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Suggestions for the US PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Reader John P. Stoltenberg, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, offers these suggestions for us to adopt. I’m all in favor of them:

  • If you don’t believe in gay marriages or in abortions, don't have one. If you don’t believe in euthanasia or in physician-assisted death, then die your own way.
  • Maintain strict separation of church and state.
  • Allow no displays of religious icons or symbols in government buildings or on government lands.
  • Recall our ambassador from the Vatican.
  • Allow no state or federal voucher programs.
  • Remove "under God" from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, and "In God We Trust" from all American currency.
  • Do not allow the teaching of "Creation Science" or of "Intelligent Design" – Christian Right religious dogma – in public schools.
  • Repeal President Bush's executive order creating the “Faith-based Initiatives.”
  • Allow no "Official School Prayer" in public schools.
  • Don’t allow our public schools to become battlegrounds between warring religious factions competing for the power to use the schools to misinform our youth.
  • Don’t allow our state or federal governments to become battlegrounds used by religious factions competing for government money and government power.
  • Allow no "Official School Minister," Official School Priest," "Official School Rabbi," or any other official school religious leader, in public schools.
  • Allow no teaching in public schools that any deity gave us our rights; we earned those.
  • End the practice of swearing on the Bible in the inauguration of state or federal government officials – including presidents.

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written by MadScientist, April 20, 2009
The list can be made much longer of course (and unfortunately).

I agree with everything in the list too. Now if we could only convince religious people that the government must be absolutely godless to carry out its duties (even though individual employees may be god-nagging bible-waving people) we'll be off to a good start. Unfortunately many religions (and especially the christian cults) have it in their dogma that they must save the world by spreading their lies - even if it means killing people who don't want to believe their lies.

Even in religious schools I find it offensive to have all those religious studies.
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written by St. Thomas, April 20, 2009
Allow no state or federal voucher programs.
Is that school vouchers, or any voucher program?

Recall our ambassador from the Vatican.
Why? It's A) a country, like it or not; B) it represents largest religious organization in the world. I don't think it is in any way pragmatic to recall the ambassador. Without an open dialog how will we ever convince them to change their stance on things like condom use? Snubbing them certainly isn't going to help.
Never mind the public relations problem you'd get with all the Catholic countries. It's a diplomatic nightmare.
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written by scibuff, April 20, 2009
It's A) a country, like it or not;


Actually, that would depend on your definition of "country". If you take just a region/area with recognized borders and/or administration, there are many such countries where the US does not have an ambassador. If, like many other, you require membership in the United Nations, then Vatican is NOT a country because it has only the status of observer.
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Government Divides Us
written by Sabio, April 20, 2009
I agree strongly with ALL of James' statements.
Govt. should not have its hands in Religion, but then it shouldn't have its hand in marriage either. Atheists and Theists indeed have huge differences but many of our conflicts are over which of us controls the government. Our differences are unavoidable, but if we
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written by Cian, April 21, 2009
Recall our ambassador from the Vatican - i cannot agree with this more. Anything that can lesson the influence and standing of this cabal worldwide must be a step in the right direction. Even if it is only done in protest at their covering up of child abuse and their mind-boggling stand on AIDs - maybe the faithful would be more questioning if governments take this strong symbolic stand. Having recently watched the documentary "deliver us from evil" i was shocked at the vaticans willingness to cover their "club members" regardless of their crimes. Being from Ireland where this has been rife I suggect that a gesture such as this might force them to confront their sordid skeletons in the closet
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The Government Divides Us
written by Sabio, April 21, 2009
(sorry, my previous post got truncated)
Atheists and Theist conflicts are unavoidable, but could be minimalized if we realized that it is often the overreach of government that causes conflicts. Get government out of religion, out of marriage and out of much more, and we can stop fighting over who controls the government. I understand that Theists don't want Atheists to control the government -- but that is because the government has its hands in things that should be left to local control. Here is my quick blog on this: http://triangulations.wordpres...et-impera/
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@ Sabio, Lowly rated comment [Show]
@ BillyJoe (Shoot for Substance !)
written by Sabio, April 21, 2009
Cute, indeed, but he did say he is in favor of them. BTW, your name has a link which is dead -- kind of like your comment, it really does not take us anywhere. smilies/tongue.gif
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written by The Tooth Fairy, April 21, 2009
Actually, that would depend on your definition of "country". If you take just a region/area with recognized borders and/or administration, there are many such countries where the US does not have an ambassador. If, like many other, you require membership in the United Nations, then Vatican is NOT a country because it has only the status of observer.
I don't think that would work very well; because most people would agree that countries existed before the establishment of the united nations in 1945. And not every recognized independent state is part of it as it is.
I would think sovereignty and recognition as a state is more important. And since no other state holds or claims to hold sovereignty over the Vatican, that makes it a country. Or if you will, a piece of cheese, depending on your definition of cheese.

What's really missing from this lack of discussion, however, is any argumentation as to why it would be better to recall the ambassador than not. Cheering on mere statements is so dogmatic. It's fine and well to be anti-religious, and the world would be better off without it. But as long as we have to deal with it, we should deal with it in a well thought-out way and not grab the torches and pitchforks at the first convenient opportunity.
We got them to accept evolution eventually, and we can probably turn them the rest of the way to rational thinking as long as we don't simply make them turn away.
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written by BillyJoe, April 21, 2009
Cute, indeed, but he did say he is in favor of them. BTW, your name has a link which is dead -- kind of like your comment, it really does not take us anywhere. smilies/tongue.gif

And I even included a smily. Oh well...

BJ
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Christians Losing Culture Wars....
written by Silver, April 21, 2009
....Says James Dobson founder of Focus on Family. So there is reason for optimism. http://thinkprogress.org/2009/...-defeated/

The vistories for marriage equality in Iowa and Vermont may be repeated in other states. The governor on New York just introduced a marriage equality bill there and a poll shows 53% support for same sex marriage rights.
Last weekend John McCain's daughter and McCain's former top advisor both challenged the Republican Party to stop their attacks on lesbian and gay rights and to accept gay marriage.

These developments give hope to those of us who support separation of state and church and are a big set back for those who want a Christian theocracy in America.
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written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
One would hope that businesses would adopt some of these as well. It's so frustrating to receive an email from a co-worker with a signature line to the effect "May God Bless!", knowing that if you say anything about it you're a bad person. I'm not suggesting governments mandate such things, but that businesses be self-policing in this regard.
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Practicality
written by JasonPatterson, April 21, 2009
Unfortunately, though I agree with the ideas (most of us have had most of them ourselves) the sad fact is that skeptics are the minority in the US. Shouting more loudly that the rest of the country is damaged in the head may be true, but I don't think it advances our cause.

@steel rat: While I agree that businesses certainly have the right to do what you suggest, it would likely be economic suicide for them to actually do so. Forbidding excessive displays of religiosity, sure, but destroying those companies that are controlled by rational people is not a reasonable option. The only way that I can think to do this would be to forbid all personal affects from being displayed, which is often done. I imagine that if you chose religious displays you'd get discrimination lawsuits sooner or later as well. (Not saying they'd win or that the lawsuits would have any base in reality, but they'd be costly.)

Perhaps a more effective approach would be skeptics avoiding those businesses that actively display and promote their religiosity. Chik-Fil-A, for instance, is proud of the fact that all of their stores are closed on Sundays for religious observances, so I don't eat their food. My vet put christian muzak on the phone line while you're on hold. After mentioning this to her and being informed that it would stay that way, I found a new vet. I know that those people are also likely going to have increased business from religious customers, but this method doesn't hurt the reasonable folks at all.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
I have on occasion given money to someonw on the corner with a sign.
However, if the sign says "God bless", I never did.
If the person expects help from god, he doesn't need my help.
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written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
I understand, JP. But keeping a job is also a huge concern for many people. Having to deal with religious crap in emails you receive from co-workers creates a "hostile work environment". Of course, if I added a tagline to my email mocking such things I'd probably be fired.
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written by featheredfrog, April 21, 2009
"Recall our Ambassador to the Vatican"

Currently we have no Ambassador to the Vatican: every candidate has been rejected by the Vatican. Even Caroline Kennedy was too liberal for them.

This ambassadorship is a Reagan-Era institution, anyway. Easily got rid of.
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written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
Yes, Chik-Fil-A doesn't receive my business either for that very reason. Whenever a business is encountered that is overt about its religiosity, I avoid it therefore. Maybe someone can open a restaurant where it is boasted that the employees break three times daily to pray towards Mecca (unless it is a 24-hour business, then five times). That'll be a hoot in ChristianLand... smilies/wink.gif
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written by Stoneham Skeptic, April 21, 2009
I could add one more bullet to Stoltenberg's comments. Get Obama to stop ending every speech with,"And god bless the United States of America." Does god talk to him just like he did to W? Isn't he commander-in-chief of the largest arsenal on Earth? Why does he feel he has to invoke the help of some sky fairy?
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When Obama said "Science is Back"...
written by Brookston John, April 21, 2009
...then not only failed to dismantle, but actually ENHANCED the Office of Woo-Based Flapjackery, I was very disappointed. But that's to be expected, I guess, given his over-sensitivity to what the Jeebus-People like or dislike about him.

So what's the next milestone? an openly-Gay or an openly-Atheist/Rationalist President?
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@kuroyume & @steel rat, Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
I'll promote my business as 'We work on Sundays as well because we don't believe in any gods' and see how offended the religious folk get. These are the very same types of people who spat out their black coffee and clamoured for an individual bill (not a single bill but a Federal bill for an individual person) when a circuit court upheld the right of a spouse to end the life of his very mentally impaired wife (I think everyone knows what this is about). They jabbered on about how cruel it was to let someone die this way. Of course, they failed to mention that the more humane and quicker method, which even domesticated animals enjoy, was not allowed by law - again on religious moral high-snoutedness. One of stacks of similar events (gay marriage/civil unions, right to die, prayer in schools, teaching of evolution, and so forth).
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
written by truth64, April 21, 2009

..speaking of which, has anyone EVER seen mr. randi smile? Seriously, I'm curious about that. He has that, excuse the adjective, eternal scowl on his face. Does that come naturally to atheists are do they hand them out at the convention?

I'll have to admit christians do have a lot of fun - singing with their eyes closed, burning witches, buggering altar boys, passing around snakes, etc.
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written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
Alan, you forgot, coming to your front door to annoy you.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
come on, practice your faith!

What faith would that be?
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written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
@Truth64 (what happened to truth63?)

I'm not that easy to offend. I'm just pointing out the double standard which seems to exist everywhere. The same double standard where religious displays on government property are allowed, but everyone gets all up in arms when an atheist display is placed alongside it. If atheists don't have the right to be offended by religious buffoonery on public property, then religious people have no right to complain about atheist buffoonery in the same place. The answer, just don't make any religious references at all, pro or con. Put your religious displays on the church grounds, not in city hall.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009

Alan, you forgot, coming to your front door to annoy you.

They've learned not to come to my door.
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@steel rat
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
you say your not that easily offended??? you just said a religious email creates a hostile work environment. at least be consistent.
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written by cullen, April 21, 2009
Govt. ... shouldn't have its hand in marriage either.


Come again? Marriage is a legal contract between people, recognized and licensed by the government, and carries particular responsibilities, rights, and privileges. How can the government NOT "have its hand in it"?
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written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
That's right, I'm not easily offended, since I haven't reacted to any of the items I've mentioned. I'll see the email tagline, think to myself "idiot" and move on. If I were offended I'd complain to HR.
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@steel rat
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
But a hostile work environment is serious. I suggest that you do go to HR and let them know you get upset (not offended) at these types of emails. Let them know how you feel!
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written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
Open up your pro-atheist business, tell your co-workers your an atheist who believes the universe came from nothing. come on, practice your faith!


Or you could just continue putting words in people's mouths. I don't know what the universe came from, I just know that there's no evidence it came from a great sky daddy, was born from a gigantic turtle, or from a giant pasta machine. I'm perfectly happy to say "I don't know." What do you "know" and where's your evidence? I asked before in another thread, but you conveniently ignored the question. Stop demanding we conform to your world view and answering your questions, and answer some of ours.
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written by Mr. Science, April 21, 2009
Here's a thought, fellow rational thinkers. Something that won't do a damn bit of good to advance the cause of rational thinking: prejudice. And let's be honest, many of the comments on this thread simply display naked bigotry.

You know how much you hate it when religious people insist everyone who disagrees with them is evil/bound for hellfire/is just awful/etc etc? Yes, you've got good reason to be ticked off about that.

But you know what? Declaring "I won't deign to be a coworker with/do business with/help out a homeless person etc" if their views disagree with yours - that's just as prejudiced and intolerant.

Listing the many sins of various religions (priestly pedophilia, crusades, homophobia etc etc) is not all that great a justification, either. There's billions of religious people in the world - should we blame ALL of them for the misdeeds of some of them? Should we declare all muslims to be terrorists because of 9/11? All Jews to be thieves because of Bernie Madoff? All atheists to be genocidal butchers because of Stalin? What do you think the rational approach would be?

It seems more than a few skeptics have ignored someone's advice on what can happen from battling with monsters...
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@mr science
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
Best comments, so far. Well said.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
If there are 2 people begging on a corner, and one's sign says "God bless" and the other doesn't, one is more likely to get my help than the other.
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@Mr Science
written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
Well, no one's perfect. Keeping quiet about these things certainly hasn't helped, neither has rational discussion.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
I don't recall hearing anyone say they're perfect.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
But, for the example of 2 beggars, I'm sure religious people wouldn't show favoritism. Right?
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written by Willy K, April 21, 2009
written by truth64, ...He has that... eternal scowl on his face.

He's scowling at you old chum. smilies/tongue.gif
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@alan
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
Not trying to start anything but I help the poor regardless of their beliefs. just curious as to why that would effect your helping?
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
Ok, let's just "move forward." Forget about the Spanish Inquisition, the witch burnings, the trading of 400 foreskins for a wife, etc. Give god another chance.
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@alan
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
You forgot to use a capital "G"
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
No, I didn't forget.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
Pick a god, any god. Now I'll shuffle and you put it back in the deck.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
Which one is that?
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
I hope you didn't pick the bible god. He's the asshole of the universe.
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written by Willy K, April 21, 2009
written by truth64, I'll just go with the One that created the universe.

written by Alan3354, Which one is that?


The one that lives in his garage, right next to Sagan's dragon. smilies/wink.gif
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@alan
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
I thought this site was for adults?
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
Adults don't have imaginary friends.
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written by Willy K, April 21, 2009
Back to the topic!
End the practice of swearing on the Bible in the inauguration of state or federal government officials – including presidents.


Don't forget to stop having courts swear in witness's with a hand on a bible. This practice should be banned in all 50 states, no exceptions!

How can they expect to get the truth out of someone who swears to an imaginary sky-fairy. smilies/cry.gif
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@willy
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
Again. your preaching to the choir (sorry about the analogy). Tell your friends, co-workers and neighbors that this practice offends you and get them to help you in your cause. Dont be afraid to voice your beliefs openly!
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Not sure about the "Abortion" and "Church and State" thing.
written by monstrmac1, April 21, 2009
I don't like the abortion line. There is more than religious concerns when it comes to abortion. I understand there are legitimate reasons to have an abortion: Threat to a mothers health, rape victims, disabled/disfigured child. But there has to be regulations on abortion to prevent its abuse, I'm sure most people would agree that mid and late-term abortions are unethical at best. I also am sure most swift readers don't think abortion should be used as a form of birth control, but without any regulation it would be. What the US really needs is better support and counseling of would-be mothers and more support for adoption and foster services. We could also benefit from better birth control education in public schools. Teaching abstinence rarely never works. Students should be able to get birth-control from there school nurse.

I'm not saying I'm an "anti-abortionist" but I don't think its as simple as "don't have one". More work needs to be done to get the number of unwanted pregnancies down.

Furthermore I don't believe that strict separation of church and state is a possibility. The US is NOT a democracy, its a democratic republic. Meaning that our elected officials are representative of the population. So if 2/3 of the population has religious beliefs it stands to reason that 2/3 of our government will also. It's an impossible task to ask a goverment representative to abandon his own beliefs for the sake of rationality. Even if we took out all the religious words, prayers, ceremonies, and symbols out of the government, the men in charge are still going to make decisions based on what they believe, and because they are elected representatives its nearly impossible to hold them accountable for those decisions, because they were elected by majority (or at least plurality). As an agnostic I don't think this is a good thing, just an inexcapable truth. The roots of religion in goverment need to be attacked for progress to be made, a rational awakening on a broad level would need to occur for a real separation of church and state to occur. I'm not Sylvia Browne, but I just don't see that happening in the future.

Much love,
Dusty
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
The contraction for "you are" is you're, not your, speaking of sites for adults.
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written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
That's not even the 'half' of it. Since Jewish people base their religious faith on the Tanakh or Talmud, Muslims on the Qur'an, Hindi on Bhagavad Gita or Vedas (et al), Scientologists on Dianetics, Mormons on the Book of Mormon, and so forth and so on ad infinitum, I find the use of one particular book (the so-called 'Holy Book' - yeppery, bible = book) based on one religious faith in any secular part of our government to be prejudicial.

End of story. You want to use religious books in courts of law and inaugurations, stack 'em all up. You'll need a helicopter to do it but at least it shows the insipidness of the idea at all.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
Isn't a god-fearing person just someone scared of ghosts?
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written by Mr. Science, April 21, 2009
*Sigh* I kinda wonder if some folks read what I wrote (or if they were, how sharp their rational thinking skills are). I'm not saying one should believe in God, or that creationist nonsense should be taught in school, or that any atheists should alter their beliefs...

My point was that one SHOULD give up on the notion of being outraged and offended any time anyone (gasp!) has the temerity to have beliefs that differ from yours, or because you might be exposed to people who have a difference of opinion. If you say you believe in separation of church and state (and bygosh you should) then don't complain that the President gets sworn in on a bible - he's just freely practicing his beliefs, your free to do as you please. Don't make the irrational argument that "the religious people started with the prejudice, so it's ok to be prejudiced right back" (Want to know where that leads? Take a good look at the Middle East.) And give up on the really irrational concept that everyone who believes in God shares the faults/has committed the misdeeds of some of the people who believe in God.

Because when we start spouting off stuff like "christians buggar alter boys for fun" or "I wouldn't help a person in need if they didn't believe as I do", then skeptics have left rational thinking behind. And where's that leave us.

[And, btw, I've seen James Randi smile, many times.]
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written by Cian, April 21, 2009
i hope by focusing on the vatican point i didn't appear particularily bigoted towards catholicism (its just my clearest point of reference). All religions should be treated equally in regard to their influence on the state and government. And a purely secular state is the only way this respect can be delivered equally.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
Mr. Science, when we're required by law to swear on a bible, and it's gov't policy to genuflect in various ways, it should not be overlooked and accepted.
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god, jesus and the buybull vs. Freedom
written by Silver, April 21, 2009
"truth64" seems to think his god must be spelled with capital letters. I suppose if I respected his imaginary friend I might use caps, but I don't respect the mythical god of the buybull. That particular god is not worthy of respect let alone worship. In the past people like "truth64" could actually have Earthly powers take legal action against blasphemy, but America is a secular nation and blasphemy is legal. In the United States the first ten amendments to the Constitution trump the ten commandments. In the eyes of the law the First Amendment takes priority over the third commandment. The government of the U.S. can no more enforce biblical law than they can enforce laws from the koran.
We can freely mock god, allah, jesus, or the "holy" ghost and face no consequences. We can diminish the importance of religion simply by not giving the idea of their gods any power at all. The fact that we live in a secular country is a cause of great joy. It makes atheists happy and we do smile because it is a secular nation.

Article: 9 to 0 U.S. Supreme Court desision nullifies state laws against blasphemy, 1952
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Burstyn,_Inc_v._Wilson
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
Laws against blasphemy are good examples of where lack of separation of church and state can lead.

Remember, too, that religion = superstition + $$$$$.
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written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
Furthermore I don't believe that strict separation of church and state is a possibility. The US is NOT a democracy, its a democratic republic. Meaning that our elected officials are representative of the population. So if 2/3 of the population has religious beliefs it stands to reason that 2/3 of our government will also. It's an impossible task to ask a goverment representative to abandon his own beliefs for the sake of rationality. Even if we took out all the religious words, prayers, ceremonies, and symbols out of the government, the men in charge are still going to make decisions based on what they believe, and because they are elected representatives its nearly impossible to hold them accountable for those decisions, because they were elected by majority (or at least plurality). As an agnostic I don't think this is a good thing, just an inexcapable truth. The roots of religion in goverment need to be attacked for progress to be made, a rational awakening on a broad level would need to occur for a real separation of church and state to occur.


While that is true, the framers of the Constitution also took it upon themselves to avoid failures of the past concerning the mingling of governments and religions, many having experienced them firsthand (or indirectly from their relatives that immigrated to the colonies). This was codefied into the Bill of Rights as the First Amendment. While representatives and other government officials are allowed to entertain their personal religious beliefs privately, they are, by law, disallowed to do so publicly in their duties of office. The other misnomer here is that the majority 'rules' over the minority. No. Majorities are used to pass laws and decide elections but not on how everyone else has to live. Although it isn't literally codefied, it is generally understood that a majority cannot usurp rights from a minority. This has been an ongoing battle, for instance: slavery, women's sufferage, civil rights, gay marriage/civil unions, and so forth.
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@Truth64
written by monstrmac1, April 21, 2009
Coward? An atheist believes there is no god.

I just don't care if there's a god.

Also, I tried to be articulate and respectful in my comments, and the only thing you could reply with was "isnt an agnostic just an atheist who is a coward?"

Maybe think before you post.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
I stand by my statement that the bible god is the biggest asshole in the universe.
He created malaria which kills apx 1,000,000 per year, mostly children.
40,000 +- children die EACH DAY, most of starvation and god either can't or won't help them.
Few humans are as cruel as this god.
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@Alan3354
written by Cian, April 21, 2009
... i think you need rephrase "the bible god is the biggest asshole in the universe" .... the old testament god is the cruelest and pettiest character in all of fiction. ( i think i heard dawkins say this)

you're making it sound a bit too much like he actually existed.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
I agree, Cian.
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Nose Sticking 360
written by Realitysage, April 21, 2009
Everywhere I look I see folks whose brand of morality is seemingly lifted to a perceived lofty conclusion that's really only to satisfy a sort of egotistical aggrandizement. Doesn't matter if someone is religious or not, good and bad people come in all stripes and having religious beliefs or not should be a personal thing. Often it isn't, but diversity in the world will always exist whether you like or not. But some of the worlds greatest art is religious in nature. I don't care what Michelangelo's motives were when he carved the Pieta out of a piece of marble, only that it's exquisite. Mayan art too.
Unfortunately, there are those who'd like to stick their noses in other peoples lives as if they have the right to do so. Self appointed do-gooders many of which are also self appointed God blessers and that includes politicians.
To a lot of folks I'd like to say toughen up your skin and deal with it. Many times we're bothered only because we lack the capacity to ignore certain things that will never change simply because human nature rarely does. People worldwide will continue to embrace the comfort zone that religion provides in spite of it being myth. Many times folks have said they'd pray for me for this or that and mostly they were good people and intelligent too. It doesn't bother me. Anymore than an atheist who believes in UFO visitations does. Sour grapes make bitter wine and neurotic anger is waste of emotional reserve.
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written by Alan3354, April 21, 2009
What do you propose, Realitysage? Not commenting? Accepting the intrusion of religion with the force of law behind it?
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Swearing on a Bible
written by GusGus, April 21, 2009

I don't know about any particular state's requirement, but I think that the Federal Government does not require a bible (or any holy book, for that matter. The oath of office as specified in the Constitution does not end with "So help me God." That is something that the oath-takers add themselves. I served on a Federal grand jury mumble-mumble years ago and as I remember, the oath was something to the effect of "I swear (or affirm) that..." and there was no Bible there.
.
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written by TripTheWave, April 21, 2009
Again, with all of the "I hate religon" stuff...

Folks, religon is not the cause of violence, biogtry, intolerance, your hurt feelings, gas, poor tire mileage or any other things that you care to blame it for... it is an excuse, nothing more. People's belief in a God by itself dosen't step on your rights nor does it cause your problems.


If you think for one second that if everyone became an Athiest tomorrow, we wouldn't find a reason to hate each other you're out of your mind...

(I'm not going to get into the "is there a God" conversation... We just had a big thing on that and I know I'm in the minority. Let's assume that there isn't one. It still dosen't change my point.)
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written by Caller X, April 21, 2009
written by Stoneham Skeptic, April 21, 2009
I could add one more bullet to Stoltenberg's comments. Get Obama to stop ending every speech with,"And god bless the United States of America." Does god talk to him just like he did to W? Isn't he commander-in-chief of the largest arsenal on Earth? Why does he feel he has to invoke the help of some sky fairy?


Also, from Mr. Randi's screed:
Allow no teaching in public schools that any deity gave us our rights; we earned those.


Maybe in Canada; here in the good ole USA, we have something called Natural Rights. They are not earned.

written by truth64, April 21, 2009
..speaking of which, has anyone EVER seen mr. randi smile? Seriously, I'm curious about that. He has that, excuse the adjective, eternal scowl on his face. Does that come naturally to atheists are do they hand them out at the convention?


Mr. Randi cultivates a particular appearance as part of his public image. Some have characterized it as a "malevolent Santa Claus".
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written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
Randi has the same 'twinkle in his eye' as has been given to Santa Claus but it is from being 'enlightened' not joviality. smilies/wink.gif
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@Kuroyume
written by Cian, April 21, 2009
smilies/grin.gif nice
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written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
Again, with all of the "I hate religon" stuff...

Folks, religon is not the cause of violence, biogtry, intolerance, your hurt feelings, gas, poor tire mileage or any other things that you care to blame it for... it is an excuse, nothing more. People's belief in a God by itself dosen't step on your rights nor does it cause your problems.


If you think for one second that if everyone became an Athiest tomorrow, we wouldn't find a reason to hate each other you're out of your mind...

(I'm not going to get into the "is there a God" conversation... We just had a big thing on that and I know I'm in the minority. Let's assume that there isn't one. It still dosen't change my point.)


As I am oft to say, while I agree smilies/tongue.gif, there is a reason why religions tend to be pernicious in this. It is not that the religion or its tenets (usually) direct followers to violence, bigotry, intolerance. It is the dogmatism and bowing to authority that allows this behavior to be justified and perpetuated within the framework of their beliefs. At least the atheist can only look to his or herself (and nature and influences) as reason for actions, whether considered good or bad. Religions tend to foster and magnify actions and they are disseminated throughout the followers. In other words, they can stem great works and good but they can also stem great destruction and bad by not only increasing effort but by multiplying it in numbers. Moderation and conscious reflection are something that religions rarely prescribe. And this is true of any group-think mentality. The Nazis fermented the same type of irrational fervor that can be seen in angry mobs or religious tirades.

And it is not always fervent irrationality. For instance, why has the RCC scorned females so much in its history? Not much to do with Judaism or the teachings of Yeshua. Rome was a (very) patriarchal society whose traditions had been spread throughout the Mediterranean (and beyond). When christianity was made the official religion of Rome by Constantine, it was in no way surprising that the role of women in the institutionalized church structure would be highly diminished. And it wasn't helped by Paul, a Hellenistic Jew and citizen of Rome, who expoused various ideas as to the minimized role of women. The early papacy quickly made edicts that women could not hold positions within the church (only as subordinates in the guise of nuns), Mary Magdelene was quickly and almost assuredly circumstantially associated with the prostitute that washed Yeshua's feet, Eve was indicted as the perpetrator that convinced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of life (etc.). My point being that when one has power to wield, any idea can be pursued. As the Romans said, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."
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@Cian
written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
Thanks. smilies/grin.gif
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written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
A last point is the levelled indictment of Soviet Union communism as a tell-tale indication of how a so-called 'atheistic' government would handle religion. I beg to differ. First, I don't think that Karl Marx directly espoused the resulting type of tyrannical government that resulted from the Bolshevik Revolution. Second, this was (much) less about atheism and much more about power. The Soviet communists did not want to have power struggles between its authority and that of institutionalized churches. Their ideal communistic state would be too homogeneous to allow these particularities.

On reflection, the road taken by the United States in its structuring of the Constitution was far better in regards to authority of government and religion. Instead of pitting one against the other, the forefathers very considerately decided that it was better to have the two institutions coexist but keep them separated. It is far from being a perfect solution but it surely has faired better than communistic eradication.

So, while we should strive to realize this separation more fully, we should not take it to heights of persecution. It is only through vigilance and education that we can hope to arrive at this realization. Just as the RCC has become the 'kindler, gentler' church after its power-ridden glory days, the end result should be that religion can exist for those that pursue it but that it no longer holds sway over our lives through governance and institution.
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written by MadScientist, April 21, 2009
@Sabio:

If anything, it is religions who should have no control whatsoever of marriage. At the moment the government permits all religions to have their own ceremonies; however, for a marriage to be recognized by the state you also have to fill in those government forms. So which bastard religion do you want to have control over who can marry and who not?
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@monstrmac1
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
The comment "agnostics are just atheists who are cowards" did not originate with me, an atheist coined the phrase. I forgot how easily you guys get offended. Guess I would too, though.........
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@truth64
written by Kuroyume, April 21, 2009
The comment "agnostics are just atheists who are cowards" did not originate with me, an atheist coined the phrase. I forgot how easily you guys get offended. Guess I would too, though.........


Although I consider myself atheist, I also consider myself agnostic. These are not totally mutually exclusive. What it boils down to is this:

Of all evidence and reasoned consideration, all gods and deisms explained by humans so far seem to lack any credible evidence whatsoever (atheism). But if you get down to the most general idea of some extra-universal being (therefore, incapable of being evidenced), I must attest ignorance (agnosticism).

In other words, presented with particular deities with particular attributes that have done particular actions, I have not found anything credible to 'believe' in such deities. Presented with the 'idea' of a deity of which I cannot consider credibly either way, my best answer is "I don't know."

Whenever confronted with unanswerable questions, "I don't know" is the superlative answer. Everyone should try it. smilies/smiley.gif
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Secular Prayer
written by jimgerrish, April 21, 2009
I guess I disagree with "Remove 'under God' from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance." I think the entire Pledge should be banned as a "secular prayer" to the American Flag. School children are taught to stand, face the flag, place their right hand over their hearts and recite this "secular prayer" in unison. What would happen if they thumbed their noses at the flag? Or stuck up their middle fingers? They would be punished by the "secular prayer inquisitors," that's what. Why? For disrespecting the flag? No, for going against the herd. Moo.
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Re: Secular Prayer
written by JasonPatterson, April 21, 2009
While I disagree with your basic idea regarding the pledge, unfortunately, at least at my school, the kids very much have the right to thumb their noses during the pledge. Middle fingers would fall into the general rules against obscenities, but the majority of students in my intro science class don't even bother to stand. Talking out of turn is against school rules, so I am allowed to keep them quiet, but the first amendment guarantees them the right to ignore the whole process, and that's what the majority of them do. Perhaps 1 in 5 stands, and of the six kids who are on their feet, one young lady and I are the only ones who actually say the pledge. It's amazing how patriotic they suddenly become after enlisting in the military though... When I have physics first period instead, the participation is much higher as well, typically 90% or better. Whether that is peer pressure or what, I don't know, but it's an easily observed fact in my classes.

Regarding the pledge as a secular prayer, I strongly disagree. I understand your argument (some christian groups use it as well,) but promising to be an ally to your countrymen and to strengthen the nation is not a prayer, plain and simple, it's a simple reminder of the core beliefs that (at least hypothetically) hold the nation together. That is, liberty and justice for all, upheld by the government.
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Where do I go to sign up?
written by Alencon, April 21, 2009
Count be in on everything in the list. I don't care if people want to practice their beliefs. I'd just like them to get over the idea that they can force their beliefs on those of us that don't buy into them by encoding them into the law of the land.

They need to understand that what the preacher preaches on Sunday isn't necessarily what the sheriff should be enforcing on Monday. And it is certainly not what the science teacher should be teaching on Tuesday.
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@kuroyume
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
Kuroyume, I have missed you.seriously. You are one of the few who state your opinion clearly and in your own words (no copy/paste boredom). They say the most militant anti-smokers are the ex-smokers. I guess that is the principle that guides me. As I have stated, I used to be just you guys. (and I DONT mean that on any level of arrogance, its just that way) I have visited randi's site probably longer than most on this thread. I agree with him (and others on this site) on 90% of the topics. 10 years ago it would have been 100%. I got sick of the "I dont knows" and completey opened my mind. I am not one looking to convert others to faith (because I sure wouldnt be at THIS site) but I just like to explain to others that I KNOW your feelings about stuff. Good luck with your studies, but you are headed down a dead-end road when it comes to closure.
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@truth64
written by Rustylizard, April 21, 2009
I think the agnostics are atheists who are cowards indictment came from Madalyn Murray O’hair, founder of American Atheists. If memory serves me, she required you to sign a declaration that you were an atheist before you could join AA because she seemed to think terms like agnostics, skeptics, and humanists were cop-outs (though they are actually much more than that). I thought that was narrow-minded, so I found better organizations to link up with. She was also very offensive to many people, and that brings me to my next point:

Reading the blog comments, it’s easy to see that you try hard to offend others, and others try hard to offend you-all with great success. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because there’s a lot of good wit involved, and everyone gets a little entertainment out of the deal (heck, I bet even Randi gets some smiles). But it’s good in another way too. We have a right to offend others, and others have a right to offend us (within limits)—it means we have free speech, and getting offended is no big deal. You offend me with many posts, but I recover quickly and there is no permanent harm. Keep up the good work! And the rest of you—don’t be so hard on truth64. He/she is often an easy target.

smilies/wink.gif
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written by Steel Rat, April 21, 2009
truth64. I'm really curious how you can go from "I don't know" to everything being explained by a god. It's just completely unfathomable to me.
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@rustylizard & steel rat
written by truth64, April 21, 2009
Rusty- great points. Ms O'hair was one of my earlier mentors believe it or not. In the pre-internet days I watched in awe as she sliced and diced on the Donahue show, etc. I used alot of her ammunition but I admired most her confidence. Remember too that this was in the day when women were much less vocal and respected in these types of venues. I think she actually helped to improve this stigma in some way.

Steel rat- you and I have exchanged many a barb and I have to say that you are one quick-witted dude. As Rusty implied, i doubt either one of us has truly been "offended". That word gets thrown around too much in my opinion. There is no way I can explain my metapmorphasis on this thread. Suffice it to say, there is in my opinion more evidence than would first appear when it comes to my beliefs. Its been a journey to say the least.
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written by Phildonnia, April 21, 2009
If you don’t believe in ... abortions, don't have one.
Remember, that some people equate abortion with murder, and that this need not necessarily be a religiously-inspired viewpoint. "If you don't believe in murder, don't do it" doesn't sound quite as clever, and to the anti-abortion mind, that is a complete and total rebuttal. All the oversimplified arguments on this topic have already been heard for decades now, and I doubt that any minds are changed by bumper-sticker arguments.
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@monstrmac1
written by medains, April 21, 2009
I'm ignoring the insulting comments going back and forth, so I thought I'd address a point that you nicely made that was on-topic.

There is more than religious concerns when it comes to abortion


There is more - but it's about the circumstances. Abortion is not a no-risk process, so any increase in the number of abortions is cause for concern - but we should not address that concern my enforcing a reduction in abortions, we should address it by tackling the root cause which is unwanted pregnancy. This is generally done by improving sex education and availability of contraception - and ultimately hindered by religious proclamations against contraception and against educating children in matters of sex.

So in conclusion, Randi's original statement is a good one (paraphrasing) "if you don't believe in abortion, don't have one" - but it is not the end of the story for healthcare. It is the end of the story for religious interference in the lives of others.

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Monstrmac. Not quite...
written by BillyJoe, April 22, 2009
An atheist believes there is no god.

An atheist is an a theist, someone who does not (a) believe in god (theist)

A subtle but important difference.

BJ
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written by BillyJoe, April 22, 2009
Whenever confronted with unanswerable questions, "I don't know" is the superlative answer.

Which is not the same as "We don't know yet". smilies/wink.gif

BJ
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written by Steel Rat, April 22, 2009
Which is not the same as "We don't know yet". smilies/wink.gif


I don't really see a difference. Saying "I don't know" doesn't mean you won't know at some point.
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written by redwench, April 22, 2009
Call me crazy....thank you....but I fail to see the need for religious identification in a secular workplace. I no more want to see "God bless" in the tag of a work related email than I want to see "smoke em if you've got em" or "vote Libertarian". Unless it relates to the business, your personal views on the matter should not be in a permanent communication to your customers, suppliers, and/or coworkers. If you want to discuss such things outside of work, say over dinner, with coworkers, that is acceptable. But not in an email that they are forced to read, that is unprofessional.
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@ BillyJoe
written by monstrmac1, April 22, 2009
Monstrmac. Not quite...
written by BillyJoe, April 22, 2009

An atheist believes there is no god.

An atheist is an a theist, someone who does not (a) believe in god (theist)

A subtle but important difference.


There is no subtle difference in not believing in god, and believing there is a god.
They are EXACTLY the same.

Seriously BillyJoe find something intelligent to say.
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@monstrmac1
written by Steel Rat, April 22, 2009
I don't always agree with BJ, but I think he's right on this one.

Saying "there is no god" is an absolute statement which would require evidence.

Saying "I don't believe there is a god(s)" means if evidence were to present itself you could change your mind.
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@Steelrat
written by monstrmac1, April 22, 2009
@monstrmac1
written by Steel Rat, April 22, 2009

I don't always agree with BJ, but I think he's right on this one.

Saying "there is no god" is an absolute statement which would require evidence.

Saying "I don't believe there is a god(s)" means if evidence were to present itself you could change your mind.
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I understand your point but thats not quite what I said.

I said "an atheist believes there is no god. Not that they attempt to prove or have evidence that there is no god. And saying "I don't believe in god" is exactly the same as "I believe there is no god."

But at least Steelrat made a point, more than we can say for BillyJoe.
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written by Steel Rat, April 22, 2009
smilies/wink.gif I can't take credit for the point. Someone else made it either here or on another thread (might even have been BJ).
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written by gsdguy, April 22, 2009
I know I'm going to get flamed for these comments, but here I go. I had to respond to this one.

Abortions – To me this is equal to killing a person. Sorry folks. Are you a parent? Have you thanked your mother for NOT aborting you? I got to talking to some neighbors who had an abortion while they were dating. They got married and had a difficult time getting pregnant again. It seems that the prior abortion caused some problems. They also experienced a lot of guilt as a result of their previous decision. They were finally had a child. They were not able to have another child.

Allow no displays of religious icons or symbols – Come on people get a tougher skin if this is offensive to you. This is part of our past, just walk by the symbols and ignore them. Does being called “Fat Head” also offend you?
Recall our ambassador from the Vatican – Why not recall all ambassadors, have you seen the list. We could save a ton of money. Again, this does not bother me. Who cares?

Allow no state or federal voucher programs – Why not? Why are people afraid of this one? I would love to send my child to a good private school, but we cannot afford it. From what I understand, private schools are better because government is not involved. Cut my taxes and let me choose the school. My taxes already go towards some backdoor voucher programs. There are some children here in our area that have Autism. The school district worked with these families to find a solution, but for some reason they could not reach a good solution to create a classroom environment for these children. The school district/us tax payers have to pay for these children to go to a special school. It appeared to many people that the parents did not want to try and find a solution within the public school system, they just wanted to wrap things up and send their children to this one school. It’s great that these children are getting an education, and I’m happy for them. I have nothing against children with Autism. My point is, why can’t I send my child to a private school. Our taxes are also used to provide transportation for children going to private schools 30 minutes away.

Remove “under God”… - Again, get a tougher skin, it is simply part of our history and to me tradition to see “In God we trust” on our money. “Under God” in the pledge, again who cares. It’s tradition, part of being an American. If you don’t want to say it, don’t. Stay quite when it comes to those words.
Do not allow teaching of Creation Science – That’s what church and home is for. However, don’t punish children for reports where they believe in Creation Science. We have freedom of speech in this country, but lately, it’s only if you speak the PC point of view. Latest example is Miss California Carrie Prejean. I would also add, don’t allow teaching of “Global Climate Change” in the context that we are the cause of Climate change. There are so many scientists out there refuting Climate Change. The science is not complete in my opinion. To me this belief is also a religion. The Earth once went through an ice age which wiped out the dinosaurs. The Earth survived. I’m sure we will again, no matter which way the climate goes, too hot or too cold. I do believe we should be good stewards of the Earth, but don’t jam it down our throats with fear. I once worked next to a “Green” Climate believer. And it’s amazing that when he left the office, he left two computer monitors burning and three computers turned on, even over the weekends. There is no reason for this. I shut everything down. He claimed he could start his day quicker. I asked about the monitors, and he told me the screen saver shuts it down. Yea, Right. Why did he need to start his day quicker? Because he couldn’t get his butt out of bed to miss rush hour, where he sat in traffic and burned a lot of gas. I got up earlier and I got to work earlier to avoid the rush hour. I probably used less energy than this Green Idiot.

Don’t allow our public schools to become battlegrounds… - Does this include teaching our children about Gays and Lesbians? I have a huge problem with this one. I do not have problem with Gays and Lesbians. I do have a problem with them coming into an elementary class room and teaching children about their lifestyle choices.
End the practice of swearing on the Bible – Again, who cares, it is a tradition. Get over it.

Bring on the flaming. I've got a tough skin.

-- Bob V. (aka. Fat Head/Four Eyes/Jerk...)
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Working On Sunday.
written by gsdguy, April 22, 2009
About working on Sundays.

I think a lot of businesses should be closed on Sundays. Regardless of the religious reasons people use.
I would exempt put-put courses, movie theaters, gas stations and convince stores.

Everyone could spend more time with their families. Go for a walk, play with the dog, go for a bike ride, shoot hoops, go to the movies, play put-put or just hang out.

Everyone could sleep in later.

It's a good time to try and make the largest pancake you can. You can't do this during the week.

It’s a good time to barbeque and have adult beverages with neighbors.

-- Bob V.
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@ Steel Rat
written by BillyJoe, April 22, 2009
Which is not the same as "We don't know yet".
I don't really see a difference. Saying "I don't know" doesn't mean you won't know at some point.

"I don't know" does not imply that you will know at some point.
"We don't know yet" implies that at some point we will.

BJ
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@ monstrmac
written by BillyJoe, April 22, 2009
Sorry, but they are not EXACTLY the same:

I believe there is no god.
I don't believe there is a god.

Belief is based on evidence.
(If you are thinking belief = blind faith, that is also not correct)

To say "I believe there is no god", implies there is evidence that there is no god.
To say "I don't believe there is a god" implies that there is no evidence that there is a god.

A subtle but significant difference.

regards,
BillyJoe
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written by Steel Rat, April 22, 2009
Allow no displays of religious icons or symbols – Come on people get a tougher skin if this is offensive to you. This is part of our past, just walk by the symbols and ignore them. Does being called “Fat Head” also offend you?


Umm, yeah, it does unless it's someone I know.

As for the religious displays in PUBLIC grounds, it's unconstitutional, doesn't belong there. But it seems the religious people are the ones being thin-skinned when they can't seem to allow an atheist display alongside the religious one. Which is why I'm all for allowing neither.
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written by Steel Rat, April 22, 2009
Remove “under God”… - Again, get a tougher skin, it is simply part of our history and to me tradition to see “In God we trust” on our money. “Under God” in the pledge, again who cares. It’s tradition, part of being an American. If you don’t want to say it, don’t. Stay quite when it comes to those words.


It's only been part of our "history" since the mid 20th century. How about you get a tougher skin? I think you have a twisted view of tradition, or haven't studied history.
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@BJ
written by Steel Rat, April 22, 2009
"I don't know" does not imply that you will know at some point.
"We don't know yet" implies that at some point we will.


Sorry, that's just not right. "I don't know" doesn't exclude any later knowledge. And "We don't know yet" is no guarantee that you ever will, or that anyone is even attempting to know.
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written by BillyJoe, April 22, 2009
Sorry, that's just not right. "I don't know" doesn't exclude any later knowledge.

That's right. It doesn't exclude you knowing in the future and it doesn't exclude you not ever knowing. That was my point.
On the other hand...

And "We don't know yet" is no guarantee that you ever will, or that anyone is even attempting to know.

The word "yet" implies that we will know at some point in the future or, at the very least, that we are confident that we will know at some point in the future.
Otherwise "yet" is redundant in that sentence.

BJ
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@pointless comment guy...errrrr BillyJoe
written by monstrmac1, April 22, 2009
Sorry, but they are not EXACTLY the same:

I believe there is no god.
I don't believe there is a god.

Belief is based on evidence.
(If you are thinking belief = blind faith, that is also not correct)

To say "I believe there is no god", implies there is evidence that there is no god.
To say "I don't believe there is a god" implies that there is no evidence that there is a god.

A subtle but significant difference.

regards,
BillyJoe


Saying "I believe there is no god" does NOT imply that there is evidence showing god doesn't exist. Its an impossible implication simply because a negative can never be proven, thats the whole basis of religion.

The two statements, though different in sentence structure, do not differ at all in meaning. There is not even a subtle difference in the two statements other than the one that exists solely in your rotted brain.

Regard,
Dusty
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Dusty
written by BillyJoe, April 23, 2009
One more try...

Saying "I believe there is no god" does NOT imply that there is evidence showing god doesn't exist

Why would you believe that there is no god if you didn't have evidence that there is no god?

Its an impossible implication simply because a negative can never be proven,

That is the very reason why an atheist would not say, "I believe that there is no god" (a claim is being made and that requires evidence, but no evidence is even possible). Instead an atheist would say "I don't believe there is a god" (no claim being made, therefore no evidence required)

regards,
BillyJoe
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@ gsdguy
written by BillyJoe, April 23, 2009
I can't decide whether you are being provocative merely to see what reaction you get or whether you really believe what you wrote. I hope it's the former because, if it's the latter, you are beyond hope.

smilies/wink.gif

BillyJoe
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@gsdguy/Bob V.
written by UglyLikeMe, April 23, 2009
Well put, sir, I was about to post a long diatribe myself, but you seemed to cover most of the points I was going to make. I don't agree with your response on abortions, but at least you made your position clear, it is something that should have some sort of regulation.

@Steel Rat
Please do not split hairs, yes, the "In god we trust" phrase has only been a part of American history for around 50 years, however, take a look back on the last 50 years, the cultural and social changes, equal rights, the evolution/boom of technology and population. Is that not history? Are we not living history? You're on the internet right now, DO YOU REALIZE THAT?! Sorry, but you tried making Bob V. look ignorant for expressing his views, quite well I might add, and made yourself look even more ignorant. While he's staying on topic, you're busy arguing what the phrase "I don't know" really means. Take the blinders off for a second, see someone's viewpoint, and react to it, instead of merely brushing them off and then going about to prove how much better you are than someone else.

Sorry, that comment just got me a little heated smilies/wink.gif
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written by BillyJoe, April 23, 2009
Well, Ugly, you're just Like that (get some dung) guy which to Me is nothing to boast about.
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written by gsdguy, April 23, 2009
In response to Steel Rat:

I'm sorry I offended you with the term "Fathead".

Fine, put up an atheist display, Muslim display, a whatever display alongside the religious one. I don't care. Just as long as it's tasteful, ie, not made out of cardboard written with a sharpie. Just don't use my tax dollars to do put it up. It just seems like a waste of time, effort and money to scrub every religious symbol from everywhere.

Studied history - Your right, I'm not a history major. There are more important things to care about in this world, such as...Will I be able to provide for my family tomorrow? Will I have a job tomorrow? Religious symbols on things don't bother me and I can’t understand why they bother others. I do consider this part of MY history, I'm sorry I don't know where the line for history starts. 10 years ago, 100 years ago, 1000 years ago, 10,000 years ago...

I'm not religious, I'm trying to be tolerant and playing a little, please excuse the religious reference here, but I can't think of an atheist equivalent, devil's advocate. I just can't see why all the passion, effort and money being wasted on things like this. It just seems stupid to me.

-- Bob V.

P.S. What is the atheist equivalent for devil's advocate?
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In response to BillyJoe
written by gsdguy, April 23, 2009
Sorry to disappoint you. I do believe what I wrote. I guess I'm beyond hope.

-- Bob V. (aka Fat Head/Lard Butt/Jerk/Four Eyes...)
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$#!+, I was hoping your were not serious...
written by BillyJoe, April 23, 2009
Abortions – To me this is equal to killing a person.

But killing a person is not equal:

Killing a peron in self defence. Killing a person accidentally. Killing in a fit of passion. Killing in cold blood. Killing a person who wants to live. Killing a person who wants to die. Killing a person whist releiving their pain.

Have you thanked your mother for NOT aborting you?

No, I haven't gone up to my mother and said, "Thanks, mum (I am Australain) for not aborting me". Why do you ask?

I got to talking to some neighbors who had an abortion while they were dating. They got married and had a difficult time getting pregnant again. It seems that the prior abortion caused some problems.

One word: bull.
This is typical christian anti-abortion propaganda. And you do yourself no favours by promoting this lie.

They also experienced a lot of guilt as a result of their previous decision.

There are lots of reasons why this particular couple might feel guilty in their particular situation. They possibly made the wrong decision. On the other hand, they may have made a worse decison by continuing with the pregnancy.
Others in a similar situation may differ. So what?

They were finally had a child. They were not able to have another child.

What exactly are you trying to say.
Do you know how often the couple had sex? Do you know his sperm count. That might actually supply a clue in this case. But, guess what, the fact they had an abortion does not.

BJ
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written by gsdguy, April 23, 2009
To Billy Joe –

Killing a person - OK, I’ll choose “Killing a person in cold blood”. This is the essence of abortion to me. We can then argue when a fetus is a person… You can’t change my mind about this one. Sorry. It’s not a religious thing. I just think it’s wrong.

Bull - When we lived in Colorado, Jeff and Erica had this problem, told to me by Jeff at a local bar one evening. I don’t think he lied to me. Sorry to disappoint!!!
I was excited about having a child and after a while Jeff opened up about their problems. It was quite a frank and open discussion.

Guilt - You are correct, but Jeff told me it the guilt was a result of deciding to have the abortion. He could not have been much clearer.
I asked Jeff about sperm count and all the other things. He claimed everything was fine. Maybe he did have a low sperm count and lied to me about it so as to not feel inadequate. I’m sorry, I just know what I was told. Number of times they had sex?? Sorry, I was not keep score. I know they tried a lot of things the doctors told them.

Try to say - Sorry for the miss type. They had one child and were unable to have a second child. And before you jump on me about this one, maybe if the first child had not been aborted, they could have never had a second child. Maybe the first child would have been a miscarriage and they could not have had a second child. I don’t know. I just know what Jeff told me and what he believed. He did tell me the doctor told them the problems were caused by the earlier abortion. His words, not mine. Maybe the doctor was a religious doctor trying to propagate the myth. I don’t know. Maybe a religious doctor planted this guilt in them as a result of their discussion and problem. I don’t know. Or just maybe the doctor was simply telling the truth. I don’t know.

You are correct, it’s easy to point to the abortion as the problem when there are so many other factors to consider. There are probably just as many people who can’t have children who never had abortions and maybe this would have occurred even if there had not been a past abortion.

In closing, I’ll concede this point to you Bill Joe, only because it is easy to point to the abortion. I do know what I was told. The guilt Jeff felt was real, I believe that.

I still cannot condone abortions. I’m not militant about it. I’m not going to firebomb an abortion clinic. It’s not the correct choice for us. If you do have an abortion, it’s something you have to live with and square yourself with. I’m not going to hold a candle light vigil for all aborted children. Currently it's the law, I doubt it's going to change. I guess it's something I will have to get a tougher skin about.

Flame away.

-- Bob V. (aka Fat Head/Lard Butt/Jerk/Four Eyes…)
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written by Steel Rat, April 23, 2009
Please do not split hairs, yes, the "In god we trust" phrase has only been a part of American history for around 50 years, however, take a look back on the last 50 years, the cultural and social changes, equal rights, the evolution/boom of technology and population. Is that not history? Are we not living history? You're on the internet right now, DO YOU REALIZE THAT?!


None of those other things you mentioned are prohibited by the US Constitution. Therefore the rest of your point is moot.
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written by Steel Rat, April 23, 2009
Fine, put up an atheist display, Muslim display, a whatever display alongside the religious one. I don't care. Just as long as it's tasteful, ie, not made out of cardboard written with a sharpie. Just don't use my tax dollars to do put it up. It just seems like a waste of time, effort and money to scrub every religious symbol from everywhere.


Taste has nothing to do with it. And I totally agree, no tax dollars to put it up, same with the religious displays. The problem is that religious people "get all up in arms" when this very rare atheist display is made on public grounds. And I did not say "scrub every religious symbol from everywhere". Perhaps you should read what I actually wrote. I have no problem with religious displays on church property. And just in case you're not aware, a muslim display would be religious...

FYI, I wasn't offended by "fathead" because I didn't see it as directed at me.
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written by gsdguy, April 23, 2009
Scrub everything… I meant to say Scrub every religious symbol from every government building. My mistake. I did read your response. You said you do not want any display. I was just trying to point out that I really don’t’ care. It seems like a waste of time and money for people to try and scrub every religious symbol from every government building.

Yes I know a Muslim display is religious. Again, I was just pointing out to others that I really don’t care what goes next to other religious symbols on government sites. Atheist, Muslim or the Flying Spaghetti Monster of Munblablabla. Just make it look nice, call it art if you like, just don’t make it out of card board and a sharpie.

Fat Head – I misunderstood you.

-- Bob V.
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written by monstrmac1, April 23, 2009
Dusty
written by BillyJoe, April 23, 2009

One more try...


Saying "I believe there is no god" does NOT imply that there is evidence showing god doesn't exist

Why would you believe that there is no god if you didn't have evidence that there is no god?


Its an impossible implication simply because a negative can never be proven,

That is the very reason why an atheist would not say, "I believe that there is no god" (a claim is being made and that requires evidence, but no evidence is even possible). Instead an atheist would say "I don't believe there is a god" (no claim being made, therefore no evidence required)

regards,
BillyJoe


Ok BillyJoe your beyond hope on this one. What if we changed the word to Santa?

"I believe there is no Santa?" vs. "I don't believe in Santa". They are exactly the same statement only with different sentence structure.

Basically, I understand the point you are trying to make, and while you've done an admirable job trying to explain yourself, YOU ARE WRONG

There's no need to argue anymore, no matter what you say, you're still wrong.

I don't believe you're right. errr. wait....
I believe you are not right. errr.. oh screw it they're the same anyway.... =)

Bye,
Dusty
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written by Steel Rat, April 23, 2009
My main point is that private displays of any kind (religious, atheist, Burger King, etc..) don't belong on public grounds.

Again, whether something "looks nice" is subjective, and irrelevant. It's the message that's important.

re: fathead. smilies/wink.gif No worries. You had said (paraphrasing) "If someone called you a fathead...", which is different from saying "You are a fathead". And here we are arguing about words again smilies/grin.gif
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Parachute Please
written by Sabio, April 23, 2009
Does anyone know how to UNSUBSCRIBE to this thread. Please help, I want out. My e-mail box is filling with info I don't want. Thank you ! smilies/cry.gif
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written by Vedli77, April 23, 2009
How facile. Why do I get the feeling that this person would supplant one brand of political and religious dogma for another in "public schools"? And why exactly is the legality of gay marriage a forgone conclusion? If you're going to allow gay marriage, then why not allow polygamy? If it's simply a matter of personal freedom, and all parties have consented, then I see no difference. What is really sickening is that recently persons in the public domain who openly disagree with gay marriage are castigated and set-upon by a variety of media outlets. With respect to swearing on the bible, many states have already done away with this. And why should religious groups, as pernicious as this leftist may find them, be barred from competing for state/federal money? Why not bar other groups we don't agree with from competing for money or influencing regulation? Religious groups, like it or not, are valid interest groups with just as much right to the great gravy train as any of this person's pet interest groups. To deny them access flies in the face of the 1st Amendment. Recalling our ambassador to the Vatican is a naive and absurd notion; it smacks of ineptitude and lack of education with respect to international affairs. The issue of doctor assisted suicide is incredibly complex; it invokes notions of consent and capacity. It is certainly no simple case of "if you don't like it, don't do it." There are very good non-religious reasons arguing against it. I thought Randi's interest was in debunking persons claiming supernatural powers; it seems recently that he's pontificating more and more on political/social issues that have no clear, objective answer. What I see here are not only simpleton conclusions but a disappointing trend in so far as the political commentary begins to overtake the very valuable work that Randi has done in exposing supernatural cons.
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Polygamy Is Fine
written by Sabio, April 23, 2009
@Vedli
You are right, Randi is mixing purposes on the site -- the debunking of superstition is fantastic. The political stuff is much more controversial. One does not want to pretend they are the same issue.

That said, I disagree with your politics, however. My answer is simple -- govt should not be allowed in marriage or many other things. Govt makes theists and atheists fight each other unnecessarily. Polygamy should be allowed too. See my blog for details if you are interested.
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The Link
written by Sabio, April 23, 2009
http://triangulations.wordpres...et-impera/
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written by Vedli77, April 23, 2009
I tend to agree with you Sabio; if gay marriage is ok based upon notions of personal freedom, then polygamy, regardless of the reason, should also be permitted under the same conditions. What disgusts me, however, is the very atrocious treatment of persons in the media who dare to offer a competing view of gay marriage. These people are often attacked personally and punished to some extent. For a very trival example, see the latest Miss America contest. The only acceptable answer, it turns out, was one that supported gay marriage. I see a very clear political agenda there and one that is certainly not a given conclusion by any means.
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Democracy is Bad
written by Sabio, April 23, 2009
Indeed -- the reason people argue many issues, is that they worry that if the majority agree with their opponent's opinion, then that majority (using the Democracy principle of majority wins) will be used by the ruling powers to limit their choices. If we limit the powers that be and preserve individual choice, we will argue less. Gay detesting communities should be allowed to exist as long as they don't limit the freedom of others. We don't have to legislate all our preferences !
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Absurd
written by Skeptic, April 23, 2009
>>>>>>If you don’t believe in gay marriages or in abortions, don't have one. If you don’t believe in euthanasia or in physician-assisted death, then die your own way.

And if you think rape is wrong, don't rape anybody.
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Only Absurd when you state it incorrectly
written by Sabio, April 23, 2009
The rule is not:
A) It is only wrong if you think it is wrong
The rule is:
B) It is wrong if it harms others against their will
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What this "suggestion" amounts to...
written by Skeptic, April 23, 2009
...and, of course, the killing of the most helpless (euthenasia and abortion) is in no way, shape, or form hurting anybody against their will, is it? But I guess I, an atheist, only oppose these things because I'm religiously brainwashed, or something.

These suggestions have nothing to do with skepticism or with "stopping religious coercion". It is an attempt to make the USA's religious policy the same a the USSR's: that is, while officially claiming to be for "freedom" and "ending religious coercion", they are in reality an attempt to use the power of the state to establish, not just atheism, but a PARTICULAR VERSION of it, so-called "progressivism", which is strongly opposed by many atheists (myself included), as a state philosophy.
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written by Kuroyume, April 23, 2009
1. The government should be extremely involved in marriage - contract and law that is. Believe it or not, marriage wasn't invented by religious institutions. It was more oft a civil/legal contract between the two people (consenting or not!) which had consequences otherwise. Other than being excommunicated or shunned, most religious marriages don't carry any real bindings. It is in the law that marriage is binding so as to protect all parties (including the offspring).

2. But, the government shouldn't be defining what consenting people can do in this regard. Making a law defining what marriage is and isn't is perposterous. Next they'll be defining what life is or isn't (oh, never mind. they try that on ocassion) or what you can or cannot do in your home (oh, never mind again. they keep trying that one). I agree with Sabio. If two men, two women, a man and twenty women, a woman and twenty men, etc. want to 'marry' with mutual consent that is just swell. See, the reason why some of the polygamists get in trouble is that there is accusation or evidence of pre-arranging marriages or marriage to minors (both of which involve lack of consent or ability of consent for at least one party). Have as many husbands or wives as you can realistically support...as long as each consents of their own will.

Otherwise, I think preconceptions are being applied here. In other higher primate groups, the alpha male has his pick of mates and usually has offspring from most of the females in the group (this is a survival tactic to perpetuate the 'strongest' genes) while the other males must sort of sneek in or gain favor of the alpha male. Looking at it this way then, humans should really not be very different. And we probably weren't for the first million years or so while we lived in smaller nomadic hunter-gatherer groups. The polygamists sort have it right. smilies/wink.gif Supposedly, though, we have 'evolved' and have formed more complex social groups (society). I think that that should allow more options not less (one: one man and woman period, forever, amen, ehem)...
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written by Vedli77, April 23, 2009
Actually, the reason why polygamists get in trouble is because polygamy is against the law. Never mind the coercion arguments; one never need get there. The only evidence required is that a person has married multiple times without previously divorcing past spouses. I have a feeling, however, that polygamy will not be a casus belli for the persons who write these sorts of "suggestions" because it does not marry nicely with their extreme leftist view of how we should all live our lives. The tired "if it doesn't hurt anyone" argument only seems to extend to their pet beliefs; but when faced with something with which they disagree politically yet "doesn't hurt anyone", it becomes somehow different and undesirable.
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"Doesn't Hurt Anyone"?
written by Skeptic, April 23, 2009
The idea that there is nothing morally wrong with doing anything that "doesn't hurt anyone" is simply false. We all know many people who waste their lives on, for instance, video games, eating potato chips in front of the sofa while watching trash TV, and so on. Such behavior, on purely Millian principles, "doesn't hurt anyone", and yet is clearly a shame.

It is a non sequitor (sp?) to tell a critic of such behavior, "well, if you don't like it, don't do it" -- as if that is all there is to it. Some things are wrong even if they "don't hurt anyone".
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@monstrmac1
written by modesty78, April 23, 2009

I don't like the abortion line. There is more than religious concerns when it comes to abortion. I understand there are legitimate reasons to have an abortion: Threat to a mothers health, rape victims, disabled/disfigured child. But there has to be regulations on abortion to prevent its abuse, I'm sure most people would agree that mid and late-term abortions are unethical at best. I also am sure most swift readers don't think abortion should be used as a form of birth control, but without any regulation it would be. What the US really needs is better support and counseling of would-be mothers and more support for adoption and foster services. We could also benefit from better birth control education in public schools. Teaching abstinence rarely never works. Students should be able to get birth-control from there school nurse.


According to CDC, the US abortion-rate for 2003 was 16 abortions for every 1000 women. In Denmark it was 12,6.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/previe...5511a1.htm
http://www.sexogsamfund.dk/Default.aspx?ID=109

Now, in Denmark abortion is free of charge, it is possible until the fetus is 12 weeks old - certain conditions will allow for later terminations, but it has to be approved by a special board (and it happens relatively rarely). So it is not difficult, nor is it costly to have an abortion in Denmark. We have free health care, we have loads of education on the subject of birth control as well as sex in general. We have free, anonymous clinics that give out free birth control. And abortion is rarely used as birth control, although certain people - people who are against abortion - often claim that it is. All the evidence of such use of abortion has been at best anecdotal, at worst imagined.

So yes - we have regulation, but I think not in the way you suggest, and still our abortion rate is lower. Why is that?

Oh - and I'm catholic. Still agree with mr. Stoltenberg though.
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written by Kuroyume, April 23, 2009
Actually, the reason why polygamists get in trouble is because polygamy is against the law.


Precisely why? Because Western, Euro, Christian traditions. That is all. But most court cases involving polygamy are indeed because there was just cause involving minors (mostly). There are still polygamists out there not being arrested. Why is that?

Hating to be the bearer of sad news (for you) but polygamy is the norm in the world. Monogamy is particularly virulent in the West. Preconceptions, preconceptions. Drop them. Nothing about 'lefty', 'righty', or conservative, liberal. The world isn't the US.
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written by Kuroyume, April 23, 2009
Now, in Denmark abortion is free of charge, it is possible until the fetus is 12 weeks old - certain conditions will allow for later terminations, but it has to be approved by a special board (and it happens relatively rarely).


You took the words for my stand on this out of my mouth! 'Tis one thing to have conditions and requirements. 'Tis another to abolish it outright due to religious high-brow morals. Abortion should, indeed, not be allowed lightly. But to make illegal even in exceptional cases is perposterous. Again, 'perposterous' and religious influence in law make strange and awkward bedfellows.
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written by monstrmac1, April 23, 2009
So yes - we have regulation, but I think not in the way you suggest, and still our abortion rate is lower. Why is that?


Very good question. I'll allow you to answer

We have free health care, we have loads of education on the subject of birth control as well as sex in general. We have free, anonymous clinics that give out free birth control.


While there are places that hand out free condoms here, there is an extreme bias towards sex education in schools. Many kids are pulled out of sex ed by their parents, which shouldn't be allowed in public schools. Many schools still teach abstinence, and nearly ALL private schools do. The education here is simply not up to par with the education in denmark on the subject of sex and birth control. So while abortion is not widely used as birth control in your home country, I believe that it would be in the United States if it were cheap and widely available, especially in lower income areas. Truthfully, I really don't have the statistics to back that up, and I'm not sure there are any, its just a gut feeling that free, no-questions-asked, abortion would be an abused privelege here in the states. I guess the real solution is for me to move to denmark....
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To Vedli77
written by jalfarmer, April 23, 2009
“And why should religious groups, as pernicious as this leftist may find them, be barred from competing for state/federal money? Why not bar other groups we don't agree with from competing for money or influencing regulation?”

Because of the tax exempt status of said religious groups. I have a serious problem with persons and/or groups who pay no taxes receiving tax dollars from those of us who do pay taxes. Any questions?
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to truth64
written by jalfarmer, April 23, 2009
“isnt an agnostic just an atheist who is a coward?”

Hmmm, your ignorance is showing. The Greek prefix “A” means not. Gnosis, and/or Gnostic mean knowing/knowledge. Hence the word agnostic (coined by Aldus Huxley) simply means not knowing, which is a very ethical admission of ignorance where no definitive/provable answer is available. For example, I have no belief in the existence of any supernatural deity or entity due to a lack of supporting evidence for them. Due to this lack of evidence I am subsequently unable to disprove their existence. If I wish to remain intellectually and epistemologically ethical I must profess an agnostic perspective on any subject where there is an element of doubt. This is not cowardice, it is honesty. If new and compelling evidence for the existence of anything supernatural is ever forthcoming I am willing to change my thinking accordingly. Pardon me if I don’t hold my breath in anticipation.
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@ Dusty
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
Thank you for that excellent example.
It makes my point quite nicely...

What if we changed the word to Santa?
"I believe there is no Santa?" vs. "I don't believe in Santa". They are exactly the same statement only with different sentence structure.

You can quite legitimately say "I believe that "there is no santa", because there is evidence that there is no Santa

Consider:
Santa is purported to be a large gentleman clothed in a red and white coat riding a sled pulled by raindeer delivering christmas presents to all the worlds chidren on christmas eve. I hope I don't have to enumerate the evidence against this proposition.

Similarly you can quite legitimately say "I don't believe that there is a Santa". You don't believe that there is a santa because there is no evidence that there is a santa.

So both are legitmate statements but for quite different reasons.

Compare this to "I believe that there is no god". This is not a legitimate statement because there is no evidence that there is no god. But "I don't believe that there is a god" IS a legitimate statement because there is no evidence that there is a god.

regards,
BillyJoe
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@ gsdguy
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
Killing a person - OK, I’ll choose “Killing a person in cold blood”. This is the essence of abortion to me.

The question is: what is it to the woman who has an abortion? How many women having a termination of pregnancy think of this as a cold blooded act of killing a person?

We can then argue when a fetus is a person… You can’t change my mind about this one.

Well, how can I change your mind if I don't know - because you haven't told me - when you think a foetus becomes a person?

Sorry. It’s not a religious thing. I just think it’s wrong.

You can't just think it's wrong, surely you must have a reason why you think it's wrong.

When we lived in Colorado, Jeff and Erica had this problem...etc...etc

This particular couple found themselves in a particular situation in which they made a certain decison. Presumably they thought they made the right decision at the time. As it turned out their relationship stood the test of time but they had trouble conceiving so that, in hindsight, they have now decided that they made the wrong decision. How clever is hindsight. But who's to say how things would have turned out if they had decided against abortion.

He did tell me the doctor told them the problems were caused by the earlier abortion. His words, not mine. Maybe the doctor was a religious doctor trying to propagate the myth. I don’t know. Maybe a religious doctor planted this guilt in them as a result of their discussion and problem. I don’t know. Or just maybe the doctor was simply telling the truth. I don’t know.

A lot of things are possible, but that doctor, whether intentionally or not, was not telling the truth.

The guilt Jeff felt was real, I believe that.

First of all, it was not his decision but hers. Secondly did they feel guilty at the time, or do they only feel quilty in retropect. If they felt quilty at the time why did they decide to have an abortion?

I still cannot condone abortions.

But you haven't quite managed to say why

regards,
BillyJoe
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written by Steel Rat, April 24, 2009
If they felt quilty at the time


Mmmm, all warm and snugly!
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written by Vedli77, April 24, 2009
Hey Kuroyume; I understand very well that the world is not the U.S.A. If, however, you took the time to read this person's "suggestions", you will note that these are suggestions for the U.S.A., not the "rest of the world". So, your comment about polygamy with respect to the rest of the world is actually meaningless. Nevertheless, if you read my posts, you would see that my point was there is no reason to outlaw polygamy (in the USA) if gay marriage was to be allowed; it would stand upon the same grounds of personal freedom. I also commented that this person making the suggestions may not support the notion of polygamy, however, as it might very well not fit within what are clearly a set of leftist views (with respect to the USA) that he holds. Get it? As for your claim that polygamy is mostly only prosecuted in the US when there is a minor involved; you're just patently wrong. Polygamy has a long history of prosecution in the courts throughout the States, and it is not the case that these have been mostly prosecuted only in the case of minors. Whether polygamy is outlawed due to tradition, etc is entirely irrelevant to my point.
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To jalfarmer
written by Vedli77, April 24, 2009
Yes; here is a question for you. In your post, you said: "I have a serious problem with persons and/or groups who pay no taxes receiving tax dollars from those of us who do pay taxes." So, would you be opposed to, say, the Rainbow Coalition competing for public dollars? How about the ACLU? How about ACORN, Greenpeace, the Demoractic/Republic parties, AFL-CIO, UFW, etc, etc? Should they also not be permitted to compete for those monies? And how do you avoid 1st Amendment challenges to barring those organizations from so competing?
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To @monstrmac1
written by Vedli77, April 24, 2009
Isn't it, in reality, incomplete to say that abortions are "free of charge" in Denmark? Really, don't you mean that abortions, or any other healthcare treatment for that matter, are free of charge at the point of sale to the patient in Denmark? The charge is kicked back to the government and, ultimately, the tax payers who pay over 60% of their gross income yearly in income tax. This is not to mention the variety of VAT applications on all sorts of items that pushes Denmark into the upper ranks of high taxers worldwide. So, really, it's not free of charge even for the patient.
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written by Steel Rat, April 24, 2009
Isn't it, in reality, incomplete to say that abortions are "free of charge" in Denmark?


Free with your paid subscription! Free isn't free any more.
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To modesty78 and monstrmac1
written by Vedli77, April 24, 2009
Sorry for placing the wrong name in my previous post regarding the cost of abortion in Denmark; that was meant for modesty78. While on the topic of tax and spend in Denmark, however, isn't it a funny thing that Denmark still has a state church that receives a portion of everyone's incredible tax burden? That is still on the books, right? What with all that healthcare to pay for, you'd think by now that Denmark would have cut that cost out. And why would, say, a muslim want his tax Euros going to pay for a protestant church? Oh well, guess some places in Europe never recognized the value of seperation of church and state, which is a valid choice if the people of that country wish it so. Wonder why, however, Europeans love to criticize the choices of US taxpayers when they seem to have their own issues to face?
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@ BillyJoe
written by monstrmac1, April 24, 2009
[You can quite legitimately say "I believe that "there is no santa", because there is evidence that there is no Santa

Consider:
Santa is purported to be a large gentleman clothed in a red and white coat riding a sled pulled by raindeer delivering christmas presents to all the worlds chidren on christmas eve. I hope I don't have to enumerate the evidence against this proposition.

Similarly you can quite legitimately say "I don't believe that there is a Santa". You don't believe that there is a santa because there is no evidence that there is a santa.

So both are legitmate statements but for quite different reasons.

Compare this to "I believe that there is no god". This is not a legitimate statement because there is no evidence that there is no god. But "I don't believe that there is a god" IS a legitimate statement because there is no evidence that there is a god.
/quote]

If that makes your point nicely then you have no point.

Your basic argument here is that there is more evidence showing Santa isn't real than there is showing God isn't real.

All people claim about Santa is that he delivers gifts all around the world on christmas eve, that's not nearly as preposterous as what people claim about God. And while all religions claim something different about god they are all equally preposterous.

There is far more evidence that Santa is real, I see him at the mall every year.

Besides that, your initial statement that the two phrasings have different implications about evidence, is wrong. That's all there is to it. While you tried to argue the point courageously, it doesn't change the fact that you are wrong.

In summary BillyJoe,

YOU ARE WRONG

Merry Christmas,
Dusty
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written by monstrmac1, April 24, 2009
Ok so I'm an idiot for not typing out side the "quote" marks.

You're still wrong......
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To Billy Joe
written by gsdguy, April 24, 2009
To BillyJoe...again.

OK, Let's drop this. I conceeded this point about the couple to you. You win I loose WOOHOO to you. I have to live with abortion since it's the law in the US. You will not change my mind that abortion is killing. Why? Becuase I to me abortion equals death of a child. I once thought like you, prior to having a child. But once we had our child, my view drastically changed to abortion is killing. End of story. Drop it already.

Flame away.

-- Bob V. (A Proud US Natural Citizen)
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In effect, this is banning religion.
written by Skeptic, April 24, 2009
These suggestion would, in effect, criminalize religion, by criminalizing all and any public display of religion. There's always the "public land" or "seperation of church and state" or "captive audience" or "brainwashing the young" excuse.

The effect is to try to put the religious in the same situation as homosexuals were 40 years ago: yes, it is legal to be religious and engage in religious ceremonies, but only behind closed doors and between consenting adults, lest the young / the public / the unwilling be contaminated by your perversion.

I find religious dogma silly. I find homosexual sex disgusting. But I do not think that this means I must hound and prosecute all religious people or all homosexuals until there is, at last, no risk of me accidentally seeing a couple of people engaging in homosexual behavior or in a religious ceremony, a necessary intermediate step towards the ultimate goal of ridding society completely of such sexual, I mean religious, perverts.

These "suggestions" are a disgusting violation of human rights and freedom. For all their talk about "freedom" and "progressive", they are deeply totalitarian: the basic idea is that people one doesn't like, who are not as "advanced" and "progressive" in their views as one considers oneself to be, have no civil rights.

No doubt the author of these suggestions would agree with a new version of the infamous Dred Scot (spelling?) decision: a religious man has no rights an atheists must respect, at least in public.
Whether the "backward" people whose rights can be cut off at will are those who still stupidly cling to the discredited idea of democracy (as in, say, Nazi Germany) or those who still stupidly cling to the discredited idea of capitalism (as in, say, the USSR) or who still stupidly cling to the discredited idea of religion (as the USA would be if these suggestions are implemented) is immaterial. The totalitarian impulse behind the suggestions is unmistakable.
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written by Steel Rat, April 24, 2009
Skeptic, I think you're going overboard, at least as far as the public display of religion. The point is no government sanctioned display of religion. Churches are free to display their religious symbols and messages on their own property, in public view, or even to pay for billboard displays, but not on land paid for by taxpayers. It's that simple. Not sure how that equates to "banning religion".
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@ monstrmac
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
If you want to redefine santa to mean those guys handing out presents at the mall around chritmas time, then let's analyse those statements with this definition of santa in mind.

If you want to claim that this is what people mean when they say "I believe that there is not a santa" and "I don't believe that there is a santa", then consider what these statements actually mean:

The first sentence is a statement of belief in a falsity (there is no santa)and that belief is false because you can offer no evidence that there is no santa is true. The second sentence is a statement of non-belief in a truism (there is a santa) and that non-belief is false because you can offer no evidence that there is a santa is false.

So there is still a subtle but significant difference.


As for the god statement, if you want to redefine god to mean the christian god then a similar analysis (except that the evidence runs the other way) to the above applies and, similarly, the two statements are subtlely but significantly different. Of course we were originally taking god to mean the being who created the universe (ie deist god). But it doesn't matter how you define god or santa, there is still a subtle but significant difference between those two statements.

And that was my point all along.


But, anyway, you are either never going to get this, or you are refusing to get it, or you're not going to admit you don't get it, I don't know which, so at this point I have no option but to leave you to wallow in your own ignorance.

smilies/cheesy.gif

regards,
BillyJoe
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@ Bob
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
OK, Let's drop this. I conceeded this point about the couple to you. You win I loose WOOHOO to you.

Oops, sorry, yes, I meant that as a statement of support for what you said, but, reading back, it obviously didn't come out that way.

I have to live with abortion since it's the law in the US. You will not change my mind that abortion is killing. Why? Becuase I to me abortion equals death of a child.

Abortion is clearly not the "death of a child". It is not simply a "death" and not a "child". But didn't you mean "the cold blooded killing of a person" or are you retracting from that opinion? It is rarely "cold-blooded". It is "killing", but it is both more than the killing a kidney by removing it from the body and less than the killing a new born infant by slitting its throat. And a foetus is clearly not a "person" (defined philosophically as a self-conscious rational being).

I once thought like you, prior to having a child.

But I haven't even given you my view of abortion.

But once we had our child, my view drastically changed to abortion is killing. End of story. Drop it already.

This is clearly an emotional response to the issue, and I certainly don't belittle it because of that, but I don't think this should stop you from developing a rational argument for why you think abortion is wrong? Unless you are unable to do so.

regards,
BillyJoe
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@ skeptic
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
I find homosexual sex disgusting.

Are you speaking from experience? smilies/cheesy.gif

Also, you must accept that many heterosexual couples engage in similar sexual activities to homosexual couples (I don't think I need to spell it out smilies/cool.gif)). Do you find that disgusting also?

Just wondering,
BillyJoe
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Rights?
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
Australia does not have a bill of rights.

And I think it should stay that way. The only "rights", after all, are those artificially created by man. There are, in other words, no "natural rights". As such, there will always be arguments about what should and should not be a "right". Instead of "rights", we should be more concerned with "wrongs". Or, if you insist on "rights", the "right not to be wronged". Does that ring a bell with anyone?

It is a corrollary of the position that "we should be free to do whatever we wish provided only that we do not harm others". Or the more religious sounding, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (though if you are of a masochistic bent that may not quite apply smilies/wink.gif)

regards,
BillyJoe
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For BilliyJoe
written by Skeptic, April 24, 2009
But the point, BillyJoe, is that I do not find my personal dislike to be a reason to deny people's rights, while the author of these suggestions DOES. He clearly dislikes religion, which I do too; but I, unlike him, I do not find this sufficient reason to deny other people's rights.
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WARNING disgusting topic ahead WARNING
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
@ Skeptic

But the point, BillyJoe, is that I do not find my personal dislike to be a reason to deny people's rights, while the author of these suggestions DOES. He clearly dislikes religion, which I do too; but I, unlike him, I do not find this sufficient reason to deny other people's rights.

From what I can understand, he is merely defending the separation of church and state. He doesn't say so, but the reason for separation of church and state is to protect both politics and religion. Especially religion. By not favouring any one religion over any other, all religions are protected.

But, on the subject of same sex marriages, his opinion doesn't seem much different to your own - except that he didn't express his disgust with homosexual sex.

The thing about the disgust regarding homosexual sex is that it doesn't have to be disgusting. Homosexual sex can be clean - if you know what I mean. On the other hand, heterosexual sex can be equally disgusting. Someone I met at the drunk end of a party a long time ago told me how he had returned to the house of a girl he had slept with a few days earlier and discovered, to his absolute horror, what had happened to the condom he lost the first time around. His mate told us about an encounter he had had on a camping trip. He could just about accept that fact that she had not had a wash for a couple of days (because neither had he), but he was not quite prepared for the the "aroma incredibilis" that arose from her body as the result of having just removed a blood soaked tampon which had been in place for the same period of time.

Hope that helps. smilies/cheesy.gif

Side note:
A family friend on my wife's side lives in a homosexual relationship - actually his partner died last week and was buried on monday - so I have had no choice but to try to get over my own disgust at homosexual sex - the result, I think, of a catholic upbringing which I whole-heartedly and enthusiastically adopted up until the age of about 16 - and those stories helped to put thing in perspective for me at least. Now the thought of homsexual sex doesn't bother me in the least, especially when you add the fact that many heterosexual couples also engage in that particular activity.

And I hope that helps. smilies/smiley.gif

BJ
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@Billy Joe....... I get it .... you're wrong.
written by monstrmac1, April 24, 2009
I'm not wallowing in any ignorance, I'm frolicking in the fact that you are wrong. I understand every narrow-minded word that you've typed and every time you have been wrong. Sorry that you don't understand two sentences can be worded differently but still mean the same thing.....

In summary, (and I've tried to hold this back)

you are an idiot

Best Wishes,
Dusty
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Dusty
written by BillyJoe, April 24, 2009
I understand every narrow-minded word that you've typed

It's a pity you cannot actually dissect my argument then.
Like I have yours...and had it for dinner too!

smilies/wink.gif

you are an idiot

At least you could have written "your an idiot".
That would have made my day.

smilies/grin.gif

BillyJoe
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To BillyJoe
written by Vedli77, April 24, 2009
That's very nice; Australia must be a virtual heaven on Earth. Meanwhile, society itself is something that is created by man and would not exist but for man. Yet, as a practical matter, we all (most of us anyway) must and do live in societies of one kind or another. Something similar to a Bill of Rights is an excellent concept for managing the relationship between the governors of society and the governed. Did Australia, for instance, not once allow bills of attainder? Meanwhile, what is a right not to be wronged? How do you define a "wrong" with respect to society? Certainly we might presume you mean the right fo a person not to be physically assaulted in some way by some other person, but what about if the government is doing the assaulting? And what about other types of "wrongs"? What are they? Seems to me like you're then making a list of, well, rights. Same thing goes for "harm" to others. What if the harm I'm doing to others is some speech I'm making; it "harms" someone or some group's feelings? So a "right" not to be harmed or wronged seems very much like something that begs for further definition; it's really just a platitude.


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Oh, please.
written by Skeptic, April 24, 2009
>>>>>>>>From what I can understand, he is merely defending the separation of church and state. He doesn't say so, but the reason for separation of church and state is to protect both politics and religion. Especially religion. By not favouring any one religion over any other, all religions are protected.

Oh, please. That's the formal excuse, but in reality the idea is to hound religion completely out of the public square by hook or by crook. Then the excuse is used that since one tries to draconically limit the public excercise of ALL religions, it is somehow "protecting" religion.

It is true that these suggestions do not prosecute, say, Jews or Catholics as a group as opposed to the majority religion which is given preference. But it DOES prosecute all religious people, trying to put them in an inferior class to atheists.

The problem here is not that religion is offended. Religion does not have rights. But religious PEOPLE have rights. And these rights are, in practice if not in theory, banning them from the public square completely. Just because I am not religious does not mean this is no violation of religious people's rights.

>>>>>>>>Skeptic, I think you're going overboard, at least as far as the public display of religion. The point is no government sanctioned display of religion. Churches are free to display their religious symbols and messages on their own property, in public view, or even to pay for billboard displays, but not on land paid for by taxpayers.

Oh REALLY? There already have been cases where nativity scenes, for example, ON church property, were attacked in court since the church property was publically displayed. If these laws are allowed, it will only be a matter of time until billboards advertising religious messages, for example, will be banned, too. The excuse will probably be that billboards are above a public highway and therefore magically "part of the public square", or some such.

No, no. In theory you're correct, perhaps, but in practice, the goal of such suggestions is to enforce religion to stay entirely indoors, as if it were a form of pornography.
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written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
Oh, please. That's the formal excuse, but in reality the idea is to hound religion completely out of the public square by hook or by crook.

I don't know but you may be right that this is the underlying motivation, but I certainly didn't get that from reading his list of things that should not be allowed. In my opinion, all the items on the list are consistent simply with the idea of separation of church and state.

Then the excuse is used that since one tries to draconically limit the public excercise of ALL religions, it is somehow "protecting" religion.

On the other hand, if the intention of the list is simply to support the original intention of the separation of church and state, which was to avoid the conflict between politics and religion that contaminated both these spheres throughout Europe at the time the American constitution was being drawn up, and thereby protect all the minor religions against the tyranny of the major religion by removing its influence from the political sphere, then I support the author in his endeavour.

It is true that these suggestions do not prosecute, say, Jews or Catholics as a group as opposed to the majority religion which is given preference. But it DOES prosecute all religious people, trying to put them in an inferior class to atheists.

I'm not sure that that is correct. As far as I am aware, the legal challenges are about, for example, removing the ten commmandments from public buildings, not prosecuting of the individuals who put them there.

The problem here is not that religion is offended. Religion does not have rights. But religious PEOPLE have rights. And these rights are, in practice if not in theory, banning them from the public square completely.

Full agreement with the highlighted bit.
And, if the idea is to ban religious ideas from the public sphere, I would be opposed to that as well. I believe in free speech and the free interchange of ideas, no matter what those ideas may be. Crap ideas must be defeated in the marketplace not legislated against. And to legislate against ideas is an exercise in futility anyway.

BillyJoe
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written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
BTW, did I cure you of Homodisgustoria? smilies/grin.gif
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@ Vedli77
written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
That's very nice; Australia must be a virtual heaven on Earth.

smilies/wink.gif

Something similar to a Bill of Rights is an excellent concept for managing the relationship between the governors of society and the governed.

But it really pisses me off when people demand their rights rather than appreciate them, failing to realise that they have been granted to them by people concerned with their welfare, not by god or "nature".
"We want a better basic wage. When do we want it? Now!"
"We want a rise in unemployment benefits. When do we want it? Now!"

Meanwhile, what is a right not to be wronged? How do you define a "wrong" with respect to society? Certainly we might presume you mean the right fo a person not to be physically assaulted in some way by some other person, but what about if the government is doing the assaulting?

The right not to be wronged physically, psychologically, or emotionally.

And what about other types of "wrongs"? What are they? Seems to me like you're then making a list of, well, rights.

It is the emphasis that is different. If you give people "natural" or "god given" RIGHTS they tend to DEMAND them. If you pretect them against wrongs they tend to appreciate you.

Same thing goes for "harm" to others. What if the harm I'm doing to others is some speech I'm making; it "harms" someone or some group's feelings? So a "right" not to be harmed or wronged seems very much like something that begs for further definition; it's really just a platitude. smilies/smiley.gif

In my opinion, the concept of free speech and the free exchange of ideas in the marketplace must be protected above all else.

BJ
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Yes REALLY
written by Steel Rat, April 25, 2009
Oh REALLY? There already have been cases where nativity scenes, for example, ON church property, were attacked in court since the church property was publically displayed. If these laws are allowed, it will only be a matter of time until billboards advertising religious messages, for example, will be banned, too. The excuse will probably be that billboards are above a public highway and therefore magically "part of the public square", or some such.

No, no. In theory you're correct, perhaps, but in practice, the goal of such suggestions is to enforce religion to stay entirely indoors, as if it were a form of pornography.


And how did those court cases go? I would be against such a law, and I don't see how such a case could be won.

There have already been cases where billboards with Atheist messages have been refused by the advertising companies which owns the billboards. Sounds like discrimination to me. But, being a private business, they reserve the right to refuse business to anyone, I suppose. But it's still discrimination.
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Steel Rat: Good point!
written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2009
There have already been cases where billboards with Atheist messages have been refused by the advertising companies which owns the billboards. Sounds like discrimination to me. But, being a private business, they reserve the right to refuse business to anyone, I suppose. But it's still discrimination.

This has happened in Australia where an atheist organisation applied to have advertisements placed in buses but the private company who controls such advertising refused to allow it.

http://www.dakotavoice.com/200...countries/

in Australia, atheists are encountering some obstacles as the country’s largest outdoor advertising agency, APN Outdoor, has rejected the bid by the Atheist Foundation of Australia for ad space.

But they are fighting back:

http://www.atheistfoundation.o...elease.htm

4th item:
Due to overwhelming international and local public support for the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc bus slogan campaign, the AFA Committee of Management has decided to pursue redress of the APN Outdoor ‘rejection’ with the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.


Item 1, on the same page, is an april fools joke ilustrating the favoured treament of religion..
“We have decided to start a new organisation of a religious kind because of the tax free status and other financial benefits and of course, it is the truth. We have named it Indoctrinology."

"This way, as with all religion, we merely have to state we believe in a supernatural entity and the money and converts will come rolling in, all tax free and paid for by the average taxpayer. We are expecting our fair share of faith-based grants from the government as well."


BJ
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To Vedli77> Yes to all!
written by jalfarmer, April 25, 2009
Yes; here is a question for you. In your post, you said: "I have a serious problem with persons and/or groups who pay no taxes receiving tax dollars from those of us who do pay taxes."

“So, would you be opposed to, say, the Rainbow Coalition competing for public dollars?”

Yes, definitely. This is a private not for profit organization that is funded by membership dues and contributions. They have no right to tax dollars.

How about the ACLU?

See the previous response.

“How about ACORN,”

Same as above.

“Greenpeace,”

Especially Greenpeace and similar organizations! Greenpeace is a bunch of wacko criminals IMO.

“the Demoractic/Republic parties,”

And any other political party that is funded by public donations and pays no taxes per se. The ironic thing is that the people who are members of these political parties usually DO pay taxes.

“AFL-CIO, UFW, etc, etc? Should they also not be permitted to compete for those monies?”

Yep!

All of these organizations are registered as non profit and a publicly funded by membership dues and donations. If you do a little due diligence you will find that any organization registered as non profit cannot receive federal funds by law.

“And how do you avoid 1st Amendment challenges to barring those organizations from so competing?”

Because of federal laws that do not allow these non profit organizations to receive federal funds, that’s how. Any more questions?
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@jalfarmer
written by Vedli77, April 25, 2009
Eh? Come again? 501's cannot receive federal funding? What law(s) are you talking about? Are you confusing this with the rules against political lobbying for those 501s that actually do receive federal money? What is the statute to which you're referring?
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Swearing on the Bible
written by Razela, May 23, 2009
There seems to be lots of misconceptions regarding US federal employees swearing on the bible. I'm an HR Spec with a Fed gov't agency, so perhaps I can clear things up.

Every single new federal government employee (from a top appointee to the lowliest laborer) must swear their allegiance to the US government on their first day of work. For the full text, just go to http://www.opm.gov/forms/html/SF.asp and click on SF61 (Appointment Affidavit).

The offending bit is the following:
I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.

However, a few things to note: Prior to having to take the oath, new employees are given an option to take out the phrases "do solemnly swear" (instead s/he would say "affirm) and "so help me God." If this option is chosen, the employee does not need to say these bits and they are officially crossed off the affidavit prior to signing. In other words, the God part is optional.

As to swearing on a bible, some agencies may practice this, but it is optional. Forcing an employee to swear on a bible prior to beginning work with the federal government would be clearly against EEO guidelines and the employee could easily win a court case.

To sum up: Yes, some federal employees may swear in on a bible, but no federal employee is forced to swear in on a bible.

Oh, and also, this is only federal government. I am not familiar with the laws of each State.
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What does "crossed off" mean?
written by BillyJoe, May 23, 2009
I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.

I would refuse to sign an affidavit which had the words "I do solemnly swear" and "so help me God" crossed off, if crossed off means that a line is drawn through those words. The words would have to be completely removed from the affidavit.

BJ
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written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"Don’t allow our public schools to become battlegrounds between warring religious factions competing for the power to use the schools to misinform our youth."

So in other words, public schools should violate the First Amendment and ignore Equal Access rulings and engage in viewpoint discrimination? Glad to see a hatred of all things religious is even more powerful than respect for Constitutional liberties here.

"Remove "under God" from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, and "In God We Trust" from all American currency"

It is silliness like this that makes atheists so despised in the United States. What next, the removal of any reference to Nature's god from the Declaration of Independence? Surely you wouldn't advocate such a thing. Oh, wait...
"Allow no teaching in public schools that any deity gave us our rights; we earned those"

You earned them? By doing what? Your rights are inherent, you didn't earn them, unless the mere fact of being born is how you "earn" your rights. From whom did you earn these rights? A government entity? But perhaps I am wrong. Maybe we shouldn't teach any such nonsense about a connection between a diety and our rights. Why should students learn about the beliefs that led to the American Revolution and underpin the foundations of democracy in the United States? Those are such trifling matters. Seriously, it is amazing that the JREF would endorse such nonsense.
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Thin-skinnned doesn't even begin to describe
written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"I would refuse to sign an affidavit which had the words "I do solemnly swear" and "so help me God" crossed off, if crossed off means that a line is drawn through those words. The words would have to be completely removed from the affidavit."

The title of my post says all I need to say.
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written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"But they are fighting back:

Due to overwhelming international and local public support for the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc bus slogan campaign, the AFA Committee of Management has decided to pursue redress of the APN Outdoor ‘rejection’ with the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission."


You call trying to force a private company or entity to do something which it doesn't want to do fighting back? So if JREF refused to publish materials supportive of Christianty, you would support Christians suing them to force the JREF To accede to those demands? Some of the people here aren't really supportive of the notion of a "free society" are they?



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written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"But it really pisses me off when people demand their rights rather than appreciate them, failing to realise that they have been granted to them by people concerned with their welfare, not by god or "nature"

You are not granted rights by people, you are born with them. Seriously, for a group of people who claim to be so brilliant, it is amazing how ignorant so many on this site are of the political traditions of this country. If someone "granted" your rights, they could just as easily "ungrant" them, or decide not to grant them to certain people in the first place. The notion that a person in a position of authority is an arbiter of who is "granted" fundamental rights and who isn't is so fundamentally totalitarian, I honestly can't believe anyone on this board would put forth such a ridiculous view.
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Would you like some cheese with your whine?
written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"One would hope that businesses would adopt some of these as well. It's so frustrating to receive an email from a co-worker with a signature line to the effect "May God Bless!", knowing that if you say anything about it you're a bad person. I'm not suggesting governments mandate such things, but that businesses be self-policing in this regard."

Again, this is thin-skinned beyond belief. If receiving an email from a well-meaning co-worker with an inocuous phrase at the end is enough for you to call for businesses to self-police, you are quite simply a pathetic crybaby. Why don't you live in a cave so you don't have to interact with such terrible, horrible people who write such injurious sentences.
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written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"One would hope that businesses would adopt some of these as well. It's so frustrating to receive an email from a co-worker with a signature line to the effect "May God Bless!", knowing that if you say anything about it you're a bad person. I'm not suggesting governments mandate such things, but that businesses be self-policing in this regard."

Do office Christmas parties make you curl up in the fetal position? Or do you commit yourself to an instituion for the whole month of December so that you can avoid those terrible emails that end with "Merry Christmas"?
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written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"Perhaps a more effective approach would be skeptics avoiding those businesses that actively display and promote their religiosity. Chik-Fil-A, for instance, is proud of the fact that all of their stores are closed on Sundays for religious observances, so I don't eat their food. My vet put christian muzak on the phone line while you're on hold. After mentioning this to her and being informed that it would stay that way, I found a new vet."

Good idea. I think all businesses started by atheists should be boycotted by believers in this country. They would be in business approximately five seconds. You changed your vet becasue of Christian muzak? I would call you a complaining whiner, but that is an understatement akin to calling Jupiter big.
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written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"My vet put christian muzak on the phone line while you're on hold. After mentioning this to her and being informed that it would stay that way, I found a new vet."

Seriously, I don't know which is more pathetic, complaining about such a trifle or expecting someone to change their business practices because you did. Did you query your new vet on his religious beliefs? When you go to a restaurant, do you refuse to be served by a religious waiter or have your food cooked by a Christian chef? Maybe these people should be made to wear cross patches on their chests so that you can know who to avoid.

And you people have the nerve to call Christians intolerant?
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Maybe you should read some case law before you are wrong again
written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"As for the religious displays in PUBLIC grounds, it's unconstitutional, doesn't belong there. But it seems the religious people are the ones being thin-skinned when they can't seem to allow an atheist display alongside the religious one. Which is why I'm all for allowing neither."

Actually it's not unconstitutional, as long it is not restricted to one religion and secular displays are also present. Furthermore, you find me an atheist display that isn't either a)deliberately insulting of believers and b)intentionally antagonistic of believers, and I will show you an atheist display that has never existed
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Wrong, yet again. What a surprise (not really).
written by masanf, October 30, 2009
"Please do not split hairs, yes, the "In god we trust" phrase has only been a part of American history for around 50 years..."


In God We Trust only 50 years old? Wrong. It has only been a law for 50 years, but it is older than that. Maybe you should read the "Star Spangled Banner, particularly the "And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust'" part of it, or perhaps you should look at some coins from the Civil War era. Again, it is quite simply amazing how a group of people who are disdainful of the intellects of "theists" can be so freakin ignorant of American history.


"I'll have to admit christians do have a lot of fun - singing with their eyes closed, burning witches, buggering altar boys, passing around snakes, etc."

What a great argument against Christianity, because the Bible obviously condones pedophilia and burning witches. Again, the stupidity here is breathtaking. I could easily mention states that forbade any practice of religion and point out that they were the most brutal and murderous tyrannies to exist, but their actions are no more an indictment of atheism than pedophile priests are an indictment of Christianity.
As for singing with the eyes closed, I would venture a guess that such behavior is not restricted to "theists".
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written by BillyJoe, October 30, 2009
masanf,

For your information:

1) Rights are not inherent and they are not earned. Nor are you born with them. They are, in fact, granted.
2) Black men do not take kindly to the assumption that they are inferior and, therefore, they do not wish to see the word "nigger" used in public documents. Similarly, atheist do not take kindly to the assumption that everyone believes in God and, therefore, they do not wish to see the words "under God" and "In God We Trust" used in public documents.
3) Complaining about the failure of governments to abide by the first amendment's separation of church and state is not a question of being "thin skinned". It is sticking up for the first amendments separation of church and state. It is a demand for freedom of religion and freedom from religion. It is sticking up for everytone's right to live in a country where their freedom of religion, or freedom from religion, is compromised as a consequence of someone else's religious beliefs.
4) The private company that refused the Australian Skeptics' advertisement, oversees ALL outdoors' advertising in Australia. There is no competition. Their refusal to allow the ads is tantamount to a complete ban on the ads.
5) If a business promotes an activity through their business that you find abhorent, you would be a hypocrit if you did business with them. I do not buy pizzas form Domino's because profits go towards furthering the cause of creationism in misinforming the public about evolution. I do not support businesses that promote christianity through their businesses because christianity promotes falsehood and oppression. Get over it!
6) Supporting one dogma despite the harm that is has caused because another dogma has also caused harm is a logical fallacy called the "tu quoque" fallacy. Nice one!
7) You are an idiot.

In fact, wipe numbers 1 through 6. smilies/grin.gif

BillyJoe
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written by masanf, November 14, 2009
1. "Rights are not inherent and they are not earned. Nor are you born with them. They are, in fact, granted."

Wow, way to not back up your assertion at all. Because hey, if you write it, it must be true. Shame hundreds of years of American political tradition supports my view and not yours. But hey, since you claim rights are "in fact" granted, how can you possibly be wrong? When have people named Billy Joe not been absolute geniuses?
2. Anyone drawing an equivalence between "nigger" and "In God we Trust" on coins and documents is well, a moron. Thin-skinned doesn't even scratch the surface of how whiny and pathetic you people are. Seriously, do you people ever leave the house, or are you paralyzed, rolled up in the fetal position, afraid to go out lest you run into a reference to God, or horror of horrors are sent an email that says "God Bless You" or "Merry Christmas", because man would that be traumatic.
3. Stating that it is insufficient to cross out any reference to God on a federal document and demanding it be printed without the reference at all IS being thin-skinned and pathetic ( I am beginning to see a pattern here). Whininess seems to be a trait of the atheists that post here. Also, please cite for me the pertinent case law indicating that all references to God must be removed from affidavits. Yeah, I won't be holding my breath. You have no right to that anymore than you have a right to have "In God We Trust" removed from American currency or "Under God" removed from the pledge. Maybe you should look up the pertinent case law before you make an absolute as$ of yourself again.
4. If you are right about the ads, then I take back my criticism concerning the Australian skeptics.
5. Again, see the arguments about whininess. As for getting over it, I am not the one who needs to take that advice. I am not the one who can't seem to wrap his head around the fact the overwhelming percentage of Americans are religious and you just have to deal with it. Furthermore, not wanting to patronize a business because it has Christian employees, something most normal people would rightfully call bigotry (which is what happened in the case I was discussing), is a wee bit different than not patronizing a business because it gives money to causes with which you disagree. And hypocrite has an "e" on the end of it, smart guy.
6. No clue to which dogma you are claiming I support.
7. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha, you calling someone and idiot is like Chris Farley calling someone fat and self-destructive.
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written by masanf, November 14, 2009
I would like to add to number six above. It seems BIlly Joe wrote this "Supporting one dogma despite the harm that is has caused because another dogma has also caused harm is a logical fallacy called the "tu quoque" fallacy. Nice one!"

in response to something I had written earlier, this ( I think):
What a great argument against Christianity, because the Bible obviously condones pedophilia and burning witches. Again, the stupidity here is breathtaking. I could easily mention states that forbade any practice of religion and point out that they were the most brutal and murderous tyrannies to exist, but their actions are no more an indictment of atheism than pedophile priests are an indictment of Christianity.


Evidently, because he is an idiot, he couldn't figure out what I was trying to write. The last sentence apparently wasn't clear enough. Which is why he wrote the sentence I quoted at the beginning of this post. Unfortunately, for him nowhere do I defend the actions of one "dogma" by pointing out how horrible another "dogma" is. In fact, as anyone with an IQ north of 50 can see, I did the exact opposite. But hey, he used Latin, so he can't be a total moron, can he?
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written by Steel Rat, November 14, 2009
I could easily mention states that forbade any practice of religion and point out that they were the most brutal and murderous tyrannies to exist, but their actions are no more an indictment of atheism than pedophile priests are an indictment of Christianity.


You could point that out, but it would be a logical fallacy.
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written by BillyJoe, November 15, 2009
1. "Rights are not inherent and they are not earned. Nor are you born with them. They are, in fact, granted."

Wow, way to not back up your assertion at all. Because hey, if you write it, it must be true. Shame hundreds of years of American political tradition supports my view and not yours. But hey, since you claim rights are "in fact" granted, how can you possibly be wrong? When have people named Billy Joe not been absolute geniuses?

Rights are man made by definition.
You don't need to be a genius to understand that.

2. Anyone drawing an equivalence between "nigger" and "In God we Trust" on coins and documents is well, a moron. Thin-skinned doesn't even scratch the surface of how whiny and pathetic you people are. Seriously, do you people ever leave the house, or are you paralyzed, rolled up in the fetal position, afraid to go out lest you run into a reference to God, or horror of horrors are sent an email that says "God Bless You" or "Merry Christmas", because man would that be traumatic.

Paralysed with fear? smilies/grin.gif
That really is a laugh.
No, we are are just not going to put up with religion being the default position any longer. There was a time when you had to be white. That time has long past. The balck man is our equal before the law. At present you have to be a theist. The time is coming when that will no longer be the asumption. And that time is long overue. If you don't see the parallel, the fault is not mine but lies in your own bigoted world view.

3. Stating that it is insufficient to cross out any reference to God on a federal document and demanding it be printed without the reference at all IS being thin-skinned and pathetic ( I am beginning to see a pattern here). Whininess seems to be a trait of the atheists that post here.

Many white men went to their graves whining and raging ineffectually against the equal status of black men. Your time is coming.

Also, please cite for me the pertinent case law indicating that all references to God must be removed from affidavits. Yeah, I won't be holding my breath. You have no right to that anymore than you have a right to have "In God We Trust" removed from American currency or "Under God" removed from the pledge. Maybe you should look up the pertinent case law before you make an absolute as$ of yourself again.

Right after you show me where exactly I stated that.

4. If you are right about the ads, then I take back my criticism concerning the Australian skeptics.

Is that your way of apologising?
You mouthed off about the Australian Skeptics, without knowing the facts, without having any idea what you were talking about. And you still don't. Congratulations.

I am not the one who can't seem to wrap his head around the fact the overwhelming percentage of Americans are religious and you just have to deal with it.

I am dealing with it. I helping to make that fact past history. Get over that when it happens. In the mean time, lets just get back to separating church from state to protect people's freedon of relgion and from religion.

Furthermore, not wanting to patronize a business because it has Christian employees, something most normal people would rightfully call bigotry (which is what happened in the case I was discussing), is a wee bit different than not patronizing a business because it gives money to causes with which you disagree.

Pull the other leg.
How would patrons know they were christian unless they were promoting christianity through their business. In any case, are you saying you agree with "not patronizing a business because it gives money to causes with which you disagree"?

And hypocrite has an "e" on the end of it, smart guy.

And what clever person has never heard of a typo?

6. No clue to which dogma you are claiming I support.

You are defending christianity by countering the argument about the harm it has done by pointing out the harm done by tyranies that forbid religion. That is a "tu quoque" fallacy whatever way you look at it.

7. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha, you calling someone and idiot is like Chris Farley calling someone fat and self-destructive.

Well, thanks for laughing. It was a joke after all, as evidenced by the smilies/grin.gif on the next line.
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written by BillyJoe, November 15, 2009
What a great argument against Christianity, because the Bible obviously condones pedophilia and burning witches. Again, the stupidity here is breathtaking. I could easily mention states that forbade any practice of religion and point out that they were the most brutal and murderous tyrannies to exist, but their actions are no more an indictment of atheism than pedophile priests are an indictment of Christianity.


Seems Steel Rat has the same take on this that I have.
I suppose we are both wrong. smilies/cool.gif
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