Sunday, July 23, 2006

I hate bigotry in any form

I hate religious bigotry, and I hate anti-religious bigotry.

I just wish that more people than me and the religious right got worked up about the latter. Because, frankly, they're not my favorite company to keep these days.

I'd post more but I'm just too pissed off after reading the illogical, high-minded drivel that is Professor Stone's latest post. I usually agree with him on a lot of things, so it's disappointing to see him take such an immoral and unconstitutional position.

I just wish that supposedly intelligent, educated people would learn to think for themselves rather than swallowing the anti-religious party line.

Labels:

44 Comments:

At July 23, 2006 at 7:24 PM, Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion." Steven Weinberg

 
At July 23, 2006 at 7:36 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Well, if Steven Weinberg (who?) said it, we should use it as a pointless and flippant quote to prove wrong an entire belief system that has brought peace to more people than we can count! Yeah, boy, you sure got me there.

Thanks so much for the enlightened comment.

 
At July 24, 2006 at 1:09 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

lawfairy,

If you hate religious bigotry you should try to counter it with more than a virtual throwing your arms in the air.

It is hardly religious bigotry to be concerned, as an American, as a lawyer as a law prfessor, when the president vetos a bill that is supported by congress and the people based on NOTHING other than religious morality. If you think it is ok for the president to establish his religion as the law of the land then say so. If you don't think that is what he's done, then say so and justify your position. But it is hard to make an ehtical argument that not disturbing frozen embyros is more important that alleviating the suffering of millions of actual living breathing functioning human beings suffering from some of the worst diseases know to humanity that might be cured through embryonic stem cell research.

You still have not justified your position that what GWB has done is anything other than establishing his religious morals as the law of the land.

I must say, if throwing your arms in the air and beating your head against the wall is all you can muster, perhaps you should reevaluate your belief system.

 
At July 24, 2006 at 1:52 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

lazerlou,

I'm going to ignore you now. Grow the fuck up.

 
At July 24, 2006 at 3:33 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

Ignoring the truth doesn't make it go away, love. Think of that the next time you use your internal combustion engine and turn on the lights while you cling to notions that science is just another form of faith. It is you, my naive 25 year old, who needs to grow up and shed your psychological baby fat. Opiate of the masses indeed, and you are hardly one of the masses when it comes to thinking. Courage to shed what mommy and daddy scared you into beliveing - If you want real enlightened peace, that is, not just comforting stories to make the anxiety go away temporarily.

 
At July 24, 2006 at 3:45 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

"we should use it as a pointless and flippant quote to prove wrong an entire belief system that has brought peace to more people than we can count! Yeah, boy, you sure got me there."

Goodness, I hope you are not using ends to justify means. Because that would be a pathetic argument for religion.

Not to mention that as many people your "entire belief system" has brought peace to, it has brought twice as many people death and destruction. But if you want to put on blinders and ignore certain ends when advancing an ends justifys the means argument, who am I to stop you? Just someone you want so desperately to grow up, and ignore.

Courage lawfairy. Courage. You've come a long way, baby, just not long enough.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you most of the time, but would you explain to me why this is anti-religious bigotry? If not, I understand. There seems to always be a huge (mostly) useless debate when these things are expounded upon. And jesus christ, that lazerlou is fucking abrasive.
-J

 
At July 26, 2006 at 8:00 AM, Anonymous Leif said...

Lou, let's charitably (to your argument) limit LF's "entire belief system" to the current membership of the American arm of the Anglican communion while generously (to your argument) expanding it to be Christianity as a whole.

Please name for me the conflicts in which Christianity directly led to the death and destruction of 4.6 million people.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 11:55 AM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

Leif,

Let's be charitable to your argument and assume that Christianity has brought peace to all Anglicans. Becasue it certainly has not.
I would be sure that between all the Christian colonialism that has taken place over the last 700 years, and the Crusades, that well more than 4.6M people have suffered death and destruction at the hands of Christians and in the name of Christ. How many Naitives did we kill and or cause to suffer alone in the name of manifest destiny? The Crusades? The colonization of India and Asia and Africa? The colonization of central and south America? How about Rome's coversion of Europe? I wonder if that might cover it itself. Hell the Dutch Afrikaners might have taken care of half the number by themseleves. ANd then of course there is the Catholic on Anglican fighting which has killed hundreds of thousands over the last few centuries.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 12:02 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

J,

Thanks for commenting! I'm happy to try to explain, as best I can -- this is a tough issue for me, because my religious beliefs are extremely important to me, such that it's hard to find words to describe their importance, and accordingly I struggle to find just the right language to explain.

Basically, the problem is this: the post I link to criticizes Bush for his recent veto of the stem cell research bill. Rather than present arguments that Bush should have considered, or explain why the bill should have been signed into law, the poster takes issue with President Bush's religious beliefs, which he himself, judging by the quotes identified in the post, never even injected into the issue. It's clear from the posting that if Bush had taken the exact same actions but just so happened to be an atheist, there would have been nothing to write about. In essence, then, Bush is faulted for *being* a Christian, rather than taking some unconstitutional ACTION (as an aside, I'm unaware of *any* Supreme Court or lower court holding that an executive is *required* by the Constitution to sign any bill into law. That's why we have Congress' check on the veto; Congress can still enact the law by supermajority vote).

The message to me and other religious folks like me is clear: "Your most dearly- and deeply-held beliefs, the ones on which you fall back when you believe you have nothing else to fall back on, the ones that compel you to be a good person, the beliefs that *make* you the person you are, have no value here. They are not good enough, and you must come up with a different belief system to justify your actions."

It's hard to describe how deeply hurtful and offensive this is. When I argue with people (in general -- if you see the comments on the blog, I've been slightly more vicious with respect to this issue. I don't like getting emotional in arguments, but with something this important to me it is difficult), I treat them with respect. If I see a flaw in their argument, I try to point out that flaw without feeling the need to overturn their entire value system. If we are simply too very different, we agree to disagree. But I would never, EVER deign to tell someone that her belief system had no VALUE, that it was "dead," that it was "ineffectual," that it was "inherently harmful." I would never disrespect someone so much as to presume to tell her that she *should not* apply her most strongly-held beliefs and values to her actions. To do so would be disrespectful and dehumanizing.

That's why posts like the one I linked to are at best insensitive, and at worst pose a threat to my very lifestyle. It's a slap in the face. So that's why I call it bigotry.

Hopefully something in my long-winded treatise makes some sense in response to your question :)

Hi, Leif!!

 
At July 26, 2006 at 1:58 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

I think LF is a bit oversensitive on this one.

1. GWB would be the first to tell you he based his decision to veto stem cell research funding only on his religious belief. We should being the discussion from that point, and from the perspective that he wouldn't have vetoed it but for those religious beliefs.

2. LF seems to not recognize the basic principle that the governemnt is supposed to stay out of religion, and religion is supposed to stay out of government. I've never seen someone who feels more attacked by some commentator trying to uphold the separation of church and state. It seems LF has a problem with that principle and the idea that anyone would every be ethically required to leave their personal religious beliefs at the door when they go to work, let alone as the President of the US.

Why she takes that requirement so persoanlly I don't understand. It would be wrong for a Jewish president to ban a pork subsidy too. I don't think that Jewish leader should feel like his beliefs aer under attack, just that he shoudlnt impose policy based purely on religious doctrine on others.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 2:30 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

lou,

since you've (temporarily?) slightly toned down the personal attacks ("oversensitive" bullshit notwithstanding), I'll respond to this one.

1. And yet you have consistently failed to offer any proof, whatsoever, of this fact. You prove to me that GWB would be the "first" to say this, and I will concede this point.

2. Again, lou, where do you get the idea that people can and should leave their beliefs at the door? If you believe in the inherent goodness and desirability of human thought and reason, why do you not have to leave these beliefs at the door? What's the structuring principle here? Whether or not there's a God involved in the beliefs? If so, I challenge you to take up my Buddhism example I posted a while back on the faculty blog.

I stand by my assertion that beliefs aren't really beliefs if you lose them at the drop of a hat. I suppose George Washington could have said, "I believe in liberty -- oh, but I don't want to step on the King's toes, carry on taxing us without representation." It would make for great Monty Python material, but then he wouldn't be a national hero, now would he? Lots of people would call that cowardly, in fact.

Similarly, if I say "I believe that international victims of domestic abuse should be given asylum if they flee to the US," and am later elected to Congress, and a bill that grants asylum to international domestic abuse victims comes up for a vote, and I vote against it, how can I go to my constituents with a straight face and tell them, "no, I still believe this -- I just didn't think it was right to impose my views on anyone"?

Answer: I can't. To do so would make me a liar and a wuss. I stand by my assertion: if you don't act according to your beliefs, then you don't really hold them.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 3:16 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

LF, I believe there is a SC test to see what is a religion and what isn't (I think which came out of a contientious objector case) and does not require theism, but some kind of overaching organized moral structure that takes the place of God in theistic religions, so Bhuddists are in, but mirky notions of human good and individual value structures are out. I don't have time to look it up, but the SC court has drawn a line that I remember being fairly reasonable. It doesn't require a belief in God, but it does require organization and strict adherence.

You say:
"Similarly, if I say "I believe that international victims of domestic abuse should be given asylum if they flee to the US," and am later elected to Congress, and a bill that grants asylum to international domestic abuse victims comes up for a vote, and I vote against it, how can I go to my constituents with a straight face and tell them, "no, I still believe this -- I just didn't think it was right to impose my views on anyone"?"

Agian, no no, because your religion would certainly not be the ONLY reason you would have voted that way, it only supports and is consitent with how you would vote as a rational ethical human being, right? You would not have voted for it but for your religion, and that is the test, if you would not have voted for or supported a policy but for your religion, then it is problematic, so the mere fact that religion informs or supports a policy position of yours is not enough to make your government action ethically problematic from a sepration of church and state perspective. It has to be the only reason you take a particular side of an issue.

Do you understand that? You keep overreacting and claiming people like me would force you to vote opposite your religious views for every religious view you have. That is simply not true. It would only be the case in which you are deciding a particular issue based only on your religion.

John Kerry has to tell fellow Catholics he votes to allow women a right to choose all the time, even though he is personally strongly anti-abortion. He does so becasue his religion is the only reason he holds that belief. The Catholic Church says abortion is killing a human being. He is simply not willing to enforce his relgious belief on others in his role as a public servant and US Senator. And, in fact, this makes him the opposite of a wuss, it makes him a courageous, high-minded politician.

It certainly does not mean,as you suggest, he doesn't really hold his anti-abortion beliefs, if his is unwilling to enforce them on others. He is simply recognizing the ethic that professor Stone is trying to get at - Politicians should not be basing their decisions solely on their relgious beliefs, because separation of church and state is an aspiration we as acountry have had since the beginning and should guide the ethics by which people GOVERN not live.

"I stand by my assertion: if you don't act according to your beliefs, then you don't really hold them."

And I stand by my assertion that this is a ridiculous thing to believe when analyzing the ethical duites of government officials.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 3:28 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

And on the topic of what is and isn't religion, I ask you to assume arguendo there is not a problem making the distinction, because I think assuming Bush did veto the stem cell bill for purely religious reasons is allowing the conversation to progress, as I think dispensing of the problem of defining what is and isn't a religious belief would too.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 3:39 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

lou, you're mixing up "beliefs" and "religious beliefs." I didn't say the example oy me wussing out on the asylum issue was about religious beliefs. I was just demonstrating why you're wrong in your assertion that beliefs can be held without mattering.

You now want to change this to "religious beliefs" -- well that is awfully convenient and self-serving. It would be a lot easier for me if I lived in a world where women had the right to vote their consciences but men did not -- but this would be wrong, as it infringes on the rights of others. Your obstinant refusal to put religious beliefs on par with other beliefs is puzzling and leads me to question why YOU are so bothered by this.

Why do you define your belief system as not sufficiently all-consuming? You seem extremely concerned about what religious people in public office do, almost to the point of "crusading" against it. Saying there is some vague "reasonable" dividing line set in some Supreme Court case isn't enough. All that your argument seems to say is that religious people have to work extra hard to get credibility. Gee, sounds kinda like the difficulties faced by minority groups.

Finally, you have yet to explain to me what the "ethical" duties of government officials are, and where these stem from, and why it is so.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 3:40 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"And on the topic of what is and isn't religion, I ask you to assume arguendo there is not a problem making the distinction, because I think assuming Bush did veto the stem cell bill for purely religious reasons is allowing the conversation to progress, as I think dispensing of the problem of defining what is and isn't a religious belief would too."

Well of course you think that. And I think if you would just stipulate that there are valid, non-religious-based reasons to act the way GWB did, we'd also get a lot farther. So are we going to make this about compromise, or about "lou gets his way because that will make things easier"?

 
At July 26, 2006 at 4:01 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

"Your obstinant refusal to put religious beliefs on par with other beliefs is puzzling and leads me to question why YOU are so bothered by this."

Very simple LF, because we wouldn't be having this conversation if our constitution and the founding fathers of our nation did not make the very distinction which you refuse to admit exists. It does legally and in reality. My views are not complete. I am only sure of and believe in things I can verify or at least support in argument with empirical facts. That is probably the main point, whether in your argument you have to resort to, "becasue my god or religion says so" or whether you can justify your position based on logical argument with emprically verifyable premises.

Saying an embryo is a human being and desrevs the legal protection of a real human being requires a jump of relgious faith.

Isn't that enough? We are only having this discussion becasue religion and religious beliefs hold a distinct, unique, special place in our system of government.


The ethical duties of government officials stem from the, gasp, I know it hurts, "Spirit" of the constitution. Preserve liberty, life privacy and property. Keep government out of the relgious lives of people and religion out of government. Protect and be mindful of the rights of minorities in the face of tyrany of majorities, etc. There are a bunch of guiding ethical principles of governance found in the constituion and in the federalist papers that I would abide by as a public servant.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 4:05 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

And LF, there is a reason I'm not in government. Becasue I know I couldn't and wouldn't want to uphold many of these ethics as someone who has little respect for the outcomes of "freedom" of contract. I would have difficulty applying law neutrally, as I believe the very structure of our government favors those with money and disfavors thouse without money or the capacity to organize in their own interests.

If someone is super religious and could not suspend their religious beliefs to act as a government official should with respect to the law, they shoudn't be in government in the first place.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree but thank you for the response, Law Fairy.
-J

 
At July 26, 2006 at 4:25 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

"And I think if you would just stipulate that there are valid, non-religious-based reasons to act the way GWB did, we'd also get a lot farther"

LF, we would have nothing to talk about if that was the case. There would be nothing controversial to discuss.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 4:29 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"Very simple LF, because we wouldn't be having this conversation if our constitution and the founding fathers of our nation did not make the very distinction which you refuse to admit exists."

Still haven't shown me what this distinction is, except to say that you think it "should" be there. "Should be" and "is" are to very different things, and "should be" comes from deeply-held belief systems like the ones you criticize.

As to religion holding a "special place" in society, oh come on. They used to say that about women, too, before we were allowed to vote or own property. Saying something has a "special place" while simultaneously trying to keep it out of everyday life is about as honest as telling your kids the stork brought them.

"The ethical duties of government officials stem from the, gasp, I know it hurts, "Spirit" of the constitution."

Are you doing the Kimball thing and mistaking me for a fundamentalist, lou? I believe in the spirit of the Constitution too -- because I have the ability to see potential, the ability to see things that can't necessarily be empirically or textually shown and proved to me, the ability to look at the big picture and not get bogged down in the details. Indeed, you're the one who demands cold, hard proof of everything, as you say.

"Keep government out of the relgious lives of people and religion out of government."

You're not talking about keeping religion out of *government*, you're talking about keeping it out of *government employees*. There's a big, fat, important difference, and it's called the First Amendment, the *spirit* of which hardly supports the argument that religious folks should have to be two different people in order to be allowed to serve in government.

J, thanks for commenting and for being respectful.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 4:31 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"LF, we would have nothing to talk about if that was the case. There would be nothing controversial to discuss."

I think the points you want me to concede are just as important. I don't see any reason to simply give them up if I'm not getting something (rhetorically speaking, of course) in return.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 4:59 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

LF,

Now your arguments are getting weak. The constitution and myriad laws make the distinction, the SC has articulated a test. That should be enough to assume for the sake of this argument there is a distinction. We wouldnt be having this discussion if there wasn't, at least legally, a distinction between what is a religious belief and what is just a belief.

Buth here is my 2 second try:
If you believe in an institution which purports to explain the whole nature of the universe, which is organized and followed by others such that there is a central source of authority outside the individual in coming up with the content of the answers to mysteries of the Universe.

I could look up the SC test too, but I'm too lazy. That one esists should be enough if you are being intellectually honest.

Are you unwilling to concede that our constitution and laws make the distinction? No, i presume you are not. Therefore stop prentending like it is a legally debatable issue.



"As to religion holding a "special place" in society [actually LAW], oh come on. They used to say that about women, too, before we were allowed to vote or own property. Saying something has a "special place" while simultaneously trying to keep it out of everyday life is about as honest as telling your kids the stork brought them."

This is perhaps the worst argument you have made yet. Women aren't written into the constitution. You wonder why I think you have a victim fetish? You seem unwilling to recognize the place religion has in our system of government, laws and constitution. Stop putting on blinders. Religion is a special subset of beliefs that our founding fathers took much care in trying to work into our constitution. Stop pretending otherwise, you are avoiding the inevitable, which isn't very courageous of you.

If there wasn't a distinction to be made bewteen relgious beliefs and other beliefs we wouldnt be having this conversation. Time to stop avoiding the obvious truth, or do you think the free exercise clasue is worthless and givernment should be allowe dto infringe on it too, becasue that is the consequence of your refusal to see any difference between religious beliefs and otherwise.

And you know that the gaping difference is having beliefs that are based on logic and empricism and having beliefs that require leaps of faith and blind submission to external authority. That is the big difference, and you know that is what I believe.


Anyway, There is no point in continuing on if you refuse to admit the 800 pund Gorilla that is the constitution is sitting in the virtual room. Yes LF, there is a difference between religiuos beliefs and all others - our constitution makes it, I make it and so should you, epsecially for the sake of getting atthe substance of this argument.

"You're not talking about keeping religion out of *government*, you're talking about keeping it out of *government employees*. There's a big, fat, important difference, and it's called the First Amendment, the *spirit* of which hardly supports the argument that religious folks should have to be two different people in order to be allowed to serve in government."

oh come on, no I'm not. Keeping religion out of governemnt is exactly what the establishment clause does. You would be the first to admit that as much as you'd like to, you or GWB can't force people to worship Jesus, even if that is what yuo, as a Christian would like us to do. Or is that too keeping religion out of government employees? It is all the same - requiring government employees not to impose their religion on the rest of us should they have the power to do so. One is just a much more stark example than the other, and the only way you are avoiding that conclusion is turing a blind eye to the disticntion that I , the rest of teh world, and the constitution make between religius views and secular ones. I think that is pretty disingenuous and intellectually cowardly, as much as I admire your stubborness.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 6:05 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"We wouldnt be having this discussion if there wasn't, at least legally, a distinction between what is a religious belief and what is just a belief."

Sure we would. You'd just argue that there *should* be a distinction, rather than that there *is* (not so different form this since you haven't cited precedent, anyway).

"I could look up the SC test too, but I'm too lazy. That one esists should be enough if you are being intellectually honest."

It has nothing to do with intellectual honesty -- it has to do with me not knowing what this standard is. I can't argue with something that hasn't been laid out to me.

"Stop pretending otherwise, you are avoiding the inevitable, which isn't very courageous of you."

I'm sorry, what's inevitable? Religious people not being allowed to be religious when they're acting in any public capacity. I hope you're wrong, but if you aren't, then why waste your time arguing with ignorant and cowardly peons like me?

"Time to stop avoiding the obvious truth"

Lou, as a litigator, you should know there's almost nothing that's "obvious."

"Anyway, There is no point in continuing on if you refuse to admit the 800 pund Gorilla that is the constitution is sitting in the virtual room."

Excuse me????? This entire time the Constitution is precisely what I've been talking about. It's clear to me you're not even paying attention to what I say anymore, so I'm done arguing this with you.

It doesn't make sense to admire stubbornness if it's disingenuous or cowardly. That's a pretty backhanded compliment if I ever saw one.

I have presented logical, rational, reasonable ways in which voting one's conscience, even where that conscience happens to be somewhat religious, is not the same as "imposing" religion on someone. It may be imposing morality to some extent, but it does not take a genius to see the difference between religion and morality. You are taking an extreme position, lou, and I'm trying to urge you back toward the middle. It is you who is being stubborn. I'm just trying to protect my right to be ME, fully and completely, without having to set aside an important part of myself. I would treat you with that basic respect and courtesy. I just wish you would do me the decency of reciprocating.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 6:15 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

"Sure we would. You'd just argue that there *should* be a distinction, rather than that there *is*"

Are you kidding me? You aren't this dumb, you must be playing.

So, you refuse to admit the constitution makes a distinction between relgious beliefs and nonrelgius ones? Is that what you are saying?

or is the constituition's making such a distinction not enough for there to be a distinction for constitutional purposes?

That seems to be your argument.
What can I do? You refuse to engage. You have crawled into an intellectual hole to hide, and it saddens me.

Just answer:
"Does the constitution make a distinction between relgious beliefs and non-religius beliefs?"

Do other laws?

Note, the answer is yes, which is the only thing that matters.

Also note I did lay out the difference. Whether you arrive at you belief through thought logic and empiricism, or whether you rely on the authority of an external relgious institution to arrive at the belief.


You are painting yoursef into a corner where the free exercise baby is going to be thrown out with your establishment clasue bathwater, and knowing you, you don't want that.

You can't have it both ways. (especially if you are a Christian yuck yuck)

 
At July 26, 2006 at 6:27 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

LF, I'm just trying to get somewhere with you ( I can only imagine what dating you must be like)

Despite the fact that our constitution and our laws make a distinction between relgious beliefs, and despite the fact that the SC court has a test to determine what is and isn't a relgious belief or practice, you seem unwilling to admit that even just legally, the IS a difference between a relgious belief and a non-relgious belief.

That is my only goal. It doesn't matter what the SC test is, simply that there is one for you to admit there IS a legal difference between a relgious belief and a non-relgious belief.

Your blinders and fear are saddening to me lawfairy, in many ways.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 6:45 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"LF, I'm just trying to get somewhere with you ( I can only imagine what dating you must be like)"

Wow, lou. Look, why don't you pretend I'm not a woman, if that makes it easier. I *almost* deleted this comment just for that one thing. In case you hadn't noticed (being too worried about thinking of me as a fundamentalist), I am about as feminist as they come. So please, do me a favor and don't even think about dating me.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 6:50 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"Your blinders and fear are saddening to me lawfairy, in many ways."

Then you must be a glutton for punishment.

Seriously, don't go around feeling sorry for me. I don't need and I don't want your pity. I don't think I need to remark, either, on the arrogance of your statement, since it's pretty obvious.

You don't "sadden" me, lou, you frustrate me. If religious people are such a threat, I should frighten rather than sadden you. Given your other remark in this comment, I worry that my gender has led you astray. If you don't like what I have to say, then don't like it. Would you feel "sad" for a man, or would you want to punch his guts? Wrong-headed ideas or not, I can take care of myself just fine, thank you. Use your pity on the homeless or someone who can actually use it.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 7:16 PM, Blogger Lazerlou said...

Really, you certainly can't take a joke. Your knee jerkiness is profoundly revealing.

Are you a radical feminist? A cultural one? A difference feminist (Gilligan is my favorite)? Or a lipstick I wanna be just like the capitalist white boys feminist (my guess, given how utterly gendered your little cartoon is and how I'm sure you delight in the disposable income you use on boots and shoes)?

For those of us who actually understand that religion and the liberation of women are diametrically opposed, I'm very curious.

It is a tall order to reconcile Chritianity and feminism, whatever your supposed version is, unless you throw out about 98% of what Christianity has to say about women. I know, I know, you reconcile this by claiming the Bible was only inspired by God, he wouldn't really have rewarded Job with twice as many sons and daughters that were twice as physically attractive.

You believe in the father the son and the holy ghost? You believe we are created in HIS image? You believe Woman was made of adam's rib?

I think you are just a very confused girl who has rebelled against having grown up in a backward conservative christian family, but not rebelled too much. God and Jesus are men for sure, right, that is one of the non-negotiables?

Save your feminist credentials for someone who actually is impressed by the strides you have made away from your ignorant upbringing and who doesn't know actual feminists and real feminist theory.

Anyone who jumps any time someone recognizes they are a woman is still painfully painfully full of self doubt by virtue of simply being a woman. You have a lot of work to do on your feminism, and the first step is to try to figure out how to love yourself, which apparently your self labels as feminist and christ lover have failed miserably at providing you.

Good luck!

 
At July 26, 2006 at 7:36 PM, Anonymous Leif said...

Lou, how many of those events were of explicitly "Christian" motivation, as opposed to a desire for power, or land, or self-defense? Seriously, Christianity has killed twice as many people as it's "brought peace" to? How of the 2 billion-plus Christians alive today have been "brought peace" by their beliefs? How about all the Christians from the past? And yet, somehow, Christianity has led to the slaughter of untold billions of people through your ill-defined, unsupported anti-colonialist tropes? And then, to top it off, you decide to slam on LF for being insufficiently date-able. Truly, you are a piece of work.

 
At July 26, 2006 at 8:01 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"Are you a radical feminist? A cultural one? A difference feminist (Gilligan is my favorite)? Or a lipstick I wanna be just like the capitalist white boys feminist (my guess, given how utterly gendered your little cartoon is and how I'm sure you delight in the disposable income you use on boots and shoes)?

For those of us who actually understand that religion and the liberation of women are diametrically opposed, I'm very curious."

Oh my God, lou. Your ignorance is astounding.

You want my feminist credentials, you can talk to Professor MacKinnon herself. She, by the way, never told me I wasn't "allowed" to be both a feminist and a Christian.

You're also apparently one of those people who doesn't understand irony, and who doesn't read my blog. I don't waste my money on shoes I don't need. I spend it on things I enjoy, be it big-screen televisions, fancy dinners, or vacations.

You wanna talk about knee-jerk, read over your own drivel posted here. Don't pretend to be a feminist when the sexism is literally dripping from some of your earlier posts. *You're* the one who made the masculinist comment about how it must be to date me. Who gives a fuck how it is? How on earth could that possibly be relevant? It's not, and it was a cheap, sexist potshot, and I have EVERY RIGHT to take you to task for it.

Save your two-bit psychoanalysis for the idiots it's meant to cater to. I'm sure you'd fit in quite well with them.

I knew you were only pretending to be civil.

 
At July 28, 2006 at 10:51 AM, Anonymous LegalEaglette said...

I find it frightening that there are some (such as Law Fairy) that practice law and, yet, are so easily obliged to inject their religious beliefs into the law.

I've felt that the reason attorneys exist, or at least one of the primary beliefs/assurances, is to clearly and logically evaluate policy sans passions, emotions, religion, etc...to represent the rights of others on a "primal/raw" level.

I am a Baptist Christian and was raised in the church all of my life...they are beliefs that I hold dear. But, when it comes to the law, I understand that I have set those beliefs aside to evaluate the law clearly, critically, and logically. I understand that the law is supposed to represent ALL and ALL does not necessarily subscribe to my religious beliefs. How can I inject something (the law) that is supposed to represent the interests of ALL with the beliefs that are not necessarily subscribed to by All?

This is the beauty of our constitution and I find it frightening that Law Fairy, for example doesn't recognize that. If your religious beliefs can be your only guide - you're in the wrong field.

On another note, with my knowledge of Christianity and the values upheld in the Bible, I think it's safe to assume that GWB is not necessarily voting based on HIS religious beliefs (if he has any at all...) but on the beliefs of his constituents and those that injected money into his campaign to insure that THEIR beliefs are upheld...not his. I find it shocking that he so brazenly exploits our beliefs and way of life to sway public opinion (among his constituents).

And thank you to Lou for clearing up that ridiculous question about Christianity and its hand various genocidal atrocities. I don't remember who asked the question in the first place, but it was clearly someone with their head in the clouds...instead of in a history book.

 
At July 28, 2006 at 12:34 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

"I've felt that the reason attorneys exist, or at least one of the primary beliefs/assurances, is to clearly and logically evaluate policy sans passions, emotions, religion, etc...to represent the rights of others on a "primal/raw" level."

Hi Eaglette, thanks for the visit.

Your sentence that I quote above contradicts itself. How can you represent someone's rights on a raw and primal level without passions or emotions? This does not make sense. People derive passion from many places, including religion, and including an astute sense of right and wrong. If someone's religion helps serve as the basis for his or her conviction that, for example, his or her client has been wronged, what's so wrong about bringing that passion into your advocacy? Given the last part of your statement it seems that's exactly what you want.

I'm not sure where you get the idea that I want to "inject" my religion into law... I worry you're making the same mistake of others of "guilt by association" -- that is, assuming that because I don't want people's beliefs outlawed relative to where they express them, means I want a theocracy. That's an illogical and unfair place to take this discussion.

You're really scared by me? Don't worry, people like me who hold crazy beliefs like "people should be free to think what they like because it's right and because the First Amendment gives them that right" will soon be trampled down by the hefty God -- whoops, er... we'll just say "presence" -- of science. Someday all will bow at the altar of science and you won't have to worry about the religious crazies anymore... they'll tie us all up and hide us so we can't bother the good people above.

"I find it shocking that he so brazenly exploits our beliefs and way of life to sway public opinion (among his constituents)."

This I agree with -- with very few possible exceptions, I'm convinced everyone in government cares about little more than the almighty dollar. But the fact that politicians exploit religion should not be a reason to ban it outright.

 
At July 28, 2006 at 12:59 PM, Anonymous LegalEaglette said...

LF, when I say a "raw/primal" level, I placed that in quotes for a reason...perhaps "raw" was a better use of words - meaning stripped of emotions, passions...or rather clear thinking, objective, based on the law and not one's religious convictions, etc.

SOMEONE must do this because the average person very well likely will lace their views, support, and opinions with their religious beliefs, etc...the attorney is supposed to be above that. Thus, I find it oxymoronic, this idea of an attorney that falls back on their religious beliefs to approach the law.

This is not an attack on people with religious conviction. But, I will and do take issue with any self-respecting attorney that does not understand how to set aside their religious conviction to when approaching the rule of law. This is supposed to be a given for anyone in said occupation.

I don't understand your statement re: "banning religion outright", as nothing in my argument even alluded to banning religion.

 
At July 28, 2006 at 1:06 PM, Anonymous LegalEaglette said...

By the way, the ironic thing with stem cell research is that the embryos do not normally come from aborted fetuses. It’s sad that people are so wrapped up in their judgmental, insincere bible-thumping to stop and ask questions to find out what exactly the process entails.

Before the legions of bible-thumpers descend on me, lol, I am a Christian…a Baptist. I simply don’t believe in being a zealot or beating people over the head with my bible. I think more people should stop and ask relevant questions. Perhaps we’d actually break some ground with this whole debate if more of us did.

These bible-thumpers, in my opinion, give the rest of Christians a bad name. They are religious extremists and I don’t take kindly to them.

 
At July 28, 2006 at 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call Stone's position 'immoral' or 'unconstitutional,' but I would say it's wrong. Stone (and lazerlou) seem to think that religious motivation is the ONLY way to think that an embryo (or fetus, etc) deserves protection. But there are many irreligious people (and people with only a passing belief in God) who agree with Bush's position. Also, some people with strong belief in God (Orin Hatch, for example) supported the bill.

So Stone is wrong to make this solely a religious issue. Pres Bush could have been motivated by religious belief, or an ethical belief, or some other belief. On top of that, even if Bush was motivated partly or mostly by a religious belief, that doesn't make it wrong, especially as an elected official represented the people who elected him.

The issue, I think, isn't whether Christianity has killed 2 million people or brought peace to millions. I think the issue is whether Bush is justified in vetoing the bill.

On a side note, it is frustrating to see what could be a fruitful discussion of this subject be lowered down to cheap shots about the merits of people's faith.

Andrew

 
At July 28, 2006 at 3:14 PM, Anonymous Leif said...

Thank you, legaleaglette, for telling me just how worthless all those years of history study must've been for me. Thank God I didn't, you know, study that stuff in school or anything.

Why, eaglette, does the President's veto of this bill show that he is injecting religion into politics? What else is supposed to inform a judgment as to when life begins? Science tells us that a human embryo - such as the one that is destroyed to remove embryonic stem cells - looks exactly like a human at the embryonic stage of development. Does that count as "life"? Science can't tell us that; we depend on religion, metaphysics, and philosophy to tell us so.

The "law" you posit is a cold, emotionless, inhuman thing. The law should be rigid and reasonable, but it is made by flawed beings for their benefit and protection. The making of the laws is going to reflect the shifting tides of human and political fortune, which is as it should be. You confuse enforcement and interpretation of the laws - which should be firm and predictable, so that people know what they're getting into - with creation of the laws, which will always involve drawing of lines based on human and political factors.

That a President would veto a bill that would entangle federal funds into promotion of what is, morally and philosophically, the killing of a human is understandable. His doing so prevents none of the research the bill's opponents want to see; it outlaws no thought, requires no belief, and compels no behavior that the anti-"bible-thumpers" find so noxious. This is not a question of religious entanglement with the state; it is a question of what informs lawmakers as to the propriety of the laws. The only objection that this was an "improper" veto that I have seen is that people disagree with the President's view that this is the destruction of human life. Whether he has that view because he is a born again Christian or because he has exhaustively sorted through the reams of philosophical arguments on the nature of Life is irrelevant; people would raise the same objections has the President vetoed the bill either way. This whole debate is disingenuous.

 
At July 28, 2006 at 4:11 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Eaglette, why should the fact that you claim to be religious sway me? Clearly my more "liberal" ideas haven't given your cohorts reason to treat me with basic respect.

"Raw" to most people does not imply logical, it implies passionate. Here's the definition from Merriam-Webster online:

"1 : not cooked
2 a (1) : being in or nearly in the natural state : not processed or purified (raw fibers) (raw sewage) (2) : not diluted or blended (raw spirits) b : unprepared or imperfectly prepared for use c : not being in polished, finished, or processed form (raw data) (a raw draft of a thesis)
3 a (1) : having the surface abraded or chafed (2) : very irritated (a raw sore throat) b : lacking covering : NAKED c : not protected : susceptible to hurt (raw emotions)
4 a : lacking experience or understanding : GREEN (a raw recruit) b (1) : marked by absence of refinements (2) : VULGAR, COARSE (raw language) c : not tempered : UNBRIDLED (raw power)
5 : disagreeably damp or cold (a raw winter day)"

So, I think you should probably use a different word for your descriptions. Stripped, naked humanity is far more emotional and passionate than it is rational -- rationality does not come as naturally to people as feelings. Hence phrases like "raw animal instincts," etc.

"But, I will and do take issue with any self-respecting attorney that does not understand how to set aside their religious conviction to when approaching the rule of law."

Are you talking about advocacy? If so, then that has nothing to do with the discussion -- obviously as an advocate you are making *someone else's* argument. That's the definition of an advocate. It's not the definition of a politician so this is irrelevant. As for practicing as an attorney on a daily basis, however, you bet my religious ethics inform my practice. I'd be nervous about the unscrupulous attorneys who didn't. For example, my religion tells me that lying is wrong. This is *one* reason that I don't lie in my professional career. I'm not saying there aren't other reasons, but religious beliefs absolutely enter into the calculus, which is not so simple and straightforward as lou and others would have us think it is.

As to banning religion, perhaps I should have been more specific -- I am opposed to banning public expressions of religion, as these are (and should be) protected by the First Amendment. That's all there is to say about it. I don't see why this has to be so contentious, or why people have to be maligned for believing in the legitimacy of having strongly held religious beliefs.

 
At August 1, 2006 at 9:15 AM, Blogger T said...

I'm coming late to this discussion, (perhaps too late) but it is an interesting issue... While I don't think that public displays of religion by individuals should be banned (of course), the influence of religion on politicians does concern me. LF, if you believe that politicians should be free to act upon their religious beliefs, despite the wishes of their constituancy, does that create a litmus test for all religious politicians?

For example, I voted for Kerry. But I'm also pro-choice - if Kerry was free to disregard the beliefs of the massively overwhelming pro-choice portion of the democratic party, he would not have gotten the nomination. For that matter, JFK would never have been elected president, as there was a huge issue at the time over his Catholic faith.

My objection to the religious nature of GWB's veto (and the source of my belief that it was religiously motivated) is the fact that he hasn't said a word about IVF. My understanding is that IVF is the source of the majority of stem cells that would be used for this research, and the existance of snowflake children notwithstanding, the vast majority of embryos created through IVF are destroyed.

I'm not sure how someone of sincere faith can oppose stem cell research and still be in favor of our current system of IVF. Both result in the destruction of embryos, but only one has been opposed by organized evangelical christian organizations.

I know that GWB can't pass or create legislation on his own, but he could choose to speak to the nation and express his opposition to IVF and the subsequent destruction of embryos, and issue a call that no embryos should be destroyed, but rather placed in cryogenic orphanages until they are brought to term. But he hasn't.

So my objection is not that GWB has acted upon his sincere religious belief, but rather that he is doing the bidding of his personal religious organization. And my problem with that is that we no longer have a president who will act upon the beliefs expressed during the election process, but one who believes it is ok to allow a 'higher power' (the organization who tells him what god wants) to make some of his decisions for him.

And that is my issue with religious belief for all politicians. They need to have the ability to keep their promises to us - to vote for or against choice, or war, or stem cell research, or whatever the issue is, free of control from another entity, especially as that organization's goals may change after the election. Because when their actions are more consistant with the goals of their personal religious organization than with a sincere religious belief, I become concerned that we have elected a golem rather than a person - and that bodes ill for all politicians who have faith, whatever than faith may be.

 
At August 1, 2006 at 9:18 AM, Blogger T said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At August 1, 2006 at 10:09 AM, Blogger T said...

Just read about half the commentary at the UChicago blog - I totally understand if you are tired of discussing this issue...

 
At August 1, 2006 at 7:17 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Hi t, thanks for commenting -- don't worry about the faculty blog, if I didn't want to talk about this issue I could have turned off the comments.

I think you make a great point about representing yourself to be one thing, and then doing an about-face when you get elected. On the one hand, I'd prefer to leave some room for reflection and education, but that's just in theory. In practice, I'm cynical and I don't think many politicians even bother believing what they say in the first place. So the point about being beholden to interest groups is well taken, and I think Bush is only one among many condemnable culprits here.

As to the IVF issue, that's an interesting point. Back in my very VERY conservative days I was opposed to IVF, which as I'm sure you're aware is an extremely unpopular position. I suspect many in Bush's camp are vaguely opposed to it but don't dare say so. And you're correct that the stem cell issue is tangential to this one -- but I can't imagine a halfway savvy politican touching it with a forty-foot pole.

I understand and appreciate your distinction between organized religion and sincere religious beliefs, and I think it's an important one (particularly since I, as a thoughtful Christian, don't buy the party line, so to speak, of my own church much of the time). And I think these are all valid considerations to take into account when evaluating a politician's honesty and sincerity.

However, what troubled me about the post I link to and the ensuing discussion, as well as my own little mini-controversy here, is the notion that religious beliefs (with no regard for their sincerity, at that) should be completely left out of the political arena overall. I don't think this is fair because sincere religious beliefs inform a lot of smart and ethical choices, and I don't think that sincere politicians (if there can be said to be any, of which I'm admittedly dubious) should have the rug swept out from under their feet and suddenly told, "leave these beliefs out of your moral calculus." It doesn't make any sense to me and I don't think it's a fair demand of people serving in our government (again, this is all hypothetical -- as far as I'm concerned we can jettison about 99% of our current elected officials and we'd be better off altogether). The attitude that there is something particularly wrong about presumably having a partially religious basis for certain actions worries me, because I see it as tantamount to an exclusion of religious persons from office.

In practice, I don't see this happening for at least another generation or so. But I still think it's a wrongheaded way of thinking.

 
At August 2, 2006 at 7:23 AM, Blogger T said...

Well, one of the ironic things about the last two elections has been the reaction to GWB's pro-life agenda. The stem cell issue is just part and parcel of it. I don't think Bush was 'stealth' about his pro-life agenda at all, and I predicted that by the time he was done in office, abortion would be outlawed. We aren't there yet, but I still think we will be before 2008. And a lot of people closed their eyes to his views and voted for him anyway, assuming that abortion was here to stay (and many, of course, voted for him *because* of his pro-life stance) But the willful blindness of many of the people who voted for GWB is no reason to bash him for it later. He ran as an evangelical christian, and that's what we got.

If the electorate elects a person who says that they are opposed to abortion for religious reasons, I see no problem with that. I guess a good analogy for what I think should (effectively) happen is similar to politicians' investments. Many times, they are put in blind trusts, so they can continue to invest money, they just can't be influenced by those investment choices.

Similarly, I have no problem with a politician using the religious ethics and beliefs he was elected with to assist or guide him in makeing a decision. My concern is when the organized church continues to influence him beyond the time when he was elected. To the extent the church's positions remain consistent, the politician's views will likely not diverge much. And that is as it should be. But if the church stakes out new ground, or radically changes its position or focus on something, I expect the politican to stay the original course.

And I think that's necessary for religious persons in office. I think that by the time GWB is done, there will be a backlash against them, simply because GWB is apparantly trying to turn our government into a theocracy. And therefore, I think politicians will have to limit themselves, and distinguish their views from their church. Because a president, or senator or attorney general or whoever who simply parrots what his or her church has told them to say *IS* wrong. Just as it would be wrong for a politician to parrot what Exxon told him or her to say.

But at the end of the day, Exxon only wants my money - the religious right wants my soul - and that scares me more.

Tor

 
At August 3, 2006 at 11:43 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

tor, I like your analogy -- The Church as a potential interest group. Interesting -- it can be a big source of political power, so it kinda works.

The interesting thing for me is how many people -- religious, peacefully non-religious, and anti-religious alike -- associate dogma and doctrine with faith and religion. These things don't go hand in hand. For example, I was raised in a church that was of the view that "Christians believe X", where X was, say, abstinence-only education. I took this to mean this was the only biblically-supportable position to take.

Then I grew up and realized there are actually lots of different ways to understand God and the Bible, and any other religious texts or traditions you find edifying.

*However*, whenever people hear about someone having certain views "because" of their religion, they automatically jump in to thinking that means they're politically far right. This is an unfair stereotype. There are numerous deeply religious persons who hold very non-right views, also *because* they are religious (examples that stand out in my mind are the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton). And yet these views are not thought of as being "religious."

What this leaves us with is a bad rap for deeply religious folks. People have claimed a number of good values for themselves, as though things like the Golden Rule arose in a vaccuum, or (for the more egotistical types) in their own, better-developed minds. At the same time, they relegate more controversial political beliefs to the title "religious" -- thus the fallacious and erroneous assumption that "religious" means extremely conservative.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being conservative -- but the result of this false dichotomy is that "good" liberals are supposed to eschew religion, because "religion" means conservative. The religious right, for its part, eats up the association -- the more they can pour the guilt on non-conservative Christians, the better. But for Christian moderates and liberals, those who care about their church and their traditions even if they don't agree with everything about them 100% of the time, it creates a sticky situation.

When did the left evolve to mean anti-religious? I think it does both liberals and conservatives a disservice. Liberals who might otherwise disagree on certain issues are brought together by their spite for religion.

This is nonsense. For the left so to do is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Of course, the mere mention of "God" or "religion" sends all but the most stalwart liberals into conniptions. As a Christian moderate/libertarian (the pro-freedom kind, not the money-grubbing kind), I can't think of anything sadder than for our country to forget who it is.

So I guess what I'm saying, in a very roundabout way, is that I think we're largely in agreement. I believe that faith involves far more than rigid dogma, and a genuinely faithful person is not afraid to break with the church if the church runs astray.

 

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