Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tolerance in the Face of Ongoing "Religious" Violence ?

  Now that we have had our chuckles and giggles over semen-clogged drains at Penn State. . . .I'd  like to present a more serious issue / question several of us have been tossing around for your cogitation and comments.

     Friday's news revealed that six Algerians have been arrested in Britain for plotting to kill the Pope, and a political cartoonist in Seattle has gone into hiding because her proposed contest to draw Muhammed has resulted in the issuance of a fatwa [a non-binding judgment] against her and numerous death threats.

    AreYou  prepared to endorse the toleration of religions that promote the murder of those who speak against them. ?

    There are other issues which can be brought into play here. . . .However, the question is "religions that promote murder. . . .."etc.

    So, what are your thoughts of this issue?



jimm said...

Christians aren't exactly squeeky clean here, the Inquisition, the conquest of the New World for God, glory and gold. Anyone who contested them were risking their lives.

I think the real problem with these religions is the traditionalist versus modern followers. You can't expect the rest of the world to continue living in the 10th century.

The pope isn't exactly a good guy either, but now I'm getting too far off subject.

J said...

Obviously no one should be absolved of criminal acts or conspiracies because he claims to be acting on god's mandate. No fair person would condemn, say, the prosecution of Warren Jeffs for raping his juvenile brides. As for Islam, the failure of moderate Islamists to actively condemn terrorism, oppose the extremities of Sharia law or reject Islam's traditional mistreatment of women and gays, legitimately causes those who believe in the canons of Western civilization to mistrust that religion, and demand special scrutiny of its communities. There is a lot of wrong-headed thinking about when it comes to the toleration of religion. Recently a New Jersey judge ruled that a muslim couldn't be convicted of raping his wife because his action was sanctioned by his religion and Sharia law. Fortunately an appellate court that follows the New Jersey statutes, the U.S. Constitution and the English common law overruled the trial judge. But there is a movement afoot to legally sanction certain Islamic customs governing domestic relations and inheritance. The move is well underway in Britain, and when it reaches the States I'll be ready to move to some country that does a better job of handling its immigration policy.

JustinO'Shea said...

Thanks, J, very much for your beginning comments. I hope there will be more. In reading yours I see I know very little about this issue. . .My notions are quite limited.

I hope you will share more on this matter of tolerance. . .esp the NJ rulings. . .and acceptance of sharia.


JustinO'Shea said...

Just thought of something: A couple years ago, the Canadian parliament enacted a law protecting LGBTQ folk from verbal abuse and harrassment.
Cases were made against "ministers of religion" - regardless of sect or church - for public condemnation of homosexuals and behaviour. . . even when what they preached was the consistent teaching of their religious groups. . jewish, christian [catholic and protestant], muslim.

Btw, anti-gay policies of certain African nations, such as Uganda, with laws of death penalty for homosexuals. . .like 2 men having coffee together, accused of homosexuality, etc.. Or Iran's capital punishment by public hanging of boys accused of homosexual acts, and the like. These policies in Uganda are financially supported by known fundamentalist evangelical Christian leaders.. . "in the name of God."

I have am unfounded suspicion that this kind of hypocrisy is more widely practiced than we know.


Coop said...


Yes. Because "Christianity" has sanctioned the murder of those who spoke against us. The Swaggerts and Phelps of the world probably would if they could.

Religions are not the problem.
People commit those murders.
They use religion as an excuse. They focus on striking down blasphemers, etc. while ignoring compassion.
And look into history. How many rulers used religion for their own purpose?
Henry VIII, Constantine, the concept of the divine right monarchy?? England kicked out the Puritans. The Puritans came 'ere and hung THEIR dissenters.

Imagine if someone stood up in Catholic church and demanded the return of the Inquistion. Or, the killing of doctors who perform abortions. Imagine if someone stood up in church and demanded that witch hunts be reinstated??

J is right. Muslims need to speak out against terror, discrimination, and FOR tolerance. I've heard it said that few women in Europe actually wear the Burqua.
Islam is much younger than Judiasm or Christianity.
Christian societies went without religious freedom for thousands of years.

Not bad for being overtired, eh?? Thank GOD I have tomorrow off, too.


J said...

Another typo: I meant "wouldn't condemn Warren Jeffs". Sorry. If you want to check out the more extreme aspects of Sharia law, Google it. Among the stonings and amputations, they recommend whipping for anyone who drinks alcohol. I've been enjoying a good pinot noir this evening, so I guess this will finish me among the devout of the prophet.

PhotosbyErich said...


Once again you demonstrate your incredible ability to generate thought-provoking discussions on yer blog! This topic is no exception, and very much on my mind lately after reading about the Seatle cartoonist.

My wife and I were talking about this and agree that almost every time something like this happens it is someone "perverting" the true faith... be it Islamic extremists or others.

What my wife and I also agree, however, is that violence in the "name" of Christ is the most distressing to us because HE gave us the perfect example of unselfish, perfect love that lays down its life for another and we have no excuse for acting otherwise.

Having noted that, I have to say that the Islamic extremests' willingness to go to such measures as forcing a cartoonist into changing their complete identity and go into hiding indefinitely... well it's just plain sobering for a person like me living in 21st century America.

For now, my "course of action" will be to remain very aware of what's going on. And to live my life in Christ's example as much as possible. (HIS light tends to eclipse darkness very well.)

Let me start with the folks I have come to know here on the Dunes. You ARE loved and appreciated... by me everytime I read the brilliant things you each write, AND by your Creator. G'night to you all!

jimm said...

Just a note, my understanding of Sharia law is that it only applies to muslims.

JustinO'Shea said...

JIMM. . .might be. . .but in certain countries in Africa. . .let's say Nigeria to be pointed. . the northern part of Nigeria is dominantly Muslim and Sharia prevails. Southern half is mainly Christian. Sure as hell I wouldn't live in the North!

Is all confusing. . . BUT take the case of the Seatle cartoonist who simply made the suggestion: as Erich pointed out she has had to change her whole life and go into hiding indefinitely because of Sharia. . . here... in the USA where we are not held to Sharia. . .nonetheless, WE ARE! Figure. . .

JustinO'Shea said...

Hey COOPs. . .great comments. . .even if you were sleepy. . .goes ta show ya. . .hahaha

You wrote "I've heard it said that few women in Europe actually wear the Burqua."

France has just enacted a law forbidding the wearing of the Burqua. . . .too easily used to hide a terrorist.

Since you have the day off I bet you are still zzzzzzzz "in the arms of Morpheus" (Greek mythology. . .myth. . .hahahaa) I got up earlier but when back to bed for another hour. Nice! ;-)
Aaaah yes. . the perks of academia. . . . ehyah.


Coop said...

"here... in the USA where we are not held to Sharia. . .nonetheless, WE ARE! Figure. . ."

I never thought of it that way.

Now I prefer Erich's words over my own He said "every time something like this happens it is someone "perverting" the true faith... be it Islamic extremists or others."

Obviously, I did NOT support the burning of the Qu'ran on 9/11.
Many people, presumably Christian, were wondering why all the 'important public figures' tell them that it is inappropriate for the them to burn the Koran. But, say, the throwing dung on a statute of the Vrigin Mary is "artistic freedom" "freedom of speech" that believers in Christ have to accept...

Somebody I know took the very public stance on Facebook that Islam is not a religion; it's a theocracy.

Coop said...

"France has just enacted a law forbidding the wearing of the Burqua. . . .too easily used to hide a terrorist."

Yes, I know that. I'm sorry Prof. know it all :b LOL

Before that law was passed, I read estimates of women who wear or WORE the garment on the European news sites (DW or BBC).

Coop said...

Justin says: "Since you have the day off I bet you are still zzzzzzzz "in the arms of Morpheus"

Nope. My phone woke up at 8:36. I had already been asleep for 8+ hours so 's okay.

JustinO'Shea said...

OUCH! Prof=Know-it-all??? Oh oh, I hope I haven't been/ am not offensive here. Just that the French law is quite recent, . . . .

Have a fun day. . it is almost Autumn in New England. . . "dancin' and a-prancin' thru all the fallen leaves.. " but not quite yet, thank God and Mother Natura. Y'ever make out in a huge pile of leaves? ;-)


Coop said...

No. You aren't being offensive Justin.
I'm just teasing :). Being Bad :b

JustinO'Shea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JustinO'Shea said...

Amended comment:

Blogger JustinO'Shea said...

Mr. COOPs wrote: "Somebody I know took the very public stance on Facebook that Islam is not a religion; it's a theocracy."

I think that may be quite true. . . As you know well there are certain evangelical fundamnetalists who want the same thing for the USA. . .yeppers. . they maintain that our "founding fathers" intended that in framing American constitution.

Utter nonsense! Most of our "founding fathers" were minimal deists. . at best, hardly Christian as we understand that to mean.

Nonetheless, the political shakers and a-quakers today want their version of christianity to be the norm of the land. They want not a democracy but a theocracy. . "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for those who see things as we do." Amen. So be it!

And face it. . Islam's aim IS to make Muslim theocracy for the whole world. There is no doubt about that; it is the aim. No amount of "revisionist interpretation" to make Islam more acceptable in society is going to change that dominant teaching.

There may be "accommodating circumstances" which may temporarily quiet that goal, but always under the surface it is at work.

For me. . .I dont impose this on anyone. . let the Muslim leaders building the mosque near the shrine of 9/11 publicly state that total world Islamic domination is NOT the ultimate aim and ideal and teaching.. . .and perhaps I would OK that Muslim/Islamic Center in NYC two block from 9/11 site. . .maybe. ;-)

Gary Kelly said...

Intolerance began when God punished Eve for eating an apple. So you can blame him.

JustinO'Shea said...

Using the choice of liternalism, was The Man also punished. . .or just The Woman ? And how about The Snake. . .was s/he/it also punished?

Was G-d just being a grumpy crank. . or was this the first lesson about Cause and Effect. . . .a wonderfully positive event. . . .ehyah.

And blame G-d? For what? ;-)

I really didn't see these excellent contributions as blaming but rather conversations about the realities we are all facing and being affected by. . . .things we are gradually beginning to realize and become aware of. . . don't you think?

Were these things you had to face and wrap your mind around when you were my age and the rest of the younger people today? Or is this all new for you too?

All this is an awful lot to assimulate and learn how to deal with.


Stew said...

Every religion can take a little blame for killing people or even torturing them. And each one can find documentation to back up their actions in their own holy book. Isn't it ironic that each one can also find peace and acceptance in that same book.

How we translate those books seems to be where the problem comes in. It would appear that we translate the acceptance part as "you should accept me" and the torture and kill part as "do it my way!, your book is wrong". It's also ironic that many of us use the same book for different purposes.

I doubt that there will ever be true acceptance by the masses. I for one find the differences entertaining and not so different at all. They all say the same thing. Does religion really come down to what you wear? Does a burqua, a skirt, wearing your hair up, or special underwear really decide who gets into heaven?

Violence is violence any way you look at it. If you are infringing on someone elses rights, then you are in the wrong. You don't have to like me - Just don't invite me for dinner.

Gary Kelly said...

It's not easy for me to comment on such issues because my views are offensive to those who believe in religion.

I believe religion was created by people who didn't like the idea of being mortal, and who saw themselves as being far too important to be disposable.

Without human beings there would be no religion, just as there would be no nuclear weapons or terrorists or suicide bombers.

I agree with Coop... it's not religion that's the problem, it's people.

Religion provides a convenient excuse to hate and condemn. But if it weren't religion, it would be politics or greed or something else. Some people love to love, and some people love to hate. And never the twain shall meet.

In other words, getting rid of religion would not solve the problem of intolerance. Getting rid of the human race would.

Thank you for listening and goodnight from Australia. No worries and Bob's yer uncle.

JustinO'Shea said...

Whooaaa thee, Gary. I believe in the basic concept of "religion". . but not necessarily in the terms/words some may use. . .and I do not find what you wrote offensive.

In fact, I agree with what you say here. . .people are the problem in so many areas. . .mixed up, hurt, injured, vain, proud, manifulative, etc people. . . who use anyone and everything to their advantage.

I believe in the theological biblical concepts about spirituality and the 'religious'dimension of life. . .I do not of necessity agree with the bureaucracy aka the busyness of "religious people". . . but there is a reality we need to give nod to. . ..whenever two or more people gather together they create rules, rituals, hierachies. . . in the browadbasic meaning of these words, not-religious in base word.

For example, when two or more gather in rhe same place they make a rule, not necessarily carved in stone: "Thou shalt not try to occupy the same apace at the same time I am occupying that space." And then the rites and rituals to lollygag around the same space begin. Get my point? This process seems to be part of human nature. . .and the beat goes on .. .and on. .. .and on.

So you see, Gary, you and I do agree on some things. . .LOL. . we often use different words. . .I haven't ever spoken "english". . . nor have you, for that matter! hahahaa

ciao ciao. .

Coop said...

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".

IF I condemn a religion for sanctioning the murder of those who speak against it, I'll have to condemn my own faith. Jimm and I have been pointing out Christian/ Catholic shortcomings (to put it politely).

I simply can not find a way around that.

JustinO'Shea said...

Hello JIMM and COOPs. . .

Look back at the initial question I posted and then look at the immediate direction y'all took off on.

I did cite two examples from the current news media. . in this case the Pope and the Cartoonist from Chicago. The might have been the Dalai Lama and an artist in Sweden, whatever.

The following posts went from a general statement to individual religious leaders. Look at the various names and situations which appeared.

OK, my original point was a general principle: Do we foster/practice tolerance toward "religious" groups in the face of ongoing violence from these groups?

Do we publicly point out the violence practiced toward gays in a country where homosexuality is declared a crime with particular penalties spelled out as in Uganda where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death; where to know and not report a gay person to the Law is punished by three years in prison; where associating with a known homo is punished by prison, etc. ?

Do we condemn - your word - a religious group forever and ever for one occasion over the centuries, or several, for ALL TIME? NO.

Yes, the Christian Church, both the Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and other versions, have in the historic past practiced violence of some sorts on some occasions. These historic occasions are not the total picture, are they? Of course not.

So do we have to condemn any group forever and ever? Seems to me in all of these varied examples past and present, there is one very important Gospel value lacking, absent, forgotten.. . FORGIVENESS for a persom[s] who admit their wrong, make amends for it as far as possible. Today's style is NOT to forgive, receive the errant brother or sister back into the community, and move along together.

That is what Jesus said we had to do. When big-hearted Peter asked Jesus how many times he HAD to forgive his brother. . .even seven times? Jesus replied: " No no, not 7 times but 70 times 7 times." [I can see Peter standing there with his mouth open. . .total blown away by that reply. LOL ]

COOP babe, we Irish are not the greatest about forgiveness . . in our bones, even. I'm sure you've heard this before "Oh I will forgive him but I will never forget what that bastard did to me. . ."

HELLOOOOOOOO. . THAT is not forgiveness. . .not the kind Jesus taught.

Do you think we Christians -whichever stripe- have forgotten HOW to forgive. . . .? and aren't really forgiving people?

Once upon a time, all stories must begin this way. . .. there were two Catholic British (oxymoron? hehee) erudite writers talking about Christianity.
Belloc said to his friend "My dear fellow, I am afraid Christianity has failed; it just didn't work!" The other, G.K.Chesterton, replied "Oh my dear Hilaire, Christianity has not failed. Hell, man, it has never been tried!"

What do we do with all this.. tolerance, intolerance, forgiveness and the lack, and on and on. . . .What do we do?

WIsh I knew! Then I could put on my shiny white armor suit, mount my brilliantly white horse, riase my dword and lead the troops into battle to restore reace and harmony and fraternal love and. .. and. . .and. . . .oh well. . .no danger of me doing that! Not this week anyway. hahahaa

Now I must make a second attempt of getting to bed and staying there.

Again. . ..good night.

Sir Justino, the Knight in Shining Armor. . . . .sheeesssssh.