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Mitt Romney's Mormon Problem

Well, today's M Day. Mitt's Mormon Monologue day. And it's appropriate, as Mitt Romney's Mormonism can be argued to be at the root of his recent illegal alien problem.

Some time ago, the Boston Globe did a story on Mitt Romney's lawn -- and the company he hires to take care of it. It's owned by a Mr. Saenz, a (legal) immigrant and fellow Mormon. (I believe he's from Colombia.)

Well, the Boston Globe had a hunch about the immigration status of some of Mr. Saenz' employees, so it put three reporters on the case. One of them even went to Mexico to interview one of the workers, and yup -- several of them were illegal. Romney, naturally, was embarrassed and said it wouldn't happen again.

But it did. Mr. Saenz kept working for Romney, and kept sending illegal aliens to his house.

And the Globe did the predictable followup, and busted them. Again.

I believe at least a part of Romney's problem here is his religion. Not any particular tenet of Mormonism, but the fact that Mr. Saenz is also a Mormon. Romney met Mr. Saenz through the church, and later hired his company, "Community Lawn Service With A Heart." (The guy's business card must be incredibly crowded.) And after the first mess, reports say that Romney did fire Saenz, but he begged for a second chance -- and enlisted one of Romney's sons to lobby for him. Mitt relented, and now it has turned around and bit him on the ass.

This, I think, is probably the only way Romney's Mormonism might affect his presidency. I don't think there's some "Mormon agenda" he's going to put in place the instant he gets elected. I don't see a host of new laws enforcing "magic underwear" or declaring a government war on caffeine.

On the other hand, it appears he has a little bit of a blind spot when it comes to his fellow Mormons. He seems to invest a smidgen too much trust in them. That could be a serious problem were he to be elected, as there are several other Mormons in positions of power -- the most prominent one has to be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Romney's inclination to put a great deal of trust and faith in the good will of his fellow adherents could lead him to make some serious blunders.

It's an understandable flaw. I'm an agnostic, and find that most religions have some elements that... how can I put it delicately... "require faith." To put it more candidly, require its adherents to believe a lot of things that are downright absurd. And among all the major faiths in the US, Mormonism is probably the most giggle-inspiring. (South Park did a huge number on that.)

But that's Mormonism, and I reject that. But I don't reject Mormons.

Pretty much every single Mormon I've ever met has been upright, decent, honorable, respectful, and nice. Consequently, I tend to trust Mormons to behave themselves and do the right thing in most cases.

(And I really think they need to stop sending out their young people on missionary work with name tags pronouncing them "Elders." It's hard to not giggle when talking with a young, earnest, fresh-faced kid less than half your age who calls himself "Elder Smith.")

I, personally, don't feel the need to hear Romney speak on his religion. He's not running for Deacon or Bishop or whatever the Mormon equivalent of Pope is, and he's already shown he can govern without pushing the "Mormon Agenda." The only element I question is his tendency to put a wee bit too much trust in people who don't deserve it, solely because they are fellow Mormons -- and I think Romney's learned that lesson the hard way.

But he'll make his speech, and it will be hailed as a milestone by his supporters and a desperation play -- a failed one -- by his detractors. In fact, I'm sure half of them have their accounts of his speech already written up, waiting for quotes from the speech to cut and paste in appropriate places.

And in the end, will it matter? Will it make any difference at all?

I dunno. Unlike those I mentioned above, I'm going to wait and see.


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Comments (113)

Nice post Jay. I agree with... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Nice post Jay. I agree with much of what you wrote. I don't like the guy for lots of reasons but any idiot who thinks his religion should disqualify him from the WH probably is a reincarnation of a witch burner. JFK had to make the same kind of speech 40+ years ago. That was a sad thing he had to do and it's sad Romney thinks he has to do it.

Have you seen lawn care ser... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Have you seen lawn care services? Here in Michigan I've seen more Hispanics in the past 4-5 years working lawncare than I've seen Hispanics in my life. Most seem barely functional in English so I assume they are recent 'immigrants'.

Finding an established lawncare service (more than a couple of employees) that doesn't use illegals seems pretty impossible to me. Seems like working out a deal to try to not have illegals worker come your specific yard would have about as much success as hiring another company would.

I think Romney's biggest mistake is having a lawn. That would be the only practical way to avoid not having an illegal arrive for work eventually short of going to ridiculous measures to enforce it.

It's not necessarily that M... (Below threshold)
Jaime:

It's not necessarily that Mitt has a blind spot when it comes to his fellow Mormons. Maybe he has a blind spot when it comes to his fellow man.

Jay has shown us numerous a... (Below threshold)

Jay has shown us numerous attempts by the Globe to blur the line between illegal aliens and legal residents. But because Romney is a Republican and a Mormon they think they're pointing out his hypocrisy without highlighting their own?

Shame that Romney's "friend" betrayed him like that. But that's where Reagan's "trust but verify" advice should have come into play. Romney screwed up big time.

A good post Jay...It is cur... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

A good post Jay...It is curious that the people who have a real problem with Romney's faith are conservative evangelicals...Freud's 'narcissism of small differences'...The idea that these solid gold plates could ascend into heaven, is quite a stretch. Hey Mitt believes this but then all Mormons do...What saves them as you imply is that they are so straight and serious and all other denominations require a generous 'leap of faith' and suspension of disbelief, too.

As a sidebar, it is curious that Mitt's father also a leading member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when he was frontrunner for the Republican presidency 40 years ago.

On 31 August 1967, Governor Romney of Michigan made a statement that ruined his chances for getting the nomination. In a taped interview with Lou Gordon of WKBD-TV in Detroit. Romney stated, "When I came back from Viet Nam [in November 1965], I'd just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get." He then shifted to opposing the war: "I no longer believe that it was necessary for us to get involved in South Vietnam to stop Communist aggression in Southeast Asia," he declared. Decrying the "tragic" conflict, he urged "a sound peace in South Vietnam at an early time."

This brainwashing comment effectively eliminated Romney from the race. "If you're running for the presidency, you are supposed to have too much on the ball to be brainwashed."

American voters will allow you, even encourage you to be 'brainwashed' about religion, (if it didn't, that would disqualify all the candidates from both parties) but if you admit that you may have been 'brainwashed' about some of the other recurring politically totems of each age, you will be electorally toast.

>> "Mitt Romney's Mormonism... (Below threshold)

>> "Mitt Romney's Mormonism can be argued to be at the root of his recent illegal alien problem"

As Judaism is at the root of America's pro-Israel bias in the Middle East - right JT?

Or is religion only an issue when it's not yours?

Scientology isn't funnier t... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Scientology isn't funnier than Mormonism?

It seems to me that most of... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

It seems to me that most of the handwringing over Romney's Mormonism is coming from the MSM. I'm not hearing conservatives talk about it that much.

More troubling to me is the fact that Romney hails from Massachusetts, and that he is a recent convert to conservatism.

When people first heard that Jesus came from Nazareth - a town with a terrible reputation - they skeptically queried, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

That pretty much sums up my attitude towards Massachusetts.

Totally off topic, and just... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Totally off topic, and just out of curiosity - what happened to the weirdly cryptic Kim? Was he/she banished by Odin?

I'm quite disappointed in R... (Below threshold)
Justin Utley:

I'm quite disappointed in Romney.

As a Mormon myself, Romney knows that his service to no "one interest" is impossible in his religion. In the Mormon temples all devout members take strict oaths, one of which being that all time and talents are used first and foremost to build only the Mormon Church, and that we are to have the strictest obedience to its leaders and the church's public stand on issues. A member who speaks out in public must be in-line with church ideals and doctrines or risk excommunication.

Yesterday afternoon, I was ... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Yesterday afternoon, I was thinking the same thing Jeff. I was planning on asking about her here today. I miss her comments, "weirdly cripytic" is a good description, but her comments always made you think and they made sense, once you figured them out.

I believe at least... (Below threshold)
I believe at least a part of Romney's problem here is his religion. Not any particular tenet of Mormonism, but the fact that Mr. Saenz is also a Mormon. Romney met Mr. Saenz through the church, and later hired his company, "Community Lawn Service With A Heart."

This happens quite a bit. The Mormon church apparently has an extensive employment network for its members to plug into. In fact, so much so, that if a Mormon becomes either head of HR or VP, or some other position of authority in a company, that company will soon have substantial numbers of Mormon employees.


Being from AZ, I've grown u... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Being from AZ, I've grown up with and around Mormons my whole life. We've had several succesful Mormon politicians representing us at the state and national levels and they haven't legislated as "Mormons." What Mormonism brings to many is very sound principles of honesty, integrity, hard work etc. The majority of Mormons I've known aren't kooks, or starry eyed, but upright honest, good people. I'd much rather have a committed Mormon in office than a Catholic in name only.

Veeshir,I agree. I... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Veeshir,

I agree. I liked having her(?) around.

I think South Park did a pr... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

I think South Park did a pretty good job on the whole Mormonism thing (as well as a hilarious Scientology sendup). I'm not proud that it took a cartoon to get me to examine the ideas further, but dang if they weren't accurate in their portrayals.

I also understand the Showtime series "Big Love", which I also enjoy, is a pretty accurate representation of the polygamy set.

I've noticed more bigotry a... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

I've noticed more bigotry against Mormons from those left of center than christian evangelicals in my experience.

I'll accept Mitt's Mormon m... (Below threshold)
civildisobedience Author Profile Page:

I'll accept Mitt's Mormon mafia over Huckabee's hypocrisies as a politicized populist Southern Baptist any day. He did what many have done, trusted "family" and got burned, big deal. That said, all the candidates seem to have a weakness or two that still makes selection difficult for someone wanting a more classic conservative who can win. Both parties have mediocre to weak candidates; modern American politics just sucks.

I've noticed more bigotry f... (Below threshold)
JFO:

I've noticed more bigotry from those right of center/ christian evangelicals in my experience.

I agree that it is the libe... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I agree that it is the liberal left that has made a big issue of Romney 's mormonism. The left is a major source of bigotry these days.

I agree that it is the righ... (Below threshold)
JFO:

I agree that it is the right wing/evangelicals who are making an issue of Romney's religion, just as they did with JFK's. You might want to come to Iowa where you will find the truth LAI.

Romneys biggest mistake is ... (Below threshold)
914:

Romneys biggest mistake is not taking care of the lawn Himself..the dweeb has all the time in the world to do so, but if Hes so busy that He does not? then Hes too busy to be looking at it anyways..

Justin Utley comment 10:</p... (Below threshold)
scotty:

Justin Utley comment 10:

Your a Mormon? I don't think so. Or, if so, you may not have been paying close enough attention in Sunday School. You sure have a skewed version of the covenants we make before God in our Temples. Your version sounds scarry and cult like (which is the standard line from anti-mormons). Whereas the covenant to consecrate our time and talents to building up the LDS church and the Kingdom of God on Earth is really not very sinister. I mean, don't all churches wish for their members to build up their church and thus advance the work of God? Yeah, that is really scarry!!!

JFO, It is the left... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

JFO,
It is the left (eg. Boston Globe and the alphabet TV channels) who has asked Romney about his mormonism. Just like it was the left who made excuse for Clinton's sexual harassment and who linked homosexuality to pedophiles. It is well documented that the left is now the home of modern anti-semitism. SInce you want to go back the JFK day. The dem party was the home of the KKK and Robert Byrd was a former wizard. But as usual, JFO doesn't want to face the truth and doesn't have the courage to admit who he is.

Also as Jay pointed out, th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Also as Jay pointed out, the dem party and their media arm is a shameless no-value movement, it is expected that they will make a big deal of romeny 's lawn service while ignoring all the illegal fund-raising activities related to the Hillary campaign for example.

Yeah, JFO, admit that you'r... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Yeah, JFO, admit that you're a homo pedophile anti-semite Klan member who hates Mormons, just like everyone on the left. Admit it! If you don't you're just cowardly.

it! If you don't you're jus... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

it! If you don't you're just cowardly.
-------------------------------
Exactly the point instead of projecting that on others.

Mantis, and they wonder why... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Mantis, and they wonder why they're on the fringe wondering why the world is passing them by.

JFO is still not honest eno... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

JFO is still not honest enough to admit that he is a moonbat who is simply here to spin for the corrupt Dem party.

BTW, when will the left sto... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

BTW, when will the left stop asking Romney about his Mormon faith or other Reps about Romney 's faith? Where is the outrage of the honest liberals instead of the faux spin of the moonbats?

Love America Immigrant spea... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Love America Immigrant speaks for 30% of the general public (and I'm being generous). They are loud, but easily ignored.

"Robert Byrd used to be in the KKK! Yeeeeeargh!" Put on a sandwich board and go yell at people on the street. It would be an optimal utilization of your talent.

The way you equate a harder stance against Israeli policy with anti-semitism is ridiculous, by the way. I know quite a few Jews who don't support Zionist expansion, and have no allegiance to the state of Israel more generally. Are they anti-semitic? Also, do you know what "semitic" means? Look it up, 'cause I don't think you do.

matthew, don't want to face... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

matthew, don't want to face the truth about the bigotry of the left then you shouldn't complain about bigotry then.

Yeah, JFO, admit that yo... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Yeah, JFO, admit that you're a homo pedophile anti-semite Klan member who hates Mormons, just like everyone on the left.

mantis shows an appalling lack of reading comprehension.

I'll give you an analogy.
If I say "Jeff plays for the Giants", that doesn't mean everybody on the Giants is named Jeff, it means Jeff is on the Giants.
So if I say that something is a province of lefties, that doesn't mean that all lefties have that trait.

I understand you don't really have a point, you're just a sophist who likes to sidetrack the conversation into new and stupid areas, but you should understand that it makes you look like a jerk and quite often, as in this case, a nitwit.

I just don't understand people. Why would someone act like that? Seriously, are you so full of hate that you just have to attack people who disagree with you? Do you think you're actually accomplishing anything good? Do you need attention so much that you will do anything, including fact- and logic-free attack comments, to get that attention?
I really can't figure out why some people just have to act like jerks.

Get over it Veeshir. You o... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Get over it Veeshir. You obviously spend way too much time thinking about me. You and LAI should get together and go bowling.

Exactly the substance free ... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Exactly the substance free comment I expect from you mantis.
And exactly why I mess with you, you could be so much more than a nitwit, sophist gadfly. You could actually contribute something, but alas, you don't. And that's what I can't figure out.
Why do people act that way?

Mitt Romney's Mormon Proble... (Below threshold)
Rovin Author Profile Page:

Mitt Romney's Mormon Problem...(JT)

From Romney's speech:
"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin."

"As governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution - and of course, I would not do so as President. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law."

So, what's the "problem" again?

I don't believe that any person's religious convictions should be playing a part in the Presidential election process, but it appears that the media, (for incomplete or unknown motives) and, of course our host here, have brought the framing of religious values and interpretations into the debate.

While the dedication to one's particular faith should be admirable, and the values of that faith measured, we should not use this metric to discriminate against any candidate who's "soul" purpose is to represent this nation's interest.


Why do people act that way?... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Why do people act that way?
---------------------------------
Because they are more committed to the ideology than the truth. Since they don't have the truth on their side, they have to spin.

It is revealing of your fra... (Below threshold)
matthew:

It is revealing of your fragile reactionary psychology, Veeshir, that you find mantis' snide retorts to be "full of hate". American leftists (known throughout the rest of the world as "moderates") aren't the ones who use eliminationist rhetoric when referring to their political opponents; and they don't talk about their opponents' ideology as a sickness.

mantis made his point as seriously as he had to, considering he was addressing some incredibly stupid extrapolations LAI felt comfortable making.

Byrd was in the KKK
Byrd is a Democrat
Some Democrats are liberals
Therefore some, but not all, liberals are virulent racists

That's the fairest representation I can think of for that argument, and it's invalid by deduction. Why would mantis address an argument like that without being condescending?

And LAI: have you looked up the word "semitic" yet? Will you pinky-swear-promise to use it properly from now on?

Therefore some, but not all... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Therefore some, but not all, liberals are virulent racists
---------------------------------
That 's a typical cheap excuse. IT doesn't take take much brain to know that in real life, you can never have 100% coverage. The issue is whether it is the rule or the exception. THe bigotry and the hate is the rule on the left and not the exception. Jay has provided a number of other examples already. Just give you another recent example: MediaMatters and Moveon were caught on a blatant lie. And 40+ Dem senators signed on that infamous letter to shut down Rush Limbaugh. That 's how the left is so dishonest about their concern about free speech. Have the courage to face the truth about the bigotry and hate of the left.


I have posted the facts and examples of the left's anti-semitism already on this forum, Matthew. You can look that up yourself instead of spinning again.

Why do people act that w... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Why do people act that way?

To annoy you, perhaps?

To annoy you, perhaps?<br /... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

To annoy you, perhaps?
-------------------------
Oh, you are trying to project your annoyance again.

It is revealing of your ... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

It is revealing of your fragile reactionary psychology, Veeshir, that you find mantis' snide retorts to be "full of hate".
Buh? Where did I say that? I asked if he (assuming mantis is a "he"), acted that way because of being full of hate, I didn't say he was full of hate. Question marks (?) denote questions.

American leftists (known throughout the rest of the world as "moderates") See? That's just funny. Just cuz the world media thinks lefties are "moderate" doesn't actually mean they are. Well, compared to say Stalin or Castro maybe.
aren't the ones who use eliminationist rhetoric when referring to their political opponents
Implying that the the right does. Links please?
and they don't talk about their opponents' ideology as a sickness.
See? That's just funny.

Therefore some, but not all, liberals are virulent racists
See my above comment where I made exactly that point. It's weird the way you agree with me but attack me for it.
Why would mantis address an argument like that without being condescending?

You should have put the question mark after "that", since mantis was addressing an "argument" that wasn't made. The term you're looking for is "strawman".

And LAI: have you looked up the word "semitic" yet?
Semitic might not mean "Jew" and only "Jew", but anti-semitic has a definite meaning of hatred of Jews. I know, you'll argue against that, please do. It makes me laugh each and every time.

Who's annoyed? I dunno abou... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Who's annoyed? I dunno about mantis, but I'm having a slow day at work and poking you with a stick is slightly more interesting than filling out expense reports.

What do you mean "100% coverage"? I work in demographic/market analysis, and am quite familiar with what constitutes sufficient sampling. Citing a few historical cases is far from sufficient for making the sort of sweeping generalizations you keep littering the internetz with. To cite focus groups as representative of the whole nation would be about as rigorous as your shoddy attempts at substantiating your claims.

I'm sorry, but how does signing something to the effect that the nation would be better without Rush Limbaugh on the air demonstrate "bigotry and hate of the left"? Do you have "bigotry and hate of the left" macro'd to an F-key, so that when you want to express your distaste for something you only have to push one button? How can people be bigoted towards one person? The word implies unfair treatment towards a distinct group. Rush Limbaugh may be fat, but one could hardly mistake him for a group.

Maybe when you're learning how to properly use the word "semitic", you could also familiarize yourself with "bigot" and its grammatical corollaries.

Anyway, enough of being sid... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Anyway, enough of being sidetracked by the lunacy of LAI and righteous indignation of Veeshir.

Jay, I am in near complete agreement with what you're saying here. Romney's problem is not that he's a Mormon, it's that he is overly trusting in other members of his closest held community, the church. The most admirable strengths and greatest weaknesses of religious faith often stem from the commitment to one's religious community.

I, like you, do not subscribe to any particular religion, and find them all to be based in part on ridiculous notions. However, while I may be down on religion I am not against the religious, and that is in large part because I understand that the desire to belong to like-minded communities is something common to almost all people. The community that is the church is the basis for most of civilization throughout history, and this cannot be lightly brushed aside, even by an atheist like myself.

The world has become much larger and more complex since the early days of most religious faiths, and the role that the church played in providing people with their community has been replaced by a wide variety of new beliefs, be they nationalism, communism, patriotism, political ideology, environmentalism, or countless other examples.

We are much more likely to be trusting of those in our particular group, which both fosters the feeling of strength in knowing you are part of a cohesive group and can lead to foolish mistakes such as the one Romney has made with his fellow Mormon landscaper. It also can have a dark side manifested in illogical distrust and hatred of the "other," as has been so painfully clear throughout history.

I watched The Departed again the other day, and am reminded now of the opening lines where Nicholson's character says, "Years ago we had the church. That was only a way of saying - we had each other." Good and bad, communities of faith-not just religious faith-are a fact of human existence, and in some ways I saw that movie as a lamentation of the fact that the cohesive communities of faith so strong in our past have weakened and fractured in the modern world, where more and more people are now "in it for themselves."

To annoy you, perhaps?</... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

To annoy you, perhaps?

No, that can't be it. I don't respond all that much and my annoyance is at a pretty low level. I'm really more curious why people act like such jerks towards others for no reason. I mean, sure we disagree with you politically, but you really just act like a total jerk just to act like a jerk, you're not trying to find out who's correct, you're not trying to find out anything except how far you can go without being banned. You also have that "I can say things over the Internet that I wouldn't say in person" thing going very well.

It's nice of you to admit that you're just a jerk who isn't here for any honest reason though, that makes any ridicule of you that much more appropriate.

Justin Utley's comment abov... (Below threshold)
JLFuller:

Justin Utley's comment above is not quite accurate. There is a strict separation between Church and state matters and is enforced by ecclesiastic authority. Even though it has been a while since I have been to the temple, I don't recall any such oath that patrons take placing absolute total immutable preference to Church business over secular. That just just doesn't fit with the the Church's injunction to obey all laws of the country. Sorry, but I think you got it wrong.

Anyway, enough of being ... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Anyway, enough of being sidetracked by the lunacy of LAI and righteous indignation of Veeshir.
See? That's funny too. Coming, as it does, from the person who started it all by attacking a strawman, in order to sidetrack the thread.

Mantis, Nice run-aw... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mantis,
Nice run-away when your antics are caught.

Matthew,
Also a nice runaway too Matthew unless you have a serious problem with logic. If that is the case, I don't think I can help correct that in a few posts.

Jay,I'm not terrib... (Below threshold)
scotty:

Jay,

I'm not terribly offended by your post but I'd like to point out something that you do that is mildly to moderately irritating, just for the sake of discussion.

You belittle religion in general and Mormonism specifically as "giggle-inspiring". Why should it be acceptable in civil society to ridicule another's sacred beliefs? (yeah, yeah, 1st amendment and all, I get it) But really, it is just rude.

And when it comes to religion I think being rude is perhaps a bit more than just rude. It sets up a climate of intolerance. (hmm.. that sounds all libral maybe I've been wrong all these years calling myself conservative) One can make fun of another's obsession with Star Trek conventions and it might be rude, but it doesn't cross that intangible line into bigotry. (I know, I know- bigotry is strong word, but it is commensurate with the strong beliefs held by the devotee).

The problem is that people fail to even try to see this from the other persons perspective and stubbornly force the ideas through their own prizm of thought. To the agnostic and moreso the atheist, religious beliefs are silly, or fantasy. So, though thier prizm, to make fun of one who believes such things is no more rude than to jibe a Trekkie. But approaching the Sacred has (or should have) an unspoken, unofficial, yet obvious cultural etiquette. But it seems that manners in todays society have no quarter.

While I realize that this devolves into bantering about who's Rights are paramount, and in the end everyone has the right to be a jerk, might I envoke that all to sappy phrase- If you dont have anything nice to say, dont say anything at all.

Oh, and Jay Tea, while I think you are very intelligent, funny, at times inspiring. Today you excersized your Right to be a Jerk. Congrats.

And when it comes to religi... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

And when it comes to religion I think being rude is perhaps a bit more than just rude. It sets up a climate of intolerance.
-----------------------------------
This is a good point about the "tolerance" of the left: just have the crucifix in a urine jar and elephant dung for art mocking the Catholics. But the left is extremely sensitive about Islam though.

Do you think art like Piss ... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Do you think art like Piss Christ should be banned, LAI? I don't have a problem with it, and I'm of Catholic heritage. The reason I might have a problem with art designed to offend Muslims, LAI, is that a significant number of Muslims already want to kill us. It's a practical, not principled, distinction. (There might be three words in that last sentence you need to look up, but fret not--you'll find them all in the same book.)

Look, you're not very interesting and I don't want to have a conversation with you. I diagrammed out for you at 1:02 p.m. a logical argument (your own, in fact), and showed (to my own satisfaction; that is, the satisfaction of someone who actually studied logic) how it's false by virtue of its premises. I also explained to you in laymans' terms why your "argument" is bunk from a statistical standpoint. So don't talk to me about logic, or reason. You have shown yourself to have a very circumspect understanding of important and relevant English words, so it feels like I'm arguing with someone who doesn't speak the same language.

I diagrammed out for you... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

I diagrammed out for you at 1:02 p.m. a logical argument (your own, in fact), and showed (to my own satisfaction; that is, the satisfaction of someone who actually studied logic) how it's false by virtue of its premises

That's just funny. You totally destroyed a strawman argument at 1:02. Somebody who had actually studied logic should have known that.
Oh, my mistake. Just because you studied logic doesn't mean you learned anything.

The reason I might have a problem with art designed to offend Muslims, LAI, is that a significant number of Muslims already want to kill us. It's a practical, not principled, distinction.

Wrong. It might be practical, but it's surely not principled. If you don't do something because of fear, that's not principled, that's cowardice.
The First Amendment doesn't include a "murderously intolerant" clause, the only restrictions are against lying, "fighting words" and "yelling fire in a crowded theater".

People who kill over words need to learn that they shouldn't kill over words. Not saying those words accomplishes nothing except to prove to the murderously intolerant to keep being murderously intolerant.

Disregard that last part ab... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Disregard that last part about "practical not principled" as I misread what you had written.

You are absolutely correct, it is practical not principled. And that's a distinction that makes a huge difference.

Sorry for misunderstanding what you wrote.

Do you think art like Pi... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Do you think art like Piss Christ should be banned, LAI? I don't have a problem with it, and I'm of Catholic heritage. The reason I might have a problem with art designed to offend Muslims, LAI, is that a significant number of Muslims already want to kill us.

So the only reason you don't have a problem with "Piss Christ" is that Catholics don't wish to behead you, but you DO have an issue if the sensitivities of offended Muslims result in them wanting to kill you.

Strong convictions there.

Matthew, Since this... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
Since this is our first discussion, so I tried to give you a hint of how your arguments have proven the worst about modern liberals. You REALLY don't want to face the truths or facts. You simply spin. Just a few glaring examples of your severe lack of understanding or intellectual honesty here

(1) 40+ out of the 56 Dem senators. That 's a big majority of the Dem leaders signing on a letter using the gov power to intimidate a private citizen. What do you do when faced with this fact? You spin by insulting Rush Limbaugh. You have no concern about the blatant lies of the dem leaders or the abuse of power. So much for free speech.

(2) Free speech allows these so-called "garbage" artists to mock the Catholic religion. But what entitled them to public money? Who on the left argues against giving public money to people mocking religion like that? Not a majority of the liberal leftists that I could hear. These garbage artists could raise their own money from the Hollywood left for example for their garbage art.

I have provided you clear examples of the dishonesty and bigotry of the left and you have proven that you don't want to face them. You are here simply to spin for the corrupt left.

Again: it's not a principle... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Again: it's not a principled thing, SOTG. Having principles like "People should be allowed to express themselves" which I amelioriate with clauses such as "Explosions are shitty" is not cowardice; it's called existing in a diverse, tumultuous, crazy world. In a perfect world any idiot could walk around Riyadh in a "Fuck Allah" shirt and only have to deal with angry stares. Unfortunately, this world has a lot of crazies in it and I don't see why provoking them to violence only because someone wants to exercise his/her freedom of expression is a worthwhile activity. Should they be allowed to? Oh, who cares. Just don't do it. It's a waste of time, at best. That's not a reflection of my spineless lack of conviction, but of my appreciation for how certain people overreact when their sensibilities are offended. Disregarding the consequences while acting on one's principles isn't a sign of strength, but of foolishness.

Veeshir: yes, LAI's argument was a strawman, and that's why it took me about four seconds to show why it's invalid. Note, however, that the same reasoning applies to any and all arguments that portend to draw conclusions about groups based on particulars. There is a good chance that any time someone says "The Left does this" or the "The Right does that", they are in fact making a strawman (unless they have a robust appreciation of relevant history and demographics at their disposal, rather than a shabby set of talking points).

The reason I might have a p... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

The reason I might have a problem with art designed to offend Muslims, LAI, is that a significant number of Muslims already want to kill us. It's a practical, not principled, distinction.
-------------------------------------
Thanks for confirming another truth about modern liberals. They will protest against Catholics/Evangelicals because these folks are TOLERANT and not trying to kill them! Also they will protest loudly against the US, the American military, or even Israel because they know that they are safe. But when it comes to the worst dictators and killers of the world, the liberal will simply kiss up to them.

Also thanks for proving Jay 's point that the dem party is a shameless party without any principles. It will do anything to gain power.

That's not a reflection ... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

That's not a reflection of my spineless lack of conviction, but of my appreciation for how certain people overreact when their sensibilities are offended.

That is being controlled by fear.

That IS the definition of terrorism.

And your position validates it.

LAI: "Not a majority of the... (Below threshold)
matthew:

LAI: "Not a majority of the liberal leftists that I could hear."

So because nobody was talking about whether public funds ought to be used for things that people might find offensive, it means they think that funds should in fact be used this way. That's what you're saying. Do you understand why I think you're uninteresting yet?

Matthew, Your cheap... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
Your cheap excuse is what I have called the "perfection fallacy". Will repeat the example here for the sake of your understanding: North Korea is not perfect (it has murders for example) and America is not perfect (it has murders). So there is no difference between America and North Korea.
Again, you have proven that you don't want to face the facts about the bigotry and hate of the left. They are the rule, not the exception.

Nice dodge again, Mat. Basi... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Nice dodge again, Mat. Basically the left supports the mocking of the Catholic religion even using public money. No outrage about the intentional mocking of the religion? Clear example of bigotry to me. It also shows their hypocrisy about bigotry when they tried to excuse their bigotry using the first amendment. At the same time, they have no qualm about shutting down opposing viewpoints.

Again, you don't want to face the truths and still try to spin.

What business of it is mine... (Below threshold)
matthew:

What business of it is mine to determine what sort of art is fundsworthy and what isn't? It's clearly no business of yours.

What business of it is mine... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

What business of it is mine to determine what sort of art is fundsworthy and what isn't? It's clearly no business of yours.
-----------------------------------
Why do you force to pay taxes to support your anti-Catholic bigotry?

By the way, what was your c... (Below threshold)
matthew:

By the way, what was your comparison of North Korea and the United States meant to illuminate for me?

By the way, what was your c... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

By the way, what was your comparison of North Korea and the United States meant to illuminate for me?
-------------------------------------
OK, I will try to explain slowly so that you can get it. Basically, using your arg, you cannot make the arg that North Korea is a lousy and corrupt country as a whole. (And America is a good country)

"In a perfect world any ... (Below threshold)

"In a perfect world any idiot could walk around Riyadh in a "Fuck Allah" shirt and only have to deal with angry stares."

Let me point out the obvious of your hyperbole here. It's against the law to walk around in Riyadh in such a shirt. It would be sheer stupidity to do so.

However, here we are free to mock and ridicule. And the law here says that as long as slander or libel don't come into play, then I can call you a jackass. But if you were of the violent sort, then judging by your commentary here, it would be wrong for me to do so because you've already judged that I'm only doing it to provoke.

Tell that teacher who named the teddy bear Muhammed she was provoking Muslims just to exercize her free speech. Tell this artist his depiction of Mohammed earned him your scorn because he was only provoking. There are too many instances out there to count where people have been punished severely for saying or doing something that offends certain Muslims who never had any such intention. Therefore, we should be tolerant of others' intolerances?

You say you "might" have a problem with art designed to offend Muslims. But don't have a problem with art designed to offend Christians. And this is based only the level of response from the targeted group?

In other words - as long as no one gets mad enough to do something about it, it's okay? So long as it doesn't cross some imaginary line you've drawn? So long as you've not determined they did it ONLY "to exercize their free speech".

The fact is, it's not nice. Period. I have a problem with all of it. But that's not the point, which you avoid. The point is not the "offender" or the "offense". It's the response.

You're basically saying you have a problem with women who wear low cut dresses because it could provoke someone to rape them. It leaves one to wonder how you feel about the rapist.

I'm sorry, my anti-C... (Below threshold)
matthew:

I'm sorry, my anti-Catholic bigotry? The fact that I could care less what sort of fluids a crucifix gets dunked in doesn't make me a bigot; it makes me indifferent. Indifference can be morally wrong, but not always. I'm not indifferent towards suffering, mind you, but towards assholes like William Donohue going nuclear and trying to provoke a jihad because of art. By the way--do you think the artist could've been anymore pleased with the reaction he/she got? Getting all worked up over stuff like this is the best way to ensure that more and more of it will be produced, LAI.

As for kissing up to terrorists, how am I doing that? Does it really detract from your quality of life if you can't walk around in a "Fuck Allah" t-shirt? I'm not protesting against Catholics. I don't even think the Piss Christ artist was. But I would feel more comfortable complaining about their stupid religion than about Muslims' stupid religion were I a prominent media figure, because Catholic extremists are more reasonable than Islamic extremists.

I still don't have any idea what sort of point you are trying to make with N.Korea vs. USA talk. If you're comparing liberals to North Korea and conservatives to the USA...?

Well, SOTG, the terrorists are good at what they do. Insofar as I don't want another 9/11 to happen, I feel it's reasonable and not at all cowardly to make small efforts towards not provoking the nuttiest fringes of a culture that's already disposed towards hatred of the West. Not censorship, but judgement. And if you think I'm "controlled by fear", I can honestly say that I never bought into that bullshit rhetoric about "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here", etc., and I never once took those color-coded threat level increases seriously.

But by all means, fan the flames of hatred among people who use lethal violence to express dislike simply because you can. That's awesome. That's what Principled Lovers of Liberty do, right?

Geez Matthew, thanks for th... (Below threshold)
Mattfan:

Geez Matthew, thanks for the entertainment. You are obviously a very patient person. And you must be quite bored. These guys have no idea how dim witted you make them look. I'd love to buy you a beer. Cheers.

Matthew, You have n... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
You have nothing to answer my arguments, but spin and distraction.
Why there is no outrage of the left on the intentional mocking of the Catholic religion?
Why do you want to force people to pay taxes to support such a bigotry? These garbage artists can raise their own money for their bigotry.
Matthew, I have patiently provided examples of dishonesty and bigotry on the left and once again you have proven that you don't want to face the facts or the truths. You either run from the truths or spins.
You have provided another example of the worst about modern liberals. You are behaving as expected: using first amendment to make excuse for anti-Catholic bigotry on the left. Since you don't want to face the truth, not much else I can do for you. Enjoy the bigotry of the left.

I do not see how you can dr... (Below threshold)
Jason McClain:

I do not see how you can draw a connection to his religion on this issue. I am an atheist, so I have no dog in this fight--but I see people of all stripes trusting people in ANY community they are part of with shared values. It may be a church. It may be a club. It may be an alumni organization--so to say it is about religion in specific is missing the large point of human-being-ness in that we make assumption in the realm of people who are in community with all too often, leading to misplaced trust and other challenges.

This may be slightly more problematic in organizations that have specific job networks, but it cuts across all "community".

Here is an endorsement of R... (Below threshold)

Here is an endorsement of Romney by a blogger who is no friend to Mormonism.

http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=102

Hugh Hewitt is one of the m... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Hugh Hewitt is one of the major conservative bloggers who endorsed Romney.

"The reason I might have a ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

"The reason I might have a problem with art designed to offend Muslims, LAI, is that a significant number of Muslims already want to kill us. It's a practical, not principled, distinction."

Yes, Matthew, I agree. I find no principles in your comments at all.

Therefore, I will ignore them.

That's funny too. Coming... (Below threshold)
mantis:

That's funny too. Coming, as it does, from the person who started it all by attacking a strawman, in order to sidetrack the thread.

Let's look at the comment I responded to:

Just like it was the left who made excuse for Clinton's sexual harassment and who linked homosexuality to pedophiles. It is well documented that the left is now the home of modern anti-semitism. SInce you want to go back the JFK day. The dem party was the home of the KKK and Robert Byrd was a former wizard.

Who was sidetracking the thread?

Do you ever get tired of being so stupid?

Mantis is reverting back to... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mantis is reverting back to his ad-hominen trademark again when he runs out of arg.

Mitt clearly understands th... (Below threshold)
Kelly:

Mitt clearly understands the importance of an Iowa win. When referring to Kennedy, everyone is referencing the speech given in Texas just prior to his election. I believe that Kennedy's campaign was solidified by a clarification given in a speech given before the pivotal West Virginia primaries. It was because of his win in West Virginia he later attributed his party's nomination.

He was asked while campaigning in West Virginia how his religion would effect the discharge of his duties as President. And his response was the following:

"... the Constitution, Article One, provides for the separation of Church and State and Article Six, which says there shall be no religious test for office. That's why Massachusetts was founded, Maryland, a good many of the Southern states were founded on the principle of religious freedom. I believe in that. And, we will have a chance to see whether there is going to be an opportunity to discuss the serious issues facing the United States in a very dangerous and trying time. I don't happen to believe that one of those serious issues is where I go to church on Sunday."

John F. Kennedy
1960 West Virginia Primary Election


Senator Kennedy clearly addressed the issue of religion and the White House in this pivotal West Virginia primary.

Many historians believe that if JFK could not address his Catholic faith in the West Virginia Primary, a state with the lowest percentage of Catholic voters at the time (3-4 percent), he would have lost his bid for the presidency.

He won the Primary by a landslide and cemented his presidential bid. He said in a speech in Charleston, West Virginia on September 19, 1960, "...in view of the fact that West Virginia made it possible for me to be nominated, I am just asking you to help me along for another 6 weeks and get us elected."

Application to the Mitt Romney campaign is similar and poignant.

See video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJyb9R_TL8M

LAI, you're right, publicly... (Below threshold)
matthew:

LAI, you're right, publicly funded arts should only reinforce our own beliefs and never, ever step on anyone's toes or offend our gentle sensibilities. What if I didn't want any of my tax dollars going to artists who paint pictures of people eating meat on a Friday? I mean, that's actually depicting a sin, whereas I don't recall there being anything in the Bible about putting crucifixes in urine.

Are you even certain the artist is "liberal" (whatever you mean by that)? If I were a conservative Catholic, I might interpret (and appreciate) Piss Christ as a depiction of the watering-down of mainstream Catholicism, what with prominent liberal politicians receiving Communion despite holding beliefs contrary to the edicts of the Church.

Are you starting to see why using words like "bigotry" to refer to art is problematic?

As for what mantis just quoted to demonstrate how batshit-crazy you seem to some people, LAI, it's not really an ad hominem if you do seem genuinely unable to understand what people are talking about, and you do consistently fail to use words properly. Find "semitic" in a dictionary yet? How about "bigotry"? Where are we on "logic"? I really don't mean to be an asshole, but I'm tired of you talking past everything I say. You're going to keep telling me that I'm committing the same fallacies liberals always do until I admit you're right; but you aren't, so I won't.

I'm going home and I'm going to have a 5 oz. martini to get the taste of this conversation out of my brain.

Matthew, You can st... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
You can stop spinning. So it is OK to fund anti-Catholic bigotry with public money. What is artistic about having a crucifix in a urine jar? Are you trying to make an excuse for intentionally mocking a major religion? Then stop complains about anti-Muslim bigotry when people want to talk about terrorism.

I just provided you a clear example of bigotry and dishonesty from the left. And what have done. You have proven my points by not facing that bigotry. These "garbage" artists can promote their bigotry with their own money. That 's free speech. I am not surprised that the liberals can excuse that bigotry even using public money with a straight face.

Again, mantis cannot be even honest about his own arg (he claimed that we are obsessed with him and he actually was doing that himself). I left it as an excercise for you to see Mantis spin. If you can't see it, I can explain slowly to you again.

Anyway, you have proven that you don't want to face the fact of the left 's bigotry.

Matthew, I understa... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
I understand the truth hurts. So in order not to face the truths, then you have to resort to ad-hominen args. That 's understandable. Otherwise, you wouldn't have to go through all the contortions to justify the anti-Catholic bigotry of the left. And that is just one example among many.

What. Bigotry. Are. You. Ta... (Below threshold)
matthew:

What. Bigotry. Are. You. Talking. About.

I don't care if people smear shit all over a picture of Jesus OR Mohammed, from a principled standpoint. And I'm fine with funding it out of my pocket, so long as people who are educated about such things (let's call them "artists") believe there to be artistic value present in the work. I would be concerned, however, were the latter (smearing shit on Mohammed) to occur, as followers of Mohammed KILL PEOPLE for doing stuff like that. Catholics just bitch about it on TV, which is totally fine with me because I can change the channel.

Got it?

Got it?-----------<b... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Got it?
-----------
Yes, I do. Liberals openly support anti-Catholic bigotry and suppressing free speech. At the same time, they can proclaim their concern about bigotry and free speech with a straight face.

You are OK with funding anti-Catholic bigotry with your own money. Then make your contribution voluntarily. Why force other people to pay taxes to support anti-Catholic bigotry? Again, you don't respect religious freedom at all.


It's not bigotry. It might ... (Below threshold)
matthew:

It's not bigotry. It might be defamation, but it's not bigotry. That artist never expressed intolerance. Do you interpret that installation as someone who refuses to coexist with Catholics? If you do, then your bigotry charge makes sense, but it makes you an idiot. His art does not (to my knowledge) express sentiments such as "Purge Catholics from our nation" or "Deny Catholics the right to express themselves". It might mock an aspect of their faith, but he's entitled to do so.

Here's what you're failing to grasp: I think people should be allowed to do the same thing to Muslim iconography. The difference, however, is that I think there are stronger, security-based reasons to not deface images of Mohammed.

That whole time you were using the word "bigotry" incorrectly! You're not worth having an argument with. At least I made an effort to decipher your awful writing; with you, though, it's in one ear and out the other.

That artist never expressed... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

That artist never expressed intolerance.
-------------------------------
Then you claimed you understand "bigotry" and "tolerance". He is so tolerant of the opposing Catholic view that he intentionally mock a major religion with the basest form of experession. He has the freedom to do so with his own money. You have the freedom of speech to call on his bigotry and the liberal left. You even claimed that you have no problem supporting such a bigotry with your money. And you even support forcing other people to support such a bigotry.

Again, you obviously don't know bigotry or you don't want to face the ugly truth about the anti-Catholic bigotry of the left. Basically you are reduced to ad-hominent arg again to not to face the truth.

BTW, since you seem slow to... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

BTW, since you seem slow to understand: basically you supported intimidating Catholics into silence by forcing them to pay taxes to support intentional mocking of their religion. If Catholics keep expressing their views, then we FORCE them to pay their own money to endure the mocking of their religion.

Just try to help you along a little bit. If you are not interested in the truth, then feel free to support the intolerant left.

Not taking religious symbol... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Not taking religious symbols as sacred does not meet the threshold of bigotry.

Look. Up. The. Word. I've asked you to do so I don't know how many times, not because I was being condescending but because you do not know what it means. If I make fun of you, it doesn't mean I don't tolerate you. If I didn't tolerate you, I would write an e-mail to an administrator and request that you be banned.

Once more: got it?

Matthew, Are you st... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
Are you still for forcing the Catholics to pay taxes to fund open and intentional mocking of their religion? Is that an example fo tolerance from you? Just examine your attitue about such an open mocking the Catholics? I am not surprised that you have to stoop that low to justify the bigotry right in front of your eyes.

LAI: yes, I am for that. Ju... (Below threshold)
matthew:

LAI: yes, I am for that. Just as conservatives grudgingly pay taxes that go towards public health; just as I pay taxes that go to a Department of Defense that planned and is carrying out a war I never supported; just as atheists have always had to suck it up while churches were never made to pay property taxes, I support forcing people to fund things that they don't like, or even find offensive, because there is no other possible way to organize a democracy. And anyway, they don't like Piss Christ? Great! Then don't look at it. It's not like it's aborting babies (a publicly funded practice, I do believe).

I thought the constitution ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I thought the constitution specifically allow for taxes towards common defense. Also the constitution allows you to vote for president who will stop the war you disagree with. BTW, how many charities that the atheists are running compared to the Catholic church?

Where in the constitution does it require to fund anti-Catholic bigotry? In other words, you would support using public money for education programs to tell people how "evil" abortion is and how the Islamic fascists have openly declare war on America for example? In short, you support (1) open and intentional mocking of the Catholic religion with your own money, and (2) force people to pay taxes to fund bigotted mocking of their religion. Thanks for confirming that openly. Well at least now I have another example of how liberals have no qualm about bigotry. In other words, you have confirmed that you want to force people to fund even bigotry (one thing we don't like) as long as the victim of bigotry would take it.

Who cares how many charitie... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Who cares how many charities atheists are running? I know there are probably more non-religious charities than Catholic ones, which would be the relevant comparison...

I support free speech and public funding of the arts, so I know of no reason why not to give money to artists who might then offend people. As a conservative, you're supposed to be opposed to the concept of "hate speech". To which moral tribunal, LAI, would you have us submit applications for public funds for artistic projects? It's impossible to legislate along the lines of hurt feelings, and it's for the same reason I think we have to just use good judgment to determine whether it's worthwhile expressing certain offensive ideas. Bill Donohue gonna yell on TV? You can probably live with that. Angry mob set fire to stuff and kill some people? Might wanna reflect a little longer before telling that joke again.

The church of Satan got tax... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

The church of Satan got tax exemption as well. So if atheists have their churches or non-profit orgs, they get their tax exemption as well. So what is your arg: since the constitution requires pacifists to pay taxes to support the military, then you want tax-payer support of anti-Catholic bigotry? So you support public funding of anti-Catholic hate?

One more time: you support forcing victims of bigotry to pay taxes to support the very bigotry against them. You can call a crucifix in a urine jar as "art". Then you don't understand the word art. Time to own up to your own arg: the victim of bigotry will find the bigotry offensive. So they should be forced to pay taxes to support that very bigotry. And that 's your definition of free speech and tolerance. Again you don't seem to understand what those words mean either.

You are simply bluffing to avoid facing the truth about anti-Catholic bigotry on the left.

Atheists have churches? Sur... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Atheists have churches? Sure you aren't thinking of public libraries?

Does dunking a crucifix in urine express hatred? (Hint: no.) Even if it did, is expressing hatred a good reason to not give an artist money for his/her project? What if it was a Swastika in the urine, and it was called Piss Hitler instead? I bet you'd find nothing wrong with that, and neither would I.

I'm an atheist who finds many Catholic beliefs offensive--opposition to gay marriage and abortion, to throw out a couple--but I don't really mind that they are tax-exempt. I don't mind that Catholic artists are entitled to apply for grants to help them depict their hatred for homosexuality. I am offended by their bigotry towards the homosexual community, but at the same time, so long as they aren't lynching gays, I support their right to express their stupid beliefs. I support Catholic artists using public funds to make political speech, because... why not? If it's an idea I don't like, I can disagree with it or engage in a dialog with the artist. Good art provokes discussion--it's provocative. I think we should all be happy to contribute to the creation of provocative art.

Public libraries. Good one.... (Below threshold)
LAI doesn't love America:

Public libraries. Good one.
Maybe LoveAmerica Immigrant doesn't really love America as much as they would have us believe. To truly love America one must be willing to accept that someone at some point will say something that offends you. If you can't accept that, maybe you should move to Iran. Plus I hear there's no gays there, so you got that going for you.
You're a real trooper, Matthew. Good luck bangin' your head against that wall.

Thanks, though it's obvious... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Thanks, though it's obviously hopeless. Good thing I can't drink at work...

Athesim is simply another r... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Athesim is simply another religion if you are honest about it. If you found the church of Darwin for example, you would have tax exempt status. But let 's be honest in not calling crucifix in a urine "art" unless you don't really know the meaning of the word. It is simply an expression of hate to piss Hitler in a urine jar. Someone must hate Hitler so much to do that. The same with Piss Christ. It is simply an expression of hate. You must hate the Catholics so much that you are willing to mock it publicly like that. So let 's be honest to admit that it is an expression of hate and bigotry.

The same with the homosexual community. People have freedom to express their anti-gay bigotry. But I bet that people on the left wouldn't hesitate to use their free speech to condemn such a bigotry. I would do that same. They have the freedom to express their hate, but I would use my freedom to condemn that hate. I would not give my money to such an effort for bigotry, much less force people to pay taxes for such a bigotry. We can have a separate discussion about gay marriage and abortion if you want. It is your freedom to advocate the killing and destroying unborn babies. But it is the freedom of the Catholic church to speak out against such practice based on their belief or consciense. But I won't support openly mocking and expression of hate towards abortionists.

So at least now we have an agreement that the people on the left are willing not only to tolerate, but even support anti-Catholic bigotry. They will be willing to contribute their own money so such an expression of hate. That is simply a fact.

You find the views of the Catholic church offensive. I bet you would be far more offended about how women/gay are being treated in some Islamic countries like Iran. That 's your freedom. But noone should force you to pay taxes to support open mocking execution of gays for example. If you want, you can contribute your own money any time you want. Find a provocative anti-Catholic art group that you like and send it your contribution. Noone stops you from doing that. You have the same privilege as the Catholic church. You can found a non-profit org for the your urine/elephant dung art. Since there are enough atheists/liberals like you willing to contribute your own money to urine/dung art, these urine artists can have funding and even tax exemption to express their hate. That 's the essense of freedom.

To truly love America one m... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

To truly love America one must be willing to accept that someone at some point will say something that offends you
------------------------------------
And that 's why you support public funding of the KKK to expression their hate and bigotry as long as they don't lynch anyone? You will not condemn the KKK for their hate and you will be willing to contribute your money to a KKK "art group" depicting the lynching of black people. Thanks for openly admitting it. The bigotry on the left runs deeper than I thought.

Wasting my time, but here g... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Wasting my time, but here goes:

Hate and bigotry aren't the same thing. I hate anchovies on pizza, but I don't want anchovies banned from pizzas, and children taught that anchovies cause cancer and killed Santa.

Putting something in urine is art, contrary to your insistence otherwise. That which is and which is not art is determined by context, not tastefulness or aesthetic properties. See: Duchamps, Marcel. (Guy who, by virtue of mere human intention, converted a urinal into a found art sculpture.)

Atheism is not a religion. Neither, by the way, is science. Christians might try to argue otherwise, but they would be mistaken.

Why don't you support the open mocking and hatred of abortionists? I do, and I'm pro-choice. People should be allowed to say "Fuck you, you murdering sonofabitch," so long as they don't destroy their property, threaten them, or interfere with their practice such that they can't do their job.

Don't conflate my opinions/arguments with those of "the Left". I'm one person, and I'm not a spokesperson for some gigantic, poorly defined part of the population.

I don't support tax exemption for artists, unless their income is beneath the taxable threshold (which it most certainly is, for most of them). I support the government paying them to ply their trade--not all of them, but those who win grants. If a committee who knows about such things decides that there is something worthwhile in Piss Christ such that that artist deserves public monies to continue to ply his/her trade, then give him/her money to do it. Art created on the public dime is for public consumption. If you don't like the art, you still have to pay for it. Lots of people don't like sports, but pay for new stadiums; or don't drive, but pay for road maintenance. Note, however, that no committee will ever approve funding an artist who wants to install a sculpture of the KKK lynching a black person, because it has no artistic value and exists only to be hurtful. Piss Christ, on the other hand, provokes a wide array of responses (although not from Catholics, but that's fine).

Matthew, you are trying ver... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew, you are trying verbal gymnatics again. Who wants to ban anchovies on pizza? You don't like anchovies so I should force you to pay for my anchovies since I like them? Since anchovies are offensive to you, so you should be forced to pay for it? Also are you saying hating anchovies is the same as hating the Jews?

Many people can work for non-profit organization. Those urine/dung artists can found their own non-profit organization for their provocative arts.
What is worthwhile in Piss Christ? It is simply an expression of hate towards the Catholics. To follow the logic of your argument. The KKK can provide a much more beautiful work of art depicting the lynching of black man. And you will be willing to contribute to such an expression of hate. The bottom line is that you want to fund the bigotry you like.

This discussion has brought out the fact that the people on the left have no qualms about anti-Catholic bigotry. IT seems like 2nd-nature to them. They tried to hide behind urine/dung art to justify their views. I got another example of the norm about bigotry on the left.

Why don't you support the o... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Why don't you support the open mocking and hatred of abortionists? I do, and I'm pro-choice. People should be allowed to say "Fuck you, you murdering sonofabitch," so long as they don't destroy their property, threaten them, or interfere with their practice such that they can't do their job.
-------------------------------------
People are allowed to say those things just as the KKK is allowed to express their hate. But I would not give them my approval by contributing my money to their cause.

You can express your anti-Catholic bigotry as much as you want. That 's your freedom. But you cannot force me to approve of your bigotry and to even fund it.

I fund the arts through my ... (Below threshold)
matthew:

I fund the arts through my taxes. Some of that artwork I might find distasteful, even personally offensive, but that's just me. Get what I'm saying? I'm not going to use the word "bigot" to refer to an artist who paints a lynching without getting a proper understanding of their motives first. If Piss Christ's creator wants us to realize how much he wants all Catholics drowned in urine, then sure, he's a bigot and I'd prefer that my taxes not go to funding any more of his work (although that's not my call). However, if that's not his intention/motive, further discussion/clarification would be required.

You don't actually know what the artist meant to convey with that work, do you? So how can you so blithely refer to it as bigotry?

So what the artist is tryin... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

So what the artist is trying to communicate through Piss Christ? I thought art is a means of communication. What is the message of a crucifix in a urine? Still trying verbal gymnastics again.

Just try one more time to see whether you will get it. Imagine a model of a lynched black man in a urine jar or a model of a gay man in a urine jar as a work of art. If we are honest, we will say that the people on the left will be up in arms condemning this piece of art. But a crucifix in a urine jar. That 's provocative art. That 's the evidence of bigotry right there.

Why don't you find out what... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Why don't you find out what the message is? I'm sure the artist has a website. You're making a big assumption that precludes any further meaningful conversation.

Matthew, Here is t... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
Here is the simple question again

Imagine a model of a lynched black man in a urine jar or a model of a gay man in a urine jar as a work of art. What would the reaction be from the left?

See, the problem is that Ca... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

See, the problem is that Catholics don't kill people for insulting their religion.
If they did, then Matthew would have no problem with denying funding for anti-Catholic "art".

Veeshir, You are ab... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Veeshir,
You are absolutely correct. Matthew kept bringing up the point about not offending Islam because some Muslims would seek to kill people who insult their religion. Matthew will deny the funding for such an anti-Islam art. But the Catholics don't kill people for insulting their religion, we should fund that art to offend the Catholics.

No, Veeshir, I wouldn't den... (Below threshold)
matthew:

No, Veeshir, I wouldn't deny them funding, as I am not the sort of person who makes those decisions. I wouldn't show up to their next gallery opening, though, and I might send an e-mail to the curator criticizing his/her poor judgement (or foolhardy display of artistic courage--however you want to describe it).

As for the reaction from "the left" to the urine jar installations you suggest, LAI, you'd have to poll at least a few thousand people to get a remotely accurate answer to your question. Speaking for myself, though, I'd probably check to see if the artist was a) black or gay, and b) what his/her intentions are with the piece. Again: art is meaningless outside of its context. If the piece was made by a KKK member who wanted to show us how neat lynching is, well, I'd probably feel pretty confident that no gallery outside of a trailer park will be displaying his/her work, and that no funding committee (likely composed of artsy liberals) would ever give the clown money for his/her efforts.

Also, if such an anti-Islam... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Also, if such an anti-Islam art were on display, the liberal left would be up in arms crying anti-Islam bigotry. For Catholics, it is simple provocative art. And some liberals would argue the Catholics should be forced to endure such an insult if they love America. It is not surprised that they can make such a boneheaded arg if they can equate art with urine and elephant dung.

Matthew, We don't n... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
We don't need to poll. The left was up in arms when someone make a bad joke using the "nigger" word.
BTW, this is my question again
Imagine a model of a lynched black man in a urine jar or a model of a gay man in a urine jar as a work of art. What would the reaction be from the left?
Any normal person would see this as an expression of hate and insult. You don't show respect with a urine jar, do you? The fact that you are trying to dance around the obvious shows that you know that you are on thin ground. But I know it is hard to face the fact of the anti-Catholic bigotry on the left.


No, Veeshir, I wouldn't den... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

No, Veeshir, I wouldn't deny them funding, as I am not the sort of person who makes those decisions.
------------------------------------
Oh, I thought you would deny funding anti-Islam art since some Muslims would seek to kill those who insult their religion. Is this a change?

I'd probably feel pretty co... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I'd probably feel pretty confident that no gallery outside of a trailer park will be displaying his/her work, and that no funding committee (likely composed of artsy liberals) would ever give the clown money for his/her efforts
------------------------------------
But they gave funding to urine "art". Thanks for confirming the inherent bigotry there. Noone in their decent mind would provide funding for a model of a lynched black man in a urine jar. Yet they would do for a crucifix in a urine jar.

You're just pretending to b... (Below threshold)
matthew:

You're just pretending to be slow, with your cut-and-paste blah blah blah responses. I like to think that some of what I'm saying actually sinks in. So I'll continue:

Read the Wikipedia entry for Piss Christ. A Catholic nun defended its artistic merit, saying the work is a statement on "what we have done to Christ"--Jesus is used to justify hatred, bigotry, divisiveness, murder, etc., which is so far divorced from the teachings and actions of the man portrayed on the cross that people who claim to speak for Team Jesus might as well just piss all over Him--comprendé? I didn't even know that until five minutes ago when I bothered to look, but I had guessed earlier that that was the artist's intention. Some critics think his work is trite, but no one who knows anything about art has accused him of being a "bigot".

The artist, Serrano, is himself Catholic.

Back to your imaginary lynched black man, I will repeat the same response as before: who made it? Why did they make it? Fill in these details, and then consider whether this would even get onto the radar screen of the artistic world. (Hint: a Klansman's sketchbook wouldn't raise much of a stir; the reaction would probably be, "Yeah, well, retards draw retarded pictures." No government-funded organization would give him money to further pursue his goal of accurately drawing black people getting treated like animals. It would be a non-issue. And as you think I ought to speak for "the left", I can say that we'd be fine with no one paying attention to it.)

Matthew, We have pr... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Matthew,
We have pro-abortion anti-Catholic nuns/priests. Here is the real test, try to the thing with the Koran in a urine jar. Try to explain that how some Muslims have debased the Koran.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID={DCDF6BDC-51CA-4A7E-8195-2B617B1D4659}

You know what, LAI? I suppo... (Below threshold)
matthew:

You know what, LAI? I support everyone's right to submerge whatever they want in urine. I also hope they exercise judgement and a reasonable anticipation of consequences. (Like, I don't think the Danish cartoonists should have expected their cartoons to provoke riots; I do hope, however, that this event will deter people from doing it again for the sake of pissing off Muslims who are too easily offended.)

If you want to do some racy performance art, go run around in a KKK costume yelling "NIGGER!" as much as you want. Don't complain too hard, though, if some black dude kicks your ass. (Yes, I would even support funding this performance art, so long as a committee of artistic peers found its execution to be artistically worthwhile.)

What I'd like, though, is for artists to be very clear as to what their intent is when they produce a piece. That's hard, though, because they don't want to pre-shape your response to their work--that's why Serrano's Piss/Blood series pissed off (ha!) so many people at first (and still today, almost twenty years later)--people thought he was just being a dick, but nope, he was being an artist.

I don't have time to read the link right now, but I will later. I'm taking off for the weekend, and don't plan to access the internet for the purpose of continuing this conversation. Have a good Saturday/Sunday, and I hope nobody puts any of your stuff in urine, photographs it, and makes you pay for its public display with your tax money. :)

I do hope, however, that... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I do hope, however, that this event will deter people from doing it again for the sake of pissing off Muslims who are too easily offended.)
-------------------------------------
In other words, people shouldn't fund a piece of art in the form of the Koran or Mohammed in a urine jar even with the decscription that this is meant to depict those who has debased the Koran or prophet Mohammed since the Muslim community is easily offended. But the Catholic community won't kill people for offending them, so you can keep doing it as much as you like.

hope nobody puts any of your stuff in urine, photographs it, and makes you pay for its public display with your tax money. :)
------------------------------------
Good to that you come to that agreement now. If you want to photograph your stuff and put in your urine jar as a piece of art for public display, I hope you do not force me to pay for your taste.

I support everyone's right ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I support everyone's right to submerge whatever they want in urine.
-------------------------------------
I do too. But the difference between us is that you want to force people to subsidize anti-Catholic art. Every "artist" has that right now. They can put it any urine they want. I wouldn't approve of their taste, and will not send my money for their urine art. I definitely would not force people to pay for that "art".

BTW, it doesn't take much brain to know how insulting it is to Catholics or christians alike with this piece of "art". Again, your arg is still this: Catholics don't kill people for insulting their religion, so it should be fine to insult them. On other hand, you don't want to do anti-Muslim art since they may kill you. Also note that the cartoonists created their work of arts for a private newspaper. The Muslim community didn't have to pay taxes to support the cartoon. Following your logic, you would require the Muslim community to pay taxes to subsidize anti-Muslim art.

http://www.planetpapers.com/Assets/4032.php


Profaning a sacred object by urinating upon it (or immersing it in urine) would be a sacrilege in almost any culture or religion; photographing and publicly displaying the record of such an act counts as blasphemy in almost any culture, let alone giving it the particular name it was here given; and if the creation and public display of such a work is deliberately provocative, as it almost certainly was, this in turn demonstrates disrespect for a particular religion, or at least insensitivity towards its adherents (49).





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