Monday, September 17, 2007

Thoughts spurred by random discussion boards

--Drug testing for public-assistance recipients would cause more problems than it solves. Presumably, if someone tested positive, they would be denied their assistance. And because most jobs nowadays require drug testing, they couldn't get that either. This all makes for a nice and superficial moral lesson, sure, but what do people with no money and ineligibility for a job do? Commit crimes, and often violent ones. Anyway, addiction is a disease, one that needs more than a tsk-tsk to treat.

--Personally, I've never been indignant about where welfare recipients spend their money. They simply spend it the same way everyone else does: on whatever junk food, substances and material goods they think will help them feel good about themselves. Food stamps restrict what can be bought, so the poor are actually the ones we should least be concerned about in this regard.

--Unfurling an "Impeach" banner at a baseball game is not un-American, even (hell, especially) when veterans are being honored. There should be nothing offensive about any peaceful expression, because that's what makes the United States worth defending. Support for troops and support for the president are two different animals, particularly at this point in time. Veterans should understand that; the ones holding the banner certainly did.

Several who opposed the banner ignored the message itself and made nitpicky arguments about whether or not the ballpark is a private venue. It is, of course, and the owners had every right to escort them out if they feel they disturbed the peace (they did, but not until the end of the game). But equating a baseball stadium to a private home or lodge does little justice to freedom of expression and assembly. In an age where big businesses are increasingly buying up all available space and many common areas are but playgrounds for crackheads, speech vigilance is more pertinent than ever.

Over the years, I've seen plenty of Jesus-centric, anti-abortion and other right-wing rallying points expressed with no opposition at public events. While running in a cancer benefit in 2001, I watched a gospel group overtake a karaoke booth and ask everyone if they believed in Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I recall thinking how fast I'd have been escorted out of there had I tried to publicly contest Bush's election. Enforcement of such rules should at least be consistent.

--If John Ashcroft didn't want the media to cover a speech he made, he should not have done it at a PUBLIC university, paid for by public funds and with the public invited.

--Unlike most people, I'm not peeved about having to dial 1 for English. I'm madder that the person on the other line is halfway around the world and being forced into a fake accent in the middle of their night, all because an American worker was too expensive for the same task.

--The Ten Commandments are not the basis of U.S. law; only two are, and less so for Christian reasons than for what I call the "Duh" factor. Don't murder or steal? Even athiests can agree on those! The rest are not illegal and/or specifically steeped in dogma.

--Regarding apologies for slavery and genocide: History may be in the past, but acknowledging it, conceding its injustice and pledging to rise above it is the least we can do to ensure that we don't repeat the worst moments of history. What's wrong with that?


Cajun Tiger said...

A professional baseball game is not a public event, it is a private event. You pay a price to enter and it is owned by a corporation or private citizen. Now you are saying two of their rights were taken, speech and assembly. You have neither of those rights in a privately owned venue. The baseball stadium owner is not the government, so he can restrict any speech or assembly he wants in his venue.

Actually there are two more of the 10 commandments (though one is barely prosecuted anymore but still the law in most states) that are currently against the law in the US (there used to be 5 that were law and in the colonial days 6 were law in some colonies), so you might want to dust off the old Bible and take another look at them.

Ian McGibboney said...

--The problem is, the stadium does not censor pro-life or pro-war speech, despite complaints from ticketholders that both are regular occurrences. As I said in the posts, in both Missouri and Louisiana free speech is given without question to conservative causes. When such speech veers into moderate-to-left territory, however, everyone trots out the old "private property" argument. The question is a good one, but it's being used here only as an excuse to silence someone they don't agree with.

--No law forces you to obey a specific god. There's no law against idolatry or coveting (indeed, both of those are tenets of American commerce). Holy Sabbath? Not here! Honoring thy mother and father? Nope. Adultery? Unethical, yes. Illegal, no. Taking God's name in vain? Please. So how exactly are the Ten Commandments relevant in American law? ALL 10?

Hathor said...

In quite a few place tax money buys the stadium, even with a corporate name on it. If the purchasers of those tickets were screened, then I could see it as a private event. Anyone can buy a ticket and enter the stadium. The only thing I see private, is the seat you sit in during the length of the event.

Cajun Tiger said...

And if the owners allow those statements it is his right as the owner. He is not forced to be fair. I'm not saying it is right or fair, but it is not in any way a violation of their Constitutional rights.

Sometimes I wonder if you actually can read. Please show me where I said all 10 are relevant in law? You said only two are and I said actually two more currently are. One you forgot on your list is not bearing false witness. That is a law in every state and federally as you not allowed to give false testimony in court, you might know it as perjury. Also while adultery is no longer prosecuted, it probably is still on the books as illegal in most states. And also at one time cursing, including taking the Lord's name in vain, was against the law in most states and in the early days is some of the colonies, if you weren't a Christian, you had no rights. So as I said in the first comment, 3 are law now not 2, a 4th is law but no longer enforced, a 5th was law but isn't any longer, and a 6th was law in the early days of some colonies. Don't worry, I won't ask you to apologize for being wrong this time being you are apparently completely incapable of doing it.

Ian McGibboney said...

I say all 10 because if our country is indeed based on the Ten Commandments, then all 10 should form the basis of our law, right? It seems politically expedient to cherry-pick commandments and then say, "This is a Christian nation!" But even if you CAN make tenuous connections with as many as six commandments, that still doesn't explain why the other four are not related to the law of our "Christian" nation. Indeed, the idea that we were founded as an alternative to religious repression in England seems to contradict this whole notion altogether!

I didn't mention false witness because, outside of court, it is not illegal to lie. Then again, maybe I should have included it, because there are times when it is legal (or legally overlooked) to kill and steal. Looks like even God's Ten Commandments have escape clauses in this country.

As for the stadium, owners should tread lightly on the free speech issue if taxpayers fund the venue in some form. After all, one person can't silence a public street just because they own a shop there. But again, there's that issue of selective speech. You, Cajun Tiger, seem to think it's OK that the repression is not fair, mainly because it's your side that's getting to talk. At least it's consistent to have a venue owner bar all speech, to avoid appearances of impropriety.

Cajun Tiger said...

Once again please show me where I said all of our country's laws are based on the 10 commandments? You said two of our laws are based on two of the 10 and I said you were wrong and pointed out how you were wrong. I sure hope you do a better job of reading at your job or you may be on the market again soon.

Whether a stadium owner should or is required to is two completely different points. You are correct that a shop owner can't silence anyone on the street by his/her shop but they sure can inside the shop without violating anyone's rights, exactly the same as the owner of the stadium can. There is no impropriety so there can be no appearance of impropriety either.

Ian McGibboney said...

I figured your defense of the 10 Commandments as law meant that you accept that they were the foundation for U.S. law. I've known plenty of people who take this exact position, and I challenge them to cite where all 10 are reflected in some portion of U.S. law. This is important, because finding two, three or even six does not prove any Christian basis; most people of any faith will tell you that killing people, stealing, lying, etc. are bad things. In order to prove that our laws are based specifically on the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament - and NOT what I call the "duh" factor - you have to be able to prove all 10. You can't.

On the other hand, maybe you aren't making that argument in the first place. In which case, I apologize. And, frankly, I'm very surprised.

Cajun Tiger said...

Nope, I'm not making that arguement. Apology accepted.

There is no way the entirety of US law can be based on all the 10 Commandments without violating the First Amendment.

However, to say that the ones that are based on the 10 Commandments were just coincidence or "duh" as you say isn't accurate either. Here is just one quote of many from the founding fathers, this one being John Quincy Adams: "The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes . . . essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws. . . . Vain, indeed, would be the search among the writings of profane antiquity . . . to find so broad, so complete and so solid a basis for morality as this Decalogue lays down."

Ian McGibboney said...

OK, so you acknowledge that the Ten Commandments are not the basis for American law. I must say I am surprised by this stance of yours, given that you are a self-professed Christian conservative. Bravo to you.

John Quincy Adams' quote actually supports what I've been saying all along. He says that the Ten Commandments have some good ideas in them. And that societies have picked and chose as they saw fit. That's exactly why the U.S. isn't a Christian nation: if it were, we'd subscribe to all 10 instead of having a First Amendment. Saying we follow the Ten Commandments because murder is illegal is like saying we're a Muslim nation because people pray (which is one of the Five Tenets of Islam). It misses the origin of such things.

Cajun Tiger said...

"Vain, indeed, would be the search among the writings of profane antiquity . . . to find so broad, so complete and so solid a basis for morality as this Decalogue lays down."

Don't know how you are reading that to say anything other than nothing in antiquity was the foundation of the moral laws of our nation besides the 10 Commandments.

Ian McGibboney said...

"Most of which have been enacted..."

Most. Not all. And even if you're right, it doesn't mean anything other than that the Ten Commandments got there first. If Moses hadn't been first with the don't kill-steal-lie bit, someone else would have been. Again, the "duh" factor.

Anyway, morality is different from law.

Cajun Tiger said...

And where did this "duh" factor come from?

Ian McGibboney said...

I like to think it comes from humankind's built-in moral core. I don't know where it comes from - no one truly does - but different cultures and religions have tried to quantify it for eons. But I think most people, regardless of faith or lack thereof, would agree that it is wrong to infringe upon the rights of others, whether through murder, theft or perjury. Plenty of non-Christians believe thus; conversely, many who profess that these are the laws of our country (such as Pat Robertson) have no problem calling for the death of a world leader.

Cajun Tiger said...

Ian, I do believe this "built in moral core" as you describe does come from the God of Heaven as described in the Bible. That He placed them in us as a way to seek truth that would ultimately lead to Him. Many Christians do way more damage to that calling than help. And I have to ask for your forgiveness in doing that very thing. I've let my zeal to be right, to "put you in your place," to correct you, etc. get ahead of what should have been my witness to you as a believer by insulting you, calling you names, and being outright rude and childish at times. I will do my best in the future to address only the topic at hand and not personally attack you regardless of what is written. If I feel I can't do that, I probably won't comment. Again please forgive me for not living a life through my comments that reflects what I believe and how I shoud conduct myself within those beliefs.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, Cajun Tiger, you've never told me I was going to hell with a snarl or smile on your face (at least directly), so you're far from the worst I've ever had to deal with. My attitude isn't always the best ever, but I too try.

Anger and passion are universal emotions, and people have to deal with them in the best ways they know how. I hope your faith helps you achieve your personal goals.