Free Speech

Free Speech

Bob
Bob

November 24th, 2009, 2:18 pm #1

A friend sent me an e-mail about a Michigan State University Professor who sent a scathing e-mail to the school's Muslim organization. I checked it out on snopes.com and it is true:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/wichman.asp

Note that the professor was "cautioned" by MSU against writing anything additional, and he gave a semi-apology. Still, I think the guy had major ballz to write something like that. Usually it is only Christianity that is disparaged. I feel encouraged!!
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 24th, 2009, 9:00 pm #2

Well its a difficult situation. As I understand it, it's only a minority of Muslims that have this violent anti-west attitude and so we shouldn't condemn a whole religion for the actions of a few- anymore than you would condemn all blacks because some commit crimes- or all white because some use to have slaves- and so-forth.

At the same time I do resent people who come here to take advantage of our amenities all the while hating our country that gives them this opportunity. And I don't think we should have to change our ways to accommodate foreigners- rather it has to do with language, religion or politics. If they don't like adapting to our ways they should not come here.
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Bob
Bob

November 25th, 2009, 6:05 pm #3

Nat: I agree with you that no religion should be verbally trashed over the actions of a few followers. But, when it comes to Islam vs. Christianity, I think the differences are significant. The Vatican takes a lot of punishment for opposing abortion . . meanwhile, Islamic leaders have put bounties on the heads of "blasphomers", such as Salman Rushdie. People trash Christianity all the time and I don't hear Bishops or ministers telling followers to go out and maime or kill those people. But you do hear and see Islamic leaders saying that the penalty for insulting the Prophet or the Koran is death. Big difference between the two in my mind.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 25th, 2009, 7:05 pm #4

Well if you go back through history you find that every religion- including Christians have been involved in killings and persecutions- remember the crusades? Remember Copernicus was threaten with death for contradicting Catholic doctrine that the Earth was the center of the universe. It's been said that throughout history more wars have been fought and people died in the name of religion than any other cause.

This is not to say I don't regard the current Muslin extremism a serious threat- I do- I'm just saying it doesn't represent all Muslims anymore than fanatics who bomb abortion clinics and shoot abortion doctors represent all Christians.

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Bob
Bob

November 26th, 2009, 4:39 pm #5

I think it is digging very deep to go back centuries to the Crusades, witch burnings, etc. as an example of the barbarism of Christianity. I'm talking today -- modern times -- not 300+ years ago. I have a friend who liked to point up the battles between Catholics and Protestants several years ago in Northern Ireland and said, "See, Christians kill people." Of course they do. Everyone kills people (to misquote Ohio State QB Tyrelle Pryor -- inside joke). But I never feared for Americans' lives when the fighting was occurring in Northern Ireland . . . but Americans and others today fear that people will bomb planes and buildings in the name of Islam. I don't identify myself, as a Christian, with those who bomb abortion clinics under the guise of faith (though I personally consider those clinics as akin to Nazi gas chambers, in terms of takers of millions of innocent lives), and I don't see any legitimate Christian leaders endorsing the bombings and killings of abortion providers -- in fact, such leaders condemn it. But, as I noted, Islamic leaders have called for the executions of persons who they think tarnish their faith -- the penalty for blasphemy is death. Say what you want Nat, but I don't think any degree of mental or verbal gymnastics can equate the two in the minds of most reasonable people.

By the way, do you have a reference for the claim that more deaths over human history have been due to religion than any other cause? I would think that natural events -- disease, famine, drought -- would have taken far more lives over the course of history than religious faith.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 26th, 2009, 5:33 pm #6

Well certainly if we are talking about the current times the two don't compare- I was just making the point that any religion is capable of fanaticism- that it is not necessarily confined to Muslims. And I think even now it's a only a relative small percentage of them as historically it has not been a violent religion. But I don't deny that this radical faction is dangerous and must be eradicated.

As for the quote about deaths- I mean from wars and human-means- not natural disasters. I don't recall who first made that observation- I heard it many years ago- but I think if you study history it is not a unreasonable observation.
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Bob
Bob

November 26th, 2009, 6:09 pm #7

Wars: I believe both World Wars were brought by Germany and its allies due to the desire to expand their power and influence. Yes, Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jews, but he wanted to do the same to non-whites, homosexuals and those with disabilities. I don't see that as primarily due to religious beliefs. Korea and Vietnam: Wars fought over preventing Communist takeover of countries -- not due to religious differences. Desert Storm: Occurred following Iraq's invasion into Kuwait, not due to religion. The current Iraq and Afghanistan wars: Some say it is due to wanting control of oil (Iraq). Some say it is to prevent future 9/11-type attacks on U.S., or in combination with a larger "War on Terror". There are internal religious differences at work, but I don't see either conflict as primarily over religious issues. In fact, both the Bush and Obama administrations have clearly stated that this is not a war against Islam.

As for pre-20th Century, I don't claim to be a student of history, especially regarding wars that didn't involve the U.S. The Civil War was primarily due to the institution of slavery, and some other wars were fought over territorial disputes, especially with Mexico. Again, not due to religion. Care to give other examples of wars fought over religion (other than Isreali-involved conflicts with various Arab peoples/countries)? Can you try not to go back more than the 1700's?
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 26th, 2009, 6:33 pm #8

Well eradication of the Jewish people seem to be a big part of WW-II. I think you have to considered that religious since it was the only thing that made them different.
And I recall Catholics and Protestants fighting in Northern Island as recently as 1970s.

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Bob
Bob

November 26th, 2009, 7:29 pm #9

I already referenced Northern Ireland, which was actually Christian vs. Christian, but fighting and killing nonetheless. Grant you, that was killing over religion. As for WWII, didn't the rounding up of Jews into concentration camps come years after Hitler started invading neighboring countries (in 1939, as I recall), which actually started that war, not the killing of Jews. That came later (though that is mostly what WWII was known for).

How about the traditional warring of tribes in Africa upon other tribes? Could that be considered based upon religious differences, or was it more territory and dominance? Outside the wars U.S. has been involved in, or the Arab-Isreali conflicts, I think a lot of man-killing-man during the past 100+ years occurred in Africa, but I don't know that it was primarily over religion.

Regarding your earlier comment, that most non-natural killing of man has been over religion . . would "accidents" be considered "natural"? Seems that an awful lot of people world-wide have been killed due to accidents. Or crime. A lot of people have been murdered in commission of crimes. I don't think most of those killings were due to religion.

Maybe if we go back several centuries, I think it could be true that many people were killed over religious differences. I certainly wouldn't discount all the deaths during the past 40+ years that occurred from fighting in the Middle East. But otherwise, I think the role of religion in killings in recent centuries has not been all that great. Your turn.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 26th, 2009, 9:01 pm #10

Well granted- there is less religious killing now than in the past- I was speaking in a overall perspective. And only about deliberate killing- not accidents. The problem is that there are dozens of different religions and the followers of each think theirs is the right one and the others are wrong. The extremists even feel it their religious duty to convert- or kill the "infidels"- those who follow the wrong one.
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