Australian hospitality »« Just so you know

This is getting ridiculous

All right, this is getting ridiculous. Now Rhys Morgan is getting hassled by his school because he put Jesus & Mo on his facebook page. What started it seems to have been an idiot whining at length that Morgan can’t mock Islam, presumably complained to school administrators, and now the school is threatening to expel him over it.

Listen, loons: there’s a difference between a person and an idea. We have to be able to criticize bad ideas freely, because we hope to change them and make them better. You get to criticize atheism; we get to criticize religion; that’s central to the debate. You don’t get to unilaterally declare your crap exempt from ridicule or disagreement, much as you’d like to.

I understand why you’d like to though, because damn is that Mohammed/Jesus/Buddha/Xenu crap crazy.

Comments

  1. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    PZ, I think the more outrageous thing—and the group who should be targeted—is the fact that the school is falling all over itself to threaten this kid with expulsion! We expect nuttiness from religious extremists. What we don’t expect is the instant capitulation by the rest of society. We don’t expect a school to threaten to expel a kid who’s been the target of threats by schoolmates!

    I really think we need to aim squarely and strongly at the school officials, politicians, and members of the putative left who are actively aiding and abetting the extremism by legitimizing it. That’s far more dangerous and effective than anything a fundie nutter can do.

    Remember, this was NOT a case of a bunch of Muslim fanatics. . it was one (maybe two) people emailing Rhys and they didn’t threaten him. Your anger—and ours—is better directed at the school.

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Shorter me: I’m more afraid of secular authorities and unreconstructed multi-culturalists selling me to the highest fundie bidder than I am of the fundie bidders. Without the legitimization they get from civil society they’d die on the vine. “Our own,” as it were, are fucking us.

  3. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    You don’t get to unilaterally declare your crap exempt from ridicule or disagreement

    Oddly, the GOP is trying the same thing in the US.

    [looks at cable news]

    Oh. Never mind. Already being done.

    This is a very effective authoritarian tactic. Left or right, limiting the oppositions right or ability to point out their own idiocy helps to cement the power. And it really does work.

  4. Aquaria says

    Fucking deluded piece of shit fucked in the head fucking fuckers–fuck ‘em!

    And fuck that craven, sniveling pile of dog vomit at his school, too.

  5. ibyea says

    I bet those same religious people talk about freedom of speech without any sense of irony. Their definition of freedom of speech: The freedom to not have OUR religion criticized.

  6. Pteryxx says

    @Josh:

    We don’t expect a school to threaten to expel a kid who’s been the target of threats by schoolmates!

    …We don’t? I thought that was standard for nonbinary folks? Or was it just me?

  7. grumpyoldfart says

    [#3] What we don’t expect is the instant capitulation by the rest of society.

    That’s exactly what I do expect.
    -
    These ratbag religions have lasted so long because they have always managed to get the Government, the Law, and Society, on their side.

  8. jimnorth says

    I can’t seem to get to the J&M website…anyone got copies of his other cartoons anywhere?

  9. echidna says

    The sight of women not clothed in burkas is offensive to muslims. That does not oblige me to wear a burka.

    The craven school is completely in the wrong.

  10. crocswsocks says

    As a still-obscure atheist born in 1994, I feel compelled to say the following: Fuck Rhys Morgan.

  11. krubozumo says

    My fist comment here at FTB, transitioning from science blogs.

    My work in Brazil is fianlly coming to an end so I will probably be back in the US within the next few months. I am not exactly looking forward to it. I will have been away about eight years with only two visits home in that stretch.

    You’d think that in a country like Brazil an atheist would tend to be frowned upon but surprisingly I can be more outspoken here and suffer less discrimination that I do at home. While it is certainly true that the church here has a strangle hold on many aspects of life, most of them are easily avoided if you are not inclined to go along. The local priest seems to enjoy visiting me almost weekly for some intellectual stimulation or maybe he likes my whiskey. My point is that I don’t think a situation like this post describes would ever arise here.

    Partly that is because the majority is secure in the knowledge of their majority, but also Brazil is so heterogeneous that all Brazilians that I know have a relaxed attitude toward anyone who is ‘different’. Some kid who desecrated a cracker might get a little blowback from the locals over it but there would not be a crucifiction or a burning at the stake.

    I am not saying that the popular convictions of religion here are not coercive at all, but rather they are kept muted and subtle for the most part.

    I tend to think the difference between here and home is one of ambition. No one here is particularly trying to win converts except the Assembly of God evangelicals who are working like beavers to turn Catholics into Dominionists. They are an extreme minority but zealous, oh yes very zealous. In the US I think the
    small minority of Xtian nutjobs that reside under the big tent of the seven mountains gospel have become drunk with power and are really trying hard to press home their theocratic wet dream.

    I am reminded of an essay by Mark Twain entitled “The United States of Lyncherdom”. Makes one wonder if we have learnt anything at all in the last century…

  12. peterh says

    So the U.S. isn’t the only country where the inmates are trying to run the asylum.

    @#14: Just a point of principle: Watterson has not licensed any Calvin or Hobbes material. As much as I sympathize with the intentions behind many of those little “piss on ____” decals, I choose to honor his wishes. I found a long time back I can live without Calvin but not without Hobbes, hence I every so often go back through the anthologies. Hobbes definitely has it over a great many humans.

  13. deadguykai says

  14. elisabetht. says

    Sad, yet not surprised. Having lived a few years in the UK, Britons are the easily the most aggressive people in Western Europe when it comes to enforcing politically correctness (they are the only ones, for example, to not reproduce the Danish Mohammed cartoons in the papers).

    These sort of mindsets exist on the Continent to be sure, but they are not enforced with such a stupid and reckless manner. I cannot see my university paying these complaints much attention. This is dangerous pandering to a self-important ‘right’ to not be offended.

  15. elisabetht. says

    @krubozumo

    I am sorry, but your post, however interesting, is completely off-topic to the point of being an insult to Rhys Morgan’s unjust persecution.

    “Makes one wonder if we have learnt anything at all in the last century…”

    The issue here is of certain Muslims and their supporters in the UK trying to enforce their superstitions on others. It is not about the United States or its “small minority of Xtian nutjobs”. Nor is it about Brasil. And although it could be Christians raising the storm, since Jesus is in the cartoon, they are not the ones behind this absurdity.

    Deflecting conversations about Islam to Christianity or the United States is exactly what religious apologists do time and again. The situation Mr. Morgan faces shows the very real danger to those who have the courage to criticise Islam publicly

  16. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Aquaria #6

    Fucking deluded piece of shit fucked in the head fucking fuckers–fuck ‘em!

    And fuck that craven, sniveling pile of dog vomit at his school, too.

    I’m reminded of a Tim Minchin song.

  17. says

    I don’t know if this quote’s attribution is real or not, but I remember hearing it in the skeptic’s guide. All the sources I found in a quick google search also attributed it to Buddha:

    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

  18. madscientist says

    The proper response of course is to tell the idiot who complained “get over it, loser!” Unfortunately people can’t wait to please the crazies.

  19. autumn says

    @ madscientist,
    I might go with, “well, the instant that someone is forcing you to view my facebook page, I will stand with you in opposing being forced to view material you find offensive. Until then, I feel no need to give a single shit what anyone might find offensive.”

  20. Emrysmyrddin says

    People, before anyone does anything like contacting Rhys’ Head or his school, please ask him, on Twitter (@rhysmorgan) or via his blog, if he requires that type of support. He’s been fighting trolls around the clock for the past couple of days, and his parents are undecided as to what course of action they’re taking, if any action at all; bombarding the Head with e-mails may just make the suspension situation worse.

    I’m all for pro-active Horde-based support – but he’s got a hell of a lot to sort out in the next few days. If both parents were outraged at his treatment, it might be a different matter, but as it stands you may just end up making the whole situation worse for him. Save your drafts and give it a couple of days at least until he can see how it’s all shaking out.

  21. Marcus Hill says

    What Emrysmyrddin @27 said. If the school think that Rhys has set a horde of thousands of internet trolls on them, it will make things worse. Even if he does want support, calm, reasoned objections assuming the school is acting in good faith will work better than rants about evil theists crushing free speech.

  22. Harry Organs says

    What kind of legal environment even allows schools to expel students for posting things on the internet? That’s utterly ridiculous.

  23. deadguykai says

    I have to strongly disagree with the idea of not contacting the school. Silence is complicity. He’s already being threatened with _expulsion_ for crying out loud. If they’re so worried about offending people, show them just how many they’ve really offended.

    Just keep it civil and reasonable. Throw in some Welsh if you want to look good.

  24. Emrysmyrddin says

    I’m not advocating silence; I’m advocating not treading on Rhys’ toes in an uncertain situation. To wait until the lay of the land is clear, for Rhys to decide how he wants to handle it, for you to cool your heels for just a day or two and follow his lead – it is, after all, he who will suffer any negative repercussions from an e-mail deluge.

  25. brett says

    @elisabetht

    Having lived a few years in the UK, Britons are the easily the most aggressive people in Western Europe when it comes to enforcing politically correctness (they are the only ones, for example, to not reproduce the Danish Mohammed cartoons in the papers).

    That’s certainly part of it – just look at their libel laws. I also wonder if it’s a by-product of their particular muslim population, which draws heavily from some of the more conservative, reactionary parts of the muslim world (south Asia, particularly Pakistan). You get more religious nutbars willing to threaten and harass kids over religious “disrespect”.*

    * It’s much rarer in the US, although you occasionally get some of it. The “draw Mohammed” day person had to change her address and contact information after getting death threats.

  26. says

    I have no problem swamping this idiot with hundreds of thousands of complaints about his bending over backwards to please a few irrelevant crazies. But will wait to read the lay of the land.

    Echidna is quite right
    The sight of women not clothed in burkas is offensive to muslims. That does not oblige me to wear a burka.

    I will be demanding that if the headmaster follows this one rule of islam, that the school then enforces ALL islamic practices. Anything else would be considered utterly “rude” to these muslims otherwise. How could it be otherwise?

  27. Matt Penfold says

    I do hope the headteacher is informed that since people find his threat to expel Rhys offensive he must either withdraw the threat or face being expelled from his job.

  28. HaggisForBrains says

    @ #9 Catnip67

    I’m waiting for the poll for us to Pharyngulate.

    I suggest that we all post this image of Jesus & Mo on our Facebook pages in an attempt to create an “I’m Spartacus” moment. I’ve haven’t already done so myself out of fear of reprisal, since I only set up a Facebook page to try to keep in touch with my sons’ generation, and as such, did not see the need to keep my details anonymous. I’m not sure now how to change this (I’m a bit old for all this technology, not to mention self-defence), but as a craven coward offer this suggestion to those of you who have more courage than I have.

    Update: I’ve reset my privacy setting (I hope!) and posted the J&M picture. Who’s with me?

  29. brocasbrian says

    The comments interspersed in his post are trying to equate attacking a person (you eat frogs), attacking a group of people (gays are evil) to attacking an IDEA (religion is false, hypocritical etc). These are clearly different. An Ad Hominem needs a person to be attacked.

  30. brocasbrian says

    “The sight of women not clothed in burkas is offensive to muslims. That does not oblige me to wear a burka.”

    It also doesn’t oblige you to be quiet on the matter. Telling people who promote burkas they’re wrong isn’t a hate crime. No idea is beyond critique.

  31. says

    If I was him I’d tell the school to get fucked, and leave. That’s because that’s what I did back in 1979. They were pricks back then, and they’re 100 times worse now.

  32. says

    @a3kr0n
    Unfortunately, there’s no other school I could go to.
    I can’t go back to my old school because it’s expensive and the other state schools in Cardiff aren’t great.