March 11, 2004


I once was lived? Anyway, PardonYou - I ran across that priceless load of quotes colllected together in the book 'Take Them At Their Words.' by Bruce Miller and Diana Maio ( damn, that book was a turket shoot. I was I'd thought of it first ).

So I'd thought I'd address your following criticism - which is generally, I'd admit, a great point. But I'd say that, in this context, it in itself might be, as a criticism, an overstatement for the following assortment of remarkably taliban-esque quotes I'm providing via 'Take them at their words' "The point I'm really trying to make regarding this "American Taliban" is this:

'Do not overstate. When you overstate, the reader will be instantly on guard, and everything that has preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be suspect in his mind because he has lost confidence in your judgment or your poise. Overstatement is one of the common faults. ' [ Strunk ]"


______________________________________________

     "I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."

     - Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95

     "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual gay sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. All of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family and that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, the right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."

     - Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Associated Press, 04-22-03

     "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor."

     - Pat Robertson, speaking of organizers putting rainbow flags up around Orlando to support sexual diversity, Washington Post, 06-10-98. For the record, Orlando remains undestroyed by meteors.

     "Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."

     - Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Alaska Public Radio, 08-19-96

   "Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him."

     - Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton, as reported by journalist Steve Miner of KSUB radio who overheard his conversation, 11-01-98

     "We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."

     - Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95

     "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."

     - Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02

     "Homosexuals want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers."

     - Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-18-95

     "Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist."

     - Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Majority Whip, during a debate on increasing the minimum wage, Congressional Record, H3706, 04-23-96

     "Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past - I'm not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble - recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an 'enemy of the people.' The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, 'clan liability.' In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished 'to the ninth degree': that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed."

     - John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01

     "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."

     - Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-08-92


     "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

     - Lt. General William G. Boykin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, New York Times, 10-17-03

     "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

     - Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02

     "Quit looking at the symbols. Get out and get a job. Quit shooting each other. Quit having illegitimate babies."

     - State Rep. John Graham Altman (R-SC), addressing African-American concerns about the 'symbol' of the Confederate Flag, New York Times, 01-24-97

     "Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God's Law and the disenfranchisement of White men."

     - State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01

[ the above selected quotes are from a much larger collection of similar baffling and extreme statements made by members of the American right wing and religious right, during the last decade, which have been collected together in Take them at their Words by Bruce Miller ( brother to Mark Crispin Miller ) and Diana Maio ]
posted by troutfishing at 8:38 AM on March 11, 2004


My favorite out of the above quotes has to be John Darbyshire's implied suggestion, from the National Review in 2001, that certain troublesome American families should be obliterated up to the ninth generation in the manner of Imperial China, or dispatched in the styles of Stalin or Hitler.

"Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past - I'm not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble - recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an 'enemy of the people.' The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, 'clan liability.' In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished 'to the ninth degree': that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed."

     - John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01

"Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint...."

These words are insane, and evil. What did Darbyshire intend form this bit of extreme ugliness ? Intimidation ? Incitement of would-be assasins ? Bear in mind that Clinton, as a political threat, was safely out of the picture when Darbyshire wrote this. So - Gratuitious violent poltical retribution ?

Should we take this man at his words ?

I would note that had Darbyshire been a German citizen he would have been imprisoned for this sort extreme, incendiary hate speech. As a nation which actually lived through the sort of political violence which Darbyshire seems to advocate, Germany has outlawed certain types of public expression of this sort of hate speech for the rationale that such speech is viewed there, for better or worse, as a precursor to fascism.

______________________________________________

For anyone who is still reading this who wants deeper, ongoing coverage of religious and political extremism in America, this is Dave Neiwert's beat, par excellence, at his blog Orcinus. Check it out. Neiwert's a national treasure. He was one of the first to notice the "Texas Cynanide Bomber" story and is usually three or four steps ahead of mainstream media in noticing (and often mainstream media doesn't notice these at all) all the newest excrescence of public extremism in America.
posted by troutfishing at 9:05 AM on March 11, 2004


> my girlfriend and I were engaged in acts which might or might not
> have been illegal in various US states at the time, and the neighbor's kids
> had been watching the - no doubt educational - show.
>
> The incident was dealt with informally. I pulled down the shade. No laws
> were passed, nor legal sanctions invoked.

Well, and exactly right. You pulled down the shade, they let it go. Perfect. You didn't, instead, react by making an organized effort to have your fun'n'games included in the official curriculum of the public schools your neighbor is by law taxed to support, so as to counteract your neighbor's oppressor bigotry by re-educating his children.

The lesson I hope you take away from your encounter with your neighbor is that you have all the freedom you could possibly want, in the closet

It is simply not possible for each and every one of us to exercise all the rights we have, in public, without denying someone else some of his rights. There is'nt enough rights space to go around. Unless each of us exercises forebearance rather than rights, we will have what we have, namely rights competition.
posted by jfuller at 10:03 AM on March 11, 2004


jfuller - would you consider the ongoing campaign by the US religious right to include the teaching of Creationism or "Intelligent design" in public school curricula to be an example of "an organized effort to have....fun'n'games included in the official curriculum of the public schools " ?

Also, the charge that gays are peddling a lifestyle choice is one of the nastiest canards of the religious right - and, as the saying goes, you shall know them by their deeds.

Hate crimes against gays - often brutally violent ones, have been on the rise in the US for at least several years. The fear of some sort of gay-driven breakdown in the moral and social fabric in the US is bitterly laughable for the fact that the mayhem, such as there is, comes largely from the "Anti-gay" forces. The actual aggression and violence in this conflict has been carried on the part of those self-styled champions of public morality who would wield intimidation and violence against outspoken gays to stem some sort of "gay invasion" and who seem not to have noticed that the gays were there in their communities all the time.

You can point to Massachusetts curricula as an example of some sort of gay crusade to eliminate the idea of heterosexuality as normative, fine. But you're being deceptive if you don't acknowledge the countervailing trend, that of the religious right's often successful attempts to have it's agenda imposed on American schools, both at the national level and at also at the local level - often in more more extreme ways.
posted by troutfishing at 10:36 AM on March 11, 2004


The best argument for keeping state and religion separated is this: the Arab nations.

When religion is allowed to dictate schooling and social policy you inevitably end up with the cessation of technologic progress, a loss of economic viability, and eradication of equal human rights.

If America mixes state and religion you can bet your last dollar on this: it will no longer lead the world in innovation, it will go bankrupt due to lack of competitive industry, and many more people will end up jailed for participating in consensual, adult acts.

If you want to end up as bass-ackwards as any of the religiously-controlled nation-states, do nothing.

If you want to retain status in this world, you sure as hell better make sure your next vote counts toward choosing a government that understands the separation of private religion and public policy.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 AM on March 11, 2004


The lesson I hope you take away from your encounter with your neighbor is that you have all the freedom you could possibly want, in the closet

I'm offended by men and women kissing in public. I think any couple that does it should be flogged.

In fact, I don't even like them holding hands. If they want to do that in the privacy of their own home, that's fine and all. But I don't want to see it. We need a Constitutional Amendment.
posted by moonbiter at 10:58 AM on March 11, 2004


I'm with moonbiter--there oughta be a law. jfuller, keep your heterosexual behaviors and those of the other hets in the closet where they belong. You're intruding on the limited "rights space."
posted by clever sheep at 11:32 AM on March 11, 2004


; )
posted by troutfishing at 11:34 AM on March 11, 2004


> would you consider the ongoing campaign by the US religious right
> to include the teaching of Creationism or "Intelligent design" in public
> school curricula to be an example of "an organized effort to have....fun
> 'n'games included in the official curriculum of the public schools " ?

Yes, of course. And I'm not at all surprised when other groups try the same thing. To both sides, indeed to all sides, I say leave the bloody schools alone!

The libertarian in me is restless here. I frankly think a tax-supported, attendance-mandated institution like a public school simply may touch any hot-button ideological issue, whether it be sex or religion or evolution or whatever, without changing from educational to coercive. The very possibility of tax-supported, attendance-mandated public education therefore ends, in a heterogeneous society, right after the reading-writing-arithmetic stage. After that point, people who don't want to study e.g. The Fifth Commandment: Practical Applications or Freshman Fisting should be free to cease attending and cease paying.


> keep your heterosexual behaviors and those of the other hets in the closet where they belong.

You may trust me to do so. PDA is for dogs and cats.
posted by jfuller at 3:14 PM on March 11, 2004


There is'nt enough rights space to go around.

is that why we have free-speech zones? do we only have a finite amount of freedom, which is in such short supply that it must be rationed geographically? I ask as I stroke my goatee!
posted by mcsweetie at 3:54 PM on March 11, 2004


You should only do with your spouse in public, what you would do with your children or poodle in public.

Which pretty much leaves it to holding hands, pecks on the cheek, and walking around on a leash. And occasionally, should your spouse have dysentery, scooping poop.

Careful McSweetie. You don't want to use up all your freedom at once!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:22 PM on March 11, 2004


PDA is for dogs and cats.

You should only do with your spouse in public, what you would do with your children or poodle in public.

shocked, i say, shocked! prudes in MeFi land?

so what if i like to fuck in public. what's wrong with spreading the love? i think we'd all be better off if people were fucking in the streets, pastures, prairies, beaches.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:42 PM on March 11, 2004


mrgrimm - I tend to agree as well. But, be forewarned - if I ever become a powerful politician I'll have all record and memory of this discussion ruthlessly expunged.

jfuller - OK, fine with me. I have libertarian tendencies as well - I really don't like inflicting my values overmuch on others. But, if the US breaks into a chaos of self-determining libertarian enclaves, the remaining nations of the World will mop up us fractious Americans pretty quick.

That's an arch-conservative objection I just made there, BTW. So, things have come full circle.
posted by troutfishing at 9:26 PM on March 11, 2004


I say LESS tolerance for social behavior and MORE tolerance for private behavior. No sex, no fighting, no kissing, and no cursing in public. In the old days, people had manners. Let's get back to that. And what anyone does in their own home is NOYB. Or own church. And let's have more sex in movies. People paid for the ticket, let them have their thrills. Damn MPA gun loving Nazis.

And less tolerance for bad posts and threads. Start with me. I can take it.
posted by ewkpates at 4:18 AM on March 12, 2004


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