I have to disagree.
Society has an enormous impact on the subject matter, tone, and
debatable issues that we may engage in with people outside of our
immediate social group. You can see this in the workplace codes of
conduct, the issues and language not commonly addressed in public
forums, the subject matter on most television shows. The influence of
public ostracization is such that even a normally outspoken individual
restrains themselves in certain situations, if for no other reason than
the knowledge that their issue, even if valid, will be ignored if their
language and mannerisms are not in compliance with what is considered
acceptable by the society. Take the birthers for example. Here is a
group of people who are rabidly promoting the idea that Barack Obama is
a native born Kenyan who conspired to take control of our nation, and
also accuse him of being a closet Muslim. These same people use
imagery that is offensive, disrespectful, and false, to denigrate the
man, his office, his supporters, his party, his electoral victory, and
our nation as a whole. The subtext of their protests are racial;
despite this, they know full well that if they admit to this they will
cease to be covered by sympathetic media outlets. Further more, if
questioned individually and privately, they admit to disliking
President Obama because of his race. Despite this, I have yet to see a
sign or a poster that publicly calls the President a nigger, or any
other racist term. You only have to go back 20-30 years to see those
terms not just used but flaunted. This is because our society has
advanced to a point that we no longer tolerate such bigotry, and the
birthers know it. If someone irrational and stupid such as they can be
cowed by communal standards, anyone can.
As far as religion is concerned, I think that the sensitivity has to do
with the implicit consequences of blasphemy that communities espoused
for so long; criticizing a politician is one thing, but risking plague
or fire or some other calamity by offending god probably kept more
people quiet than would have done so otherwise. We know better now,
and I agree that the billboard will go a long way to opening up the
Mark R. Orel <[address removed]>
September 28,[masked]:08:06 PM
[humanism-174] Why can't I be a "nice and quiet" atheist?
Believers, nonbelievers, rational or irrational,
politics or religion it does not matter.
The premise -
I want an explanation of why someone can bring up something
and be challenged on it but not if they bring up their religious
I believe is wrong. It is not the subject, it is the individual.
There are no societal norms for conversation,
argument or debate. Even if I accept that certain points of view are
discouraged within groups.
It still comes down to the tolerance (personality) of the individual as
to what s/he will or will not discuss.
The only thing that prohibits certain topics is the esteem, or lack of,
that the individual will hold.
My argument assumes freedom of speech.
Don Boos wrote:
A similar subject is why do they expect non
respect their "holy" books. They are only printed paper like any other
On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Mark
Tiborsky <[address removed]>
The mere mention of the name "Obama" causes an irrational
negative visceral reaction in millions of Americans. While it is
perfectly rational to not agree with his politics, the reasons for the
visceral Obama hatred are just as irrational as any religious dogma...
so I made a deal with myself to treat irrational religion &
irrational politics in exactly the same way (in which neither are
granted any sort of special "shield" from criticism).
On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 11:09 AM, Matt <[address removed]>
That's true, Mark. But, still, that's an individual
that has more to do with a particular personality than with the subject
matter. In general, even people who aren't open to discussion about
their politics (tho they probably assume they are) will say that it's
okay to challenge/debate someone's political beliefs. Yet many, if not
most, people will say you should leave a person's religious beliefs
alone: "It's their faith."