Wednesday, February 09, 2011

E-mail bigotry

Why is the world in a mess?

Here's a thought for a big part of it - far too many people are intolerant and bigoted. Adamant that only they are right, believing everyone else must agree one hundred percent with them and do as they do.

Different from me? Not acceptable.

Another example has just arrived in my e-mail box, and I get similar messages regularly. They come from 'Christians' whipping up anti-Muslim sentiment.

Let me declare my position. I have very little time for any religion.

I don't have a problem with religions per se, but with the fact that they're a rallying point for an awful lot of nastiness.

People whose beliefs and actions are actually far from that of the religion itself gather under its banner and effectively hijack it to push their own perverted version of it.

The e-mails I get originate in the US, as this latest does.

It says, and the highlighting is not mine, it's on the e-mail:   

These pictures are worth more than a thousand words!! Please take note that police and fireman are onsite! It is sanctioned.

NYC on Madison Ave
A Christian Nation cannot put up a Christmas scene of the baby Jesus in a public place, but the Muslims can stop normal traffic every Friday afternoonby worshiping in the streets. Something is happening in America that is reminiscent of what is happening in Europe .. This is Political Correctness gone crazy. Scary! Isn't it?

This is an accurate picture of every Friday afternoon in several locations throughout NYC where there are mosques with a large number of Muslims that cannot  fit into the mosque - They fill the surrounding streets, facing east for a couple of hours between about 2 & 4 p.m. - Besides this one at 42nd St & Madison Ave, there is another, even larger group, at 94th St & 3rd Ave, etc., etc. - Also, I presume, you are aware of the dispute over building another "high rise"  Mosque a few blocks from "ground zero" - With regard to that one, the "Imam" refuses to disclose where the $110 million dollars to build it is coming from and there is a lawsuit filed to force disclosure of that information.

This is in New York City on Madison Avenue, not in France or the Middle East or Yemen or Kenya.

PLEASE SEND THIS TO EVERY CHRISTIAN YOU KNOW!!!!


"For evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing." - Edmund Burke


I hardly know where to start.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

The senders of the e-mail obviously disagree with that amendment, or at least the part that refers to religion. I wonder whether they think the other parts, freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, are wrong too. My guess is that it's just the religious freedom bit they don't like. Or at least, if it applies to any religion other than their own particular branch of Christianity.

(I wonder where they stand on the Second Amendment too...)

Scary! Isn't it?  What's scary?  People saying their prayers scares you?

"A Christian nation cannot put up a Christmas scene of the baby Jesus..."  Who are they blaming? I've never heard people from other religions demanding such things.

There are examples of this kind of stupidity but it comes from 'Christian' councils, officials, individuals, usually on the ridiculous basis of  'we don't want to offend anyone' - forgetting that they are offending Christians.

...this is not in France, Middle East or Yemen or Kenya  (you've spotted the Obama reference there of course, and the old France-bashing dig).  It is indeed in New York City. But NYC is in the USA, which guarantees freedom of religion. So the problem is...?

"For evil to flourish etc".  Evil? What evil is being shown?

The photo shows pious people, too many to fit into their place of worship, peacefully and legally observing their religious devotions.

No prizes for working out the agenda of the senders of these e-mails.

More information

Thanks to jadaoun for pointing out in his comment the Snopes page on this subject.

In fact the whole thing is based on a lie. It's a complete misrepresentation.

The photographs are of an annual event, like the St Patrick's Day Parade and others.

You can read the Snopes information here.

17 comments:

Mich said...

Scary that so many people think like that! How terrible to be so ignorant and close-minded :-)

Mazhar said...

Very well said. Thank you.

a-hem said...

And they're almost always convinced that theirs is a "Christian nation." A Christian majority does not change the U.S. Constitution. It has, and hopefully always will be, a secular nation.

Jad Aoun said...

The email also fails to tell you that the "praying in the streets of New York" is actually an annual event called the Muslim Day Parade. The organizers receive permission to close off the road and they've been doing it since 1985.

Thanks to Snopes.com for that info.

Luke said...

Yes, the USA was built by atheists on the basis of religious freedom, but there is no way you can describe the USA as a secular nation.

Any politician declaring him or herself to be an atheist may as well get a new job immediately.

They write "In god we trust" on their money.

Many millions of Americans believe that the planet Earth is just few thousand years old and do not accept the facts of evolution.

Christianity in USA is as extreme as any taliban movement elsewhere. If in doubt please read up on their views on homosexuality.

As an atheist, it never ceases to amaze me that so many people have religious beliefs, accepting the contents of ancient scriptures and not asking for any proof. They look for proof in every other aspect of their lives but turn a blind eye when it comes to religion.

Nevertheless, being a free thinker, I also accept that people are free to belief and to worship whatever or whoever they want. If they want to kneel on the street, let them do it. If they want to drink wine in the belief it is the blood of jesus, let them do it.

I do though have a problem with childhood indoctrination and mutilation (or do those young boys and girls ask to be circumcised?)

Athos said...

I've read the email that you received three times now and I can't see anything in it that suggests that the author disagrees with the First Amendment and thinks that Muslims or anyone else should be denied the right to practice their faith. Rather, the author seems to be clearly disapproving of the fact that one group (i.e., Muslims) is being permitted to bring its religious observances into the public sphere (i.e., by taking over the streets to pray for a couple of hours every Friday in NYC) while other groups (i.e., Christians) are prohibited from bringing their religious observances into the public sphere (i.e., cannot put up a Christmas scene of the baby Jesus in a public place). Is that discrimination? It certainly looks like it to me. Is discrimination evil? I'd say so. Is discrimination by any government (local, state, federal) evil? You bet. Should discrimination be permitted in a free and open society? I don't think so. Should citizens act to stop discrimination? Count me in.

It seems clear from your article that you've got some sort of a problem with Christians and your prejudice has lead you to read things into that email that simply aren't there. Now this is your blog and you're free to write whatever you want. But if you want your blog to appeal to a broad spectrum of folks, if you want it to be read not only by people who share your views and prejudices but also by people who disagree with your views, you might want to acknowledge your prejudice, if only to yourself. Acknowledging our prejudice helps us to guard against them.

Athos said...

Dear Luke,

"Christianity in USA is as extreme as any taliban movement elsewhere. If in doubt please read up on their views on homosexuality."

Please share with us any examples that you might have of Christians in the USA:

(a) dispatching suicide bombers to attack bathhouses (http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Taliban+suicide+attack+kills+Afghan+bath/4074962/story.html) or places of worhip (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/70-feared-dead-in-attack-on-Pak-mosque/articleshow/4323772.cms);

(b) destroying schools to prevent girls and women from getting an education (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/taliban-blow-up-girls-school-in-northwest-pakistan/741549/),

(c) executing persons accused of adultery (http://articles.cnn.com/2010-08-09/world/afghanistan.woman.killed_1_taliban-commander-mullah-abdul-hakim-adultery?_s=PM:WORLD);

(d) bombing music shops (http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/7281076.html); or

(e) throwing acid in the face of school girls (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/04/afghan-women-fears-for-future).

I look forward to reading in due course your examples of the Taliban-esque conduct of Christians in the USA.

Kind regards.

Athos

Anthony Carlisle said...

Why is the world in a mess?

I don't think that it is, but of course that depends on what you define as "mess".  Notwithstanding the many problems in the world today, the human race as whole and compared to any time in the past (10 years ago, 100 years ago, 1,000 years ago and 10,000 years ago) is relatively far better off.  There is still much progress to be made and injustices to be addressed, but the human race is clearly moving in the right direction with peoples' standards of living continuing to improve in most places!

Here's a thought for a big part of it - far too many people are intolerant and bigoted.

I doubt it and disagree with your thought.  Intolerance and bigotry are part of human nature. In my view the problem comes not from human nature, which is difficult to change, but from the lack in many countries of institutions and other safe guards (like the rule of law, democracy and freedom of speech) which protect people against the evils and excesses of such human nature.  Unwittingly (I suspect), your use of an e-mail from an American as an example demonstrates my point: like all other countries, tolerance and bigotry is very much present in US society. However, unlike many, the United States has the above mentioned institutions and safe guards in place to keep such intolerance it in check (I refer to Athos' post contrasting the activities of the American Christian right and the Taliban).  There is freedom of worship in the USA.  Some worry that such freedoms are taken go too far and invade the public space.  But generally speaking the US has the institutions and safeguards to stop (much to the disgruntlement of many religious people) such "invasions" before they go beyond acceptable limits.  The fact that members of a different religious persuasion have the right and freedom to express their objections to other faiths and ideologies is to be applauded.  I say: all the more freedom to the bigots to spout their nonsense - it allows the rest of us to show it as such through debate, argument, denouncement and (in my view, most powerfully) humour. 

Adamant that only they are right, believing everyone else must agree one hundred percent with them and do as they do. Different from me? Not acceptable.
 
So what if someone is adamant that they are right and believe that everyone else should agree 100% with them and do as they do?  If such a person lives in a free country like the USA, then generally speaking I cannot see the problem or harm; indeed it is actually beneficial.  Only when such a person causes harm by breaking the law should it become a concern.  It's in countries where protections against "the acts" of the bigots are absent where one has something to fear.  You don't need me to tell you which countries I am referring to and the United States and Australia are not included in that list!
 
People whose beliefs and actions are actually far from that of the religion itself gather under its banner and effectively hijack it to push their own perverted version of it.
 
How do you define which parts of a religion are perverted and which are not?  As you must know, many things that you might think as being "perverted" have scriptural sanction in the religion in question.  Who determines which part of a particular scripture is acceptable and which parts not?  The problem is religion itself, not some part of it which you might subjectively decide is perverted but which a devout adherent might not.  The best defence against the excesses of religion and those who take cover under religion for committing such excesses, is democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and other related liberties.  Not exhortations against intolerance and bigotry.   

Duffy said...

"I don't have a problem with religions per se, but with the fact that they're a rallying point for an awful lot of nastiness."

Nastiness is part of human nature, not religion. Godless atheist Mao killed millions. Godless atheist Stalin and Lenin killed who knows how many?

People bent on nastiness will find a justification for it. Whether it's God or the State or whatever ideology.

Luke said...

Hi.

One example of christian terrorism would be: Eric Robert Rudolph a.k.a. Olympic Park Bomber, member radical Christian Identity movement. Bombed the 1996 Olympics, and various abortion clinics for his religious beliefs.

What about the Waco siege? And then the Oklahoma bombing which was revenge for the handling of Waco.

What about the hellhouses that kids get sent to scare the living daylights out them so that they succomb to the christian indoctrination?

What about the financial support for the events in Northern Ireland?

etc etc..

rosh said...

"They fill the surrounding streets, facing east for a couple of hours between about 2 & 4 p.m. -Besides this one at 42nd St & Madison Ave, there.."

My office is the corner of 42nd and Madison. In the 10 years here, I haven't seen people congregate for Friday prayers, let alone a call for prayer?

I will make it a point to walk around the area this Friday. It's going to be bone chilling cold.

As for "A Christian nation cannot put up a Christmas scene of the baby Jesus..."

I think most New Yorkers know it's NOT because of Muslims. New York City is very Jewish, hence phrases like "Seasons Greetings" and the "Holiday Tree" are often used because, Christmas and Hanukkah are celebrated in close proximity.

Athos said...

Hi Luke.

In reply to your comments:

(a) Although many third parties have suggested that Eric Rudolph was a Christian Identity extremist, his own writings suggest that he was not motivated by any religion or acting in the name of or in the perceived defense of any religion. In his letters to his mother, he writes: "I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible" (see http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-07-05-rudolph-cover-partone_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA)

In his written statement following his confession, McVeigh was contemptuous of Christians: "You so-called "Pro-Life," "good Christian people" who point your plastic fingers at me saying that I am a "murderer," that "two wrongs don't make a right," that even though "abortion is murder, those who would use force to stop the murder are morally the same," I say to you that your lies are transparent" (see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4600480)

(b) The Waco siege was a siege conducted by agencies of the US government after a failed attempt by the ATF to serve a search warrant on the Branch Davidians / Koreshians. Whatever one thinks of the Branch Davidians / Koreshians, it is clear that they did not seek to impose their views on persons of different faiths, did not seek to deny persons with different faiths the right to practice such faiths, and did not conduct acts of terror against persons of different faiths.

(c) Timothy McVeigh declared himself to be an agnostic (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/jun/11/mcveigh.usa4) and Terry Nichols was an atheist at the time of the Oklahoma bombing, although he did subsequently convert to Christianity after his arrest (see hhttp://newsok.com/nichols-writes-to-judge-on-sons-behalf/article/1847401.) So I'm not sure how you can link the Oklahoma City bombings to Christians or any other religious group.

(d) I don't know what "hellhouses" you're referring to; perhaps you could provide a link. In any event, there is an obvious difference between scaring someone and killing or maiming them.

(e) I've searched the website of NORAID / Irish Northern Aid for a list of contributors but can't find one; nor have I been able to find a list of NORAID's contributors elsewhere on the internet. Kindly post the link that shows that Christians are "providing financial support for events in Northern Ireland".

Kind regards,

Athos

susanthecoach said...

I think the people who ban Christmas from public places actually want to portray other religions as intolerant - making people believe that Muslims will be offended by people celebrating Christmas is all part of their agenda.

None of my Muslim or Jewish or Hindu friends are remotely offended by people of other religions celebrating their faith. In fact for the most part we enjoy celebrating each other's festivals and use them as an opportunity to learn more about each other. And the more we learn, the more we realise that all religions are essentially the same.

The only ones who are offended are the bigots - and there are bigots on all sides.

Alvarez Martinez said...

Susanthecoach: I think the people who ban Christmas from public places actually want to portray other religions as intolerant - making people believe that Muslims will be offended by people celebrating Christmas is all part of their agenda.

No, it's the constitution of the United States that prohibits any religion (not just Christianity) from erecting its symbols in public places. And there is a very good reason for this. It is to ensure that no one religion has the monopoly of power or influence over the state or even the appearance of such power or influence. People have the freedom to worship (or not) without the concern that their particular belief (or absence of belief) will be restricted or even persecuted by the state.

None of my Muslim or Jewish or Hindu friends are remotely offended by people of other religions celebrating their faith.

Of course they are not. They live in a country that allows different faiths to exist side by side. And that's because no one faith has the monopoly of power or influence over the state.

In fact for the most part we enjoy celebrating each other's festivals and use them as an opportunity to learn more about each other. And the more we learn, the more we realise that all religions are essentially the same.

That's all very nice and multicultural. But if all religions are essentially the same doesn't this undermine, somewhat, the claims of each to be the sole and only true spiritul message available to human kind? Perhaps you and your friends who are concluding that "all religions are essentially the same" should take this thought to its logical conclusion and determine that if this is actually so (notwithstanding the spiritual texts of your respective preligions which certainly would not admit as much, indeed would strenuously claim the opposite) then what you actually believe is not your respective religions but something else entirely?

The only ones who are offended are the bigots - and there are bigots on all sides.

But funnily enough most bigots are religious folk of one sort or another. Religion gives them licence and cover for their bigotry.

Anonymous said...

@athos I don't think people generally advertise the fact that they financed the IRA.

Hellhouses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8O-Qawyux8

Luke said...

Sorry, that last comment was from me.

Athos said...

Hi Luke,

Thanks for your comments.

If people don't generally advertise the fact that they finance the IRA, then the obvious question is how you (or anyone else) can reasonably state that Christian terrorists (or anyone else) provide / provided support for the events in Northern Ireland.

As regards your link to Mr. Dawkins' 'hell house', I find it difficult to take seriously the suggestion that a theatric play conducted in private in a church (a) denies anyone the right to exercise their faith or (b) constitutes an act of extremism or terrorism tantamount to suicide bombing or other acts undertaken by the Taliban.

Kind regards

Athos