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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: Today at 06:59:35 am
Do you understand that people of the same religion or denomination can have different religious convictions? 

Yes. I also understand that such convictions, while sincerely held for periods of time are fluid. People can change their understanding of one religion, move into a new one or drop it all together and in doing so adjust their 'conscience' or re-prioritise what is important to them. As a result of that, under the guise of religious freedom of conscience they can conscientiously object to anything and then cease to object to it the next day.

Which we can all do, but we don't all have access to legal 'rights' to discriminate in our views against subsets of people. One would surely expect that if other people had access to the same rights as religious people do over matters of conscience, then if one had a deep and personal objection on the basis of conscience to miscegenation for example that such laws would reflect this. If such laws were fair. Indeed, one of the issues I have with laws like this, is that it gives religious people disproportionate legal protection over matters of conscience.

It seems rational to protect people who have an essential innate trait such as the colour of their skin their gender, their sexual orientation and so on from disproportionate and irrational 'ire' at them being who they are from a powerful majority. Instead we offer protection to a particular religious subset of personal conscience which is subject to alteration, change and complete reversal in order to allow them to disregard civility when dealing with an outsider. Furthermore it cheapens religious faith and traditional religious exemptions by equating the refusal to house, serve, assist and hire people you consider objectionable to the act of worship.

Freedom of worship is a poor substitute for freedom of religion, circumscribing it within a narrow sphere to try to manage it and keep it devoid of social power. The USSR conspicuously kept the former in their Constitution but not the latter.

What bearing should the fluidity of belief systems have on whether people should be allowed to live according to those beliefs?  Just because these views can change does not mean the state should be in the business of reeducating people whose beliefs it does not like.  Nor can they so easily control these beliefs.  Religion has often not rendered unto Caesar when Caesar has demanded more than a coin, and it has its venerated martyrs because of it.  If you want to reason with religious people about their faith you can do it, but not if you try to force them to act against it, for then you have ruined all credibility because you have shown just how much you truly despise and hate those trying to live faithfully according to their religion as they understand it.

I really have no idea what point you are trying to make at this stage, other than using flowery language to essentially suggest that somehow there’s something ‘anti-religious’ in opposing exclusively religiously motivated opt outs in how people can treat an out group with respect to law. Indeed if anything it is a case of special pleading; that religious personal motivation is worthy of a greater protection in law than non-religious personal motivation. It is suggesting that conscience is only important if it dovetails with the divine and therefore offers religious beliefs greater protection than non-religious beliefs. Indeed it gives a personal religious belief system which you admit can be fluid and entirely arbitrary a greater protection than a person. It protects how a person treats another person more how the other person is treated. And it will always do that if it’s an exclusive privilege given to one particular group. There is no corresponding law that allows an LGBT person to say to a person of faith ‘you think x, you act x and you undermine my safety so I want nothing to do with you based on my conscience and I want legal protection to that effect’. I wouldn’t actually want a corresponding law of course, but these religious opt out laws weaponise one group over another.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 26, 2015, 06:29:32 pm
Do you understand that people of the same religion or denomination can have different religious convictions?  

Yes. I also understand that such convictions, while sincerely held for periods of time are fluid. People can change their understanding of one religion, move into a new one or drop it all together and in doing so adjust their 'conscience' or re-prioritise what is important to them. As a result of that, under the guise of religious freedom of conscience they can conscientiously object to anything and then cease to object to it the next day.

Which we can all do, but we don't all have access to legal 'rights' to discriminate in our views against subsets of people. One would surely expect that if other people had access to the same rights as religious people do over matters of conscience, then if one had a deep and personal objection on the basis of conscience to miscegenation for example that such laws would reflect this. If such laws were fair. Indeed, one of the issues I have with laws like this, is that it gives religious people disproportionate legal protection over matters of conscience.

It seems rational to protect people who have an essential innate trait such as the colour of their skin their gender, their sexual orientation and so on from disproportionate and irrational 'ire' at them being who they are from a powerful majority. Instead we offer protection to a particular religious subset of personal conscience which is subject to alteration, change and complete reversal in order to allow them to disregard civility when dealing with an outsider. Furthermore it cheapens religious faith and traditional religious exemptions by equating the refusal to house, serve, assist and hire people you consider objectionable to the act of worship.
3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: March 26, 2015, 05:50:18 pm
Ed looked like he was 'trying out' some approaches tonight. He had some impressive moments, but others where he really struggled and at times people seemed to be laughing more at him than at the jokes he was making. He has time to hone his technique before the next debate.

YouGov for fun

CON 36
LAB 34
UKIP 13
LD 7
GRN 5
4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UK General Discussion II on: March 26, 2015, 05:17:58 pm
From what I hear in some trans groups, some people find the idea of drag offensive as it paints the idea that all transgendered people are drag queens, and it confuses the public.

I think some feminist second-wave throwbacks often are angry at drag for denigrating the holy sanctity of the female form, or something like that (second-wave fans are fairly demented)

Which is probably the last thing I ever got into a verbal argument over. If gender roles and perceptions are fluid, then the expression of that side of someone through drag (queen/king) is essentially just nothing more than an extension of someones queer expression and should never be considered as anything other than that. It's a truth, not a pastiche.
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 26, 2015, 04:49:18 pm
LGBT people can sleep safely knowing that if service is denied to them

Yes, they can.  They can sleep safely because their safety is not being threatened by people who do not want to provide them wedding services.  You don't have to ruin someone's business and someone's life in order to sleep safely just because they've done something to offend you.

Ah okay. So these bills relating to personal belief and conscience, which just accidentally have been championed, written and codified with respect to religious belief and conscience only (and I await the soon be tabled amendments to those) and have absolutely nothing to do with targeting a specific out-group who are currently playing catch up with respect to having their persons respected are actually about weddings. And in order to legislate on the matter of weddings, because weddings appear to be very important in a state such as Indiana with one of the highest divorce rates in the country, they have drafted a huge wide ranging law on the matter of...well..just about anything that anyone can find objectionable for any reason they can tie to their faith, even if a person next to them with the same faith doesn't, in order that gays don't get wedding cake.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 26, 2015, 04:30:38 pm
And again, this is only one issue which this law addresses. It's funny how much those who don't give a damn about freedom of conscience were complaining about employers not wanting to offer birth control, now they act like the only religious freedom issue is discrimination against gays because it's a better polemic for them.

True. And if I was a woman or a Muslim I'd be equally as concerned about what excuses people will pull out of their ass for not being a decent human being because of laws like this. But what sort of big social change happening right now in favour of a certain group of people who have suffered open and legal discrimination and harassment, a change that is happening imminently and openly appealed to in the various briefs in support of those bills over the past few years is the catalyst for these legal moves? Don't you think maybe, that religious belief actually has sod all to do with it and it might, just might be an action against a certain minority group?

No, I don't.  People have beliefs that are important to them.  Do you find this odd?

Exclusively religious beliefs no? I mean I don't see action, petitions and public calls to incorporate other belief systems within these bills. Surely if a persons conscience and belief is so important it needs supra-constitutional protection then surely it need not be exclusively religious belief? Obviously this must be a gross oversight and those who champion personal belief as the reason for these bills will amend the legislation accordingly once they acknowledge this error.

Indeed it is nice to know that these laws are in fact not triggered by anything other than people collectively deciding completely arbitrarily, that their religious belief with respect to dealing with another human being in daily conduct and business is suddenly useful important without any external factors whatsoever.

LGBT people can sleep safely knowing that if service is denied to them it's not being denied to them at all, it's entirely unrelated and has nothing to do with a persons opinion of them and finding a legal loophole in which to demonstrate incivility and downright disassociation with someone they don't like based on a transient religious focus on disliking an out-group and instead is an entirely unrelated exercise of personal conscience.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 26, 2015, 03:43:28 pm
And again, this is only one issue which this law addresses. It's funny how much those who don't give a damn about freedom of conscience were complaining about employers not wanting to offer birth control, now they act like the only religious freedom issue is discrimination against gays because it's a better polemic for them.

True. And if I was a woman or a Muslim I'd be equally as concerned about what excuses people will pull out of their ass for not being a decent human being because of laws like this. But what sort of big social change happening right now in favour of a certain group of people who have suffered open and legal discrimination and harassment, a change that is happening imminently and openly appealed to in the various briefs in support of those bills over the past few years is the catalyst for these legal moves? Don't you think maybe, that religious belief actually has sod all to do with it and it might, just might be an action against a certain minority group?
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 26, 2015, 03:21:59 pm
Sure is a lot of hysteria over this.  Washington State has language stronger than this in their Constitution and a judge still allowed the state to drop a huge fine on a florist for not doing a gay wedding.  So don't worry folks, you may well still be able to punish people for living according to religious beliefs you don't like.

How is not offering a service to a gay person on account of them being gay an extension of religious belief? Can you point me to the parts of relevant revealed texts that outline this particular nuance of religious belief?
9  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UK General Discussion II on: March 26, 2015, 03:17:07 pm
Nuggets of fun from the National Union of Students Women’s Conference

White gay men are the dominant demographic group within the LGBT community and therefore have both white privilege and male privilege. Therefore it is ‘unacceptable’ for gay men to say they have an ‘inner strong black woman’ (do we?) Gay men should therefore not ‘imitate African American Vernacular English.'

Despite this, the commented that delegates should move to ‘jazz hands’ (!) rather than clapping as clapping may trigger anxiety. This has since been challenged that using hand waves to signal agreement may discriminate against the blind and partially sighted. This was then rebuked by saying that clapping disadvantages those who are deaf or hearing impaired until it was pointed out that if you are deaf, you can still see people clapping.

Gay men should not dress in drag as it’s ‘offensive to trans women’ UNLESS you are queer and it’s a mode of self-expression (that clears that up then)


...?

I've posted this here because their live twitter feed started to blow up after they announced this at conference. For a group that advocated gender fluidity they seem to have decided gay men doing things or having expressions appearing to be 'feminine' is a problem. Basically they fired a shot above the parapet at their own allies. Unfortunately this sort of godawful committee speak in an otherwise fruitful conference has essentially given some of their most odious opponents ammunition.

Here is the motion in full:

Conference Further Believes:

1. This type of appropriation is unacceptable and must be addressed.
2. Low numbers of Black LGBT women delegates attend NUS LGBT conference. This can be attributed to many factors, one of which may be the prevalent appropriation by white gay men, which may mean that delegates do not feel comfortable or safe attending conference.


Conference Resolves:

1. To work to eradicate the appropriation of black women by white gay men.
2. To work in conjunction with NUS LGBT campaign to raise awareness of the issue, to calll it out as unacceptable behaviour and, where appropriate, to educate those who perpetuate this behaviour.

The bit in bold has LGBT groups up in arms (or should that be jazz hands) because it makes the assumption that there is a physical/sexual threat in gay white men being prevalent at the LGBT conference.

10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 26, 2015, 03:00:39 pm
Goddamn, I mean I knew Indiana was mediocre, middle-tier, and tolerable at best, but if this asshole gets relected in 2016 and/or the law still stands, I'm done with this state. Not even Lake County or Indianapolis would be tolerable.


My own damn representative (Bill Fine) voted for it. Can't wait to vote against him and Pence next year.

Why are you surprised? 
I'm not surprised. Nothing is surprising here. We were warned about this guy in 2012. He had a record of being a SoCon when he was just a representative. The gay marriage ban originates from 2011, before he got elected, so it's not like this came out of nowhere.

It's still disappointing that he, like other social conservatives, can't see that they're losing badly, and instead of just letting it happen, they have to lash out like this.


It's not a lash out; it's planned and co-ordinated and I hate to say it, people are doing a terrible terrible of job of fighting against it. Many white Christians genuinely believe they are being discriminated against and this is their way of protecting what everyone else sees as merely the inconvenience of having to accommodate difference.

The only way to spike these bills is to tack on riders that require business owners to openly advertise who they won't serve. If someone's 'conscience' is so important to them that in the privacy of a one to one interaction with someone they disagree with they can turn them away (without the public knowing), then they should be willing nay proud, to let the public know before they do business with them.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: March 26, 2015, 02:17:32 pm
Because we don't have enough polls at the moment, Panelbase have expanded operations beyond Scotland. And they tell us that things are: Labour 34, Con 34, UKIP 15, Greens 6, LDem 5.

Safety in numbers. Which perhaps suggests no one has a clue what's going on.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UK General Discussion II on: March 26, 2015, 12:09:54 pm
Nuggets of fun from the National Union of Students Women’s Conference

White gay men are the dominant demographic group within the LGBT community and therefore have both white privilege and male privilege. Therefore it is ‘unacceptable’ for gay men to say they have an ‘inner strong black woman’ (do we?) Gay men should therefore not ‘imitate African American Vernacular English.'

Despite this, the commented that delegates should move to ‘jazz hands’ (!) rather than clapping as clapping may trigger anxiety. This has since been challenged that using hand waves to signal agreement may discriminate against the blind and partially sighted. This was then rebuked by saying that clapping disadvantages those who are deaf or hearing impaired until it was pointed out that if you are deaf, you can still see people clapping.

Gay men should not dress in drag as it’s ‘offensive to trans women’ UNLESS you are queer and it’s a mode of self-expression (that clears that up then)
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Oklahomans deal with some... on: March 26, 2015, 07:25:16 am
God is punishing them for being a boil on the asshole of the nation.
14  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Why is there so much historical revisionism/nationalism among Serbians? on: March 26, 2015, 07:23:54 am
It also hasn't helped matters that Serbia was not 'hauled over the coals' for committing acts of genocide. It was ethno-religious in nature, with Bosniaks (Muslim) and Croats (Catholic) the victims and it is apparent that this sentiment still lingers. What's problematic is that only the massacre of Srebrenica is legally considered to be 'genocide' in the traditional sense, because acts of detainment, forced movement of people, abuse, rape etc don't quite meet the rather arbitrary requirements for what constitutes genocide.

So Serbia was never really charged with anything tangible and what it was to be charged with outside the usual umbrella of 'war crimes' is considered up for debate. Because of that, denialism sets in which is no doubt endemic (and I think the education system probably promotes that)
15  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Germanwings A320 crashes in France on: March 26, 2015, 07:00:21 am
It appears that the co-pilot deliberately locked the pilot out of the cockpit.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: I Just Want To Be Dead on: March 26, 2015, 06:53:09 am
No you don't want to be dead. You just want the situation you are in to stop and in order to do that you have to let certain things go. Do something, anything that doesn't involve her or your old friends. There are dozens of things you can do and you know what? It'll be awkward and you'll feel weird and you'll just want to go home but eventually you'll start enjoying these new things and meet new people.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Christopher Hitchens on: March 25, 2015, 04:30:04 pm
No idea why this is here, but i won't move it yet until it sort of dies down.

I wrote this before he died;

A very intelligent man. The only problem, it is said that many people have with Chris Hitchen's argument re religion (which is the one that he is recently known for) is that it is given by Chris Hitchens. Only it is not; it is an argument made by countless people over centuries. It is not original but neither has it been successfully disarmed. When he argues as part of a team with different personalities this becomes move evident.

For the record the fact that his atheism is all he is known for (to the extent a topic about him appears on this particular board above others) is quite a pity. His earlier works are enjoyable.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Utah's state House votes 39-34 to reinstitute execution by firing squad on: March 25, 2015, 01:40:29 pm
Honestly, the idea that execution of all things should somehow be made 'non-gruesome', as if its 'gruesomeness' has anything at all to do with what's really happening, is possibly even more repulsive and anti-human than the insistence on executing people is itself.

The one positive of it being gruesome is that seeing the gore of a person executed by firing squad is a reminder of just how violent it is to kill someone made clearer than in a lethal injection. Here there is no sugar coating it.

While I agree with both of you, let's remind ourselves that state execution should never actually be gruesome whether as a matter of fact or whether trying to make a public statement, as it is in nearly every other country that carries it out.
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Christopher Hitchens on: March 25, 2015, 06:51:31 am
I didn't even know he posted here

How could you not? It's common knowledge that Christopher Hitchens, William F. Buckley and Ayn Rand are all prominent posters here.

Lenin also throlls the place from time to time.

And hipster Jesus
20  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Phil Robertson is still a piece of sh.. on: March 24, 2015, 03:53:36 pm
Atheists aren't rational, thinking people, you see.  Or even people at all, in fact.  Or so I'm told.

21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Gives Final Approval for Same-Sex Marriage on: March 24, 2015, 03:38:01 pm
but more than 30% of the members of the UMC are not from the US, with most of them coming from Africa or the Phillippines.  And that proportion keeps growing and growing.

This sort of change and it's not unique to that church or even to the USA in terms of western Christianity is a potential breaker on any moves towards greater LGBT inclusiveness. The global church, outside of western nations or even western inclined church hierarchy is on the whole taking a more regressive stance on those matters, when a decade ago it wasn't even an item on any agenda. If there is continual foot dragging then many USA/European churches might not actually move towards the secular 'benchmark' on LGBT issues.

The big issue in the west is that particularly amongst young people, LGBT rights it now no longer about agreeing or disagreeing, but it's becoming a red line issue. I am greatly encouraged by a lot of young people and young Christians taking the position that it's almost incompatible to be a part of the human family and oppose LGBT people for who they are. It's the modern day equivalent of supporting racial theory or in built male superiority.

Choosing LGBT issues from the 80's to now as the hill to die on simply for short term benefit probably won't pay off in the long run, at least amongst western churches.
22  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Phil Robertson is still a piece of sh.. on: March 24, 2015, 02:57:13 pm
"And what do you call it, Phil?"

"The Aristocrats!"

Bravo sir!
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: March 24, 2015, 02:45:02 pm
SNP fairly openly saying that they would vote down a Tory government/coalition Queens Speech. Sturgeon is apparently debate prepping right now to essentially sell the SNP to the UK electorate as the party that 'forces Labour to act like Labour' in government. There's some suggestion that Salmond strutting at Westminster these past few weeks, coupled with intense focus on him as being the SNP by parties and the media is simply designed to give Sturgeon a bit of an impact on the day.

The struggle is, as is the struggle for the other 6 leaders is, because there's so many of them, it won't just be about her so there's limited space for her to get a look in - especially on anything anybody south of the border will care about.

She doesn't need to get much in at all. She won't be addressing the public and saying 'this is why should vote for my party' like pretty much everyone else, because most of them can't. Simply appearing is enough in terms of a boost for the party in Scotland who despite their quite shockingly high support (even for an old pro like me) could still get lost in the media campaign up here. She just has to outline as quickly as she can, what the SNP are and what they would do with respect to Labour. The SNP's message has been for a number of years now; we are what the Labour party should which can now been given to the whole country. Whether you agree with that positioning or not, it allows her to offer Miliband tentative support while digging her nails into his arm at the same time.

The SNP want Labour neutered as a force in Scotland whether the status quo continues or they end up in coalition with them. In fact a coalition would be better because they can squeeze out concessions in time for the 2016 Holyrood elections.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: March 24, 2015, 02:20:56 pm
It's also worth noting that Farage's personal ratings have tanked and are now at Milibandesque levels but with the added problem that they are now the main party that people are least likely to vote for. Don't expect much tactical voting to enable UKIP; probably quite the opposite.

Yep.  I was more thinking of UKIP->CON tactical voting.  

I think in that case it won't necessarily be 'tactical' voting, but simply Tory voters that have a two year dalliance with UKIP returning to the party.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 on: March 24, 2015, 02:16:38 pm
SNP fairly openly saying that they would vote down a Tory government/coalition Queens Speech. Sturgeon is apparently debate prepping right now to essentially sell the SNP to the UK electorate as the party that 'forces Labour to act like Labour' in government. There's some suggestion that Salmond strutting at Westminster these past few weeks, coupled with intense focus on him as being the SNP by parties and the media is simply designed to give Sturgeon a bit of an impact on the day.
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