Sunday, October 7, 2007

minus 17




Bean dip.

Indigestion from dealing with this guy Robert Audi who argues that "Civic Virtue" requires that people who have religious commitments and convictions not speak of them in public. ALSO that there may be times when the aforesaid "Civic Virtue" could possibly apply in private to put a muzzle on religious thought and language, insofar as "civility is a virtue applicable far beyond the public square." Thus, even though he says that “our homes are supposed to be our castles”, he envisions situations where we can’t say what we like *in our own homes* because of his idea of civility.

I am not making this up.

He would put the same muzzle on religious institutions: churches, hospitals, and schools. They should continue doing what they’re doing to help the secular folk - God forbid they should stop - but they should stop talking about God while they do it. They might offend someone. They might get into an argument. It’s not ‘right’ to tie efforts to “relieve famine abroad” for example, to one’s conviction about God’s caring for the poor, or edict that we - who have so much - should SHARE.

When Mobile Oil gives to PBS you can be sure we hear all about how great Mobile Oil is; why should it be any different when Church X or Hospital Y give? And if they wish to give the credit to the God they profess to serve, is that not their prerogative? Why is it only the “religious” who are to be muzzled? Oil companies, business gurus, starlets and weight loss companies can say whatever they like. Free love and abortion-“rights” activists can talk all they like, but those who favor sexual monogamy with one’s spouse and believe a protectable life begins at conception must be silent if it has anything to do with their religious belief.

Oh: and we don’t need to talk any more about marriage for homosexuals: those that oppose it because it is ‘outside of God’s plan’ do so on religious grounds that they can’t translate into secular speak, so they need to go home and not talk about it there, either, because to do otherwise would be "uncivil".

Now there’s a way to prevent violent disagreements! Shut down one side.

The funny thing is that he doesn’t seem to think that this is in any way unreasonable. The even funnier thing is that at one point he uses a religious argument to make his point! Check this out:
If, as Jesus taught, to look at another lustfully is already to sin in one’s own heart, perhaps we can also do wrong in our hearts by harboring certain kinds of dispositions toward conversion of others, such as a tendency toward a kind of manipulative conversion that we would not like someone else to use on us.
(oh: that was in his argument against proselytizing and how rude that is. I mean, how horrible is it for a parent to hope that her child might "see the light" one day, and stop using drugs, sleeping around, and get a job and a life - and some meaning to live! Right. Mustn't have that. Mustn't give the impression that there's anything wrong with destructive promiscuity, eating disorders, drug addiction, lying and irresponsibility. Mustn't harbor the hope that maybe insight to a religious [oops! sorry!] faith might put them on another path. . . . But I digress. Back now to my "logical" argument)

Besides the above quote violating his own argument that he shouldn’t use religious argument in public, he mixes up his metaphors, confuses questions of sin with intent, and attempts to equate any unspoken intent with sin. I also noticed his own “manipulative [attempt] at conversion” by means of an indirect reference to the golden rule, which he must figure will indirectly help manipulate Christians to believe his message that they ought to keep their religious beliefs silent.

And why?

He doesn’t feel any corresponding need to keep his belief silent, now, does he?!

I find this absolutely amazing. I would not be one to advocate public preaching or haranguing. But I also would be one to take the free exercise of religion - and free exercise of speech - very seriously. For myself, as well as for others.

This is part of what I’m writing on today, on day minus 17: The silencing of the religious voice in the public square. Granted, use of religious reasoning is probably not going to be effective with those who are ‘losing their religion’ (as the song goes). But that’s no reason to gag the religious before the fact! They have the right - as does everyone else - to say what they feel, think, or believe, within narrowly drawn exceptions involving immanent incitings to riot, ‘fighting words’, and pornography.

On what basis would we think to treat the religious differently than the non-religious?

This just makes me angry.

But I uphold his right to say it.

Even though I think it’s STUPID!

Back now to my regularly scheduled activities: which, right now, is the attempt to write up a treatment of this nonsense in which my exasperation at the STUPIDITY of it doesn’t show. Hence, this rant.

I feel better now.

[how about a little REM - Losing My Religion - while we can still talk about it]

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