Laws investigated for smacking

January 19th, 2014 at 6:40 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Police are investigating former Whanganui mayor after an allegation of child assault was made against him.

Laws, a former RadioLive talkback host and current Whanganui District Health Board member, was reported to police after allegedly one of his children.

The incident allegedly happened at Whanganui Hospital last year. Laws, 56, was there with his three youngest children – Lucy, 9, Zoe, 7, and Theo, 5 – to visit their mother, Laws’ former partner Leonie Brookhammer, who suffered a stroke in August.

The Herald on Sunday understands the alleged smack was witnessed by a nurse in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation ward. She reported it to the DHB and complained to police.

The Herald on Sunday asked police whether Laws was under investigation for allegedly hitting a child.

A spokesman replied by email saying: “Police can confirm they are investigating a child assault complaint made against a 56-year-old Whanganui man.
If correct, and the Police do prosecute, this could be hugely beneficial to the Conservatives as a high profile trial will put the spotlight on the law they want to over-turn.
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155 Responses to “Laws investigated for smacking”

  1. Dave_1924 (91 comments) says:

    This could be a piece of Manna from heaven for Mr Craig – IF it turns out one of the kids was misbehaving and Mr Laws gave the child a smack on the butt to calm him/her down, i.e. not a beating but a mild chastisement to bring a misbehaving child into line.

    I think a lot of kiwi parents have sympathy with the view that a single slap on the butt for a young child throwing a tantrum in a public place is an ok action…..

    The detail here will be very interesting….

    EDIT: Typo correction

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  2. eszett (2,337 comments) says:

    the law they want to over-turn.

    Which law do they want to “overturn”, David?

    [DPF: The law that removed correctional smacking with reasonable force as a defence]

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  3. radvad (666 comments) says:

    If he is charged and defends it he should call Helen Clark, Sue Bradford and John Key as witnesses. After all, they all said the law was not intended to ban smacking.

    If it was only a mild smack and he is convicted then he should consider suing those three for something. It is about time lying politicians were really brought to account for their deliberate lies.

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  4. radvad (666 comments) says:

    The left can’t get too high horsey about this. Remember David Cunliffe was apparently seen smacking his kid in an Auckland mall not long before the Bradford law was passed.

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  5. duggledog (1,361 comments) says:

    Seems like a bit of a coincidence. Is Laws in with Craig? If so they could be devastating. Laws did say after leaving Radio live he was going to do something big, something he always wanted to do. It wasn’t smacking, so what was it?

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  6. deadrightkev (277 comments) says:

    Is Laws in with Craig?

    No, too much of a maverick, but like me Laws is like the vast majority of sane New Zealanders, around 87% I believe, that think its necessary to smack a child as part of good parenting.

    You might remember JK was not one of those 87% when he joined hands with Helen to ignore the majority. Not the first time we have been ignored and I understand Mr Craig is keen to make sure we aren’t ignored again. I like that idea.

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  7. snowy (106 comments) says:

    That nurse should be awarded the Order of Lenin, for advancing the cause of socialism in aoteroa.

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  8. duggledog (1,361 comments) says:

    Well DRK, Laws was in with Winston once upon a time, wasn’t he?

    If you heard how he dealt with Joe Karam on Radio Live you’d agree he can indeed be devastating in a debate. There was this great shot of Karam in the studio with all his bits of paper everywhere on the floor whilst Laws just went with his brain.

    Laws knows politics, he knows where middle NZ stands (he lives there) and what it thinks and he is a master strategist and champion debater. He’d make a good fit in most areas with Craig’s party, and he’s smart enough to know how to keep his powder dry and he knows the media who are shit scared of him, especially Mediaworks’ aristocracy who hated him because he took the piss out of their John Campbell.

    I think John Key would prefer debating Cunliffe, Norman or even Winston before Laws. Maybe Colin is just the money

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but there’s a first time for everything:) Keen to hear any thoughts, feel free to pour your scorn it!

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  9. wreck1080 (3,734 comments) says:

    Sue bradford will no doubt proclaim that laws is a vicious child beater in the league of of the worst murderers and violent offenders.

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  10. Paulus (2,503 comments) says:

    I suspect the Nurse only reported it because she recognised and detested Laws, and to get publicity for Labour/Greens.

    Doubt she would have done anything if it was not him, but got on with her job.

    Look forward to her testimony in Court.

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  11. duggledog (1,361 comments) says:

    You don’t get many nurses at Whanganui Hospital of the Green/Labour persuasion Paulus. You should see the feral shit they have to deal with. Lots of it

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  12. Keeping Stock (10,107 comments) says:

    Laws lives for publicity. I wonder who tipped the HoS off, so that Laws could do his “My private life is no-one else’s business” routine; was it Antionette Beck?

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  13. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    Craig will find a lot of votes in this issue.

    The Bradford law will soon be history.

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  14. OneTrack (2,614 comments) says:

    So Laws and his kids are in hospital to see the kids mother who has had a STROKE, and a lefty nutbar nurse thinks its important to dob Laws in for smacking a kid who was playing up. It’s good when nurses concentrate on the important stuff – we need more like her. Not.

    Who is the nurse so I know who to avoid?

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  15. Andrei (2,506 comments) says:

    I wonder who tipped the HoS off, so that Laws could do his “My private life is no-one else’s business” routine; was it Antionette Beck?

    You might be a left wing Big Government Nanny stater KS, but this might come as a shock to you but Michael Laws private life is his own business and once upon a time National Party supporters would have agreed with his position on this matter as the vast majority of New Zealanders do

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  16. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    This is hilarious. Michael Laws!! Like poking a skunk in a perfume shop. Every topic Colin Craig touches turns to gold.

    Next week: Louisa Wall recants and takes convent orders; and Maryann Street becomes a patron of Hospice?

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  17. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    The Bradford law will soon be history.

    Can we roll back the gay marriage/adoption laws at the same time? And the prostitution legality law. And whatever else the leftist nutbars have put through.

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  18. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    I am reminded of this quote by C.S Lewis regarding those in power who do things because they say it’s for our good. Italics mine.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” ~ C.S. Lewis

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  19. hj (6,369 comments) says:

    Id vote for CC even though hes a AGW denier as he is pepared to take a stand agianst mass migration…… that’ll do mre for the NZ environment than Nat, Labourious or Green can do?

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  20. Interested Party (61 comments) says:

    In the law isn’t there a “not in the public interest clause” if so the cops will use this as a reason for not prosecuting

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  21. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    The nurse is a member of the Wanganui Branch of NZ Labour!

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  22. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Seems strange how Wanganui DHB and a nurse find time to get involved in this ridiculous waste of time, when they have a deplorable record for patient care! Seems they must concentrate on trivia, not fact.

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  23. OneTrack (2,614 comments) says:

    Interested Party – “In the law isn’t there a “not in the public interest clause” if so the cops will use this as a reason for not prosecuting”

    And how much police time gets chewed up until they finally make that decision (if they do), and then finish justifying it to their bosses, and various politicians, etc.). Just as well they have nothing better to do, isn’t it?

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  24. flipper (3,574 comments) says:

    I wonder how many burgs in and around Wanganui will be neglected by Police while they spend hours on this load of rubbish.

    The nurse and her political affiliations should be held to account.

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  25. jackinabox (609 comments) says:

    “In the law isn’t there a “not in the public interest clause” if so the cops will use this as a reason for not prosecuting”

    Another good one for McCready.

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  26. Rowan (1,787 comments) says:

    Duggledog @ 8.13

    Laws is just a big mouthed dickhead, as evidenced in the Karam debate, he like the pedo supporters of Robin ‘knows’ everything and is never wrong. He can’t listen to reason or other point of view as he ‘knows’ he is always right, he was like “but, but Joe” in the debate, and answering questions with questions. I think he is an arrogant big mouthed fool, and have no respect for the man.

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  27. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    Can we roll back the gay marriage/adoption laws at the same time? And the prostitution legality law. And whatever else the leftist nutbars have put through.

    So any laws you happen to disagree with basically, with no consideration of which ones constrain personal liberty and which ones enhance it.

    In other words you yourself are, by definition, a ‘leftist nutbar’; as keen as any other to use the state to impose your own ideas of what’s best for everyone else.

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  28. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    snowy (96 comments) says:
    January 19th, 2014 at 8:09 am

    That nurse should be awarded the Order of Lenin, for advancing the cause of socialism in aoteroa.
    =================
    Likely a gilted past flame?

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  29. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    Andrei (2,242 comments) says:
    January 19th, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I wonder who tipped the HoS off, so that Laws could do his “My private life is no-one else’s business” routine; was it Antionette Beck?

    You might be a left wing Big Government Nanny stater KS, but this might come as a shock to you but Michael Laws private life is his own business and once upon a time National Party supporters would have agreed with his position on this matter as the vast majority of New Zealanders do
    ====================

    Quite right.

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  30. ChardonnayGuy (1,136 comments) says:

    It’s Laws, who’s not exactly an attractive media personality to begin with. Loose cannon much?

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  31. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    I predict another 200 + comments on this post. John Key really needs to take notice. (Hell, even KDC might even decide to leverage off it)

    A court case on the cusp of an election, would be just fascinating.

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  32. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Can we roll back the gay marriage/adoption laws at the same time? And the prostitution legality law. And whatever else the leftist nutbars have put through.

    Yes, bring back the laws that tell people how they should live. Fletch, there’s this C.S. Lewis quote you should read.

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  33. Judith (7,643 comments) says:

    I am surprised that people are commenting defending Laws, without knowing any of the details. The article does not say with how much force, or if there was injury etc. Instead you all jump in to defend him, because you don’t like the law.

    If the situation was different and it was Rangi who hit his child – many of you would be saying lock the bastard up.

    Double standards!

    Anyway, it is compulsory for health workers such as the nurse involved to report such things – it is then up to the police to decide whether too much force was used or not. As they haven’t come to that conclusion by now, then I suspect there wasn’t. The fact is, that the legislation allows that determining factor, which works well.

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  34. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    “Anyway, it is compulsory for health workers such as the nurse involved to report such things – it is then up to the police to decide whether too much force was used or not. As they haven’t come to that conclusion by now, then I suspect there wasn’t. The fact is, that the legislation allows that determining factor, which works well”

    So the Police (all) are experts at parenting are they..??

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  35. bc (1,334 comments) says:

    Colin Craig must be wishing that this happened one month out from the election.
    But it’s all mountain out of molehill stuff.
    My prediction: The police will not charge him.

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  36. duggledog (1,361 comments) says:

    “Anyway, it is compulsory for health workers such as the nurse involved to report such things”

    You’re quite right there Judith. A lot don’t bother though, especially at Middlemore

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  37. burt (7,828 comments) says:

    Judith

    I think you missed a memo. I suspect if Michael Laws put his kid in a dryer or had them admitted to hospital after a kicking or a shaking then his name not being Rangi wouldn’t make any difference.

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  38. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    Putting Michael laws in as mayor of Whanga was pretty much a public thrashing…of the public.

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  39. burt (7,828 comments) says:

    So do I have this right… Laws can claim there is some family sensitivity around this and police will stand off quietly while he has a chance to get all parties settled and with a common story for … 18 months ?

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  40. Judith (7,643 comments) says:

    @ Paul Marsden (904 comments) says:
    January 19th, 2014 at 11:46 am

    No, the police aren’t experts at parenting, but they have the mandate to investigate – speak to witnesses etc, and then by getting all the details can decide whether ‘too much force’ was applied in the circumstances. For all we know this could have been a slap on the hand, or a punch to the face – we have no information to decide. But one of those examples would be acceptable, the other not. Let’s not forget there were also other circumstances, it was a hospital, children misbehaving in such a place is not good, a lot of stress at the time if the mother’s illness was serious. One of the children could have been touching dangerous equipment and so on – all those factors need to be explored before it can be decided whether Mr Laws just hit his child in a manner that was not warranted and extreme and therefore needs to be accountable for that, or whether is was a case of using reasonable force in the circumstances, and there is no case to answer to.

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  41. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    The elephant in the room with this smacking issue (and why it won’t go away), is that our politicians have tried to change thousands of years of evolution, by legislation

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  42. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    The elephant in the room with this smacking issue (and why it won’t go away), is that our politicians have tried to change thousands of years of evolution by legislation

    Almost all laws are attempts to constrain evolved urges, Paul. Certainly all laws against assault.

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  43. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull (6,182 comments) says:

    January 19th, 2014 at 12:01 pm
    The elephant in the room with this smacking issue (and why it won’t go away), is that our politicians have tried to change thousands of years of evolution by legislation

    Almost all laws are attempts to constrain evolved urges, Paul. Certainly all laws against assault.

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    I agree, but the law as it was contained sufficient extant to differentiate between a beating and a swift slap on the arse. And therein lies the problem.

    As Judith continues to opine (above), using the word “police “ in the plural. The police do not make decisions in this matter, but individuals who are members of the police do (perhaps also in consultation with Crown Law). Who are these individuals in these positions and what are their back grounds and/or, qualifications? For example, we have an AG who is gay, so I don’t think for a second he would condone smacking

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  44. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    As Judith continues to opine (above), using the word “police “ in the plural. The police do not make decisions in this matter, but individuals who are members of the police do, perhaps also in consultation with Crown Law. Who are these individuals in these positions and what are their back grounds and/or, qualifications?

    The same people who don’t arrest you when you bump into someone while walking down the street, despite that being technically assault. Those individuals in the police have always made these kinds of calls. Your concerns have been valid for a lot longer than since the repeal of Section 59.

    For example, we have an AG who is gay, so I don’t think for second he would condone smacking

    Yes, but the Minister of Justice enjoys jazz music, so she almost certainly scuba-dives.

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  45. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Who are these individuals in these positions and what are their back grounds and/or, qualifications?

    They have no qualification appropriate to consider these things. Police, as an occupational group, are especially poor judges of character and situations. They invariably over react. Laughably these lumped headed oafs consider themselves as very astute judges of character.

    They are further corrupted by the fact they are a government department and such things are subject to political considerations. They are there to serve the government of the day, NOT the people.

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  46. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Yes, but the Minister of Justice enjoys jazz music, so she almost certainly scuba-dives.

    LOL :)

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  47. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    “The same people who don’t arrest you when you bump into someone while walking down the street, despite that being technically assault”

    Yes, I am aware of that, but I vigourously resent (along with 80% plus of parents in NZ) a group of individuals in parliament, passing laws (literally against an evolutionary right), for political expediency

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  48. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    What’s an “evolutionary right”, Paul? And which one was this law against?

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  49. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    Your right. “Right” wasn’t the right word. “mankinds evolution will do”. Don’t be pedantic. You get the drift.

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  50. Rowan (1,787 comments) says:

    Smacking your child in public is over the top IMO, but it doesn’t make Laws a child abuser, I am no fan of him and I think is is a big mouthed dickhead but Sue Bradfords anti smacking legislation is also over the top and it is the parents right to use whatever form of discipline they think is appropriate.

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  51. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    I’m honestly not being pedantic.

    We have inherited a lot of urges from our evolutionary past. That just means that they exist, not that they are good and proper ways to act.

    I don’t think it’s a valid criticism of a law to say: “That law punishes me for doing something I’ve evolved to want to do.”

    Almost all laws do that.

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  52. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    As it has become less acceptable to use physical punishment, extremely violent acts seem to be increasing. The opposite of what the social engineers promised us.

    Personally, I do not regard smacking as great parenting but there is a place for it. Especially with very young kids.

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  53. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Smacking your child in public is over the top IMO

    I wonder why Rowan thinks it should be hidden away behind closed doors ? I am left to speculate why Laws is comfortable doing it in public and Rowan is not. Whats different about what Rowan is doing ?

    Immediate consequences work best for young kids. If you want to wait until you get home, then you should have thought of alternatives. It sounds more like the revenge of an angry parent than discipline to me.

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  54. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    ….” It sounds more like the revenge of an angry parent than discipline to me.”….

    And where child discipline is most likely to cross over into child torture. A well deserved smack turns instead into an unnecessary beating.

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  55. Rowan (1,787 comments) says:

    I am not into smacking kids Kea, there are many other forms of punishment available to a parent.

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  56. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nasska, yes I agree.

    I find it hard to imagine having time to think about it and the only thing you can come up with is hitting someone you love. It just makes me feel uneasy. Its too clinical and cold.

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  57. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    ….”Its too clinical and cold”…

    Highly ineffective too Kea. From the child’s POV a smack on the spot is easily associated with what they did wrong.

    The beating later is associated with the perceived malevolence of the parent.

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  58. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    So any laws you happen to disagree with basically, with no consideration of which ones constrain personal liberty and which ones enhance it.

    In other words you yourself are, by definition, a ‘leftist nutbar’; as keen as any other to use the state to impose your own ideas of what’s best for everyone else.

    Wat, that depends on what you consider to be “personal liberty”, which is often without taking into account what is in the interest of society, especially children. There is a distinction that has to be made as regards what those in power think is best for us, and what actually is best for us: it’s a balancing act between what is lawful and what is moral and to what degree it infringes upon personal liberty.

    I notice that with regard to the gay marriage law, the question around adoption by gays was completely ignored; in fact, New Zealand may even be contravening the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) by not considering the rights of children.

    Of course, what is moral really should also be lawful. But in recent years, progressives and socialists have got into power; thanks to MMP, small advocacy groups (like the Greens) have managed to get into parliament and, though bargaining with the larger parties for support, have managed to get votes for their own peculiar wants.

    It’s like Aristotle wrote in The Ethics ,”men start revolutionary changes for reasons connected with their private lives.” I feel this is no truer than with Sue Bradford. No reasonable person thinks that smacking is the same as beating a child. I seriously doubt that Bradford does either. It’s just a line she pushes to rationalize to the country what she’s done.

    Yes, of course some things need to be enforced by the State, such as laws around pedophilia that protect children, and polygamy. You and I would both agree with that.
    I doubt you would consider that those laws “constrain personal liberty”. So you’re wrong – I very much have “consideration of which laws constrain personal liberty or enhance it”.

    But I believe, as do many others, that laws like gay marriage, the anti-smacking law, and the legalize prostitution law harm society at large. That’s not me imposing my idea (although of course I do have my own idea). It’s mostly what is common sense and based upon centuries of (now ignored) wisdom.

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  59. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    “The same people who don’t arrest you when you bump into someone while walking down the street, despite that being technically assault.”

    That’s a pretty specious thing to write. It wouldn’t be assault (or a battery) unless it was intentional.

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  60. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Fletch

    ….”That’s not me imposing my idea (although of course I do have my own idea). It’s mostly what is common sense and based upon centuries of (now ignored) wisdom.”….

    But it is you & your fellow religious nutjobs who insist on imposing your self righteous views on everyone else. You are perfectly entitled to live life with whatever restrictions you lumber yourself with via your personal Skydaddy.

    BUT society is a work in progress. Rules & regulations exist so that we can live together & function without unnecessary violence & friction…..not so some arrogant prigs can dictate the lives of the rest of us.

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  61. Keeping Stock (10,107 comments) says:

    @ Andrei (9.00am) – Michael Laws lives out his private life in the public arena when it suits his agenda. Let’s just say that his past record, including the Antoinette Beck affair which cost him his job as an MP, makes one wonder about this agenda, especially if a return to public life is imminent. Just prior to Christmas he told his FB audience that he had an offer of employment, and several sources have suggested to me that could be in radio, and in the South Island. A bit of publicity wouldn’t go amiss.

    PS – were you aware that the Sunday Star-Times sent out an e-mail to subscribers on Friday confirming that Laws will no longer be writing a column for them?

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  62. jakejakejake (135 comments) says:

    The Laws household seems like a white version of Once Were Warriors. Michael Laws being beaten by his bodybuilder she-man lover. Laws himself dishing out violence on the wee babbies. Can only imagine what goes on behind closed doors.

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  63. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    This issue is never going to go away, unless sorted. If it is boiling or, even simmering away at election time, Key maybe be a gonna, hoist by his own petard.

    I have always been a National supporter, but I will not vote for them this time around unless they address this issue. (whoever gets into power this time around will not affect my lot in life)

    Key needs to understand that the smacking issue is an emotive one (not an economic issue), the power of which he has no control over, and when 80% of voters want the current law ammended, he should listen (and I’m not even a parent)

    Crikey, imagine if KDC promised free internet (or similar), and promised to ammend the smacking law! He’d have both the younger and the older generations worshipping him and he’d be a shoe-in for a seat or two in Govenment

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  64. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Paul Marsden

    JK’s problem is that the anti smacking issue is wholly negative as far as National is concerned:

    Scenario 1. National do a “flip flop” & go back to the status quo (as existed prior to 2007)…..result = National labelled as enablers for child bashers & worse.

    Scenario 2. Ignore the problem & hope it goes away….result = as you wrote.

    Scenario 3. Promise to enact a law such as John Boscawen’s failed 2009 amendment * to Bradford’s 2007 cock up….result = disapproval from both those who have positioned themselves at either extreme of the argument but a grumbling acceptance from middle NZ who actually have the numbers to affect election outcomes.

    I don’t think that National have time on their side on this one.

    * Ref: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2009/0078/latest/DLM2310106.html

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  65. Harriet (4,524 comments) says:

    Laws should simply tell NZ that if mothers can kill – then fathers can smack.

    If you survive abortion the State then forbides your mother & father from smacking you?

    Mr Craig should shove it up National from tomorrow till the election!

    Make Key look like the very sick fucken hypocrat he is. Key has had every opportunity to wind back abortion on the back of the anti-smacking law, and he has done nothing about it at all.

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  66. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘I am not into smacking kids Kea, there are many other forms of punishment available to a parent.’

    should be a last resort to show the parent is self controlled and doesn’t lash out in anger.

    But a short sharp shock is very effective.

    The Bible also states not to punish with hands so the parent does not lash out and their hand is not a symbol of pain to the child.

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  67. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    But it is you & your fellow religious nutjobs who insist on imposing your self righteous views on everyone else. You are perfectly entitled to live life with whatever restrictions you lumber yourself with via your personal Skydaddy.

    BUT society is a work in progress. Rules & regulations exist so that we can live together & function without unnecessary violence & friction…..not so some arrogant prigs can dictate the lives of the rest of us.

    naaska, but we live in a Judeo-Christian society. That is what our laws are based upon and what has brought our civilisation success. As far as being a “work in progress” – some progress….

    And ‘arrogance’? I’ll tell you what arrogance is: this generation, who is so arrogant that they think they know better than the accumulated wisdom of centuries past and can ignore it. Of course, they follow their own whims and it all falls to shit.

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  68. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Fletch

    The history of our society has been influenced greatly by Judeo-Christian values yet from about the 1920′s the influence of the churches has been waning & since the 50′s it has nearly disappeared as a guide or restraint on people’s lives.

    You will mourn the demise of religion while I celebrate it yet we both live in the same country & the same society & we’re both governed by the same laws.

    Whether it “all falls to shit” will depend far more on how we adjust to the new rather than how fervently we wish to return to the past.

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  69. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    But I believe, as do many others, that laws like gay marriage, the anti-smacking law, and the legalize prostitution law harm society at large. That’s not me imposing my idea (although of course I do have my own idea). It’s mostly what is common sense and based upon centuries of (now ignored) wisdom.

    If I hear you right, you’re saying that it’s finally time to sit down and have a serious discussion about the harm of raising children with religious beliefs, and your recommendation that the State have some influence in these private matters. In the name of protecting children from what some consider harmful.

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  70. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    Rules & regulations exist so that we can live together & function without unnecessary violence & friction

    Rules are also there to protect the innocent and to protect society at large. Laws based on morality and decency. Rules aren’t made so that everyone can do their own thing with freedom.

    One only has to look at Obama’s foreign policy. He tried to reframe the position of the U.S into being the submissive friend. That may seem to reduce “friction” in the short term, but lack of friction doesn’t mean that everything is going hunky-dory. It’s like a parent giving into the demands of a child to reduce arguments or tantrums. It may work in the short term, but long term the child becomes unmanagable because there is a lack or respect and it knows it can get whatever it wants. And what the child wants isn’t always good for it. Likewise, giving society what it thinks it wants (especially small groups of activist gays and feminists) may create less “friction” in the short term, but is damaging to society as a whole. Especially to the base of society, which is the family.

    Civilizations that have bought into things like gay marriage fell ages ago, and fell for a reason.

    Freedom and license are not the same thing –

    One of the most common errors of all time is to confuse freedom and license. Today, frequently under the specious pretext freedom, mankind acts in a manner that is really license. We are not morally free to do whatever we choose to do. Only when rooted in truth and acting in objective truth can we hope to be free. No one has the moral right to do evil. No one has the moral right to choose to take an innocent life or to engage in actions that are out of accord with right reason or any objective standards of morality we have ever known.

    The inevitable consequence of abusing freedom is losing freedom. Soon, if we do not alter our present course, the United States will no longer be the home of the brave and the land of the free. Loss of personal freedoms, one at a time, is already well underway. One day we shall awake from our moral slumber and find that we have become slaves.

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  71. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Only when rooted in truth and acting in objective truth can we hope to be free. No one has the moral right to do evil.

    Dude, don’t quote a Catholic priest telling everyone that “freedom” is only “free” when acting in accordance with “objective truth” – aka “what Coprani thinks God says is right”. To limit freedom to one religion’s conception of what people should or should not be free to do is the diametric opposite of democratic freedom.

    If you don’t like freedom, fine. But don’t pretend that you can claim the value of the word while putting it in the box of your own beliefs about the Good and Proper Way To Live.

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  72. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    The Bible also states not to punish with hands so the parent does not lash out and their hand is not a symbol of pain to the child.

    If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: . — Deuteronomy 21:18-21

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  73. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Fletch: freedom is scary to people who think there is one right and proper way to live.

    It

    always

    has

    been.

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  74. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    The history of our society has been influenced greatly by Judeo-Christian values yet from about the 1920′s the influence of the churches has been waning & since the 50′s it has nearly disappeared as a guide or restraint on people’s lives.

    And has society gotten better since the 1950s, morally? Is there more or less violence now? In the 1950s, at least people could leave their houses open when they went out with no fear of being robbed. Yes, there will always be a criminal element, but I doubt people smacked up their kids like they do now, or that kids went around playing the “knock out game” (as they are in the U.S) trying to knock out a perfect stranger with one blow, just for the fun of it.

    Not everything was perfect, but killing babies in the womb was illegal, as was prostitution, and gay conduct. Yes, the U.S had segregation, but that was ended largely thanks to conservatives and Republicans.

    Yes, standards of living are better now, but standards or morality are wayyyy down.

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  75. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    God has 42 children torn to pieces alive and screaming for making fun of a bald guy ! [sic]

    And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. — 2 Kings 2:23-24

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  76. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    42 children was a lot in those days.

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  77. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    ….”Freedom and license are not the same thing”…..

    Possibly but if we define license as ‘excessive freedom’ (4) ex Collin’s Concise, surely it is up to the individual or family to score its value. The alternative is to accept the interpretation & restrictions of a bunch of old men & a book.

    This is the difference between living under the Taliban in Pakistan as opposed to enjoying a liberal democracy in NZ.

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  78. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    Ryan, that is because an atheist does not have an “objective truth”. He has no basis or foundation for his morality other than what is popular at the time. For instance, abortion is legal now – it wasn’t in 1950. Are we right now? Or were they right in 1950? And why? It really wasn’t that long ago. And opinion is slowly beginning to swing back the other way. In polls, there are slightly more people now who believe abortion is wrong. And it will increase I think, until it probably goes back the other way.

    And what will your opinion be based on? Whatever society happens to think is right at the time? Or a mere whim?

    If there is no God, you simply has no basis for morality at all.

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  79. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Not everything was perfect, but killing babies in the womb was illegal

    Hosea 13:16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

    Children who mock their parents will have their eyes plucked out by ravens and eaten by eagles.

    The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. — Proverbs 30:17

    Death for Cursing Parents
    1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
    2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

    God killed all the firstborn children in an entire country.

    The LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon…. And there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. — Exodus 12:29-30

    Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

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  80. Yoza (1,549 comments) says:

    Kea (9,556 comments) says:
    January 19th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    God has 42 children torn to pieces alive and screaming for making fun of a bald guy ! [sic]

    And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. — 2 Kings 2:23-24

    Well that just makes a mockery of the idea that you don’t need to be able to run faster than a bear to survive a bear attack, all you need do is run faster than the kid next to you. What the hell were all the other 40 kids doing while the bears tare the first two children of them?

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  81. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    If there is no God, you simply has no basis for morality at all.

    Fletch, yeah and look at the source of your morality ! It is disgusting and repugnant to any and every normal decent person.

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  82. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    ….” What the hell were all the other 40 kids doing while the bears tare the first two children of them?”…..

    It all went to hell in a basket when the schools downgraded Phys Ed…..fitness levels are shocking! :)

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  83. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Yoza, I am not sure. Perhaps they had not be stoning enough gays to death so God made them run slower ?

    What ever the reason, it will involve homos ;)

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  84. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nasska, I can not understand why cut and pasting bible quotes does not please the Christians. I always get a flurry of down ticks when I simply quote the perfect word of God from the good book. Every word can be checked online or from the family bible. I am spreading the word of God !!!

    What more can I do to make them happy ? LOL :)

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  85. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    ….”What more can I do to make them happy ?”….

    Seems a case of “damned if you do & damned if you don’t” Kea. :)

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  86. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Ryan, that is because an atheist does not have an “objective truth”. He has no basis or foundation for his morality other than what is popular at the time. For instance, abortion is legal now – it wasn’t in 1950. Are we right now? Or were they right in 1950? And why? It really wasn’t that long ago. And opinion is slowly beginning to swing back the other way. In polls, there are slightly more people now who believe abortion is wrong. And it will increase I think, until it probably goes back the other way.

    And what will your opinion be based on? Whatever society happens to think is right at the time? Or a mere whim?

    Theists aren’t immune to the changing nature of morality, Fletch. I know it’s nice to imagine that if you were living in Biblical times you’d be denouncing slavery as Just Plain Wrong, but history tells a different story – people’s ideas of morality do change over time, whether they believe in “objective morality” or not.

    If there is no God, you simply has no basis for morality at all.

    Oh, even if there was a God, you’d have no basis for what you consider morality. Or, more accurately, you wouldn’t have what you consider a basis.

    There’s disagreement on this stuff, Fletch. There’s disagreement between people who believe that morality is a fact of the universe and those who believe that it’s a changing element of human society. There’s disagreement among objective-moralists about what is objectively right and wrong, and there is disagreement among contextual-moralists about what is contextually right and wrong.

    We’ve all recognised this as a problem and we’ve come up with a solution called liberal democracy, and it goes like this: no one can use force to compel others to act or not act in any particular way, except in circumstances of direct harm to another person.

    I know that can mean swallowing a few pills at times, but if you don’t like that basic premise of liberal democracy, go found yourself an Iran.

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  87. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nasska, maybe I should stone to death a rape victim [who was raped inside the city limits] to show how “moral” I am ?

    It sounds a bit harsh, but at least she won’t need to be dragged to her fathers doorstep and stoned to death on her wedding night. It saves the parents having to clean up the blood and gore of their murdered daughter, plus the possible damage to the buildings exterior.

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  88. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    nasska, I can not understand why cut and pasting bible quotes does not please the Christians.

    Kea, because you have no understanding about it. You go to these skeptic Bible sites, cut and paste it here, and have no understanding. I’ve tried to post explanations on the quotes you paste before, but you just don’t want to hear it. You go on pasting the same tired quotes again and again. For instance, your quote on Isaiah 13:15-18 – Babylon was well known to be evil- I mean Nazi-like evil. So God let the Medes (who were also evil) destroy them. It would be like letting Iraq destroy Iran or something. So, what is that to you?

    Isaiah is issuing this oracle against the city, not the entire kingdom of Babylon. Notice the comparison between Babylon and another city, Sodom and Gomorrah in verse 19. This took place in 689 B.C. when Sennacherib, the king of Assyria wiped out the city of Babylon. Today Babylon is covered up by sand in Iraq. There was a period after Sennacherib’s destruction that Babylon was rebuilt and became a showplace city. In 539 B.C., after having become a world empire, Babylon (the empire) fell again to the Medes and Persians. However, at that time there was no destruction of the city itself as referenced here in chapter 13. The reference in verse 17 to the Medes tends to present a basis for conflicting opinions concerning which historical event fulfills this prophecy. To properly state the historical/prophetical dilemma here: Babylon (the city) was ransacked and conquered in 689 B.C. by Sennacherib, the Assyrian; Babylon (the empire) fell to the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C. leaving the city itself without destruction. Some have suggested that Isaiah was seeing a combination of both events. One thing is for certain: Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the fall of Babylon was fulfilled and the city of Babylon remains in ruins until this day as a result of centuries of turmoil.

    As someone else has said, don’t think that God didn’t give them time to repent. Jonah took God’s message to Ninevah that he was going to destroy the place – they repented and the city was spared. Again, what is it to you? Are they your people?

    Go and do a Bible course, then come back when you have some understanding and quote. Ok? Alright then.

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  89. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Sounds perfectly sensible to me Kea….nothing worse than to be faced with these big clean ups if they can be avoided. :)

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  90. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    God said, “Thou shall not kill”

    And then he wiped out the entire human race with a global flood just because people didn’t take it seriously. :)

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  91. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    God said, “Thou shall not kill”

    And then he wiped out the entire human race with a global flood just because people didn’t take it seriously.

    Do Not Kill is God’s command to man. God has every right to destroy what he makes or not. As someone else has said –

    Are you saying that no authority is above the law that it establishes? Are you saying that there are no reasons that would exclude an authority from adhering to its own laws?

    Let us examine parental authority, which divine authority closely resembles. A parent establishes the rule that a child must never cross the street unless that child is holding the hand of another adult. In your thinking, any time the parent needs to go across the street, they, too, must be holding the hand of another adult. In fact, any time a child is restricted from any activity, such as drinking, engaging in sexual intercourse, staying up past 10 PM, the parent would have to obey his own rules.

    There is a difference between parent and child that gives the parent the right to be an authority over the child, just as there is a difference between God and man that gives God the right to be an authority over man.

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  92. Manolo (13,386 comments) says:

    Nurse? More of a professional snitch, I’d say.

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  93. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Kea, because you have no understanding about it.

    Fletch, I was not offering any understanding about it. I simply showed what the bible says.

    I note that you do not condemn any of it and instead tell us that those atrocities are OK in the right context. For you Fletch there is a context where its ok to tear women open and rip babies from their womb, stone rape victims to death etc.

    That alone tells me the complete story about Christian morality and explains why you lot are a danger to civilisation today.

    As an atheist I can simply say tearing open pregnant women and dashing infants to death before their eyes is wrong. ALWAYS. There exists no context where I approve of it.

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  94. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Getting back on topic ….

    Fletch thinks it is ok to kill naughty kids, as god demands, if society is not living by the standards imposed by Christians. [ @ 3:43 pm]

    He also tells us that society is currently not living up to that standard today. So it logically follows that Laws should have done one of, or all of, the following:

    The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. — Proverbs 30:17

    Death for Cursing Parents
    1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
    2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

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  95. Harriet (4,524 comments) says:

    “…..If I hear you right, you’re saying that it’s finally time to sit down and have a serious discussion about the harm of raising children with religious beliefs, and your recommendation that the State have some influence in these private matters. In the name of protecting children from what some consider harmful…”

    The millenia old promiscuity fence has been torn down by the progressives and unwanted children have been killed, sexual diseases have spread, some killing people, children have been taken from one of their natural parents, husbands from wifes, women suffer mental anguish because the delay having children, men are still boys because sex with women doesn’t carry the obligation of child rearing, women can’t find grown males to marry, lifes have been wrecked, suicide has taken lives. All due to promiscuity and irresponsable sexual practises.

    Doctors now tell people to stop being promiscious and to be responsable. As it’s all a medical matter. Christianity does the same, and has in all probability done so for a lot longer than medicine!

    A bit of regular Christianity hurts no adult or child Ryan! :cool:

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  96. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    For you Fletch there is a context where its ok to tear women open and rip babies from their womb, stone rape victims to death etc.

    I don’t remember saying such, and I don’t think the Bible condones such either. What it often records is the writers lament, or his crying out to God for justice for his people and wishing the same (be it right or wrong) on his attackers.

    To take but one verse Psalms 137:9 Here god commands that infants should be “dashed upon the rocks”
    God said no such thing. The writer of the verse is expressing his own feelings.

    First, we must remember that the psalmist is a Jewish writer (not sure who as it does not say) who is embittered towards Babylon as the Babylonians ransacked the civilization of the Jewish people -taking them into captivity- and destroyed their once glorious temple. He may very well be hoping for the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” scenario.

    This next point, is a key issue that I would like us to zero in on. There is no command or condoning of by God to do such a thing of the Babylonian children. One may object by saying “well this scripture is in the Bible”, but here’s what we must consider. These sentiments are the thoughts of a distressed man, and the Bible is merely recording what he said. Just because it’s written in there, doesn’t mean it’s to be construed as an endorsement from God.

    He is likely referencing Isaiah’s prediction of the destruction of Babylon. His usage of dashing thy little ones against the stones is a term that would have been familiar to the ancients, meaning that Babylon would be utterly destroyed and left in ruin. This is the strongest language possible that he could have used to convey the destruction of a nation. Homer used similar language.

    Haven’t you ever had someone burgle you or something and say, “I wish i could kill those assholes”? This is basically one guy crying out to God and saying the same thing.

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  97. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    As an atheist I can simply say tearing open pregnant women and dashing infants to death before their eyes is wrong. ALWAYS. There exists no context where I approve of it.

    Yet I’m sure you approve of abortion, which is the same thing.

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  98. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    ….”A bit of regular Christianity hurts no adult or child”…..

    Garbage! Christianity is a religion & religion is the curse of mankind. Better to follow medicine…..it’s safer & has some basis in fact.

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  99. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    By the way, who are you to say what is morally right or wrong? We’re talking about war. We in the West (by way of the USA) dropped atomic bombs on Nagasake and Hiroshima. Was that wrong of us? Destroying entire cities? Killing all those innocent men, women, and children? Was that genocidal racial slaughter? And if not, why not, and how does that differ from the peoples God told Moses to kill in war?

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  100. Yoza (1,549 comments) says:

    We in the West (by way of the USA) dropped atomic bombs on Nagasake and Hiroshima. Was that wrong of us? Destroying entire cities? Killing all those innocent men, women, and children? Was that genocidal racial slaughter?

    Yes, mass murder is always bad.

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  101. Crusader (279 comments) says:

    Ryan, that is because an atheist does not have an “objective truth”. He has no basis or foundation for his morality other than what is popular at the time. For instance, abortion is legal now – it wasn’t in 1950. Are we right now? Or were they right in 1950? And why? It really wasn’t that long ago. And opinion is slowly beginning to swing back the other way. In polls, there are slightly more people now who believe abortion is wrong. And it will increase I think, until it probably goes back the other way.

    And what will your opinion be based on? Whatever society happens to think is right at the time? Or a mere whim?

    If there is no God, you simply has no basis for morality at all.

    Fletch: That’s simply untrue. Morality preceded religion and is totally independent of it. Religion can justify all sorts of smiting of the unfaithful, and history shows it usually does. Try reading some ancient Greek philosophy, broaden your mind.

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  102. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    By the way, who are you to say what is morally right or wrong? We’re talking about war. We in the West (by way of the USA) dropped atomic bombs on Nagasake and Hiroshima. Was that wrong of us? Destroying entire cities? Killing all those innocent men, women, and children? Was that genocidal racial slaughter? And if not, why not, and how does that differ from the peoples God told Moses to kill in war?

    Both were fucking outrageous.

    From my perspective.

    Maybe things were different in those barbaric times.

    If you think “but the US did it to Hiroshima” is a compelling justification for war crimes in the Bible, you have radically misread your audience here.

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  103. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    The millenia old promiscuity fence has been torn down by the progressives and unwanted children have been killed, sexual diseases have spread, some killing people, children have been taken from one of their natural parents, husbands from wifes, women suffer mental anguish because the delay having children, men are still boys because sex with women doesn’t carry the obligation of child rearing, women can’t find grown males to marry, lifes have been wrecked, suicide has taken lives. All due to promiscuity and irresponsable sexual practises.

    Doctors now tell people to stop being promiscious and to be responsable. As it’s all a medical matter. Christianity does the same, and has in all probability done so for a lot longer than medicine!

    A bit of regular Christianity hurts no adult or child Ryan! :cool:

    What people today say is Christian advice – i.e., the “don’t sleep with everything that moves” stuff, not the “slavery’s cool if you’re a good slave” stuff – does sometimes match up with informed sensible advice.

    That’s fine, but the sensible-ness of the advice is grounded in it being sensible and backed up with evidence, not grounded in it being what Christians today pretend like Christians have always said.

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  104. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    For you Fletch there is a context where its ok to tear women open and rip babies from their womb, stone rape victims to death etc.

    I don’t remember saying such, and I don’t think the Bible condones such either.

    Fletch the bible does not “condone” it. God COMMANDS it in clear words.

    Your attempts to try and justify this sort of thing are increasingly uncovincing and disturbing to read.

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  105. SPC (5,394 comments) says:

    Fletch, where to begin

    1. ethnic cleansing is not an act of war, dropping bombs is – albeit possibly a war crime if civilians are deliberately targeted.

    2. Taking what the bible says seriously is unwise. There is no evidence of a flood that covered all the earth. There is no evidence of a city by city destruction and ethnic cleansing in ancient Canaan.

    3. What the bible says is not the word from God to man via human secretaries/mediums. It is word written by men forming and later of a national cult religion. Where God authority is claimed as a tool to legitimise a so called agency authority on earth.

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  106. Judith (7,643 comments) says:

    @ nasska (8,662 comments) says:
    January 19th, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Just being picky here, but as an example, medicine told pregnant women to take thalidomide – and look at the results of that. Not to mention many other similar examples.

    I’m not religious – I prefer my imaginary friends to look like Sonny Bill Williams or similar – however, both religion and medicine have provided humans with negative and positive factors.

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  107. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    On the one hand, some of the penalties (death!) given for specific acts (bestiality, incest, homosexuality, striking one’s parents) seem harsh by contemporary standards—although in most cases there is little evidence that such penalties were ever actually enforced. “In practice…these [physical] punishments were almost never invoked, and existed mainly as a deterrent and to indicate the seriousness of the sins for which they were prescribed,” said the late biblical scholar Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. “The rules of evidence and other safeguards that the Torah provides to protect the accused made it all but impossible to actually invoke these penalties.”

    Hutchinson, Robert (2007-10-15). The Politically Incorrect GuideTM to the Bible (The Politically Incorrect Guides) (pp. 103-104). Perseus Distribution-A. Kindle Edition.

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  108. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    God commanded appalling things, but the situation was traditionally corrected by humans refusing to carry out those instructions.

    It is such a relief to not do mental gymnastics to force everything to make sense, to just shrug and say, “Who cares what the Bible says? I’m pretty sure God doesn’t.” I know that probably sounds like temptation straight from Satan himself, but that’s how sanity sounds to someone who has committed to madness.

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  109. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Judith

    Funny that but Sonny Bill doesn’t float my boat. To be fair I must point out that that although the blood-letters are not infallible they have killed less people than the Godbotherers. :)

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  110. SPC (5,394 comments) says:

    A beginners guide to the bible.

    A small land called Canaan was being self governed for the first time (there had been city kingdoms earlier and periods under foreign protection/over-rule – usually Egypt keeping nations in the east extending their reach too close to the delta).

    To establish some basis for their nation’s emergence, a national myth was developed about how they were the nation to be separate from the rest of the world.

    A God was involved – shown to act in history to separate the good from the bad. The Garden of Eden removal, the survival of only Noah’s family from the rest of the descendants. Then of Noah’s descendants those called to live in Canaan.

    As a national cult of this God they were to be under this God’s protection. But only on provision that they were obedient to God and the agents of God amongst the people who claimed to speak on behalf of God. So whenever their neighbours would judge them it was said that they were no longer worthy of God’s protection but if they returned to God they would have their self government back.

    Then came the Assyrians who ended the rule of the northern kingdom and took Israelis as slaves. To explain why Assyria was able to do this, prophets wrote how this was Israelis bad behaviour being punished and how Assyrians had repented so would not be punished for the action. Then when Babylon conquered Assyria they decided God uses other powers to do God’s work so they decided that the rise and fall of empires was the work of their God, so that those of these empires would take the Jews and their religion seriously.

    It’s all just superstitious fatalism. That what happens is decided by God.

    So when the zealots warred on Rome they imagined they would win because they had killed other Jews they saw as unworthy so were the righteous Jews who God would help defeat the legions of Rome.

    Today many Christians, mostly American, pray for a kingdom to come – for biblical prophecy of mass judgement of the world to fall on it, so that Christian government would be the government of the minority who survived. As if they were the ones in Noah’s Ark or they were the ones who waited for the world to be cleansed of the unworthy – so that they were separated from the ungodly by the death of billions of fellow humans by an act of their saviour and his bowls of judgment.

    … Being Jewish he would bowl at half Milne’s pace.

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  111. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    The incident allegedly happened at Whanganui Hospital last year.

    The Herald on Sunday understands the alleged smack was witnessed by a nurse in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation ward. She reported it to the DHB and complained to police.

    The Herald on Sunday asked police whether Laws was under investigation for allegedly hitting a child.

    A spokesman replied by email saying: “Police can confirm they are investigating a child assault complaint made against a 56-year-old Whanganui man.

    Scant information like that is enough for some to jump to Laws’ defence regardless of what actually happened and rip into the nurse accusing her of being the guilty party. Ah well, never mind facts to jump on your favourite bashwagon.

    “Yes, I smack. The singular swift slap on the bottom is applied by myself – in public – if my kids cross the line.”

    That’s not a sign of a parent in control or well versed in child discipline. It seems ego driven, like it’s all about himself and little to do with good parenting or the good of his children.

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  112. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    Be that as it may, you have to have some moral standard from which to start. To say – this thing is better than that thing.
    C.S Lewis (again) puts it thusly –

    When you think about these differences between the morality of one people and another, do you think that the morality of one people is ever better or worse than that of another? Have any of the changes been improvements? If not, then of course there could never be any moral progress. Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better. If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilised morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality. In fact, of course, we all do believe that some moralities are better than others. We do believe that some of the people who tried to change the moral ideas of their own age were what we would call Reformers or Pioneers—people who understood morality better than their neighbours did. Very well then.

    The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others. Or put it this way. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something—some Real Morality—for them to be true about.

    The reason why your idea of New York can be truer or less true than mine is that New York is a real place, existing quite apart from what either of us thinks. If when each of us said “New York” each meant merely “The town I am imagining in my own head,” how could one of us have truer ideas than the other? There would be no question of truth or falsehood at all. In the same way, if the Rule of Decent Behaviour meant simply “whatever each nation happens to approve,” there would be no sense in saying that any one nation had ever been more correct in its approval than any other; no sense in saying that the world could ever grow morally better or morally worse.

    C. S. Lewis (2009-06-14T22:00:00+00:00). Mere Christianity (Kindle Locations 231-246). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.

    Wisdom indeed. There is a Real Morality that is not based on what you think, or what I think but is separate from both. A measure.

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  113. slijmbal (1,215 comments) says:

    @Fletch

    “If there is no God, you simply has no basis for morality at all.”

    utter and complete bollocks

    Morality is down to basic decency. I’ve known many a highly religious a*******e who are highly amoral.

    Most atheists I know are decent individuals with a high sense of morality. Not a scientific poll but highly indicative to me.

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  114. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    I’m not saying that my “not murdering innocent children” morality is better than your religion’s morality, Fletch. I agree that to do so would be comparing it to some kind of meta-morality standard against which moralities could be measured, which is absurd.

    What I’m saying is that you yourself share my “not murdering innocent children” morality. I’m not asking you to change your morality; I’m asking you to recognise that you already share it, and that’s why you try to hard to reconcile the claims in which you’re emotionally invested (God ordered the murder of newborn babies) with the moral framework you hold as a result of being a human in modern society (murdering newborn babies is not cool).

    Consistency is the only meta-value here, Fletch. I’m not saying that my morality is better than your God-of-the-Bible’s. I’m saying that it’s more you than your God-of-the-Bible’s.

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  115. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

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  116. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    If it helps, Fletch, keep in mind that I’m vegetarian. To me, eating meat is wrong. To most people, eating meat is not wrong. I do not decide my morality by popular vote. The world, including right and wrong, presents itself to me as I am. I don’t get to choose any more than anyone else does. All I can do is be consistent.

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  117. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    All you have to do is look at the track record of Secular Humanist regimes – it’s not pretty.

    And slijmbal, I’m not saying that atheists can’t be good or moral. But as William Lane Craig puts it –

    It would, indeed, be arrogant and ignorant to claim that people cannot be good without belief in God. But that was not the question. The question was: can we be good without God? When we ask that question, we are posing in a provocative way the meta-ethical question of the objectivity of moral values. Are the values we hold dear and guide our lives by mere social conventions akin to driving on the left versus right side of the road or mere expressions of personal preference akin to having a taste for certain foods or not? Or are they valid independently of our apprehension of them, and if so, what is their foundation? Moreover, if morality is just a human convention, then why should we act morally, especially when it conflicts with self-interest? Or are we in some way held accountable for our moral decisions and actions? …

    Now it is important that we remain clear in understanding the issue before us. The question is not: Must we believe in God in order to live moral lives? There is no reason to think that atheists and theists alike may not live what we normally characterize as good and decent lives. Similarly, the question is not: Can we formulate a system of ethics without reference to God? If the non-theist grants that human beings do have objective value, then there is no reason to think that he cannot work out a system of ethics with which the theist would also largely agree. Or again, the question is not: Can we recognize the existence of objective moral values without reference to God? The theist will typically maintain that a person need not believe in God in order to recognize, say, that we should love our children. Rather, as humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz puts it, “The central question about moral and ethical principles concerns this ontological foundation. If they are neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, are they purely ephemeral?”

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  118. Monique Angel (252 comments) says:

    I went to our doctor the other day. They asked: Would you care to disclose your religion. I stated, “not a suitable candidate”.

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  119. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull, how on earth do you equate being vegetarian with being more moral ?

    Are sheep more moral than cats ?

    Modern humans would not have evolved without meat eating. Killing other species to survive is part of life. Without it the whole system collapses. Just in case your wondering, people are not – like – animals. They -are- animals. So special pleading is not valid.

    I see not reason to think your fashion statement makes you any more moral than someone who eats normally.

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  120. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Fletch, why don’t you move to a place like Afghanistan, or Mali, where they take religion more seriously ?

    You would surely be much happier there.

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  121. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    Kea, as I said above – examine the record of Secular Humanist regimes vs Christian. The ones who abandon God don’t work out so well.

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  122. SPC (5,394 comments) says:

    Fletch, it is hard to associate morality with religion when those of the religion have no trouble with their God killing pregnant women and babies in a worldwide flood etc, let alone the acceptance of the ethnic cleansing in Canaan story and the belief in the future elimination of the majority of humanity at some date chosen by God for the judgment of those alive at the time.

    It all makes sense if the idol of the bible is just the image of an emperor beast of the world and absolute power means absolute corruption – fear and obey or die.

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  123. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    ….” keep in mind that I’m vegetarian. To me, eating meat is wrong”….

    Heresy Ryan! What about the poor old sheep & beef farmer? :)

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  124. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull, how on earth do you equate being vegetarian with being more moral ?

    Are sheep more moral than cats ?

    Modern humans would not have evolved without meat eating. Killing other species to survive is part of life. Without it the whole system collapses. Just in case your wondering, people are not – like – animals. They -are- animals. So special pleading is not valid.

    I see not reason to think your fashion statement makes you any more moral than someone who eats normally.

    Kea, I didn’t say that being vegetarian is “more moral” than not.

    As for what behaviours may or may not have been necessary to the evolution of the human animal, they have no bearing on morality. Our evolutionary ancestors had to breathe underwater. I don’t do that either.

    My vegetarianism isn’t a fashion statement, it’s an expression of the morality the world presents to me. To me, killing animals for a luxury food is morally wrong. To others, it is not morally wrong. Neither of us is correct or incorrect, as there is no objective moral standard against which to evaluate those stances.

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  125. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Heresy Ryan! What about the poor old sheep & beef farmer?

    They do not tend to be vegetarians, Nasska, any more than slave owners tended to be emancipationists.

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  126. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    If Key was onto his game he would harness the enormous amount of intellect expressed on blogs like this and move to pass legislation that reversed the law as it now exists.

    In the meantime, it is clear that this young whipper snapper is nothing more than an over hyped money trader .

    Shame, because overall, I support him

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  127. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Kea, I didn’t say that being vegetarian is “more moral” than not…

    My vegetarianism isn’t a fashion statement, it’s an expression of the morality the world presents to me. To me, killing animals for a luxury food is morally wrong.

    Ryan Sproull, yeah silly me. What was I thinking ! ;)

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  128. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Kea, you’re missing the “to me” part. I can think that Firefly is the best TV show ever made, and you can think that Charmed is the best TV show ever made, and neither of us is objectively wrong or right.

    The same goes for morality. Morality is real, but contextual. It is objectively true for me to say “vegetarianism is right-to-me” just as it is objectively true for you to say “eating meat is right-to-me”. There’s no contradiction there. There’s no Magical Objective Standard against which to compare the two.

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  129. slijmbal (1,215 comments) says:

    @Fletch

    “And slijmbal, I’m not saying that atheists can’t be good or moral. ”

    Liar or you, like many religious people I know can convince themselves of 3 impossible things before breakfast and are a logic free zone.

    The statement you made “If there is no God, you simply has no basis for morality at all.” leaves no room for a different interpretation.

    I think you’re more likely a liar based on previous posts – that’s against one the 10 commandments by the way :) If you’re Catholic and died right now you’re probably safe as it’s not a mortal sin but you’re pushing your luck. Hell beckons the likes of you.

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  130. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Slijmbal, Fletch isn’t being inconsistent there. He’s saying that an atheistic world has no morality, but that atheists live (unknowingly) in a theistic world in which there can be morality, and that some of those atheists can be moral/good without realising the source of that morality to which they are conforming.

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  131. slijmbal (1,215 comments) says:

    @Ryan

    which is utter nonsense and I am calling him out for such nonsense – for instance altruism has a social, genetic and historical basis having nothing to do with religion.

    he is making any argument he can for religion regardless of justification, knowingly.

    Yes – he is consistent but in this context consistency does not imply any sort of justification or logic

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  132. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Their are perfectly plausible evolutionary explanations for altruism and morality.

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  133. Chuck Bird (4,684 comments) says:

    We seem to be getting off topic. The issues whether Laws or any other parent has primacy over how there children are brought up – the parents or the state. The is not just about smacking but who is allowed to instill moral values to the child. I say it is wrong that schools can undermine parents. The age of consent is still 16. Until it changes the schools should not be able to tell students that your parents are a bit old fashioned. Delaying sex till you are old enough to take responsibility for the consequences is the best idea but is you can’s come to us for condoms which prevent pregnancy and STDs 99.9% of the time but if they do not we can arrange an abortion and your parents will never know.

    The majority of MPs supposed this and the liberal on this blog say representative democracy work. I say for who?

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  134. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird (4,228 comments) says:

    January 19th, 2014 at 8:08 pm
    We seem to be getting off topic.

    Wrong. It underscores why this is such a complex and emotive issue and in which parliament has no business in interferring with.

    What gives them the moral (and now legal) authority, to intervene in how parents raise their childern which has been the norm since the beginning of civilisation. Answer, none.

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  135. nasska (10,680 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird

    ….”the liberal on this blog say representative democracy work. I say for who?”…..

    Abortion for under sixteens is a touchy subject but the rest of the advice is not out of kilter with what today’s average parent would go along with. In fact, because the schools are covering it, the parents can take the moral high road by telling their offspring to remain chaste & pure while knowing that the kids have been brought up to speed on safe sex.

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  136. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Proverbs 13:24

    Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

    Lash your loves ones with a Rod. It is the Christian thing to do :)

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  137. snowy (106 comments) says:

    Why are the left so scared of Laws?

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  138. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    slijmbal , I stand by my assertion.
    If you don’t have God, you have no foundation for what you deem moral. You could still do good things based on your idea of what is good. Sometimes your idea of good might conform to what is the Real Morality, and sometimes it might not. But without a Real Morality, why should one person impose his idea of what is right on another? Both could have different ideas. Why should your idea be any more acceptable than mine? Because it is popular at the time, and accepted by society?

    If morality is relative, then morality can only be a subject reality. In other words, morality is reduced to opinion. When we legislate any morality, we are actually forcing other people to live by our opinions. Majority rule is an ad populum fallacy; so is rule by force, because might does not make right.

    I’ve used the examples of abortion and gay marriage already. Only a few decades ago, both would have been seen as wrong in this country. Yet now they are accepted. Based on what? Whether or not it is accepted by a majority of society at the time? Whether it is popular?

    You can’t judge what is moral by a popularity contest.

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  139. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    “I’ve used the examples of abortion and gay marriage already. Only a few decades ago, both would have been seen as wrong in this country. Yet now they are accepted. Based on what? Whether or not it is accepted by a majority of society at the time? Whether it is popular”

    They weren’t wrong, they were criminal acts punishable by terms of imprsionment

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  140. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Fletch, I have given you numerous examples of the bibles morality and you have rejected them all.

    And on GD you claimed it was an atheist myth that Christians believe in Sky Fairies.

    It looks to me like you are just making stuff up as you go along :)

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  141. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    What gives them the moral (and now legal) authority, to intervene in how parents raise their childern which has been the norm since the beginning of civilisation. Answer, none.

    I think most adults will agree that some laws protecting children are necessary, even protecting them from their parents. Therefore it’s a matter of where to draw the lines.

    Interesting that it seems that the most vocal proposing parents should not be dictated to by the state laws are those dictated to by historic religious rules. So it’s not so much no rules versus some rules, it’s one set of archaic religious dictates versus modern and evolving laws.

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  142. Pete George (22,863 comments) says:

    Yet now they are accepted. Based on what?

    Mostly based on more people thinking for themselves and deciding what they think is best for a modern society.

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  143. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    PG, I had to give you an upvote for your 10:31 comment. It nearly killed me !

    Just goes to show you can form a sincere and considered opinion if you really want to. So I will be even harsher on you in future when you behave like a sanctimonious prig.

    You will thank me one day ;)

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  144. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    If morality is relative, then morality can only be a subject reality. In other words, morality is reduced to opinion.

    Or opinion is raised to morality.

    When we legislate any morality, we are actually forcing other people to live by our opinions. Majority rule is an ad populum fallacy; so is rule by force, because might does not make right.

    Yes, which is precisely why no matter how many people think gay people should be locked up for being gay, the government should not do so. Etc.

    I’ve used the examples of abortion and gay marriage already. Only a few decades ago, both would have been seen as wrong in this country. Yet now they are accepted. Based on what? Whether or not it is accepted by a majority of society at the time? Whether it is popular?

    Partly popularity, partly a recognition of something C.S. Lewis said about the worst dictators being those who told people how to act for their own good. You know, like, “don’t marry other men, for your own good” kind of thing.

    You can’t judge what is moral by a popularity contest.

    You can judge whomever you like, Fletch. Just don’t use the coercive power of the State to compel people to live the way you think they should.

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  145. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Yes – he is consistent but in this context consistency does not imply any sort of justification or logic

    Consistency is a rare virtue.

    which is utter nonsense and I am calling him out for such nonsense – for instance altruism has a social, genetic and historical basis having nothing to do with religion.

    Altruism having a social, genetic and historical basis does not make it objective in the sense that Fletch means. In fact, it precisely makes it contextual instead. That one can point to historical causes of altruistic impulses does not lend those impulses any objective moral weight.

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  146. SPC (5,394 comments) says:

    I missed this earlier.

    Fletch (5,419 comments) says:
    January 19th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    “Ryan, that is because an atheist does not have an “objective truth”. He has no basis or foundation for his morality other than what is popular at the time. …

    If there is no God, you simply has no basis for morality at all.”

    So if someone wanted to impose their values as laws they would claim that they came from God. This regardless whether there was any objective truth as to any link between any God and these values/laws.

    Successfully realised then people are enslaved across their generations to the “values” of some con men of times past.

    It’s like an extension of property rights from the wife and child to descendants across their generations. The plan must have been appealing to become priests to a people and get serviced via a 10% tithe forever. Talk about tenure.

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  147. SPC (5,394 comments) says:

    Fletch

    “Do Not Kill is God’s command to man. God has every right to destroy what he makes or not.”

    It’s surprising Christians remain so ignorant of God.

    First there is no evidence that any human has ever been killed by God.
    Second legitimate killing others is an act of self defence, no human threatens the life of God.
    Third acting as agent in the self defence of others, as some do in police and military, is not something a God would need to do given a God can restore the dead their life.

    As for anyone can destroy what they make?

    If life has no inherent right to life independent of their makers will, the right to right to life position is fatally compromised.

    As for the line that makers of law are not bound by it as it is applied to those of a lower status – man before God, ruled before rulers, upon slaves before owners, upon wives before husbands and on children before parents – then law does not reflect values, but might. Yours is an apologetic for the beast. Who taught you that patriarchy crap?

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  148. SPC (5,394 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    “These sentiments are the thoughts of a distressed man, and the Bible is merely recording what he said. Just because it’s written in there, doesn’t mean it’s to be construed as an endorsement from God.”

    Is the flood myth and subsequent law of the Torah endorsed by God? Is the book of Revelation endorsed by God?

    Or just part of a hear and obey or die message by those claiming power over others as agents of God?

    I think the story begins with honesty, men will claim to have knowledge of God and lie about this to realise power for themselves in the world. Their god is a beastly lie.

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  149. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    As for my conclusion that only God can objectively determine morality, you may dismiss it, but you cannot logically refute it. At best, you can only say that you are satisfied with subjective morality that is established by groups who have the power to legislate, in which case, you would be faced with the dilemma of might makes right and ad populum fallacies.

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  150. Dave Mann (1,169 comments) says:

    Crikey, imagine if KDC promised free internet (or similar), and promised to ammend the smacking law! He’d have both the younger and the older generations worshipping him and he’d be a shoe-in for a seat or two in Govenment

    Yes, and imagine what KDC could achieve if he pushed for a reduction in the overall intrusion of Big Brother in citizens’ lives as well as defending their digital privacy!!!!

    When you think of it – regardless of whether you agree or disagree with his Mega operation – this KDC is a hell of a character and he’s really got some balls. After going through what he has over the last couple of years he must be a giant (pun intended) to still be standing upright, let alone pulling stunts like this Internet Party! Good on him, actually….

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  151. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    As for my conclusion that only God can objectively determine morality, you may dismiss it, but you cannot logically refute it. At best, you can only say that you are satisfied with subjective morality that is established by groups who have the power to legislate, in which case, you would be faced with the dilemma of might makes right and ad populum fallacies.

    “Objective morality” is a logical contradiction in terms, Fletch.

    If God arbitrarily determines morality, what makes it good? If God’s decision is not arbitrary, to which standard is he referring in making that judgement?

    However, contextual morality is not “established by groups who have the power to legislate”. Legislation often expresses moral sentiments that are widespread in a society, and legislation is often one factor (of many) in shaping an individual’s morality, but very few people experience morality purely as “whatever the government says is right is right”.

    Everyone can imagine the government legislating something that is morally wrong-to-them.

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  152. RichardX (321 comments) says:

    Fletch (5,422 comments) says:
    January 20th, 2014 at 10:55 am
    As for my conclusion that only God can objectively determine morality, you may dismiss it, but you cannot logically refute it.
    At best, you can only say that you are satisfied with subjective morality that is established by groups who have the power to legislate, in which case, you would be faced with the dilemma of might makes right and ad populum fallacies.

    Slavery has always been immoral whether it was legal or popular (as it was in the past) or sanctioned by your god (as it was in the past and nothing in the bible specifically prohibits it)
    As an evolved empathetic social animal, I endeavor to live by the golden rule as does any social empathetic animal. Most do not require a god label to be attached to the concept. Specifically with regard to slavery, I do not want to be owned therefore I do not want to own other human beings.

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  153. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Slavery has always been immoral whether it was legal or popular (as it was in the past) or sanctioned by your god (as it was in the past and nothing in the bible specifically prohibits it)
    As an evolved empathetic social animal, I endeavor to live by the golden rule as does any social empathetic animal. Most do not require a god label to be attached to the concept. Specifically with regard to slavery, I do not want to be owned therefore I do not want to own other human beings.

    Richard, you can’t say that slavery has always been immoral any more than Fletch can. Your “we’re evolved empathetic social animals” has no more ahistorical objective moral weight than Fletch’s “whatever God says” standard.

    In other words, you say, “I don’t want to be enslaved, therefore I should not enslave.” Why? Because you believe, “You should treat others as you’d want to be treated.” But you can’t answer this: “WHY should we treat others as we’d want to be treated?” You can point to an historical cause behind that impulse (evolutionary psychology), but that only provides you with a cause for feeling that way, not a justification.

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  154. RichardX (321 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull (6,208 comments) says:
    January 20th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Richard, you can’t say that slavery has always been immoral any more than Fletch can. Your “we’re evolved empathetic social animals” has no more ahistorical objective moral weight than Fletch’s “whatever God says” standard.
    In other words, you say, “I don’t want to be enslaved, therefore I should not enslave.” Why? Because you believe, “You should treat others as you’d want to be treated.” But you can’t answer this: “WHY should we treat others as we’d want to be treated?” You can point to an historical cause behind that impulse (evolutionary psychology), but that only provides you with a cause for feeling that way, not a justification.

    Interesting point. It is a busy day so can’t give it the thought the question deserves but I don’t think I can separate cause and justification. Does a justification that has any “ahistorical objective moral weight” exist beyond the cause?
    I was only refuting Fletch by pointing out the fallacy in his claim that there were only 2 options; god, or “subjective morality … with the dilemma of might makes right and ad populum fallacies.”

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  155. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Interesting point. It is a busy day so can’t give it the thought the question deserves but I don’t think I can separate cause and justification.

    Hi Richard - I understand the busy-ness, don’t worry. I agree with you about Fletch’s false dilemma.

    The difference between a cause and a justification is that when a cause is used as a justification, there’s some unspoken implicit justification at work. They become exposed by asking of justifications “why should you…?” until the answer is a straight “I just do” with no prior justification.

    For example…

    A: We should give to the poor.
    B: Why do you want to give to the poor?
    A: Because we should treat others as we’d like to be treated, and if we were poor, we’d want help.
    B: Why do you want to treat others as you’d like to be treated?
    A: Because we evolved to be social empathetic animals. (Unspoken implicit: We should act the way we’ve evolved to want to act.)
    B: Why do you want to act the way you evolved to act?
    A: I just do.

    Which is fine. We move from justifications (“ought”) to a fact with no prior justification (“is”). The statements stop being prescriptive and start being descriptive.

    But because what justified each statement was always a prior one, when we get to an unjustified statement, we find the bottom turtle, so to speak. That unjustified ought is a fact of your existence, the way the world presents itself to you, and can have all kinds of causes (e.g., evolution, or the way God made me, or my innate spiritual nature, or whatever), but cannot itself be described as morally right except in its own terms, by its own standards.

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