Affleck vs. Maher on the Islam Religion

Will the real liberal please stand up? An interesting and heated verbal battle between actor Ben Affleck and talk show host Bill Maher over Islam as a religion on Maher's show. Also chiming in: Nicholas Kristof, Michael Steele, and author Sam Harris.

My take: Maher and Harris should stay seated. They come off as total Islamophobes. Steele, the former chair of the Republican party expressed more progressive views than the two of them.

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    That was an interesting discussion (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:25:55 AM EST
    i did not see the show.  Thanks for posting it.  More people should see that.  I completely disagree with your conclusion.  I thought Affleck was a pompus a$$.  He did not make one worthwhile contribution to the discussion.  All he did was smirk and pout and whine.   He was the perfect representative of that particular liberal point of view.  Maher is insane.  We all know that.  He is a provocateur.  You either like that or you don't. I thought Harris was great.  He is a better messenger than Maher.

    But really when confronted with a statistic like 78% of British Musilms thought the Danish cartoonist should be prosecuted what is your response?  

    And about not mentioning women but gays?  By my count every time gays were mentioned they followed the mention of women.

    I am not going to comment further on this thread.  It will inevitably devolve into name calling and nonsense.  But I am glad you posted this.  It should be seen.  And probably more people read this blog than comment.

    Does anyone care what Ben Affleck (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:46:23 AM EST
    has to say on the eu object of Islam?

    Having watched Maher make this argument (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 07:12:18 AM EST
    many times, with many different liberals, I can tell you his reaction and arguments were pretty standard issue.

    The same people who care (5.00 / 4) (#121)
    by jbindc on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:18:33 AM EST
    What Bill Maher thinks of any religion.

    The obvious response (2.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:34:11 AM EST
    is not to let British Muslims be in charge of deciding what cartoons are published in Danish newspapers.

    I wonder how many Christians would react in a similar way to cartoons that made fun of Christ and all the theological apparatus that goes with Christianity.

    My guess is, probably about the same percentage.  Look how excited Jim got when several people pointed out the acceptance of slaves and slavery in the New Testament.

    Motes and beams folks, motes and beams/


    Ok I lied (4.25 / 4) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:39:09 AM EST
    one more.  Only because this supremely idiotic comment should be framed, or etched in stone or something.

    This person actually believes that a cartoon of Christ would result if the actual death of the cartoonist.  Would actually result in vast swaths of people calling for his death and an actual official death threat from official christian sources.

    I test my freaking case


    Don't know if there were any cartoons (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 10:30:52 AM EST
    in this book but threats there were. One specific threat was accompanied by this passage from the King James bible:

    Suppose someone secretly entices you--even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend--and says, `Let us go worship other gods'--gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in." - Deuteronomy 13:6-9. (NLT)

    More Christian (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 10:40:55 AM EST
    Ok I won't respond to the other one (4.00 / 3) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 11:04:06 AM EST
    but I respect you.  You are missing the point.  You actually think that I, I an very outspoken atheist among fundamentalists, don't know what they think?  Trust me.  I do.   However, I have never gotten a death threat.  An more importantly the official church has never put a price on my head.   If you honestly don't know what the life of that Danish cartoonist was like I urge you to find out.  It might be eye opening.  Or Salmon Rushdie.
    A few yahoos on social media is not the same as an official fatwa.  The equivalency argument is nonsense.

    Now, I'm done.  I think.


    Just one more follow-up (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:28:07 PM EST
    As I'm sure you know, there is not one main leader for the Muslim religion any more than there is one sect of the Muslim religion. While those in other religions do not issue fatwas, individual leaders of various religions do take action that incite the actions of their follows to cause death. Since I have this article at hand, lets look at the action of Buddhist Monks in Myanmar.

    But over the past year, images of rampaging Burmese Buddhists carrying swords and the vituperative sermons of monks like Ashin Wirathu have underlined the rise of extreme Buddhism in Myanmar -- and revealed a darker side of the country's greater freedoms after decades of military rule. Buddhist lynch mobs have killed more than 200 Muslims and forced more than 150,000 people, mostly Muslims, from their homes.

    Ashin Wirathu denies any role in the riots. But his critics say that at the very least his anti-Muslim preaching is helping to inspire the violence.
    In his recent sermon, he described the reported massacre of schoolchildren and other Muslim inhabitants in the central city of Meiktila in March, documented by a human rights group, as a show of strength.

    "If we are weak," he said, "our land will become Muslim." link

    No fatwas are issued by the individual Christian leaders who incite their follows through their sermons to violence against abortion providers which lead to the death of Dr. George Tiller or other acts of recorded violence.

    Anti-abortion violence is violence committed against individuals and organizations that provide abortion.[1] Incidents of violence have included destruction of property, in the form of vandalism; crimes against people, including kidnapping, stalking, assault, attempted murder, and murder; and crimes affecting both people and property, including arson and bombings.

    No fatwas were issued against women yet religious leaders have been responsible for draconian laws that not too long ago saw medical providers stand by and watch the torture and death of a woman because they were afraid that they would be jailed for removing a completely nonviable fetus.

    No fatwas. Just a lot of preaching that if women die it is the will of God.

    No fatwa was issued by the bishop in a 3rd world country who preached that women must submit to their husbands who have aids without a condom. According to him, if they die they would be martyrs to their faith and receive their rewards in heaven. Women interviewed said they must follow their bishop's decrees because of their faith.

    No fatwas and IMO no false equivalency. Just actual deaths of numerous people.


    My loathing of fundamentalism (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:37:37 PM EST
    of any stripe should be know to anyone who reads these comments.  I have said repeatedly the only difference between Islamic and christian fundamentalism is the civil laws that protect us.  No one hates the erosion of church and state in this country more than me.  No one.
    That said we don't roll it back by twisting ourselves into pretzels in defense of theocracy in other places.  

    I condemn it all.


    Stating that condemning 1.5 billion people (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:14:23 PM EST
    who are Muslim for the actions of a small segment is wrong, is not IMO defending theocracy. Maher and many others are painting with too broad a brush and make demands on Muslims that they do not make of other religions.

    Why are there not 300,000 Buddhist in Myanmar putting down the Buddhist Monks who incite their followers to kill Muslims? That is what many are demanding of Muslims. Speaking out against violence which many have done and are doing is not enough to satisfy those who choose condemnation.

    Why are the Jews of the world not silencing those of the Jewish faith who incite violence? Why are the Christians of the world not silencing those of the Christian faith who incite violence or cause death based on their interpretation of their faith.

    Why must each and every Muslim be condemned for not instantly changing the extremes of their religion when the each and every Christian or each and every Jew or each and every Buddhist is not condemned for not instantly changing the extremes of their religion.


    IMO (2.00 / 1) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:23:26 PM EST
    he is not saying all are sympathetic to the small segment.   He is saying to many are.  I agree.  I also think too many Christians are apologists for extremeists.  That is my opinion.  You are entitled to yours.

    Has even one Catholic bishop (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:40:03 PM EST
    gone on record to support changes to the Irish abortion laws that resulted in the death of Savita Halappanavar. Change:

    The Irish legislation would permit abortions if there is a real and substantial threat to the mother's life, including from suicide.

    To the best of knowledge none has done so instead here is the reported response from the U.S.:

    Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, said today he would not attend Boston College's commencement because the scheduled speaker, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, supports controversial abortion-rights legislation in his country.

    In a statement released this afternoon, O'Malley said the Catholic Bishops of the United States have urged Catholic institutions not to honor government officials whose views on the issue are inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church.

    Catholicism (none / 0) (#53)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:47:39 PM EST
    is hardly the seat of extremist Christianity.

    Catholic policies adopted by Ireland (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:30:02 PM EST
    were the cause of Savita Halappanavar dying unnecessarily.

    The Catholic Church's policies regarding condoms impedes fighting HIV and has lead to unnecessary deaths in Africa and the increase in HIV in the Philippines.

    The Catholic Church's policies against contraceptives puts the lives of women at risk on a regular basis.


    Go back and listen (2.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:36:11 PM EST
    it is explained that you have one group of fanatics who want to kill encircled by another group who agree with the objectives of the fanatics but use various political schemes to try and achieve the objectives and a larger group of conservative Muslims who don't support but don't actually oppose.

    And a very small group who vocally oppose.

    And while there may be some Christians who support anti-gay laws in Uganda I know of none who support stoning fornicators,honor killings of female family members and killing people who leave the Christian faith.


    But not knowing of them... (none / 0) (#66)
    by unitron on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:35:12 PM EST
    ...is not what I would consider a guarantee that there aren't some somewhere who consider themselves Christian yet "...support stoning fornicators,honor killings of female family members and killing people who leave the Christian faith."

    When religion is involved, never underestimate the level of crazy possible.


    And as far as (none / 0) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:28:51 PM EST
    not other religions, all I can say is watch Religilous.

    But I notice no one is condemning (none / 0) (#115)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 07:14:47 AM EST
    you as anti-Buddhist, or painting all Buddhists with a broad brush, by asking those questions.

    Maybe because a different question was asked (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 07:33:59 AM EST
    The question was why aren't the people who make these demands on  all  Muslins making the same demands on all Buddhists, all Jews  or all Christians.

    No one asked the question (none / 0) (#118)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 07:53:32 AM EST
    because the answer is obvious.  Of course we make the same demands.

    Don't think so (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:47:57 AM EST
    Haven't seen anyone here demanding that all moderate Buddhists go on TV to denounce the actions in Myanmar. Haven't seen anyone demanding that all moderate Catholics go on TV and denounce the policies that cause the death of women in Ireland or in Africa and the Philippines or anyone demanding that all  moderate Jews go on TV to denounce the radical elements in their religion.

    Seen those demands regarding Muslims here on the threads and more. The response to Muslims who have denounced the actions of ISIL has been in some cases if they were really serious they would go over, take up arms and fight them.


    But if somebody did do this (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:08:23 AM EST
    demanding that all moderate Buddhists go on TV to denounce the actions in Myanmar. Haven't seen anyone demanding that all moderate Catholics go on TV and denounce the policies that cause the death of women in Ireland or in Africa and the Philippines or anyone demanding that all  moderate Jews go on TV to denounce the radical elements in their religion.

    would you call them Buddhistophobes or Catholophobes?

    Maher simply chooses to address what are in his view the most egregious current examples of religious extremism. It is not really that complicated.


    I would put up the same argument (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:02:27 AM EST
    and believe it beyond stupid to condemn the a total group of people for the actions of a relative few.

    If OTOH, they chose to point out the extremes in only the Buddhist or Catholic religion, demanding ridiculous actions from people not involved, to prove that that they are not violent, I might  well believe that they are Buddistophobes or Catholophobes.

    Maher pointed out what he thought were religious extremes and labeled them Islamic. 90% female mutilation in a country that is between 50 to 63% Christian. 75% female mutilation in a country that is 62.8% Christian.

    Reza Aslan:

    But, you know, frankly, when it comes to the topic of religion, he's not very sophisticated in the way that he thinks. I mean, the argument about the female genital mutilation being an Islamic problem is a perfect example of that. It's not an Islamic problem. It's an African problem.

    It's a Central African problem. Eritrea has almost 90 percent female genital mutilation. It's a Christian country. Ethiopia has 75 percent female genital mutilation. It's a Christian country. Nowhere else in the Muslim, Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue.

    More on Maher's claims (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:29:02 AM EST
    "It is extremely clear that in many countries that have a very high population of Muslims, female genital mutilation/cutting is not practiced," said Francesca Moneti, the UNICEF senior child protection specialist who co-authored the report.

    Experts say the practice stems from social pressure to conform to traditions passed down for centuries -- one that predates not just Islam but also Judaism and Christianity. (The origins of the practice are subject to some dispute, but some scholars say it may correspond to areas of ancient civilizations, in which the cutting of females "signalled controlled fidelity and the certainty of paternity," the UNICEF report states.)
    Due to immigration, the term "central African" may be too restrictive, but his larger point -- that this is not a problem in only Muslim countries -- is valid. Countries with majority-Christian populations also carry out this practice, while Islamic-majority countries like Iraq and Yemen have rates on the lower side.

    We rate Aslan's claim Mostly True.
    {http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/oct/02/reza-aslan/fact-checking-reza-aslans-ret ort-bill-maher/}

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#125)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:56:17 AM EST
    Im sorry.  This is becoming silly.

    I agree (none / 0) (#127)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:01:14 AM EST
    that the demands made of all Muslims are definitely silly.

    The earth moved (none / 0) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:33:13 PM EST
    I agree.

    I'm sure you'd get some death threats (2.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:54:01 AM EST
    from some "Christians", but thanks for playing Stupid Extrapolation, bubbe.

    See below about the (none / 0) (#22)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 11:30:14 AM EST
    bomb threats and anti-Semitism unleashed by "The Last Temptation" movie, if you don't believe me.

    We have legal protections though (none / 0) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:51:24 PM EST
    In this country.  And law enforcement and a whole legal system stands between us and such threats.  It isn't socially acceptable either.  And many people in this country cry out publicly over such threats being made too...and nobody is able to put many successful death Fatwas out on our big mouths. If they could, this whole blog would have likely been done away with at some point :)

    Test-Rest (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:40:12 AM EST
    either way

    Maybe not cartoons (none / 0) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 10:14:49 AM EST
    but billboards will definitely result in threats against the people involved and their families.

    Here's what the reaction to (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 10:17:17 AM EST
    the movie The Last Temptation of Christ was like:

    Even though the general outline of the rest of the story is widely known, Lindlof's account is gripping because of the number of unpublished details he describes. After being stalled for months by Penland, the Christian right was ready to burst into action. Donald Wildmon sent out 2,500,000 "action packets" exhorting Christians to stand up for Christ and against the movie. Several influential organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ and Focus on the Family joined forces for a series of "preemptive strikes" against Universal and MCA. The ensuing battle involved demonstrations, letters, phone calls, and death threats. Protesters seemed to have inside knowledge of where secret screenings would occur, and it was discovered that the source was the son of a Universal executive. The most surprising event occurred after Bill Bright, the head of Campus Crusade for Christ, prayed for guidance and felt he received an answer from God: Buy the film. He planned a fundraising campaign, offered Universal ten million dollars, and hoped to have a celebration where he and his colleagues would burn the picture. Universal was taken aback by the offer, but then realized it was an opportunity to reclaim the "moral high ground." The studio sent a letter to Bright and published copies in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, and several other papers. The letter referred to American freedom of religion and speech, and ended with the words: "These freedoms protect all of us. They are precious. They are not for sale." Universal's defense of artistic freedom gave the studio a new image: that of a staunch civil libertarian.

                The battle grew uglier and more dangerous as the day of the film's release drew closer. The Reverend R. J. Hymers, Jr. interjected anti-Semitism into the debate by producing picket-line banners reading, "Wasserman Fans Hatred toward the Jews with `Temptation' Movie.'" Hymers explained his thinking: "These Jewish producers with a lot of money are taking a swipe at our religion. Of course, it's going to cause a backlash." The Reverend's next move was a mock passion play in front of Wasserman's house: a long-haired, white-robed young man spattered with fake blood carried a large cross as a "Wasserman" figure planted his foot on the back of the "savior," posing for the cameras. Many fundamentalists were disturbed by Hymers' anti-Semitism, but others, such as Jerry Falwell, picked up the theme. As matters worsened and death threats increased, Universal installed guards on every floor of the studio and put in bulletproof glass near the reception desk. Some Universal executives received bloody pigs and voodoo dolls at their homes, and the FBI warned that the white supremacist group Aryan Nations had targeted Wasserman and others for assassination. Expressions of outrage about the film also came from as far away as Calcutta from Mother Teresa and from within the U.S. government, when three Republicans cosponsored a "sense of congress" resolution calling for Universal to withdraw the picture and for citizens not to patronize businesses associated with the studio. Theatrical screenings in the United States were accompanied by bomb threats, demonstrations, a slashed screen and stolen print, weapon-carrying moviegoers, and at one venue an appearance of the Lookout Mountain Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Universal spent over a million dollars on security, reducing the film's already minuscule domestic profit. (ed)

    The author of the book, (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Zorba on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:30:41 PM EST
    Nikos Kazantzakis, while he didn't get any death threats after its publication (that I'm aware of), was excommunicated from the Greek Orthodox Church.  He's buried on the wall around his birth city of Heraklion, Crete, because the Greek Orthodox Church would not allow his burial in a cemetery.

    Given some of his activities when he was (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:38:15 PM EST
    an adolescent, the book was probably the least of his offenses against the GOT.

    Are you referring to... (none / 0) (#61)
    by unitron on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:30:08 PM EST
    ...Kazantzakis's adolescence, and did you actually mean GOC?

    Yes, GOC. (none / 0) (#64)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:32:54 PM EST
    Google and Wikipedia don't seem to... (none / 0) (#67)
    by unitron on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:39:17 PM EST
    ...come up with anything particularly scandalous from the first 2 decades of his life.

    Google his name with (none / 0) (#141)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:04:28 AM EST
    the search terms "Irish lass" and altar.  Then you'll find the answer you seek.

    He wasn't a legal adult (none / 0) (#68)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:39:36 PM EST
    By the standards of the times, and it is documented in his autobiography Report to Greco.

    Well, Report to Greco, (none / 0) (#76)
    by Zorba on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:24:43 PM EST
    While a truly excellent work, was a semi-fictionalized autobiography.
    But that's okay, because it reflects the way Kazantzakis viewed his life, and the world.  He was, in many ways, more of a philosopher than a novelist.
    Which is much of the reason why he got in trouble with the Greek Orthodox Church.
    Not to mention his early flirtation with communism, which he abandoned, fortunately, right before the Greek Civil War.
    Although he remained a leftist.    ;-)

    How many newspapers in the US (2.00 / 1) (#55)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:09:51 PM EST
    rejected material about the movie??


    There was a huge amount of self censorship over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed.

    How many died in riots? How many churches were attacked??


    I think you see my point.


    Maher and Harris Bug me (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by RickyJim on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:42:46 PM EST
    They just complain about Muslims and liberals who don't denounce them but don't propose anything the US can do to reform the situation in that part of the world.  Has either of them ever spoken about how US support for Israel played an important role in causing 9/11 and the conflict between the notion of a "Jewish State" and American values?  I don't think either would dare.

    True (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:26:25 PM EST
    I'm waiting to read Harris's book.  It was like the second step on the staircase of discussion.  Things are very emotional around this, and rightfully so.

    And when you debate, and you have people bringing real issues to the table without hidden agendas, it does often go one step at a time.  And Affleck needs to be heard just as much as Maher and Harris during that debate.  And he was.  Ben Affleck and everyone who sees his side in this has real reasons to be deeply concerned if and when we wade into this.  They aren't addressing make believe Fox News concerns.  They aren't concern trolls.


    As I watched the (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by KeysDan on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:58:37 PM EST
    Friday evening Maher show, my impression, overall, was that it was quite good, as major entertainment and minor education.  The guests were very interesting, especially Senator Warren (although sometimes I find her too intense, but that may just be her passion and my restraint).

    And, the panelists, Nicholas Kristoff always seems to me to be a bit of a lightweight despite the serious, if not creepy, themes of some of his NYT columns; Michael Steel, understandably, provides candid and interesting insights now that he is unharnessed from his Republican job; and Ben Affleck's star is movies, but also brings his liberal thinking to discussions--as he effectively did during the beginning of the panel discussion.

    The subsequent addition of Sam Harris to the panel should have been the highlight of the show's discussion, since this was, with the exception of Steel, a liberal crowd, albeit, as expected, with differences on certain issues.

    But, in my view, Affleck became too emotional to contribute, or, more importantly, to listen and find out what Harris' was trying to say.  And, trying is a good descriptor, since Harris was not given an opportunity to present his case--a case that runs counter to many liberals and deserved at least, a hearing.  Bill Maher was, of course, Maher--often funny, but poignant, twists on current events.

     Since so many people get their news and information from shows like Maher, Colbert and Stewart, this was a good opportunity, if only to learn the difference between Islam and Muslim.  

    Harris, seemed to be saying that belief guides behavior and certain religious ideas, jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy, may lead to oppression, and, even, killings. The lines from Matthew (render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's and unto God the things that are God's) provide a basis to divorce religion from politics and secular ethics. A similar line from the Koran (there is no compulsion to religion) is not as strong for mainstream interpretation or re-interpretation of Islam.

     Harris did manage to get out that his concerns provide no shelter to those who hate Muslims, and, my take, was that he is uncomfortable with finding that a large contingent of those who agree with him on this matter are right-wingers, or, in Europe, fascists.  

    Harris should be able to disabuse such adherents with his stated opinion that "the idea that any book was inspired by the creator of the universe is poison--intellectually, ethically, and politically."  

    I think the audience could have learned more without Affleck's personal attack on Harris and/or by Maher serving more as moderator than un-nuanced ally of Harris.

    As often seems to happen (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:13:46 PM EST
    you are able to say what i mean.

    What bugs (5.00 / 5) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:47:45 PM EST
    me is that no one can state what the real problem is and that is radical fundamentalism. And are we to become like the fascists and try to eliminate an entire religion as a solution? History has proven that that never works.

    institutionalized mockery of christians (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by thomas rogan on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 05:28:05 PM EST
    1.  Robert Mapplethorpe and pisschri$t
    2.  Sinead O'Connor ripping up the pope's picture

    Try making an image of Mohammed in urine or a picture of Mohammed (forget about ripping it up) and see what happens.

    Of course, if the US media had any guts then every one of them would have printed the Danish cartoons on the same day on their respective editorial pages, out of solidarity with journalists if nothing else.

    That's pretty weak tea (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:55:41 PM EST
    how many Christians were "persecuted" by those actions?

    So you object to the ... (5.00 / 2) (#162)
    by Yman on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 05:38:13 PM EST
    ..."institutionalized mockery of christians" (aka two artists), but you wanted the cartoon of Mohammed broadcast by everyone?!?



    Sorry but art criticism is required (none / 0) (#160)
    by Palli on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 04:31:40 PM EST
    You are miss-interpreting Serrano's photograph: the first step of looking at a work of art is to look.
    What is that object in the glass?

    a cheap commercial plastic cruxifix.
     Capitalist degradation of an idea, a thought, a devout religion?

    Look and Think before you (and every other knee-jerk offended) viewer decides what an artist is saying?


    The Everlasting Argument (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by christinep on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:23:27 PM EST
    Is religion good? Is it bad? Who makes the "argument?" Does it matter?  What is the purpose after the exploratory late-night oh-so-intense discussions & debates of youth?

    I'm a practicing Catholic. At times, over the years, the practice was less and the questions and issues were many.  As I grew older, I embraced the Church with new found appreciation and love  on a different level than a 7-year-old communicant ... that evolution was not without internal turmoil and occasional open debate/discussion with Church officials.  Along the lines of the columnist EJ Dionne I can exclaim with a smile that Pope Francis sure helps.

    Over all these years, as well, I've really learned on a more than intellectual level that an individual's deep belief system is just that. All manner of epithets or brandishing "facts" tends to go in circles and lead to raised temperatures.  My personal belief is that the major religions can and do offer positive supports for individuals on their journey through life as well as contribute to a shared value, community system.  At the same time, the use of any religious belief system to ram or jam through an external or differing belief system definitely turns the good on its head should it morph into a dictatorial, ugly perversion of spiritualism.

    Insofar as I know, many here (myself included) could readily cite examples of religious extremism ... and the wars & persecutions pursued in pursuit of "religious" power.  That is nothing new.  For example: A course on Church history--as an adult Catholic--does not shy away from the  Borgia Popes or the Inquisition or the periodic misplaced dalliance with power-mongering dictators (see South American history, e.g.) But then, we see a Pope Francis reminding us of forgiveness, mercy, compassion (even as he opens the conclave this weekend of marriage and the family.)  We all change--or at least, we are all capable of growing and changing for the better.  That covers people who believe in God and people who don't.  We are, after all, human.

    In the interests of communication & education -- and without regard to trying to "win" an unwinnable religious argument -- one thing that is helpful is explanation.  When a practitioner of a religion or spiritual approach takes the time to explain, without defensive posture, the why and wherefore of a specific belief, it can only decrease destructive misinformation.  For example: Earlier in this thread, mention was made of differing purposes for "jihad."  Considering the current world state of affairs, a discussion of the meaning of jihad (without the inflammatory language seemingly associated with it) would be worthwhile.

    An aside: On St. Francis Day yesterday, I took my doggy Celeste for the annual Blessing of the Animals ... and, she didn't jump up on the priest as a good swatch of holy water cascaded onto her. Yea!  The memory of St. Francis and what he modeled and inspired lives long.  A Prayer for Peace is always relevant.

    And Christianity regularly uses Old Testament (5.00 / 4) (#97)
    by MO Blue on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:52:14 PM EST
    passages to support their actions against women, gays, Muslims and to support capital punishment.

    But none of those positions (1.00 / 1) (#133)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:52:18 AM EST
    carry the force of being current "Law."

    And that is the difference between Islam and Christianity.

    Yet the people who attach Christianity while claiming anyone who criticizes Islam is an Islamphobe don't want to admit that.



    No, (5.00 / 5) (#145)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:35:18 AM EST
    it's not the difference between Islam and Christianity. It's the difference of being in a democracy that has separation of church and state and being in a theocracy that does not.

    So if some (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 07:15:36 PM EST
    terrorist declares war on the US then we should start taking everybody else. I guess had you been at the helm when Timothy McVeigh and the militia declared war on the US government then you would be advocating bombing Buffalo NY since that's where he grew up? Do you see how idiotic you are? It's terrorism. Terrorism has been done by a lot of people over the years, Americans, foreigners whoever.

    You don't understand anything really. You're still stuck in the cold war thinking. You're thinking that something like this can be won with guns and planes and something else. We've spent trillions doing what you want and it still has not solved the problem has it? But instead of admitting that the way you think is a failure you take the lazy way and double down on it. Jim, trying the same failed strategy and hoping it works the next time is called insanity.

    No, your grandson if he is in naval aviation is not going to be cannon fodder. I said if you REALLY HAVE GUTS which you don't, you would encourage him to go into the infantry. Really put him at risk not in some protected naval aviation position. Once again, you want someone else to sacrifice for something you're not even willing to sacrifice your family for. Wars--they are for other people's children to die in not yours. Typical Republican nonsense.  

    And I can (5.00 / 4) (#102)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 07:21:04 PM EST
    say that their strategy is working on you. The goal of terrorists is to instill terror. You are one of their success stories.

    You know, when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor FDR said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The GOP response is not to ask people to be brave but to hide under their beds. You only can try to manipulate people with fear for so long and you don't seem too concerned about the Republicans promoting the same thing the nuts here in the middle east are promoting. Miscarriage as murder pretty much sounds like something out of the middle east but you vote for people who write that legislation. So apparently if the same ideas coming from white Christian legislators is just hunky dory with you.

    If you aren't channeling Belushi... (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by unitron on Tue Oct 07, 2014 at 12:30:01 AM EST
    ...allow me to point out that it was FDR's first inaugural speech in '33 where, in talking about The Depression, he used the line about fear.

    His reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor was to call it a date which shall live in infamy and ask a joint session of Congress to declare that a state of war began with that attack.


    No I am Not saying That (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by RickyJim on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 07:34:20 PM EST
    support of Israel gave bin Ladin the excuse to attack us.

    I am saying that Harris and Maher refuse to touch that issue so they are being hypocrites when they attack "liberals" for not being as vocally islamophobic as they are.  As for the motivation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Mohammed Atta and others very important in pulling off 9/11, this is a good starting point.

    Really? (2.00 / 1) (#142)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:06:15 AM EST
    So now you are not saying that support of Israel give bin Ladin the excuse to attack us.

    If you don't believe it and aren't saying it why bring the subject up?

    And why the link?

    Q: What motivated the 9/11 hijackers to attack the US?
    A: US foreign policy bias for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and US government support for other oppressive regimes in the Middle East.

    My point was that the radical Muslims are trying to control our foreign policy through various acts outside the US and within the US.

    It's war,RickyJim.


    Probably not (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by Yman on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:43:59 PM EST
    So many armchair warriors like to talk about actual fighting but then serve only in peacetime and leave when a war is about to start.  Then they allude to "X years of service" without no specifics and think they're fooling someone other than themselves ...

    I think Maher and Harris put it best (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 07:07:11 AM EST
    in the first minute. Liberals seem to put all of their support of human rights on the shelf when it comes to crticising Muslim abuses of human rights.  Then Affleck jumped in, like I have seen many other liberals on this show do, and equate that with "Islamophobia", or "painting with a broad brush".

    It has taken me a lot of listening to Maher, and now Harris, to understand what they are saying. Harris boiled it down well later also, describing how he sees the 3 big categories of of, at least what is available to the outsider, how the wider Muslim community reacts to the extremism of a few. Obviously books can and have been written on the subject, but i though, for a five minute segment on a talk show, they did pretty well.

    Many liberals treat things like thinking apostates should be killed, thinking people that write negatively about the Prophet, or draw his image should be killed, women or anyone else should be stoned when they step out of line, etc, as equivalent to dietary or wardrobe choices that we as good liberals should be 'tolerant' of as 'just what they believe'.  It is not 'hating Muslims' to step up and say, 'no those ideas are wrong, I don't care what your books says.'  

    And in fact endless arguments about what the books actually say are beside the point.

    I didn't see Maher here or anywhere else say that Muslims should be wiped out or anything near that. He is saying the ideas should be argued against. Especially the most harmful ones.  Many in the Muslim community do make those arguments against the extremist ideas- they could use some help from prominent liberals like Ben Affleck.

    I think that Muslims (none / 0) (#119)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:10:18 AM EST
    have the same "under siege" mentality that some Christians have. I don't see people like Jim speaking out about the radicals in Christianity. Similar mindsets I would say.

    See, that's the point (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:19:09 AM EST
    they are not sImilar.  They are not.
    From the comment you replied to -

    Many liberals treat things like thinking apostates should be killed, thinking people that write negatively about the Prophet, or draw his image should be killed, women or anyone else should be stoned when they step out of line

    No one hates crazy christian fundies more than me.  And few know them better.  But they do not do this. Perhaps they think it but thinking and doing are not the same.   And please spare me links to crazy social media posts or whining about a movie they don't like or even killing an abortion doctor.  When an abortion doctor is killed that act is universally condemned.  ESPECIALLY by reasonable christians.   Hopefully I don't have to say I am not defending PPJ and his hysterics.  But this difference, as ruffian points out, is the point.  It is the point.  They are not similar.


    Well (none / 0) (#124)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:56:16 AM EST
    I'm talking about the mentality not the actual actions.

    We have discussed before (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 08:59:48 AM EST
    that I agree with that.  The point of that and previous conversations on that show is the liberal tendency to rationalize excuse and equivocate about the actions.

    My fear (none / 0) (#129)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:08:27 AM EST
    is that if we don't stop the fundamentalists here in the US we are not only going to be dealing with them in the middle east but here at home. And they are winning elections here in GA. My hope is that in 2016 they get wiped out.

    Great thread (5.00 / 3) (#147)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:08:45 PM EST
    I can make no comment, as I consider myself too much of a social anomaly to be of any use rhetorically. I have very strong opinions on this issue, but I will leave them to the wind. Suffice it to say, as a marshmallow white guy, with blood brothers and sisters who are African-American, whose father was raised orthodox Jewish on the lower east side of Manhattan during the Depression, whose mother is a devout Buddhist who lives the creed entirely, whose stepfather is a black man with as terrorist sounding a foreign name as you get in this weirdo Western World, trust me, nothing I would say is gonna make anyone happy.

    Cuz, in short, everyone is so full of sh*t it's a wonder any of us can breathe. Peace, y'all.

    Question (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by Slado on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 03:41:17 PM EST
    It seems to me the question on the table is this...

    Does Islamic culture differ from Western Culture when it comes to how religion and government mix, and does this difference account for the increased political violence within the Islamic world and between the Islamic world and the west?  

    The question does not imply that Christianity or any other religion is better nor that all Muslims are the same or bad.  

    For me the answer is yes on the fist part.  There is a major difference between the ways western governments interact with religion as compared to the Islamic world.

    For whatever reason in the West we've developed cultures in which we separate the church and the state.  We started doing this hundreds of years ago when Christianity was clearly the dominant religion and belief system.  Some Christians would argue we've gone to far but good or bad they continue to lose this argument.

    This question has nothing to do with individuals but the culture as a whole and how religion interacts with the state and culture.

    Islam is not a race.  It is a belief system.  A belief system that is not just a religion, but a political system and a "Total Way of Life".

    The answer to the second part is because Islam becomes the state it naturally clashes with our secular cultures and political systems in the west.

    Why is a complicated question and we in the west are not without our share of blame but the conflict is there and in some ways inevitable.  

    As George Will put it this weekend..."We've bombed 14 Islamic Countries since 1980".

    In my view both cultures are to blame for the clash between them over the years.  Intolerance and ideology acted upon by our foolish leaders has led to more bloodshed then necessary.

    However the difference is clear and pretending otherwise leads to useless bickering that doesn't solve the issue.  

    The Ben Afflecks of this argument are correct in that needless fear mongering doesn't work but the Sam Harris's are correct in pointing out that a difference exists and a clear clash of cultures exists.

    How do we deal with it?   For me I find our culture superior and for me a battle of ideas is worth waging so that all people eventually can live in free and democratic societies.

    Another point I'd make is this clash is inevitable because the world is shrinking.   Ideas can move rapidly and immediately throughout the world and countries and cultures can no longer exist in isolation.

    The good, bad and ugly is exposed for all and one of the two ways of life is going to emerge the victor.

    The question is does this happen peacefully or through violence.

    We shall see.

    Thank you for (none / 0) (#161)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 05:20:38 PM EST
    putting forth an intelligent discussion. It seems to me that Islamic culture believes that church and state should be one. There is no difference and to me that causes a ton, a ton of problems. Just imagine if the Southern Baptists ruled the United States? Catholics would be considered papists who are a member of a medieval cult. Other mainstream denominations would be marginally tolerated, certain evangelicals would be celebrated while others marginalized. Jews would only be worthwhile to bring about the apocalypse. Okay. Stir that all up and what do you think you would get? A horrible mess with a lot of fighting.  Maybe even devolving into as bad as the things are in the middle east. I don't know.

    But then if you try to create a democracy it won't work because they really don't even know what it is. Some countries are slowly moving this way over there but it's a really slow process but it was for us too.


    This is true (none / 0) (#164)
    by sj on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 06:08:31 PM EST
    Islam is not a race.  It is a belief system.  A belief system that is not just a religion, but a political system and a "Total Way of Life".
    But as Donald recently hinted, we should look at lifecycle.

    Donald referred to this recently, but let's compare anyway. Muhammed was born approximately 570 AD which means Islam is about 1400 years old. So, at approximately the same age, the Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478: A religious war.

    The thirty years war began in 1618. Moving forward through time, there are the Troubles in Northern Ireland which apparently have echoes even today, were even more clearly a social divide exacerbated by religious convictions.

    The movement of Christianity through these crucibles them/our-selves should provide more context and compassion and outreach while toning down the smug condescension -- not referring to you personally, btw, other than your belief that "our" culture is superior.

    "Our" culture has just had more time to mature. It is still as full of human beings as other cultures.


    One difference is (none / 0) (#169)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 07, 2014 at 10:17:54 AM EST
    Unlike Christianity Islam calls directly in the Koran for religion to be used as a form of government.

    No all Muslim scholars say this is the end of the debate however.

    Here is an interesting LINK discussing the debate within Islam about whether democracy can coexist with Islam as the dominant religion.

    I would agree that it is possible in theory for the two to coexist but for me the problem is when one religion is allowed to dominate so completely human nature makes it almost inevitable that the majority will use this power against the minority.

    For me that is what we are seeing throughout the Islamic world right now.   Yes they can mature but for me it can only start if they separate the state from their dominant religion.    

    What I will say is the past decade has shown that we cannot do this for them.  


    Note my Scalia link (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Oct 07, 2014 at 10:19:59 AM EST
    in the new open.  We are having enough trouble doing it for ourselves.

    Oh, for.... (4.50 / 8) (#73)
    by Zorba on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:11:26 PM EST
    You do realize, I hope, that the King James version is not, in fact, the original language of the New Testament???
    Most of which was written in New Testament Greek.  Which we Greek Orthodox still hear in our Divine Liturgy every single Sunday, and which I studied in Church school and Greek school when I was young.
    Galatians 3:28 uses the Greek word "doulos."  (δοῦλος)
    Which means slave or bond-slave, a person owned by someone else.
    And if you don't believe me, perhaps you might pay attention to Strong's Concordance.

    Thank you for explaining (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:15:47 PM EST
    That the interpretation he was trying to foist off here doesn't make sense, as if the words "free and bond" weren't enough of a clue.

    Probably the best discussion (3.00 / 3) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 08:24:55 AM EST
    I have seen on TV regarding the subject.

    Maher and Harris are stating facts. All Affleck does is claim they are Islamphobes by inference.

    Affleck makes the wrong assumption that this is about race. "Muslim" is not a race.

    Look (5.00 / 7) (#52)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:46:22 PM EST
    we all know by now you want a holy war. But one that no one in your family is going to be fighting. You want some unknown person to go out and fight this holy war so you can feel important about yourself.

    "We all know" (2.00 / 1) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:29:33 PM EST
    Do you have a mouse in your pocket??

    And it is not a "holy war."

    But radical Islam has been and is at war with the West. The sooner we acknowledge this the easier the war will be.

    See WWII ramp up by Hitler and France and England's really stupid "Peace in our time" moves.

    And yes, someone has to serve just as I did, my father did, my uncles did....etc etc etc.


    You have (5.00 / 7) (#81)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 04:05:10 PM EST
    stated again and again that you want a war against Islam. A war against a religion is a holy war.

    Hitler? Your solution to this type of thing is more akin to what Hitler did than anything proposed by anybody else.

    Just as I figured "someone" but you won't be sending anyone from your family you already stated.


    No, I have stated that radical Muslims (2.00 / 1) (#89)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:25:54 PM EST
    have declared war on us. I have posted numerous times, again today, bin Ladin stating that we must let Muslims do as they want.

    I have also said that we should defend ourselves using all necessary weapons.

    But the war would not be against a religion. It would be against Iran, Syria and the various terrorist groups such as ISIS, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and the group in Nigeria among others.

    As for sending someone I have a grandson who I hope makes it into Naval Aviation.

    Who do you have??

    Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accept the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay-and claims a halo for his dishonesty."

    ― Robert Heinlein


    Robert Heinlein (5.00 / 5) (#91)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:34:17 PM EST
    The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.

    One more (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:35:23 PM EST
    Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.

    Heinlein was a bigoted fascist (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 07:26:22 AM EST
    That's your go-to guy in this discussion?

    I understand why you say that (2.00 / 1) (#132)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:46:16 AM EST

    Robert Anson Heinlein (ˈhaɪnlaɪn hine-line;[1][2][3] July 7, 1907 - May 8, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers",[4] he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre in his time. He set a standard for scientific and engineering plausibility, and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality.

    When Robert A. Heinlein opened his Colorado Springs newspaper on April 5, 1958, he read a full-page ad demanding that the Eisenhower Administration stop testing nuclear weapons. The science-fiction author was flabbergasted. He called for the formation of the Patrick Henry League and spent the next several weeks writing and publishing his own polemic that lambasted "Communist-line goals concealed in idealistic-sounding nonsense" and urged Americans not to become "soft-headed."

    In 1980 Robert Heinlein was a member of the Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy, chaired by Jerry Pournelle, which met at the home of SF writer Larry Niven to write space policy papers for the incoming Reagan Administration. Members included Buzz Aldrin, General Daniel Graham, rocket engineer Max Hunter, North American VP and Space Shuttle manager George Merrick, and other aerospace industry leaders. Policy recommendations from the Council included ballistic missile defense concepts which were later transformed into what was called the Strategic Defense Initiative by those who favored it, and "Star Wars" as a term of derision coined by Senator Ted Kennedy. Heinlein contributed to the Council contribution to the Reagan "Star Wars" speech of Spring 1983.



    What's next a thumbnail-sketch (none / 0) (#148)
    by jondee on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:20:02 PM EST
    biography of Joseph McCarthy, General Edwin Walker, or Curtis Lemay from the all-time bandwidth devouring champ?



    In his own words: (none / 0) (#151)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:25:47 PM EST
    Some of my best friends:

    I have made rather more effort to meet and be friendly with Negroes than with whites, as I am both interested and curious. But the opportunities are slim. I had a Negro boss in the Railway Mail Service years ago. He was a good boss--but he gave me no chance to be friendly. I had a Negro tutor in advanced calculus at uCLA; the closest I ever got to him was to lunch with him a couple of times. I was willing, he was not. Etc. I've known a few Negro officers, Fort Carson and elsewhere; I managed to get really friendly with just one, because his wife was a writer and needed some help. Hardly enough data on which to draw a curve. All I'm trying to say is that if I have any prejudice against Negroes, I am not aware of it.

    Anyway it wasn't me:

    But I don't have any prejudice for Negroes, either. I don't feel any guilt over the fact that slavery existed in this country from 1619 to the Civil War. I didn't do it. Nor did any of my ancestors to the best of my knowledge (which is pretty complete) own slaves. I had many relatives and one grandfather on the union side during the Civil War, none that I know of on the Southern side other than one cousin we aren't proud of--Jefferson Davis. But I'm not accepting any guilt on his behalf, either--I didn't do it.

    But really it was good for them:

    Nor do I feel responsible for the generally low state of the Negro--as one Negro friend pointed out to me; the lucky Negroes were the ones who were enslaved. Having traveled quite a bit in Africa, I know what she means. One thing is clear: Whether one speaks of technology or social institutions, "civilization" was invented by us, not by the Negroes. As races, as cultures, we are five thousand years, about, ahead of them. Except for the culture, both institutions and technology, that they got from us, they would still be in the stone age, along with its slavery, cannibalism, tyranny, and utter lack of the concept we call "justice."



    And that's surprising how? (none / 0) (#149)
    by jondee on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:21:01 PM EST
    One more time.. (none / 0) (#150)
    by jondee on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:25:05 PM EST
    Heinlein is a patent leather soul - a sucker for a man in uniform, who thinks a soldier and his commander's contribution to society is the only way one can contribute to society.

    I think Ben Afleck is terrified (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 11:24:53 AM EST
    That going down this path will empower islamophobia.  And I don't know how to avoid that because some islamophobia will feel justified and empowered even if other individuals only focusing on doctrine criticize Islam.

    To avoid empowering the islamophobia of those with that agenda we have had to stifle any discussion.

    My agenda is to avoid the war I see coming.  The world is too small for any faith to enable the killing of non-believers.  We either learn how to fix this through discussion, or at some point this is going to lead to a much larger war.  Nothing trumps Maslow.


    Good mind-reading act there (none / 0) (#21)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 11:28:30 AM EST
    Do you also do balloon animals as well?

    That may be where the vehemence is coming from (none / 0) (#130)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:17:25 AM EST
    and why he and others make the immediate slide down the slippery slope.

    It is true that ruthless people will use even thoughtful criticism to fan the flames of fear and hate.


    Thank you, Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:18:07 AM EST
    As someone who considers himself well left of center, I was totally embarrassed for Bill Maher and Sam Harris Friday night, given their willingness to paint the entire Islamic world with a roller and condemn virtually all Muslims over the behavior and actions of a small percentage of them who so happen to be militants, fanatics and extremists. Ben Affleck, Michael Steele and Nicholas Kristof were absolutely right to call them out and push back.

    Incidentally, I'd like to note a small correction to your post -- Michael Steele is the former chair of the Republican National Committee. He was ousted from his post in early 2011 in an internal party coup, and replaced by Reince Priebus.


    thanks, I'' correct that (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:29:57 AM EST
    it's a relevant discussion (none / 0) (#3)
    by ZtoA on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:48:16 AM EST
    Good post J.

    I have one quibble with these quibbling men and that is: why in these discussions, when there is mention of systemic discrimination in islam, is anti-woman always linked to (and it appears to be justified by and legitimized by) also saying they are anti-gay?? Like being anti-woman is just not that important. That has to be legitimized by also being anti-gay.

    I also agree with Affleck.

    I think at this point it is because (4.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 08:08:25 AM EST
    Liberals recognize gay rights as human rights.  It is now part of Liberal principles when it comes to basic human rights.  It is a symbol of an evolved society, and it also means gay people have legal protections against hate crimes against them.

    I ordered the book.  And I continue to remember how miserable and lost women and then their children were before the big push against family violence happened in this country.  I think that a culture that is willing to look the other way in that department generates massive psychological problems.

    And I agree with Mr. Harris, at this time Islam cannot self correct.  The faith at this time allows for a Fatwa calling for someones death if they upset some leader within the Islamic faith, and then these have been carried out.

    Even with say the Catholic Church and some of the recent revelations of how women and children were treated in Ireland, we don't have Popes and Bishops putting a hit out on anyone.  They have been shamed, changes have occurred. And an evolution has taken place with a new Pope.  According to even non-Catholics this is pretty great Pope. I like him and I'll never be Catholic.  But using his position and his pulpit he advances some principles that help all of mankind.

    That ability to feel natural shame is hard for Islamic leaders to get to because the crazy ones put out Fatwas calling for the deaths of those that upset them too much.  The doctrine or actions of the faith can't be healthfully criticized like we can all the other faiths at this time.


    The Roman Catholic Church is some ... (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 04:28:37 PM EST
    ... seven centuries older than Islam, and I would note that at a roughly similar period in Christian evolution, 1431 to be exact, the Catholic hierarchy in English-occupied France back tried St. Joan of Arc in an ecclesiastical court for heresy and witchcraft. Having found her guilty, they then turned her over to English authorities in Rouen, who tied her to a stake in the city's main square and set her ablaze.

    Some 260 years later in 1692, Protestant officials in Massachusetts Bay Colony condemned and executed 20 people in the town of Salem, after having first tried and convicted them of witchcraft. All but two of the condemned were women. Another 50 residents were further imprisoned on the same charge, where five more died in captivity.

    And in 2009, Dr. George Tiller was shot to death by a radical Christian fundamentalist during worship services at his own Reformed Lutheran Church in Wichita, KS. Sadly, this was yet another in a series of violent acts perpetrated by fundamentalist activists who oppose a woman's right to reproductive freedom.

    As for myself, I and other legislative staff had to intervene physically in 1998 as a mob of fundamentalist Christians -- at least five of whom were from the U.S. mainland -- set upon the executive director of the Hawaii Coalition for the Separation of State and Church in the rotunda of our state capitol and proceeded to beat him, after he had testified in House committee hearing against the approval and enactment of a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage.

    I would offer that Christianity as a whole has not really evolved toward enlightenment as much as some of us would like to believe. Rather, I'd say that American society has advanced over the many decades since independence was achieved in spite of Christianity, because our U.S. Constitution has decreed that our government shall be secular in nature.

    Nevertheless, many of us rightly object when people attempt to tar and feather all Catholics for the crimes of a relative handful of pedophile clergy and their ecclesiastic enablers, and conservative Christians have generally taken great pains to try and separate themselves from those fundamentalist agitators who've resorted to violence in the name of their Lord.

    I think it's long past time that we extend to other non-Christian faiths the same rights and courtesies we reserve for our own selves, and further rush to invoke whenever others attempt to condemn our own faithful in lump sum for the subversive and violent acts of a relative handful of malcontents and crackpots.

    And speaking for myself only as a practicing Catholic, I find it a bit of a stretch to believe that Jesus Christ Himself would countenance and subscribe to such odious double standards as expressed and practiced by far too many who call themselves Christians.



    But laws protect us (none / 0) (#95)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:43:22 PM EST
    George Tiller's murderer, in prison.  What he did is not socially acceptable.  80% of us don't think what he did was okay.

    Every other faith gets criticized for violence when a branch of it sponsors violence, and particularly when leaders don't step up and condemn that violence.

    We can and do have discussions about specific Bible passages in this country, talk about how it is confusing...contradictory.  But we can't discuss Islam in this country and what the Quran says, because that is islamophobia right now?  That isn't going to stay that way, it really can't.  As extremist problems increase and our military involvement is approached and discussed more and more, a deeper understanding of Islam is going to occur and exactly who promotes and supports what. Just like we do any other faith in this country.


    We can discuss it. (none / 0) (#111)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 01:00:49 AM EST
    But Bill Maher isn't interested in discussing it. Rather, he is simply interested in bashing organized religion as a one-size-fits-all proposition -- in this case, Islam. And in that regard, Reza Aslan was right when he said that Maher's understanding of the subject is superficial.

    I really don't know how Maher thinks he can engage in a rational discussion about religion with others, when he makes it very clear that he considers those who practice their respective faith to be irrational, by the very fact that they're religious. The statements he's made are so condescending and off-putting that they actually serve to shut down the dialogue, which of course renders any discussion all but impossible:

    "The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end. The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having in key decisions made by religious people. By irrationalists, by those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken. George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn't learn a lot about it. Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It's nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction."
    -- Bill Maher, "Religulous" (2008)



    Why can't atheists question (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:51:33 PM EST
    The need for religion publicly.

    This is America.  That's ridiculous.

    Atheists have a right to discuss how religion has downgraded us socially at times.  And their discussions and challenges improve our existing religions and faiths.  Prevents religous leaders from falling asleep at the power wheel and allowing abuse.  The world is small now.  If you allow abuse to occur in the name of God you will hear about it from the atheists now.  And that is making the world a better place.


    My very own English-speaking (none / 0) (#112)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 01:34:20 AM EST
    salesperson in a papyrus shop would not permit me to purchase a beautifully illuminated Arabic text displayed on the wall of the shop. Why?  Because it was a quote from the Koran. He would not tell me what the writing was.

    So I purchased another illuminated Arsbic text. I have no idea what is says either. (Maybe "death to all Americans")


    Donald most people on this blog (none / 0) (#154)
    by fishcamp on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 01:25:18 PM EST
    put up a link to their information similar to yours, that was obviously copied from somewhere else.  

    When Muslims try to be moderates (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:24:05 AM EST
    in America, this is what happens:

    "ISIS that what you see on TV, the radical group to Islam is like the KKK to Christianity. You might claim that the KKK is not a Christian organization but they went to church every Sunday and the cross was the biggest there is and they quoted the Bible they justify killing African-Americans through verses in the Bible," senior Imam at the Greater Oklahoma Islamic Society, Imad Enchassi said.

    We asked Oklahomans how much they know about Islam.

    Some told us they had actually read the Quran.

    "They're pretty radical in the Quran so I can see where they got some of the radical beliefs but I do believe most Muslims are peaceful." One man said.

    Others were clueless about the religion but wanted to speak up.

    "Just like any other religion you're going to have people that get a little crazy and extreme and that's not different than Christianity and God knows there are plenty of people who act that way," another woman told us.

    Then this came up.

    "That nut representative, what he said is not true. I do you know that I do know that I know they're not about killing Christians," another lady says.

    One woman said fast food was more likely to kill us then Muslims.

    In the end, most people did not know much about Islam but Oklahomans we spoke with agree on this.

    "I think most of them are loving and caring people and I feel bad they got such a bad name," the man who read the Quran said.

    Quit trying to paint all Muslims with the brush of extremism, Tracy, that's Jims' job here, and he does it better than you ever will.


    A very poor analogy (1.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:18:08 PM EST
    "ISIS that what you see on TV, the radical group to Islam is like the KKK to Christianity. You might claim that the KKK is not a Christian organization but they went to church every Sunday and the cross was the biggest there is and they quoted the Bible they justify killing African-Americans through verses in the Bible," senior Imam at the Greater Oklahoma Islamic Society, Imad Enchassi said.

    The KKK never had mass killings. The KKK never took control of large segments of two countries using its own army. The KKK never demanded that women be circumcised. The KKK never beheaded babies......etc etc

    The Imam would be better served to just condemn Nolan's actions and otherwise keep his mouth shut.


    Let's go over your points (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:31:43 PM EST
    The KKK never had mass killings.


    The Greensboro massacre occurred on November 3, 1979 in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States. Five protest marchers were shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party at a rally organized by communists intended to demonstrate radical, even violent, opposition to the Klan.[1] The "Death to the Klan March" and protest was the culmination of attempts by the Communist Workers' Party to organize mostly black industrial workers in the area.[2]

    The KKK never took control of large segments of two countries using its own army.

    No, just control of major parts of the American South, and the death toll they extracted there is to be ignored, because it didn't take place in two countries.  Noted.

     <emThe KKK never demanded that women be circumcised. The KKK never beheaded babies......etc etc</em>

    Nope, they just killed innocent African-Americans who got in the way of what they wanted, as well as others like Catholics, Jews, etc.

    Look up the Black Legion, if you want more details about their criminal behavior in the 20th Century.   They even made a movie starring Humphrey Bogart back in the late 30s with that title.

    But, hey, as long as they never beheaded babies or demanded that women be circumcised, they weren't as bad as ISIS.

    Good to know.


    Somehow the despicable KKK (1.50 / 2) (#87)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 06:13:09 PM EST
    and the despicable American Nazi party killing 5, as terrible as that is doesn't even come close to the mass killings and evils done by ISIS.

    I repeat and add.

    The Imam would be better served to just condemn Nolan's actions and otherwise keep his mouth shut.

    That you rush to his defense is not unexpected.

    I mean, America is always wrong and needs to be punished.  Isn't that your base belief?????


    If you limit the body count (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 11:42:19 PM EST
    of racism to the KKK, you may be right, or the numbers may surprise you.  

    The Imam would be better served to just condemn Nolan's actions and otherwise keep his mouth shut.

    Yeah, it's not like he lives in a country where a man is free to speak his mind as long as he doesn't advocate a violent revolution or overthrow of the government.

    And in terms of the toll, ISIS is a piker, compared to the toll in human lives and suffering caused by racism in the last century alone his country, organized and otherwise. Lynchings weren't exactly much less cruel than beheadings, you know.


    Yes the Imam (2.00 / 1) (#131)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 09:38:20 AM EST
    is free to say what he wants.

    And I am thankful he does and we know how he stands.

    You too.

    I mean, racism is bad. Muslim is not a race.

    And racism is bad. Getting beheaded is worse.


    I'm just wondering if the radical (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by jondee on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 02:31:54 PM EST
    Islamists are going to have  to go and vent their feelings once they're neutralized, the way the Klan had the GOP and now the Tea Party.

    There will be a residue of them (none / 0) (#180)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 at 12:55:12 AM EST
    Bitterly clinging to their guns and their religion, just like in other parts of the world.........

    You're are promoting American values (none / 0) (#140)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 10:03:09 AM EST
    by wishing people you disagree to shut up.

    You certainly are showing why, aside from not beheading people, we're better than them.


    And no, I'm not defending the KKK (none / 0) (#59)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:22:15 PM EST
    it was/is a totally despicable organization.

    I am not (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 11:38:11 AM EST
    By the way where are the moderates?  None of them are on our televisions screens, WHY?  

    Why do they have no champions paving the way for moderate empowerment?

    And still, 80% of Egyptians think that the appropriate response to a Muslim leaving the faith is to kill them.  THAT is an extreme promotion of violence..,extreme.


    Yes, we should worry about what the Egyptians (none / 0) (#24)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 11:47:43 AM EST
    Muslims think because.............

    Please keep talking (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:09:35 PM EST
    yours is the perfect voice for your position.

    And if you took a poll (none / 0) (#26)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:11:19 PM EST
    the majority of Americans wouldn't vote an atheist for any public office, starting with dogcatcher, so I'm still unclear why the position of Egyptian Muslims on apostates is so important and perhaps to some folks, frightening.

    Just as long as 80% of atheist (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:26:27 PM EST
    Can keep their cool enough to not advocate the killing of believers because of that....I think we can and will one day have an atheist President, or at least one that can admit that publicly.  But if they can't...

    Not a good analogy.


    When a movie like TLTOC (none / 0) (#38)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:04:56 PM EST
    can be made and shown in this country without bomb threats, anti-Semitic accusations, etc, then we can talk.

    BTW, the Dominionists here would bring back stoning for unbelievers and other offenses, but it's not like they're trying to make their vision a reality or running for office.........


    Absolutely, the Dominionsts would (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:02:44 PM EST
    Me, Captain Howdy, Ga6th, we know such people where we live...more than one.  We have spoken of that frequently here.

    We are a nation of laws still though.  They have not taken the government over.

    The Middle East is still trying to evolve into those kinds of supports and protections.  I support that.  And disempowering the Middle Eastern brands of Dominionism disempowers mine too.  The notion of one religion against another just evaporates when we can all rely on humanist laws protecting all of us.


    Because they share the world with us (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:11:52 PM EST
    We all really share the world now.  That can't be escaped.  That whole space between is going away quickly.  Everyone who doesn't want to deal with this wants to isolate, that isn't a working option anymore. And a social norm of such religion based violence makes more.  That's why!

    And btw (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:29:17 PM EST
    they have the largest Arab Muslim population.

    And they have our tanks and (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:36:28 PM EST
    Our helicopters, and they come to this country for military training.  Egypt is on the list of possible deployments in the Army.

    They are a bigger part of our daily lives than many realize.  


    And...there are different kinds of Jihad (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 08:12:44 AM EST
    As my husband brought up there could be a Jihad among Muslims "to fix" so much murderous and abusive behavior in Islam, why isn't there?  Where is this Jihad?

    Not sure where you get that (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 08:57:28 AM EST
    Maher and Harris both mentioned women right out of the gate.
    Did either say anything untrue?  

    I thought it was a good discussion (none / 0) (#34)
    by ZtoA on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:44:06 PM EST
    and I think this is a good discussion.

    I'm probably being too sensitive and maybe I should not have commented, but I just get a strange feeling when womens' rights and gay rights are coupled. Like neither can stand on it's own and somehow they justify each other. I think it happens because gay rights are male rights, guess the lesbians get covered by the women's rights. It was just a quibble.  


    It is not that (5.00 / 5) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:07:23 PM EST
    women's rights and gay rights cannot stand on their own, but rather, in my view, that there is commonality of oppression and strength in solidarity of those oppressed.  Civil rights groups initially took issue with gay rights being considered as a civil rights, but much was to be gained by recognizing and coalescing as humans with rights--rights denied, rights to be strived and fought for.

    Hell yeah to all of this (none / 0) (#78)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:31:37 PM EST
    It just needs a bow

    To your point (none / 0) (#158)
    by Slado on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 03:45:35 PM EST
    it has more to do with the fact aht when a certain type of person (heterosexual male) seizes all the power then everyone else is marginalized together.

    This was true in this country a hundred years ago and in much of the Islamic world it's true today.


    I get a little sensitive about it right now (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 03:20:14 PM EST
    Because the issue of gay rights has really come to the forefront.  They have great activists, tireless activists, it isn't just a fluke.  It feels like issues around women's rights have fallen off.  Family planning has taken such a hit in my lifetime.  I'm still shocked by how badly that has gone too.

    Sex is the driving life force.  There is no single thing that empowers women more than self control of our reproduction.  Just nothing..not one thing tops that socially.

    But Maher and Harris, if they are going to wade into debate and crap will be flung, they decided to not leave anything behind on the shoreline when they outlined at the beginning of this discussion "Liberal Principles".


    My sole experience watching Maher was (none / 0) (#159)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 03:51:32 PM EST
    when he and the star of "Glee" read Anthony Weiner's tweets. Very funny. My friends drove to L. a. To see a live show. Am I missing something crucial?

    I don't know (none / 0) (#163)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 05:46:43 PM EST
    In debate, sometimes he is a little blunt force.  You read BTD though and sometimes he takes stances on things that rile Libs.  I think you would like Bill Maher.  He was in Huntsville during Josh's last surgery, so we could not go.  But the next time he plays Alabama we are going.  Even Josh watches him, and spouse does too when he is home.

    During a show a few weeks ago he brought up loving to play in the South because there are Liberals here and we are very happy and excited to see him.  I would love love to be at an event packed with Southern Liberals, even if his show wasn't very good it would be worth it just for that alone.


    Good way to put it. He is a blunt instrument (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 11:38:49 PM EST
    but I think he makes valid points.

    I've seen his stand-up specials, and as a comedian...he is a good talk show host.  I like him better in the talk show format. But maybe we can make an event of going to see him someplace in the south. I'd be up for that!


    I agree with you (none / 0) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 12:49:53 PM EST
    except that of course you should have commented.  That was great.  We need more of it not less.  Love or hate Maher he provokes dialog.  Where else would you have seen that discussion?  

    And this connects with the topic... (none / 0) (#69)
    by unitron on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 02:43:02 PM EST
    ...of Affleck and Maher talking about Islam how exactly?

    the comment you are replying to (none / 0) (#107)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 10:00:15 PM EST
    was deleted as way off topic and not putting links in html format

    Not for those able to read (none / 0) (#105)
    by Yman on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 09:38:50 PM EST
    But my point was that the Old Testament is fulfilled and the New Testament teaches love.

    Of course that removes a lot of ammunition from those who must always attack Christianity.

    They are quite able to read the numerous examples of violence advocated in the New Testament.


    New word for me from the vid: emiserated. (none / 0) (#155)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 01:38:34 PM EST
    Its a good 'un, going to have to find some opportunities to use it...

    this is completely off topic (none / 0) (#178)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 08, 2014 at 12:00:19 AM EST
    your interpretation of the bible is off topic as are the responses. The topic is Maher and his show, and what they were discussing.

    That is for Jim and Mordigan (none / 0) (#179)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 08, 2014 at 12:11:25 AM EST
    arguing about definitions in the bible in comment after comment. Please get your own blog if you want to choose the topic. And stop insulting each other. I am getting to a zero tolerance for comments that mock and insult other commenters. They are being deleted when I see them.