Monday, February 13, 2012

Welcome To The West

To America, in fact, where we may fall short of our best aspirations, but the last guy jailed for blasphemy was Abner Kneeland, early in the 19th Century, who did a couple of months for being "a cantankerous and inflexible heretic."

At least, that's what the judge called him. Why, the impious madman had the temerity to aver that women ought to have the same rights as men, that miscegenation was a-okay and that slavish obedience to centuries-dead prophets was not the only way to practice religion....

Meanwhile, if you want to know who was the most recent individual found guilty of similar "crimes" in Saudi Arabia, Iran and points between, you'd better pick up a paper or look at a website from there -- and read fast, there's plenty more where they came from. It's likely they'll suffer something worse than "sixty days in the cooler," too.

Respect other cultures? Yep, I will -- starting with the ones that don't arrest their Abner Kneelands.

12 comments:

Divemedic said...

What is the moral difference between opposition to miscegenation and opposition to homosexual marriage? The arguments even sound remarkably similar.

We aren't THAT far removed from the intolerance of the mideast. We still as a nation require presidents to pretend to be church going Christians, many states still refuse to allow businesses to sell liquor on Sundays, and still refuse to allow homosexual marriage because of religious bigotry.

Bob said...

@Divemedic: yah, that's just right up there with hanging gays, stoning adulterers and dynamiting statues.

Gotta love false moral equivalence.

Robin said...

Sounds like he had it coming.

Divemedic, when the Mideast allows homosexuals to sell them exercise videos, do reality shows on fashion, and sing musicals about transvestites on stage, then your claim about how far removed we are from them might make more sense.

Dave H said...

I'm all for tolerance, but it really only works if everybody does it.

LabRat said...

Divemedic, when the Mideast allows homosexuals to sell them exercise videos, do reality shows on fashion, and sing musicals about transvestites on stage, then your claim about how far removed we are from them might make more sense.

From my chair the part where people are talking about these things we allow a category of people to do as though it were some greatly generous privilege instead of citizens doing various not particularly remarkable things in a free(ish) market shows the difference is more degree than kind.

Robin said...

LabRat, and frankly you are wrong. You are misrepresenting what I wrote. My point is that open homosexuals are integrated into American society and culture. This means that the difference between the US and the Mideast is not merely one of degree.

Anonymous said...

That there is no actual legal sanction is what makes it a difference of kind, not merely degree.

Mike James

Roberta X said...

We have the First Amendment. The .gov might not always live up to it -- but they can be held to account. A lot of the world, it's the other way 'round.

LabRat said...

I didn't misrepresent what you wrote, I quoted what you wrote.

The baseline standard is not how much stuff we let people of (category) do, it's that citizens just do stuff and it's remarkable that we would restrict it, not the other way around. At the moment we still place legal restrictions on gay citizens because they are gay, in terms of what family arrangements they are allowed to participate in legally (marriage, adoption). Socially, we do a hell of a lot more than that, and all for reasons I've never heard credibly defended beyond the religious.

Degree. Not kind.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that anyone's ever going to call me "a cantankerous and inflexible heretic", and somehow I feel lesser for that.

On the other hand, I haven't been imprisoned for my beliefs, which is nice.

Mike James

Kristopher said...

Roberta X: That arrest happened before the 14th Amendment was passed.

Before that, the bill of rights did not strictly apply to state or local governments, although many states had similar provisions in their own constitutions.

Roberta X said...

They had about 40 years left to run the blasphemers through the courts before the 14th even passed, and yet it didn't happen. Give folks credit for at least a teaspoonful of good sense.