Blasphemy is always good »« LSE Student Union supports criticism of religion – just not Islam

LSE Student Union: Can we have a resolution on Christianity-phobia, Atheism-phobia and Judaism-phobia too?

I ask that the LSE Student Union hold another Emergency meeting to issue a resolution on Judaism-phobia, Christianity-phobia and Atheism-phobia. If criticising Islam is racist and discriminatory, well why not the criticism of Judaism, Christianity, or Atheism? I feel left out and to be honest – slightly offended…

Here’s what the resolution on Christianity-phobia would look like. [This is the SU’s original resolution; I have just exchanged the two terms. The comments in brackets are my own].

No to racism – no to Christianityphobia!

Union notes
1. The rise of Christianityphobia in the United Kingdom and world-wide
2. The rise of the extreme right in Europe [including Islamism, which is a far-Right movement]
3. The Christianityphobic offences internationally
4. Recent Christianityphobic incidents at LSE. [The Jesus and Mo cartoon will suffice as evidence]

Union believes
1. In the right to criticise religion,
2. In freedom of speech and thought,
3. It has a responsibility to protect its members from hate crime and hate speech,
4. Debate on religious matters should not be limited by what may be offensive to any particular religion, but the deliberate and persistent targeting of one religious group about any issue with the intent or effect of being Christianity-phobic (as defined below) will not be tolerated.
5. That Christianity-phobia is a form of anti-Christian racism.
Union resolves
1. To define Christianity-phobia as “a form of racism expressed through the hatred or fear of Christianity, Christians, or Christian culture, and the stereotyping, demonisation or harassment of Christians, including but not limited to portraying Christian as barbarians or terrorists, or attacking the Bible as a manual of hatred”,
2. To take a firm stance against all Christianity-phobic incidents at LSE and conduct internal investigations if and when they occur.
3. To publicly oppose actions on campus that are Christianity-phobic based on the aforementioned definition,
4. To ensure that all Christianity-phobic incidents aimed at or perpetrated by LSE students either verbal, physical or online are dealt with swiftly and effectively in conjunction with the School,
5. To work with the Pro-Director for Teaching and Learning and Deans to address Christianity-phobic and other forms of racism on campus and methods to alleviate it,
6. To ensure that this definition is used to promote and enhance legitimate debate regarding the morality and legitimacy of international conflicts and oppose illegitimate acts of on campus.

Comments

  1. Sigmund says

    To be completely fair we should note that the Jesus and Mo author has also made jokes about Hinduism and Mormons.
    And atheists!
    Mind you, the LSE committee, despite almost all of them describing themselves as atheists, don’t seem so encouraging to the idea that atheists should be allowed to organize on campus.
    Here’s a Tweet from the 17th of January from their anti-Racism officer Sherelle Davids:
    “As an atheist myself, I have concluded an atheist society is an unnecessary concept and goes against everything I understand atheism to be.”
    So much for the idea of providing “safe spaces” for people to interact with like-minded individuals.
    If that is coming from the one person on campus who should be most keyed in to the idea of supporting people who might face bigotry then what hope is there for the rest of them?

      • LSE Student says

        Please read this http://www.lsesu.com/studentvoice/elections/electionrules/complaintslent2011/

        Out of the approx. 20 candidates running for student union positions last year, seven complaints were made regarding campaigning. Out of these 7, FOUR complaints were about Sherelle Davids the LSE SU Anti-Racism Officer. Here are my two favourite:

        Complaint five: “One of the campaigners for Sherelle Davids shouted that the candidate she was supporting was the best as ‘she [Sherelle] was not racist’.” (Her team actually accused the fellow Anti-Racism candidate of racism).

        Complaint six: “It is alleged that Sherelle Davids campaign team were accusing a fellow campaigner of institutional racism in his professional capacity as a police officer.”

        According to this girl, everyone is a racist. Everyone. Even the chairs and tables would probably be accused of racism. (especially if the chairs and tables were atheists.)

    • evilDoug says

      “… I have concluded …”

      It must cost her an aboslute fortune to travel by airplane: one seat for her body and another two dozen for her gigantic arrogant ego.

      • evilDoug says

        Oops. Lost a sentence:

        I certainly appears to me that she deliberately and with malice set out to specifically destroy the ASH society.

    • miketobin says

      I don’t know if you spotted this choice tweet of hers:

      If white middle class male atheist think harassment is going to make me reconsider my stance on atheism – they can think again.

      I wonder what she would think if I said “If black low class muslims…”, racism perchance?

  2. Acleron says

    Nice agenda Maryam, but you should have sub-clauses for the prodestants, anglicans, catholics, greek orthodox, lutherans, jehovah’s witnesses, wesleyists and plymouth brethren.

    Then when we have free-speech exceptions to that lot, there are the hindus, jews, buddhists, shintoists, druids and I’m sure that there are still worshippers of mithras, zeus, oh and all the egyptian gods, oh and of course all those african ones and the nordic ones.

    Just hope you don’t leave anyone out, that presumably would be racist in itself from the dictionary according to LSE.

    PS and I completely forgot the most important one, the flying spaghetti monster, sorry FSM.

    • amhovgaard says

      I started a Reformed* Dionysian cult for Halloween once… anyone complaining about drunken, disorderly or promiscuous behavior is attacking my religion. Racists!

      *You don’t actually have to believe in any gods, just like to party. Or get drunk. Or have sex just for fun, preferably with a stranger. If you buy someone else a drink and/or flirt with strangers, you’re a missionary.

  3. noastronomer says

    Acleron beat me to it.

    I think with just a modicum of effort we could tie up the LSE Student Union for next several years voting on nothing but -phobia resolutions.

    /popcorn.

    Mike.

  4. A Bear says

    So;if a non-muslim points to the Q’uran saying “you shall kill the unbelievers where you find them” you are a racist, but if a Muslim parrots the same quote he is legitimately following his faith by quoting from a sacred, unassailable source?

    • Acleron says

      That’s what it looks like. In fact if said muslim then carries out a murder according to his old book, it would then be racist to mention it. Of course, pointing out the same passage (in meaning) in the christian bible is perfectly ok. Well it is until Maryam’s agenda gets passed.

      Actually, while they are at this changing definition business, could they vote on getting pi to equal 3.

  5. Bill says

    I think any pretense of a “Cinderella Test” isn’t going to work here at least for the student unions. In the hurt game there are some groups that are expected to rise above everything, while others need rise above nothing. Atheists and Humanists are “expected” to be members of the new white privilege and as such don’t enjoy the franchise of offense or being a favored class of a protected group.

    We can claim offense until the cows come home. We may even engage on “direct action” but it will not work for us. We are bad mean white males (**especially** the middle eastern girls like Namazie! Those are the worst). And that makes us the problem that needs to be shut up.

    However… In all seriousness, I think using the Cinderalla Test and claiming legitimate offense (and there is some to be had here) is effective but only in demonstrating to external legal authorities that Atheists are indeed being discriminated against as Atheists. If it is an actionable offense to question or challenge any given religion, then not only are LSE and UCL violating core elements of academic freedom but are also likely engaging in viewpoint discrimination against a Atheist as a member of a distinguishable class. And I suspect that that is, itself, actionable in a court – as opposed to a politicized echo chamber of student union politics.

  6. says

    The genuine atheist is essentially a disbeliever of religious dogma. Here are some of the christian dogma that the genuine atheist does not believe:1. That a couple hundred years ago there was a wise old man called God who lived way up in the sky in a place called Heaven.2. That this old man got up one morning without anything to do and decided to make human beings out of dust.2. That this old man came down on earth and impregnated a young Palestinian woman named Mary. He named his son Jesus.3. That there is life after death. If you praise this old man during your life, when you die he will send you to Heaven where you will be served by young virgins called angels.4. That if you disobey him during your life, when you die he will send you to a place call Hell where you will burn forever.

    Cephas Keith Reyes, PhD

  7. Cephas Keith Reyes PhD says

    Atheism Corner
    Atheism currently generates a lot of headlines, mainly due to the charismatic and vocal nature of its main proponents, men such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. The atheist stance in some ways can be explained as a natural response to the fundamentalism and superstition which has dogged the steps of many healthy religions.

    But a fundamentalist approach to life is an attempt to find security, and is a trait of many minds, not only the devout. In a world where nature always has suprises for the intellect, there can be very little security which is not short lived, but the effort is made in spite of all the evidence, as shown by the famous atheist Sam Harris, who states:

    “The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.” (..Sam Harris, The End of Faith)

    Atheism has a role in forcing religions to account for themselves to the modern intellect, something easily done once rid of superstition and dogma. There are many individuals who consider themselves atheists because no satisfactory explanation of religion, spirituality, or divinity has ever been presented to them. The awkward fact, as shown by Harris, and the equally zealous Richard Dawkins is that the fundamentalist demands their certainty be adopted by others, so while supposedly rallying troops to fight against fundamentalism on one front, they are quite prepared to kill for it on another.

    For, at present, the loudest voices speaking on behalf of atheism trot out a crude nineteenth century positivism, a rewarmed (but far more conservative) version of Symes’ freethought. Meanwhile, the atheist Left seems entirely silent. Where, for instance, are the interventions from progressives as the Global Atheist Convention conducts a session lauding Hitchens’ career under the title ‘A Life Well Lived’?

    Will anyone point out that the author of God is Not Great devoted his well-lived life to apologetics for a military campaign that led to the deaths of perhaps a million people? For progressives, should the devastation of Iraq not matter at least as much as Hichens’ reputation as a witty conversationalist? (..Jeff Sparrow, The Weaponsation of Atheism, Counterpunch)

    As the stunning nanotechnology within biology is uncovered, as the vastness of the Universe opens up in astronomy, and as the subatomic world takes on beauty, strangeness and charm in the world of physics, the world makes a far more marvellous impact on the mind than even the most fervent evangelist of the past could have hoped to achieve.

    Some of the main platforms of atheism are easily dismissed – such as the idea that the backwards facing retina is an aberration [The Willing Pupil] or that complexity can have arisen by chance in a Universe only fourteen billion years old [To Be or Not To Be]. It can also be shown that far from being an irrelevant question of personal choice, materialism actually has a destructive effect on the genetics, and on the mirror neurons within the brain.

    The late Christopher Hitchens provides the most obvious example, a celebrity atheist as famous for boosting wars as for baiting clerics.

    Liberal admirers often mentally separated the atheistic Hitchens from the political Hitchens but in reality the two personas were inseparable. When, notoriously, he lauded Bush’s cluster bombs, he did so – typically – by combining his two passions.

    ‘Those steel pellets will go straight through somebody,’ he chuckled, ‘and out the other side and through somebody else. So they won’t be able to say, “Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.” No way, ’cause it’ll go straight through that as well. They’ll be dead, in other words.’ (..Jeff Sparrow)

    Further articles showing the natural emergence of concepts of divinity in all ages and societies, the inseperable link between creative genius and spirituality, the beneficial biological effects of spiritual disciplines on the cortex and in reducing age-related brain shrinkage, on serotonin and telomerase production, and on the brain in general, and the incontrovertible link between spiritual practices and evolution, are listed on the Spirituality and the Brain page.

    To Be or Not To Be

    The Willing Pupil

    After Atheism

    Darwinism’s Little Problem: Eugenics

    Scientific Proof of God! Why Not?

    Materialism Damages Mirror Neurons

    The Dawkins Delusion

    Why Materialism is Failing as a Worldview

    Do Atheists Have a Soul?

    Cern, The Pope, and Bitter Atheism

    Alien and Earthly Rubbish

    I Met a Superstitious Fanatic!

    An excellent critique of the new athism, or the gnu atheism (I also don’t know what the difference is) and its puzzling idea of adopting ten commandments proposed by Dawkins, is provided by Theodore Dalrymple in the esteemed City Journal:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html

    The thinness of the new atheism is evident in its approach to our civilization, which until recently was religious to its core. To regret religion is, in fact, to regret our civilization and its monuments, its achievements, and its legacy. And in my own view, the absence of religious faith, provided that such faith is not murderously intolerant, can have a deleterious effect upon human character and personality.

    If you empty the world of purpose, make it one of brute fact alone, you empty it (for many people, at any rate) of reasons for gratitude, and a sense of gratitude is necessary for both happiness and decency. For what can soon, and all too easily, replace gratitude is a sense of entitlement. Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies.

    While Jeff Sparrow in Australia finds the aggression of the militant atheists counterproductive, especially if their hope is for any kind of better world:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/09/the-weaponization-of-atheism/

    It would be hard to better this conclusion about the role of religion in aiding mental stability and even survival for those who face suffering on Earth:

    If, then, you wanted to understand the role of religion in Iraq or Afghanistan, simply assessing the truth claims in the Koran does not get you very far – indeed, in some ways, it’s almost a category error.

    Islam, like all religions, functions on many different levels. It offers, for instance, meaning to people subjected to death and suffering often inflicted by the advanced countries of the West.

    It provides charity where no social services exist; it gives voice to nationalist resistance in nations where the secular Left was widely discredited by its Stalinism. And it does many other things besides.

    But his overall conclusion is better and more concise than anything I could think up:

    That doesn’t mean that leftwing atheists should hide their views about God. It’s simply that say that we’re far more likely to win people from religion by working alongside them against the forces of oppression in this world – and thus showing them in practice that religious consolations aren’t necessary – rather than by dismissing them as dupes and stooges.

    If religion is a social phenomenon, it will persist so long as social conditions render it necessary. That’s why the defeat of the atheist Right, and the revival of an atheist Left, matters so much. Denouncing God is easy. What’s harder – and much more important – is creating a world that no longer has need of Him.

    Like this:Like Loading…
    4 Responses to Atheism Corner
    Brandon says:
    December 3, 2011 at 01:52
    You sir or ma’am are amazing. This site has so many articles and I have just touched the tip of the iceberg. You have increased my faith so much and you have flawlessly defended all faiths. I pray that you receive the most high Gods blessing. I am not sure if this site is still being updated but I hope it is and it seems that way.

    Peace and Blessings!

    Reply
    iain carstairs says:
    December 3, 2011 at 07:30
    It sure is! I also had an interview with the Flying Spaghetti Monster – it’s surprising, as he has a lot to say about the need for internalising spiritual symbols. I hope I can do justice to the excitement when I post what he had to say. I’m working on another post about the Greek gods, and every day seems to bring some new development in neuroscience. So I think there’ll be no shortage of posts – hopefully you can read faster than I write. Many thanks for your kind comments!

    Reply
    Cephas Keith Reyes PhD says:
    April 16, 2012 at 04:54
    The Genuine Atheist

    The genuine atheist is essentially a disbeliever of religious dogma. Here are some of the Christian Dogma that the genuine atheist does not believe:
    1. That a couple hundred years ago there was a wise old man called God who lived way up in the sky in a place called Heaven.
    2. That this old man got up one morning without anything to do and decided to make human beings out of dust.
    3. That this old man came down on earth and impregnated a young Palestinian woman named Mary. He named his son Jesus.
    4. That there is life after death. If you praise this old man during your life, when you die he will send you to Heaven where you will be served by young virgins called angels.
    5. That if you disobey him during your life, when you die he will send you to a place call Hell where you will burn forever.

    Cephas Keith Reyes, PhD

Leave a Reply