Saturday, January 03, 2009

Separation My Eye

This fine article from the racist and poorly written AmericanThinker.com explains a concept of which I've made similar concepts on various blogs, including this one. If one is honest, one can easily see how the stifling of religion in the public square has contributed to what the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan called, "defining deviancy down". Two recent incidents made the reading of this article all the more compelling.

The first was the receipt of a solicitation for donation to an outfit that is both pro-life and a promoter of chastity. (It seems the wife already discarded this into the recycling container and at this late hour I'm not up for digging it out. I'll update this post later if I can recover it. It's a most worthy cause.) In it's letter it described a behavior amongst teens called "sexting" wherein the kids take pix of themselves naked for attracting dates or just for exchange. It speaks of teens, particularly college girls, turning to prostitution as if it's just another job. It also speaks of statistics such as 1 in 4 kids having some form of VD.

The second was a piece I just saw on a news station speaking of a hazing incident involving girls from Glenbard North High School in the Chicago suburbs. It had to do with some kind of sports team wherein senior girls engaged in a very brutal and savage assault on junior girls. There was a keg of beer and eventually other students showed up, and kids being stupid, some video-taped the event. About a dozen senior girls were expelled, some junior girls suspended and several girls were taken to the hospital for serious injuries including a broken ankle, a severe gash on the head from being hit with a bucket, and other assorted fun. To view the tape was sickening.

I maintain and insist that the stifling of religion within the schools and in the public arena, but worst of all, within the homes of most of these kids, is at the heart of all of it. There has been nothing that has adequately replaced God in the lives of these kids and their parents. Is it any wonder that our culture is so warped? No one's looking for a theocracy here, but those who insist that it is soley up to the parents alone are generally those whose kids indulge in these behaviors, and often indulge in them themselves. Our country can no longer afford this crap. Everyone needs to grow up.

UPDATE: This article from Yahoo is relevant to this discussion. It speaks of Mississippi taking over as the state with the most teen births. It mentions all versions of why a rise in teen births has occurred and why it might be more in one state than the other. But the reason of culture is given only a mere mention. Of course culture is a far larger reason because it made it OK for these kids to have sex in the first place. I would have preferred that the article spoke to pregnancy rather than births, for I feel the stats would be more alarming. Also better would be some kind of national survey that indicates how many kids are engaging in any kind of sexual activity beyond mere kissin' and huggin'. That, too, would likely surprise.

65 comments:

Dan Trabue said...

Oh, for the good old days, when the only problems one had to worry about were racism, Jim Crow laws, lynchings, the keeping of women "in their place," hidden child abuse and sexual abuse! Yes, the olden days were a grand old time.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

So an atheist wouldn't be outraged at the actions of the students from the 'burbs acting like animals? A Jewish woman wouldn't be saddened? A Muslim just couldn't care less? A Buddhist would, in all likelihood, insist that the pain was all an illusion, and therefore ignored, am I right? Or a Hindu would be consoled that those who perpetrated this particular crime would be reincarnated as a bunch of rats in their next lives?

I'm trying to connect the dots between the story of this incident and the whole "God" thing, and I keep running into a lack of said dots.

So, you don't believe that God is present even where belief in God is lacking? You think that God wasn't there, in the midst of this incident, weeping for all involved - for the victims in their pain and humiliation, for the perpetrators in their viciousness and evil? You think that God only exists where there is belief in God?

Reading this, I'm not sure what to think.

Teresa said...

I don't know how you get the impression that there is a suppression of Christian values in public schools.

Our high school has a Christian club funded by school funds, and several high schools around have had the group "You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide" in to scream at them about abortion and how all of them are trashy whores for wearing make-up, and only Jesus can keep them from drugs. It seemes like every couple of months there's a story about some family getting burned out of their home because their kid didn't say the lord prayer before a sporting event, or they complained about a teacher preaching in the school. If there was any more Bible in the school, it would be church.

Teresa said...

Here's some links, in case you are interested in more information. These are the guys who got in my face about saying "Merry Christmas" at the grocery store as well. They also preach that the pope is the Anti-Christ and show pictures of aborted babies at manditory assemblies. Parents are not informed about the material their children will be exposed to, because the group doesn't tell the administrators everything they are going to present.

At least with secular curriculum, parents are allowed to come in on curriculum night and review the materials and give/withold consent.

Anyway, here are the links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ECKy898nEM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJD1Ifr3D8w&feature=related
Here’s in their own words what they are doing, just in case you think I’m mistaken about the fact that they are preaching Christ in the schools.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w-ZL4uPyho&NR=1

‘course, they have a slight problem with their history, as they heavily use David Barton of Wallbuilders…a guy who had to finally admit that he could not source several of his most influential quotations upon which he founds his “Christian Nation” argument.

Teresa said...

Also, their emphasis on "masculine Christianity" and Jesus as a warrior, and the promotion of our veterans as holy warriors doing God's work sort of creeps me out, as it is straight out of Mein Kampf.

Vinny said...

This reminds me of Sandy Rios' recent column about the worker who got trampled at the Long Island WalMart, which of course had something to do with that particular mob's failure to embrace evangelical Christianity. Of course, if I were to suggest that Sarah Palin's religious beliefs had anything to do with the fact that her teenage daughter was knocked up the dropout son of a drug dealer, conservatives would be outraged.

Teresa said...

And it would be considered rediculous to think that this woman's devotion had anything to do with her knowingly abandoning a disabled person strapped into a bus seat in the cold for hours and hours so that she wouldn't be late for church.

http://gothamist.com/2009/01/02/bus_matron_arrested_for_abandoning.php

Religion is a great way for some good people to cultivate their goodness. As such, it can be useful and beneficial.

For others, it can be an excuse to behave badly or irresponsibly. This is more the fault of the individual than the religion, but it still rankels when so many claim it to be a certain path to goodness...and ignore all the bad examples.

As a social doctrine for national identity...it has a tendancy to end badly...

Marshall Art said...

So, let me get this straight, boys and girls. You all are suggesting that because bad stuff happens, because bad stuff has always happened, that because no matter what, some people will be jerks, that we are still better off with less religion? That somehow we are more progressive in putting religion in its place? You all somehow think that continued influence, or increased influence of religion is a bad thing? What a sorry lot.

Dan seems to think that the ills of the past were somehow a result of a true understanding of religion, and, for the sake of clarity, henceforth I am referring to Christianity when I say "religion", though indeed some elements of other religious traditions are similar.

Geoffrey says, "I'm trying to connect the dots between the story of this incident and the whole "God" thing". No. You're trying to be a smart ass. What could possibly make you think that I ever suggested members of all those groups would not include those who would be saddened and/or outraged at such bad behavior? For once, try at least to ask for clarification, Geoffrey, rather than assume you have understood the point. Your history suggests a sorry record with such understanding.

And what possible good is God's presence amongst those perpetrators for whom God is fantasy? Does that somehow console the victims of such abuse as they are enduring it, that God dwells among them? What a lame-ass thing to say.

Teresa somehow thinks that a few videos of idiots trumps the point I was making. There are indeed far more examples of people lacking true understanding of Christianity within the body of Christ than you have presented. Well here's some dots with which perhaps Geoffrey can help you: Religion stifled in the schools and public arena led to a slackening of morals, values and standards througout the culture. From there, a number of sorry individuals then corrupted a few congregations until we have arrived at a point where there exists far too many Christian (and I'm sure Jewish and perhaps other sects) churches now tolerate bad behavior and even celebrate it. The worsening culture has influenced too many congregations rather than the other way around.

And yes, Vinny. A strong acceptance of religious instruction would indeed lessen the frequency and severity of such incidents as had occurred at that WalMart store.

This is exactly the point. NOTHING has taken the place of good religious instruction and influence in our culture.

My point was not that perfection could be maintained. That a VP candidate who supports traditional morals couldn't find that her own child succombed to temptation. That ANYONE would be impervious to temptation. My point is that this culture has without a doubt suffered considerably by the stifling of religion in the public square. This is undeniable. As the article points out, the more moral a people, the fewer laws are required. Have we eliminated any laws lately?

Teresa said...

Marshall,No, my point is that there are tons of Christians in the schools promoting Christianity...and the idea that there is no religion allowed in school is a made-up issue.

Teresa said...

Also, beyond the schools to the more general "public square" question, both this group and another..."Teen Challenge" get considerable support from tax dollars, as well as public figures. Their private fundraising is aided greatly by a number of our legislators who appear in promotional videos for them...in addition to the earmarks that they secure on behalf of them.

Oh, and the Christian club at my kid's High School is not a bunch of idiots. You might think so, because they probably aren't your kind of Christian...but I don't. As far as I know, they are perfectly sensible people.

The You Can Run But You Cannot Hide people are idiots in my opinion, but that doesn't touch my point that they are Christians, they are preaching in the schools, funded by federal tax $$$, and with the full sanction and authority of the school making it a manditory requirement to attend.

Not an isolated incident, they have done their assemblies in 300 high schools across the country. Many of these High Schools have had them back for multiple appearances. Since they have only been operating for a few years, I imagine the number will grow quite a bit.

How on God's green earth does this qualify as "eliminating" Christian values from society/schools? Not at all.

It absolutely refutes your premise.

And why would you call them idiots? they are:

1) pro-life
2) pro keeping women in their place
3) pro war
4) pro death penalty
5) anti-liberal doctrine
6) believe that there was never any intention for there to be seperation of church and state...
...as far as I can tell you should be cheering them and happy about them, not calling them idiots.

They are promoting the very values that you are bemoaning have been silenced, but you call them idiots. I don't understand you.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

As to your first point, Marshall - that we are arguing against religion - the answer is clearly no. i can only speak for myself, so I will. My point was that you limited your "religion" to Christianity, and seemed to imply that non-Christians, and non-believers, would be less morally outraged at the kinds of terrible things you wrote about; you further implied that these things would not happen if by the power of the American legal system, which seems greater than the power of the Christian God in your point of view, God had not been kept out of public discourse.

That's what I got from your post. That was the point of my comment. That's all. I just wanted a little elaboration on that point.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

This little paragraph boggles my mind:
"And what possible good is God's presence amongst those perpetrators for whom God is fantasy? Does that somehow console the victims of such abuse as they are enduring it, that God dwells among them? What a lame-ass thing to say."

So, is God like a fairy; if we stop believing in God, God just disappears in a puff of smoke? Have you never heard of the concept of grace, wherein God is working even before we know that God is, let alone that God's love is present with us? So you think Divine care and forbearance and love are only effective for those who "believe" (however you understand that term)?

This is why I could think you "ever suggested members of all those groups would not include those who would be saddened and/or outraged at such bad behavior". You just put stuff up without thinking through the implications of what you are saying. Which isn't necessarily bad or evil - God knows I've done it - I'm just trying to be clear on what, exactly, you are claiming here. That's all. I'm not trying to be a smartass (well, maybe a little), but there are unconnected issues here - public bad behavior, a theology of Divine presence - that don't connect if one attempts to make those connections. That's all.

Dan Trabue said...

Well, the others have already done a fine job of detailing the problems in your line of thinking and how you have misunderstood our position, but I will address one comment directed my way:

Dan seems to think that the ills of the past were somehow a result of a true understanding of religion

No, that is not what I said. You can tell that it's not what I said by reading what I said and seeing that what you've said does not in any way match what I said.

I was pointing out that people have always been people. We've always had misbehaving. Back in your supposed "golden days" of society, there were problems. Today there are problems.

These problems arise because atheists and Christians and muslims and Jews and the rest of us sometimes misbehave. It was true back in the 50s and it's true today.

That was my point. I don't know that your position is tenable. Where you state:

I maintain and insist that the stifling of religion within the schools and in the public arena, but worst of all, within the homes of most of these kids, is at the heart of all of it.

You are mostly RIGHT when you suggest that there is likely a problem in the specific homes of these specific kids. To blame society for not being "religious" enough does not seem to be supported by your case you have made thus far. That's all I'm saying.

Vinny said...

My point is that this culture has without a doubt suffered considerably by the stifling of religion in the public square. This is undeniable.

Do you understand the difference between an argument and an assertion? I'm quite sure Rios doesn't. An argument must be based on reasons and evidence while an assertion is based on nothing more than the declarant's belief that it is true. Reasoned arguments based on facts and evidence make it more likely than not that a thing is true. Empty assertions that a thing is "undeniable" or "without doubt" are meaningless.

Do you actually have any evidence whatsoever of the religious beliefs of the members of the WalMart mob or the Glenbard hazers? Of course not. You are simply asserting as fact that which you want to believe is true. The fact of the matter is that lynchings were most prevalent in the areas of this country that were most dominated by Bible-believing Christians suggesting, if anything, that their religion made them less resistant to mob psychology.

Marshall Art said...

Teresa,

You're mixing things up and making it difficult for me to follow your point.

I've never heard of any of the groups you've mentioned. Politicians are not prohibited from endorsing privately funded organizations.

If you think religious groups are receiving tax dollars, it is for one of two reasons:
a) They receive the money for non-religious works they perform. That is, works that similar secualar groups also perform. They aren't receiving because they are religious or in order to help them preach.
b) They are misrepresenting themseleves when requesting tax dollars and thus, aren't really very Christian. Call a lawyer.

No school is legally allowed to mandate that any child must attend a religious event, rally or assembly. A school can't even insist that a child join in the Pledge of Allegiance. Call a lawyer.

It is one thing for a school to provide space for religious events. That isn't the same as schools and communities promoting ideals and values that match Christian teaching. That isn't the same as allowing a Nativity scene during Christmas, or even allowing teachers to discuss the religious meaning of Christmas or any other Christian holiday. That an organization is allowed to hold an event on school grounds, even opening it up to non-Christians as well, makes it a voluntary event. Such events do not have the impact of constant reminders of values and standards and why it is incumbent upon every student and citizen to adhere to them, constant reminders from all angles of a person's life re-inforcing the concepts routinely. Shame is an almost forgotten emotion that has also been stifled by the "if it feels good, do it" crowd of the 60's that has so thorougly corrupted our culture.

#2 on your list is not a Christian value or mandate. If the Christians of which you refer are preaching this, they are idiots. The same goes for numbers 5& 6 as stated. It's not that the Bible teaches against liberalism. The Bible doesn't teach what liberals think it does. And Christians don't preach against separation the way Jefferson meant it. They preach against the way liberals mean it.

But if they're not idiots, then you are not presenting their rap as they present it. Thus, it makes an idiot out of anyone who reads what you write. Be more specific about your points and anecdotes.

Marshall Art said...

Geoffrey,

There is nothing in my post that implies anything like what you want it to mean. You're doing a Dan here. I would hope that ANYONE would be outraged at the behavior of our fallen youth as I would hope they would be outraged by the actions of fallen adults. For you to infer that I meant something negative about people of other faiths is on you, muh man.

To say you can't "connect the dots" seems quite purposeful on your part. What is so difficult to understand? Before the push to limit God's message in schools and the public arena, we didn't have young girls dressing like whores or companies marketing slutty clothes to them. We didn't have 25% of our youth infected with some form of venerial disease. We didn't have outrageous numbers of unborn put to death because we didn't have the extent of promiscuity then that we now do. All this and more is a result of "progressive" ideas of sex and religion and behavior that has festered and spread since the push to eliminate God in the public square found any favor.

"This little paragraph boggles my mind:"

I'm torn between responding "I'm not surprised" and "How could it possibly?". What's to misunderstand? Let's say we bump into each other one night. I'm a thug who never was raised to believe in anything beyond myself and my desires. I want dough to support whatever it is that floats my boat, maybe just because I want to f**k someone up. What good does your faith, such as it is, do you when I ram a shiv in your eye just because I feel like it? Did God's presence prevent my thuggish action? Did It shield you from it?

But in reality, I HAVE had a serious upbringing based on Christian morals and values as well as the knowledge that God exists and is always around. What this means for you is that no matter how desperate I am for money, the chance of me stealing any is very low if it exists at all. And that's just one person. The more people brought up in that manner, be they Christian, Jewish or most any other religion (so they say) means such incidents are less likely to happen. Did you get that? LESS likely. Not UNlikely. It's the best for which we can hope, and if society loses its way, such will happen more often. And it is.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

It's a simple thing to check crime rates before the sixties and afterward as a percentage of the population. Likely, you'll even find things that weren't even happening (that's a guess on my part, but a good one I'd wager). My point is that things are deteriorating as a result of the push to stifle religion in the public square. YOUR first comment suggests that I'm looking to go back to a time when misapplications and misunderstandings of Christian teaching produced specific miseries, or that I think it was better when we only suffered from those ills. Don't go changing your tune now.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

"Do you understand the difference between an argument and an assertion?"

Use whatever word suits you, Vinny. The point remains and as I indicated above, I'm sure you can checked crime figures to support the contention. I KNOW you can find health stats that do. It IS undeniable.

And what I can say about those who stampeded that person to death is that they obviously pay more lip service to their claim about their faith, should any of them make such a claim, because their actions in this incident do not support the claim at all. And yeah, now that you mention it, those girls at GNHS are the very image of good Christian girls.

"The fact of the matter is that lynchings were most prevalent in the areas of this country that were most dominated by Bible-believing Christians suggesting, if anything, that their religion made them less resistant to mob psychology."

Not at all. It shows that they were not learning the truth of the Bible to begin with. No one who reads the Bible seriously can honestly say that racial discrimination is in any way justified. Again, you're talking lip service at best. Ministers are human. They can be tempted to distort SCripture at any time, as we see today with pro-homosex and pro-abortion supporters amongst certain members of clergy.

But even while such nastiness was going on, other things like female virginity and such was still far higher than now. To suggest that evil existed forever doesn't in any way counter either my point or the point of the article's author.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said:

My point is that things are deteriorating as a result of the push to stifle religion in the public square.

And you're welcome to your opinions. I'm just saying you'd have to offer some actual support/evidence in order for others to believe your hypothesis.

Marshall also said:

YOUR first comment suggests that I'm looking to go back to a time when misapplications and misunderstandings of Christian teaching produced specific miseries, or that I think it was better when we only suffered from those ills. Don't go changing your tune now.

And here is where you consistently go astray. My first comment suggests TO YOU all of that stuff. I did not say all of that stuff because I did not mean all that stuff. Therefore, this is no changing of my tune.

Just because you infer something incorrectly does not mean that it is actually there. Again, it's the difference between what was actually written and what you're supposing was meant and you have demonstrated a consistent inability to understand the written words of others.

I'd be careful, therefore (based upon the evidence of your consistent misunderstanding of others), to make assumptions about what people mean beyond what they actually wrote.

Teresa said...

Marshall,

You said Christian values have been banned from the schools.

I showed you how Christian values are being promoted in the schools.

You say religion has been banned from the public square.

I show you how public figures are promoting Christian vlaues in the schools and in the public squares with tax money...all perfectly legal (the only illegal thing is the situation might possibly be the Ponzi scheme aided by certain Republicans that siphoned away some of the funds these groups invested...and the Presidential pardons that the Republicans sought for their donor friends who ran the scheme.

But I'M the idiot because you've never heard of the groups?

And you tell me to call a lwayer. Heh. You know what happens to people who call lawyers on stuff like this? Even if they are Christians, they get tagged with the moniker of "Atheist". They get labled anti-Christian, they get their houses burnt, their kids get harrassed and threatened, mysteriously expelled from school for sudden "discipline problems"...etc.

I'll wait until my kids are big enough to defend themsleves...thanks.

Teresa said...

And anyway, I don't object to these guys spreading their message everywhere. Let 'em talk. The more they spread their gospel, the more difficult it will be for people to ignore and discount fundamentalism as a harmless backwater of religion.

Liberals can talk until they are blue in the face, and make no headway against it, because people don't take it seriously. They think it's just in little churches in the middle of nowhere...the very very best way to turn people against the radical right is to allow them to keep talking as much as they would like, and show the movement for what it is. As they get more and more bold, they show their agenda more and more.

Vinny said...

Not at all. It shows that they were not learning the truth of the Bible to begin with. No one who reads the Bible seriously can honestly say that racial discrimination is in any way justified. Again, you're talking lip service at best. Ministers are human. They can be tempted to distort SCripture at any time, as we see today with pro-homosex and pro-abortion supporters amongst certain members of clergy.

I fully agree that religious people have a habit of interpreting the Bible to suit their own purposes. That is why increasing access to the Bible does little to assure that people will behave in the manner that we hope they will.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said:

No one's looking for a theocracy here, but those who insist that it is soley up to the parents alone are generally those whose kids indulge in these behaviors, and often indulge in them themselves.

I don't know about the validity of your hunch above (in the last part of your statement), but if you're saying "It takes a village to raise a child," I certainly can agree with that.

I just thought this sentiment was out of favor in neoconservative circles.

Teresa said...

Dan,

I think what Marshall is saying is that it takes a Christian village to raise a child.

I'm not sure what sort of Christianity he is advocating for at this point, but I assume he means Christianity as he defines it, meaning not theological liberals, and not the people who are raising their kids to be holy Christian warriors and training them to look forward to the end times where they can slaughter non-Christians, and relish a warrior's death in the name of God.

In the culture wars, if some kind of Christian values are going to win, I'd bet on the liberals due to their numbers and the general shared sympathies of the secular population;

or the millitants due to their training, organization, pipelines to public money, support from government officials, as well as wealthy philanthropists and lack of respect for post-birth non-Christian life, and their ability to rely on groups using "leaderless resistance techniques" to assassinate doctors and blow up buildings and clinics.

I guess it is probably small wonder that Marshall feels that his brand of Christianity is a little left out of the loop.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

"I'm just saying you'd have to offer some actual support/evidence in order for others to believe your hypothesis."

Did I not just list an array of issues worsening since the push for "separation"? To what would YOU attribute this downward spiral? Or are you suggesting there has been no such downward spiral and increased STDs amongst our youth and constant abortions, among other things, are just peachy for our society?

As to the rest, whatever you say Dan. My understanding of what is written is just fine. Perhaps you need to make yourself more clear. It seems anytime anyone calls you on your words, you shift gears, change tunes and pretend you were misunderstood. Well, it happens too frequently that others "misunderstand" for it to be OUR fault. But heck, such shakey beliefs as yours would be difficult for anyone to clearly explain.

Marshall Art said...

Teresa,

Your saying so doesn't make it so. Again, the groups to which you refer are unknown to me, and the situations you've discussed are not legal. I don't know any Christians who would burn anyone's house for non-belief. Your anecdotes are not proof of any trend or routine sitation no matter how loudly you insist it is. A few public figures supporting traditional Christian values, such as those in the solicitation I've received, does not indicate a trend, either. Only a hope that a trend begins. And if you're trying to suggest that you are in any way a Christian with traditional values, then your job is to speak against those who claim Christianity while acting in a non-Christian manner in spreading their message.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

"That is why increasing access to the Bible does little to assure that people will behave in the manner that we hope they will."

But increasing awareness of proper Biblical interpretation and evidence for its truth will. Part of the problem now is a denial that there is anyone to whom we will be held accountable. When people believe there is, better behavior results.

Marshall Art said...

"I just thought this sentiment was out of favor in neoconservative circles."

That depends on the meaning attached to it. When I was growing up, the neighborhood indeed took responsibility for reminding the kids of their neighbors when they were out of line. MOST of the parents of those kids were not likely to object to such reminders. The kids came to realize that right/wrong was universal (at least in their world) and nonsense like moral relativity and "my truth" did not fly.

Marshall Art said...

"I think what Marshall is saying is that it takes a Christian village to raise a child."

Absolutely, as I have no doubt it's the best way. Your suggestion that I favor some wacky version of Christianity is based on your distaste for the thought, rather than an accurate interpretation of my words. You certainly have a wild idea about end times. But liberal Christians are quite often indistinguishable from the secular when in fact it should be easy to tell one from the other. It's far better for the culture when one can't tell between secular and religious because the secular acts like a Christian short of belief in God.

Liberal Christians are indeed complicit in the downward spiral of moral depravity in our culture for the fact that they allowed themselves to be influenced by secular ideologies over religious ones. Thus, between the secular, and the liberal Christians who side with them, proper Christianity is marginalized in our culture. It is further marginalized by the cartoon characterizations of traditional Christians that Teresa puts forth as reality, as well as her mythical notions of what is supported by whom in pubic life, whence comes any financial support, and here understanding of what is allowed legally in her community or anywhere else.

Dan Trabue said...

The kids came to realize that right/wrong was universal (at least in their world) and nonsense like moral relativity and "my truth" did not fly.

I'm glad to hear that you're joining theological liberals in rejecting moral relativity. It IS always wrong to target and kill civilians, for instance. Not right when the US does it but wrong when "terrorists" do it. Rather, it is always wrong to do so.

No moral relativity for Dan or Marshall on that point. Unity! Hooray!

(You ARE with me in rejecting that bit of moral relativism, aren't you?)

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, I have a question regarding your original assertion:

I maintain and insist that the stifling of religion within the schools and in the public arena, but worst of all, within the homes of most of these kids, is at the heart of all of it.

What is it exactly that is missing that you want put in place? Is it that you want teachers leading children in prayers in school, is that it?

If so, does that mean that if I were a teacher and I was praying for peace in the Middle East and an end of our warring ways, you're comfortable with that? Does that mean that if a Muslim teacher led a prayer to Allah, you're okay with that?

Do you really want a bunch of teachers whom you don't know leading your children in prayers with which you may not agree? OR, is it that you want only certain teachers to be allowed to pray - the ones who will pray "correctly" and to the "correct God"? Perhaps you'd like a pre-selected list of approved prayers that could be prayed at school?

Do you see the problems (just looking at one area where some conservatives want religion "returned" to schools) inherent in such a decision? Will we create a new cabinet position and appoint a Secretary of School Prayers to make sure that prayers are handled properly?

It seems to me (and I attended public schools, have taught at public schools and my children attend public schools) that we have plenty of freedom of religion in our schools. Students can pray, if they so wish - no one can stop them (after all, how would anyone know a student is praying and not sleeping or meditating - there are no "prayer police" teachers patrolling school halls and lunchrooms watching for Pray-ers). Students CAN write about "What I did for Summer Vacation" and describe their mission trip to Nicaragua or their pilgrimage to Mecca. There is freedom of religion in our schools.

What is forbidden - and rightfully so - are the promotion and, to some degree, the derision of religions. In short, we can't proselytize, and that's a good thing. Surely you agree that school is not the place for teachers to talk to their students about hell, heaven and how to get there or not, right?

So, I'm curious: What would you like to see in our schools and public places that isn't freely available now?

Marshall Art said...

When I see civiians being targeted by our people or allies as does the terrorists, I'll weigh as much info regarding the action as I possibly can glean and give an opinion on that specific incident. I will never support the notion that the lives of our people will never merit drastic actions in order to preserve them. If you are willing to sacrifice your own people over a principle that will mean nothing to those who triumph over us, then you're an idiot. If the lives of our own people do not have that level of worth, then you are suggesting we just lay down and let evil overwhelm us. Not willing to do that here. And again, so as not to be so easily misinterpreted by you, we're talking last resort situation as understood by those entrusted with the weighty responsibility of making the call. But that's not "moral relativity". That's seeing a clear difference between what you suggest and reality. Moral relativity states, for example, that Israel is just as bad as the Palestinians seeking their destruction. Moral relativity states that each of us is equal in our interpretation of morality. I don't support that at all. You do.

Teresa said...

Marshall,

My impression of how traditional Christians view the end times is based on observing it in popular culture, for instance, the best-selling Left Behind series, the very popular Kirk Cameron/Ray Comfort videos and lectures (Ray comfort was a guest speaker at our local church) and the very popular video game based on the Left Behind series, which a neighbor boy tried to promote to my son as being great "'cause you get to kill Jews and Atheists".

I didn't make it up out of my head that the Left Behind series was made into a popular movie, and made the best-sellers list.

Also, it's not a figment of my imagination that the apocalyptic "Turner Diaries" inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Oklahoma City Federal Building.

You can claim I'm making it up if you feel more comfortable, and you can say you have never heard of the people I mention...but the fact that you have not heard of them doesn't mean that they don't exsist. Time Magazine has heard of them, our local news station has heard of them...and President Bush praises them on national television, so they must exsist.

I don't claim that the actions of the groups are legal...THEY claim that they are legal, and they are right in that there is no law to prohibit them from doing the things they do. There is no law, for instance, that says you can't show pictures of aborted babies to school children, nor is there a law that says you can't tell someone that God thinks she's a whore if she wears more make-up than you think she should.

In order to get them to stop, it would require a decision from a so-called "actvist judge". Christian persecution! LOL.

If you would like, I could provide you with a mound of evidence of violent reribution against people complaining about religious abuse in schools...but only if you promise to actually look at it, as it would take a little time.

My favorite is the one about the family that was run out of town when they complained about a teacher burning the sign of the cross into their kid's arm...a religious group later put it around that the teacher was being fired because he kept Bibles in his classroom (he did, had for years, there was no action taken on that...as it is perfectly legal), and the family was hounded as atheists persecuting a poor Christian teacher. A student was also assaulted for not wearing one of the tee-shirts that supported the teacher.

good times. But none of those people involved were "real" Christians, so it doesn't count. I get it. "No true Scotsman".

Dan Trabue said...

Moral relativity states that each of us is equal in our interpretation of morality. I don't support that at all. You do.

Ummm, no. I don't. Clearly, Marshall, I think you are often in the wrong. And when I say, "in the wrong," I mean to suggest that you are not correct and that I am correct.

You are wrong, for instance, to say that when we kill civilians (as a last resort) it's okay and when they do (for any reason) it's not okay and to say that this is not moral relativism. You are wrong. It IS moral relativism.

And by my thinking that you are wrong, factually and logically incorrect, it means that I think that we are NOT "all equal in our interpretation of morality" (which, by the way, is not the definition of moral relativism, another point on which you are factually incorrect).

We are NOT equal. You are wrong and I am right, or so I believe the evidence shows.

For the record, moral relativism would be more correctly defined: "In philosophy moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths..."

I am saying that it is objectively wrong to target and kill civilians, each and every time. Your position (correct me if I'm wrong) is that it depends upon the circumstances. Sometimes it is wrong, sometimes it is an acceptable thing. That is, by definition, moral relativism.

Teresa said...

Hey! do you live anywhere near Kentucky! You might be happier if you moved there. They have a 100 year old law banning any literature EXCEPT that which promotes Christianity.

http://atheism.about.com/b/2006/08/21/kentucky-bans-infidel-texts-in-schools.htm

The article doesn't say anything about which Christianity, however...

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Before we pushed God out of the public square we didn't have girls dressing like whores? The entire sentence begs all sorts of questions.

How can God be pushed out of anywhere?

Where in your post is there a reference to girls dressing like "whores"? The only thing I read was some teenage girls behaving badly, which will always happen.

Define "whore". Define "girl". Define "dress like a whore". The whole sentence just falls flat for me.

And I am not being a smart-ass. I am being as serious as I can be.

We didn't have the extent of promiscuity we do now? How can anyone possibly know that? How can you assert that as fact? Define "promiscuity". Define what a "level" of promiscuity is.

I am asking you to define these things, because it will help me understand the point you are attempting to make. People didn't have sex outside of marriage, or before marriage, or at young ages back in the good old days? Is that your argument? Are you seriously arguing this point?

What possible relevance does this have to the issue of the way these high school girls acted? What possible relevance does your perception of some general cultural meltdown have to do with whether or not this outrageous behavior, which you admit anyone would be appalled at, have to do with the presence, or absence of God in the public square?

Your words:
"I'm torn between responding "I'm not surprised" and "How could it possibly?". What's to misunderstand? Let's say we bump into each other one night. I'm a thug who never was raised to believe in anything beyond myself and my desires. I want dough to support whatever it is that floats my boat, maybe just because I want to f**k someone up. What good does your faith, such as it is, do you when I ram a shiv in your eye just because I feel like it? Did God's presence prevent my thuggish action? Did It shield you from it?"

Obviously not, and I never said it did. People have been killing one another for a few years now, even back in the good old days when we are all good little Christian boys and girls. My point was a theological one, to whit, the Divine Presence is there, yes, even at the scene of a senseless, random murder. If it isn't there, it isn't anywhere. To claim, as you do, there has to be some kind of "more" to God's presence in such a situation is to see God as selective in where God chooses to be. My comment was, to be honest, more related to your whole insistence that God was somehow pushed out of the public square, when nothing could be further from the truth, and none of your examples make your case, because, as the saying goes, 'twas ever thus.

Marshall Art said...

Teresa,

You have a big ballpark when you use the term "popular culture". I am aware of the "Left Behind" Series of books. Never read any of them myself, but I'm aware that they had a degree of popularity, with some as best sellers. Did they get near the pub as the "Harry Potter" series, or even "the DaVinci Code"? I don't know, but I'd guess not as I haven't met anyone who's read any of the "Left Behind" books. Could be my area or circle of influence, but I don't think the numbers put them in the same category and I don't think their popularity is as widespread. As to the movies based on them, I don't think I've seen them even advertised in theaters I've patronized, and I like to see movies at the theater whenever possible. I don't think I've ever seen them listed in the movie section of my local paper or seen them reviewed (though I have to figure they must have been). As for the video game, I don't think I've seen it on the shelves at the local video store, though I've never looked for it. I've never heard of anyone who's played the game. More importantly, how did you respond to the neighbor kid's joy at killing Jews and atheists? I trust you used it as a teaching moment for him and your son. Kids say the darndest things. Are you sure he meant it as something other than a joke? In my circle of friends whilst a youngster, saying the most outrageous things out loud was a form of entertainment for us, and we were often in positions where we needed to explain ourselves. What we'd say for fun didn't represent who we really were or what we truly believed. Finally, you do know that the "Left Behind" series is fiction, don't you?

Timothy McVeigh is an example of nothing more than another asshole justifying the asshole things he does. Sorta like saying the Bible defends racism.

I am familiar with Cameron/Comfort. I know some have problems with their form of evangelism. I don't. If it works for them, good. I not familiar enough to know if there's anything I'd find offensive or wrong in their methods or teachings.

Moving on, I don't know what backwoods jerkwater town you call home, but the actions of which you speak are hardly typical of the nation in general. "Burning" a sign of the cross on a child's arm? I don't know of any Christian, liberal or conservative, that wouldn't take steps to have that person arrested. The charges of assault, battery and child abuse are likely just a start. I personally would volunteer for exorcist duty and beat the devil out such a sorry excuse for a human being.

I'm sorry, Teresa, but it is Constitutionally prohibited for a school to force a child to attend religious rallies. This is the type of force against which lib separationists are actually justified fighting. I agree with it. What it really shows is a level of spinelessness amongst the better Christians of the area to allow such things to happen without standing firmly against it.

But to clarify, such people are poor Christians if one insists on calling them Christian at all. Their actions do not reflect traditional Christianity in any way. Thus, to use them as a counter to my point regarding the stifling of Christianity does not serve you well. There idea of Christianity is every bit as skewed as any person who believes that God blesses any form of homosexual activity. Indeed, they are more examples of my point, as they don't further a proper understanding of Christ's message if they use force in any way in their evangelism. They are every bit as false in their understanding.

So I say again, get a lawyer. For such crimes you could get action from both the ACLU & the ACLJ.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

Ummm no. You're still wrong, and very much so. Let me try to spell this out a bit more clearly and if you still can't get the picture, than your thickness is confirmed.

If a decision must be made to bomb an area where it is known that civilians will be killed, that is not the same as targeting civilians. The civilians, such as those as Hiroshima, were not the reason the target was chosen. Killing civilians as a primare target is targeting civilians. Civilians being killed while hitting a target is not.

Next, if a decision is made to bomb an area where civilians will be killed, and that decision is the only one that will prevent our own civilians from dying, then that is "OK". It is "OK" not in the sense that it is OK to kill civilians, but that it is OK in the sense that it is a lesser of two crappy options. In other words, neither option brings any joy whatsoever. But when the choice is between my people dying and the enemy's people dying, I will take my chances with the Lord in choosing to preserve the lives of my own people.

Finally, to equate my decision with Hamas blowing up a school bus is moral relativism of the worst kind. If you can't see the distinction, then you are seriously in need of someone to help with your mental malfunctioning.

Marshall Art said...

Geoffrey,

"Before we pushed God out of the public square we didn't have girls dressing like whores?"

Are you suggesting that it was always so to the same degree as today? Why do you even waste my time with anything that suggests I'm speaking in such black and white terms? Of course there were slutty chicks in the 30s and 40s! But to suggest that the ratio of slut to virgin was equal to today is to lie outright. I say lie because you're too well read to make such a suggestion out of ignorance. There was a time when the girl with whom a guy had sex was not a girl he'd ever introduce to mother. There was a time when virtue in a girl was prized more highly than today. (In boys as well, though there was a stronger double-standard.)

"How can God be pushed out of anywhere?"

By preventing a child to speak of their faith during a class assignment in a public school when doing so is not outside the parameters of the assignment. By turning off the microphone used by a girl giving a valedictorian address at graduation because of her mentioning Christ as a factor in her life. By suggesting a policy proposal is not possible because it is inspired by Biblical teaching despite it's practical application for all, whether Christian or not. For more examples, read David Limbaugh's Persecution.

"Define "whore". Define "girl". Define "dress like a whore". The whole sentence just falls flat for me."

That's because despite being well read, you lack understanding. Have you never seen a picture of a whore? Are you not married to a girl who became a woman? Did you not say you have a daughter? (That would be a girl.) Whores dress in a manner that arouses a man's libido. It's the point of their sartorial selections. Girls, even in the junior high schools, often wear clothes that expose a great deal of their bodies. So much so, in fact, that in my daughter's public school, the dress code has limits on such attire. In a culture more heavily influenced by religion/Christianity, such limits would not be needed, as the students, brought up in a moral way, would not wear clothes that would incite the hormonally challenged ardor of the boys. That this whole concept is foreign to you or the others here is very telling.

"We didn't have the extent of promiscuity we do now? How can anyone possibly know that?"

Fewer out of wedlock births (I was going to say "illegitimate births", but I know how much that term rankles and I'm not in the mood for such posturing at this time). This was during a time when abortions were far less available & birth control for teens was had by trickery rather than a simple purchase at the 7-11. I'd say such stats as a percentage of the population should be easy to find.

"People didn't have sex outside of marriage, or before marriage, or at young ages back in the good old days? Is that your argument?"

Obviously not. Once again, my point is that since the time that religion was prohibited from expression in the classroom, and the mention of God or religion in the public square was seen as some malevolent forcing of one's theology upon the rest of society rather than the preaching of a better way to live, such things a sexual promiscuity, or if you don't like that term, fornication, has become not only more common place, but too often seen as a benign activity. It relates to the story of the savage chicks and Glenbard North in that it is another example of how the lack of solid religious education has led to a downward spiral of immorality. Instead of God's way, or even Allah's way or Buddah's way, each person has their own way and it has led to such behaviors becoming more common place. One result of such a trend is the need for more laws to keep such things from getting out of hand. Laws that were not needed when people felt they were accountable to someone other than their own personal code of right vs wrong.

There are things YOU won't do as a result of your religious beliefs, such as they are. There are those who DO engage in those things at the same time. But they wouldn't either, or would be less likely to, if they were brought up as you were. Your own kids are limited in the things they are likely to do based on how they are being raised, and your family is a small example of my point. Your family represents a culture that influences their behavior. Eliminate that influence, and they are likely to behave according to their own notions based on things that differ from what you feel should guide them. (this is different than their eventual responsibility to lead their own lives, but I'm sure you'd not like to see them turn to a life of crime and then say "who are you to tell me what's right and wrong")

Here's my bottom line: People, and by extension the culture in which they live, are the sum total of their experiences. When people experience goodness, they are likely to reflect that in their behavior. When they experience evil, they reflect that. This is apparent in families dealing with alcoholism where the children become heavy drinkers or alcoholics themselves. How much more so when all of society is generating notions of sexuality or "My Way-ism"? When all of society reflects sound Christian principles, not what Teresa is trying to use as a counterpoint, the next generations will behave in a better way IN GENERAL. It should be incredibly freakin' obvious.

Vinny said...

But increasing awareness of proper Biblical interpretation and evidence for its truth will. Part of the problem now is a denial that there is anyone to whom we will be held accountable. When people believe there is, better behavior results.

The Puritans believed that they would be held accountable if they did not follow the Biblical mandate to kill witches. The founders of Bob Jones University thought they would be held accountable if they failed to maintain racial separation as they believed the Bible required.

Nowadays, the religious right thinks that America will be held accountable if it doesn’t criminalize abortion and discriminate against homosexuals. Some conservative Christians think they will be held accountable if they don’t corrupt high school science textbooks. Unfortunately, they do not seem to think that they will be held accountable for poverty, global warming, the health care crisis, or needless wars.

“Proper” Biblical interpretation always seems to be a matter of holding others accountable for things that the interpreter does not like while the interpreter’s shortcomings are excused.

Dan Trabue said...

At least on the part of some of us, Marshall, I think you're hearing things we're not saying.

Speaking for myself, I am a Christian, I believe in the teachings of Christ. I believe the world would be a better place if we all could embrace the grace, love, justice, mercy of God and keep a bit of it in our lives. To that end, you and I don't disagree.

And really, I know of no one who disagrees with the notion of embracing justice, mercy, love, peace, etc.

My point has been that we tend to glorify the "good old days" and think they were ideal when the truth is that people are people and problems remain in society. Society, as a whole, grows, learns and adapts hopefully and things change. Some things change for the worse and some for the better.

For my part, I think there IS a problem with sexual promiscuity these days and I think it an unhealthy thing. I think there is a problem with disrespect, a breakdown of families and an embracing violence as a solution and these are unhealthy things.

But things have improved VASTLY, too. Overt racism is largely a thing of the past. Xenophobia and the demonizing of the enemy is much less prevalent - today there it would be nigh unto impossible for an imprisoning of a whole group of people to happen like it did with Japanese Americans in WWII.

Things are much safer for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Sexism is not nearly the problem it was "in the good old days."

In many ways, Justice and Morality have tremendous strides in the last 50 years. In other ways, we've done less well.

The breakdown of the family is surely a negative. On the flip side, though, women being "forced" into staying in bad marriages is not nearly as bad as it once was.

Our schools are almost certainly more rowdy, less respectful than they were in the 50s and the education for those who graduate has probably suffered as a result. On the flip side, in the 1950s, we were only graduating ~50% of our children. Today we are trying to educate everyone - those with learning disabilities, those from unsupportive households, the homeless, etc, etc. It is an entirely different thing to try to educate everyone than to try to educate half of everyone and it should be expected to be more difficult and costly a project.

My point is this: The "good old days" were only better in some ways. In other ways, today is the "good old days." Just ask Japanese Americans. Just ask women. Just ask gay, lesbian and transgendered folk. Just ask black folk. Just ask peacemakers. In many important and significant ways, we are doing a MUCH better job of living out the Golden Rule and following in Jesus' steps. And we should celebrate that while we strive to deal with the areas where things have gotten worse.

That is my point. Nothing beyond that, just what I said above.

Teresa said...

Marshall,

The neighbor kid and my son have not been friends for years. When my son said "You're not serious, are you? The boy asserted that he was, and that in the end times, people would have been given enough chances to convert, and will deserve death, so given the premise of the game, it would not be wrong to kill them.

As for those books not being popular, they were EVERYWHERE. I don't know how you missed them. I saw ads for the movie somewhere,and I'm pretty sure at least one national magazine did a multi-paged story on it. The game was mostly distributed through chruches, although it also had ads out on the internet and it caused quite a buzz. Enough that a number of kids I knew mentioned it.

After my son and the neighbor boy stopped being friends, the boy also told a buch of people that my son is homosexual. Not that my son cared, but the idea was to hurt him. It was a teaching moment, all right. He had to get a whole new group of friends, but he is resilliant and makes friends easily, so no permenant harm.

The event that about the cross being burned into the student's arm did not happen in my town, although it did make national news. Parents, fellow teachers and students rallied around the teacher. Many brought their Bibles to school as a show of support. A Jewish student who brought his copy of the Torah was verbally attacked for doing so and told he could not support the teacher because he was a Jew. One student who didn't wear a tee-shirt in support of the teacher was roughed up, slammed into lockers. It was just one example of a story that made national news, and that I remembered. I believe the teacher's name was John Freshwater. He is easily googled. I don't believe that anything worse happened to him other than loseing his job...which of course was lamented by OneNewsNow as persecution of a poor Christian.

You suggest the ACLU...right! Not with the Stop the ACLU publishing plaintiff's personal information, including addresses and telephone numbers. One Jewish family was run out of their town (not my town) due to the efforts of Stop The ACLU.

You've heard of them, right? Neal links to them a lot.

Marshall,

You can say that they are bad Christians. That is darned convenient, since you get to have it both ways. The sheer number of Christians means that you should be able to nationalize Christianity...but the bad ones don't count when it comes to arguing that Christianity makes you better than everyone else.

So when you want to nationalize Christianity, the people who have a head start on you are the Christian Nationalists, who got to your arguments long before you did. In fact, they created them, and you are just repeating their words, and claiming that you have no idea who they are...maybe you don't but when you promote Christian Nationalism with their very language, you should not be surprised that you are mistaken for them, and that you scare the hoppin' heck out of people.

Not me, I'm just annoyed that the arguments are false, and badly supported. :-)

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

I never tire of correcting tiresome arguments.

Unless the Puritans rejected the entire New Testament, they could not justifiably maintain such beliefs regarding what to do with witches. Eventually, they learned. (At least I think they did.)

The founders of Bob Jones U cannot justify their beliefs about racial segregation, since there is nothing Biblical to support it.

You can continue to find other examples of poor interpretation within the body of Christ. We have Dan Trabue. It doesn't mean you've made a point, but it does support mine, that a proper understanding of Biblical teaching benefits all. They don't have a proper understanding. Do I have it down pat? Likely no. But I'm certain I've a far better grasp than any example you've thus far put forth.

The religious right, assuming that I am somehow representative, does NOT think they will be held accountable if they can't get abortion legalized. That's a stupid statement. It is enough to stand against what is obviously the selfish taking of another human life. It is also silly that comment about school books. Far from corrupting anything, adding another perspective simply educates more thoroughly what opinions are out there. However, we do find it corrupting to place pornographic novels, and poor examples of literature at that, on school reading lists. That certainly corrupts the minds of our youth and does the exact opposite of what I'm proposing by allowing more Christian influence in the schools.

"Unfortunately, they do not seem to think that they will be held accountable for poverty, global warming, the health care crisis, or needless wars."

We don't, because we aren't. Poverty is more a matter of the behavior of the poor. Too many in this country have gone from rags to riches and many of them dealt with the same obstacles others use as excuses. Global warming is a matter of nature and thus not controllable by human beings. The health care crisis is also a matter of personal responsibility, but it was confounded by asinine liberal legislation.

"Needless" wars is a matter of opinion. They usually begun by the other side. Our responses to the actions of others, while not always the best move, do not constitute starting "needless" wars.

Proper Biblical interpretation IS a matter of one holding one's self accountable. But because I, for example, may spend time speaking out against a particular sinful behavior, such as homosexuality, does not mean that I ignore or excuse any of my own shortcomings. That's just another lame ploy to stifle public reminders of right vs wrong according to Scripture. Often, the behavior does not require a Scriptural perspective to still speak against it. For example, neither homosex behavior nor abortion require the Bible for solid arguments against.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

"My point has been that we tend to glorify the "good old days" and think they were ideal when the truth is that people are people and problems remain in society."

Obviously by "we" you mean you and the frog in your pocket. No one here is suggesting that at all. However, you never fail to inject that into the discussion. You can stop now. You're only cluttering up the comments section with needless and irrelevant crap.

"In many ways, Justice and Morality have tremendous strides in the last 50 years."

Only a liberal version of justice and morality. Too often, that version has created other ills, such as trampling religious freedom in favor of the imaginary right to have sex with anyone or anything anytime anywhere. The right to kill one's child anytime for any reason before it is born. The right to deny employment to the most qualified in favor of the racial flavor of the month.

"...women being "forced" into staying in bad marriages is not nearly as bad as it once was."

Women marrying idiots is about the same. A better understanding and devotion to Biblical principles taking priority to self-gratification (not necessarily sexual in this case) would preclude such things ever taking place to begin with.

"On the flip side, in the 1950s, we were only graduating ~50% of our children."

Back then, one could still provide for a large family without an extensive education. Technological advances do not allow for that anymore. But that's not the point at all. The disruptive nature of kids is. It's not a matter of how many are provided an education, it is how those for whom an education is provided behave during the process.

In general your comment was a waste of time. I didn't suggest things were ever perfect. I'm suggesting that things are devolving in areas that permeate the entirety of society. Some of that is amongst those things you think are signs of progress.

Dan Trabue said...

I didn't suggest things were ever perfect. I'm suggesting that things are devolving in areas that permeate the entirety of society.

I never said that you said you thought that things were perfect, but I was making the point that we tend to glorify the good old days. You say you are not doing that. Fair enough.

I agree with you that some things are, as you have termed it, "devolving." I'm making the further point that this is always the case. And that some things are evolving, getting better.

When you say that "Only a liberal version of justice and morality." in response to my contention that things are getting better, it sounds like you don't believe it. If it is the case that you think that things were not that bad back then for women, minorities, gays, lesbians - as well as for white men trapped in bonds of sexism, homophobia and racism - then we disagree and I'd suggest you're rather WAYY out of touch with the reality of the way things used to be.

If we agree on both points (that some things are worse and some things are better), well good for us. We agree.

Marshall Art said...

Teresa,

"The boy asserted that he was, and that in the end times, people would have been given enough chances to convert, and will deserve death, so given the premise of the game, it would not be wrong to kill them."

I don't get it. So you and your son are content to just let the kid go on believing that obvious misunderstanding? Please tell me you made SOME move to set him straight.

"As for those books not being popular, they were EVERYWHERE."

I wasn't disputing that. I was merely adding perspective by comparing it to other more widely read books. It was Time magazine that ran the article. I had hoped to save it because it had a chronological list of the books and I thought I might read them. Never did. Don't feel I'm missing anything.

"After my son and the neighbor boy stopped being friends, the boy also told a buch of people that my son is homosexual."

Please tell me you confronted the kid and his parents with this lie. THAT would be the teaching moment. Your kid's already cool. If my daughter was slighted in such a way, there is no way I would NOT have confronted the kid and parents.

I'll google the teacher and get back to you. For now, I find your version of events very hard to swallow. I get emails from OneNewsNow and have never seen anything that suggests they would support such behavior. Perhaps it's old news. For my part, I would have sided with the kid who was abused, the Jew, the other kid who didn't wear a supportive shirt, and opposed the teacher in the strongest possible terms, being physical if it came to it.

Don't mention people being run out of town without a link, please. I have trouble believing the stories as you relate them. It always feels like important details are missing. But as far as the ACLU, I'd like to see them go away. But my point was that your complaint was perfect for them, but would also get support from similar, but more consitutionally adept organizations like ACLJ or Thomas Moore and others like them.

"You can say that they are bad Christians. That is darned convenient, since you get to have it both ways."

It's darned convenient because it's the truth. As stated above, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding and bad interpretation within the body of Christ. They are as guilty in the same way as atheists or anti-religious people are in corrupting the culture. So they are indeed included in my call for more serious Biblical study and the culture would benefit as a result.

If you are scared or annoyed at my arguments and feel they are false and unsupportable, then you are not understanding. Look at this way with a very obvious example: How much better would our culture be if they followed the commandment, "Thou shalt not murder"? If you think society would be improved, then my argument that everyone should adhere to at least THAT Biblical teaching for the benefit of society makes sense, whether everyone believes in God or not. At the same time, there are those for whom murder seems the best tactic to use in certain situations. They would have to reject that personal belief, and they might not be comfortable doing so at first, but I believe that they would come to find it a good idea, particularly if the rest of the Book was followed as well.

So I'm not talking about nationalizing Christianity, though I admit the world would be a far better place. I'm talking about an end to the nonsensical talk about separation of church and state as it is pushed by the left. It isn't what the founders had in mind in the least. But acceptance of this mythical nonsense has proven to be harmful to our culture.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I find this argument "devolving" (to use Marshall's word) because we are all talking past one another here. I agree with a point Dan made. I, for one, would never claim that what those teenage girls did was OK, or that there are not elements of our common life that couldn't do with a bit of moral uplift. Why do you think we don't have cable/satellite? Primetime television is a sewer I do not want my children exposed to.

Your argument, however, despite your claims to the contrary, are that the specific issues you cite, and others you mention in comments, are unique to our times, and indicative of a general moral malaise and deterioration due to some event you call "pushing God out of the public square". I see no evidence of that; God's name is invoked all the time in all sorts of ways in our public debates. Teresa has made an excellent case for that.

Vinny has made an excellent case for the ways the Bible has been and continues to be used to do all sorts of things you agree are objectionable. Your argument that these are incorrect interpretations may or may not be true, yet it does make one wonder. What would a society based upon a generally agreed upon correct interpretation of the Bible look like? We have done that in the West, and it was called the Dark Ages for a reason.

Look, Marshall, no one here is disputing either the evil of the acts, or the possible benefit some religious education for those involved. Speaking only for myself, and I will confess to "reading in" some of this from both your original post as well as your comments, I have to wonder how, exactly, you would enforce the kind of religious instruction you are advocating without a theocracy, which you claim you are not advocating. Social pressures? I really can't think of anything else short of legal remedies, myself.

As someone who is both liberal and Christian - and I would immediately add that I believe what I am about to say is true of anyone of any political and religious affiliation - the struggle is always a balance between the way things are, and the way we would like things to be. The family is, or at least should be, the center around which all the rest circles. From there it extends outwards to friends, and their families, making connections with like minded others with whom we can commiserate, struggle together, work together, etc.

Beyond that, we can certainly advocate for a better cultural milieu for all of us; insisting that some form or another of Biblical Christianity is the sole solution for all of us, however, raises all the questions you have faced, both gamely and well (or at least stubbornly) here.

Sometimes, I think conservatives believe that liberals are immoral because we resist efforts to enforce certain moral norms through methods that sound coercive. I, for one, would love it if the rest of the world thought the way I did; I am also grateful, when I settle down a bit, that it does not. The challenge is not to bemoan the collapse of Christian morality, because it was the source of as much trouble as it was a source of certain social benefits. Rather, I think all any of us - conservative, liberal, whatever name we wish to give ourselves - can do is work within the spheres where we have the most influence and leave the rest up to the combination of Providence and a trust that our children will be better than we are, and benefit from our moral instruction.

Marshall Art said...

Geoffrey,

Your perspective would make more sense if not for the fact that some of the issues where you and I disagree, those concerning sexuality, is often supported, if not by you specifically, then by others who support the same side of the issue, is that we know more now about human sexuality thus, yada yada yada. Yet it seems at the same time modernity is unable to have any impact on other things.

We have enough knowledge to know better right from wrong, yet there is too much evidence that such knowledge is ignored or not applied. We have enough knowledge to understand more about Biblical teaching yet some feel that the true Christian world view is unworkable or somehow impossible to know better. You cannot argue that standards haven't been lowered because there is no way that you could support the idea that because certain behaviors have always been perpetrated, they haven't gotten worse. Are you going to insist that 50 million abortions took place illegally in the same time period before Roe v Wade as since Roe v Wade to now? Are you going to insist that out of wedlock births were as commonplace before the 1960s as since? Were 25% of our youth infected with STDs back then? Were young girls photographing themselves naked and showing them to others as often as we see today? Was the ration of virgins to non-virgins equal to today?

Let's look at another trend: violence in schools. How common place were fights that ended in a death? Back even in my youth, fights were not uncommon, but merely punching your foe until he didn't want to be punched anymore was sufficient. Scenes like what took place at Glenbard were extremely rare if they happened at all. Seeing chicks want to punch the crap out of other chicks was hardly ever seen.

Another case is a recent survey measuring the extent of cheating in schools. Not so much the cheating itself, but the percentage of kids who saw nothing wrong with doing it. I contend that even when bad behavior was taking place, one rarely heard the perpetrator trying to claim that it wasn't wrong or wicked. And more shame was felt upon exposure even while posing otherwise.

Nowadays, you find girls that relish the thought of being considered a slut. You hear of kids, some still in middle schools, "hookin up" for oral sex without even "going steady" with the partner of the moment.

How do YOU account for any of this? You don't consider this a sign of progress, do you?

We see religious figures as criminal or comical in TV and film. Evangelicals are mocked routinely for their public statements. And Teresa can only speak of the truly wacky in her rebuttals. And you think none of this has an impact on the overal morality of the culture?

Dan thinks women were forced to stay in bad marriages. Some likely did so because they thought it best for the kids, but others because they remembered that they took a vow to do so, for better AND for worse. Now, people enter into marriages knowing they have an out and take vows like they're singing "Louie Louie" instead of entering into a covenant with the Almighty.

And BTW, the Dark Ages was a time when few people had access to the Bible. What excuse is there today, when the internet brings access to tons of scholarly works?

No sir. It's not a matter of evil having always been. It's a matter of a more widespread acceptance of evil with little cultural influence against it. Acts that were never tolerated are now taken for granted. The negative impact of these acts are what is legislated to fix when personal responsibility and religious influence unfettered prevented the acts in the first place.

Dan seems to think that certain progress balances things out. So do you. Not in Iraq of course but elsewhere in culture. I say that isn't close to true but some things are no longer perceived in the same manner as a result of religious stifling and as such aren't counted as decline. Yet the search goes on for ways to prevent the fallout from those behaviors as medicine often attacks symptoms rather than the cause.

You folks are in denial.

Dan Trabue said...

Dan seems to think that certain progress balances things out.

Correction: Dan acknowledges that things have changed. Some things have VASTLY improved. Some have gotten significantly worse.

That is what I'm saying.

I'm further saying (as I've said already, when I wrote down words earlier) that we ought to acknowledge and celebrate the great progress we've made in certain areas while striving to improve areas where we're not doing so well.

I don't really think there is anything there with which to disagree. But feel free to try to do so.

Dan Trabue said...

It's a matter of a more widespread acceptance of evil with little cultural influence against it.

Widespread acceptance of evil? Where?

Are there vast numbers of people celebrating the attacks on these girls? I have not heard about that. Are there vast numbers of people celebrating violence in school? Where are they?

I suspect that you are finding more acceptance for "evil" than is out there.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Knowing right from wrong all depends on perspective, Marshall. I have never claimed that we liberals are more moral, or have more or better knowledge. What I do claim is that, from a perspective of social coercion, I see no benefit from enforcing certain mores, sexual or otherwise, by force of law or otherwise. THese have been done in the past and found wanting, which is the main reason they have been superseded. Not because we liberals are either morally better, or because our view of things is somehow better or more moral or anything else. The entire point of those who are arguing against you in this thread - to be presumptuous for a moment - is not that we are more moral, or you are less. Rather, it is that the point you are making - enforcing some kind of moral code, no matter how much it may have to recommend it, through the force of law, or whatever other mechanism you may be offering, has not worked in the past, so there is no reason to think that it will work in either the present or the future.

This is where you go wrong every time. You impute motives none of us have; you argue with those who agree with your basic point - those teen girls behaved badly, it would be far better if there were some mechanism beyond merely punishing them for breaking the law to prevent such an occurrence, etc., etc. - while we are merely niggling over the way you are saying such things could be prevented. That you also claim, despite your statements to the contrary, that such things were either rare or nonexistent in the past when there was a larger social and cultural acceptance of a certain, to my own view, narrow understanding of morality, is simply untrue, because other private and social ills existed, as well as the pervasive existence of all sorts of social ills with which we continue to live.

None of us are wiser; some of us have access to more information, or integrate it in different ways, but I for one would never claim that my position is inherently better. I disagree with both your premises and conclusions; so what? You disagree with mine. THat's what argument is about. I happen to think that my own position has more factual evidence, from history as well as other sources, on its side. You disagree. These are things societies have always argued about, and will continue to argue about.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I often wonder about reports of middle school students being sexual. Apart from the fact that these reports arise from dubious sources, and the anecdotes that seem to support them tend to be false upon even a cursory examination, I just wonder. Since I have a daughter in middle school, I do believe I have a certain interest in this issue, quite apart from being a concerned citizen. I do not like the use of loaded words like "whore", "slut", etc., because such terms are used to describe all sorts of behaviors. You might think a person a whore or slut, and I might not, based on all sorts of factors. To my mind, some women embracing these terms is a bit like African-Americans appropriating first "black", then calling one another "man" (to counter the pervasive use of "boy"), then, in the 1970's, taking up the "n"-word to counter its derogatory use. Some girls may just use the term to rob it of its moral force, that's all.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

For you second to last comment, your "correction" actually supports the point with which you disagree. And your call to celebrate what you think is progress falls a bit short since some of what you call progress I don't consider to be so. You seem to assume I don't celebrate progress when we'd have to go one by one and debate whether a point is progress or not. Maybe another time.

Your last comment suggests that evil is only that which is associated with violent behavior. From past discussions, you've certainly shown that you lean toward equating violence with evil. I do not. I prefer no violence, but violent action is often called for to defend against evil. Violence is not required for evil to flourish. Not required in the least.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said:

For you second to last comment, your "correction" actually supports the point with which you disagree.

What??

And your call to celebrate what you think is progress falls a bit short since some of what you call progress I don't consider to be so.

You don't think tremendous progress has been made in terms of race relations? You don't think there is a significant improvement in the rights of minorities? You don't think women's rights have progressed significantly?

Even on homosexuality issues, you don't think things have significantly improved for our LGBT friends in that they don't have to worry as much about being beaten up, killed, harassed?

If that is the case, I guess my earlier assessment was correct: You are truly out of touch with reality in regards to history and human rights. Not that I believe in reincarnation, but:

May you come back in your next life as a lesbian black woman in 1945.

Peace.

Marshall Art said...

Geoffrey,

Regarding your secong to last comment:

Nowhere in either the post nor in the comments afterwards, have I suggested legislating anything. Indeed the point, that which so often seems to elude you, was that law is unnecessary for a moral people.

"What I do claim is that, from a perspective of social coercion, I see no benefit from enforcing certain mores, sexual or otherwise, by force of law or otherwise."

Then you are a blind man. It happens all the time, for good, ill, and something difficult to put into either class. Have you never heard of "peer pressure"? This influences bad behavior, but can also influence good behavior as it used to regarding sexuality before the 1960s. That was more of a societal pressure and it lost its value when some jerkoffs, like Hugh Hefner, decided that sex should have fewer, if any, limitations. Sexual purity is now a joke and as I have said, virginity is far less common than in times past. Now if you wish to contend that some displayed a warped notion of purity, such as those who look upon sex only as sinful, you'll get little argument from me there. But that's not the same as then saying that NO sex is sinful and it is only a "wonderful gift from God". This attitude I'll say once more, is the cause of much misery that was once far less common. This is indisputable.

In addition, I can't believe you don't favor constant support for better behavior, whatever you consider that to be. Though I'm sure it doesn't match my notions of it, to say that it has no benefit is totally goofy. How do you raise your kids without it? How does the Mrs preach to her flock without it? How do we dare hope for a better society without it? To say we disagree on the exact meaning of good behavior is one thing. To say constant preaching in favor of it has no benefit is irresponsible, immature, an attitude no Christian, liberal or conservative, should find acceptable.

Marshall Art said...

Regarding your last comment, Geoffrey:

"I often wonder about reports of middle school students being sexual. Apart from the fact that these reports arise from dubious sources..." You mean like the Health Dept? "...and the anecdotes that seem to support them tend to be false upon even a cursory examination..." Such as?

In my job, the one I had, that is, I had regular visits to two middle schools. I can plainly see the way young girls dress. It would be helpful to remember that one school, or even the two I visit I'll admit, is not representative of the total. There's no way I could say with certainty if any of the kids I see engage in sexual behaviors. Nor could I say who doesn't. I can say that my daughter is not allowed to dress as some of them do, and as I stated earlier, my daughter's school has a code to prevent it. Why is that code necessary? Obviously the school officials know that it is likely that some girls would dress in that fashion. Goes to the point of the article and my post: if they had a better sense of morality, they'd willingly dress in a more modest fashion. Since they don't, a law was created to ensure they do. Checkmate.

You do not like the use of loaded words. Great. Muddy the issue. Removing the use of these words makes it more difficult to get across the points regarding sexual purity and morality. It's a "rose by any other name" situation and I don't play that game. It's goodness and purity and holiness I'm after for the next generation, not ambiguity and "MY truth" crap.

You're kidding yourself if you think women adopting the term "slut" is to lessen the word's impact. It's done to celebrate their "sexual freedom" and lack of inhibition for engaging in sexual promiscuity. Some people thinks its good to be bad. This is an example of it.

Teresa said...

Marshall,

First, let me say that you have been most impressive in thoughtfully addressing many long and complicated arguments from multiple people. Kudos. Your patience is admirable.

Confronting the kid about his error was the cause of the lie about my son's homosexuality, so yes, my son confronted him.

As for me trying to teach the boy proper interpretation of scripture, or giving him any moral instruction, that is not my place, especially as an apostate. Can you imagine what you would do if you found out that a non-Christian neighbor was teaching your child Biblical interpretation contrary to what you believe?

Plus, the mom is a cop, and also very influential in the schools, so even if I were to go against my feelings of right and wrong on the matter (not to teach Biblical interpretation to other people's kids when I dont believe the Bible...though I studied it avidly for years) it would be a socially very stupid thing to do.

About the homosexuality rumor, I did confront the mother and she just bald-faced said that my son was lying. Shes still my neighbor, so I still loan her a cup of sugar and watch her house when she is out of town...or pick her son up from school if they are unable to give him a ride (it can be a life-and-limb matter here in Minnesota)but let's just say she doesn't get invited to parties.
:-) I feel I should forgive, but I don't feel obligated to be chummy.

I feel that you argument that God has been taken out of the public square is flase and unsupportable, because there are many places that still have manditory prayer at school functions. There are uncountable instances of Christian prayers and invocations at government functions every day in this country. Public officials feel it necessary to proclaim their allegiance to these values in order to get elected.

And I find it false to claim that "Thou shall not kill" is a value particular to Christianity. Every civilization we know of has had a prohibition against murder. It is a human social value of obvious benefit to society. In fact, Ben Franklin himself expressed a desire for a secular code of morality based on reason and natural law, which he felt would be an improvement upon Christian morality as it was practiced at the time.

I'll hunt down the link...wait, I think I have something in a rough draft of a blog post I never posted...

Here's a link to a blog post with lots of link you can follow from there:

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/07/thug-and-intimidation-tactics-of-far.html

Here's another link.

The family's name is Dobrich if you wish to google them, if you do not like my sources. They are just ones I was able to get quickly. There are LOTS of posts and news items about them.

Its a little long, so if you don't want to take the time to read it all the way through, here is the relevant part:

This week, Bartholomew's Official Notes on Religion reported on the new "project" implemented by the group StopTheACLU.org. As that group describes it, the project is called "Expose the ACLU Plaintiffs," and promises to publish the home addresses of all individuals who are "using the ACLU" in any First Amendment lawsuit based on the Establishment clause which challenges the constitutionality of governmental promotion of Christianity. The first such enemy targeted for this treatment is a Jewish family in Delaware who sued their local school district over its alleged promotion of Christianity in the public schools. StopTheACLU published their home address and telephone number on its website, and the family -- due to all sorts of recriminations and fear of escalating attacks -- was forced to leave their home and move to another town, which was one of the apparent goals of StopTheACLU in publishing their home address.

Stop the ACLU is not some fringe, isolated group. To the contrary, the "official blog" of StopTheACLU.org is StopTheACLU.com (h/t Hunter), a very prominent player in the right-wing blogosphere. That blog is the 14th most-linked-to blog on the Internet, and is often promoted and approvingly cited to as a source by numerous right-wing bloggers such as Instapundit and Michelle Malkin. The blog Expose the Left (which aspires to be the C&L of the Right), yesterday condemned the "nutcases on the left side of the blososphere" who "are sending unfounded attacks" against StopTheACLU for this plainly despicable thug behavior.

Teresa said...

About sexuality in the schools. I'm not trying to prove any point here, except that teenage sexuality in this generation is puzzeling.

My son reports that children thought to have engaged in sexual activity beyond kissing/hugging are socially ostracised and ridiculed.

He specifically called it "social death". :-) But my son has been invited to several all-night co-ed parties...something that people from my age-group would consider to be immoral in and of itself....boys and girls spending all night in the same house. Even with the kids heavily supervised, which they are. I let him go to them, but he did not get to stay the night...I picked him up at what I considered to be an appropriate hour and brought him home...with the exception of one party that had a definite bed-time with kids seperated by gender in different rooms on different floors with multiple adults of appropriate gender staying in each room. That seemed a lot like summer camp to me. :-)

So I guess it depends on what you call morality. The kids in our area get comprehensive (or, as conservatives call it "explicit") sex education. The kids around here consider it unacceptable to have sex, to the point where it is called "social death" to do it...but they do all sorts of things that people in our age group would assume are sexual in nature, like wearing short skirts, caking on the make-up (this is a heavily conservative suburb, so some of these little beauty queens were coming to class in a full face of make-up and slathered in perfume in third grade), going to all night co-ed parties, and girls calling boys (I was shocked the first time this happened...third grade. unbelieveable.)

It's a puzzler.

Marshall Art said...

Teresa,

For the record, publicizing addresses and phone numbers of those with whom one disagrees is not something I support in the least. I will eventually check out your links, and I hope they link me to the posting of the addresses so I can discern the details from both sides. Certainly on the surface it is without a doubt to be condemned, but I'll wait to see if there's more to the story. As I said earlier, I've often found liberal sources routinely ommitting important details that change the tenor and tone of the story. I've seen Greenwald corrected for just such ommissions on more than one occasion. So if the piece is long, it's likely to be a lot longer for me as I work to see if they're not blowing smoke.

As to being corrected by an atheist, I have no problem if their correction is accurate and, uh, correct.

I will say again that it is illegal for a school to force kids to pray and the ACLU would certainly sue the school, but religious defenders such as ACLJ and Thomas Moore Center would not fight it. They are only concerned with unConsitutional prohibitions or misapplied restrictions.

I agree with your last. It is puzzling. My thirteen yr old daughter couldn't wait to get through health classes. She wanted nothing to do with the whole concept and still doesn't. She had no patience for the giggles and jokes from the boys. At the same time, I have a niece, now in high school, who has always acted as if she couldn't wait. She's been interested in boys since grammar school.

I don't mean to say that non-believers don't share many of the same moral standards as a rule. But most of those standards are simply Christian with the "Christian" whited out. My "Thou shalt not murder" was just to use as an easy to understand example of the point I'm trying to make. It's not that non-Christians don't share that belief, it's that if everyone did, the world would benefit and laws restricting such a thing would be unnecessary. But for the sake of my point, it was an obvious example. Christian teachings on sexuality are less obvious, but the benefits to society by adhering to those teachings are every bit as beneficial. So I used murder in my example.

Teresa said...

Marshall,

I'd like to correct you on one thing before I finish reading your response. I never said I was an atheist. Just a non-Christian.

Thanks.

Teresa said...

Here is a site that has a screen shot of the Stop the ACLU page announcing their policy, and singling out the Dobrich family.

http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/2006/07/staclu-pogrom-is-resounding-success.html#links


Regarding your assertion that values shared by Christians and non-Christians alike are simple "Christian with the Christian whited out"...

...well, I don't get that, as the basic values most people can agree on exsisted before Christ, and before Christianity...so they are human values...not particular or special to Christianity.

Many of our modern values that are generally accepted such as women no longer being treated as property, or the immorality of slavery have no basis in the Bible, and are inconsistant with traditional Christianity.

Many forms of Christianity promote useful values, and some of them avoid promoting terrible values...but I've seen nothing about Christianity that shows it to be an exceptional vehicle for values of any kind. Though it has proven to be useful and beneficial to some individuals, it's track record as a salvation for civilizations and societies has been rather poor.

Generally, the people who claim that it is are able to do so only by pointing out the flaws of non-Christians, promoting the virtuouos behavior of Christians, and excusing, denying or dismissing the transgressions of Christians. That's not honest, and it doesn't persuade me that Christianity deserves a special place in society above any other value system.

What I have seen is that the special place of privilage that Christianity has in our society has given cover to abuses that, while they don't currently approach those of other countries both Christian and non-Christian...are certainly things that I am willing to accept. These abuses range from constant, small daily ones, to life-altering and life-ending ones. This is why I don't agree that Christianity should have a more privilaged place in our society than any other belief system, and it is best left in the private sphere where it's benefits can be enjoyed by individuals as they see fit, and society can be protected from it's detriments.

I guess I'll have to accept our disagreement on this point. But thanks for the conversation.

Marshall Art said...

Teresa,

Correction acknowledge. My apologies.

Marty said...

I couldn't say one way or the other whether there is more sexual promiscuity these days among teens or not.

Because the fact is, when I was in junior high and high school I was the only, I repeat - ONLY girl in my little group of friends who wasn't having sex. Even my church girlfriends were having it. They had unwed mother's homes in those days where they sent bad girls who got pregnant. It was all hush hush and swept under the rug, never to be lifted up again. Girls would disappear for a few months "staying with out of town relatives" or some such arrangement, then come back as if nothing had happened. But there were always whispers, just nobody talked about it much at loud.

Teresa said...

Marshall,

No apologies necessary. I don't mind being mistaken for an atheist...it is merely inaccurate to refer to me as one, not offensive.

:-)

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

First, I want to echo Teresa's compliment. Marshall has handled a variety of comments - some of them, like mine, quite long - with both patience and thoroughness. I suppose I haven't really stopped and remembered that all of us here are being critical, and so it might just be a bit difficult to keep one's points in mind as one addresses different comments. Many kudos, Marshall.

Second, I can only speak for myself, so I will. I think all of us - Dan, Marty, Teresa, myself, and you Marshall - are all correct to an extent in our perspectives. The reason I say this is that we all show our concern; it is a question of emphasis - what do we think is important? I do think the whole "moral relativism" tag that gets put on people is wrong, though, and Dan is quite correct. If we were all real relativists, there would be nothing to argue about.

My last word, except for what I am about to write at my blog.