Dumbass Quote of the Day


From our old buddy Joseph Farah:

“Non-discrimination” is one of those new buzzwords that has widespread appeal.

After all, nobody can defend discrimination against people because of immutable characteristics like their skin color, religious beliefs or ethnicity, right?

Religious beliefs are immutable? People change their religious beliefs all the time. Farah’s website often promotes a bunch of alleged “ex-terrorists” who converted from Islam to Christianity. By what possible definition is religion immutable?

Comments

  1. skemono says

    By the definition that says everybody is Christian, they just need to be made aware of that.

  2. raven says

    People change their religious beliefs all the time.

    50% of the US population changes their religious sect, at least once. We are a mobile society, in religious terms.

    Some do it all the time.

  3. blf says

    When you shoot, crucify, hang, behead, gas, or otherwise exterminate all those “vermin” with the “wrong” Great Sky Faeries and/or who don;t offer their children plus enough tithing, the slaves left eagerly agree there is only one trvth.

  4. CaitieCat says

    The whole “innate” vs “acquired” thing is stupid, anyway. We offer rights protections based on classes defined by either type of trait: we protect people with disabilities whether they were born with those disabilities or acquired them later. We protect religious people whether they’re staying with the faith they were initially indoctrinated with, or whether they chose it later.

    So whether queerness or transness or whatever social justice issue is a discrimination based on innate or acquired traits/characteristics, makes no fucking difference as to whether we ought to offer protection against discrimination.

  5. eric says

    Commenter “Boo” on Farah’s website makes this exact point. I upvoted that comment to keep it at the top. :)

  6. Phillip IV says

    By what possible definition is religion immutable?

    By the definition from argumentative imperative – i.e. otherwise Farah’s argument wouldn’t make any sense, and the vast majority of his readers is too dull to catch something like that.

  7. hunter says

    Interestingly enough, I just happen to be reading Joseph Campbell’s Myths of Light, in which he points out that Judaism and Hinduism are “ethnic” religions — one is born into them, and neither particularly welcomes converts. Their offshoots (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam) are “open admission,” as it were.

  8. iangould says

    Are political views also immmutable?

    If not, is Farah saying it’s okay to sack people for being Tea Party supporters?

  9. hunter says

    Footnote to myself @9: This does not make them “innate,” although one could consider membership in either Judaism or Hinduism inherited in another sense.

    And to echo Caitie Cat @5: Yeah, exactly.

  10. matty1 says

    G’ah it misses the point anyway. Discrimination based on race is not wrong because skin colour is immutable it is wrong because it is irrelevant.

    Let’s back up and ask what discrimination is – it is the act of treating some people differently to others. Sometimes this is justified, if you want someone to represent you in court you can and should discriminate against those who are not qualified to do so. Where discrimination becomes wrong is when it is based on characteristics that are not relevant to the decision being made. So there is no evidence that having darker skin affects people’s ability to get a job, which makes it unfair to refuse to employ someone on that basis. The same is true for religion, gender and (yes Joe) sexuality. It does not matter if the characteristic you are using is something that will be gone next week, it only matters that it is not relevant to the decision. It is that which makes it unfair.

  11. Abby Normal says

    I suppose it depends on what one means by immutable. If he’s talking about something that can’t be changed by conscious effort, he may not be far wrong. How much conscious control do we really have over what we believe? We have some control over whether we ignore or embrace new information, which then influences our beliefs. But I don’t know how well we can simply choose to believe or disbelieve something. Try disbelieving that the sun will come up tomorrow or believing that it will be green when it does. In the absence of new information I’m not sure we can.

    I very much doubt that’s what Farah had in mind and his quote is dumb regardless. Kudos to Matty1 @12 for so clearly explaining why. The mutability of belief just struck me as an interesting topic for idle pondering.

  12. cptdoom says

    I guess Farah doesn’t realize that marital status is also protected under the same anti-discrimination laws, or does he think that marital status is immutable?

  13. brianwestley says

    G’ah it misses the point anyway. Discrimination based on race is not wrong because skin colour is immutable it is wrong because it is irrelevant.

    Exactly. Want to know when it’s legal to discriminate by skin color? Run a movie/TV/theatrical agency. Casting calls specify sex, skin tone, ethnicity (or at least appearance) legally all the time, because in these cases it’s relevant.

  14. thisisaturingtest says

    This is what Farah is upset about (from the article):

    It’s happening all over the country, but here is just one example to bring it home.

    WND reported last month that the San Antonio City Council, way down in the heart of Texas, of all places, is considering a change to its “non-discrimination” ordinance that will seemingly bar those who take the Bible seriously from holding office…
    There, council members are on a path to add “sexual identity” and “sexual orientation” to the city non-discrimination ordinance, which, on the face of it, would bar anyone from office who has “demonstrated a bias” against someone based on categories that include “sexual orientation.” The proposal does not define “bias,” which, according to local church leaders, could mean someone who declares homosexual behavior is sinful, as the Bible clearly does…
    The new ordinance would state: “No person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or disability.”

    (My bold)
    Only Farah would think that an ordinance which only adds “sexual orientation” to a list of classes protected from discrimination which already includes “religion” would “bar those who take the Bible seriously from holding office.”

  15. says

    raven “50% of the US population changes their religious sect, at least once.”
    Well, you have to mix up your sects every once in a while to keep it interesting.

  16. eric says

    @16: seems like a pretty bad ordinance to begin with. Legally preventing someone from elected office because of their biases is already bad, but then leaving it in the hands of the sitting council to decide who counts as biased and who doesn’t sounds like a recipe for oligarchy.

  17. skinnercitycyclist says

    After all, nobody can defend discrimination against people because of immutable characteristics like their skin color, religious beliefs or ethnicity, right?

    Another way to take this is: We cannot discriminate against African Americans because they just can’t help being that way, IOW, it’s bad to be that way, but we have to be tolerant because they can’t help it. It’s probably the way your average cracker is able to rationalize not lynching anybody.

  18. dan4 says

    An “immutable belief” makes about as much sense as “wet dryness” or “vegetarian meat-eating.” Beliefs, by very definition of the word, can change.

  19. bad Jim says

    Anyone who thinks that skin color is immutable obviously doesn’t spend much time at the beach.

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