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Christian organisations (what about other religious communities, I wonder?) are mere commercial interests?

Can you tell me honestly that you look at a televangelist and not see a crass commercial venture?

You don't find it a tad arrogant to tell people they aren't in a Church for spiritual reasons, as a community of shared values, or simply because they want rites to accompany their lives, but just members of mere commercial interests, perhaps?

I'm not saying they're not members of the church for all those reasons. I'm saying that the church they are members of is run like a transnational corporation.

If they don't like that being pointed out to them, then maybe they should find a church that, you know, isn't run like McDonald's or McDonnell-Douglass.

Such churches do exist, you know.

But they don't have a turnover comparable to the GDP of a moderately sized Central Asian republic.

Btw., I find it interesting that Catholics and the Orthodox are Churches, while Protestants have sects. Care to explain where the difference comes from?

The Catholic and Orthodox churches are also sects - but some Protestant sects don't have churches, in the sense of a well-defined organization.

Many people stand up for the right of racists to spread their venom. Few people stand up for the right of communists to not be monitored by the political police

What are we to conclude from your words? That you believe everything that has a large support is wrong

That appeal to popularity is a bullshit argument.

Church members and people who value the Churches form a very large proportion of the population. Why do you think you can teach them what democracy is?

Because apparently a lot of them think that their particular parochial prejudices deserve some special protection from criticism and insults which is not extended to anybody else's parochial prejudices.

I find this inconsistent with democracy.

Suddenly you discover that there are other "social gatherings", and that they are playing a role in political powerplay. Allottment gardeners, for instance. They are well organised and usually have no problem to get their point across. Astonishing how much influence they have. Does that make you as excited as influence of Churches? I think not. So what is it?

I don't see them claiming any super-special prerogatives that are not available to other organizations or social groups.

In particular, I don't see them getting their undies in a twist about people "offending their allotment gardener feelings" or "insulting the pumpkin cultivation instruction manual."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 10:10:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you tell me honestly that you look at a televangelist and not see a crass commercial venture?

I needn't treat them as representative for all churches though. Especially not here, where they are completely unknown.

So you claim that religious organisations have significantly more influence per member than other organisations? I doubt that. Perhaps you underrate how many people identify with churches. I note that there are some privileges of churches that are becoming controversial and that will have to go--in Germany it's the funding by the state that's highest on the list. I don't see that there is support for scrapping legislation against defamatory acts, though.  

by Katrin on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 11:02:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you claim that religious organisations have significantly more influence per member than other organisations? I doubt that.

Yes.

Trade unions do not have laws against mocking their feelings.

Perhaps you underrate how many people identify with churches.

No. I just oppose laws that privilege churches over other social gatherings on no other basis than that they are popular.

I do, however, note that churches often lie about how many members they have.

I note that there are some privileges of churches that are becoming controversial and that will have to go--in Germany it's the funding by the state that's highest on the list. I don't see that there is support for scrapping legislation against defamatory acts, though.

I'm not asking for a revocation of libel laws.

All I'm asking for is equal treatment. If it is legal to say that comparing Bill Gates to a pestilential, cock-sucking gutter rat is an insult to gutter rats, then it should also be legal to say that comparing the Pope to a pestilential, etc.

Religious people need to grow the fuck up and realize that every other organization with a comparable turnover and public profile to the Russian Orthodox Church has to deal with punkers like Pussy Riot protesting their activities.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 12:08:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is legal to say that comparing Bill Gates to a pestilential, cock-sucking gutter rat is an insult to gutter rats, then it should also be legal to say that comparing the Pope to a pestilential, etc

Well, and I know of no law that treats the two different, so what exactly do you want to prove?

by Katrin on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 02:07:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a few posts ago, you supported the existence of different, looser, definitions of defamatory speech when the subject of the speech is a religious group or creed than when it is any other group or creed.

But, OK. You don't see a problem with comparing the Pope to a diseased rodent. Then what's your gripe with making mimed punk-rock in a church that's open to the general public and was not being used for any church-related purposes at the time?

(Denmark has such a law, by the way, although nobody has actually been convicted since the Interbellum.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 06:02:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You happily jump between offending the Pope (a person), political speech on religion or behaviour of clerics, and defamation of religion/religious groups.

Can you make clear what you are talking about?

by Katrin on Sat Sep 1st, 2012 at 04:43:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Offending the Pope is political speech, because the Pope has decided that he wants to be a political figure.

Calling out the behavior of clerics is political speech insofar as that behavior is sanctioned by the Church, because the Church has decided that it wants to be a political actor.

Defamation of anybody is a crime. But that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about whether there should be a lower standard for what constitutes defamation of religious groups than of non-religious groups. And about whether religious groups should get to decide whether the insult constitutes defamation. Because that's the prerogative you want to arrogate for religious communities. It's a prerogative no other group has - not even under the absurdly frivolous British libel law - and which is deeply corrosive to democracy (again, the best example of how frivolous libel law hurts society is the UK).

Religious people sometimes, erroneously, believe that either of the first two is defamation of themselves and their faith. This is obviously horseshit. But the frequent assertion makes it extremely relevant to a discussion of whether religious people should be allowed to set their own standards for defamation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2012 at 05:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that your argument shifts to saying that Churches exercise too much political power, while we started with the protection of religious feelings and the space they are expressed in, and the freedom to base political decisions on them.
by Katrin on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 11:11:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My argument has always been that religious groups should expect no special treatment.

That means, among other things: Their prayer-spaces are not protected in any way that a concert hall or strip mall is not. Their religious texts are not protected in any way that any other piece of literature is not. Their prejudices have no political weight that is not equally granted any other random prejudice. Their organizations should have no privileged access to politicians, or to schoolchildren, or to hospital patients, or any other vulnerable group. And "you hurt my religious feelings" is no more a valid argument than "you offend my taste in music."

As long as religious groups obey those strictures, I have absolutely no problem with their activities, political or otherwise.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 31st, 2012 at 11:56:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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