Comments on: Where is the line between criticism and blasphemy? Religion, faith and ethics Sat, 23 Apr 2016 23:25:07 +0000 hourly 1 By: Gene Garman Thu, 21 May 2009 11:02:55 +0000 Excuse me, but as I point out quite clearly in the book The Religion Commandments, in the USA, the issue of same-sex marriage is not a matter of religion laws. Religion laws are not civil laws. It is civil law which prevails in the USA in respect to actions.

The Free Exercise commandment in the First Amendment is not a license for religion actions outside the laws of the land. All actions are subject to the laws of civil society, regardless of religion.

First, religion shall not be established by law in the USA. Last, the free exercise clause plainly says the exercise of religion shall not be prohibited, which by definition means totally forbidden. If the words of the Constitution and the First Amendment mean what they say, it is speech, press, and peaceable assembly which shall not be abridged, which means reduced.

Understanding of the “exercise” of religion is not controlled by the word “abridging, as if religion actions cannot be abridged.

Beliefs and opinions cannot be abridged, that is, reduced, but all actions are subject to law and can be abridged. Religion is not above the law in the USA, except in matters of belief. When action in the name of religion conflicts with the laws of American society, the law prevails, otherwise we have anarchy under the name of religion. The wording of the Constitution does not allow anarchy for any reason.

If you do not like the laws in respect to actions, work to change them, but do not use the wording of First Amendment as a guarantee for religion action in violation of the laws of the land. The wording of the Constitution is not a license for anarchy in the name of religion.

The First Amendment is to be understood by its words. The men who wrote it were not dummies, and its wording is not in conflict. Speech, press, and peaceable assembly cannot be abridged, and “exercise” cannot be prohibited, which means totally forbidden.

Read my book for further understanding.

By: Hilton Howes Thu, 13 Nov 2008 15:13:55 +0000 Freedom of speech is only an idealistic fantasy. The real question is how’you’ react when some says something harmful to you. Do you turn and offer him the other cheek or, do you take out his eye as well. The problem is that we should never forget the ideals of our religion (Christianity) even in the most peril of times. The best example of a good Christian is in practice and not in speaking – “it’s not what you say it’s what you do”. Keep in mind though, from the abundance of the heart the tongue will speak. In essence what you do and say will always be a true reflection of what you believe and not what you say you believe.

By: Bill Wood Thu, 13 Nov 2008 03:43:59 +0000 Most comments here scorn religion and religious beliefs rather than serve as reasoned discussions of considerations involved in free speech conflicts. Fuming against wrongs of the past without considering the benefits of faith signals an unwillingness to engage in serious discourse about a real problem. There is too much contemptuous and vitriolic static from people who obviously don’t care that their harsh words offend others. We do know that names thrown at others do hurt as much as sticks and stones.

By: tom klein Wed, 12 Nov 2008 19:48:52 +0000 isn’t it wonderful how two of the most regressive forces in the world, the vatican and the leaders of islam, can agree that their grip on their respective flocks is more important to them than liberal western values such as equality or freedom of thought? these two reactionary groups have a lot in common: their worldwide “holy wars”. the devaluing of women and children, and the murder of those they accused of heresy or apostasy.

since this forum was cast in the unfortunate mold of the danish cartoons, the moslem leaders in particular should start with a renunciation of violence and an affirmation of the supreme value of ALL human life. the very notion that ANY cartoon can justify the killing of another human being puts them beyond the pale of civilization.

their concern for minority religious rights would sound more genuine if they spoke out for freedom of religion: for minorities to practice their own religion (certainly not the case in most moslem countries), for freedom from proselytizing (both these groups engage in heavy missionary activity), and for the freedom to change one’s religion.

but clearly, this forum wasn’t really about “minority religious rights”.

By: Pat Wed, 12 Nov 2008 19:43:34 +0000 I’m Catholic but I’m well aware of all the abuses of human rights that have been pertetrated by men in the Church in the name of “God”. It’s the “Spanish Inquisition” all over again. Never give these holy-rollers any power or they will abuse it. If you give the religious fanatics(Catholic, Muslim or PTL) an inch they will take your head and/or your wallet. I’ll mock who I want to mock. Seriously. Screw you if you want to control me exercising my right to voice my opinion. Freedom of speech is the thin line that separates democracy from facism. You and I can agree to disagree but who are you(any religious organization) to tell me how to live my life. The price of freedom is eternal vigilence against those that would try and manipulate us.

By: Robert D. Wed, 12 Nov 2008 19:00:14 +0000 I find it more amazing that Christianity and Islam can’t find some common ground. In form, both profess almost identical virtues (i.e. donating money and goods to the poor); however, in practice, neither one live up to its claims. Both profess a belief in one god, albiet under different names because they come from different languages. (Even though “Yahweh” is used to refer to the “Jewish” god, english-speaking Christians call the exact same god, “God.”) Similarly, both religions suffer from rather turbulent histories. Most Christians that I know can talk at length about conflicts between various sects of Muslims. Very few could tell me how Bloody Mary got her name. Even fewer can recall that French Catholics and French Calvinists (Huguenots) spent a good deal of their time slaughtering each other (i.e. St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre).

The largest problem that I have seen with both religions is that they are ignorant of each other. This ignorance breeds fear, and people hate those things that they fear and don’t understand. Additionally, people are, in general, lazy, and they do not wish to spend the time required to understand other religions.

By: Rick Wed, 12 Nov 2008 18:04:30 +0000 It is amazing to me that, a simple book of fiction written a few thousand years ago would continue to have such a huge impact on people in the age of science. There are more atrocities committed in the name of religion than anything. Most wars and riots,are based on religious intolerance of anything that doesn’t agree with their own doctrine, yet most would claim to be helping the downtrodden. Give me a break, believe what you want, but don’t try to sell me on any more Santa Clauses.

By: Jeff Wed, 12 Nov 2008 17:14:35 +0000 This is an issue of both respect and morality, neither of which can be legislated in a truly free society.

By: Nate Wed, 12 Nov 2008 15:30:23 +0000 The free market place of ideas is the most important and powerful tool for social advancment. A responsible citizen needs to know the difference between mere insult and harm.

By: Katherine Wed, 12 Nov 2008 14:26:06 +0000 The UN must not try to be the authority on what is and isn’t acceptable in public discourse. Free speech is too important for it to be subject to an organization like the UN. The UN has no legal authority over the speech of free citizens of any country. It is better to accept freedom and its consequences than to try to have laws that define limits. Terms such as “hate speech” and “code speech” are too nebulous for legal limits.

Most of us are familiar with taunts and insults from childhood, and we learn early that the best defense is not to care. Words are only inflammatory if we allow them to be.

Here is an example. I am a Christian. I have been told many times that I am stupid for believing in God. I have heard people say things like “f*** Jesus.” I think those statements have no place in polite conversation. I know that the people who speak those words want to make me angry. However, when I ignore the words, the mockers usualy get tired and do something else. Even if they don’t, the only price I pay is hearing the sounds.

Nobody has the right to tell anyone what to believe. In fact, nobody has the power to make anyone believe anything. Each of us chooses what to believe. We should all be free to say what we believe and to expect that others who belive something different will treat our choices with respect. However, when someone does not respect my choice, I would rather listen to that rant or even the mocking disrespect than to deal with a law that limits free speech. When the rant transforms into physical assault, torture, or murder, every country already has laws against that, regardless of the motivation of the criminal. We don’t need to UN to try to define permissible speech. Most nations already have laws against libel and plagiarism. That is enough. Grow up already.