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"(One over all)" is the official Air Force Motto. Is that one named Jesus?
April 20, 2005 9:38 AM   Subscribe

"Filthy Jew." "'They are calling me a [expletive] Jew, and that I am responsible for killing Christ.'" But so what if at a private Christian school the "official academy newspaper runs a Christmas ad every year praising Jesus and declaring him the only savior, [signed by nearly] 200 academy staff members, including some department heads," and "[t]he academy commandant... a born-again Christian, said in a statement to cadets in June 2003 that their first responsibility is to their God"?

But it's not a private Christian school. It's a school run by the United States of America, a school where all the students swear to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies. It's the United States Air Force Academy, training the nation's future military leaders. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality (178 comments total)

 
But it's really the Christians who face bigotry, says "Tom Minnery, an official at Focus on the Family, [who] complained that 'there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing' at the school. He went on, "I think a witch hunt is under way to root out Christian beliefs. To root out what is pervasive in 90 percent of the group is ridiculous."

And the "chairman [of the academy's Board of Visitors], former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, warned... that changing things could prove complicated. He said evangelical Christians 'do not check their religion at the door.'"
posted by orthogonality at 9:39 AM on April 20, 2005


If Jews didn't want to catch all this flak, they shouldn't have killed Jesus.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2005


The board chairman, former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, warned Rosa that changing things could prove complicated. He said evangelical Christians “do not check their religion at the door.”

But some do, apparently, check their brains.

So hard-core “fundagelicals,” as a pastor friend calls them, can call classmates “filthy Jews” – but if anyone complains, they are exhibiting anti-Christian bigotry.

Yeah, that sounds about right for America, 2005.
posted by kgasmart at 9:40 AM on April 20, 2005


This God fella must really be a pussy, it seems it's everybodies job to stick up for him.
posted by substrate at 9:40 AM on April 20, 2005


Onward Christian Soldiers...?

This shit has got to stop--This is not the Christian States of America. If they serve our country, they have to put our laws and Constitution first, or they shouldn't be serving. It's way past time to clean house of all those people serving our country--whether in Congress or the White House or these Service Academies--who don't hold the Constitution and laws and defense of us and the nation first and foremost. (and "us" does NOT mean just Christians.)

What they're doing is completely illegal, unAmerican, and possibly even treasonous. Of course, there's no one with the balls to prosecute.
posted by amberglow at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2005


The eternal question--

Kwantsar: Trolling, or being sarcastic?
posted by papakwanz at 9:43 AM on April 20, 2005


If anyone has trouble reading the Balt Sun article, try:
user:bugmenot90@mailinator.com
pw: bugmenot

posted by dfowler at 9:44 AM on April 20, 2005


I blame Mel Gibson

posted by matteo at 9:45 AM on April 20, 2005


Poor Jesus.
posted by Joe Monkeyweb at 9:46 AM on April 20, 2005


I think a witch hunt is underway to root out Christian beliefs. To root out what is pervasive in 90% of the group is ridiculous.

we use words like honor, code, loyalty, jesus loves you... we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. you use 'em as a punchline.

i have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very christian freedom i provide, then questions the non-christian manner in which i provide it!

i'd rather you just said amen and went on your way.

otherwise, i suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. either way, i don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
posted by three blind mice at 9:47 AM on April 20, 2005


oops, the latimes article is exactly the same as Balt Sun article.
posted by dfowler at 9:48 AM on April 20, 2005


"...the blanket of the very christian freedom..."

wtf?
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on April 20, 2005


three blind mice - what?
posted by agregoli at 9:50 AM on April 20, 2005


I believe he's channeling Jack Nicholson.
posted by COBRA! at 9:52 AM on April 20, 2005


"I think a witch hunt is under way to root out Christian beliefs. To root out what is pervasive in 90 percent of the group is ridiculous."

Evidently for some Christians, proselytizing, or "witnessing," as they like to call it, is inextricably tied to their beliefs. I've worked with quite a few of these folks and some of the more extreme ones seem to think that just keeping their mouths shut is akin to denying their faith entirely.

On preview: What the bloody hell is three blind mice talking about? tbm are you refering to some meme I missed out on? That blanket stuff has me pretty confused.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 9:53 AM on April 20, 2005


agregoli, three blind mice is quoting A Few Good Men.
posted by dfowler at 9:53 AM on April 20, 2005


Damn! I pretty much think exclusively in Simpsons references these days...

/derail
posted by pieisexactlythree at 9:56 AM on April 20, 2005


three blind mice gets my coke-spattering-on-keyboard laughter award of the day.
posted by verb at 9:59 AM on April 20, 2005


I, for one, do not welcome our new Christian overlords.
posted by Foosnark at 10:01 AM on April 20, 2005


'there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing' How can people outnumbered 500 to 1 discriminate against anyone!! It never ceases to amaze me how X-tians all seem to act like they are being chased by lions and persecuted when they control everything.

When will they understand that the Wall between church and state is to protect them from each other, as well as me from them.
posted by Megafly at 10:03 AM on April 20, 2005


proselytizing is not the same as calling someone a "filthy Jew". It is possible to proselytize and be civil at the same time; in fact, I'd say its pretty essential to be civil for any attempt at proselytizing to work.

As for "anti-Christian bigotry", I'd suggest they go visit President Bush's close and dear friends in Saudi Arabia to see what real anti-Christian bigotry looks like.
posted by sotonohito at 10:09 AM on April 20, 2005


So hard-core “fundagelicals,” as a pastor friend calls them, can call classmates “filthy Jews” – but if anyone complains, they are exhibiting anti-Christian bigotry.
There is a big wrong there for the Christian making that statement. As the fundy should know the Jews are God's chosen people.
I'd chalk this up as fundies having little knowledge about their own religion. It seems today when the fundy opens their mouth, they cry out; world, I'm an idiot.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:14 AM on April 20, 2005


seriously, a very good book about this problem is Who Killed Jesus? : Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus by historical Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan.

From Library Journal:
The two main theses of this extraordinary book are that the roots of anti-Semitism spring from gospel narratives of the death of Jesus and that the Romans, not the Jews, killed Jesus as a revolutionary agitator inimical to their continued governance of Judea. Crossan, a former Roman Catholic priest and now a noted expert on the life of Jesus, fascinatingly describes here two types of historical writing: 1) history remembered?history written as it actually happened?and 2) prophecy historicized, a tendentious interpretation of what really happened made to conform to or "fulfill" ancient prophecies?in this case, supposed prophecies about the life of Jesus uttered by Hebrew prophets. According to Crossan, the passion accounts blaming the Jews for Jesus' arrest and crucifixion are based on this second type of writing and are thus myths if not downright lies. He pleads for a reevaluation of the passion stories, which have caused such animus toward Jews for the past 2000 years. An excellent study for lay readers and specialists; recommended for larger religion collections

posted by matteo at 10:20 AM on April 20, 2005


I know a lot of fundamentalists here in rural OH, and yes, they're idiots who in many cases don't know the tenets of their own religion. In most cases, the religion is a thin, cartoonish veneer to cover their basic racist/homophobic/antisemitic feelings.

What bothers me is that these fools are being used to push an agenda amounting to theocratic fascism.
posted by words1 at 10:24 AM on April 20, 2005


According to Crossan, the passion accounts blaming the Jews for Jesus' arrest and crucifixion are based on this second type of writing and are thus myths if not downright lies.

But see, you've already violated fundagelical rule #1: The entirity of the Bible is literal, period. End of debate.
posted by kgasmart at 10:24 AM on April 20, 2005


Rosa and other academy leaders say some among the large number of Christian cadets -- nearly 2,600 are Protestant, some 1,300 are Roman Catholic, and about 120 are Mormon -- may not realize that evangelism is unwelcome among their fellow students.

As usual, Christian Evangelicals just can't keep their preacher in their pants. It's a remarkably obnoxious vector for spreading their belief system.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:28 AM on April 20, 2005


What's so sad about this is that this place is like a West Point for the Air Force, no? It's supposed to have the cream of the crop attending. Future leaders and all that.
posted by amberglow at 10:30 AM on April 20, 2005


All i know about proselytizing is: The Awake people in my hood don't bother me when i pass by. They know better. I think it's so important to keep your enemies in sight, don't you? And as for Jews being "god's chosen people"--You just keep telling yourself that, honey.

But Groeningnity--now that's a cool religion. I'd cop to it. Too bad it's so hard to pronounce.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:31 AM on April 20, 2005


I think a witch hunt is underway to root out Christian beliefs. To root out what is pervasive in 90% of the group is ridiculous."

So calling people of other religions foul names is pervasive and in the vast majority so we should just let them continue doing it at West Point, right?
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:39 AM on April 20, 2005


amberglow writes " What's so sad about this is that this place is like a West Point for the Air Force, no? It's supposed to have the cream of the crop attending. Future leaders and all that."


Yes, it's the Air Force's homologue of West Point. And yes, it means that leaders in the US Air Force for the next thirty years will be Christians who will favor other Christians while keeping non-Christians out of command positions.

So in thirty years, most all of the generals in charge of our nuclear strategic bombing forces will be intolerant evangelical Christians who believe in a literal and imminent Armageddon.

Think about this.
posted by orthogonality at 10:43 AM on April 20, 2005


Can we please apply Don't Ask, Don't Tell to religion?
posted by crapulent at 10:45 AM on April 20, 2005


Wasn't Jesus a filthy Jew? Dude hung out in the desert a lot. Plus, there's only one bath on record, and it's his own cousin doing the honors, so we gotta hope it wasn't that thorough of a scrub-job.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:45 AM on April 20, 2005


What's so sad about this is that this place is like a West Point for the Air Force, no? It's supposed to have the cream of the crop attending. Future leaders and all that.

Billmon had a damned chilling post wherein he touched on the trouble that can come when partisanship rules the roost in your armed forces:

But the increasingly partisan complexion of the U.S. officer corps was one of the prime causes of the fictional "American military coup of 2012" described in this celebrated 1992 article in the U.S Army War College journal Parameters, which has been getting fresh attention in the blogosphere lately:

Little thought was given the long-term consequences of limiting the pool from which our military leadership was drawn. The result was a much more uniformly oriented military elite whose outlook was progressively conservative.

Of course, in our polarized electorate, conservative now means Republican - even more so than when the article was written. And the Republican Party, in turn, has become enthralled by a kind of GOP cult of the leader - rooted in the theology of Christian fundamentalism, but with militaristic overtones that have become ever more apparent in our never-to-be-ended war against terrorism.

posted by kgasmart at 10:50 AM on April 20, 2005


Orthogonality, you need to calm down, a lot.

To say that because most of the cadets at the Air Force Academy are Christian that most of our generals will be "intolerant evangelicals" is absurd. Yes, it seems like there is some intolerance at the academy, but it seems like the academy leadership is trying to get rid of it. The implication of your argument is that ALL Christians, or at least all evangelicals, are crazed lunatics bent on ensuring that the end of the world comes tomorrow. This is simply not the case.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:53 AM on April 20, 2005


nearly 2,600 are Protestant,
That is a lot in the USA for how often I run into Protestants, mostly British citizens too.

this place is like a West Point for the Air Force, no?
The US Army had the US Air Corps units under its command until sometime after WWII.
It's the newest Military Academy since the Air Force grew out of the US Army.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:53 AM on April 20, 2005


Ironic, isn't it, that the fundagelicals, as a whole, are the closest thing to an Anti-Christ we have.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:54 AM on April 20, 2005


What Bulga....brolorgra...arugala.....what B said.
posted by dhoyt at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2005


orthogonality, thank you. wow. that would make such an awesome lichtenstein. or better.

Bulgaroktonos, being the offspring of fundies, i have witnessed attitudes at the dinnertable that argue ortho's point. It is absolutely the wrong mindset, and totally prevalent.

and crapulent, that's an excellent idea. Like "You do what you want, dude, but we don't need to hear the details about how you got over your crack habit at the altar and started babbling in another language that only you and Jesus know."
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:57 AM on April 20, 2005


It is absolutely the wrong mindset, and totally prevalent.

Utter theological certainty will do that to you.
posted by kgasmart at 10:59 AM on April 20, 2005


My problem is not with the idea that Christian Fundamentalists might have the wrong mindset, it's with the attitude many people, here and places like it, take to them.

You spend your time calling them names, and raving about how they will bring about the end of the world, without ever making any attempt to engage them intellectually. There is just as much intolerance from your side as from the other, and it's all the more disgusting because you think you're enlightened.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2005


the Air Force Academy are Christian that most of our generals will be "intolerant evangelicals"
The generals at the Academy's are not serving in active military roles today. Meaning, they are neither most nor lead soldiers into the battlefields today. They would have to be reassigned by the Pentagon to do that. They are basically the head master of the college.

Second, very few military personnel wear their religious ranks. The ones that do are the military’s clergy.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:06 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "Yes, it seems like there is some intolerance at the academy, but it seems like the academy leadership is trying to get rid of it."

Wait a sec. Read the articles more closely: Where in that do you see the academy leadership "trying to get rid of" the intolerance?


Bulgaroktonos writes "The implication of your argument is that ALL Christians, or at least all evangelicals, are crazed lunatics bent on ensuring that the end of the world comes tomorrow"

My argument is that if these Christians, these future leaders of the US Air Force (and most of the ranking generals are Academy grads), feel that it's OK in a government run school, today, as plebes, to call Jews "Filthy Christ-killers", how far will they be willing to go in thirty years when they are generals and they are the leadership we're relying on to prevent intolerance?
posted by orthogonality at 11:07 AM on April 20, 2005


fyi, the Military Academies have civilian instructors too.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:08 AM on April 20, 2005


The problem, IMO, is not with evangelical Christianity, per se. Jim Wallace, for example, is a self-professed evangelical Christian of a particularly devoted stripe with whom most MeFites would be happy to spend a few hours talking.

The problem is with evangelical Christian triumphalism. The idea that Christianity is destined to rise and overshadow, if not displace, any rival system of belief is an ideological cancer. It seems to be entering a virulent phase in the US right now and one hopes that it will soon run its course. Stories like this and the outrage they provoke are part of that process, I think.

It's important to note, though, that triumphalism is not the particular property of American evangelicals. Benedict XVI's prior statements against Turkish membership in the EU or the particular sort of nationalism that John Paul II evoked in Poles stand as examples of a uniquely Catholic brand of triumphalism. And the secularist assumption that any religious belief is an intellectual aberration...well, that's a kind of triumphalism too.
posted by felix betachat at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2005


Let's take a look a few more items from the article, shall we? It might not be moving quickly enough for everyone, but it seems to me like the leadership is trying to do something, and the attitude of many of the people here is doing nothing to help them in that effort.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:13 AM on April 20, 2005


argh, Jim "Wallis". I'm an idiot.
posted by felix betachat at 11:13 AM on April 20, 2005


And the "chairman [of the academy's Board of Visitors], former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, warned... that changing things could prove complicated. He said evangelical Christians 'do not check their religion at the door.'"

That is the same James Gilmore who was also the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman from 2001-2002.
posted by terrapin at 11:14 AM on April 20, 2005


You spend your time calling them names, and raving about how they will bring about the end of the world, without ever making any attempt to engage them intellectually.

If someone is convinced that you're going to hell because you don't have their belief system, how do you "engage them intellectually"? Religious fundamentalism is anti-intellectual at its core.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:14 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "You spend your time calling [Christians] names, "

Wait a sec, buddy. The story is about Christians calling Jews names. Like "Filthy Jew" and "Christ-killer". Nobody in this thread has called Christians names.

Bulgaroktonos writes "and raving about how they will bring about the end of the world,"

Yes, I mentioned a literal belief in Armageddon as an attribute of some Christians. I wasn't "raving", I was raising the question.

But be that as it may: do evangelical Christians believe, or do they not believe, in a literal Armageddon? Since they "live their lives in Christ" do not their beliefs affect every aspect of their lives, including their judgment of world politics and military strategery?
posted by orthogonality at 11:15 AM on April 20, 2005


the "official academy newspaper runs a Christmas ad every year praising Jesus and declaring him the only savior, [signed by nearly] 200 academy staff members, including some department heads,"

a) If the newspaper accepts advertising, it ought to accept all advertising. If they accepted ads for Joe's Pizza but not for a Christian message, that would be anti-Christian discrimination.

2) Separation of church and state does not mean that anyone who works for the U.S. government is forbidden from being religious, nor that they are forbidden from expressing their religion.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:15 AM on April 20, 2005


At least this explains all the sexual abuse that's been going on at the academy.

Does Sun Yung Moon also represent an attack upon all James Dosbson holds dear? I mean, after all, Moon is arguably closer to the Bush family than he, Moon has more money than he, Moon has more fanatical followers than he, Moon controls more media than he and Moon has more political influence than he.
Did I miss anything?
Oh yes, Moon doesn't just claim to serve God, he claims to be God!
Suck on that Dobson!
You've been out done, out hypocrited and out Godded by a damn foreigner!
Don't it make you the least bit mad or jealous?
Don't you wish you could destroy the American way of life and our system of government as ruthlessly and efficiently?
posted by nofundy at 11:15 AM on April 20, 2005


call Jews "Filthy Christ-killers",
I am responsible for killing Christ.'" But so what if at a private

Honestly, looks like they read the newspaper's articles in the Middle East and the Mel Gibson’s movie’s review. Think they will plug Mel’s movie for “perfect movie to take a date to.”
posted by thomcatspike at 11:17 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos, it would be on thing had the likes of Dobson said, you know, these cadets were out of line.

But the response we get, instead, is that this somehow amounts to anti-Christian bias.

How am I to engage that intellectually? What compromise am I to make on this one - that it's OK to tell the Jewish cadet's they're going to hell as long as you don't call them "filthy Jews?" Is that the appropriate way to handle it?

Or is the appropriate way to handle it to say that this is unacceptible, that this sort of behavior is to be condemned always, that it's out of place anywhere but particularly abhorrent at a United States military academy, which is supposed to be as devoted to the idea of defending the rights of those "filthy Jews" as anyone else?
posted by kgasmart at 11:17 AM on April 20, 2005


Utter theological certainty will do that to you.

Wait, wait, wait. I thought it was all those fanatical relativists flying planes into buildings, setting off car bombs (in Oklahoma City or Baghdad, for that matter), et cetera?
posted by joe lisboa at 11:18 AM on April 20, 2005


a) If the newspaper accepts advertising, it ought to accept all advertising. If they accepted ads for Joe's Pizza but not for a Christian message, that would be anti-Christian discrimination.

No, if they accpeted an Islam ad and a Jewish ad and refused a Christian ad, that would be anti-christian. Joe's Pizza, not so much, unless he includes some Holy Chips with the order.
posted by nofundy at 11:19 AM on April 20, 2005


Evidently for some Christians, proselytizing, or "witnessing," as they like to call it, is inextricably tied to their beliefs. I've worked with quite a few of these folks and some of the more extreme ones seem to think that just keeping their mouths shut is akin to denying their faith entirely.

Uhh... yeah. See, there was this guy named Jesus who told his followers very directly to go unto all nations and make disciples... So, yes, refusing to witness is disobeying a command from Jesus, and it's also a pretty damn cold thing to do when you believe the only thing standing between your friend and eternal damnation is the chance they might listen to you and choose Jesus.

'there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing' How can people outnumbered 500 to 1 discriminate against anyone!! It never ceases to amaze me how X-tians all seem to act like they are being chased by lions and persecuted when they control everything.

Well, the very discriminatory and out-numbered whites in South Africa until just a little while ago spring to mind... but that aside, the persecution complex is pretty fundamental to the evangelical and fundamentalist mindsets.

I know a lot of fundamentalists here in rural OH, and yes, they're idiots who in many cases don't know the tenets of their own religion. In most cases, the religion is a thin, cartoonish veneer to cover their basic racist/homophobic/antisemitic feelings.

Maybe their religion isn't what you see when you read the bible or church history. American evangelicalism and fundamentalism are quite new in the scheme of things, and in parts, racism/homophobia are part of it. A religion takes more than a book, it's more built up by theology and hundreds of sermons and other literature and the whole insular culture -- and that culture can be very backwards and fearful of anything different in this case. To say that they don't know their own religion as if their religion is going to be a carbon copy of other religions that follow the same book -- Orthodox/Catholic/Coptic Christianities for example, not to mention the liberals (!!) -- is to miss the point entirely.

But see, you've already violated fundagelical rule #1: The entirity of the Bible is literal, period. End of debate.

Okay, a distinction needs to be made here. Fundamentalists take the entire Bible literally (Southern Baptists, Bob Jones University, etc.). Evangelicals, on the other hand, believe that the Bible is infallible but there is room for interpretation. Maybe the creation "week" happened over seven eras instead of seven days. That's not a problem for evangelicals, but it would be for fundamentalists. Maybe the book of Job is a play or an analogy. Maybe Song of Solomon is a metaphor for God's love for the church instead of early erotic literature. They both think in fairly black and white terms, but the two groups do treat the Bible a bit differently.

Can we please apply Don't Ask, Don't Tell to religion?

Not with this brand of Christianity, that would go against the whole "love your neighbour" idea since that includes trying to spread the good news of salvation to everyone.

But be that as it may: do evangelical Christians believe, or do they not believe, in a literal Armageddon?

Evangelical Christians, like any other huge factioned group, don't have a homogenous answer on this. There are numerous theologies out there.
posted by heatherann at 11:19 AM on April 20, 2005


The generals at the Academy's are not serving in active military roles today. Meaning, they are neither most nor lead soldiers into the battlefields today. They would have to be reassigned by the Pentagon to do that. They are basically the head master of the college.
Yeah, but the current students are the future generals--on the battlefields and off.

Bulgaro, when people are thrown out of the Academy, or suspended, etc, is when we'll see things being done about this. This is also part of a larger pattern we see within the armed services, not just isolated incidents--from recruitment nights in churches to Generals making public speeches about killing Muslims, etc... Attending a seminar and denouncing without punishing is bullshit.
posted by amberglow at 11:21 AM on April 20, 2005


So in thirty years, most all of the generals in charge of our nuclear strategic bombing forces will be intolerant evangelical Christians who believe in a literal and imminent Armageddon.

Think about this.


I plan to invest my privatized Social Security funds in lead-plated Bibles and sunscreen lotion corporations. The dead will envy the living!
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:22 AM on April 20, 2005


This is a thread about Christian calling Jews names, it still remains that quite a few people here were quick to start talking about Fundies, which sounds like name calling to me.

Many Christians believe in a literal end of the world, but that belief does not mean they will try to bring it about, does it? It just means they need to be prepared in case it happens. This is part of what I mean by not engaging them intellectually, you feel perfectly free to make outlandish mischaracterizations of their beliefs because you don't understand them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:22 AM on April 20, 2005


Okay, a distinction needs to be made here.

heatherann, you're right: The term "evangelical" is widely misused, not just here but everywhere. That's why I specifically used the term "fundagelical" - as in, fundamentalist evangelicals.
posted by kgasmart at 11:23 AM on April 20, 2005


You spend your time calling them names, and raving about how they will bring about the end of the world, without ever making any attempt to engage them intellectually.

Oh, I've tried. The problem is they're not interested in engaging with anyone that doesn't believe in the same sky-god.

"Why do you believe in $foo?"

"The $holyBook says so."

"How do you know the $holyBook is right?"

"Because the $holyBook says so."

That's about as far as I've ever gotten with fundamentalists of any stripe.

There is just as much intolerance from your side as from the other, and it's all the more disgusting because you think you're enlightened.

People can believe whatever the hell they want to believe, but when they start slinging religous slurs and proselytizing, then I have a problem.
posted by bshort at 11:26 AM on April 20, 2005


substrate writes " This God fella must really be a pussy, it seems it's everybody's job to stick up for him."

heh heh.

The coupling of religion and the military is scary; the coupling of the military and anti-semitism is scarier.
posted by OmieWise at 11:28 AM on April 20, 2005


I found that the only thing strong enough to kill the robot was its own monster claws.

Terrorists, selah. There is no religious war.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:28 AM on April 20, 2005


Many Christians believe in a literal end of the world, but that belief does not mean they will try to bring it about, does it? It just means they need to be prepared in case it happens.

Oh come on. Evangelicals believe in The Rapture, where they leave behind their earthly woes to be transported to the delights of heaven, while the infidels suffer here for their disbelief. You seriously don't believe some proportion of them are thinking, bring it on?

Again, how would you "engage someone intellectually" about The Rapture?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:29 AM on April 20, 2005


You spend your time calling them names,

read the link sometime in the future. it's them who call people names, with the "filthy Jew" slur etc. not the other way around.

to engage them intellectually

ah, that old tired straw-man argument -- the bad bad secular scientist versus the good persecuted fundy.

have you tried to engage people who doubt that dinosaurs existed? who don't believe in fossils? who don't believe in the cerebral cortex (see the Schiavo fiasco)?

if God says it is so, it's the final Word. there is no room for dialogue.

if one believes that the Bible is Literal Truth, and was written by God, explaining the finer points of history and of textual criticism (the ones that show that it isn't so easy, that there are many different layers in the Gospel texts for example, that the Gospels were written from 40 to 75-80 years after Jesus died by people who hadn't witnessed the facts and relied on prior sources, now lost, plus heavy editoralizing to bend facts to their agendas) won't take you far.

me, I'd love to see evidence of the fact that, say, the Gospels were written by actual eyewitnesses 5 minutes after the facts had happened. textual analysis, history, etc, tell us that it isn't so (btw, even non-fundy Christian historians, many of them ministers and priests, agree on that point -- the fundys are alone). I'd also like to see non-Christian historians from the First Century CE giving a fuck about that Palestinian Jewish laborer and alleged miracle-maker -- there isn't any non-Christian evidence of it, unfortunately.

I am sorry that secular points of view disgust you (well, no, frankly I don't care, but let's pretend I do) but you are missing the point entirely. anti-intellectualism is required in fundy belief -- Reason brings doubt, and doubt is very dangerous for ture believers in men walking on water and Virgins giving birth to babies. go ask a fundy what does she/he think about Enlightenment -- you know, the intellectual movement that gave birth to, among other things, the United States of America. ask them their opinion re: Reason and Doubt and equal rights.


There is just as much intolerance from your side as from the other,

well, we're not the ones using ethnic slurs here.
do you only defend antisemite bigots like you're doing here, or do you defend racist bigots, too? just curious
posted by matteo at 11:30 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "This is part of what I mean by not engaging them intellectually"


Bulgaro, I thought we were talking about Christian Fundamentalists here. I fail to see how "engaging them intellectually" would do any good or even be possible.
On preview, I am apparently following bshort's steps
posted by nkyad at 11:30 AM on April 20, 2005


This is a thread about Christian calling Jews names, it still remains that quite a few people here were quick to start talking about Fundies, which sounds like name calling to me.

Also, there is a vast vast difference between referring to someone as a "Fundie" and referring to someone as a "Dirty Jew".
posted by bshort at 11:30 AM on April 20, 2005


This is not about outlandish mischaraterizations--this is about creating a hostile enivronment for those who don't believe in the predominating religion. There are laws about this--many of them.

This is not a Christian Air Force Academy--it's the United States Air Force Academy, and the last time i checked, the United States is a very big and diverse place, full of all kinds of different people--not just Christians. I'm surprised there are any Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists attending, with treatment like this, and officer commissioning ceremonies happening in churches.
posted by amberglow at 11:31 AM on April 20, 2005


I actually don't think there is that much difference between calling some a "fundie" and calling them a "dirty Jew"

They both belittle someone for something they believe or something that they are. There might be more history behind Jew hating, but that's only because they've been around longer.

As for how one engages with them intellectually, I think it is possible. You need to understand what they actually believe, which many of you do not. Calling someone a "dirty Jew" goes against any possible reading of the Bible, so say that. Don't say, "Oh, those Fundies, they all hate everything don't they?"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:39 AM on April 20, 2005


Okay, a distinction needs to be made here.
"Fundie" or fundy is an often term I hear in churches. Usually it will come up refering to a person so wanting their ideas shoved & swallowed down your throat, even if it means choking you with it to do it.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2005


do evangelical Christians believe, or do they not believe, in a literal Armageddon?

Some do. Some don't.

Since they "live their lives in Christ" do not their beliefs affect every aspect of their lives, including their judgment of world politics and military strategery?

Only in the same way that being Catholic would do so, or in the same way that all Americans would base such things on the Declaration of Independence. In other words, not at all.

it's also a pretty damn cold thing to do when you believe the only thing standing between your friend and eternal damnation is the chance they might listen to you and choose Jesus.

Their behavior isn't consistent with that motivation, since calling someone a dirty Jew or a Christ-killer isn't likely to convert anyone. We can look at what they do and conclude that their actual motivation must be something else; presumably in this case it is simple bigotry.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2005


Room for interpretation = Ability to pick and choose what parts of a subject one finds most convienient to go by

What? I can't sell my daughter into slavery?
posted by sian at 11:42 AM on April 20, 2005


With all due respect Bulgaroktonos it is in fact quite hard to engage intellectually with someone who is fundamentally intellectually dishonest. Witness Felix Betachat owning Bevets in a discussion about religion and evolution for evidence within the sphere that is MeFi.

I am not intolerant of any religion (unless you start tossing children or something similar) but religion, in the same way as any personal moral framework should be internal. I don't tell people how to live their lives and in return I would expect the same courtesy. The intolerance arises when one group sees fit to prosthelytise to another or when one engages in activities that would reduce the freedoms of another and I fully believe that any right minded citizen should stand against it.
posted by longbaugh at 11:42 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "Many Christians believe in a literal end of the world, but that belief does not mean they will try to bring it about, does it? It just means they need to be prepared in case it happens."

So you'd agree that part of that "preparation" means seeing Good and Evil, God and the Devil, as active in the world?

And would you agree that a fundamentalist believes that since Revelation is a book of the Bible, that he events predicted in revelation will literally happen?

And that an Air Force general who believes that the events foretold in Revelation could happen, must accept the possibility that those events will happen in his own lifetime?

And that he would see it as his duty, both as a Christian and as a patriot, to analyze world geopolitical events from the standpoint that they might be what's described in Revelation?

And that he might, given enough confirming evidence, therefore react to world events as if they were they events foretold in Revelation?

And that he might therefore consider it his duty, if he genuinely believed that, say, a world leader was the Anti-Christ, to protect "Christan" America from that Anti-Christ, even if secular politicians -- because of their "anti-intellectual" rejection of the "evidence" of the Bible, didn't see the connections the Christian General saw?

You tell me, Bulgaroktonos, if someone accepts that the Bible is literal prophecy, and if his duty is to protect this country, how can that person not use his military authority to protect America from the Anti-Christ?
posted by orthogonality at 11:43 AM on April 20, 2005


I actually don't think there is that much difference between calling some a "fundie" and calling them a "dirty Jew"

One is dismissive, the other is hateful. You don't see much difference between "I think you're silly" and "I think you're disgusting"?

As for how one engages with them intellectually, I think it is possible. You need to understand what they actually believe, which many of you do not.

You keep saying this, without any suggestion whatsoever about how it can be done.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:44 AM on April 20, 2005


I actually don't think there is that much difference between calling some a "fundie" and calling them a "dirty Jew".
Yes, but one is not putting down God's chosen people. Look at all the public rift with the newly elected Pope and his connection to the Jews.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2005


But don't all ideologies try to spread their message? I mean I don't care that people stand on the street trying to convince me to save the whales or save the children or stop Zionism through socialist revolution. Proselytizing need not reduce anyones freedom. Telling me I'm going to hell does not take away my freedom, unless they're hitting me while they do it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2005


There might be more history behind Jew hating, but that's only because they've been around longer.

yeah, and there's also that small matter of the six millions dead Jews, the ovens, etc.
the plight of the Christian American Fundamentalist Protestants, who at present time own the White House, Congress, and 5 votes in the SCOTUS really breaks the heart.
posted by matteo at 11:50 AM on April 20, 2005


I actually don't think there is that much difference between calling some a "fundie" and calling them a "dirty Jew"

Then you're a fucking idiot.
posted by bshort at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2005


"Proselytizing need not reduce anyones freedom."

But there are some venues where it is not appropriate.
posted by agregoli at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes " I actually don't think there is that much difference between calling some a 'fundie' and calling them a 'dirty Jew'"

Someone around here taught me that one. Let us paraphrase: "" I actually don't think there is that much difference between calling someone a 'fundie' and calling them a 'f**ing ni***r'". Easier to understand the difference now? Or we wait until the Hindu students start being called "brown ass-wipers" and the Buddhists "freako-hippie lamas"?

Bulgaroktonos writes "You need to understand what they actually believe, which many of you do not."

On the other hand, some of us do, very well. They are the ones who like to read the Bible only up to the point where Jesus dies, Old Testament included. Hence, "dirty jews". They are the ones who turned a religion of love and inclusion into a religion of hate and exclusion. On the other hand, why should anyone be forced to care about what they believe, since they are the ones trespassing into other people's life?
posted by nkyad at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2005


I don't think the way some people say "Fundie" is merely dismissive. I mean saying someone is bigoted and hateful and would, if they could, bring about the end of the world is not just dismissive is it?

I would also disagree with Ortho, a true fundamentalist would have to do his best not to guess if the events of Revelations are happening, as Jesus told his followers not to do that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:52 AM on April 20, 2005


But don't all ideologies try to spread their message

see: Jews, Buddhists
posted by slapshot57 at 11:53 AM on April 20, 2005


I don't think the way some people say "Fundie" is merely dismissive. I mean saying someone is bigoted and hateful and would, if they could, bring about the end of the world is not just dismissive is it?

And, yet, that's still not the point here. We're talking about a US military academy where carefully chosen, very competent cadets are being harrassed because of their religon.

This is just not acceptable, and it doesn't make a difference what religon they happen to be.
posted by bshort at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2005


As for how one engages with them intellectually, I think it is possible. You need to understand what they actually believe, which many of you do not.

You're missing the point. I think I do understand what they believe - and that, in fact, is the basis for my criticism.

Meet the Dominionists:

The Dominionists are also stepping up efforts to turn public schools into forums for evangelism. In a landmark case, the Alliance Defense Fund is suing a California school district that threatened to dismiss a born-again teacher who was evangelizing fifth-graders. In the conference's opening ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."

You know what? I'm not engaging this intellectually. I'm on the barricades opposing this, period.
posted by kgasmart at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2005


Fundies like to be called Fundies. They are proud of it. The same way they are proud to tell you that you are going to hell for no other reason than that you don't worship fictional characters in a fiction book.
posted by crapulent at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2005


Me: I believe in the Rapture. It's in the Bible, which is the word of God.
     I don't need to prove it scientifically. I know it's true through my faith.

You: ___ (begin intellectually engaging here) ___

Please help me out here. I'm serious, I have no idea what to say next.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2005


I honestly don't think you can place much faith in the use of racial slurs. What calling some a "dirty Jew" really says is "I don't like you." The same with calling someone a "Fundie" both can be loaded with hateful meaning directed at the targeted group, or they be simply a easy insult to use against someone you don't like(which is what I suspect the incidents at the academy are)

The point is, you can read as much or as little as you want into a slur. "Dirty Jew" can mean the holocaust, and pogroms, and centuries of hate. "Fundie" can mean "I hate you for your religious views, and would, if given the chance persecute you the way countless other Christians have been persecuted"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2005


Please help me out here. I'm serious, I have no idea what to say next.

"How do you know that? Oh, you read it in the Book of Daniel/Revelation/Zechariah/First Enoch/The Bahman Yasht? Fascinating. Because, you know, scholars read that text differently..."
posted by felix betachat at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos,

you're being disengenious at best, and an idiot at worst. Calling you Bulgie can have many connotations based on the context of how I've used it in the past. It can be endearing, it can be patronizing, or it can be due to the fact your name is rather long.

In the case of fundie, it's been used as nothing more than dismissive of their point of view, in the same way liberal is used a lot of times. However, calling someone a dirty jew is light years beyond that.
posted by slapshot57 at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2005


I honestly don't think you can place much faith in the use of racial slurs.

How about if we agree that you shouldn't use them?
posted by bshort at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2005


The point of engaging with some intellectually is not to argue with them, it is to understand their ideas.

You all sit here and say "Fundie's want to bring about the end of the world" and "Fundies hate jews" with no real understanding of the complexity of those ideas within Fundamentalist Christianity.

Some Fundamentalists are anti-semitic, some love Jews because they believe all Israel will convert to Christianity before the end times. Don't just look at people who seem to be ant-semitic and say "Oh, those damn fundies again"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2005


some love Jews because they believe all Israel will convert to Christianity before the end times

Oy.
posted by felix betachat at 12:05 PM on April 20, 2005


My point is context is everything, for both the Fundie vs. Dirty Jew issue, and the issue of how much faith you can place in the use of slurs.

For instance, I went to a high school with a self-professed Nazi. When he said Jew, it meant something different than when a Jewish student said it. When you say Fundies will destroy the world, it means something very different than when you say Fundies hold some quirky views.

My screenname Bulgaroktonos, could be viewed as a racial slur. It means Bulgar-slayer, but since I've never expressed any hatred of Bulgars, and certainly never killed any, it becomes a simple historical allusion to Basil II, Byzantine Emperor.

similarly, if I get really mad at some and call them a "F**k*ng N**g*r" it might not mean anything other than "I hate you and you happen to black"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:06 PM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "I mean saying someone is bigoted and hateful"
How would you describe a person who runs screaming towards a Jew and screams "Dirty Jew, Jesus Killer" to his face? Or what, do you think this expressions were used in a quiet and calm manner?

Bulgaroktonos writes " 'Fundie' can mean 'I hate you for your religious views, and would, if given the chance persecute you the way countless other Christians have been persecuted'"
This persecution complex is amazing, to say the least, specially coming such a powerful group. For you information the term "Fundie" mostly means "I don't care about your religous views and would, if given the chance, make sure you are free to exercise them in a manner not harmful or annoying to others"
posted by nkyad at 12:07 PM on April 20, 2005


"Fundie" can mean "I hate you for your religious views, and would, if given the chance persecute you the way countless other Christians have been persecuted"

Some Fundamentalists are anti-semitic, some love Jews because they believe all Israel will convert to Christianity before the end times.


so, they're either anti-Semitic or they want to convert them, right? what about Jews who are happy not to convert?


Bulgaro, you've already banalized the Holocaust comparing it to a non-existent-in-the-latest-1700-years persecution against Christians, don't dig a deeper hole for yourself.
posted by matteo at 12:08 PM on April 20, 2005


"Because, you know, scholars read that text differently..."

Fair enough, I'm sure there are many Christians who are intellectually predisposed to that discussion. There are also many (particularly fundamentalists) who are a brick wall. ("I don't need to know what scholars say, because my faith is beyond intellectual argument.")

My objection to Bulgaroktonos is that it's a one-way street. I can "understand" fundamentalists until the cows come home, but it doesn't make any difference to them. So in the end, what's the point? I still can't get elected to the proverbial dogcatcher.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:09 PM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos - The meaning of a word isn't defined by you. Meaning is determined by the use of language by millions of other people. You can claim that when you say "green" you really mean "blue" but everyone else is going to disagree with you.

You can claim that "Dirty Jew" is the same as calling someone a "Fundie", but you're going to be seen as either confused or profoundly stupid.
posted by bshort at 12:09 PM on April 20, 2005


This nonsense has got to stop. There is a damned good reason Thomas Jefferson was so adamant about seperation of church and state, he saw what a cock-up was being created by religious institutions in his home state of Virginia.
I have a really big problem with delusional religious nut jobs having conrol of nuclear weapons, whether they are in the middle east or in any other country.
posted by mk1gti at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2005


Please, I never compared the holocaust to persecution of Christians(which is actually happening as we speak, in parts of the world you obviously don't care anything about).

What I did say, was that the context of a slur was important, and some people here use the term Fundie in a way that I think is more hateful than merely saying "I don't care about your religious views." Claiming anyone is trying to bring about the end of the world is far more hateful than that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2005


kgasmart writes "the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: 'I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe.'"

This sounds familiar. Does it go on:
One America, One Christian People, One Savior!


Bulgaroktonos writes "Don't just look at people who seem to be ant[i]-semitic and say 'Oh, those damn fundies again'"

Nobody has said "all anti-Semites are fundies". But at the Air Force academy, it appears the Jew-baiting is being done by Christians.

Now, we've spent an awful long time on you and your derail, Bulgaroktonos. Yes, yes, it's the poor Christians who are being persecuted.

If you can't or won't address the subject of what's going on at the Air Force Academy -- and not some soi disant persecution of Christians, somewhere, sometime -- then don't expect the rest of us to take your derail seriously, or to continue to respond to it.
posted by orthogonality at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2005


You're right, the meaning of a word isn't defined by me. It also isn't defined by you. I think many "Fundies" would object to people who obviously hate them so much using the word that way, and would take as much offense at that, as a Jewish person at being called a "Dirty jew"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:15 PM on April 20, 2005


The point of engaging with some intellectually is not to argue with them, it is to understand their ideas.
I understand fundie ideas already, having been closely involved with them my entire life. The point of engaging intellectually with someone is to mutually help clarify your respective reasoning.

The only inroads you can make in an argument with a fundie is by relentlessly pulling up counterexamples to any way they try and frame their claims.

For instance, glossolalia is not restricted to charismatic christians. Therefore, the gift of 'speaking in tongues' is either a gift of the Holy Spirit that is also granted to non-christians, or it is a phenomenon that is not granted by the Holy Spirit.

One of the only kind of logical justifications they are prepared to follow is an appeal to authority. They aren't dumb, they are just used to thinking along particular lines. Therefore, any arguments you make should be framed like you are just citing an authority who you both consider to be better qualified than either of you. This might be part of the reason why $the_enemy has begun planting shills at a greater rate.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:16 PM on April 20, 2005


I've addressed the subject of what's going on at the Air Force Academy, as have the people at the Air Force Academy by the way.

The real derail when people started saying "oh god, those crazy Fundies are going to kill us all, see how hateful and stupid they are"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:17 PM on April 20, 2005


Their behavior isn't consistent with that motivation, since calling someone a dirty Jew or a Christ-killer isn't likely to convert anyone. We can look at what they do and conclude that their actual motivation must be something else; presumably in this case it is simple bigotry.

I wasn't responding to the "dirty Jew" stupidity, I was responding to posters here who think that evangelical Christians should or can stop proselytising. All I'm saying is that evangelising is pretty much the whole point of being evangelical.

Okay, now I've read the word "evangelical" so many times that it looks like it's spelled weird no matter what.

"Fundie" or fundy is an often term I hear in churches. Usually it will come up refering to a person so wanting their ideas shoved & swallowed down your throat, even if it means choking you with it to do it.

Yes, very true. Ah, Christianese, how complicated you make things. I use the term to refer to denominations which hold to the Fundamentals, which you can read about at wikipedia, and (usually) dispensationalism. Actually, I try to stick with "fundamentalist" rather than "fundie" because ... well, "fundamentalist" describes it rather well, but "fundie" is usually used as an insult.
posted by heatherann at 12:18 PM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos - You're either an idiot or a troll. Or both.
posted by bshort at 12:21 PM on April 20, 2005


(which is actually happening as we speak, in parts of the world you obviously don't care anything about)

six million Christians murdered, in ovens, as we speak? provide links to back it up.
also, you never acknowledge that a fundamentalist Christian is running the biggest, most lethal military force ever. and is trying to bend his country's laws to make them similar to his religious ideas as hard as he can.
so much for your whining.

also, visit your local Synagogue, wait until a few young men come out, call them "dirty Jews, Christ-killers" to their faces. then report back, OK?
posted by matteo at 12:21 PM on April 20, 2005


B. is right about fundies liking jews for that reason. My parents do. They're seriously into the idea of bringing about armageddon, and they (my parents) think Bush is god's agent for doing this. I'm totally serious.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 12:22 PM on April 20, 2005


bshort, that is exactly what I'm talking about. In the end, you're left with name calling
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:23 PM on April 20, 2005


There are also many (particularly fundamentalists) who are a brick wall. ("I don't need to know what scholars say, because my faith is beyond intellectual argument.")

It's labor intensive, I know, but the Socratic method really works with these people. Not in the sense that they'll have a dramatic counter-conversion before your eyes. But in the sense that, if you engage with them on their turf, you can pull their logical contradictions out to the surface. By and large, they love to talk scripture. If they think you've got an iron in the fire, their hubris damn near compels them to proselytize to you.

Their faith demands your rejection or your conversion. They need to know that the fallen world rejects them to keep feeling the warm glow of Christ-love. Or they need to collect another soul to deliver to HQ. That weird in-between place, where you engage in respectful dialogue over a text that you both read very differently? That's the spot to aim for.
posted by felix betachat at 12:27 PM on April 20, 2005


In the end, you're left with name calling.

Or calling a spade a spade. No offense.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:33 PM on April 20, 2005


Wait. I thought these were Fundies?
posted by crapulent at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2005


similarly, if I get really mad at some and call them a "F**k*ng N**g*r" it might not mean anything other than "I hate you and you happen to black"

Bulgaroktonos: You f*****g narrowminded Bulgar slayer

oh, btw, that doesn't mean anything other than I think you are clearly demonstrating the inablity to be engaged in intellectual discourse by a large number of rather polite people. I think you may be a troll. I think in fact that means nothing more than you choose to live under a bridge and try to entice goats down to your lair.
posted by infini at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2005


matteo: six million Christians murdered, in ovens, as we speak?

It's not a competition. It's safe to say that every religion faces persecution somewhere. (Although, with communism on the way out, mostly by other religions, who are reversing the tables elsewhere. And so it goes.)

felix betachat: But in the sense that, if you engage with them on their turf, you can pull their logical contradictions out to the surface.

But isn't it just a parlor game? I mean, what's the likelihood that your trapping them in a logical contradiction has any real effect?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:36 PM on April 20, 2005


felix betachat writes "Their faith demands your rejection or your conversion. They need to know that the fallen world rejects them to keep feeling the warm glow of Christ-love. Or they need to collect another soul to deliver to HQ."

Good analysis, but --

"That weird in-between place, where you engage in respectful dialogue over a text that you both read very differently? That's the spot to aim for."

But what's the point of aiming for that spot? (And why do I hear slurpy porn-sounds when I read that?) So you can have the same discussion over and over?
posted by orthogonality at 12:36 PM on April 20, 2005


felix, you're totally right. i only wish i had the time to take that route--studying texts i don't give a (excuse me) goddamn about, when in fact i'll be lucky to ever once in life devote time to study the upanishads.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 12:36 PM on April 20, 2005


The Academy had recently got called on sexual harassment and thus the guys running this place do not want another close look at what is going on.

Recall too that to get accepted into one of the military academies, you need to be a very very good student with a nice clean background...
posted by Postroad at 12:39 PM on April 20, 2005


So you can have the same discussion over and over?

If you do take time and energy to explain something to Christians once, you're going to hell. If you don't take the time and energy to explain something to Christians more than once, you get promoted to a bit role in the anti-Christian witchhunt, apparently.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:40 PM on April 20, 2005


what's the likelihood that your trapping them in a logical contradiction has any real effect?

maybe they'll vanish in a puff of logic
posted by mr.marx at 12:42 PM on April 20, 2005


I think you do it for a couple of reasons. First, to keep your tools sharp. A hard-core fundamentalist is probably untouchable. But a relative or friend who's on the fence? Logical counter-arguments can have a huge effect. Second, because it takes the fight to them. Sure, you both walk away and nothing seems to have been accomplished. But the more you remind them of the subjective basis for their faith, the more time they spend trying to shore it up. In aggregate, that's time not spent protesting at abortion clinics, attacking gays or undoing the Enlightenment.

And it's not hard to do, really. A couple classes at a liberal arts college or 3 or 4 good books (email me for reccs, if you want) should suffice.
posted by felix betachat at 12:44 PM on April 20, 2005


news flash: assholes can be found everywhere! film at eleven!
posted by quonsar at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2005


All I'm saying is that evangelising is pretty much the whole point of being evangelical

Well, that's obviously untrue too, and for the same reasons. If they were actually trying to convert people, they wouldn't generally use techniques that seem calculated to drive people away, and they'd generally be less asshole-ish. It seems to me that the point is more to go somewhere and be seen to be evangelizing, not to actually evangelize in any effective way. If anything, doing it in loud, annoying ways that drive people away probably helps feed their sense of being rejected by the world.

In any case, if they're so fired up about evangelism, they should go on mission or, at the least, take a hint from their crucified Lord and not sign up to kill human beings and obey Caesar when he contradicts Christ.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2005


The point of engaging with some intellectually is not to argue with them, it is to understand their ideas.

I understand your ideas. They aren't very good.
posted by breezeway at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2005


orthogonality is right (missed comment on preview), I feel like having wasted time and energy on a derailed discussion rather than the issue at hand...religious persecution in a secular nation's defense academy.
posted by infini at 12:58 PM on April 20, 2005


So, would it be a huge stretch to say that this is probably going on at the other military academies as well?

What about in the ranks? Are there officers who are hitting a "religous ceiling"?
posted by bshort at 1:03 PM on April 20, 2005


bshort writes " What about in the ranks? Are there officers who are hitting a 'religous ceiling'?"

Or worst yet, are there already officers converting to certain religions because that's the only path to promotion?
posted by nkyad at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2005


Recall too that to get accepted into one of the military academies, you need to be a very very good student with a nice clean background...
...and apparently you need to be a Christian too.

Creating a hostile enivronment for those non-Christians attending can not be wiped away with a 55-minute seminar and a "denouncement"--there has to be real action taken against the people doing this. If it's thoroughly institutionalized and from the top down, then the top should be removed.
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2005


take a hint from their crucified Lord and not sign up to kill human beings and obey Caesar when he contradicts Christ.

Huh? How can Jesus Christ obey Caesar when Caesar is contradicting Christ, The Lord?
Did you mean unless for the word when?
If the law of the land is no handgun ownership then a Christian is to obey it. If the law of the land is you can't pray to God in your own home then a Christian can disobey it.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:17 PM on April 20, 2005


thomcatspike writes " Huh? How can Jesus Christ obey Caesar when Caesar is contradicting Christ, The Lord? "

If you read it right it makes sense: "take a hint from their crucified Lord and not [sign up to kill human beings and obey Caesar when he contradicts Christ.]"
posted by nkyad at 1:22 PM on April 20, 2005


Thanks nkyad. Reading this thread has my mind in knots.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:09 PM on April 20, 2005


there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing

I do wish people would understand the meaning of the word 'bigotry' before lazily tossing it out like that. A bigot is someone who operates on prejudice, meaning bias based on unconsidered reactions and insufficient knowledge. To be vehemently opposed to something based on informed awareness of it is NOT, repeat NOT to be bigoted.

If there really is any sort of resistance and opposition to Christianity developing (and I'd sincerely like to believe there is) it is, I think, for the most part based on reasonable awareness of what Christianity is, and what Christians believe. That's certainly where my opposition comes from.

That aside, I find the fondness of certain alleged Christians for trotting out the old "Christ killer" epithet against Jews to be typical of the backward thinking of the type. If they understood the old fairy tale correctly, the whole plan was for Jesus to be crucified. That was supposed to happen. Given that, they should revere everyone who had a hand in making Christ's ultimate mission come to pass: Judas, the Pharisees, the Saducees, Pontius Pilate, the Jews who yelled for Barabbas... they should be Christian heroes. Pshaw, listen to me. Expecting sense and logic from Christians. Aren't I an old silly?
posted by Decani at 2:31 PM on April 20, 2005


If the Fundamentalists really want to protect the US from destruction they should Nuke Israel to prevent the rise of the Anti Christ and the end of the world. as long as the nation of Israel exists the Fundies are hoping that the world will end
posted by Megafly at 2:41 PM on April 20, 2005


...without a period.

ZING!
posted by koeselitz at 2:47 PM on April 20, 2005


...with a !
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:57 PM on April 20, 2005


...or maybe a ?
posted by koeselitz at 3:04 PM on April 20, 2005


Personally, I'm just waiting to see how this thread will end, really. I hope it's with pictures of gazelles. I like animals.
posted by koeselitz at 3:08 PM on April 20, 2005


Decani writes " the whole plan was for Jesus to be crucified. "

Actually, there were alternatives. If I understand the whole theological discussion of free will right, all those people could have acted the other way around. The Old Testament prophesies never said anything about crucifixions, passions, whips or Mel Brooks. They talked only about a Messiah who would come and lead the people of Israel to their final destiny. Everybody could have simply sat down, listened to the man and started acting like he told them to - obviously this scenario would have us living in another Universe, with the Christ still walking on Earth (since he couldn't really die, you know the whole thing was just a show, right?).
posted by nkyad at 3:09 PM on April 20, 2005


A small point, but...

Decani: "Pshaw, listen to me. Expecting sense and logic from Christians. Aren't I an old silly?"

Have you read Thomas Aquinas? Or William of Occam? Or any of the other Christian Medievals? Logic is their bag, man.

I don't know, I just like those guys. I don't mean to ruin yer party, though-- I don't have a point about the main topic.

posted by koeselitz at 3:19 PM on April 20, 2005


If I understand the whole theological discussion of free will right, all those people could have acted the other way around.
It's that He knew He would be crucified, not a volition to kill Him. It would come to pass, and not that God controlled them to do it; God is Omniscient. You have to understand how a Jew was saved before Christ was crucified. They followed rituals proving their faith, that one day Christ would die on the cross for their sins.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:22 PM on April 20, 2005


The Old Testament prophesies never said anything about crucifixions, passions, whips or Mel Brooks.

Typical revisionist nonsense. Every God-fearing American knows that Micah 4:3 anticipates that part in Spaceballs where they comb the desert.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2005


with the Christ still walking on Earth (since he couldn't really die,
Jesus was a man with Deity yet He could not use it, as He would have sinned using it. Recall Him & The Mighty One in the dessert together and Satan, The Mighty One, tempting Jesus to use His Deity. But He did not.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:35 PM on April 20, 2005


what's with the arbitrary capitalization?
posted by mcsweetie at 3:38 PM on April 20, 2005


IMO, the USA has gone past the point of no return. Government and the Christian religion are completely intertwined. The country is subject to the same level of religious rule as exists in the mid-East. Two sides of the same coin.

Those of you who feel government and religion should be entirely separate are going to have to find a new country.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:41 PM on April 20, 2005


Amberglow, ditto what you said up there.

Also, in reference to what Megafly said:

"When will they understand that the Wall between church and state is to protect them from each other, as well as me from them."

Yep. Here's one example of what happens when religion and politics get too intertwined, and illustrates your point, the Thirty Years' War.
posted by geekhorde at 3:41 PM on April 20, 2005


He = The Trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holly Spirit and correct capitalization.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:43 PM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos:

Wow, 17 comments on your first day.

I think your position is incoherent.

A Jew is someone who is born to Jewish parents. The Jewish cadets who were harassed may or may not have been practicing Jews, but it hardly matters.

A Fundamentalist is someone who has adopted a specific ideological position during their life; they were not born with it, and their position has certain implications for society at large which people may legitimately take issue with.

If you can't tell the difference between using an abusive insult against someone because of their heritage, which connotes many centuries of cruel persecution at the hands of Christians, and merely referring to someone with an abbreviated form of a totally accurate description of their actual ideological stance, you must not be looking very carefully. There's a difference between (apparently) hating someone because of their ancestry and disagreeing vehemently with someone's political orientation. Don't act like you can't tell the difference. It's really absurd, and you insult the rest of us to presume it isn't obvious to us that you're trying to do this.

I think you do understand, though. I think, based on your comments, that you have sympathies with the Fundamentalist position, and that you're attempting very disingenuously to conflate two completely dissimilar things.

Furthermore, while it is possible that Christians even today may suffer from persecution, it is obvious to almost everyone except you, apparently, that the Christians at the academy are the ones persecuting the Jewish cadets. If you're really against persecution itself, and not only when it's practiced against people you identify with, why can't you acknowledge the real problem, instead of starting this shameful derail?
posted by clockzero at 4:13 PM on April 20, 2005


Actually, there were alternatives.

yes, if you only consider the old testament prophesies. But the central idea of Christianity - as I'm sure you must know - is that Christ, divinity incarnate, had - for some thoroughly bizarre reason - to come to earth, suffer and die in order that we might be "saved" (from God, amusingly enough). Yes, I suppose he might have suffered and died in a variety of other ways had those nasty Jews and Romans behaved differently, but - given the tempora and the mores - scourging and crucifixion seems to have been pretty much always on the cards for the old pin-up boy.

Have you read Thomas Aquinas? Or William of Occam? Or any of the other Christian Medievals? Logic is their bag, man.

Yes, I have. I first read them just over thirty years ago and re-read them slightly later, and with a more critical eye. And flawed logic is their bag. Especially Aquinas, some of whose "logic" might very well have inspired the glorious Python "witch" sequence in "Holy Grail".
posted by Decani at 4:39 PM on April 20, 2005


Especially Aquinas, some of whose "logic" might very well have inspired the glorious Python "witch" sequence in "Holy Grail".

"Burn the witch!! She turned me into a NEWT!!

I got better.."
posted by Balisong at 6:25 PM on April 20, 2005


Be advised that I have a long list of mefi non-believers and have added many of YOUR names to it.
When our control of government is complete beyond question
YOU will be called to account.



.^_^.
posted by notreally at 6:32 PM on April 20, 2005


If only that were even mildly amusing, notreally.

But it isn't.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:36 PM on April 20, 2005


I have served in the US Air Force for over 17 years. I was raised in a Jewish home, and I am an atheist, and very sensitive to religious discrimination. I have witnessed -- as far as I can remember -- none. Yes, there are occasional prayers at, for instance, promotion ceremonies, but they are initiated by the person being promoted, which is his/her right. Never have I felt coerced, discriminated against, or otherwise made to feel inferior/less than/evil/etc.
posted by davidmsc at 6:51 PM on April 20, 2005


Hmmm. I wonder if anti-semetism had anything to do with my brother (a good Jewish boy) leaving the academy. He still won't talk about it to this day and he left ten years ago.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 6:59 PM on April 20, 2005


I actually don't think there is that much difference between calling some a "fundie" and calling them a "dirty Jew"

bshort and others have already responded to this well, but I still felt a need to emphasize that this is ridiculous

a) Being Jewish means belonging to a race as much as adhering to a set of beliefs;
b) jews have experienced a history of persecution, including the most horrific mass killing of modern history;
c) these two descriptions are not analogous even despite the differences between their referents, due to the very obvious shift in tone - as above, one may be mildly disrespectful, but the other is clearly and unequivocally hateful and aggressive. There is no way to call someone a "dirty jew" in a merely mild, dismissive way, and there is pretty much no way to call someone a "fundie" in a way which is seriously hurtful and cruel, either.
posted by mdn at 7:35 PM on April 20, 2005



posted by troutfishing at 8:01 PM on April 20, 2005


Force Ministries
posted by troutfishing at 8:04 PM on April 20, 2005


A Jew is someone who is born to Jewish parents.

If you want to go down that road, then really, it's someone born to a Jewish mother. Just sayin.
posted by bingo at 8:07 PM on April 20, 2005


bingo:

We're obviously not going down the same road. I was merely pointing out that Jewishness is inborn (for the vast majority of Jews).
posted by clockzero at 8:14 PM on April 20, 2005


clockzero: I know, but I figured you might as well know that your statement, as written, is not correct. The inborn Jewishness derives from the mother. You could argue that there are Jews who were born of a Jewish father and gentile mother, and I suppose that there probably are indeed two or three of them out there.
posted by bingo at 8:36 PM on April 20, 2005


Some Jews would agree with you and some would not. There's really no authority on the subject, thankfully. There's a passage in Deuteronomy which can support the position you're taking, but it's not like it's enshrined in Mosaic law or something.

I don't think you should be so quick to state, unequivocally, who is and is not Jewish.
posted by clockzero at 9:14 PM on April 20, 2005


Please help me out here. I'm serious, I have no idea what to say next.

Amitage, I think the script is clear.

You: Wonderful! May I have some of your literature? Great. I've got a war you might be interested in supporting; would you mind if I told you about it? It'll be against infidels!
posted by fatllama at 10:40 PM on April 20, 2005


The very fact that there is any debate about this at all can only illustrate how un-American America has become.

We can not debate the use of the term "dirty Jew". It is vile, period. It is both racist as well as religious in its usage. For one cadet to use such a term against another cadet is clearly a breach of such proportion that the only debate could be whether expulsion was required, or not.

The other issues related to this are of grave concern. ARE religious tests being used in promotions of military officers? If so, what is being done to end this unAmerican practice?
posted by Goofyy at 4:42 AM on April 21, 2005


You still there, koeselitz?
posted by breezeway at 6:09 AM on April 21, 2005


Gazelles!!

Jesus was a "dirty Jew." I thought those Air Force cadet so-called "christians" might need to know.

I know fundies and I know fundies cannot be engaged intellectually. I also know many fundies who are anxious and active in the belief they can bring on Armageddon (thus the popularity of the Left Behind books.)
posted by nofundy at 7:46 AM on April 21, 2005


For one cadet to use such a term against another cadet is clearly a breach of such proportion that the only debate could be whether expulsion was required, or not.

Goofy, are you American? I applied at the Naval Academy, no religious test. Not saying it is right. Yet, “sticks and stones may break my bones and names will never harm me.” These are men and women, not children that need to be expelled when naming calling happens. This is the military, where degrading comments are a practice. If I did the same at the University I attended, nothing would have happened.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones and names will never harm me.”
posted by thomcatspike at 8:34 AM on April 21, 2005


It's not just namecalling that's going on there, thomcat--it's far more pervasive and troubling.

(And many universities now have speech codes, not to mention that if that happened in a private company--most of which also have harrassment guidelines and procedures--there would be serious repercussions and or lawsuits)
posted by amberglow at 8:43 AM on April 21, 2005


Hey, no fundy: I'm with you on that one.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:30 AM on April 21, 2005


So, yes, refusing to witness is disobeying a command from Jesus, and it's also a pretty damn cold thing to do when you believe the only thing standing between your friend and eternal damnation is the chance they might listen to you and choose Jesus.

I mean, I understand that's what some people believe, and yay for them. The problem, for me, begins when people refuse to *stop* witnessing at me once I've told them that my conversion from the Cult of Chocolate, (if we're serving God with the services, then I'd much rather have this than wine and crackers, please) is unlikely at best.

I've tried "engaging them intellectually" as B pleads with us persecuting pagans to do, and that just gets me nowhere. I don't have any vested interest in destroying someone's faith, and doing that would be the only thing that could possibly change their mind about the rightness of their beliefs. They don't have any vested interest in actually having an intellectual discussion because their only interest is to convert me, which I make very clear is never going to happen. (There is nobody on the planet scarier than the Mother Superior I dealt with for years and years and years. If Sister Bernadette Mary couldn't make me join the flock of god's lambs...I'm pretty sure I'm immune to that particular religious virus. )

For one cadet to use such a term against another cadet is clearly a breach of such proportion that the only debate could be whether expulsion was required, or not.

Agreed.


This is the military, where degrading comments are a practice. If I did the same at the University I attended, nothing would have happened.


Oooooh, I'd bet my sweet Aunt Fanny that you would be outta there so fast your head would spin if you called someone a racial epitaph at school or work.
posted by dejah420 at 12:14 PM on April 21, 2005


Oooooh, I'd bet my sweet Aunt Fanny that you would be outta there so fast your head would spin if you called someone a racial epitaph at school

dejah420 I can't say today. When I went to Cal Poly Pomona that was largely Asian. Heard every asian epitaph outside of the classroom there plus more, it being college. Work or school grades lower than 13th year I agree about racial epitaphs. I knew applying for Annapolis or joining the military there would be fowl language directed at me while there. Then again, that was nearly 2 decades ago.

Today I can say from my brother's tales while in Naval boot camp it would not be accepted there. Special cards like a business card were handed out to every recruit. The purpose being to handle situations where a recruits’ feeling were being hurt specifically by a DI’s interaction with the recruit. All that had to be done to relieve the situation was handing the card out to the offender. Something like, “you are yelling too load at me, please don’t yell.” Years later last spring/summer the same brother watched 2 recruits in his class die while training to be in a special unit. You will be fortunate hearing the news blip on that. So I will not view the military as a Boy Scout troop.

Seems a must in having thick skin in the military especially when training to lead. This is a type of situation that overcoming should come quickly. Like taking things personally. The one being called names was born with a name, which are spelled out on his birth certificate. It reads; you have a problem if you call me by anything else because you consider it to be offensive.

Was this name calling happening in a class with a teacher’s permission in front of other students?
Think it is odd a General allowed its continuation by not backing the student with a talk to the student(s) calling names. Seems a high leader would want a strong bond among the soldiers. Action was taken with a special class for everyone at the Academy, which may not be the answer. Recall the one being called names spoke to his father privately about this where it was out of earshot. Seems he wanted the situation to go no farther yet he did express why he want to leave the Academy. A lot worse has happen in the Academies than this some examples are the reasons freshman living outside in tents nor fraternities allowed like had been at West Point today.

I honestly feel the Jewish plebe attends the Academy for his graduating Air Force Academy father. Who is making every effort for his son to fully follow in his own footsteps. Oddly, the father had no problems while attending the College and now it is an issue as the lawyer, the father, brought it up.

Also my earlier comments in the thread backed up the wrongness in the name-calling. My later comments come from looking at this thread from both sides in regards that not everyone in the USA is religious. These are adults being trained to lead where death may be caused through bad leadership.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:03 PM on April 21, 2005


Damn paste, somehow copied in what I didn’t' want.
While attending Cal Poly Pomona University it was largely Asian.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:05 PM on April 21, 2005


Oddly, the father had no problems while attending the College and now it is an issue as the lawyer, the father, brought it up.
Doesn't that show you that the whole culture has changed? If Christianity is so pervasive and public there now--to the extent they were holding officer commission ceremonies inside churches--it obviously has, and has become hostile for those not in the predominating group.

I think bad leadership is exactly right--the fish rots from the head. The people in charge encouraged all this shit and condoned it, and shouldn't have.
posted by amberglow at 3:57 PM on April 21, 2005


I don't think you should be so quick to state, unequivocally, who is and is not Jewish.

My statement that Judaism derives from the mother is both less of a sweeping generalization and simply more accurate than your vague statement that Judaism is 'inborn.' Conveniently you sidestep questions of what it actually is to begin with that's been inherited; something has apparently been tranferred merely through birth. You have the right to make up your own incorrect definitions of things, but that doesn't mean that those who correct you are too quick to do so. The world is not a bundle of puffy lovable bunnies with no teeth. Some things, here and there, actually mean something.
posted by bingo at 7:38 PM on April 21, 2005


well, bingo, us Reform Jews changed the rules on that in the 80s. Now it's either parent for us.
posted by amberglow at 8:50 PM on April 21, 2005


to the extent they were holding officer commission ceremonies inside churches
I don't follow you here regarding the church being used for the ceremonies.

The most repeated statement about the Air force Academy to me is its Church's architect design. Ymmv, as every pilot who discussed the US Military Academies with me, spoke about it and said it was a site worth its visiting. Will add religion never came up in the discussion.

So could see any ceremony, especially for a pilot being greatly appreciated, religious or not. My high school graduation was at the Crystal Cathedral. Looking back it was awesome as it was not my church and about the best place to be indoors on a sunny So. Cali. evening. The place is all windows and the ceilings opened up in spaces when it was night, which gave clear star gazing views. Especially compared to a football stadium where most high schools had their graduation ceremonies surrounded by bleachers and spotlights glaring down on you during the night. Then again, Dr. Schuler didn't speak.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:23 AM on April 25, 2005


Church's architect design.
I'll add since I don't view God living in an objects, love-seeing churches for their art works alone. So maybe my view of a building used for worship is different from you.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:26 AM on April 25, 2005


AFA’s evangelical bias ’systemic,’ group says (Col. Springs Gazette)--

...- Some faculty members have introduced themselves to classes as “born-again” Christians and encouraged students to become born again. A history instructor ordered students to pray before a final exam.

- Football coach Fisher De-Berry prays with his team and hung a banner that said, “I am a Christian first and last . . . I am a member of Team Jesus Christ.” Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. has said De-Berry’s prayers are all right if they don’t promote a particular religion. Americans United cites court decisions that say otherwise.

- Christians are given passes to attend Sunday services off-campus; those celebrating their faith on other days are not. Mandatory training, parades and football games are held on Saturdays, preventing cadets who observe their religion on those days from practicing their faith. Such mandatory events are not scheduled on Sundays.

- Thirty percent of the cadets are Catholic, 30 percent are nonevangelical Protestant, 30 percent are evangelical Protestant and 10 percent are Jewish, Islamic and other non-Christian faiths. Yet most of the chaplains are Protestant, virtually all of them evangelical Christians. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2005


My statement that Judaism derives from the mother is both less of a sweeping generalization and simply more accurate than your vague statement that Judaism is 'inborn.'

It's not more accurate, though. Please refer to a textual source for this or stop making the assertion.

Conveniently you sidestep questions of what it actually is to begin with that's been inherited; something has apparently been tranferred merely through birth.

But I didn't sidestep that question, since it had not been raised yet. Please feel free to address it.

You have the right to make up your own incorrect definitions of things, but that doesn't mean that those who correct you are too quick to do so.

I have no idea what you're talking about here. I didn't devised my own definition of anything, I merely pointed out--and correctly, may I add, so please stop asserting otherwise if you don't wish to look foolish--that there is not a consensus on a particular issue within the Jewish community itself.

The world is not a bundle of puffy lovable bunnies with no teeth. Some things, here and there, actually mean something.

I actually did know that the world is not a bundle of lovable bunnies with no teeth, but I appreciate your attempt to educate me on the subject. I could recommend some local middle schools that might be interested to hire motivational speakers for their remedial classes, though, if you'd care to e-mail me privately, as the subject is clearly both so dear to your heart and a such source of constant anxiety for you that you simply have to get the good news out there.

Yes, some things actually mean something. Too bad that last sentence of yours was not one of them.
posted by clockzero at 7:35 PM on April 29, 2005


Amberglow, Thanks for the follow up and understand your riff here.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:50 AM on May 3, 2005


This is the first time I've looked at this thread since I last commented on it. clockzero, in all seriousness, it looks, from this statement:

But I didn't sidestep that question, since it had not been raised yet. Please feel free to address it.

like you really did not understand (and/or I did not communicate clearly) my main problem with what you said earlier, so I'll let go the tangential rhetoric and just put it out there.

This

I was merely pointing out that Jewishness is inborn (for the vast majority of Jews).

and this

I merely pointed out--and correctly, may I add, so please stop asserting otherwise if you don't wish to look foolish--that there is not a consensus on a particular issue within the Jewish community itself.


can only both be true at the same time if you're claiming that a consensus about some aspect of Judaism really isn't necessary for that aspect to be a certain way.

In other words: regardless of what you mean by 'inborn,' you yourself are making a blanket statement about how one either becomes, or does not become, Jewish. And I think it's odd that you would make such an implication while at the same time telling me that you don't like my acting as if I can determine who is Jewish and who is not.

But the truth is, I can. You can then disagree with me, and we can be disparate parts of the non-consensual whole of Judaism. But we're both making broad statements, and mine, at least, is based on a fairly widely held tradition. It might not be widely held enough to be called a consensus (but then, it might), but there are at least enough other people who share it that, in a culture that has been largely shaped by the combination of tradition and argument, it carries a certain amount of weight.

Of course, since we're talking about religion, it's may be possible for someone to take a stand on the subject of inherited Judaism and to be objectively right. And, in such a case, I may turn out to be wrong. But someone might not be, and whether that hypothetical person was right would really be unrelated to whether others agreed, or how the tradition might have been altered for the times.

That's what I meant when I said that some things actually mean something. If we're saying that the religion derives from the divine, or even from a set of biblical fables, then it's reasonable for me to assert that there is a right and wrong way to define it. If we're saying that the religion is just the sum of a bunch of traditions, then it's reasonable to assert that a position is valid simply because it's held by a great many people.

But saying that something is inborn and then saying that it's not appropriate to delineate the way in which it's imborn is...well, honestly, the best word I can think of is "silly."
posted by bingo at 7:52 PM on May 3, 2005


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