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May 24 2014

For there were seven Issues, not six and not eight

So you go to the Global Secular Council’s Issues section, which it has seven of which.

Constitutional Law
Discrimination
Education
Health and Safety
International
Military
Tax Policy

Already that looks odd, because how can constitutional law be global? And are they pronouncing on tax policy for the whole world? And the global military? And if they’re global, isn’t is all supposed to be international, so why is there an International section?

So we’ll look at them.

Constitutional Law

Uh oh. Bad start. The image, for one -


I recognize it. Lots of people will recognize it. It’s not global. It’s Murkan.

And the first paragraph -

The first freedom protected by the Bill of Rights is the right of every American to a secular government that does not subscribe to religious beliefs or prohibit citizen engagement in private religious practices. It is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. A religion having many members, or an action being popular, provides no constitutional argument in favor of entangling religion and law.

Guys guys guys guys – what are you thinking? This is strictly American; United Statesean. Have you completely forgotten that you called yourself global? This is not global.

It’s also, frankly, not interesting or useful. Why do we need this new thing to teach everyone the alphabet? We’ve already got lots of secular and atheist lawyers. We don’t need to start at the beginning.

They tell us to go look at their recommendations.

Find an overview of our public policy recommendations touching on:

-a menu of six items. Ok, I pick The Free Exercise Clause. What do I get? Three short bland paragraphs. Guys guys guys guys the subject is bigger than that, more complicated than that, more interesting than that. What on earth is the point of this supposed to be?

And, as I mentioned, it’s entirely American. There’s nothing global about it.

This gets more embarrassing the more I look at it. It’s like the “Brights” fiasco blown up into a whole pseudo-”Council” thingummy.

Ok going back a step what do we find under the “Issue” where they do turn their attention to the “global” – the Issue called “International.”

Policy Recommendations on International Issues

Freedom of religion, belief, and expression are fundamental American values. They are enshrined in the Constitution and echoed in international human rights law. As a leader in the international community, the U.S. should actively participate in global efforts to protect these vital freedoms.

That’s it. That’s all there is. I swear; I’m not making it up. You can see for yourself. Well there is a graphic of a world map, so at least we can see that they know there’s a world outside the US.

I wouldn’t mind if they’d just set up a blog for themselves. Of course not! I think everyone should have a blog. But they tell us they’re YOUR RESOURCE CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICY. This isn’t much of a resource center. They tell us they’ve got a lock on the smartest people in the world to do this thing. They tell us they’re global.

Nope, nope, nope, nope.

30 comments

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  1. 1
    Alan

    Slightly off topic, but Robert Price, the Council’s anti-abortionist and AGW denier, has sincerely thanked a spam bot in his comment section. Because he is one of the world’s greatest thinkers, presumably.

  2. 2
    A. Noyd

    Oh yes, let’s give those values a distinctly nationalistic flavor and then unilaterally set up the USA as their global “protector.” That won’t turn anyone off.

  3. 3
    Pteryxx

    The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Wow, that was easy.

  4. 4
    sawells

    New theory: this entire enterprise is intended solely for intra-USA consumption, and they don’t give a damn how it looks from outside. They’re aiming to advertise themselves to some US constituency, god knows who, and pissing off the whole of the rest of the world is just collateral damage.

  5. 5
    carlie

    It’s impressive how fractally bad it is. It almost looks like it’s on purpose, because if it was just nomal amounts of ineptitude there should be something they get right somewhere just by chance.

  6. 6
    Ophelia Benson

    Alan – [collapses in shrieks of laughter]

  7. 7
    anthrosciguy

    That’s a possible reason for their actions so far: they’re bots. That slightly off but almost humanlike interaction with others.

  8. 8
    A. Noyd

    Alan (#1)

    the Council’s anti-abortionist and AGW denier, has sincerely thanked a spam bot in his comment section.

    Oh, good grief. I always wondered who the hell fell for those things.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    carlie (#5)

    It almost looks like it’s on purpose, because if it was just nomal amounts of ineptitude there should be something they get right somewhere just by chance.

    Or at least some weirdly personal quirks instead of this by-the-book awfulness.

  9. 9
    Alan

    Ophelia – that was my reaction too. I’ve taken a screenshot and stuck it on my blog just in case they get round to deleting it, though new media doesn’t appear to be one of their strong points, so I imagine it’ll sit there for some time.

  10. 10
    anthrosciguy

    That is to say (cause not being a bot myself I thought about what I wrote after I wrote it) they’re bots and so reply to bots, not being able to spot the bot. The Bot Hypothesis would explain a lot of what they put forth so far.

  11. 11
    Alan

    Given what else “bot” can refer to in polite company, I think we’re safe to go with Bot Hypothesis either way.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Alan, ah I took a screenshot too. I just had to.

  13. 13
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    A Noyd

    Oh, good grief. I always wondered who the hell fell for those things.

    As I understand it, the point of those posts isn’t even that anyone will fall for them, it’s just that links to your site boost your search engine rankings, so they spam links everywhere that lets them. It’s very obnoxious.

  14. 14
    AsqJames

    I thought I’d take quick look at the Military section. This bit struck me as a little strange:

    More self-identified atheists serve in the military than any other non-Christian denomination.92 The military shows its appreciation for Buddhists…

    What’s that “92″ doing in there I wondered. Looks almost like a footnote after a copy-paste from some other website/document. A quick google aaaand: Model Secular Policy Guide for Legislatures (page 35).

    Now that’s from the website of the Secular Coalition for America, so clearly the Global Secular Council will have made some changes to reflect its own, much broader outlook right?

    Judge for yourselves.

  15. 15
    Blanche Quizno

    And isn’t dear little Ophelia just cute as a button, so obviously incapable of wrapping her little mind around what lofty, forward-thinking, paradigm-changing, and important topics we privileged white men are discussing? See, the reason so many simply can’t comprehend the absolute necessity of our initiative is because they’re beneath us. I’m sure our Miss Ophelia will especially be interested in how to grow taller at age 14 girl!

  16. 16
    Stephanie Zvan

    AsqJames, this made me think of SCA’s policy guide too. I’m astounded that, having a well put together policy document of some depth available from the organization that started this initiative, this is what ended up on their website.

  17. 17
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    non-Christian denomination.92

    Non-Christian Denomination #92: The Larch. The. Larch.

  18. 18
    Trebuchet

    @1 and Ophelia @12: I suspect that may have been sarcasm. The response is written very much in the spambot style.

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    And it’s so worthwhile to reply to spambots.

  20. 20
    AsqJames

    You know what, now that I look at their other issues and compare them to that SCA model policy guide…they’ve copied the whole thing. Every issue, in the same order, with the same wording and the exact same policy recommendations.

    Now there’s some overlap between the board/staff of the SCA and the super resourceful thought leaders of the GSC, so I’m not sure whether you’d categorise this as plagiarism exactly, but you do have to wonder what exactly the GSC are contributing if they’re just an echo chamber for things other organisations their board members are involved in do/say?

  21. 21
    Ophelia Benson

    Hahahahaha Eric.

    Wasn’t it also you who thought of “I like to singa” that time? You’re good at these connections – good at connecting to my personal favorites. I say “The Larch. The Larch.” quite a bit.

  22. 22
    Ophelia Benson

    I’m told the GSC is actually a project of the SCA, so it’s not plagiarism for it to use SCA material. But it sure as fuck is totally pointless and laughable! What the hell is their point? They’ll say well it’s in development – yes but you don’t go public when you haven’t pulled your pants up yet!

  23. 23
    AsqJames

    Oh, OK. I didn’t realise “Global Secular Council is an international project of the political wing of the American secular movement, Secular Coalition for America.”

    Still seems a bit shoddy to just re-hash stuff like that (and such US specific stuff too). The whole thing gives one the impression they consider the globe to be a part of America rather than the other way around.

  24. 24
    Menyambal

    I got halfway through that anonymous ramble the other day, and gave it up. I missed the spambot!

  25. 25
    Ophelia Benson

    Asq, absolutely; extremely shoddy. And lazy and contemptuous.

  26. 26
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Think locally, act like it is global.
    The horse chestnut.

  27. 27
    Silentbob

    @ 1 Alan

    Off-topic be damned. Thank you for making my day.

    You are engaged in an exciting and worthwhile task!

    Lol :-)

  28. 28
    A. Noyd

    Dalillama (#13)

    As I understand it, the point of those posts isn’t even that anyone will fall for them, it’s just that links to your site boost your search engine rankings, so they spam links everywhere that lets them.

    Ah, that would make sense. Blog templates should make links in commenter ‘nyms automatic nofollows then.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Ophelia (#25)

    And lazy and contemptuous.

    If nothing else, they should have started without the contempt. You can’t really go back from that.

  29. 29
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Ugh.

    Well, I didn’t like the premature critique for the existence of a constitutional law section. You may not be aware, but there is a way for writing on constitutional law to be global. The whole field of comparative constitutional law is all about that. Even the image didn’t have to be inherently problematic. The US constitution is the oldest national constitution in present use. It was one of the first 3 documents to have been written as explicit national constitutions (if you don’t count a few city-state documents) – just before the French constitution of 1791 and after the United States Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (which, obviously, didn’t work out…necessitating a constitutional convention and the new 1789 draft). From 1776 to 1791 was a heady and important time for contractarianism. It’s not too problematic for those who believe that people should always have rights against their government…and thus all governments must have limited powers…to celebrate the early success of the US constitution. Certainly I didn’t think it auspicious given the groups other douchegabbery, but it didn’t *have* to signal that the content would be entirely fucked up.

    But however premature I might have thought you were, you were right on target: global comparative con law this ain’t.

    Arrogant narcissists.

  30. 30
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Freedom of religion, belief, and expression are fundamental American values.

    Oh my good, they went from ‘Meiricun centric to flat out nationalist. All the rest of us, we clearly get those values from you. We probably imported them from you. Or you gave them to us by applying international pressure. It’s a nice double bind:
    If you are in favour of those things, you have to thank the USA (probably for not yet staging a coup against your democratically elected government). And if you now criticise them you’re un-American and we all know what happens to people who are un-American

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