Addie on Tolerance

Reposted with permission: 

Image is a capture from my friend Addie Kolm’s Facebook status update. Text reads: So I saw a post last night in my over tired state. It said a bunch of stuff about tolerance and how we need to teach it to our children. And I laid on the couch for what seemed like forever thinking about it. Why would we teach our children to merely tolerate another person? To tolerate another is a nice way of saying I still can’t stand you but will not speak of it or show it cause it’s not socially accepted. Wouldn’t it be better to teach our children acceptance? To teach our children that it’s ok that we are all not the same but that we are equals? No matter the race, religion, faith, lack there of we in the end are all the children of this earth. There is always someone you won’t agree with but in the end most of the time it will not effect you. So accept that they live life different than you and move on.

Hazrat Ali Shah – Another victim of blasphemy laws

Ugh. Rights activists in Pakistan must have their hands busy. Asia BibiRimsha MasihMalala Yousafzai. Here’s a list compiled by FP.com of ten women who have – for the most part – been high-profile victims of human rights abuses in Pakistan (Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is an exception on the list; she made a movie about victims of human rights abuses in Pakistan). The Human Rights Watch website on Pakistan and the HRW 2012 Report on Pakistan make me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.

These are just the abuses that make it into the news.

And now this: Hazrat Ali Shah is a 25 year-old man who has been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to imprisonment and death by a judge in Chitral, a city in the northwestern region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

iOL News is reporting that he was charged in March 2011 after insulting the Prophet Mohammed and the Qur’an during a fight. He was tattled on reported by fellow villagers, who later provided the “evidence” of Hazrat Ali Shah’s blasphemy at his trial. According to TheHindu.com, his family has distanced themselves from him as well.

Imprisoned, sentenced to death, no support from his family.

Has freedom of speech ever looked so good? We have had so much evidence just in the past year for why we need to reject measures such as resolutions to condemn defamation of religion in the UN. Well, not enough for this guy. If he had his way, this self-righteous, delusional prat, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, would have blasphemy laws enforced:

The Catholic patriarch says Christianity is often a target. He mentioned that Jesus, the Church and the Bible are attacked and insulted in movies and documentaries. To prevent this, he wants the UN to intervene with a resolution.

He argues, the UN needs to take action, since world peace is based on respect for God and all religions.

No disrespect in movies and documentaries!!!??? Well isn’t that swell? I wonder who gets to be on the board that screens movies and documentaries to make sure they measure up to the patriarch’s definition of “respectful”?

Bechara Rai’s idea of world peace is based on all of us having respect for his God and his ideas for how other religions should be. Protip: Not all religions share this ideal of mutual respect for other religions. The COEXIST bumper sticker is a lie.

Blasphemy laws don’t lead to peace. They lead to state-sanctioned murder of hot-headed 25 year-olds like Hazrat Ali Shah who shoot their mouths off in the wrong place and the wrong time.

Hey Homos, Quite Picking on Christians.

‘Cuz you all are.  Don’t you know that when don’t let others threaten you, deny you civil rights and discriminate against you, that you’re infringing on their intellectual and religious freedom?

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi is bummed out that a woman lost her position on an adoption panel because she was turning away gay couples because they were…gay. 

“Is it still permitted … to be faithful and consistent disciples of the teaching of Christ … or must we prepare ourselves for a new form of persecution, promoted by homosexual activists, by their ideological accomplices, and even by those whose task it should be to defend the intellectual freedom of all, including Christians?”

If you define being persecuted as being called on your shit when you discriminate against someone because they are different from you, or because they don’t honor your supposedly personal beliefs, then…yeah, prepare yourself for “persecution”. 

But you know what isn’t going to happen?  Those doing the “persecuting” aren’t going to try to interfere in your love life, your children’s life, your access to health care, your ability to serve in the military, your  ability to marry, visit your partner in the hospital, challenge your bequeathment wishes…  oh, right. 

Who is persecuting whom, again?

Story via RichardDawkins.net

Would you lie?

Seen on Nothing to Do With Abroath

Original article: NZHerald

New Zealand museum bans pregnant women from attending exhibit

A clash of cultures over a rule forbidding pregnant or menstruating women to attend a Te Papa exhibit has been criticised by feminists. An invitation for regional museums to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of some of Te Papa’s collections included the condition that “wahine who are either hapu [pregnant] or mate wahine [menstruating]” were unable to attend.

Jane Keig, Te Papa spokeswoman, said the policy was in place because of Maori beliefs surrounding the Taonga Maori collection included in the tour. She said the rule was one of the terms Te Papa agreed to when they took the collection.

“If a woman is pregnant or menstruating, they are tapu. Some of these taonga have been used in battle and to kill people. Pregnant women are sacred and the policy is in place to protect women from these objects.”

If an object is tapu it is “forbidden” and in Maori culture it is believed that if that tapu is not observed, something bad will happen. Women who plan to attend the tour on November 5 are expected to be honest about whether they are pregnant or menstruating as a sign of respect to Maori beliefs.

So the argument for keeping certain women out of the special tour is because the women are sacred, forbidden, and need to be protected.  And if they do go on the tour, tapu will be violated and something bad will happen. 

I have nothing to lose in this debate, so I don’t know if I would lie or not to get in.  But if I was affected by this ban, I might.  Or I might try to organize a boycott or protest.  The group imposing the restrictions doesn’t have the right to insist that I respect their beliefs. They have a right to not let me see their private stuff, but do they have the right to open their collection to the public except for the people they don’t want to see it? This particular museum is a public institution that accepts public funding.

Does the owner of a private collection have a right to place restrictions on who gets to see it, even if they allow it to be displayed at a public institution?

If only I had a seestor with a concentration in museum studies…

JFK Separation of Church and State

Thanks to Freethought Radio (9/11/10 episode) for reminding me of this wonderful speech, given by John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Houston, Texas on September 12, 1960. 

This is just one excerpt, but there is a wonderful page completely devoted to this speech at the American Rhetoric website*, where you can find the speech in its entirety, as well as video, audio and several different downloadable document types of JFK’s speech.

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President – should he be Catholic — how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

~~~~~

The American Rhetoric website has an awesome tagline: “Rationalize rhetoric and it speaks to your mind; personify her and she speaks to your soul.”

Of Alarm Clocks and the GZ Mosque

Darn alarm clock – how dare it go off and let me sleep through it this morning!  Darn work – how dare you be so…here?  (J/K – I love you job, and I hope we have a long and meaningful relationship). 

So, in light of my slackerness let’s talk about someone else’s blogpost today!

Jen McCreight from Blag Hag has a couple of interesting posts up about her visit to New York City’s “Ground Zero Mosque”.  The first post is about her rather uneventful visit; there were no wild protests going on while she was there.  The second post is called Defending the rights of theists does not equal agreeing with their beliefs, which was in response to some blog commenters’ criticisms of Jen’s original post, the building of the “mosque” and of Islam in general.  Jen’s response is kind of a beautiful thing.

I’ll bet you’re aware of the “non-troversy” surrounding the building of the GZM.  Ground Zero Mosque isn’t actually a mosque, but an Islamic community center being built two blocks away from Ground Zero.  From the NYTimes:

The proposed center, called the Cordoba House, would rise as many as 15 stories two blocks north of where the twin towers stood. It would include a prayer space, as well as a 500-seat performing arts center, a culinary school, a swimming pool, a restaurant and other amenities.

I think this is factually important, but irrelevant to the controversy – mosque, Islamic community center, it doesn’t matter.  

Some people (Glenn, you twit) on both sides of the political spectrum are saying that building the Islamic community center so close to the site of the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks (“Ground Zero) is an affront to the families of those who lost their lives at the hands of Islamic extremists.  Even my old favorite, Howard Dean, sided with the anti-GZM gang (sob!).  But there are also people who are calling this dispute out for the fluffy, junk story and fake controversy that it is.

I think that living, working and building buildings in a country with a constitution that guarantees religious freedom means that you get to build your Islamic community center or a mosque or a temple to pink unicorns.  People died in the 9/11 attacks because Islamic extremists chose to committ violence against Americans.  Islamic extremists are not your typical Muslim, just as David Koresh is not your typical Protestant.  Why should we discriminate against Muslims for crimes committed by Islamic extremists?  Do we not allow Muslims to even visit Ground Zero because a victim’s visiting family member might see a man or woman with a covered head and be offended that a Muslim is walking on the hallowed ground where their loved one died at the hands of an extemist Muslim?

The Islamic community center shouldn’t even be seen as a moment to tolerance, as some proponents are calling it.  Tolerance implies that we’re graciously allowing this building to go up.  There’s nothing to tolerate.  It’s just another building in Manhattan.