Dom Post on free speech

April 6th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A great editorial from the Dom Post:

Despots and dictators are expected to come up with reasons to limit . The United Nations isn’t.

That is why it is abhorrent that the ’s top human rights body has approved a proposal urging countries to pass laws to protect religion from criticism. Its voted to accept a resolution proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference calling for a global fight against “defamation of religions”. It singles out Islam as a victim. “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism”, the resolution states.

The problem is the despots and dictators are all on the Human Rights Council. They see its job as to protect their rights to be despots and dictators.

It will have little practical impact in the West, because it will not be put into practice. However, it should not be ignored. Its critics which include a coalition of 186 secular, Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups rightly see it as an attempt to give legitimacy to the anti-blasphemy laws that theocratic Muslim regimes use to stifle dissent and persecute non-Muslims. It is born of the same philosophy that regarded it as appropriate to issue a fatwa in effect, a death sentence against author Salman Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses, which was ruled to be blasphemy against Islam.

It is terrible that any country has a law that makes it a criminal offence to change your religion, let alone one carrying the death penalty.

It also, as the coalition has pointed out, alters the very notion of human rights. Those rights are meant to protect individuals from harm. They are not meant to protect beliefs from critical inquiry. The resolution, if taken seriously, would damage freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion in any country that adopted it, and that is why protests against it should be loud and long. Too often the West has mumbled, shuffled and looked the other way when its core values are attacked. It needs to take the same pride in the principles that underpin its culture as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference does in its, and push them with the same vigour. Freedom of speech is worth fighting for, rather than surrendering to those more determined in their world view.

I could not agree more. This is why every newspaper in the world should have published the Danish cartoons, rather than cower behind threats of violence and trade sanctions.

Back home in New Zealand, I would love to see the Government appoint a “Free Speech Commissioner” to the Human Rights Commission. Their job would be to fight against censorship, support a free media etc etc.

Against that background, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has made the right call in withdrawing New Zealand’s bid for a place on the Human Rights Council, freeing up a spot for the US. As Mr McCully observed when he announced the decision, “by any objective measure, membership of the council by the US is more likely to create positive changes more quickly than we could have hoped to achieve them”.

Even for a country with the diplomatic heft of the US, that is a big task. The council’s predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, dissolved because it had lost all credibility. The council is showing all the signs of going down the same shameful road.

Yes it was a good call, and yes Obama will probably fail also – but good on him for trying to save the Human Rights Council from indeed going down the same shameful path as its predecessor.

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39 Responses to “Dom Post on free speech”

  1. beautox (409 comments) says:

    As I noted before, Helen’s gonna fit in just fine in the UN.

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  2. jacob van hartog (300 comments) says:

    Talking about free Speech, did the invisble hand pull in its entirety the post on the Obama the orator parody.

    There probably is an innocent explanation, but me thinks the US embassy has pulled rank ( as all great democracies do)

    [DPF: You should see a doctor over your paranoia. It is merely scheduled to appear later today]

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  3. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    The Dominion Post that professes to care for freedom of expression never (that I saw) reported on Mark Steyn being hauled before the courts in Canada for speaking out against Islamic attacks on freedom of expression.

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/06/13/f-rfa-macdonald.html

    Their whining on the issue now is too little too late.

    Did they publish the anti Islamic cartoons that eventually became a measure of the courage and conviction of the media in resisting attempts to stifle free speech?

    The editor of the Dominion Post and his posturing politically correct staff are the problem not the solution.

    Have been for too long to be forgiven now.

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  4. James (1,299 comments) says:

    I propose an alternative body arise that stands for REAL individual human righjts and takes on the bogus contradictory crap expoused by the UN,Human rights con etc as “Human rights”….lets see a debate that has both sides put up their reasons for their positions and lets see who makes the best case….

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  5. ben (2,280 comments) says:

    I agree rules against criticising religion are abhorrent. Such restrictions are a step towards curtailment of other important rights.

    However.

    I also believe rules against racist speech are abhorrent – more abhorrent and more dangerous, even, than the stupidity of racism. Such restrictions are a step towards curtailment of other important rights.

    So I struggle to see the consistency in railing against the Turkish cafe owner who threw Jewish people out of his cafe, and railing against governments who want to shut down dissent. How is it that governments should be so wrong for stifling religious hate speech and so right, apparently, for stifling racist hate speech? Is there not danger in shutting both down?

    I do not support either the Turkish owner’s views nor the governments who want to shut down religious criticism. I am asking about consistency.

    [DPF: People can choose their religion but not choose their race. Fomenting hatred towards someone because of something they have no control over is not the same as criticising a religion that people choose to follow]

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  6. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    So what’s your position on fervent biblicists speaking against homosexuality James? They’re being prosecuted too in Canada and other places. Apparently progressives and pseudo-liberals are as ready to use legislation to attack free speech as any other religionists.

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  7. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    Redbaiter,

    The Canadian hate-speech laws specifically exempts religious expression from prosecution.

    3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)

    (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
    (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
    (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
    (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada…

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  8. baxter (753 comments) says:

    DPF:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;”Back home in New Zealand, I would love to see the Government appoint a “Free Speech Commissioner” to the Human Rights Commission. Their job would be to fight against censorship, support a free media etc etc.”

    You are joking surely. We should be getting rid of all these plushy Commissions and Commissioners not creating more.

    [DPF: I used to think that but realised you need to fight fire with fire.]

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  9. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull, seriously, have you been following the recent publicity over the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, or not? I honestly think you would be just as concerned as Redbaiter – I don’t think you are one of the consorious Left.

    What do you think of a plastic surgeon who refused to perform a labioplasty operation, being prosecuted and bankrupted? Or a restaurateur who “moved on” a Pot smoker from his doorway? That is to name but two of a whole list of horror stories. It is just unbelievable what these people have been doing, and getting away with it really only because the silent majority assumes that it won’t ever affect them. True in a way; the commissions simply would not have the resources to pursue everyone; everyone is in that sense, not affected. But the result is Kafka-esque hell and destruction of lives of a few basically innocent decent people every year.

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  10. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    Where was the Dom Post’s editorial on the British government’s decision to deny entry to Dutch politician Geert Wilders?

    Cowards and hypocrites.

    What about alternative views on the global warming scam???

    Shysters and charlatans.

    Just two examples.

    AS odious as the UN HRC might be, the Editors and staff of the Dom Post are committed progressives and pseudo liberals, as are most in the mainstream media, where they won’t hire anyone who doesn’t think in the way they approve, and for these poseurs and self righteous self deceivers to attack the UN body is the epitome of hypocrisy.

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  11. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Obama Joins Human-Rights Charade
    The United States is participating in a risible U.N. sideshow.

    By Anne Bayefsky

    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=YTM3N2FhODVlMDM5NDM0MjE4ZmNlMjEzMjViZmY4ZGU=

    “……Pres. Barack Obama has announced that the United States will seek a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council for the first time. The formal election of new members is in May, but the result is a foregone conclusion. The human-rights abusers who dominate the Council and use it to protect themselves, to eliminate universal standards, and to demonize their democratic foes are already celebrating.

    This is a surrender of American values unlike any other……..

    “……..The Council was created in March 2006 after the U.N. Human Rights Commission became too much of an embarrassment even for the U.N. The General Assembly rejected a U.S. proposal requiring that states actually protect human rights as a condition of Council membership. As a result, the United States voted against the Assembly resolution that gave it birth.

    The Bush administration also refused to use taxpayer dollars to pay for the Council. Obama’s move will reverse this policy. It is, therefore, important to appreciate exactly what American tax dollars will now be purchasing. Here is a sample of what the Council has “accomplished” over its short history.

    The Council has adopted a formal agenda of ten items that governs all its meetings. One agenda item is reserved for condemning Israel. This item is called the “human-rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”; the human rights of Israelis are deliberately omitted. And one agenda item is assigned to the human rights of the remaining 99.9 percent of the world’s population. By taking a seat on the Council, the United States will be agreeing to this agenda and to the resulting apportionment of the Council’s time.

    Every morning throughout the Council sessions, all U.N. member states meet to strategize and share information in one of the U.N.’s five regional groups. All that is, except Israel. At the Council, Israel is denied membership in any regional group, including the amalgam of Western states to which the United States belongs. The United States is, therefore, about to attend a continuous stream of meetings through doors effectively marked “no representatives of the Jewish people allowed.”

    The Council has had ten regular sessions concerning human rights worldwide and five special sessions to condemn Israel.

    The Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all the other 191 U.N. member states combined.

    The Council has terminated human-rights investigations of such paragons as Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia.

    The last time the Council took action on Sudan was seven months ago. The resolution on that country “acknowledges . . . the steps taken by the Government of the Sudan to strengthen the human-rights legal and institutional framework, principally in law reform.” (The Sudanese criminal code prohibits homosexuality, makes adultery a capital offense, and provides for flogging, amputation, stoning, and crucifixion.)

    The Council has just terminated every investigation of “consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms.” Under this heading, it has discontinued investigations of the likes of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Even the discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission had investigations under way every year since this process began in 1974.

    The Council president has made a procedural ruling that any commentary connecting the practice of Islam to human-rights violations is out of order.

    The Council has sabotaged the key resolution in the U.N. system on freedom of expression. The resolution now requires investigation of “abuses of the right of freedom of expression” . Most Council members do not permit freedom of expression, much less suffer from the abuse of it.

    The Council regularly adopts resolutions on the “defamation of religions,” an overt attempt by Islamic states to stymie free speech of individuals in the name of protecting “religion.”

    The Council has made repeated efforts to circumvent universal principles. It has spawned numerous entities charged with searching for “normative gaps” — with the intention of filling them with sharia exemption clauses.

    The Council has created an investigator charged with reporting on respect for “cultural diversity” (read: the refusal to hold Islamic states to universal standards of human rights). Not surprisingly, this plan was spearheaded by some of the worst human-rights abusers on the planet: Iran, Syria, Cuba, China, North Korea, Venezuela, and Belarus.

    The Council’s one new device — the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) — was heralded as introducing a careful examination of all U.N. states without discrimination. What actually happens is that a series of human-rights abusers congratulate one another, avoid any serious scrutiny, and then denigrate the democracies that agreed to the travesty in the first place.

    It is true that some human-rights groups are willing to admit there is a problem with the Human Rights Council. But they still insist that Obama’s decision to participate in this sham raises the prospect of change from the inside. They are mistaken.

    Serious reform of the U.N. Human Rights Council is impossible. The United States failed to win over a majority of U.N. members to the idea of minimal preconditions for Council membership because the majority of U.N. members are not fully free democracies and have no interest in introducing democratic hurdles for anything they do. On the Council itself, the majority of seats are held by the African and Asian regional groups, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has a majority in both of these groups. That means the OIC holds the balance of power. The more time the Council spends demonizing Israel, the less likely it becomes that it will ever get around to condemning genocide in Sudan, female slavery in Saudi Arabia, or torture in Egypt.

    President Obama’s decision to bring the United States into the Council is a gift for his political adversaries. The Council and its many subsidiary bodies meet almost year round, and many of their proceedings are webcast. Every time the president makes a speech about human dignity, the welfare of minorities, the equality of women, or an end to torture, his critics can circulate another picture of the hapless American representative to the Council glued to his chair during the adoption of yet another decision trashing human rights — with the United States paying the bill…….”

    [DPF: Shorter extracts please. Just provide a link and the three to four main paragraphs]

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  12. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    The DomPost is of course committed to the notion that the UN is a force for good in the world, because idealistic one-world government and the subsuming of our own sovereignty and our own cultural heritage in that is all part of their thinking.

    But the guy who described the U.N. as 130 cannibals and 60 civilised people taking a vote on what to have for dinner, got it right in one. It is long overdue for the 60 civilised people to just walk away from it, or at least stop paying its operating expenses. The world needs a “Concert of Democracies”, or maybe an extended NATO, that is actually relevant to objective standards of human rights; and nations who want to join it need to qualify to join it.

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  13. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull, seriously, have you been following the recent publicity over the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, or not? I honestly think you would be just as concerned as Redbaiter – I don’t think you are one of the consorious Left.

    I’ve been too busy with work to follow much stuff that isn’t summed up quickly in a Kiwiblog post, I’m afraid.

    What do you think of a plastic surgeon who refused to perform a labioplasty operation, being prosecuted and bankrupted? Or a restaurateur who “moved on” a Pot smoker from his doorway? That is to name but two of a whole list of horror stories. It is just unbelievable what these people have been doing, and getting away with it really only because the silent majority assumes that it won’t ever affect them. True in a way; the commissions simply would not have the resources to pursue everyone; everyone is in that sense, not affected. But the result is Kafka-esque hell and destruction of lives of a few basically innocent decent people every year.

    It doesn’t sound very good at all. I was just responding to that one thing Redbaiter said – about the biblicist hassling homosexuals. It should be exempt under Canadian law. These other things sound like they use laws other than that particular hate-speech law.

    Did you get my question in the other thread?

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  14. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Ryan, sorry, I haven’t noticed a question on another thread yet and am actually now needing to “fly” to an appointment; I do hope I get to it later, I enjoy our discussions.

    There has actually been a whole book recently written about the Canadian Human Rights Commissions:

    “Shakedown”, by Ezra Levant

    http://www.steynstore.com/product64.html

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  15. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    From the blurb:

    232 pages (hardback)

    “If you want to know what this book’s about, the easiest place to start is with one brief soundbite from Ezra Levant’s interrogation by the Alberta ‘Human Rights’ Commission. Ezra had chosen to publish the ‘Danish cartoons’ – the controversial representations of the Prophet Mohammed – in his magazine The Western Standard, and as a result had found himself summoned before Shirlene McGovern, a ‘human rights agent’ for the Government of Alberta. And, at one point in her inquisition, after listening to Ezra’s musings on the outrageousness of what was happening, Agent McGovern looked blandly across the table and shrugged:

    ‘You’re entitled to your opinions, that’s for sure.’

    If only…
    Steyn, from his introduction to Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy In The Name Of Human Rights

    Two cases brought the Canadian state’s war on free speech into sharper focus than ever before: the Steyn/Maclean’s case over America Alone before the Canadian, British Columbia and Ontario “human rights” commissions, and the Ezra Levant/Western Standard case over the Danish cartoons before the Alberta commission. In a handsome new hardcover book, with a rollicking introduction by Mark, Ezra Levant tells the story of his own case, the investigations into Steyn’s “flagrant Islamophobia”, and other ludicrous cases brought by Canada’s diseased “human rights” apparatus, from the tribunal ruling that a McDonald’s employee was not required to wash her hands after using the bathroom, to the human right of a Calgary hair stylist not to be called a “loser”, to the right of an emotionally unstable transvestite to counsel female rape victims, despite the objections of those victims.

    Canada is now a land that routinely regulates opinion, fines dissenters, and punishes them with lifetime speech bans to prevent them ever raising the subject again. This book brings together two of Canada’s most prominent freespeechers in an eloquent argument for the restoration of ancient liberties…..”

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  16. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    Ryan, sorry, I haven’t noticed a question on another thread yet and am actually now needing to “fly” to an appointment; I do hope I get to it later, I enjoy our discussions.

    Sweet as, me too. No rush. Have a good day.

    There has actually been a whole book recently written about the Canadian Human Rights Commissions:

    “Shakedown”, by Ezra Levant

    http://www.steynstore.com/product64.html

    I’m not likely to get a chance to read it, but I’ll see if I can’t learn a bit about the CHRC.

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  17. larryq (66 comments) says:

    These statements always say freedom of religion. I think they should say freedom of and from religion.

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  18. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    I’m not sure it has to be so specific at all, Larry. Religions are beliefs and behaviours based on those beliefs. It comes under the umbrella of simply:

    Freedom of opinion.

    Why refer to one particular kind of opinion as especially important? Shouldn’t there be freedom of all kinds of opinion?

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  19. Tomsk (4 comments) says:

    Don’t forget that Helen Clark repeatedly criticised newspapers for printing the Danish cartoons. However I never heard her criticise Salman Rushdie for his book the Satanic Verses. Kowtowing to the religious extremists is a great way to promote yourself as acceptable for UN positions. She and the Human Rights council will get on splendidly.

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  20. adamsmith1922 (724 comments) says:

    The Dom Post editorial was good, but a little late to the party.

    This post http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/un-inhuman-rights-council/ references earlier posts, not just by me on the subject, including the Economist and others.

    The UN HRC if following it’s illustrious predecessor :) into a world of Orwellian control and McCarthyite denial of basic freedoms
    as Terry Cormier, Canadian diplomat stated:-

    “It is individuals who have rights and not religions,”

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  21. LabourDoesntWork (292 comments) says:

    Free speech is dead in Canada and Sweden – to name two. Check out Ezra Levant’s videos on Youtube of him giving a piece of his mind to a “human rights commission” stooge that would have him answer to the Canadian government for criticising Islam. They’re just utterly great.

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  22. ben (2,280 comments) says:

    DPF: People can choose their religion but not choose their race. Fomenting hatred towards someone because of something they have no control over is not the same as criticising a religion that people choose to follow

    Hmm… I’m not especially convinced by your argument here David. We could have a pretty good argument about whether religion is something you choose.

    But more generally, are you saying free speech is rightly curtailed and criticism suppressed when the subject is something that is unchangeable? I’m quite sure speech has value beyond encouraging change in things that can be changed. Speech is also held to have value as an outlet for anger that might be expressed in other more serious ways, as a way to relate to others, and for learning. These benefits of free speech hold whether speech is directed at what is changeable or unchangeable.

    [DPF: There is no debate that religion is a choice – well in NZ anyway. And no I am not saying whether something is changeable is the only issue. But it is a bloody big one. All speech has limits on it. Inciting people to lynch the niggers goes beyond my threshold, even if they do not point out which particular niggers they want to lynch]

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  23. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    # Ryan Sproull (1544) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I’m not sure it has to be so specific at all, Larry. Religions are beliefs and behaviours based on those beliefs. It comes under the umbrella of simply:

    Freedom of opinion.

    Why refer to one particular kind of opinion as especially important? Shouldn’t there be freedom of all kinds of opinion?

    If one looks at the nature of religion, especially the ‘Desert Dogmas’ as Pat Condell calls the Abrahamic faiths, you have that annoying convert the heathens thing going on, and radical Islam is the major offender for wanting to convert at sword point at this time, once it was Christianity.
    By saying ‘Freedom of, and from, religion’ one can underline the right of the individual to be free from religion and neatly circumvent any argument from religious extremists that don’t recognise freedom of opinion. The whole Muhammad cartoon fiasco is an example of religions not recognising freedom of opinion or freedom of religion, as they clearly wanted to suppress both by intimidating those who had a view contrary to theirs, while simultaneously forcing others to adopt Islam’s tenets about portraying their final prophet, through intimidation and threats of violence.
    Such wording is a means to an end in a western country, or should be, by making it clear that people are free to believe or not believe as they see fit.

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  24. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    ben (362) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    DPF: People can choose their religion but not choose their race. Fomenting hatred towards someone because of something they have no control over is not the same as criticising a religion that people choose to follow

    Hmm… I’m not especially convinced by your argument here David. We could have a pretty good argument about whether religion is something you choose. ”

    I chose to be an atheist, and I know people who have chosen to become religious who were previously agnostic, so I don’t see that you have much of an argument.

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  25. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    Stuart,

    That still seems to fall under the umbrella of freedom of opinion.

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  26. getstaffed (8,040 comments) says:

    These statements always say freedom of religion. I think they should say freedom of and from religion

    Fair enough larryq. Just as well you live here in good ‘ol NZ.. and not in an Islamic state.

    Couple of questions though: In your desire to be free from religion, will you be eschewing your Easter and Christmas holiday leave entitlements lest your observance thereof be seen as not being free? Will you reject social services from religiously aligned/funded organisations?

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  27. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    I chose to be an atheist, and I know people who have chosen to become religious who were previously agnostic, so I don’t see that you have much of an argument.

    You think religion is a choice?

    Okay. As an atheist, please choose to believe all of the claims of Christianity for the next four hours, then choose to be an atheist again. It’s only four hours. Not a huge sacrifice.

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  28. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull (1546) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    You think religion is a choice?”

    I believe that I just said it was.


    Okay. As an atheist, please choose to believe all of the claims of Christianity for the next four hours, then choose to be an atheist again. It’s only four hours. Not a huge sacrifice.”

    Well that would require actual evidence of the central tenets of religion, do you have that evidence about you?

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  29. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    Well that would require actual evidence of the central tenets of religion, do you have that evidence about you?

    So I have to convince you for you to believe Christianity?

    Can’t you just choose to believe?

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  30. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    # Ryan Sproull (1546) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Stuart,

    That still seems to fall under the umbrella of freedom of opinion.

    The reason that such things “Freedom of Association” or “Freedom from discrimination” need to be spelled out, and are, is to to avoid such monstrosities as “Separate but Equal” or abhorrent cultural practices becoming wedded in law, ‘Freedom of Opinion’ is simply not good enough by itself, hence it needs to be spelled out.

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  31. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    DPF; the point about incitement to lynching niggers, should be the “incitement to lynch” bit, not the “niggers” bit. The law should be clear about that. As soon as we start looking at motives, we open a whole can of worms, we appoint “thought police”, and we make some crimes more severely punishable according to what the perpetrator is thinking rather than what they actually did.

    Why should someone who murders a gay (just as a high profile example of the sort of thing we are talking about), get a tougher sentence than someone who murdered Nia Glassie? Then what if we start to deem some groups less worthy of punitive protections against “hate crimes”, than others? The same Canadian Human Rights Commissions we are talking about, has dismissed complaints from Jews that they felt threatened by “into the ovens” comments from protest marchers recently. Why is this kind of discretion acceptable? What if the same exercise of discretion gets applied to murder cases? Who can we trust with this sort of discretion in their hands anyway?

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  32. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    # Ryan Sproull (1547) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Well that would require actual evidence of the central tenets of religion, do you have that evidence about you?

    So I have to convince you for you to believe Christianity?

    Can’t you just choose to believe?

    I can choose, or not, to accept verifiable evidence put before me, hence I am an atheist and the religious are religious, they choose to ignore the evidence against their faith. If you have verifiable evidence for the existence of deities, I can choose to accept that or not, now do you have that evidence?.

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  33. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    I can choose, or not, to accept verifiable evidence put before me, hence I am an atheist and the religious are religious, they choose to ignore the evidence against their faith. If you have verifiable evidence for the existence of deities, I can choose to accept that or not, now do you have that evidence?.

    Nope.

    Are you incapable of believing without compelling evidence?

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  34. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    I was in Britain in 1989 when the Chairman of the Bradford Council of Mosques was advocating the murder of Salman Rushdie on TV. I knew that country was fucked when nothing was done about it. Any one else advocating and trying to encourage murder of a specific person would have been arrested.

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  35. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    # Ryan Sproull (1548) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Nope.

    Are you incapable of believing without compelling evidence?

    The point is, and the topic of this side discussion, that people choose to be religious. Those professing a belief in deities *demonstrably*make a choice to be religious by professing their faith in deities when presented with valid evidence to the contrary, QED, religion is chosen.

    I guess its a different thing for us Atheists, after all an atheist no more believes in a god then he or she believes in Santa Claus because of the lack of evidence, that’s the nature of rationalism and logic, something that religion is not.

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  36. Ryan Sproull (7,361 comments) says:

    The point is, and the topic of this side discussion, that people choose to be religious. Those professing a belief in deities *demonstrably*make a choice to be religious by professing their faith in deities when presented with valid evidence to the contrary, QED, religion is chosen.

    It still seems that it’s clearly not a choice. You seem incapable of believing without compelling evidence, yet you say you choose not to believe. It’s a little like saying you choose not to fly, while noting that without wings you can’t.

    Or, you say you choose not to get the flu, and then when challenged to choose to catch the flu, you respond, “Do you have some viruses with which to infect me? When you do, then I will choose to catch the flu.”

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  37. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Sorry, just want to add to what I said above; if someone murders or assaults or vandalises or threatens; why would it be necessary to look at whether or not it involved “hate”? Did William Bell NOT “hate” the people he murdered? Did Graeme Burton? Does hatred of the whole human race not qualify? And why would we cheapen the life or person or property or security of anyone who is NOT a member of a particular specially protected group?

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  38. mara (770 comments) says:

    United Nations ….. “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.” O Jimminy Cricket, we can’t be hearing that sort of nonsense. Lies like that cause all manner of social disagreement and bad neighbourliness which is simply not nice. We don’t have any of those savage people in our street but Jemima and I are going to “do our bit” tomorrow by shopping at Pak n Save, Mt Albert and wave merrily to all the ladies covered in black robes with little peep-holes cut out for their eyes. I am sure we will be much appreciated. jolly ho.

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