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Free Speech Threatened in the "Free World":

In yesterday's Washington Post Orin's colleague Jonathan Turley wrote about the decline of freedom of expression throughout the West.

Ever since 2006, when Muslims worldwide rioted over newspaper cartoons picturing the prophet Muhammad, Western countries, too, have been prosecuting more individuals for criticizing religion. The "Free World," it appears, may be losing faith in free speech.

Among the new blasphemers is legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot, who was convicted last June of "inciting religious hatred" for a letter she wrote in 2006 to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, saying that Muslims were ruining France. It was her fourth criminal citation for expressing intolerant views of Muslims and homosexuals. Other Western countries, including Canada and Britain, are also cracking down on religious critics.

Among other things, there are serious efforts to get the United Nations to pass a "ban" on religious defamation, and many western nations once protective of free speech have begun prosecuting the expression of anti-religious and bigoted speech.

History has shown that once governments begin to police speech, they find ever more of it to combat. Countries such as Canada, England and France have prosecuted speakers and journalists for criticizing homosexuals and other groups. It's the ultimate irony: free speech curtailed for the sake of a pluralistic society. . . .

Not only does this trend threaten free speech, freedom of association and a free press, it even undermines free exercise of religion. Challenging the beliefs of other faiths can be part of that exercise. Countries such as Saudi Arabia don't prosecute blasphemers to protect the exercise of all religions but to protect one religion.

Religious orthodoxy has always lived in tension with free speech. Yet Western ideals are based on the premise that free speech contains its own protection: Good speech ultimately prevails over bad. There's no blasphemy among free nations, only orthodoxy and those who seek to challenge it.

wm13:
Good to know that Ginsburg and Koh will be on hand to make those new standards binding on U.S. citizens, too. Deny it (with citations, please) who can.
4.13.2009 8:39pm
Ariel:
Bardot is obnoxious, but she still should be heard.
4.13.2009 8:44pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
Why don't you prove explicitly that they intend to do that first? With citations please, that they intend to strip our free speech rights away in that fashion.
4.13.2009 8:44pm
OSU2L (mail):
wm13:

Don't you see? The Constitution and society evolve together. Today we are far more concerned with not offending anyone than the Framers were. Those fat rich white Christian men did not understand that society would reach a point where no one should or indeed, would be offended. The movement in these other countries demonstrates that there is now a universal social norm in this regard and we have to take that into account when construing the First Amendment.
4.13.2009 8:47pm
Xenu (www):
Also discussed at Why We Protest:
While it hasn't gone so far as to support the U.N. resolution, the West is prosecuting "religious hatred" cases under anti-discrimination and hate-crime laws. British citizens can be arrested and prosecuted under the 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which makes it a crime to "abuse" religion. In 2008, a 15-year-old boy was arrested for holding up a sign reading "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult" outside the organization's London headquarters. Earlier this year, the British police issued a public warning that insulting Scientology would now be treated as a crime.
4.13.2009 8:52pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
We are truly blessed in this country to have freedom of speech defended for its own value. I can't think of any other country which does the same. But this is nothing new. I can't imagine ANY other country where Brandenburg v Ohio would have come out the same.

The sad fact is that free speech has never been a big deal in the same way in countries like Germany that it is here. Even in the UK, the best Constitutional protection you have outside of treaties is the idea of parliamentary privilege and that doesn't extend to the whole population.

So I think the article is misleading. Yes, freedom of speech is fading a bit in the Free World. However, when we look back a century and see the demands that Germany tried to place on the Serbian press prior to WWI, maybe the Free world has never really been that Free.....
4.13.2009 9:01pm
Hervé (mail):
What's happening to freedom of speech is a side-effect. The fundamental issue is people are becoming more sensitive and defensive about their religion, often to the point where it becomes fanaticism.

It's going to be increasingly difficult to defend freedom of speech if people keep bringing up their religion whenever something displeases them.

If your faith is strong, you should not worry what people think about your religion. You should pity them for mocking it and pray for their souls. They may eventually realize their mistake, or die in ignorance.
4.13.2009 9:03pm
Sarcastro (www):
Disprove wm13's unsubstantiated prediction of the future IF. YOU. DARE!
4.13.2009 9:07pm
Tom952 (mail):
This is disturbing because a defense against the assertion of law based on religious beliefs is to point out the flaws in the belief system, partly by using ridicule to point out the absurd result of application of the beliefs. If suppression of criticism succeeds it will allow religious laws to stand unchallenged. As Islam is currently being aggressively asserted in many parts of the world, it is due for some serious criticism and ridicule.
4.13.2009 9:15pm
Kha Khan (www):
This is also being discussed at ESMB, where one observation of particular interest is:
Not only does this trend threaten free speech, freedom of association and a free press, it even undermines free exercise of religion. Challenging the beliefs of other faiths can be part of that exercise.
As a result, the suggested solution is:
The solution is both simple and obvious.

Anonymous is now a religion. A sacred and necessary tenet of the religion of Anonymous is the criticism of Scientology.

If any government curtails the right of Anonymous to criticize Scientology, it is infringing upon the religious freedom of Anonymous.

If any private person or entity attempts to impede or thwart the right of Anonymous to perform its sacred and required religious duty to criticize Scientology, that person or entity is engaging in religious discrimination against Anonymous.
4.13.2009 9:35pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:

Good to know that Ginsburg and Koh will be on hand to make those new standards binding on U.S. citizens, too. Deny it (with citations, please) who can.


Customarily, it is incumbent on the person asserting a fact to offer support for it. For example, if I wrote: "wm13 likes to screw sheep; deny it (with citations, please) who can." Some might think that unfairly places the burden of proof on those who wish to deny it.
4.13.2009 9:42pm
geokstr:

Ever since 2006, when Muslims worldwide rioted over newspaper cartoons picturing the prophet Muhammad, Western countries, too, have been prosecuting more individuals for criticizing religion.

Other Western countries, including Canada and Britain, are also cracking down on religious critics.

Among other things, there are serious efforts to get the United Nations to pass a "ban" on religious defamation, and many western nations once protective of free speech have begun prosecuting the expression of anti-religious and bigoted speech.

Anyone who has followed this in any detail understands that there is only one religion being protected from criticism - Islam. The only religion mentioned in the UN resolution - Islam. The only people charged for "hate speech" in Canada's kangaroo Human Rights Commissions are those who offend - Islam. The only religion allowed to bring those charges are adherents of - Islam. Nearly all the lawfare on the entire planet is being propagated by - Islam.

Gosh, anybody catch some kind of pattern here?

And it is highly problematic to buy into this Orwellian Newspeak by calling it "hate speech", which is of course anything a Muslim does not agree with, true or not, offensive or not, criticism or not. By contrast, you can say anything you want against Xtians. You can do movies about how evil they are, make lots of money doing "art" that desecrates its icons, write "news" stories about how they are ruining the country. Even Jews, who used to be protected somewhat out of collective guilt over the Holocaust, are fair game now for all sorts of slander.

But publish a mild cartoon about the Prophet and be prepared for worldwide killing, looting and rampage. Actually quote the Koran to show how it commands violence against everyone who will not submit or convert, and the courts in so-called Western democracies will prosecute you for "hate speech". If the Muslims don't kill you for it, first, that is.

It ain't called the Religion of Perpetual Outrage for nothing.
4.13.2009 9:44pm
Bonze Saunders (mail):
Here's the inimitable Pat Condell commenting on the UN resolution "Combating the Defamation of Religion" and holding forth on "my God: Freedom!":

Free Speech is Sacred

"Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of identity: this is my Holy Trinity."

Frankly, I find the fact that a flagrantly exploitative cult like Scientology should be exempted from criticism since it's a "religion" scary. What's next?

Jeffrey Dahmer: "Well, you see, I worship Huitzilopochtli. If we don't practice human sacrifice, the Sun will go out."

Cop: "Oh, right! Carry on, then!"
4.13.2009 9:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Gosh. Is there a pattern?
Damn' straight there is, but it's scary.
To make it all go away, we'll pretend it's the Christian fundies with their knickers in a twist. It's okay to laugh at them.
4.13.2009 9:57pm
Sarcastro (www):
Christian fundies never get their knickers in a twist!

[That being said, Europe is being pretty dumb about speech these days. There but for the grace of this blog et. al. go we.]
4.13.2009 10:08pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

Religious orthodoxy has always lived in tension with free speech.

Understatement of the month, and it's not even tax day yet.
4.13.2009 10:09pm
Monty:
Once religious institutions are protected from 'hurtful' speech, how much of a leap is it to start protecting religious political parties, political parties in general, or even the institutions of government? If it ever takes that next step, can you really consider that society a democracy? The slippery slope aurgument is perhaps overused, but there are always those looking to reinforce thier power and entrench themselves, and this would be a convienant tool to that end.
4.13.2009 10:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Sarcastro.
Nice jab. Missed again. Christian fundies getting their knickers in a twist results in a fund-raising appeal on the high end of the cable channels late at night.
I know you pretend that's the worst possible thing that could ever happen. Or perhaps you've convinced yourself and actually believe it.
Feels better than looking at the pattern, doesn't it?
4.13.2009 10:45pm
Ricardo (mail):
Nice jab. Missed again. Christian fundies getting their knickers in a twist results in a fund-raising appeal on the high end of the cable channels late at night.

You are certainly right that the marginality of Christian fundamentalists contributes to the mockery of them. It's a bit more difficult to chuckle about Muslim fundamentalists who threaten to throw acid in the faces of girls of Pakistan's Swat Valley who wish to attend school.

But if Christian fundamentalists did hold much more substantial power, then yes, things could turn out substantially worse. Take former Representative Tom Tancredo (member, Evangelical Presbyterian Church) who suggested the U.S. prepare a nuclear attack on Mecca in response to a future terrorist attack. Aside from the rather obvious point that if there was a future terrorist attack on the American homeland, this by definition would not be a deterrent (they don't teach game theory to elected politicians, unfortunately) fantasies of reigniting a crusade against Islam and ending the world in one big nuclear conflagration have their place among the nuttier elements of the Christian right.
4.13.2009 11:10pm
DangerMouse:
Gosh. Is there a pattern?
Damn' straight there is, but it's scary.
To make it all go away, we'll pretend it's the Christian fundies with their knickers in a twist. It's okay to laugh at them.


The continued liberal attacks on Christianity in the face of relentless problems from Muslims is a defensive mechanism. They know they're powerless to stop radical Islam. Christianity is an easy target for them. Avoiding the problem of Islam makes the problem go away - the ostrich head in the sand technique. Plus, Muslims are poor and non-western, and so that means they're inherently more virtuous than the decadent, commercialized West.

And of course, Ricardo comes along claiming that Christians are actually worse than Muslim terrorists, but for the fact that they actually don't hold any power. Freud could sure do a number on you libs.
4.13.2009 11:38pm
scattergood:
The problems of much of the new restrictions on free speech is that they are based on the listener being 'offended'. You can't criticize Scientology because they are 'offended', you can't have a cartoon of Mohammed because Muslims are 'offended', etc.

The issues there are many:

1) Why the hell should we care if somebody is offended? Your feelings are hurt, too bad. I am offended by much of the stuff I see on TV, hear on the radio, and read in magazines, do I have the right to silence them? Of course not. The 'you can't say it because it offends me' line of thought is the last refuge for the intellectually weak and lazy.

2) What is offensive to one person is art to another. Remember Piss Christ, the art funded by our own gov't. Some thought that was art, some thoguht that was offensive. Why should one group get to determine what another group can say because they think what the first group says is offensive? Who determines what is offensive? Is it a moving standard, or a fixed one? Why?

3) If we buy into the offensive standard to restrict speech, here is my solution. The statement that some speech should be restricted based on it's ability to offend another, in and of itself offends me. So everybody who says things like that should be silenced immediately. I mean, I shouldn't be offended by such restrictions on speech now should I?

This is just another item in the long line of 'it it feels good it must be good' approach to things. Not if it actually causes harm (imminent danger, instructions of a crime, etc.), just if it makes somebody feel bad. What a load of baloney.
4.14.2009 1:38am
Ricardo (mail):
Dangermouse:

And of course, Ricardo comes along claiming that Christians are actually worse than Muslim terrorists, but for the fact that they actually don't hold any power. Freud could sure do a number on you libs.

I would suggest remedial reading comprehension lessons.
4.14.2009 2:30am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Ricardo:

What don't you link to a source that provides us what Tancredo actually said? For example
A Colorado congressman told a radio show host that the U.S. could "take out" Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons.
His suggestion assumes a nuclear attack by Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. I've got news for you. This is already the policy of the US. If a nuclear device goes off anywhere in the US, the US will respond with nuclear weapons. Would you have it do otherwise? This has always been our policy. It was the policy of the Soviet Union to launch a nuclear attack on the US if a nuclear device went off anywhere from any source in the USSR. This is the way the nuclear deterrence game is played.
4.14.2009 4:20am
A.C.:
I now declare that I am offended by Islam and intend to feel very, very bad whenever anyone practices, or so much as mentions, Islam anywhere I can hear about it. I will now view the mere presence of a mosque in my community as a sign of violent sexism and oppression towards females everywhere.

Who can I sue? And how can I get the government to ban this heinous practice? I'd really like to skip the part where I blow stuff up, and proceed directly to the restriction of civil liberties.

I mean, if one side is going to play that game...
4.14.2009 5:59am
Hervé (mail):
Zarkov:
I've got news for you. This is already the policy of the US. If a nuclear device goes off anywhere in the US, the US will respond with nuclear weapons. Would you have it do otherwise? This has always been our policy. It was the policy of the Soviet Union to launch a nuclear attack on the US if a nuclear device went off anywhere from any source in the USSR. This is the way the nuclear deterrence game is played.


Obviously, it worked with the soviets cause "we know where you live, we'll destroy your home if you attack us". Not so much with terrorists. The Mecca is just a symbol for Muslim fundamentalists, it's not their home. If you destroy it, moderate Muslims will flock in millions to join the ranks of terrorism. It'd only make them stronger.

Terrorism is the result of nuclear deterrence. The "terrorist strategy" was specifically designed to render nuclear weapons useless by being everywhere and nowhere, affiliated to no country.

What if terrorists infiltrate a military base in the US, seize the nuclear weapons there and fire them, what do you do? Throw a nuclear bomb on your own country?

What if the infiltration happens in the UK, what do you do? annihilate your most faithful ally because they failed to secure their nuclear installations?
4.14.2009 7:23am
DeezRightWingNutz:

Understatement of the month, and it's not even tax day yet.


http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb, did you come up with that? It's pretty good, although it seems like it'd make more sense if it was after 4/15 and you'd said, "and tax day has already come and gone," or something to that effect.
4.14.2009 9:34am
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Ricardo - there have been times and places in American history where Christian fundamentalists have had power. I can't say they've been brilliant, but they have not set up anything like the villages of the Middle East.

Readers are comprehending you. You have a fevered imagination about some of your fellow citizens and are being told you are wrong. Please rise above the level of calling them poo-poo heads.
4.14.2009 9:41am
Mike Z (mail) (www):
I think we ought to be more concerned about that subject here at home. Two items in recent news seem to say that our brief 230-year experiment with free speech is about to end:

1. The new "Cybersecurity Act of 2009" would give the President power to shut down internet traffic "in emergencies".

Here's a link to the trade magazine eWeek:

Cybersecurity Act

Also, the EFF:

Cybersecurity Act

2. The Department of Homeland Security has just issued a report on "right-wing extremism".

Here's a direct link to the report:

Rightwing Extremism

"Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment"

From the document:

"Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities."

This is their definition of "right-wing extremist":

"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."

The troublesome part here is "rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority".

Look at today's news from Texas, where Gov Rick Berry backs a House Resolution in support of states' rights. According to Homeland Security, Gov Berry is a "right-wing extremist" and is likely to become a "person of interest" in subsequent investigations.
4.14.2009 12:20pm
trad and anon (mail):
Today we are far more concerned with not offending anyone than the Framers were. Those fat rich white Christian men did not understand that society would reach a point where no one should or indeed, would be offended.

I don't know about the Framers themselves, but around the time of the founding this country people were sure concerned with offending Christians and patriots. For example, atheist and Tory sentiments were, um, not exactly greeted with enthusiasm. They didn't use the language of "offensiveness" but the substance was the same. The major difference is that today we are concerned with people who say things that demean marginalized groups rather than just things that anger the majority, and violence is a less likely response today (except maybe in the case of certain acts viewed as insulting to Muslims).

This is not to endorse every complaint of offensiveness, and it is not the business of the law to ban things just for being offensive. But as a historical matter complaining that we're perpetually "offended" when historically this wasn't true is about as accurate as claiming that racial preferences are a development of the last half-century.
4.14.2009 12:47pm
geokstr:
A thought experiment:

Let's suppose Xtian "fundamentalists" took over and demanded that everyone live by the same examples, principles and philosophies as their Prophet, Jesus. You know, love thy neighbor as thyself, heal the sick, do unto others as you would have done unto you, turn the other cheek, give unto Caesar, sacrifice your own life to help everyone else out, etc, etc.

Now let's imagine Muslim "fundamentalists" took over and demanded we all live by the same examples, principles and philosophies as their Prophet, Mohammed. You know like, marry a 9 year old, take multiple wives, demand that all infidels either be subjugated, converted or killed, consider unbelievers to be pigs and dogs, force all women to be subservient, command lying to infidels about everything in advocating your religion, etc, etc.

As an atheist, while I would chafe at living under either theocracy, I would feel one hell of a lot freer and safer under the former than the latter.

The fact is that, sure, you can find instances of cruelty and injustice in the Old Testament just like in the Koran. You can also say that hundreds of years ago, Xtians ruled and did some bad things too in the name of their religion. But they had to actually subvert and ignore the principles of their own Prophet in the process, and so their cruelties can be laid more at the feet of a human lust for power that used religion as an excuse.

By contrast, Muslims base much of their faith and their current social and legal systems on the unquestioning belief that the entire life of Mohammed was guided by Allah, and that therefore everything he did was approved by Allah, and that they should live that way too. Both their beliefs and their actions are totally congruent. They see the killing and torture and lying and second class status of women, et al, to be not only acceptable but actually commanded by Allah.

Yet these are the people that the left is helping by agreeing that criticizing their religion (and only theirs) is "hate speech", in the name of the Religion of the Almightily Tolerant.

The late great Karl Popper called it the "paradox of tolerance":

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

...we should claim the right to suppress (intolerant philosophies) if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument... We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law..."

For once I would like to have the left concede that Xtians are a hell of a lot less of a danger than Muslims, but hey, I ain't holding my breath.
4.14.2009 1:33pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Geokstr:

Let's suppose Xtian "fundamentalists" took over and demanded that everyone live by the same examples, principles and philosophies as their Prophet, Jesus. You know, love thy neighbor as thyself, heal the sick, do unto others as you would have done unto you, turn the other cheek, give unto Caesar, sacrifice your own life to help everyone else out, etc, etc.


Since we are talking about the fringe here, I think you are missing:
1) Burn the heretics (and accuse them of homosexuality while you are at it)
2) Invade the Holy Land!
3) Rebuild all law on religious principles!

Honestly I can't see a lot of difference here. The only thing the Christians have going for them is that #3 is built directly into Islamic thought.
4.14.2009 3:12pm
mrbill:
Bardot may be obnocious...but she is correct.
4.14.2009 3:18pm
geokstr:

einhverfr:

Since we are talking about the fringe here, I think you are missing:
1) Burn the heretics (and accuse them of homosexuality while you are at it)
2) Invade the Holy Land!
3) Rebuild all law on religious principles!

Honestly I can't see a lot of difference here. The only thing the Christians have going for them is that #3 is built directly into Islamic thought.

Sorry but I'm not missing anything here, you are.

My thought experiment was premised on both religions demanding that we live by the examples, principles and philosohies of their respective prophets. Please show me where the life of Jesus (whether he really existed or not), upon which nearly the entire New Testament is based, shows that he advocated any of your three items, or in fact any of the other atrocities committed daily all over the world today (not hundreds of years ago) by proponents of Islam.

How many Xtian "fundies" do you think you could find that believe in burning homosexuals at the stake? 2, maybe 3? How many Muslims do you think you could find that DON'T believe gays should be killed?

And in your point #3, you are actually damning your own argument. Sharia law, which is based on the Koran and the life of Mohammed, contains a lot more nasty stuff than even the Xtian Inquisition, like child marriage, subjugation and beating of women, honor killing, polygamy, etc, ad nauseum. You see, their religion explicity justifies all this.

Any religion can be twisted by power hungry fanatics to do anything in its name. My point was that the life of Mohammed actually tells them it is OK to kill, enslave and plunder, in the name of their god.

When it comes to fundamentalists, I think you'll find that most polling indicates that they are a lot bigger than a "fringe", if not a majority on some pretty horrific ideas, than the actual tiny minority of fundamentalist Xtians. For instance, in surveys I have seen, the vast majority believe that all or most of law in all countries must be based on Sharia concepts.

Give it another 10-20 years the way it's going now and see if you still think the same way.
4.14.2009 9:59pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
geo:

Please show me where the life of Jesus … shows that he advocated … any of the … atrocities committed daily all over the world today … by proponents of Islam.


Is invading a country that didn't attack us an atrocity? We shouldn't be terribly surprised if some people outside the US see our invasion of Iraq as being driven by Christian fundamentalism. Bush has said, multiple times, that he is guided by God. Bush used the word "crusade" to describe the war, multiple times. And of course Coulter said this:

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity


In the National Review, no less, arguably the leading conservative journal. And then Coulter is repeatedly invited to CPAC, where she shares a platform with Romney, who has this to say about her (video):

I am happy to hear that after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh yeah!


Are Coulter and Romney "proponents" of Christianity? (I realize there are Christians who say Mormons aren't Christians, but that's a separate issue.) And when Coulter talks about spreading Christianity by force, is she being faithful to "the life of Jesus?" I don't think so, but so what? Republican attitudes about poverty also depend on distorting the "life of Jesus" (link, link). So "the life of Jesus" is not a constraint on the bad behavior of his followers.
4.15.2009 9:41am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Geo:

1) Chasing around and whipping the moneychangers at the temple might be contrary to your view of Christ's life?

2) "Sell your cloak and buy a sword?"

My point is that there are plenty of Christians who will invoke the Gospels to any agenda that suits them. In fact we all do this in our own traditions!

I repeat: The only thing that Christianity has going for it is the fact that re-building laws based on religious theology is a logical development of Christian monotheism while in Islam (as in Judaism) it is a part of the core doctrine (which is why in Israel, Sharia law is recognized for civil cases between Muslims and Druze).

Of course, Christian attitudes towards homosexuality have always been hopelessly confused once one gets into textual analysis (such analysis shows Paul wrestling with the issue of the role of Levitican law and so there is no reason to see homosexuality as unique among issues relating to Levitican law in Christianity-- either wearing cotton/polyester blends is a sin or homosexuality is not).
4.15.2009 2:14pm
davod (mail):
"Since we are talking about the fringe here,"

Show me a Christian fringe running a country?

Show me a country being governed by 14th century law.

I might add that the Muslim fringe always alluded to is making inroads in most Muslim countries.
4.15.2009 7:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
davod:

Show me a Christian fringe running a country


Bush would not have become president without the support of the "Christian fringe." So that fringe exercised a lot of power, and for a while it looked like it was going to get plenty of what it wanted. How sad to see that coalition implode.
4.15.2009 7:45pm
davod (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

Here we go again.

Don't change the thrust of my questions.

"Show me a Christian fringe running a country?

Show me a country being governed by 14th century law. "

Simple questions. Try again.
4.15.2009 8:22pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Simple questions.


I gave your simple question a simple answer. The "Christian fringe" exercised a great deal of influence on pivotal elections in the most powerful country in the world. That's lots of power. So if you're trying to sell the idea the Christian fringe has been powerless, here's what you need to do: try again.
4.15.2009 8:38pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
davod: Your questions are irrelevant to the hypo I was discussing.
4.15.2009 9:38pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
The initial bit was Geokstr's accusation that Muslim fundies would be that much worse as rulers than Christian fundies.

However, I don't see how a government designed and run by folks like Pat Robertson would be that much different from Malaysia's (albeit moderate Islamic government). And I think one designed by Rev. Hagee would be fairly crusade-like.

The main arguments I made are either from fringe Christian reverends of today, or they are historical parallels to those. Saying that such folk don't CURRENTLY run any countries is small comfort. I would rather keep them out of power.
4.15.2009 9:43pm
davod (mail):
einhverfr: Thanks for the clarification.
4.16.2009 8:30am

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