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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

17 Comments

  1. Come on NM. Threatening to fire someone, or implying it, is bad, but obviously better than, e.g., stoning them to death, or blowing up 50+ of their countrymen for being 'decadent'. Just because we aren't perfect, doesn't mean we aren't superior. We certainly have intolerance and bigotry, but it isn't even on the same scale as that you can witness in Islamic ruled countries. How do they treat gay teachers in Iran or Saudi?

  2. Well, at least the fundies of the world have some common ground to bond here.

    Too bad it is not just the fundies who are suffocating fellow citizens like this. People will be people.

    I hope to be reincarnated as a monkey in the next life.

  3. Andrew, you are right. There are definitely different levels of intolerance and I am happy to be living in the West and not in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

    But the intolerance and bigotry in our own societies is something fundies can exploit to their advantage. There is some common ground there.

    Already there are schools in The oh-so-liberal Netherlands where homosexuality has become taboo because of Islamic influence, for instance.

    I am just guessing, but if the Christian faith would evolve to such a point where homophobia would become taboo* even for them, then we would be stronger in facing radical Islam. Same for the position of women.

    But then again, I am a self-proclaimed naive person.

    *Taboo here meaning that homosexuality as such is more or less accepted as long as one does not practise it.

  4. Andrew – of course not. But the attitude is the same in both cases. This milder response to their hatred of homosexuality doesn't make them any better – they're still bigoted twats, just not necessarily murderous bigoted twats. The fact that this bigotry can still be institutionalised in a country trying to spread democracy to the world is a fucking disgrace. What the hell kind of example of tolerance and live and let live does that set?

  5. Heh, Nosemonkey just gave me an excellent example in his link to Justin:

    "Furthermore, when human skidmark, David Copeland (link via DK), was brought to justice for his nailbombing of London's Brick Lane, Brixton and Old Compton Street, I must have missed the widespread outpouring of apologies from straight, white men. No doubt gay pubs and clubs across the country were inundated by those of us on the other bus, hugging our gay brothers and pleading for their forgiveness."

    Now, I do not want to be a drama queen and I can keep things in perspective, but this example demonstrates that an attack on a Western minority is not necessarily considered to be an attack on Western society as a whole. And that could be dangerous in the long run.

  6. PS: I am sure Copeland was not attacking the West per se. Bad writing on my part.

    My point was: We should protect and cherish OUR minorities and form a united front against extremism in all its forms.

    Off to get some badly needed coffee.

  7. This milder response to their hatred of homosexuality doesn't make them any better

    Of course it does. The victims are still alive! The intentions we should root out, I agree – who wouldn't? But you implied that our civilisation is not superior to that in Islamic states. It clearly is – we don't (generally) tolerate bigotry – we usually condemn it, and in many cases, we've made it illegal. They (generally) do tolerate it.

    It doesn't make us perfect, but it does make us better. There will always be bigots – the difference between our civilisations is what we do about them. In our case, most of them aren't spiritual/moral/political leaders.

    The problem, of course, as Guy points out, is that Christian civilisation could become more intolerant as the fundamentals become more vocal. I'd argue that it isn't going that way. We're becoming increasingly secular and intolerant of intolerance – this is why organisations like Christian Voice get so much press – it's novel, and the oxygen of publicity ensures that the extremists are exposed for what they are.

    What the hell kind of example of tolerance and live and let live does that set?

    A bad one, but better than one where gay people are stoned to death. Change takes time.

    P.S. I assume from the linked post that Texas has some kind of Section 28-esque law in place? It's not explicitly stated, and state's law isn't my strongest suit.

  8. This is essentially moral equivalence and it's ridiculous to compare the treatment of homosexuals in Islamic societies with a teacher in Texas who is "prohibited" from coming out. As you well know any hint of church-state connection in the States is jumped upon by the ACLU- and it's not the Christian Church there that has this rule (whatever it may be), it's a school board. A secular organistation. To throw insults at Christianity because of this is unwarranted. And in the post you linked too, the point is made that she doesn't know for sure if such a rule even exists. It's just a general fear of a loosely worded section of her contract.

    Christians may think that homosexuality is a sin but it's a free society isn't it? "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it". Islamists stone homosexuals to death. In Africa men are on death row for the "crime" of sodomy. Do we do that in our Western, Judeo-Christian civilisation? No, we don't- and it's precisely that civilisation which has promulgated the message of tolerance. That's the point- whether you're a Christian or not, Western Europe and America are founded on these ideals, and it is these very ideals which have given us the open, free society we all cherish.

  9. Sorry but you're wrong on this one. The closet is not a good place, but it is better than being stood against a wall and having it bulldozed on top of you (as the Taliban where want to do).

    As an aside it should be noted that during the time when Islamic culture was technologically and scientifically superior to the west they where also more liberal. Not just to Christians and Jews, but to gays as well. The corelation between liberal atitudes and technoligical progress also shows up in lots of other places.

  10. As Andrew says, bigotry with words is far better than bigotry with bombs.

    Western Culture is far superior to the alternatives precisely because its more tolerant.

  11. Apologies in advance for quoting the Good Book, but you seem a bit confused about Christian theology. I'm not going to Bible bash you, I just wanted to clarify what I and many others believe. Romans is a fantastic book that explores the heart of it:

    Romans 3:22-24
    "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

    This passage is brilliant – it shows us that no-one measures up to God's standards i.e. perfection. When this is the yardstick it's difficult for anyone to claim superiority over someone else. The great part though, is that God lets us off the hook by taking the punishment on himself in the person of Jesus:

    Romans 5:8
    "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

    So, if homosexuality is sinful in God's eyes, the homosexual is no more a sinner than the liar because we've all failed to reach perfection. Both can be forgiven and both can be Christians. Personally, I believe that homosexual acts are wrong, and my gay friends know this, but it is not for me to sit in judgement over them because not one of us is perfect, and no-one has the right to claim superiority over anyone else.

  12. I Romans 26-27: "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

    God "gave them over to shameful lusts", therefore it's God's will – and God's will cannot be questioned or criticised, because he's not only omniscient but also moves in mysterious ways and it is not for us to know the mind of God. (Rather convenient, but that's beside the point…)

    But these "lusts" are described as "unnatural" (and I doubt it's just the translation), giving extra credence to homophobic claims and mentalities. If they are "unnatural", they are against the law of nature, and therefore against the laws of God. Which, considering it was God's will that these "unnatural" acts happen in the first place is a tad paradoxical to say the least.

    Then there's the problem of what the "due penalty" could be. Damnation? Or should it be a physical punishment, imposed by those who didn't succumb to these lusts? It's been interpreted as all kinds of unpleasantness over the years.

    These days, it seems, the penalty is to be chased out of your job through fear and bigotry, and having to live in hiding, constantly dreading being uncovered and having your life ruined. Better than being stoned to death, sure – but still hardly a sensible, mature response to difference. It's little better than the villagers with Frankenstein's monster.

    And in any case, if you're a believer (which I'm not, though know my stuff fairly well when it comes to Christianity), and as your quotes about sin highlight, who is anyone to be intolerant if it's God's will that these things happen? Judge not lest ye be judged, let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that. Yet people DO still judge, people who profess to be Christians DO still hold prejudices – and on top of that, discrimination against homosexuals can be seen to come out of the Christian tradition, as it was largely unknown in western Europe until the coming of Christianity. (The US, of course, I am including here as part of the western European tradition.)

    The basic point is we (the west) shouldn't be so quick to judge Islam either. Some Islamic responses may be more extreme, but the basic ideology is a lot more similar to some Christian worldviews than many would care to admit. And though the degree of response makes a difference, the initial intolerance is the same. We need to get our own house in order if we're going to start criticising other peoples' mess.

  13. My interpretation of "God gave them over…" is that he allowed us to do what we want, which fits with the tone of the rest of Romans and also the Bible generally. Humanity has free will to do what it likes, to match God's expectations or not. The only paradox is that God took the punishment upon himself – God died effectively – and how that works is a mystery. So although we come to the same conclusion about tolerance, it's from different paths. You say that we are God's playthings and he makes us sin (which doesn't square with the concept of a loving God); I say that we all have free will to go our own way and Jesus came and took the punishment which we all deserve for doing so. I know which makes more sense to me.

  14. Matt – my problem is that NOTHING that involves an omnicient and infinite being makes any sense to me whatsoever.

  15. Hey, leave Billie Piper out of this. Grrrr.

  16. Fair point mate, although I still say that once we start claiming moral superiority over this or that person or group of people leads to the very bigotry we are trying to avoid. What is needed is more understanding and perhaps a dose of humility between groups of people e.g. Christians, Muslims, agnostics and atheists; and whilst we might not agree with each other, at least we can live with each other.

    Threatening to fire someone for being gay is wrong, as is stoning someone to death for being gay. The difference between them is the consequences of those actions. In one a man suffers terribly and is killed in a barbaric fashion – his family and friends suffer greatly too. The seeds are sown for further violence by the perpetrators and possibly in revenge attacks. In the other, a man loses his job and takes a big knock, but keeps his life.

    Looking at it like this it is easy to say that we are superior in the West, but would a superior society allow a massacre in Fallujah, for example? To mangle some cliches, taking to the moral high ground is a slippery slope.

    Keep up the good work NM!

  17. Nosemonkey- "These days, it seems, the penalty is to be chased out of your job through fear and bigotry, and having to live in hiding, constantly dreading being uncovered and having your life ruined."

    Gays have to live in hiding in the West? Have you ever visited our planet? No one can be chased out of their job because of Christian "bigotry", or because they're gay. There are, I believe, employment laws about this sort of thing. Yes, Christianity teaches that homosexuality is a sin but I think you'll find that many, many people do not like homosexuality who are not Christians. And, yeah, many of them think it's un-natural too.

    BTW, aren't you being bloody intolerant too- "bigoted twats"? Because they don't share your same views? Christians state that homosexuality is a sin- they do nothing more than that and in our Western society they have every right to state their opinions, however much you might disagree. If they begin to call for homosexuals to be stoned, killed, put in camps, etc, etc- I'll be right behind you in condemning them.