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Tue Nov 17, 2015, 11:33 AM

Saying Islam has nothing to do with the Paris attacks...

Or that the terrorists that carried out the attacks are not "true" Muslims, is like saying that institutional racism doesn't exist, or that white privilege isn't real. And it should be treated as such, but it's not, even on DU, because it turns out something called religious privilege exists.

Quite like how right wing conservatives will equate any criticism of our societal structures or real problems as "reverse racism", many on here and certainly around the world equate criticism of Islam automatically with an ethnic or racial attack. Both are deflections from even aknowledging a problem exists.

And both are fed by privilege. The vast majority of the world is religious. No one wants to be associated with people who do bad things they disagree with in the name of their same religion. And, because the vast majority of people want to have their privilege without confronting troublesome issues within their own belief system, the idea that religions are by definition good, and any bad act is by definition not religious, is a wildly popular and accepted idea embraced most everywhere, as it is a great boon to anyone religious, as the vast majority of the world is.

This privilege is so widespread that liberals seem to exhibit almost as much as conservatives, if not more so. Especially as liberals want to believe in a world where everyone gets along, the idea of any "true" religion being inherently good is a tempting one. Religion has such a powerful and protected status, it's much easier to go along with the status quo and not challenge religious ideas, but instead simply redefine religion to fit whatever worldview a person holds.

This idea ignores fundamental problems in religious ideas.

Islam, as described in the Koran and Hadiths, says a lot of things which most here would fervently disagree. Many people define all the bad parts of these books out of their definition of Islam. But that's not how religion works. The bad ideas of Islam must be addressed, because many people do in fact take them to be true, and a lot of these ideas are very mainstream in the world as a result, with no challenge to their foundations, but instead efforts by liberals to redefine the religion rather than challenge the ideas, because of religion's power and privilege.

Few seem willing to question these bad parts because it ultimately leads to questioning the whole thing. And so many people are so scared at the idea of a religion not being true they will jump through as many mental hoops as needed to maintain their belief while discarding all the parts they disagree with. This is where the privilege of religion most stands out.

Religious privilege means being able to identify with a belief system that has a holy text which endorses bigotry, homophobia, genocide, misogyny, etc. and not expect anyone to think you actually subscribe to said beliefs, in fact, to be offended by anyone who would associate your relief system with the horrible proclamations made within your own holy texts. It means being able to flat out state that anyone of your same belief system who acts badly is simply not a "true" whatever.

This is where moderate believers uphold and support religious power and privilege, which only helps religious radicals like ISIS remain relevant elsewhere. After all, ISIS also believes quite a few Muslims aren't true Muslims, as anyone can use that idea to work to their advantage.

If you identify with a religion whose official dogma or text supports bigotry, homophobia, etc., think about why you continue to identify that way. Chances are, the power and privilege of religion will have a lot to do with it. Maybe you like the community or the opportunities provided to help their people. But again, if you continue to identify or even indirectly support a system that you fundamentally disagree with, question whether the privilege you are helping uphold is good for the world. Because I don't think it is.

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Reply Saying Islam has nothing to do with the Paris attacks... (Original post)
MellowDem Nov 2015 OP
Truprogressive85 Nov 2015 #1
MellowDem Nov 2015 #2
Truprogressive85 Nov 2015 #3
cleanhippie Nov 2015 #6
mmonk Nov 2015 #14
smirkymonkey Nov 2015 #4
hifiguy Nov 2015 #21
leftynyc Nov 2015 #58
Iggo Nov 2015 #5
hifiguy Nov 2015 #22
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #7
tkmorris Nov 2015 #8
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #12
MellowDem Nov 2015 #15
jwirr Nov 2015 #26
MellowDem Nov 2015 #9
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #10
MellowDem Nov 2015 #13
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #16
MellowDem Nov 2015 #17
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #18
MellowDem Nov 2015 #19
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #20
MellowDem Nov 2015 #31
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #38
MellowDem Nov 2015 #62
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #69
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #70
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #71
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #72
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #73
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #75
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #76
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #78
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #79
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #80
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #81
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #84
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #85
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #86
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #89
Lordquinton Nov 2015 #90
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #91
snagglepuss Nov 2015 #43
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #55
whatthehey Nov 2015 #24
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #40
whatthehey Nov 2015 #49
el_bryanto Nov 2015 #53
jwirr Nov 2015 #27
MellowDem Nov 2015 #29
jwirr Nov 2015 #30
MellowDem Nov 2015 #33
snagglepuss Nov 2015 #41
Dems to Win Nov 2015 #11
Yavin4 Nov 2015 #23
uppityperson Nov 2015 #25
Humanist_Activist Nov 2015 #28
uppityperson Nov 2015 #37
trotsky Nov 2015 #47
Agnosticsherbet Nov 2015 #32
MellowDem Nov 2015 #34
DirkGently Nov 2015 #35
MellowDem Nov 2015 #36
DirkGently Nov 2015 #42
MellowDem Nov 2015 #64
Old Union Guy Nov 2015 #39
DirkGently Nov 2015 #44
trotsky Nov 2015 #48
agnostic102 Nov 2015 #45
smirkymonkey Nov 2015 #60
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2015 #46
MellowDem Nov 2015 #65
pampango Nov 2015 #50
BootinUp Nov 2015 #51
agnostic102 Nov 2015 #54
bklyncowgirl Nov 2015 #57
MellowDem Nov 2015 #66
Romulox Nov 2015 #52
mwrguy Nov 2015 #56
snagglepuss Nov 2015 #63
treestar Nov 2015 #88
snagglepuss Nov 2015 #92
MellowDem Nov 2015 #67
BootinUp Nov 2015 #68
Marr Nov 2015 #83
Matrosov Nov 2015 #59
smirkymonkey Nov 2015 #61
Democat Nov 2015 #74
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Nov 2015 #77
Marr Nov 2015 #82
treestar Nov 2015 #87

Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 11:43 AM

1. Where would you put the atheist that shot :Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha in NC

Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha

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Response to Truprogressive85 (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 11:53 AM

2. Atheism isn't a belief system...

What was his ideology? Did he do it based on said ideology? If so, then that ideology may be problematic and deserves criticism. And it would be criticized, unless it happened to be a religion.

This is another common refrain of religious privilege. It is like conservatives responding to outrage against police brutality against blacks by pointing out an episode where a black person killed a white person.

Many religious people like to equate atheism with a religion itself, because their privilege doesn't allow them to think people can have a worldview that doesn't involve religion.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:08 PM

3. terrorist can be have religious person or have no belief system

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Response to Truprogressive85 (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:21 PM

6. What are you talking about? Your posts read as incoherent nonsense.

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Response to Truprogressive85 (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:55 PM

14. Thanks. They are from my area and did quite a bit for humanity in their short time.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:18 PM

4. Bravo!

It still baffles me how liberals will go out of their way to defend a regressive, narrow-minded belief system. I don't get it.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:23 PM

21. Many of the same people who swarm attack posters

 

who point out the awfulness that is undeniably in Islam have no problems pointing out and rightly mocking the varied idiocies of xtianity, particularly in the US variants.

The stink from that hypocrisy could knock a buzzard off of a shit wagon.

All I can figure out is that some sort of self-flagellating "guilt" is involved. Barf.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 04:08 PM

58. Proof that Bill Maher was

 

100% right shows up every single day on DU. It's nauseating.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:21 PM

5. Who said religion had nothing to do with the Paris attacks?

Not me, that's for sure.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:24 PM

22. It's been said and, more frequently, implied,

 

by many around DU in the last few days.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:28 PM

7. The core problem with this analysis is that assumes that people

are deciding to belong a religion the same way they choose to belong to a political party. Because anti-theism precludes the possibility that there is something out there, people who choose to believe in Islam (or in Christianity) are choosing it willfully. It is somewhat similar to the assertion of some branches of Christianity that if anybody really prays to find out the truth they will, and therefore anybody who isn't part of their brand of Christianity is willfully choosing to serve Satan.

In this formulation, anybody who chooses to belong to Islam or Christianity is willfully choosing bigotry, hatred, and terrorism.

Not sure why this is in General Discussion though. Aren't there two forums at least where posting attacks on religion is encouraged?

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:37 PM

8. I'm not seeing your argument

Leave the OP aside for a moment, as I have many issues with that.

Are you saying that a person who chooses to identify as Christian, or Islamic, or some other religious group is NOT choosing to identify with the tenets of that belief? If so you haven't made the case very well, at least not for me.

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Response to tkmorris (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:47 PM

12. Well it's a longer discussion

The problem we run into here is that there is a while list of things that Islams or Christians believe - obviously many Christian Posters at DU for example would have terribly different interpretations of what Chrisianity is all about compared to say Pat Robertson or William Phelps.

My point is more that if you have an experience with God or Allah or the Divine - and you feel that a certain faith is right for you - it is more difficult to separate yourself from it. If you are an atheist than that conflict doesn't really exist - there's nothing up there to communicate with, so you can just pick a church that suits your focus. But it's more complicated if you do believe there's something up there; which is why religious tolerance within reason is a good thing, in my mind.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:55 PM

15. I think that makes sense...

But where I think religious privilege comes into play is that people who honestly believe in a god identify with a religion that does not reflect the god they believe in or even their worldview, because there are benefits to identifying with major organized religions and, thanks to religious privilege, few drawbacks for identifying with a belief system that says terrible things that the person doesn't agree with.

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Response to tkmorris (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:38 PM

26. Christianity, the Jewish and Islam are religions that have

denominations and in each there are very different tenets. There is a huge difference between a rw church and a liberal church. That is one of the problems with the idea that all who are affiliated with any of these groups somehow all agree on what another sect is doing.

I think that is where the ones who call all Islam believers terrorists are going wrong.

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:39 PM

9. Read the rules...

on posting, religion can be discussed if there is a major event receiving a lot of coverage. Guess the mods can determine that one.

Religious privilege is being able to identify with a religion with dogmas and texts that explicitly condone slavery for example, with the understanding that no one will believe you actually believe the bad parts of a religion you identify with.

I didn't get into choosing willfully or not to believe, I talked about choosing to identify with said religions, as quite a few people that do don't believe a lot of it.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:41 PM

10. But they do believe in other parts of it - right?

I mean if you reject Islam completely, why would you call yourself a Muslim? And if a person calls themselves a Muslim - identifies as a Muslim - then they are supporting bigotry, hatred, and terrorism, assuming I read your initial post correctly.

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:51 PM

13. They are identifying with it...

and even indirectly supporting it in some cases. And that's perfectly normal and acceptable because of the privilege of religion. Some will claim they aren't identifying with the parts they disagree with, because that's also the privilege of religion, to identify as the follower of a religion with an official dogma and text, and then be aghast when people wonder why you identify with a dogma or text you don't agree with and which says terrible things and inspires terrible things.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:56 PM

16. Yep - "Religious Privilege" is a lot like freedom of conscience. nt

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:00 PM

17. More like "freedom from criticism"

Freedom of conscience is being able to believe what you want.

Identifying with a religion with dogma and holy texts where you disavow all the parts you disagree with and being shocked when people call out your religion you identify with based on its own texts and dogma is religious privilege. You can believe what you want, but you shouldn't be free from being confronted with the consequences of the belief system you identify with.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #17)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:06 PM

18. How are they free from criticism?

I mean you and others at DU are constantly posting attacks on the religious - there are authors who are writing whole books attacking religion, popular websites, and the like. It strikes me that there's plenty of criticism of religion going around.

Maybe the key is in your post up above? "thanks to religious privilege, few drawbacks for identifying with a belief system that says terrible things that the person doesn't agree with."

Assuming we lived in what you would consider a just or an enlightened society, what drawbacks would come to those who are members of Christian or Muslim faiths?

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:17 PM

19. As in by wider society....

Your response is pretty obtuse. There are many books written about institutional racism for example, yet many people believe it doesn't exist or that white privilege isn't a thing... so not sure what you're getting at?

The drawbacks I'm referencing are the drawbacks people face for identifying with ideologies that contain beliefs society abhors, like fascism or the KKK, for example. If you identity with either of those, people rightly conclude you believe what you identify with and don't want to join or identify with you, even if you disavow all the bad parts, and even if your group holds fun bonfires or fundraisers for cancer, for example. But make either of those a religion, and how things change fast.

Religion is so privileged that the bad parts are presumed to not exist, and no one who identifies with said religion holds any responsibility for identifying with or indirectly supporting a religion that explicitly tells people to do horrible things and which has many horrible things done in line with said dogma and texts.

In other words, religion should stop being treated as somehow special or different from other ideologies when it comes to criticizing the ideology and those who identify with it. The same standard should be used.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #19)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:20 PM

20. So Christians and Muslims should be treated as fascists and members of the KKK in your opinion? nt

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:02 PM

31. No, Christianity and Islam...

shouldn't be treated with kid gloves because they're religions, and fascism and white supremacy are great examples of the privilege religion has versus other secular ideologies in how they're identified with or criticized.

Christianity alone condones slavery, rape, genocide, misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, eternal tortuture for thought crimes etc. I think that religion and people that identity with it shouldn't get a pass because people say they just don't believe those parts. Like someone from the KKK wouldn't get a pass just because they disavow all the "bad stuff".

There is a reason the Pope is lovingly praised on DU despite having the viw that the devil is behind marriage equality. Religious privilege.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #31)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:46 PM

38. OK - but people who want to fit into normal society

who are fascists or white supremacists have to hide those beliefs though? I mean I'm not saying someone who openly advocated white supremacy couldn't get employed, but it'd be a lot harder. By the same token a member of the KKK, as you state, wouldn't get a pass in society - they would be ostracized from most groups, certainly excluded from political participation other than voting unless they hid those views.

It sounds like in your idea of a just society, Christians and Muslims would be subject to the same treatment. They are free to think and believe as they like, but if they express those beliefs, they will pay a cost.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 05:07 PM

62. Thats the issue...

it's socially normative right now to identity with hateful belief systems as long as they're religions, and it is presumed people don't believe the worst parts, the only way for that to change is if it's no longer considered normal to do so. Which is slowly happening I think, with many people no longer identifying with specific religions more and more.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #62)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 07:27 PM

69. Thank - well stated. That makes it very clear.

Obviously as a member of a religion I don't long for a future in which I'm a second class citizen, but I applaud you for expressing it so directly.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #69)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 11:29 AM

70. The reason religions face a lot of criticism is because they great everyone else as second class

Initially everyone who isn't in the core faith is secondary, and then we get things like the Morman Church, where they just recodified that gays are second class. Pretty much every religion out there treats women as second class, and that drives society's misogyny.

The fact that saying any of the above is considered controversial, or an attack on the religious just underlines the privilege.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #70)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 11:33 AM

71. It's Mormon Church by the way.

If that were what MellowDem were arguing than I probably wouldn't respond - he's not arguing we should all be on equal footing which I would agree with, he's arguing that we should switch places - that Atheism should be seen as societially acceptable and participation in a religion (at least in Islam and Christian denominations) should not be.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #71)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 12:36 PM

72. So you're fine with Religions treating others as second class

but when someone tries to turn the tables around you object. Why is that? Maybe take a look at that reason and then you might see why people are so vocal about the harm religion does to people like women, gays (In the case of the Mormon* church) and non-believers (Be it atheist or just the wrong religion)

You cannot object to the idea of an atheist treating you like a second class citizen without confronting the fact that your religion already does that to too many groups.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #72)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 12:41 PM

73. I'm not fine with Religions's treating others as second class citizens

I favor a society in which all are on equal footing - judged by how they act.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #73)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 12:51 PM

75. Then adherence to a bigoted doctrine is an act that should be judged

The point is that if people really felt that way they wouldn't be members of any group that required second class citizens. But that's not the case, people want to judge and not be judged.

You can't hold that view and then complain when people point out that it's incompatible with pretty much all religions.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #75)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 12:56 PM

76. You don't really know me.

But I suppose that's neither here nor there. I am a Mormon. I also believe that people should be equal under the law and within society. If you want to see those two as necessarily incompatible, than I can't stop you. People should be able to believe as the like, so long as they don't try to enforce those views on others.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #76)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 12:59 PM

78. How do you justify that with your church's doctrine?

Seriously, your church has made a point to enforce second class citizenry, yet you claim to not like that.

P.S. you don't know me either.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #78)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 01:12 PM

79. Well a few points

I don't agree on my Church's stance on the legality of Gay Marriage; I have voted in favor of legalizing Gay Marriage every opportunity I have had (it hasn't done much good, as I live in Florida)

Also there is more to the church, to almost any church, than judging and bigotry.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #79)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 01:42 PM

80. Your church counts you as supporting it's hate agenda

As for the rest of what you said? That's religious privilege. You are trying to count the good parts for yourself while distancing the bad parts. But it doesn't matter if you vote for it personally, the group you support spends millions spreading their agenda, they did it to us here in California, and if you give financially to the church, which most people do, then you are financially supporting those efforts.

And your last line? I'm glad you admit that judging and bigotry are a part of almost every church, most believers can't admit that.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #80)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 02:04 PM

81. I reject that definition of religious privilege as it clearly encroaches on the right of people

to believe as they like. I understand why you are throwing that term around, but carried to its logical conclusion you end up with an end to religious tolerance in favor of the one truth - which is, from your perspective, atheism.

While anti-theist fundamentalists aren't going around killing people or blowing things up, their goals are pretty much the same as fundamentalists everywhere - a world in which everybody agrees with them or at least keeps any disagreements to themselves.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #81)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 02:35 PM

84. So you claim that the hate and bigotry is what defines religion?

Are Mormon fundamentalists spreading the anti gay hate? Is is Catholic fundamentalists who are anti women? No, it's core doctrine that defines those positions.

Yes, anti theists tend to want the religious hate to stop, and the beliefs to not be brought into the public sphere and guiding the laws and course of the world, every religion wants it's views protected in laws, and that doesn't stop at respect, your church wants it's anti LGBTQIA agenda as the law of the land.

There is no equivalency here.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #84)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 02:48 PM

85. You really aren't making any sense here

Maybe you should calm down a bit. You claim that all religions want their views protected in laws (like the first amendment, presumably) and that's true. I don't know of a religion that want to be persecuted.

Possibly though what you meant to say is that each religion wants their views enshrined in laws; I.E> they want their religious beliefs to be the law of the land. I don't want that, personally (this'll give you another chance to call me a liar), and I don't know that all members of a religion want that.

Alternatively maybe you really do want religious beliefs to not be protected, but that religious believers suffer legal and economic penalties for believing. In which case the only real difference between your desire to see your views enshrined by law and a fundamentalist Christians desire to see their views enshrined in law is the specifics of the views.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #85)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 03:24 PM

86. You are doing a lot of twisting

You kick it off with the angry atheist trope, which is quite offensive you should know, and then you say I accuse you of losing. I haven't. If I had I would say it directly.

What you got confused about and then tried to explain to me is exactly what I said. That religions want their beliefs enshrined in law. They do, and they pour millions into it. Your church succeeded in California.

It really doesn't matter what members of a religion want, only what their god wants, and your God hates gays, your church told me so. Why are you so firmly a member of an organization that does not represent your views?

I suggest you read more about privilege, as you clearly do not understand it.

You are right that I want the protected status of religion to end. Now. But unlike religion. I don't want to turn that into persecution. Here's a teachable moment, part of privilege is the fear that if you lose it the formerly underprivileged class will do to you what you've been doing to them (and by you here, I mean your religion, to prevent confusion)

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #86)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 03:32 PM

89. I'm glad you don't want to turn that into persecution

But when others in this thread say they want religion to be treated the same as the KKK or someone who claims to believe in Santa Clause, that does imply a different attitude.

I'm pretty familiar with privilege. I feel like I understand it and the difference between that and this pretty well.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #89)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 03:51 PM

90. So you don't deny your privilege?

You don't deny that you have the protection of a church that actively impressed others?

If you claim to be a Mormon, then you bear the burden of your church's actions. It's not some fringe fundamentalist wing that's hurting people, it's the core doctrine that is declaring gays as apostates (which is a while another level of oppression that we don't need to get into here).

Can you address that without deflection?

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #90)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 04:47 PM

91. Excommunication is more of a discussion for the Religion Room

I don't participate there anymore.

You should double check your stuff though - i think you meant Oppress when you typed Impress.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:03 PM

43. The point is that believers can shrug off responsilbity for the horrible

bits by claiming those bits are the revealed word of their deity and who are they to know it's mysterious ways.

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Response to snagglepuss (Reply #43)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:46 PM

55. I suppose they might also point out that they don't advocate those horrible parts

But I understand that many anti-theists have a vested interest in seeing all Christians and Muslims as essentially the same.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:35 PM

24. How about their evidence-free beliefs be treated the same as any other?

If I as an educated, functional adult loudly proclaimed not only my complete and sincere belief in Sants Claus but my fervent desire to incorporate laws and norms into US society that meant we did what Santa wanted, would I be taken seriously as a POTUS candidate? Hell would it be essential to loudly claim those beliefs to be considered a serious candidate?

The only difference between the belief in one bearded magic guy who gives presents or punishments based on human behavior which would make you considered at best simple and at worst insane, and the belief in the other magic bearded guy who does exactly the same is how many people hold that belief and how much effort has gone into the laughable semantic acrobatics that form apologetics for that belief.

Religious privilege is precisely the difference in how these beliefs are treated.

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Response to whatthehey (Reply #24)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:48 PM

40. So in a just society Religious believers would be ineligible to hold public office

unless they hid those beliefs? That's a bit more extreme than MellowDem as he is more focused on the texts and what they express - presumably someone who said "I don't practice a religion, but I do believe that there is a divine force of love out there" would still be eligible to be elected. In your formulation all believers who can't prove what they believe should be laughed off the stage, the same way a believer in Santa Claus would be?

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #40)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:26 PM

49. Are believers in Santa ineligible?

Please explain the important differences in the evidence for and rationality of the beliefs in Santa and the Bible God as he is accepted by the majority of mainstream believers.

It's easy to hide behind ineffability when challenged. In fact it's the norm. But that's not a majoritarian belief. The majority of US Christians believe in Young Earth Creationism (46% of the US - mathematically impossible to not be majority of Xians), in Angels (70% +) a literal Devil (60% +) and Adam and Eve as real people (56%).

You can say "well that's just the masses - educated folks likely to be POTUS candidates have more sophisticated theology TM" but then you must face problem 2. If we cannot define positive verifiable attributes of God - if he is as you suggest some ineffable divine love force (how do you know that by the way?) then he loses all immanence and all relevance to human interaction.

Properly examined and shorn of all the safeguards of religious privilege, beliefs in Gods become one of two things. Concrete and yet absurd to the point of yes laughability (like Santa, and I'd still like you to provide a contrast in the basis for belief in him vs God) or vague and irrelevant. You are left with the only sane theistic option being belief in an unverifiable, epistemologically meaningless transcendent being that can have no interaction with human existence; your divine love force.

You cannot rationally have it both ways. If God can interact with and affect humanity in tangible self-directed ways, then it's a childish idea akin to Santa since there is zero evidence that this has happened. If God can be rationally believed to exist, then he either cannot or does not choose to interact with humanity and so should be utterly irrelevant to our existence, since we can know absolutely nothing about what he is like or what he wants from us.


Santa or irrelevant. There is no other option. If you want to believe in that undefined ineffable love force, go right ahead. The minute though you start thinking it's talking to you, or wants you to do anything, even anything benign, or that it has any immanent effect at all, then it's bye-bye sanity and hello risibility. But that's not how our candidates speak. How would a divine love force "bless America", uttered in nigh every political speech? Are we uniquely or predominately loving or lovable? If we were to become so would it not simply be human emotions given a quasi-anthropomorphized personal image? You know damn well that in public at least our candidates must profess belief not in an impersonal force but in a silly SuperSanta who, despite all evidence to the contrary, takes a special interest between the imaginary lines between Canada and Mexico. Yes they absolutely should be laughed off the stage for that belief, but religious privilege reigns supreme in the US.

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Response to whatthehey (Reply #49)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:42 PM

53. Thank you for clarifying.

Only Atheists should hold public office - wait can Agnostics hold it too?

Bryant

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:40 PM

27. They are identifying with an idea that goes back to the 9th

century. There is a modern version of that just a Christianity has. I am sure that when ISIS rapes and tortures and kills other Muslims for religious reasons this is the difference.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #27)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:54 PM

29. The "modern version"...

is the disavowing of all the bad parts, but that doesn't make those bad parts not exist or continue to be very problematic and needing to be addressed.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #29)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:00 PM

30. I was objecting to the broad brush used in the OP. There are

many philosophies that have bad parts if you look at them historically. I will not assume that all Muslims or all Christians can be blamed for what is happening Centuries later.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #30)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:05 PM

33. These are present day problems...

and there are plenty that both Christianity and Islam are causing. People should feel bad for identifying with belief systems that are not only filled with hate and bigotry in their texts, but continue to inspire acts of both.

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:49 PM

41. You've lost me.Are you saying people are choosing their religion deliberately

like they choose political parties or that religion is foisted upon them?

And this OP does belong in GD because the OP is not criticizing religion. THe OP is criticising the fact that Islam being a religion is privileged i.e. treated with kit gloves, not subject to debate and analysis.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 12:42 PM

11. Excellent post. I have zero respect for Abraham's cruel, capricious, misogynist god

 

Don't understand how anyone can worship the god described in the bible and koran. It's hard for me to pretend to respect people's religion, frankly. If they were critical thinkers, they couldn't possibly worship the god who treated Lot, who offered his daughters to a mob to be raped, as a hero, but turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt merely for looking behind her.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:27 PM

23. To be a Liberal/Progressive minded person is to critique ALL ideologies

Whether that ideology is economic, political, social, and in particular, religious. We hold ideologies up for scrutiny.

Whenever Liberals exclude an ideology from critique or scrutiny, then those Liberals are not being Liberals.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:36 PM

25. Extremist fundamentalists pick and choose small bad bits ignoring the context

Extremist fundamentalism is the problem

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #25)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 01:50 PM

28. True, but the Moderates and Liberals do the same with the good bits. Its the same selective...

 

reading or interpretation, its how its interpreted/read that leads to problems.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #28)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:36 PM

37. I've no problem with people treating each other and the world with kindness

It doesn't usually lead to problems.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #37)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:19 PM

47. No but when each side is equally convinced that THEY are following the "true" word of god...

that's a problem.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:05 PM

32. ISIS is Mulsim and the KKK are Christian. What difference does that make.

Because a few Muslims and Christians are monsters does not mean that all of them are.

Smearing everyone of the group with the same brush is not a positive action.

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Reply #32)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:06 PM

34. You didn't read the OP...

Read it if you want to address any points I made.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:12 PM

35. Religion is whatever people say it is.

You're essentially making an argument from a religious point of view here. There's a direct tension between implying that religious dogma is part of an immutable belief system invented by people that must be held accountable for being wrong, and discounting the possibility of people making it into something better.

Christianity and Judaism have most of the horrendous tenets of Islam -- they're just not generally followed. Likewise, Islam has plenty of heart-warming, intellectually reasonable tenets that are morally sound.

Cutting out the bad parts IS how religion works, because people in fact invent religion. The Bible says Saturday is the Sabbath, but Christians go to church on Sunday. It says sacrificing bulls and stoning unchaste women pleases God, but no one really does that these days.

We could toss all of the bad religious dogma into a fire today, and tomorrow some people would still wake up and be racists or homophobes or misognyists.

The "privilege" you speak of is cultural. Dick Cheney and his friends declared "American Exceptionalism" justifies sending the U.S. military all over the globe to protect business interests by force, human lives be damned. They didn't need ancient prophecies to do so, and it didn't take religious fervor for a lot of people to support it.

Religion is a framework. It exacerbates and oversimplifies, because it comes from a different time. Without it we still have dogma, and rhetoric and prejudice and hatred and greed and violence.

Within it, people can still decide to reject those things and do better. We have a much better chance of convincing people to follow the better tenets of their religions than in trying to fight religion, or a religion altogether.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #35)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:24 PM

36. Criticism of religion is silenced...

and the problems in its texts never addressed because of the convenient idea that religion is "whatever people say it is".

Judaism and Christianity have been neutered from causing as much damage after millennia mainly because of secularism, there are no more "Christian" states.

And even then, it still inspires a lot of bad things in our society. And those religions should be criticized, not defended on the privileged basis that no one wants to deal with it because most of our society identifies with some pretty terrible belief systems.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #36)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:50 PM

42. We're criticizing religion right now.

What you can't reasonably do, is try to fight or destroy *a* religion, or dismiss its adherents as the enemy, which is where conservatives are always trying to drag us.

They think better in simple terms, and being at war with Islam would suit them much better than criticizing bad ideas coming from it.

Because religion is mostly determined by culture, that way of going about it boils down to simple bigotry. Those people bad, these people good.

That just doesn't reflect reality, though. The reality is that people and countries live in all different types of ways, with any number of empirically false and morally flawed religious traditions. People do horrible things; people do wonderful things. They always frame them in whatever tradition they inherited.

I agree it would be nice to eliminate dogma as a way of thinking -- including political and cultural dogma of all kinds -- but that option really isn't on the table. People don't generally choose religion. It's almost always an element of culture we are born to.

What we can do is insist that we will not be governed by bad ideas, whether it's trickle-down economics or casual racism, or crazy end-of-the-world prophecy nonsense.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #42)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 05:34 PM

64. Not in broader society...

Which is how the ridiculous and oft-recited idea that Islam has nothing to do with the Paris attacks and the people who carried it out are not "true" Muslims becomes the norm that everyone embraces, which ignores a big part of the problem. How can you criticize something that is by definition always good?

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 02:47 PM

39. There's this absurd idea that it's only "real" religion when it's nice. n/t

 

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Response to Old Union Guy (Reply #39)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:11 PM

44. How about the only "acceptable" religion?


This is what's been going on for centuries, after all. All the horrific, primitive, insane, immoral ideas of Christianity and Judaism are still in place, but they are not recognized in civilized parts of the world. Likewise, Islam is practices in modern, civilized ways in modern, civilized countries.

What people would like to do is pretend that when their own religion behaves nicely, it's being true to itself, and when another is invoked for evil, that "true" as well.

The fact is that civilization gradually phases out the uglier, older parts of religion in general, but when things get harsh or ugly, the bad ideas are still there, waiting to be picked up and used.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #44)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:23 PM

48. "when things get harsh or ugly, the bad ideas are still there"

Exactly. Still there, in the same "holy" book.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:14 PM

45. As someone

Who grew up in the middle east and whose ancestors were muslim. There is a big fight happening in the middle east. Iv seen pictures of women driving cars in iran (my home country) without scarfs on as a point of defiance. Iv also read a report that iran was on pace to execute more people then ever (many of the condemned are gay,drug users,religious minorities,) or people deemed a threat to khomenie. So on one hand you have a young generation of Iranians with a huge underground party scene. And apposed to that a gov that executes its citizens left and right, both happening at the same time. You have the kurds who can truly build a country that is majority muslim AND moderate. Then you have a country like saudi arabia who fund many of the extremist imams that preach intolerance in many western mosques including many in saudi arabia. Yet no one questions saudi arabia but the kurds are not allowed to have there own country. Have not the kurds been the original inhabitants in that area for a thousand years? They arabs have like 20 countries when it was drawn up by the west. Do the kurds not deserve one? I feel the best way forward is to support moderates in that part of the world.

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Response to agnostic102 (Reply #45)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 04:38 PM

60. Thank you for your perspective.

It was very interesting and informative. Would love to hear more from you in these discussions.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:16 PM

46. The importance of religion to terrorism is an important factor...

 

... to consider when deciding what to do about it.

I'm willing to accept that fundamentalism is a major part of it, but there's no civilized way to integrate that observation into the next step: "...so what do we do about it?"

If we aren't willing to declare war on Islam, then the only reasonable way to proceed is to act as if the individual terrorists were acting of their own volition (which they were), not acting on a religious mandate.

Fred Phelps is an asshole and he believes he's doing what he does to please his God. It's counterproductive and wrong to treat everyone trying in a variety of benign ways to please that same God, as equally guilty.

That being the case, religious affinity is a useless bit of info.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #46)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 05:37 PM

65. I think what we do about it...

Is publicly criticize problematic parts of religion, but that is what rarely happens in the mainstream. It is happening more and more, and I think that is part of the reason in the US at least that fewer and fewer are identifying with any religion, because they see the problematic areas and don't want to identify with them.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:30 PM

50. Is like saying that patriotism had nothing to do with blowing up the Murrow Federal Building.

A warped sense of patriotism motivated McVeigh and Nichols to act violently. Warped senses of religion can have the same effect.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:31 PM

51. I would say that ISIL, Daesh, is a cult not a group of Muslims. nt

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Response to BootinUp (Reply #51)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:46 PM

54. yes!

a Cult is a great word. They take teachings of islam and basically make up there own crap almost a new religion. a cult is a great word for isis.

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Response to agnostic102 (Reply #54)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:56 PM

57. Isis is to Islam as the Branch Davidians were to Christianity.

Both represent a violent warping of a mainstream belief.

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Response to BootinUp (Reply #51)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 05:38 PM

66. A lot of Muslims would disagree with you...

But define them however you wish, a lot of their beliefs are based on the Koran and hadiths.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:32 PM

52. #NotAllMen... nt

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 03:51 PM

56. "ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents." - Barack Obama

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Response to mwrguy (Reply #56)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 05:09 PM

63. Mohammed was a warrior who slew innocent people in his

quest to spread Islam. It is absurd to claim Islam doesnt condone killing innocent people. Innocence is a very different thing is Islam than in the West. For instance in Islam homosexuals are killed for simply being homesexual, in the West homosexuality is not a crime therefore they are innocent.

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Response to snagglepuss (Reply #63)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 03:30 PM

88. Mohamed lived in the 7th century

a time when there was plenty of killing / wars to establish dominance and when people were religious in a way they can't be today.

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Response to treestar (Reply #88)

Fri Nov 20, 2015, 04:49 PM

92. Jesus not his apostles didn't engage in war.

Interesting that the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament engaged in warfare. It's a similarity with Islam that isn't much discussed.

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Response to mwrguy (Reply #56)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 05:39 PM

67. That is exactly what I'm talking about...

When you define religion as only being able to do good, it's hard to criticize problematic parts of any religion.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #67)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 06:00 PM

68. I certainly didn't define religion that way.

And I have never had trouble criticizing any religion, lol.

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Response to mwrguy (Reply #56)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 02:06 PM

83. Were the Crusades Christian? Was the Inquisition Catholic?

 

Of course ISIS is an Islamic group/movement. Insisting otherwise is outright idiocy, I don't care who you are.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 04:21 PM

59. Many progressives have a strange relationship with Islam

 

We claim to be fighting against, many other things, sexism and homophobia. That's wonderful, and I look forward to the day when one's gender or sexual orientation is no longer an advantage or disadvantage.

Here is the problem..

When a fellow progressive speaks out against the Christian War on Women or the Christian War on Homosexuals, everyone applauds. Yet when someone speak out against the Muslim War on Women or the Muslim War on Homosexuals, only a few agree, many dismiss it as racism* or Islamophobia, and many others simply stay silent.

Furthermore, the Christian War on Women consists mainly of trying to deny their reproductive rights, and the Christian War on Homosexuals consists mainly of trying to deny their right to marriage. On the other hand, there are countries in the Islamic world where women have almost no rights and where they can be executed for things that are perfectly legal for men. Likewise, the Muslim War on Homosexuals sometimes consists of hanging them. On top of that, facts aren't even that important; women and homosexuals can be executed simply for rumors of improper conduct, and the Muslim scholars in the regions where these things place then justify these actions as being in line with Islam.

The problems with Islam don't excuse the problems with any other religions. It is also intellectually lazy at best and downright dishonest at worst to ignore the problems with Islam and to dismiss those who point them out as racist* or Islamophobic.

*and the charge of racism is especially stupid. Islam is not a race. Not all Arabs are Muslim and not all Muslim are Arabs. In fact, while Saudi Arabia might be the heart of Islam, the most populous Muslim country in the world is Indonesia. The first non-Asian country is Egypt in fifth place, followed by Nigeria in sixth place, and the first strictly Arab country is Iraq in 11th place. Turkey and Iran rank higher, but they're Turkic and Persian, respectively.

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Response to Matrosov (Reply #59)

Tue Nov 17, 2015, 04:41 PM

61. *This*

Thank you!

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Response to Matrosov (Reply #59)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 12:50 PM

74. What you describe is rampant on DU

Get ready to be called a racist for even mentioning it.

All oppression of women and other minorities should be open for criticism, but many DUers don't agree.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 12:58 PM

77. ...is like saying Christianity has nothing to do with the acts by the KKK. nt

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 02:05 PM

82. Many American liberals are thrown into a rhetorical tailspin by Islam.

 

You'll have the very same people who rail against wannabee theocrats in the US, defending theocrats abroad. The same people who usually condemn religion as ancient superstition at best, and a tool of domination by the most corrupt at worst, suddenly defending this one as a 'religion of peace'. The same people who claim to be for gay rights, or womens' rights, free speech, intellectual freedom, etc., end up defending single biggest social force working against those things.

It's bizarre.

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Response to MellowDem (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 03:28 PM

87. Islam has a lot less separation of religion and state

than we do in the west. It is mostly a political problem. They aren't killing us because we don't believe in Allah, but because we are there interfering and influencing in their countries.

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