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arosar
02-01-2010, 10:31 PM
Here's a story to give you a What The F*** moment. New anti-blasphemy laws went into force in the Irish Republic on Friday, much to the anger of atheists (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/01/irish-atheists-challenge-blasphemy-law). More here (http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2009/05/01/a-new-blasphemy-law-in-ireland/) or just go to Google (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en-GB&q=blasphemy+laws+ireland&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enAU286AU286&ie=UTF-8) for more.

One of my NY resolutions was to be less angry in 2010. I mean last year I spent plenty of time being all upset: at Indian students, at dumbass ****ers who cut their nails in public, at the NSW ALP, at stupid tourists who walk slowly, at the fkn hopeless Wallabies. And now this! I mean shit!'

What do youse blokes reckon of this?

Basil
02-01-2010, 10:33 PM
What do youse blokes reckon of this?
I reckon you've got a fail in the chesschat swear word workaround! Happy New Year. Have you relocated yet?

CameronD
02-01-2010, 11:14 PM
http://www.acl.org.au/national/browse.stw?article_id=13138

Desmond
02-01-2010, 11:19 PM
I reckon you've got a fail in the chesschat swear word workaround! Happy New Year. Have you relocated yet?
"frak" is banned now?

Basil
02-01-2010, 11:21 PM
"frak" is banned now?
wash your mouth out with soap! this year i'm going to try to express myself with resorting to poorly disguised base crudities. i've had one opportunity so far and failed. in mitigation, the subject matter was KRudd.

Kevin Bonham
03-01-2010, 12:35 AM
I will have to investigate this issue more thoroughly in coming days, since the article notes the local Green party as having supported the law. :eek:

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 01:05 AM
I will have to investigate this issue more thoroughly in coming days, since the article notes the local Green party as having supported the law. :eek:

I suspect (but don't know) that the ideas of the laws are to provide protection against blasphemy of all recognised religions (primarily judeo-christian, muslim and hindu faiths at a guess) whereas prior laws only protected Christianity.

accordin to blasphemy.ie

The new law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted.

It is typical that the right to choose to not have a religion is largely ignored and the new laws might be used to curtail the degree of freedom of speech of those who oppose any or all religions. To underline the silliness of the law the Irish Atheist group published 25 quotes from such radicals as Pope Benedict who has outraged millions of muslim, Jesus, Muhammad and various others.

Tony Dowden
03-01-2010, 07:38 AM
Here's a story to give you a What The F*** moment. New anti-blasphemy laws went into force in the Irish Republic on Friday, much to the anger of atheists (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/01/irish-atheists-challenge-blasphemy-law). More here (http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2009/05/01/a-new-blasphemy-law-in-ireland/) or just go to Google (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en-GB&q=blasphemy+laws+ireland&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enAU286AU286&ie=UTF-8) for more.

One of my NY resolutions was to be less angry in 2010. I mean last year I spent plenty of time being all upset: at Indian students, at dumbass ****ers who cut their nails in public, at the NSW ALP, at stupid tourists who walk slowly, at the fkn hopeless Wallabies. And now this! I mean shit!'

What do youse blokes reckon of this?

I'd say Richard Dawkins is in up to his neck already :) See end of first article - I'm amused Dawkins can get so worked up over an allegedly fictional character!

Tony Dowden
03-01-2010, 07:40 AM
"frak" is banned now?

And we can only eat with spoons and knives ...

Spiny Norman
03-01-2010, 09:13 AM
Incitement to violence ought to be banned (and presumably already is in most countries). But my mum always taught me that "sticks-n-stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me". These kinds of bans are futile. It won't change the way people think, and it won't improve interpersonal relations.

Tony Dowden
03-01-2010, 09:22 AM
Incitement to violence ought to be banned (and presumably already is in most countries). But my mum always taught me that "sticks-n-stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me". These kinds of bans are futile. It won't change the way people think, and it won't improve interpersonal relations.

So you would be happy to use mere words of blasphemy in a fundamentalist Islamic context?

Spiny Norman
03-01-2010, 09:26 AM
One cannot help but offend in some circumstances. One man's truth is another's blasphemy. Should one go out of one's way just to offend? No; that would not be nice behaviour. But it ought not to be illegal under the law, even though it is morally reprehensible.

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 09:37 AM
I'd say Richard Dawkins is in up to his neck already :) See end of first article - I'm amused Dawkins can get so worked up over an allegedly fictional character!

I don't think Dawkins is worked up by god but just that so many otherwise sensible people find the stories in the Bible credible.

My favourite quotes are those of Bjork closely followed by Mark Twain.

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 09:39 AM
One cannot help but offend in some circumstances. One man's truth is another's blasphemy. Should one go out of one's way just to offend? No; that would not be nice behaviour. But it ought not to be illegal under the law, even though it is morally reprehensible.

So would you call Martin Luther "morally reprehensible"?

Spiny Norman
03-01-2010, 10:13 AM
So would you call Martin Luther "morally reprehensible"?
If he (or anyone else) made a special effort to offend, rather than it being an unfortunate but necessary by-product of expressing one's personal beliefs, then yes, in my view, he would have acted in a morally reprehensible way.

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 10:40 AM
If he (or anyone else) made a special effort to offend, rather than it being an unfortunate but necessary by-product of expressing one's personal beliefs, then yes, in my view, he would have acted in a morally reprehensible way.

Seems we have uncovered a bit of a double standard here. :hmm: Define what you mean by "necessary by-product of expressing one's personal beliefs".

For example Luther's personal belief was the the Jewish people should be driven out of Germany then you would not consider it morally reprehensible to express his belief in the form of a book, Von den Jüden und iren Lügen, the reason for writing it was as follows...


I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them.

This seems to go beyond the expression of his beliefs. In the book itself Luther says...


There is no other explanation for this than the one cited earlier from Moses — namely, that God has struck [the Jews] with 'madness and blindness and confusion of mind.' So we are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin). We are at fault in not slaying them. Rather we allow them to live freely in our midst despite all their murdering, cursing, blaspheming, lying, and defaming; we protect and shield their synagogues, houses, life, and property. In this way we make them lazy and secure and encourage them to fleece us boldly of our money and goods, as well as to mock and deride us, with a view to finally overcoming us, killing us all for such a great sin, and robbing us of all our property (as they daily pray and hope). Now tell me whether they do not have every reason to be the enemies of us accursed Goyim, to curse us and to strive for our final, complete, and eternal ruin!

So I ask again, was Martin Luther morally reprehensible by your definition above, or not?

CameronD
03-01-2010, 10:48 AM
I think people should be allowed to say what they want about any religion/belief, as long as they dont encourage people to breach there rights.

eg. saying people in religion y are evil and not to talk to them should be allowed, but saying they should be bashed or refused services should not be.

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 10:58 AM
I think people should be allowed to say what they want about any religion/belief, as long as they dont encourage people to breach there rights.

eg. saying people in religion y are evil and not to talk to them should be allowed, but saying they should be bashed or refused services should not be.

I don't see why religion or belief needs to be protected by law. The Irish laws is basically criminalising any utterance that leads to outrage, which is reason enough for it to be repealed. However it is also discriminatory since only religious outrage is prosecutable you can outrage as many non-religious people as you like and there is no legal avenue to prosecute those.

Note that the Irish atheist position (and mine) is that the laws should simply be repealed and not reworded to cover the non-religious.

Spiny Norman
03-01-2010, 12:06 PM
So I ask again, was Martin Luther morally reprehensible by your definition above, or not?
You can ask as many times as you like ... since I've already answered your question a few posts ago, I don't intend to bother repeating myself.

Capablanca-Fan
03-01-2010, 01:56 PM
Such silly laws are typical of leftards who think that people (at least their appointed Victim Groups) have a right not to be offended.

Tony Dowden
03-01-2010, 02:20 PM
I'm surprised by some of the sentiment expressed here. Surely its commonsense to set some boundaries around what people say. For example here on this website, where some members have a habit of getting banned ;)

More seriously, words often incite violence. The more obvious occasions are related to religion, race and the vulgar/profane/plain ugly. One recent example in the Australian experience were the Cronulla riots which were catalysed by words. Good governance should include measures to stop this kind of thing from happening.

In the case under discussion here I suspect some think 'anti-blasphemy' sounds sublimely ridiculous, if not completely irrelevant, so are reacting to the perceived absurdity of it all. But doesn't replacing this phrase with 'anti-racist taunting' sounds comparatively sensible?

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 02:42 PM
You can ask as many times as you like ... since I've already answered your question a few posts ago, I don't intend to bother repeating myself.

Nice attempted deflection but I did supply more information on the specifics of Luther's writings and his own reasons for publishing them. So if it is your position that in possession of these fact you are still unable to decided then let me just chalk that up as a tacit "eh... yes". :D

Spiny Norman
03-01-2010, 03:16 PM
Nice attempted deflection but I did supply more information on the specifics of Luther's writings and his own reasons for publishing them. So if it is your position that in possession of these fact you are still unable to decided then let me just chalk that up as a tacit "eh... yes". :D
You're not doing yourself any favours by being obtuse. If you think that my response means "unable to decide" then you're just being silly.

Tony Dowden
03-01-2010, 03:22 PM
Seems we have uncovered a bit of a double standard here. :hmm: Define what you mean by "necessary by-product of expressing one's personal beliefs".

For example Luther's personal belief was the the Jewish people should be driven out of Germany then you would not consider it morally reprehensible to express his belief in the form of a book, Von den Jüden und iren Lügen, the reason for writing it was as follows...

So I ask again, was Martin Luther morally reprehensible by your definition above, or not?

OK, I'll answer your question then.

You are right to imply some of Luther's action's were morally reprehensible. Luther wrote the anti-Semitic 'Concerning the Jews and their Lies' (1543) which is known to have later influenced Hitler. So Luther's actions also had horrific consequences. [Wow, there's an example of words influencing concrete actions!]

While I absolutely can't condone the use of hate-filled words leading to evil actions, Luther was probably influenced by the widespread anti-Semitic thinking of the time. In addition there is a school of thought that in his later years Luther was not exactly in the pink of mental health (cf Fischer's anti-Semitic ramblings for a parallel).

Some of Luther's actions were probably on the right side of the ledger. On the other hand he exposed corrupt practices in the Roman Catholic church (for whom he became the latest AntiChrist) and also made significant contributions to the wider Christian church (cf the Lutheran movement) and to theology (where his best contributions still hold up to contemporary scrutiny).

Capablanca-Fan
03-01-2010, 03:28 PM
I'm surprised by some of the sentiment expressed here. Surely its commonsense to set some boundaries around what people say. For example here on this website, where some members have a habit of getting banned ;)
ChessChat is a private website; similarly, home owners can ban people they don't like from entering their homes.


More seriously, words often incite violence.
Incitement to violence is already proscribed by existing laws. There is no need to extend this to mere offence.


The more obvious occasions are related to religion, race and the vulgar/profane/plain ugly. One recent example in the Australian experience were the Cronulla riots which were catalysed by words. Good governance should include measures to stop this kind of thing from happening.
Bad governance (almost a pleonasm :P) on the other hand over-reacts. Just look at the American transport Gestapo with its ridiculous bans on water bottles and now going to the loo on flights an hour before landing. And in the issue at hand, in über-politically-correct UK, "A teenage schoolgirl was arrested by police for racism after refusing to sit with a group of Asian students because some of them did not speak English (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1495)." Yet as they increase censorship to absurd levels, they show increasing tolerance to overt advocacy of violence by radical Muslim clerics (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1199), and we saw that in Australia with Sheik Taj Din "Sarcofelis" Al Hilaly comparing women without burqas to "cat's meat".


In the case under discussion here I suspect some think 'anti-blasphemy' sounds sublimely ridiculous, if not completely irrelevant, so are reacting to the perceived absurdity of it all. But doesn't replacing this phrase with 'anti-racist taunting' sounds comparatively sensible?
Not at all. Calling someone "abo" or "honky" should not be a crime. Saying "all niggers should be bashed" or "all white girls should be raped" should be, since they are inciting actual crimes against a group.

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 03:56 PM
You are right to imply some of Luther's action's were morally reprehensible.

Thanks Tony. I think that is as close to straight answer as I would hope to obtain.

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 04:07 PM
You're not doing yourself any favours by being obtuse. If you think that my response means "unable to decide" then you're just being silly.

What I was trying to do and make you realise that your post where you say


Should one go out of one's way just to offend? No; that would not be nice behaviour. But it ought not to be illegal under the law, even though it is morally reprehensible.

is not defensible because one should be able to question ideas regardless of whether it offends or not. In fact, causing offence is often an unavoidable consequence of progress. I don't think going out of one's way to offend is necessarily reprehensible. It is what you say or do which determines the degree of moral reprehensibility.

In the case of Luther, On the Jews and their Lies is a morally reprehensible piece of hate speech. It would be nice if you would at least admit that much.

Capablanca-Fan
03-01-2010, 04:25 PM
You are right to imply some of Luther's action's were morally reprehensible. Luther wrote the anti-Semitic 'Concerning the Jews and their Lies' (1543) which is known to have later influenced Hitler. So Luther's actions also had horrific consequences. [Wow, there's an example of words influencing concrete actions!]
Yet Hitler was far more influenced by secular antisemites, such as Teodor Fritsch (1852–1933), author of The Handbook of the Jewish Question aka the Anti-Semitic Catechism. This should not be surprising. Luther's antisemitism was religious, and his goal was conversion of the Jews. Hitler's antisemitism was racial; he didn't care what Jews believed; he just wanted them dead.

Up till then, Germany, even with its strong Lutheran heritage, was the European country most friendly to Jews, who were often very patriotic, calling themselves "Germans of the Mosaic Faith". Many fought in WW1, e.g. Tarrasch lost a son there, and Hitler's own medal was on the recommendation of a Jewish lieutenant.

Richard Evans in The Coming of the Third Reich argued that if someone around 1900 had predicted a Holocaust in Europe, it would have been plausible in France with the Dreyfuss affair, or in the Russian Empire with its frequent progroms, but not in Germany. And overseas German organizations, while heavily Lutheran, welcomed German Jews. Furthermore, the Lutheran churches in America and Australia supported the Allies in WW2, and rebuffed Nazi infiltrators.

Thomas Sowell writes in Migrations and Cultures, in the chapter ‘Germans around the world’:


‘The dozen years of Germany’s history dominated by the Nazis cast a shadow over Germans, at home and abroad, for decades after the Hitler regime was buried in the dust and rubble at the end of World War 2. While the Nazi movement exploited certain features of German culture, including obedience to authority and a romanticising of culture and violence, in other ways the Nazis represented a sharp break with more civilized aspects of German tradition. For example, the racial fanaticism of the Nazi era in Germany was in sharp contrast to the historic tolerant cosmopolitanism of Germans in the Baltic and Czechoslovakia, or the German antislavery position in Brazil and in the United States, their ability to get along with the indigenous American Indians in the Western Hemisphere, their charitable efforts toward the aborigines in Australia. Group prejudice and discrimination were by no means unknown among Germans, at home and abroad, but it tended to be less rather than more prevalent, as compared to other Europeans—or to Asians or Africans, for that matter.’

And Lutheranism can't even remotely held responsible for the Nazi eugenics and euthanasia programs, mass murder of Slavs and Gypsies, Lebensraum, for example.


While I absolutely can't condone the use of hate-filled words leading to evil actions, Luther was probably influenced by the widespread anti-Semitic thinking of the time.
As well as by the polemical style of the time, in Luther's attacks on the Papacy and the Papacy's defenders' attacks on Luther (see Invective and Discernment in Martin Luther, D. Erasmus, and Thomas More (http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=9AFE5501BE94D9797B05378 29A54F825.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=371853)). E.g. here is Luther's exchange with "saint" Thomas More where both are free with scatalogical vitriol (http://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/Greifenhagen_Scripturewars.pdf):


Religious polemic can, while having high minded goals such as eternal salvation in mind, descend simultaneously to the crudest level of personal insult. An extreme example is furnished by the polemical exchange between Thomas More and Martin Luther in 1521: Luther writes against Henry VIII: “. . . since he knowingly and conscientiously fabricates lies against the majesty of my king in heaven [Christ], this damnable rottenness and worm, I will have the right, on behalf of my king, to bespatter his English majesty with muck and shit and to trample underfoot that crown of his which blasphemes against Christ”. More responds: “. . . for as long as your reverend paternity will be determined to tell these shameless lies, others will be permitted, on behalf of his English majesty, to throw back into your paternity’s shitty mouth, truly the shit-pool of all shit, all the muck and shit which your damnable rottenness has vomited up, and to empty all the sewers and privies into your crown divested of the dignity of the priestly crown, against which no less than against the kingly crown you have determined to play the buffoon”.

Most likely the Lutheran churches in Germany and overseas understood the trash talk, which is why they and German culture didn't take the antisemitism on board.


In addition there is a school of thought that in his later years Luther was not exactly in the pink of mental health (cf Fischer's anti-Semitic ramblings for a parallel).
Most likely.


Some of Luther's actions were probably on the right side of the ledger. On the other hand he exposed corrupt practices in the Roman Catholic church (for whom he became the latest AntiChrist) and also made significant contributions to the wider Christian church (cf the Lutheran movement) and to theology (where his best contributions still hold up to contemporary scrutiny).
Agree to all.

Spiny Norman
03-01-2010, 05:10 PM
In the case of Luther, On the Jews and their Lies is a morally reprehensible piece of hate speech. It would be nice if you would at least admit that much.
What I wrote is pretty clear, probably to all here except for yourself. If Luther incited violence, Luther was morally in the wrong. If Luther was making a special effort to offend, then he was morally in the wrong. If Luther was merely stating his views and not making a special effort to offend (the offence was an unfortunate byproduct of his beliefs) then Luther might be wrong and might even be morally wrong ... but he was entitled to his beliefs and entitled to express them provided he did not incite to violence.

The same goes for anyone else in my book. There are plenty of people who denigrate Christianity and Christians. They are entitled to their p.o.v. and unless they incite violence they should be allowed to express it. If they are doing this for the primary purpose of causing offence, then they are morally wrong but they should not be prevented from expressing their view.

Does that make it clear? I'm in favour of freedom of speech, but not completely unfettered freedom of speech. There is plenty of stuff around that some might call hate speech. That is a judgement call that I am not prepared to make.

Perhaps you can tell everyone else here on what grounds you feel justified in labelling something as hate speech and on what grounds you believe it should be banned. Please be specific as to what constitutes and offence and where the lines should be drawn.

Rincewind
03-01-2010, 06:10 PM
Perhaps you can tell everyone else here on what grounds you feel justified in labelling something as hate speech and on what grounds you believe it should be banned. Please be specific as to what constitutes and offence and where the lines should be drawn.

Inciting violence is going to far. Being offensive is not. In On Jews and their Lies, Luther incited crimes of violence and property so that was going too far in my view. Nowadays I think very few people would be incited by Luther, but a modern day Luther would be testing the limits of what should be permissible.

Regardless on whether something should be allowed to be published or not it can still be judged to be moral reprehensible. Simply causing offence is not intrinsically morally wrong. I think this is the nub of our disagreement.

Kevin Bonham
03-01-2010, 06:26 PM
I'm surprised by some of the sentiment expressed here. Surely its commonsense to set some boundaries around what people say. For example here on this website, where some members have a habit of getting banned ;)

This website is a privately owned forum, and if people are banned from it then the only consequence of that is them not being able to post on a forum they don't own. They can get their own forum and say that stuff on it if they want to. Some of them already have.

Blasphemy laws seek to restrict whatever people can say in general - even if they are just saying it on their own website. Being banned from posting on a forum you don't own for saying something is one thing, but being fined or even jailed quite another.

Thus I do not think bannings from forums are a valid analogy for defending laws restricting public speech in general. In fact I'm absolutely certain they are not.


More seriously, words often incite violence. The more obvious occasions are related to religion, race and the vulgar/profane/plain ugly. One recent example in the Australian experience were the Cronulla riots which were catalysed by words. Good governance should include measures to stop this kind of thing from happening.

I agree with restrictions in such cases of incitement. But it is a tricky area (or it should be a trickier one for you than me) since any number of Bible passages can be read as inciting violence, especially when used out of context.

Spiny Norman
04-01-2010, 05:15 AM
Inciting violence is going to far. Being offensive is not. In On Jews and their Lies, Luther incited crimes of violence and property so that was going too far in my view. Nowadays I think very few people would be incited by Luther, but a modern day Luther would be testing the limits of what should be permissible.
So for the sake of argument, lets agree that Luther, if he said those things today, would be judged to be guilty of hate speech. Was he also guilty back then?

In other words, are you advocating a more-or-less timeless moral rule that Luther broke? What is the basis for this timeless aspect of the moral rule that he broke?

If its not timeless, but has an aspect of being relative to the time and place and culture within which the words were spoken, how can you be certain of your judgement, since you only have personal knowledge of your own time/place/culture and hand-me-down reports of Luther's time/place/culture?

Nail your colours to the mast RW. Give us, in summary perhaps, your assessment of the nature of Luther's moral crimes and your justification for your judgements.

As for me, whilst I find Luther's comments about Jews nasty, whilst I think they have no place in modern society (or, frankly, in any society), I will not silence him just because of what he said ... UNLESS he can be shown to have incited violence against Jews. I will rather argue against him. I will try to show him to have been bigoted at that point in his life. I will try to show that he made a poor judgement, or should have held his tongue.

I'm trying to draw a clear distinction between a LEGAL judgement and a MORAL judgement here. People seem to start talking about one, then drift into talking about the other. Legally, Luther was not wrong. Morally he probably is according to my rules of morality. Why? Because, as a Christian, both he and I are commanded: Love your neighbour. I think it relatively easy to show that he broke that rule.

Why then have I not rushed to judgement? There's a warning that applies to me as a Christian: judge not, lest you be judged. This is not, as some insist "never pass judgement" but rather (putting on my best Elmer Fudd voice):

Be vewy, vewy careful before you pass a judgement ... because by the same high-horse morality that you use in passing judgement you too will be judged.

Rincewind
04-01-2010, 07:54 AM
Definitely hate speech and definitely unacceptable now as then. Luther's tract was also used to justify the holocaust and so while the holocaust may have happened without Luther, he called for a Jewish persecution and given his nifluence (especially in Germany) one was carried out.

Here is Luther in his own words (translated to English) my emphasis of the more ironic passages added...


First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly_and I myself was unaware of it_will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

In Deuteronomy 13:12 Moses writes that any city that is given to idolatry shall be totally destroyed by fire, and nothing of it shall be preserved. If he were alive today, he would be the first to set fire to the synagogues and houses of the Jews. For in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 he commanded very explicitly that nothing is to be added to or subtracted from his law. And Samuel says in I Samuel 15:23 that disobedience to God is idolatry. Now the Jews' doctrine at present is nothing but the additions of the rabbis and the idolatry of disobedience, so that Moses has become entirely unknown among them (as we said before), just as the Bible became unknown under the papacy in our day. So also, for Moses' sake, their schools cannot be tolerated; they defame him just as much as they do us. It is not necessary that they have their own free churches for such idolatry.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them the fact that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17:10) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: "what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord." Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people's obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16:18, "You are Peter," etc., inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let them stay at home. I have heard it said that a rich Jew is now traveling across the country with twelve horses his ambition is to become a Kokhba devouring princes, lords, lands, and people with his usury, so that the great lords view it with jealous eyes. If you great lords and princes will not forbid such usurers the highway legally, some day a troop may gather against them, having learned from this booklet the true nature of the Jews and how one should deal with them and not protect their activities. For you, too, must not and cannot protect them unless you wish to become participants in an their abominations in the sight of God. Consider carefully what good could come from this, and prevent it.

Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us an they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God's blessing in a good and worthy cause.

What is your assessment of the passage above? Morally reprehensible or just quoted out of context?

Spiny Norman
04-01-2010, 09:23 AM
In answer to your question: I find his writings (quote above) to be bigoted, morally reprehensible (both now and then and for all time) ... and if he were to say them today he should be charged under laws which prohibit incitement to violence.

Now back to my question ... you seem to have dodged it ... is morality timeless? Not dependent upon culture?

Spiny Norman
04-01-2010, 09:34 AM
... and getting back to the original discussion point of the thread ... I think anti-blasphemy laws are bad laws and ought to be repealed.

Rincewind
04-01-2010, 01:33 PM
Now back to my question ... you seem to have dodged it ... is morality timeless? Not dependent upon culture?

Not dodged, just waiting for the questions to be answered in the order they were asked.

It largely depends on what in particular you take morality to mean. If you mean a list of what is right and wrong then that is a product of culture to a large extent. However there are some things which are so wrong that all moral codes ought not allow. Arbitrary killing for example is an act that I would class as a non cultural immoral act. No one wants to be arbitrarily killed and so I cannot imagine a culture where that would be allowed. I don't know if I would use the term "timeless" however since since cultures all exist in one time or another.

I hope that answers your question.

Rincewind
04-01-2010, 01:34 PM
... and getting back to the original discussion point of the thread ... I think anti-blasphemy laws are bad laws and ought to be repealed.

I agree.

Bloke
04-01-2010, 02:45 PM
what a waste of time. isnt there more important issues? zzz lame law imo.

Spiny Norman
04-01-2010, 02:56 PM
It largely depends on what in particular you take morality to mean. If you mean a list of what is right and wrong then that is a product of culture to a large extent. However there are some things which are so wrong that all moral codes ought not allow. Arbitrary killing for example is an act that I would class as a non cultural immoral act. No one wants to be arbitrarily killed and so I cannot imagine a culture where that would be allowed. I don't know if I would use the term "timeless" however since since cultures all exist in one time or another.
So the reason that arbitrary killing is wrong is because you lack imagination? :lol:

Why are there some things that all moral codes ought not to allow? (this in itself is a moral judgement that you are making).

Is there something inherently wrong with unlawful killing? (I think there is) If so, what is the reason that this is so?

If it is just that all cultures that you observe (and those that you imagine) would not allow it, surely, with a bit of prodding, you might be able to imagine a culture where there is now law and arbitrary killing is a sign of great strength and is encouraged?

In such a culture, what would be your judgement? Are they wrong to think that way, or right? Why?

Capablanca-Fan
04-01-2010, 06:51 PM
I agree.
Same here.

Tony Dowden
04-01-2010, 07:02 PM
Not at all. Calling someone "abo" or "honky" should not be a crime. Saying "all niggers should be bashed" or "all white girls should be raped" should be, since they are inciting actual crimes against a group.

I'm not so sure. If name-calling (say, high-intensity and/or hate-motivated) leads to violence then, whether or not explicit instructions were given, it might be judged to be incitement by association or implication.

Spiny Norman
04-01-2010, 07:51 PM
All kinds of things might lead to all kinds of other things. That is a slippery slope. There is no end to it. Only if one's statements are explicitly pro-violence ought they to be legally banned. But they are morally out of order regardless of whether legally out of order (according to my rule of: love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbour as yourself).

Rincewind
04-01-2010, 08:24 PM
So the reason that arbitrary killing is wrong is because you lack imagination? :lol:

Not at all but you seemed to be asking if there were some morals which transcend cultural norms and I imagine there probably are. I think it is very difficult to think about morals outside of my own cultural norms let alone outside of all cultural norms, so my position is I suspect that such morals may exist but I can't give you a definitive list.


Why are there some things that all moral codes ought not to allow? (this in itself is a moral judgement that you are making).

Well it is more that I don't think cultures would work if they were allowed. But as I said it is more a suspicion than something I am stridently professing. You asked the question I am just trying to answer as best as I could.


Is there something inherently wrong with unlawful killing? (I think there is) If so, what is the reason that this is so?

Unlawful is not the same as arbitrary. I think in many cases there is something wrong with lawful killing. However this is getting into cultural morals and not the timeless sort of morals you were trying to explore.


If it is just that all cultures that you observe (and those that you imagine) would not allow it, surely, with a bit of prodding, you might be able to imagine a culture where there is now law and arbitrary killing is a sign of great strength and is encouraged?

Not completely arbitrary killing. Sure perhaps wanton killing of a particular segment of the population, but that is not the same thing. That is not truly arbitrary.


In such a culture, what would be your judgement? Are they wrong to think that way, or right? Why?

Which one are we talking about? If there is a culture where say a particular segment is vilified and wanton killing of that segment is largely unpunished (I can imagine that). Then is that sort of killing wrong?

I personally believe it is. However I can't say whether that judgement transcends all cultures or not. I suspect it doesn't but it's not a question which I think is very important.

Capablanca-Fan
09-05-2017, 06:09 AM
Comedian Stephen Fry facing blasphemy investigation in Ireland (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/05/07/comedian-stephen-fry-facing-blasphemy-investigation-in-ireland/)
By Eugene Volokh, 7 May 2017

A moronic law, just like 18C in Australia.

Rincewind
09-05-2017, 10:52 AM
A moronic law, just like 18C in Australia.

Except that blasphemy laws are there to protect the majority from a vindictive minority not the other way around.

Capablanca-Fan
11-05-2017, 04:45 AM
Except that blasphemy laws are there to protect the majority from a vindictive minority not the other way around.

Another one: Indonesian capital’s first Christian governor sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/05/09/indonesian-capitals-first-christian-governor-sentenced-to-two-years-in-prison-for-blasphemy)
By Eugene Volokh, 9 May 2017

Desmond
11-05-2017, 08:37 AM
Another one: Indonesian capital’s first Christian governor sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/05/09/indonesian-capitals-first-christian-governor-sentenced-to-two-years-in-prison-for-blasphemy)
By Eugene Volokh, 9 May 2017

Disgraceful.

Rincewind
11-05-2017, 11:25 AM
Another one: Indonesian capital’s first Christian governor sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/05/09/indonesian-capitals-first-christian-governor-sentenced-to-two-years-in-prison-for-blasphemy)
By Eugene Volokh, 9 May 2017

Again another case of the (islamic) majority persecuting the (christian) minority. In the case of 18C it is mostly the white anglo christian majority who are calling for its repeal and ethnic and religious minorities that are lobbying for it to remain. Therefore analogies to blasphemy laws are invalid.

Capablanca-Fan
12-05-2017, 05:55 AM
Comedian Stephen Fry facing blasphemy investigation in Ireland (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/05/07/comedian-stephen-fry-facing-blasphemy-investigation-in-ireland/)
By Eugene Volokh, 7 May 2017

A moronic law, just like 18C in Australia.

Update: Irish police drop blasphemy investigation of noted comedian Stephen Fry (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/05/10/irish-police-drop-blasphemy-investigation-of-noted-comedian-stephen-fry).

Still a bad law that should be repealed—as Spiny Norman (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?11287-WTF!-Anti-blasphemy-Laws&p=268038&viewfull=1#post268038), RW (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?11287-WTF!-Anti-blasphemy-Laws&p=268048&viewfull=1#post268048), and I (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?11287-WTF!-Anti-blasphemy-Laws&p=268083&viewfull=1#post268083) agreed seven years ago.