Charlie Hebdo, One Year On

It’s been just over a year since the Charlie Hebdo murders, and I thought it was time to do a little more than simply defy, although I do love that that was Ken’s way of commemorating the date.

On January 7, 2015, a group of lowlives attacked the offices of a satirical magazine for no other reason than they disliked its sense of humor. They believed that their religion trumped anyone's right to mock it. They believed that their umbrage meant that they had the right to take the lives of those who worked there.

And therein proved that their interpretation of their religion was entirely, utterly, without merit, and worthy of being mocked. And today, they still don't get it, do they?

Meanwhile, these pieces of trash continue to use violence to suppress humor. Texas, and to a much deeper extent, in Bangladesh. We can not give them what they want. We must continue to mock them, and not let a year simply calm us down and let us move on. The mockery must continue.

I do not single out Islam as worthy of disdain and mockery. I feel that way about all Abrahamic religions. They all trace their roots to an event where a guy's imaginary friend told him to kill his son, and he said "sure, sounds legit!" Then, the imaginary friend said, "just kidding, just cut off a piece of his dick to show me that you love me." He still says "sounds legit!" What the fuck else can you expect but madness after that?

I would likely feel that way about all other religions, if I learned enough about them. If you want to practice your religion, by all means, go right ahead. You can believe in a flying spaghetti monster, or a zombie Jesus, or anything else you like.

And dammit, I have the right to mock you for it.

I don't have that right because I am right. I may be dead wrong. I fully accept that if I ever die, I could be called before some supreme being who will be utterly fucking pissed at me — and if he exists, he damn well should be.

Because I mock him. I mock his followers. I mock lots of things.

As we should be able to.

Does that bother you?

Are your beliefs so fragile, so meaningless, so utterly without merit, that they cannot stand in opposition to mine?
If a “prophet” is so weak that you commit acts of violence against other people because they mock him, then your prophet is not worthy of any respect at all — let alone immunity from mockery.

If your God or your prophet can not take being mocked, then fuck your god and fuck your prophet.

I do not use the term "hero" loosely. But, Charlie Hebdo was bombed before January 7, 2015. Those who worked there knew the risks. They accepted them. And on that day, 12 of them died because they believed in something far more important than any fairy tale.

They believed in freedom of expression.

"Hero" is the right word to describe all of them.

We are only the sum of our thoughts. If the powerful or the fanatical can stop us from expressing them through coercion or violence, we are less human. We all achieve less for being here for the brief time that we get to exist on this rock.

When we got attacked on 9/11, we responded by changing who we were. We responded by curtailing our own liberties, all in the false name of "security."

Charlie Hebdo's editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier once said: “I would prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.” A year ago, he died standing.

He died standing for something.

He died standing for freedom of expression.

The correct reaction to terrorism is to do exactly the opposite of what the terrorists want you to do.

I would not normally re-publish these pieces of art. I don't particularly care for them. But, if these terrorists wanted to take that right away from us by making us afraid, they have sorely failed in their attempt.

With that, I give you what these barbarians tried to take from us.

Fuck your prophet.

And Fuck you.

Je suis Charlie, et je me souviens.

loved-by-dicks

a-star-is-born

CH2

CB1

Last 5 posts by Randazza

Comments

  1. Sad Panda says

    And therein proved that their interpretation of their religion was entirely, utterly, without merit, and worthy of being mocked.

    Worthy of being mocked, certainly.

    Without merit? I'm no Islamic scholar, but from what I've read this violent intolerance is pretty well grounded in the actual written text.

  2. says

    Wow you really don't get it. The problem is that France's policy of Laicite (secular caliphate) restricts freedom of expression. In fact even Charlie Hebdo is frequently hauled into court for violating their 'hate speech' laws. And the terrorists used that excuse as their justification for attacking Charlie Hebdo. France (and all of Europe) must immediately rescind these restrictions. The false doctrine that 'hate speech incites violence' is more dangerous than militant islam and must be debunked once and for all. Granted, that's difficult for us to understand as Americans since we are well protected in part due to people like you (thanks heh).

  3. Craig Welch says

    Who doesn't get it? You are quite entitled to your view of France's laws, but how do you figure you're able to tell France what it must do, by way of rescinding its laws?

  4. says

    how do you figure you're able to tell France what it must do

    I figure it from a position of moral superiority. I figure it from the position that I shall neither kill others for their views, nor promote laws barring the views that anger people even unto the point of killing.

    The cheese-eating surrender monkeys are fairly likely to do the latter. They will have "hate crime" laws, and some idiot frog cops and maniac frog judges will get to decide what is hateful to them.

    The musselmen will have laws in their countries, providing for the killing of those with whom they disagree. Hey, Saudi Arabia, I fart in your general direction! And Bang-the-Desk, your fathers smell of elderberries.

    But all this is just me. You are free to sympathize with the cheese-eating surrender monkeys and their laws protecting the delicate against offense.

  5. En Passant says

    Craig Welch says January 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm:

    You are quite entitled to your view of France's laws, but how do you figure you're able to tell France what it must do, by way of rescinding its laws?

    Say wha?

    Seriously, I have no idea who or what you are talking about. Where did Marc Randazza "tell France what it must do", or tell France to rescind any laws?

  6. ElSuerte says

    I've been wondering how Ken's 'goat fucking' rule applies to this and the 'defy' post from yesterday. To paraphrase, even if you're defiantly espousing anti-muslim bigotry*, you're still an anti-muslim bigot. To put my question another way, what makes these posts different from Terry Jones buring a koran?

    *Assuming, for sake of argument, that the cartoons are bigoted. Also not calling anyone a bigot, just interested in in where we draw the line.

  7. Peter Moore says

    Of course you have a right to mock anyone's religious beliefs. But the question is whether it is smart, helpful or polite. In particular is doesn't seem very proportionate to deliberately try to insult or troll a billion or so Muslims in order to vent your anger at the attackers of Charlie Hebdo. It make you feel good, but I can't think it really helps the situation unless you believe the type of people who attack Charlie Hebdo give a damn about what you think of them. All I can see being affected are the more moderate Muslims…

    I can't help but think you want to be able to vent your anger in any way you see fit without being called on it. Unless, of course, you are declaring this a Safe Space for your strongly felt feelings to go unchallenged?

  8. Czernobog says

    I have just one issue with this post. The correct response to Terrorism, or any kind of coercion, is to do what you think is right, and ethical. Not the opposite of what the terrorists say they want you to do, because by doing that you simply give them the power to determine your actions.

    ETA: Warning, some hyperbole and oversimplification ahead.

    Here in Israel, War profiteers among the Palestinians (You know them as "Hamas") and Messianic fanatics among the Israelis (You know them as "The Israeli Government") have learned that they can bolster one another by ostensibly "punishing" each other. In the early 90's, when the (admittedly flawed) early peace accords began to get traction, Terrorist bombings became more commonplace, because a peace agreement threatens the existence of the terrorist organizations. The Israeli response (after Rabin was assassinated) was to halt the peace process, after which bombings became less frequent.

    Now the response to terrorist attacks is to tighten restrictions on the civilian population, which in turn increases support of the terrorist organizations. And the cycle basically serves to bolster the extremists on both sides, because the average person is quick to adopt the "Let's get back at them by doing what's worst for them, rather than what is right for us" mentality.

    In conclusion, anyone should feel free to mock any religion they want. Personally, I wasn't inclined to do so before the attack, and am not inclined to do so now. It's simply ground that's far too well trodden already.

  9. Muhommed says

    "just interested in in where we draw the line"

    We draw it right before those words call for, or are reasonably intended to cause, and reasonably likely to cause violence against others. We sure as hell don't draw it just because those words caused people to contract hurtfeelioma, (which is a real disease worth real money).

    People have a right to state their bigoted ideas without the threat of violence and government sanctions (to the extent that their bigoted ideas don't qualify as incitement; see above).

    As is said on here time and time again, the proper response to words you don't like is more words.

  10. says

    @ El Suerte,

    I've been wondering how Ken's 'goat fucking' rule applies to this and the 'defy' post from yesterday. To paraphrase, even if you're defiantly espousing anti-muslim bigotry*, you're still an anti-muslim bigot. To put my question another way, what makes these posts different from Terry Jones buring a koran?

    I can't see how shitting on a religion is ever "bigotry." You can always convert. If you believe in global warming (or don't believe in it), but people shit on you for that belief, are they "bigoted?" Any religion is simply a set of fairy tales that you choose to believe in. The mere fact that conversion exists demonstrates that it is not an immutable characteristic. So, "bigotry" is the wrong word to describe it.

    Am I a "bigot" because I think that all three Abrahamic religions are stupid? What makes it "bigotry?" Drawing (or re-publishing) a cartoon that mocks global warming is sharing an opinion, but mocking a belief that there is a supreme being, and it gives a shit if you eat bacon or drink wine, that is "bigotry?" Mocking an idea is not "bigotry." Or, if we are to re-define that word to encompass mocking ideas, then I am a "bigot," as is (I hope) everyone – since everyone has at least one idea held by a group of other people which they find stupid, and worthy of being mocked.

    Now, what makes these posts different from Terry Jones burning a Koran? I see no real difference. I could defend my motivations as somehow more noble, but that would be a silly argument. Jones thinks his are just as noble as mine. So, I'll accept them as equivalent. I simply see nothing wrong with setting fire to a sacred text, except for the fact that as a principle, I am offended by anyone burning any book at all. And, of course, I'd put my own hand in the fire to save it, if it were a book with historical value (like if he happened to get one from a museum to burn it), but that is certainly a tangent.

  11. ngage92 says

    I mean, this is "humor" in the same way that a caricature of a black person scarfing down on a watermelon is.

  12. Mike says

    Am I a "bigot" because I think that all three Abrahamic religions are stupid? What makes it "bigotry?" Mocking an idea is not "bigotry."

    Okay, I'll bite. The line is when you cross from mocking an idea to mocking people, especially oppressed minorities already facing bigotry in their daily lives, like so many Muslims do in France, across Europe, and in America.

    I'm not saying it's a clear line, and I'm not necessarily saying these images cross it, though I think some other Charlie Hebdo images do. But to the extent they further other the other, they're at least aid and comfort to bigots. Those images piss off evil Muslim extremists, which is great, but they also justify evil anti-Muslim bigots in their own heads, which I'm less cool with. If you're spreading bigotry or hatred to show how much you love free speech, you're still spreading bigotry. So it's at least a conversation worth having, to me.

    Obviously, though, the conversation is about human decency, not justification for violence or censorship. There's no justification for violence in response to any speech, or censorship (outside of narrow, narrow confines that we're nowhere near). Full stop.

  13. Castaigne says

    @Muhommed:

    We draw it right before those words call for, or are reasonably intended to cause, and reasonably likely to cause violence against others.

    The problem is, violence is what's funny. You get more ha-ha's out of a pratfall or setting someone on fire then you do from some vaguely amusing repartee. Thus, American comedy. (I can't speak for other countries.)

    ===

    @Marc Randazza:

    I simply see nothing wrong with setting fire to a sacred text, except for the fact that as a principle, I am offended by anyone burning any book at all.

    *puzzled* Why? Especially if it's something that you mock? That's terribly confusing to me. You only mock what you hate, and if you hate something, you want it destroyed.

  14. says

    @Marc Randazza:

    I can't see how shitting on a religion is ever "bigotry."

    The line between shitting on a religion, and shitting on its adherents, isn't particularly thick or bright.

    "This religion teaches that it's always OK to cheat gentiles/kill infidels/lie to Protestants/engage in counter-revolutionary activity!" is also just shitting on a religion, and yet….

  15. says

    @Castaigne:

    *puzzled* Why? Especially if it's something that you mock? That's terribly confusing to me. You only mock what you hate, and if you hate something, you want it destroyed.

    People mock things they love, or are neutral about, all the time. Honestly, this subject always seems to conjure up all sorts of weird categorical statements.

  16. says

    @Mike:

    Obviously, though, the conversation is about human decency, not justification for violence or censorship. There's no justification for violence in response to any speech, or censorship (outside of narrow, narrow confines that we're nowhere near). Full stop.

    Yeah, the correct response to someone exercising their free speech right to be a jackass is to say, "Hey, asshole, stop being such a jackass."

    As soon as the bullets start flying, a lot of people are going to realize that, hey, being an jackass is just a matter of politeness, and being rude is a small price to pay to defy criminals and show solidarity with their victims. And you know, those people really have a point.

    And if they go too far, well, all they've done is fuck a metaphorical goat in public. Fortunately for them, there are no laws against metaphorically molesting metaphorical farm animals.

  17. Peter Gerdes says

    It's nice rhetoric to suggest that religious views which violently suppress criticism or alternate theologies are somehow weaker or less worthy. However, in most abrahamic religious traditions the use of force to impose your religious views makes perfect sense.

    The reason these religious zealots are the bad guys rather than the heroes is because their religious views are simply wrong. No one likes to say it but if traditional religious claims about the importance of faith really were true it would be totally justifiable to murder and kill to convert people and stop unconversion.

    Indeed, I think that most people who accept mainstream abrahamic religions are deluding themselves if they think they somehow have the better of the interpretive argument with those who advocate violence in the name of religion.

    I mean once you accept that both:

    1) The soul is immortal and the eternal disposition of the soul is infinitely more important than any transitory discomfort or pain suffered during life.

    2) Not believing (in the correct god) during life negatively impacts the disposition of your soul (if not denying it salvation all together).

    Then it follows almost immediately that any level of violence and cruelty is acceptable provided it improves the disposition of even one soul. True, many religions would not directly say this but it does follow from 1 and 2 that murdering a faithful individual before they would have been exposed to criticism that would undermine their faith would be to their benefit.

    Note that views 1 and 2 are extremely mainstream. Every major christian theology believes in salvation through faith (indeed the catholic church is the outlier in believing in salvation through faith and good works not just faith alone). Moreover, as the overwhelming majority of believers only believe because that's how they were brought up and have never truly subjected that faith to challenge they can hardly try and argue that faith as a result of ignorance doesn't count.

    I'm not defending the attacks, just pointing out that we shouldn't be so quick to pretend we can somehow distinguish our religious beliefs (except insofar as we don't take them seriously) from theirs.

  18. En Passant says

    Mike says January 13, 2016 at 8:41 am:

    Okay, I'll bite. The line is when you cross from mocking an idea to mocking people, especially oppressed minorities already facing bigotry in their daily lives, like so many Muslims do in France, across Europe, and in America.

    I can't speak to France or Europe, but in my neck of the woods in the USA I haven't seen any Muslims subjected to oppression. I do know of a Sikh who was attacked and killed because he was mistaken for a Muslim shortly after 9/11 by some Fresno yahoos who are now in prison.

    Most ordinary American Christians on the street couldn't tell the difference between a Muslim, a Sikh, a Bahá'í or a Hindu just by looking at their traditional dress. I've known of Sikhs and Hindus mistaken for Muslims (in awkward social situations) because of traditional Sikh or Hindu dress, which are very distinct from traditional Muslim dress if you know anything about the traditions. I've also known Bahá'í mistaken for Muslims for the same reasons.

    The fact is that many American Sikhs and Hindus don't think much of Muslims, for obvious historical reasons. Muslim Mohguls profligately murdered Sikhs and Hindus in the 16th century. Most Americans couldn't tell the difference between the them just by looking at their traditional dress. But American Sikhs and Hindus have been very successful economically.

    Likewise, American Bahá'í have very reasonable apprehensions about Muslims, because Muslims traditionally persecuted and slaughtered Bahá'í as apostates, and still do in Iran. But American Bahá'í women I've known have sometimes worn chador or hijab simply because the cloak is convenient and keeps one warm on a chilly day. I've known Armenians who wore traditional headscarves for the same reason.

    Most American Christians, Catholic or Protestant, couldn't tell the difference among the four on a bet. So I don't buy the characterization that Muslims are an "oppressed minority" in America.

  19. says

    @Peter Gerdes:

    I mean once you accept that both:

    1) The soul is immortal and the eternal disposition of the soul is infinitely more important than any transitory discomfort or pain suffered during life.

    2) Not believing (in the correct god) during life negatively impacts the disposition of your soul (if not denying it salvation all together).

    Then it follows almost immediately that any level of violence and cruelty is acceptable provided it improves the disposition of even one soul.

    This is obviously not true, because the assumption that the souls of unbelievers are the only ones that matter is not… a majority belief among believers. I mean, nothing about (1) and (2) are really universal to the Abrahamic faiths[1], but many people who believe that immortal souls are a thing which are subject to eternal reward or punishment in the afterlife also believe that murdering and torturing people are exactly the sort of things that put one's soul at grave risk[2]. Sure, maybe you can repent in time, but then again, maybe not, and somehow the idea of an all-knowing deity being fooled by a ruse like, "Well, I'm gonna knife a bunch of motherfuckers right in the face now, and then confess my sins and be home free!" never struck me as particularly sensible.

    If, say, Christians really believed that any crime was justified in order to save the souls of others, they'd revere Judas, not Jesus. Weirdly enough, they don't call themselves Iscariotians.

    [1] For one, most Jews have little interest in, or concern about, an afterlife.

    [2] Sure, there are exceptions, but I'm not sure why I would start taking folks who think it's totally OK to chop people's heads of on YouTube, or for that matter shoot up a bunch of cartoonists for drawing cartoons, as having a particularly good handle on the moral implications of… anything.

  20. says

    @En Passant:

    "Sometimes violent morons brutalize and even kill Sikhs who they mistakenly believe are Muslims, so therefore Muslims are not the targets of persecution," is… not actually the weirdest argument I've seen in this thread.

    Huh.

  21. En Passant says

    pillsy says January 13, 2016 at 11:07 am:

    "Sometimes violent morons brutalize and even kill Sikhs who they mistakenly believe are Muslims, so therefore Muslims are not the targets of persecution," is… not actually the weirdest argument I've seen in this thread.

    Because that's not what I said. I said that one or two (count 'em, one or two) yahoos murdered a Sikh they mistook for a Muslim. Apparently another similar murder of a Sikh has recently occurred in Fresno.

    Two murders perpetrated by yahoos mistaking Sikhs for Muslims does not reflect systematic oppression or persecution of Muslims. It reflects the acts of one or two creeps who belong in prison.

    If police and prosecutors were excusing or ignoring the crime(s) because the perpetrators thought their victims were Muslims, you might have a point that Muslims are targets of systematic persecution. But police and prosecutors aren't doing that.

  22. Brian Z says

    You are indeed morally superior the terrorists, but that is not the same thing as being morally superior to Muslims.

    The correct reaction to terrorism is to do exactly the opposite of what the terrorists want you to do.

    What if the terrorists are a microminority of sociopathic warmongers who want you to react by redisplaying disgusting pictures of religious icons in a manner calculated to divide normal western non-Muslims from normal western Muslims? They aren't stupid; they wanted to divide people and force them to choose sides.

    If a group like Westboro Baptist Church were attacked and slaughtered by a group they had offended, I would absolutely speak out in defense of freedom of speech and expression. But in so doing I would not uncritically echo and sanctimoniously amplify their messages of hatred and contempt.

  23. says

    @En Passant:

    Because that's not what I said. I said that one or two (count 'em, one or two) yahoos murdered a Sikh they mistook for a Muslim. Apparently another similar murder of a Sikh has recently occurred in Fresno.

    You also argued:

    Most American Christians, Catholic or Protestant, couldn't tell the difference among the four on a bet. So I don't buy the characterization that Muslims are an "oppressed minority" in America.

    This implies, to me, that persecution requires a real understanding or clear picture of the people being persecuted, and that implication is totally weird and wrong. In any event, just because an argument for a conclusion is totally weird and wrong doesn't make the conclusion false.

  24. En Passant says

    pillsy says January 13, 2016 at 11:54 am

    This implies, to me, that persecution requires a real understanding or clear picture of the people being persecuted, and that implication is totally weird and wrong.

    It's very difficult to oppress specific groups of people if you can't even recognize them.

    One or two acts of idiotic thugs is not systematic oppression. When officials with power to prosecute them excuse or ignore the thugs, that is systematic oppression. But that is not happening.

  25. says

    @En Passant:

    It's very difficult to oppress specific groups of people if you can't even recognize them.

    It's a lot easier if you don't care about false positives. Which, you know, people who indulge in bigoted violence often don't.

    One or two acts of idiotic thugs is not systematic oppression.

    Not the argument I'm taking issue with.

  26. says

    This is, an amazingly offensive post, and yet its core point cannot be said strongly enough. Free speech is vital to any society that wants to have any meaningful liberty and is worth protecting vigorously. I dislike many of the things Charlie Hebdo published, including the images you reposted. I found them offensive and trite. But they had every right to publish them and to do so free of violence. Similarly, I find many of the side comments you make in this post offensive, but I utterly support your right to say them. To quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall (and paraphrase Voltaire), 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.'

    In their own way, the employees of Charlie Hebdo did precisely that, and for that I agree that they are heroes.

    Incidentally, you are horribly misstating the events of the Binding of Isaac. Abraham was called upon to answer a test of faith, and did so with a heavy heart. When the test was passed, there was no need to allow any actual harm to come to the boy, and so it did not. There was no "just kidding", more a "you passed". The test of faith served to show all, including both Abraham himself and future generations reading his story, the depth of his faith that it might be emulated. Of course, I suspect you know all of that.

  27. albert says

    @Marc,

    RE: "lowlives". It's 'lowlifes'.

    When the Toronto Maple Leafs started out, I used to tease my Dad about that new team, the Toronto Maple Leaves.

    . .. . .. —- ….

  28. Castaigne says

    @pillsy:

    People mock things they love, or are neutral about, all the time.

    I just don't get that. If I'm mocking something, it has nothing to do with love or neutrality. I'm digging the knife in.

    @Peter Gerdes:

    However, in most abrahamic religious traditions the use of force to impose your religious views makes perfect sense.

    Catholic upbringing (and reality itself) are why I've never been able to embrace all that anarcho-cap NAP nonsense.

    @En Passant:

    It's very difficult to oppress specific groups of people if you can't even recognize them.

    I disagree entirely.
    Popular in the rural areas down here in the Southland (especially pre-2000) was the saying, "If they're brown, take 'em down. If they're white, you know they're alright."
    Brown = Mooselimb = Take 'Em Down.
    And if the Sikhs and what-not were different, they'd look 'Merican and not wear towels on their head.

    See? Terribly easy. You don't have to recognize them; you just have to widen your profiles.

  29. Zach says

    As my buddy Soren (Kierkegaard) would say, the ethical can't comprehend the religious. The aesthetic (or the hedonist) shouldn't even try.

    The Bible isn't easy reading, and people who are too busy signalling how smart and cool they are aren't likely to get it. Abraham transcends you.

    You live in a world and benefit from rights that are a direct result of Christian theology. You might not be familiar enough with history to get that, or you might know lots and lots of history that's wrong, but that's the truth. It's the saddest kind of comedy when idiots like you piss all over ideas you can't comprehend in supposed defense of rights whose origins you don't understand.

    But whatever. You looked cool to your in-group, I guess.

  30. says

    @ Wiseman – you wrote "there was no need to allow any actual harm to come to the boy, and so it did not."

    His dad cut off a piece of his dick. That's "actual harm."

    The test of faith served to show all, including both Abraham himself and future generations reading his story, the depth of his faith that it might be emulated.

    That doesn't make it any better.

  31. Mikee says

    RE: Zach

    So much for turning the other cheek? Much better to lash out against someone that believes differently than you do, isn't it? I'm sure the rest of your Christian beliefs are as close to Christ's words and teachings as that one example.

  32. En Passant says

    Castaigne says January 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm:

    I disagree entirely.
    Popular in the rural areas down here in the Southland (especially pre-2000) was the saying, "If they're brown, take 'em down. If they're white, you know they're alright."
    Brown = Mooselimb = Take 'Em Down.
    And if the Sikhs and what-not were different, they'd look 'Merican and not wear towels on their head.

    The proposition was that Muslims specifically are the subject of bigotry "in France, across Europe, and in America."

    If you're attacking all brown-skinned people, you're not specifically attacking Muslims. All Muslims are not brown-skinned.and not all brown-skinned people are Muslims..

    If you're attacking people with turbans, you're not specifically attacking Muslims. Not all Muslims wear turbans, and many who are not Muslim do wear turbans.

    Islam is a religious belief, not a skin tone, nor a hair-do, nor a clothing accessory. Those who are bigoted against skin tone, hair-do or clothing accessories, are only coincidentally bigoted against those Muslims who happen to have those particular visible characteristics.

  33. says

    @Mikee:

    So much for turning the other cheek? Much better to lash out against someone that believes differently than you do, isn't it?

    Jesus would never lash out at anybody.

    Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers' coins over the floor, and turned over their tables.–John 2:15

    I'm sure the rest of your Christian beliefs are as close to Christ's words and teachings as that one example.

    In addition to literally lashing out at money changers in the Temple, it's not like Jesus never figuratively lashed out at people who disagreed with him on spiritual matters. Does the phrase "whited sepulcher" ring a bell?

  34. albert says

    @Sad Panda,
    Sorry about that. Would you believe 1917? I must have been thinking about the '63 season. Just a kid then. I lived in Detroit. The talk of the town: Leafs vs. Wings. Wings lost. :(

  35. Sporaderic says

    I've always wondered why so few people mention that almost the the only reason people create depictions of Mohamed is because there are people crazy enough to kill people for creating depictions of Mohamed. The whole 'fanatical mass murder' thing has actually inspired more drawings of the prophet than anything else.

    There was one Piss Christ. If the Pope had said that Serrano should be killed for tossing a crucifix in a jar of whizz, I guarantee there would've been a million excrement-based Christianity-centered works of art popping up every day.

    Damn it, I actually had a point to make… but the mind wanders and the mouth blathers. Probably something along the lines of: most people aren't drawing cartoons to insult Islam, they're doing it to criticize fanaticism. I can see the fucking lunatics who are doing the actual killing missing this point; after all, they're fucking lunatics. But why do ostensibly non-fucking-lunatic people not get it?

    I'm gonna shut up and wander away now.

  36. OFC Member says

    The Charlie Hebdo attack anniversary would also be a timely moment to champion the free speech rights of Dieudonné M'bala M'bala in France and Roy Arthur Topham in Canada. Islamic radicals aren't the only people willing to use force to suppress ideas they dislike.

  37. Derrick says

    Marc:

    I love this post and what you say so much I now want to have your babies… and I'm a guy, so… my il-logic notwithstanding this is a beautiful piece. Time to pull out my "Mo-ham-ed: May peas and dressing be upon him" shit.

  38. Jonathan says

    Now that Clark is gone, I think I'll start a new tradition of whining about Marc as the lame contributor who I wish wasn't part of this site.

    This post reminded me of something a 13 year old with moderate writing skills and who fancies herself 'advanced' would write. The depth of thought here is, easily, at least 1 inch deep.

  39. David Lang says

    While I don't like it when my religion is mocked, if you have one religion that cannot be mocked or offended under penalty of law, you have a de-facto state religion. This is doubly true when the members of that religion can redefine what it means to mock/offend them.

    It's important to realize that the reason the Founding Fathers wrote the separation of church and state into the founding documents isn't because they didn't believe in Religion, but rather as a truce between the different religions. They had the example of Europe over the prior century or so as a pointed example of the problems that can arise from a state religion, and many were decedents of people who came to America specifically to get away from persecution by one state religion or another.

  40. Mario Cerame says

    These guys are heroes because they help keep us all thinking. If a subject is too taboo, then our collective thoughts on it ossify. These guys relentlessly keep the dialogue going and keep ideas moving for all of us. And some of them died for it.

  41. Bjorn says

    Just FYI Marc, the circumcision is well before the Binding of Isaac. If you want to mock the Bible (or, for that matter, the Quran, where it might happen in a different order), please do so accurately.

  42. says

    @Marc Randazza

    Ritual circumcision was instituted before Isaac was born, and being that Isaac shared Abraham's religion I doubt Isaac saw it as harm. As for whether the fact it was a test of faith makes it better or not, I suppose that depends on your view of God's sovereignty over man.

    But we digress from the main point. I find parts of your post, and some of Charlie Hebdo's publications, genuinely offensive and understand how others would be far more offended than I. But I absolutely stand up for your, and their, right to be offensive. Free nations have a right to free speech, there is no right to not be offended in a free nation. And I agree that by continuing to publish after threats and actual prior attacks that Charle Hebdo stood up for free speech in their way and for that I join you in applauding them.

  43. says

    @ Tim

    Agreed re the main point. I don't find Hebdo's publications genuinely offensive, I just don't particularly care for them one way or the other.

    But, I mock so that we can mock

    You know who I don't really bother mocking? Mormons. Why? Its not that I find their superstitions to be any better than anyone else's. But, when the Book of Mormon play came out, they reacted by buying an ad in the playbill. That earned instant respect from me.

    I still think the beliefs are a bit silly, but no sillier than any other religions. But, when a religion can take itself totally seriously, but at the same time, embrace mockery, that signals a kind of self-confidence that makes me say "these guys are ok by me."

  44. says

    @ Bjorn:

    Just FYI Marc, the circumcision is well before the Binding of Isaac. If you want to mock the Bible (or, for that matter, the Quran, where it might happen in a different order), please do so accurately.

    Ok, I didn't know that. I thought the cutting off a pice of your son's dick was from that story. I stand corrected.

    Still though, the reason that one cuts off a piece of a baby's dick is still because of some religious superstition, right?

    I mean, I know that there are even dumber reasons to do it — like people who do it so "my kid's dick will look like my dick." I actually think that's even dumber than "my imaginary friend wants my son's dick mutilated." When's the last time you compared cocks with your dad?

  45. David Lang says

    Marc, there are legitimate hygiene reasons for it as well.

    But this is digressing from the main point, namely the lack of any right not to be mocked.

  46. says

    David,

    Perhaps there are, but I did a hell of a lot of research on it when making a decision for my son. None of that research suggested that there was any legitimate hygienic reason to mutilate his dick. Yes, it could get dirty in there. But, there was this new thing called "soap" which could cure the problem, when mixed with dihydrogen monoxide.

  47. David Lang says

    You may get a different answer if you look at the question of what is needed in a modern society with plentiful water and supplies (like soap), than if you look at the same question in the context of a nomadic tribe of the time of Abraham.

    the prohibition of eating Pork is a similar thing. In the more primitive days, the difficulty in storing and properly preparing the meat did make it significantly more likely to be a cause of illnesses than in modern times.

  48. says

    @David Lang,

    You may be right. I haven't studied whether it would have been possible to properly engage in modern dickwashing 2500 years ago. So, I will (for the sake of this discussion) accept that mutilating the dick was better than trying to keep it clean — 2500 years ago.

    The pork thing, I've heard that too. Same with shellfish.

    But, that's a big leap to "this guy, he created the universe, but he is concerned about whether you eat tasty bacon."

    And… 2500 years ago, we did a lot of things that modern society finds barbaric, so we don't do them anymore. Slicing up a baby's dick might be ready to make that list – you know, since we invented soap.

  49. says

    @Marc

    But, I mock so that we can mock

    Well said. I go out of my way to be respectful of most religions (being a somewhat religious man myself), but I mock lots of other things and occasionally offend people. The ability to mock without fear of either government reprisal or tolerated violence is important both to me personally and to a free society.

    You know who I don't really bother mocking? Mormons. Why? Its not that I find their superstitions to be any better than anyone else's. But, when the Book of Mormon play came out, they reacted by buying an ad in the playbill. That earned instant respect from me.

    I hadn't heard that before. That is a good way to handle it.

  50. albert says

    @Marc,

    "…we did a lot of things that modern society finds barbaric, so we don't do them anymore…"

    I'd like to see a list of those barbaric practices that we don't do anymore. I'll bet it's a really short one.
    .

    Circumcision was a way of marking the males of Israel. It insured lifetime membership in the nation, just as forbidding homosexuality insured a steady supply of young fighting men for the army.

    . .. . .. — ….

  51. David Lang says

    @Marc,

    now you are moving the goalposts :-)

    you were arguing that circumcision was a barbaric thing that had no value, now you are arguing that it doesn't prove the existence of God.

    Arguing proof of God's existence is a very different conversation, and one that I don't think is appropriate for this forum. There are plenty of places where people have that discussion, with and without the ability to tolerate mocking.

  52. Mikee says

    RE: pillsy

    Because having a difference of opinion is the same thing as defiling sacred ground, right?

    "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business."

    And I'll bet cold hard cash that you've taken the 'whited sepulcher' out of context.

    "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness"

    The 'whited sepulcher' has nothing to do with a difference of opinion between two people, it has everything to do with people being righteous in public and hypocrites when no one is watching. Go ahead and donate my winnings to your local soup kitchen.

    Thanks for providing more evidence to back up my claim that people who treat others harshly in the name of Christ are the same people that Christ won't recognize in the afterlife. Anything else you'd like to help me prove correct in your futile attempts to prove me wrong?

  53. OFC Member says

    You may be right. I haven't studied whether it would have been possible to properly engage in modern dickwashing 2500 years ago. So, I will (for the sake of this discussion) accept that mutilating the dick was better than trying to keep it clean — 2500 years ago.

    The pork thing, I've heard that too. Same with shellfish.

    Most human populations for most of human history did not and do not practice circumcision or forbid the consumption of pork or shellfish. Consider for a moment the history of China, the population there has hardly seemed to been markedly harmed by failing to honor the aforementioned taboos.

    According to Rabbi Yaakov Luban, Executive Rabbinic Coordinator of the Orthodox Union's kosher certification division, the world's largest kosher certification agency: "More than two thousand years ago, the Rabbis prohibited eating certain foods cooked by non-Jews in order to limit socialization which might lead to intermarriage between Jews and gentiles."* The rationale for circumcision is much the same. The nonsense about hygiene is post-hoc rationalization.

    * “Playing with FireThe Daf HaKashrus, Vol. 3, No. 6, p. 24.

  54. Matt L. says

    @OFC That article is referring to Bishul Akum (not eating gentile-prepared meals for fear they'll say their pagan blessings over it, or that it'll promote socialization/intermarriage through the old getting to hearts through stomachs method), not Kashrus (not eating specific types of foods regardless of who prepared them) and refers to baked, fried, and broiled goods, regardless of what animal they come from.

    Bishul Akum derives from the Mishnah (part of the oral law–i.e., rabbinical caselaw), which intimates it was invented by the Rabbis a couple of hundred years prior. Kashrus, by contrast, derives from the Torah/Bible directly, wherein Jews believe God declared certain animals unclean, and forbade them to eat those animals. Circumcision is also from the Torah, again as a commandment from the Jewish God.

    Judaism, as a religion, is explicit that the reason for obeying any of the commandments of the Torah is that they were given by the Jewish God, not for any ancillary benefit a person may derive by following them. The attempts to find additional reasons why the practices mandated therein may be beneficial to those who follow them are merely part of the Jewish theological exercise of attempting to understand the mind of their deity, and to reinforce adherence. Judaism, as with most religions, does not take the position that believers should only embrace the commandments of their God if they think doing so is a good idea for independent secular reasons.

  55. Matt L. says

    @Peter Gerdes:"I mean once you accept that both:
    1) The soul is immortal and the eternal disposition of the soul is infinitely more important than any transitory discomfort or pain suffered during life.
    2) Not believing (in the correct god) during life negatively impacts the disposition of your soul (if not denying it salvation all together).
    Then it follows almost immediately that any level of violence and cruelty is acceptable provided it improves the disposition of even one soul."

    That conclusion is by no means obvious in really any religion, irrespective of their beliefs about the soul. It takes only the briefest session of navel-gazing about the nature of morality to conclude that there is no virtue without choice; that compulsion negates choice; that violence is a form of compulsion; and that therefore violence negates virtue. For that reason, in almost all major religious texts, even where violence is mandated or encouraged it is almost always for the purpose of a) inflicting a temporal punishment (most frequently where the text is describing a theocratic system of civil/criminal law — e.g., the Davidic Monarchy of Ancient Israel, the various Caliphates of Islamic history); b) where it is commanded in the pursuit of a military objective (e.g., the Hebrews vs. the Tribe of Amelek, Mohammed vs. the Pagans of the Arabian Peninsula); or c) where it is commanded on the rationale that the elimination of non-believers/heretics is necessary to preserve the physical/spiritual safety of believers (e.g., don't suffer sorcery, etc.).

    In essence, religious texts, acting–as most did at one time or another–as the civil/criminal codes for the societies in which they developed, prescribe violence in the same instances and for the same sorts of reasons secular laws do. That the religious motives underpinning their acceptance as authoritative may be used to justify coercive violence to outside groups, often for very worldly purposes, does not do much to distinguish them from secular doctrines which are susceptible to the same temptations; and the two often merge.

    The development in modern civilization that created the pluralistic peaceful societies in which we have thrived these past centuries was not the abandonment of religion in favor of secular motivations for violence (the 20th Century having many exemplars of the force of the latter), but the recognition of the fact that because people often disagree on the prescriptions of either secular or religious doctrines, only the consent of the broad majority of those governed by such doctrines may justify the employment of coercive force to ensure compliance with their mandates, and then only where necessary to interdict/punish/discourage such actions as interfere with the autonomy of others under that framework.

    You cannot convert a Hindu to Christianity with a gun any more than you can convert a theocrat to a democrat by the same method. All you can do is force them to comply with what you want, temporally and temporarily, or otherwise eliminate them. That motivation is common, and usually sufficient, for the purposes of religious and political fanatics alike.

  56. says

    @MIkee:

    Thanks for providing more evidence to back up my claim that people who treat others harshly in the name of Christ are the same people that Christ won't recognize in the afterlife.

    I'm an atheist. If Jesus recognizes me in the afterlife, I'll eat my halo.

    I just think your characterization of Jesus is silly, and you have to split a lot of hairs to defend it.

  57. Jerry Leichter says

    re: Circumcision
    "There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe…."

    http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/

    Circumcision was a common practice in at least Middle Eastern cultures well before it became a religious symbol for ancient Israelites. (Actually, many of the things you find in the Bible were adopted and adapted from much older practices.) Exactly why it became common we'll likely never know, but it's certainly a reasonable guess that it arose as a response to some ancient sexually transmitted disease.

    — Jerry

  58. Jerry Leichter says

    re: Binding of Isaac
    Those commenting on it might be interested to know that there is a (non-majority but certainly respected) stream of Jewish thought that Abraham failed the test: He should have refused an immoral order, even one from God. The evidence adduced for this is what happens to him after: God, who has been described as speaking directly to Abraham throughout his life, never speaks to him directly again – the text only has angels carrying along the word. Sarah dies not long after, and apparently Abraham never sees her again. In all, kind of a melancholy picture of the rest of his life.

    There are many other interpretations – Wikipedia has a long article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_of_Isaac with views from different religious traditions and from modern analysis.

    What's interesting to me in this kind of analysis is that it illustrates the intellectual poverty of "fuck religion" rants. Yes, there are people who have very simplistic beliefs, whether in some white-bearded guy up in the sky giving orders or in ancestors watching out for you or whatever. But the world's religions are, for many of their adherents, much more than that. Jews are supposed to struggle with God. Catholicism officially accepts evolution. (If you don't believe this, ask any priest. When members of certain strains of Protestant thought claim that evolution is "anti-Christian", they are leaving out the largest group of Christians.) Islam during the golden age that some of its adherents claim to look back to was extremely accepting of minorities in its midst – and at the forefront of science and other intellectual traditions. (The backwards-looking "conservative" strain that we see so much in evidence today is drawn from Wahhabism – named after an 18th century writer whose followers were a small minority until the Saudis started pushing it hard – with tons of oil money – in the 1970's.)

    There's beauty and depth in all religious traditions I've ever read about. You don't have to be a believer to appreciate it.

    I don't believe even the most ignorant anti- (or pro-)religious rantings should be suppressed. But if you don't want to come across as just as ignorant as the people you attack … it does help to understand things a bit better….

    — Jerry

  59. says

    @ Jerry Leichter

    Fair criticism! I did not know that there was any school of thought that Abraham "failed" the test. I love that interpretation. Don't get me wrong, I see some value in religions — even if just for entertainment value or provoking discussion. That's one thing I like about Judaism over the other two Abrahamic cults — that it actually encourages debate on these topics. We have a slightly Jewish house here, (it's complicated) and I found a small minority view that circumcision was not mandated anymore.

  60. Moriah Jovan says

    Oh, so many things to say about the comments. The post not so much except +1.

    @Marc Randazza January 18, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Fair criticism! I did not know that there was any school of thought that Abraham "failed" the test. I love that interpretation.

    The Popehat denizens might find this an intriguing interpretation (disclaimer: I did not write this): Abraham's Purgatory

    @Marc Randazza January 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    You know who I don't really bother mocking? Mormons. Why? Its not that I find their superstitions to be any better than anyone else's. But, when the Book of Mormon play came out, they reacted by buying an ad in the playbill. That earned instant respect from me.

    I still think the beliefs are a bit silly, but no sillier than any other religions. But, when a religion can take itself totally seriously, but at the same time, embrace mockery, that signals a kind of self-confidence that makes me say "these guys are ok by me."

    Thank you, kind sir. It's a cultural think: Take it in stride and be kind. As an aside, I believe the creators of South Park have expressed a general affection for Mormons.

    And I only say that because…

    There will be no Koran, the Musical.

    There will also be no sequel to Dogma, which I personally find heartbreaking. Dogma was deep, thoughtful, and affectionate with its subject matter even while skewering the practitioners.

    Kevin Smith: Scary thing is this: the film would have to touch on Islam. And unlike the Cathloic League, when those cats don't like what you do, they issue a death warrant on yer ass (see Rushdie). And now that I've got a family, I'm not as free to stir the shit-pot as I was when I was single, back when I made "Dogma". I mean, now I've gotta think about more than my own safety and well-being.

    @Sporaderic
    January 13, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    most people aren't drawing cartoons to insult Islam, they're doing it to criticize fanaticism.

    Bingo.

    As for Piss Christ, there are pro-faith and theological insights to be had for people willing to actually think about it rather than running to the internet to whine about it.

  61. OFC Member says

    @Matt L. says

    That article is referring to Bishul Akum (not eating gentile-prepared meals for fear they'll say their pagan blessings over it, or that it'll promote socialization/intermarriage through the old getting to hearts through stomachs method), not Kashrus …

    In the first full paragraph of the article, Rabbi Luban writes:

    Thousands of years ago, the Rabbis of old recognized that Jewish identity is the key to the survival of Klal Yisrael. To this end, they enacted three sets of food laws to limit socialization: bishul akum, pas akum and stam yainom (cooked food, bread and wine prepared by gentiles). This was based on the realization that bonds of friendship are established by eating together, and breaking bread with a stranger is the first step to developing a closer relationship. For thousands of years of exile, the biblical and rabbinic laws of kosher have formed a natural fortress that prevented the assimilation of the Jewish people into many different cultures of the world. Today, with spiraling assimilation wreaking havoc at a frightening rate, the prophetic vision of Chazal is all the more apparent. It is significant that even for secularized Jews, a kosher kitchen often remains the last bastion against intermarriage and assimilation.

    Clearly, Rabbi Luban is referring to kashrus (both the biblical and rabbinic food restrictions are subsets of kashrus) as a "fortress" against Jewish socialization and assimilation with Gentiles. I have no doubt that Rabbi Luban would not see these purposes as "independent secular reasons" for the food laws. Indeed, he asserts: "Food consumed in conformity with the laws of the Torah elevates and sanctifies, while non-kosher food destroys and defiles the Jewish soul."

    @Jerry Leichter says

    Circumcision was a common practice in at least Middle Eastern cultures well before it became a religious symbol for ancient Israelites … it's certainly a reasonable guess that it arose as a response to some ancient sexually transmitted disease.

    It seems very unlikely that circumcision originated as a response to disease. That is a leap that would seemingly require rather sophisticated modern notions of the germ theory of disease and contagion to make the connection between sexual contact and a later disease state following an incubation period of days, weeks, or months. If the alleged medical benefits of circumcision are debated in this age of modern medicine (and they are) then how likely is that ancient people would decide that cutting away part of the penis was a good idea for health reasons?

    @Marc Randazza

    That's one thing I like about Judaism over the other two Abrahamic cults — that it actually encourages debate on these topics.

    That's a stereotype. Judaism is actually quite capable of taking dogmatic positions and Christianity and Islam are capable of respectful internal debate. Re: Judaic intolerance Benedictus de Spinoza is probably the best known example but there are plenty of modern-day Jewish–secular and observant–critics of Zionism who could testify that not all debates are encouraged. Then, for example, there's the fact that the state-funded Orthodox establishment in Israel doesn't recognize conversions supervised by Reform and Conservative rabbis.

  62. Jerry Leichter says

    @OFC Member:
    Circumcision as a response to a disease doesn't require any kind of medical reasoning – it only has to actually work.

    To be more accurate/complete: The practice is highly unlikely to have arisen as a response to anything – it's overwhelmingly more likely that it was first practiced as a rite of passage. (There are many similar practices all over the world. Gang tattoos are arguably a variant on the theme.) But it could easily become very strongly established if those who practiced it had a survival advantage over those who didn't in the face of some ancient plague.

    Evolution in action, quite literally. (And, yes, pure speculation.)

    — Jerry

  63. OFC Member says

    @Jerry Leichter

    Circumcision as a response to a disease doesn't require any kind of medical reasoning – it only has to actually work.

    Earlier, you asserted that it is "a reasonable guess that it [circumcision] arose as a response to some ancient sexually transmitted disease." It seems to me medical reasoning is implied in that statement.

    In any case, the alleged medical benefits of circumcision are strongly debated today and I am aware of no evidence whatsoever that any benefit (or any "survival advantage") was thought to be conferred in ancient times. With respect to Judaism, the Encyclopaedia Judaica notes: "Rabbinic explanations of circumcision are not concerned with the philosophical and medical rationales claimed by later sources, but with the sanctification of a divine commandment." Likewise, I am aware of no biblical arguments relating circumcision to health, except negatively.

    The historic evidence seems to point to the medical benefits argument as a post hoc rationalization for the ethically challenging practice of male child circumcision. Again to qoute the Encyclopaedia Judaica: "in the past 100 years, supporters of circumcision, including physicians and many religious leaders, have argued the medical benefits of the procedure, including the claims that circumcision reduces the risks of urinary track infections, cervical cancer in women, and AIDS."

    Assuming for the sake of argument that circumcision did arise "as a response to a disease" then it still does not have "to actually work," as you say. The practice could be initiated and propagated for its medical benefits despite the fact that it was/is harmful or, at best, not beneficial. For example bloodletting originated in ancient times and was part of the practice of mainstream medicine for centuries. Yet, it is now generally recognized as harmful to health.

  64. Dragoness Eclectic says

    Circumcision may have arisen as the extreme version of sealing an agreement–to confirm an oath, treaty or similar agreement, animal sacrifices were made (see various Old Testament scenes of dismembering sacrifices and walking between the parts to confirm a pact–the intent was "If I fail to honor my oath, may I be mangled like these sacrifices.") Another variation, also seen in the OT, was "gripping the thigh", a translator's euphemism for a body part somewhat higher and more centrally located. Basically, you swore on the family jewels to uphold your oath.

    Circumcision may have been another way of vowing one's manhood–as well as marking one as so pledged.

  65. Matt L. says

    @OFC Member said:
    "Clearly, Rabbi Luban is referring to kashrus (both the biblical and rabbinic food restrictions are subsets of kashrus) as a "fortress" against Jewish socialization and assimilation with Gentiles. I have no doubt that Rabbi Luban would not see these purposes as "independent secular reasons" for the food laws. Indeed, he asserts: "Food consumed in conformity with the laws of the Torah elevates and sanctifies, while non-kosher food destroys and defiles the Jewish soul."

    You're missing my point. The implication you appeared to be drawing from the article, which implication is not well supported, is that the category of dietary restrictions understood in common parlance to be "the laws of kosher" {i.e., "kashrus" — lit. "propriety"} (the prohibition of mixing meat and milk, eating pork, eating shrimp, etc) are drawn purely from the oral law and purely for reasons having to do with preventing intermarriage., when in fact, the article attributes that background to only a limited category of dietary laws (prohibition on wine, cooked goods, etc. provided by gentiles–Bishul Akum literally means "Pagan Food"), which are neither broadly known, nor even followed by a great many within the Jewish population who otherwise practice kashrus.

    Rather, as I explained, the broader swath of categorical restrictions in Jewish diet, including all those widely known and practiced (prohibiting pork, shrimp, etc.), are based on specific prohibitions in the Torah where specific animals are declared unclean or specific dietary practices (e.g., boiling a kid in its mother's milk whence Jews have the meat+milk prohibition) are forbidden, and that prohibition is followed solely on the basis that it is based in a biblical commandment, not for any extrinsic rabbinical reason.

    This categorical difference is illustrated by the fact that for instance, eating pork or shrimp is forbidden no matter from whom it was acquired (See Deut. 14), whereas if wine is not gentile-prepared, it is not forbidden.

    In fact, so distinct are the two categories that some opinions hold "the reason for this prohibition [Bishul Akum] is also to prevent a Jew from becoming accustomed to eating food prepared by non-Jews, which could eventually lead to eating non-kosher food," which is a complete reversal of the causal link you imply.

  66. Popcorn eater says

    "I do not single out Islam as worthy of disdain and mockery."

    Why not? One of these is not like the others. The prophet, peace be upon him, spent most of his life killing people and was in fact one of the most violent people ever to have lived. Unlike the founder of every single other religion I can think of. And his religion is soon to be the world's largest.

    In Canada, the UK, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Austria and elsewhere, direct criticism of this regressive and fast growing faith is illegal.

    In any even the battle lines are drawn, with those standing on the side of civilization occupying an ever smaller piece of land, and yet terrified most of all of anyone who points out reality.

    Pass the popcorn!

  67. Popcorn eater says

    Meanwhile, Jews have gifted the world with so much scientific discovery, so much writing, so much philosophy…

    But lets attack them all together, just to be fair.

    The problem is, people will have religion, no matter what. For the vast majority of humanity, non-religion is not an option. And so selectivity must occur.

    Folks in the West show their social superiority by attacking the better religions. But since people WILL have some religion or other no matter what, this does not solve the problem and in fact makes it worse.

    The leaders of society once understood this.

    Is there enough popcorn in the world for what is coming?