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Sad commentary on the commitment to Freedom among the American people.
Posted: 05 July 2013 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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GdB - 05 July 2013 06:23 AM
macgyver - 05 July 2013 05:49 AM

Write the difference is that banks and other companies collect data we chose to share with them. The government is collecting data we did not give permission to collect and which we had every right to expect would remain private. None of us gave approval to have our telephone, email, and text messaging tracked by the government.

That’s number one. Number two is that with the right means, the NSA is able to combine data from different sources, and so to draw conclusions about you that no single of the organisations that you gave your data to could draw based on their information alone.

And you cannot suppose that the ‘masters of data’ will always be goodwilling. I already mentioned the McCarthy period.

  First they came for the communists,
  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

  Then they came for the socialists,
  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

  Then they came for the trade unionists,
  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

  Then they came for the Jews,
  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

  Then they came for the Catholics,
  and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

  Then they came for me,
  and there was no one left to speak for me.

And who is they and are they hostile to the US?
In this case they are already here, and for years have managed to keep secret things secret and filter pertinent and useful information from the chaf.
As long as the chaf remains beyond the reach of those “who would come for the priviliged chaf”

I am arguing for priorities and weighed benefits of outlawing the spying and it continues, or give general permission to be monitored as a statistic and all privileged information be protected from use by anyone for any reason except by the NSA (a non political professional data gathering department) for national security reasons.

Do not underestimate the impact of another 9/11.  We are barely recouping from that serious wound inflicted on the nation. Another one like it might trigger a global catastrophe. The concept of privacy does not mean much the more crowded it gets. It just becomes the anonymity of the masses.
One might make the argument that ultimate privacy is afforded women in Islam because they have not given consent to be looked at. Is that a good thing?

Priorities and the known capability of the threat always govern the right to invade your privacy. “hot pursuit is one such” is one such imperatives, 
“natural disasters” are another, and theoretically congress felt the need for such capability, weighed the implications and set filtering protections for privileged information.

[ Edited: 05 July 2013 02:02 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 05 July 2013 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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Write4U - 05 July 2013 01:03 PM

I am only arguing from the standpoint that “a pound of prevention is worth an ounce of dirty uranium ‘.

Personal data is not the problem, the proper use or non use of that data is the issue. Do I care that some “ear” or “eye” observes my life?  hmm…..that sounds almost spiritual.
In the end the government has a right to observe your life whether you know or approve of it.

That’s nice that it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy that some spook in the NSA has the power to examine every component of your life but you will excuse the rest of us for feeling just a bit creeped out and violated by that thought. Your second statement is correct only with qualifiers. The government does not in fact have the right to observe “my life” unless there is just cause. The 4th amendment guarantees citizens freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Whether something is reasonable is not to be decided by the same authorities doing the searching since they would always consider everything they do to be reasonable. It should be determined by an independent entity and the project in general should be approved by our representatives in a completely open process so that those who vote for it have to face the wrath of their constituents who may not approve. None of that happened in this case. This was all agreed upon behind closed doors and FISA does not appear to be independent at all given their track record of rubber stamping every request.

We can keep giving up our freedom in an attempt to buy ourselves an incremental increase in the perception of security and in the end you will have lost your rights and be less secure than ever. Lois is correct. How is it that so many have such a short memory of our own history or conveniently believe that each situation is different than prior experiences so that the lessons learned don’t apply here? Millions gave their lives to win and secure our freedoms. We have a responsibility to pass that legacy on to future generations, not trade it to save our cowardly asses.

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Posted: 05 July 2013 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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There is also a Constitunional responsibility to the security of the nation. Then there is the priory of “eminent domain” over private property. In the end Constitunional rights mean nothing in the absence of the government’s ability to protect the “secrecy” of privileged information. If boundaries are exceeded, there are checks (oversight committee) to regulate what shall remain privileged in accordance with the standard interpretation of Constitutional Rights.

It usually is not the intent but the well defined judicious application, during extraordinary circumstances. How effective has the program been in the protection of the nation and what demonstrable harm has been done by the secret intrusion of personal rights?

I am debating this only in context of a changing world and the need for remaining ahead of the threat curve. It takes but one failure of not digging quite deep enough for reasons with less priority at that time.

Again, who are “they” if not professionals (scientists even) given certain instructions consistent with the implication of National Security risk. I am not speaking of political power. That is another issue. The misuse of any information should be prosecuted in accordance with old and, if necessary, new laws, which to my knowledge are in effect or should be in effect.

We are not at peace, we are engaged in warfare and that is a political issue. The method of warfare should be decided by disinterested parties, if it can be demonstrated that the program is effective with little or no detrimental effect on the individuals being sampled, should we still insist on unalienable rights and live with the consequences?  Should we outlaw warfare because individual rights of the citizens of the enemy nation? Was Hiroshima an unconstitutional act? Should drones, which sometimes kill innocents along with priority targets, be outlawed?  During wartime there exist no rights if your are the country under attack, the Nation comes first. Hiroshima ended the war and saved the slaughter of untold additional lives. It was in principle unconstitutional, but it was “effective” and for the protection of the US nation.

Another example may be found in the recent ruling overturning voter rights laws and procedures for certain states. Two hours later on of those states (originally “they”, who actively practiced voter right suppression), changed their voting rights to be more restrictive than had been allowed under the old Voter’s Rights Act (which actually was ratified as recently as under George Bush’s administration.. In the decision, one of the judges even declared that it was time to end this special “entitlement” on the basis of State’s Sovereignty.  A more hypocritical term could nor have been used. Voting Rights ARE an entitlement of all people in all States and should be uniformly applied with Federal Oversight. To declare and end to this (well founded in historical fact) special enforcement of an entitlement makes no sense whatever. I do not foresee a scenario as depicted in the movies 1981 or Brazil.

With the advent of the internet , no one cares about unusual behavior as long as it does not affect their own lives. The new Gay marriage act speaks of the general acceptance, where once is was a disqualifier from government employment as a risk for being “blackmailed” for sensitive information.

Barney Frank was never blackmailed to my knowledge. And so it is becoming for all the cultures and sub cultures within our democracy. No privacy but no one has the right to use that information unless it is pertinent to the National Security.

Ok, I’ve played devil’s advocate long enough and acknowledge the Bill of Rights as a fundamental instrument of governance.

And, of course, I agree in the principle of freedom and secrecy of non-perturbative behavior. Under the circumstance can there be a satisfactory solution at all, unless the population tacitly agrees that their personal data may be intercepted and screened for “flags”, while the rest goes into a secret data base of privileged information, to be used only for anonymous statistical purposes?

[ Edited: 05 July 2013 05:36 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 06 July 2013 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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Write, the difference between your view and the rest of us is that you believe the perception of security is paramount while the rest of us ( Vyazma excluded) understand that real security only comes when people are free to associate with whom ever they wish, say whatever they need to not just in private but in the public space, and pursue their life without government intimidation and erosion of privacy.

You seem to think that giving up just a little bit of your privacy will buy you the security you cherish, but every security system has holes and you can never plug them all. Allow the current level of domestic spying and you will stop an attack for a while but if their is a group which is motivated they will eventually find the flaws in our system as they did last time and the next attack will happen. You can’t stop it, you can only delay it a little as long as enough people are motivated to do us harm. So what happens when our system fails as it most assuredly will. DO we take away more freedoms and tighten things again. Perhaps everyone gets a video camera in their home. Maybe you have to provide a list of people you will be allowed to associate with. And when that fails as it certainly will in time do we then all wear ankle bracelets? Maybe the government throws everyone who has ever been to Pakistan in Guantanamo?

What ever system and set of procedures you put in place will eventually fail unless you remove the factors that motivate people to want to hurt us. You may feel more secure by letting the government spy on everyone but you’re not. Terrorists will do what they always do. They will find a way. Only now they will be attacking a country that is less free than the one they attacked last time and more free than the one they will attack the next time.

If you want the illusion of security for the present then let the government deny you the privacy our constitution guarantees. If you want to actually be secure in the future then find a way to remove whatever it is that motivates our attackers and their supporters.

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Posted: 06 July 2013 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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We are not at peace, we are engaged in warfare and that is a political issue. The method of warfare should be decided by disinterested parties, if it can be demonstrated that the program is effective with little or no detrimental effect on the individuals being sampled, should we still insist on unalienable rights and live with the consequences?  Should we outlaw warfare because individual rights of the citizens of the enemy nation? Was Hiroshima an unconstitutional act? Should drones, which sometimes kill innocents along with priority targets, be outlawed?  During wartime there exist no rights if your are the country under attack, the Nation comes first. Hiroshima ended the war and saved the slaughter of untold additional lives. It was in principle unconstitutional, but it was “effective” and for the protection of the US nation.

Write, it depends on your definition of war. Historically the U.S was at war when the President called upon the Congress to declare it. They consented five times. After the declaration, and as Commander in Chief (Article 2 sec.2) he was given emergency powers to operate the country on a wartime footing until an official peace was declared;  so dropping the bomb on Hiroshima wasn’t unconstitutional; it was an implied Constitutional power. The line between war and “conflict” was blurred by the over 120 undeclared wars involving our military, many of these having nothing directly to do with national security (see Central and South American intervention as examples, we once invaded Mexico because of a sailor’s bar fight). The real problem, and this is crux of the argument, is the violation of the 4th Amendment. Our privacy should be inviolate and protected by the very government that aims to protect us. I don’t see handing over an inherent right granted to us by the Constitution that our military is sworn to protect as anything but hypocritical at best. There is a mid ground here and not being a Tekkie I can’t offer one except to filter out any communication that smacks of outright terrorist sounding communication. And as I mentioned earlier, our lives are now open to scrutiny via the electronic media, e.g. I saw a discussion here on listed on google. That plus we’re gregarious As evidenced by Facebook. Companies are already aware of what we eat, what we read, our political proclivities via magazines we order, our sexual orientations, not to mention our professions. So, how do we hide under the radar these days? The best that we can hope to do is be a watchdog against the government’s abuse of this info and force the executive agencies through our congressional reps. to restrict intell gathering to suspected terrorists only. Personally, I want protection not persecution in the name of increased security. We saw that earlier with McCarthy and HUAC.


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Posted: 06 July 2013 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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Village Atheist-The real problem, and this is crux of the argument, is the violation of the 4th Amendment. Our privacy should be inviolate and protected by the very government that aims to protect us. I don’t see handing over an inherent right granted to us by the Constitution that our military is sworn to protect as anything but hypocritical at best.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Supreme Court decided in the 1970s I believe, that the outside of envelopes in mail(the addresses etc), or the tracing of a calls destination or origin doesn’t constitute a search. These things are in public view….therefore they are not considered searches.
The interior of phone calls, e-mails, or real mail envelopes are not considered to be in public view. Viewing these items without a warrant is an example of an illegal search and/or seizure.
Of course with Probable Cause, one can obtain a warrant(supported under oath!)to search these effects and papers.
And that is exactly what is going on. Nothing illegal!  No violation of the 4th Amendment! 
If there are instances of it, I hope it is being rectified in the courts.  The ACLU is happily waiting to assist people.(awesome!)
So far none of this Snowden crap has revealed anything illegal as far as I can tell. If it does, I’ll be the first to complain.
It’s great political football shite!
It’s got all the Memes in an uproar.
Now as far as spying on other countries…first off who cares?  Everybody spies on everybody!  France and Germany have since cooled waaaay down on the matter.
Like I said, this BS is just tabloid fodder.

[ Edited: 06 July 2013 01:27 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 06 July 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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macgyver - 06 July 2013 06:44 AM

Write, the difference between your view and the rest of us is that you believe the perception of security is paramount while the rest of us ( Vyazma excluded) understand that real security only comes when people are free to associate with whom ever they wish, say whatever they need to not just in private but in the public space, and pursue their life without government intimidation and erosion of privacy.

Eloquently stated but false. Free association has nothing to do with security, on the contrary, free association reduces security, but security allows free association.

Doc, look at it from a medical standpoint, regular (intrusive) checkups of our bodies are the most effective way of detecting a change in your health.
We complain about the necessity but we submit, because we realize its preventive benefits. I believe one MUST have inoculations before travel to certain countries and have free association with that population.

On a grander scale, the government mandates certain inoculations against various “invasive diseases” with potentially epidemic results. These actions are not designed to restrict the people’s freedom of association, it prevents unwanted consequences from those associations.

And secret government intrusion into your privacy needs not be intimidating or even detrimental, IF we are sure the government is allowed only that data which is potentially harmful and would threaten your security.

We may insist on our privacy and freedoms, but the government has a Constitutional responsibility to keep the citizenry safe with as little inconvenience (intrusion) as possible. These are inherently conflicting constitutional individual rights and government responsibilities.

Is a Curfew unconstitutional? Is Marshall law unconstitutional, is the military draft unconstitutional? Is an order to evacuate your home unconstitutional? 

We can deal with those inherent public/private rights issues through our political system, by electing representatives who will follow their constitutional oath and will not use their powers to the detriment of his/her constituency or the nation.

Information is power, true. But in a society which wishes to remain free and safe, secret (but approved) monitoring of internet communication does not mean that it inevitably leads to abuse of that power.

Again, who is they, if not us. I hear my neighbors argue all the time, but discard what I hear and keep it in the realm of privacy. However if I hear the guy threaten to kill his wife, and knowing that he is capable of such action, must I observe their right to privacy?

We are no longer living in a world where individual freedoms are possible, they are only illusionary. The concept of “free association” as an unbreakable right is just in theory. Our prisons are full of people deprived of free association. This is not the fault of government functions, this is a result of public debate and policy by the people’s “representatives”.

We constantly trade certain rights for certain benefits. This is what congress is supposed to do. If anyone is blame, blame congress and their sloppy, obstructionist and outright adversary “freedom of association” and representation.  No wonder we are always able to use the word “They” or ‘Them”.

How about US?

[ Edited: 06 July 2013 01:28 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 06 July 2013 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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Exactly Write!  Who is “They”?
They are going to do this, they are spying on that! 
This whole load of crap is just further dividing our nation.  People fall right into the same old traps.
The people in foreign countries like GdB, or Scott, ok I get it.  They have a beef of sorts. 
To them…“they” is us.  “They” is the US people. Trying to prevent another horrific terrorist attack.
To us Americans, there is no they.  Unless it is political in nature. Like HOAC or Sedition Act. But then it’s illegal and is rectified.
I’m not seeing any political “they” here gathering info to ruin certain Americans.
And like I said, I don’t see any laws being broken.
I’m see a lot of hollow chest puffing. Alot of it..in many other facets of our political arena too.

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Posted: 07 July 2013 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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Write, You misunderstood my statement when I said free association was essential to guaranteeing our security. The greatest threat to our individual security is our own government not some band of terrorists. Throughout history governments, not terrorists have have oppressed, tortured, and killed more people than all terrorist combined by several orders of magnitude.

Without free association the people do not have the tools they require to combat government corruption and intrusion upon their freedoms so restriction of free association as well as our other rights are indeed the biggest threat to your security.

The rest of your arguments address what we all understand. There is always going to be a balance between personal freedoms and the responsibility of the government to protect the population. The problem I see is that we are all too willing to say “what ever the government needs to do is acceptable as long as it is done with our best interests in mind”. I think this is incredibly naive and ignores the need for balance. When you give the government carte blanche to do whatever they think is necessary you remove the checks and balances that are needed to prevent abuses.

FISA is a secret court. Each judge on this court is appointed by a single supreme court judge for a term of 7 years. All 11 judges currently serving were appointed by Chief Justice Roberts. These judges report to and answer to no one. Cases are presented by the NSA with no opposing point of view allowed by other parties. They have yet to turn down a single request from the NSA despite 1800 request last year alone and its difficult to challenge FISA’s rulings.

We are basically being asked to blindly trust our government. I call Bullshi*. Our founders knew the inherent dangers in this sort of unbalanced power and we are foolish to ignore their warnings.

[ Edited: 07 July 2013 08:55 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 07 July 2013 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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The interior of phone calls, e-mails, or real mail envelopes are not considered to be in public view. Viewing these items without a warrant is an example of an illegal search and/or seizure.
Of course with Probable Cause, one can obtain a warrant(supported under oath!)to search these effects and papers.
And that is exactly what is going on. Nothing illegal!  No violation of the 4th Amendment! 

I hope you’re right Vy, but what do we do with Rep. Jerold Nadler’s comments on the NSA violations using other communications agencies who are allowed to supersede the 4th Amendment?


http://boingboing.net/2013/06/16/nsa-admits-it-listens-in-on-us.html

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57589495-38/nsa-spying-flap-extends-to-contents-of-u.s-phone-calls/

The NSA even has a new facility in which to store the millions of bits of information already collected including intell on purchases. A story Lincoln once told: “What did the girl say when she put on her stocking”? “It strikes me that there’s something in it”.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/13/nsa-utah_n_3434175.html


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Posted: 07 July 2013 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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We have the freedom for experts to talk stupid crap.

How can 50 years go by and 44 years since the Moon landing but economists don’t have to talk about the planned obsolescence of cars. Galbraith wrote about it in 1959 in The Affluent Society.

I think that is far more important than Snowden.  How much have Americans lost on the depreciation of crap in 50 years.  Then we wonder about the economy.  LOL

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Posted: 07 July 2013 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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macgyver - 07 July 2013 08:53 AM

Write, You misunderstood my statement when I said free association was essential to guaranteeing our security. The greatest threat to our individual security is our own government not some band of terrorists. Throughout history governments, not terrorists have have oppressed, tortured, and killed more people than all terrorist combined by several orders of magnitude.

Without free association the people do not have the tools they require to combat government corruption and intrusion upon their freedoms so restriction of free association as well as our other rights are indeed the biggest threat to your security.

Yes and I talk to many people all over the world who are actively being “censored”. Their government system have no build-in checks and balances.
But until that happens here, I am not too worried about it.

FISA is a secret court. Each judge on this court is appointed by a single supreme court judge for a term of 7 years. All 11 judges currently serving were appointed by Chief Justice Roberts. These judges report to and answer to no one. Cases are presented by the NSA with no opposing point of view allowed by other parties. They have yet to turn down a single request from the NSA despite 1800 request last year alone and its difficult to challenge FISA’s rulings.

Perhaps the evidence is strong enough to warrant permission. I am sure there is a defined level of probable cause. This bar may have been lowered and oversight must be strict.  I totally agree if accountability is watered down there would be strong cause for concern.

We are basically being asked to blindly trust our government. I call Bullshi*. Our founders knew the inherent dangers in this sort of unbalanced power and we are foolish to ignore their warnings.

That is an overstatement IMO, is there a clear case of illegal or even improper use of the information gathered? And have the culprits been punished?

Perhaps it is because I am a Hollander and somewhat more jaded matters of privacy. If there is one country with freedom of expression it is Holland.

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Posted: 14 July 2013 12:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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Write4U - 07 July 2013 12:26 PM

Write, You misunderstood my statement when I said free association was essential to guaranteeing our security. The greatest threat to our individual security is our own government not some band of terrorists.

That is partially correct.

The threat or terrorism has been greatly exagerated

http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/rand-report-threat-of-jihadist-terrorism-exaggerated/

The reason why is deeply rooted in international politics. Unfortunately, the media is just a puppet of the government to make
sure that the public remains brainwashed.
http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/04/03/the-islamophobia-excuse/


Its almost paradoxical.  The government allowing (if not supporting) indirect hate speech in the media leads to people consenting to have their privacy reduced (in the name of security).  I.E.  one freedom at the cost of another

It would be truly interesting to know how we can realize how certain freedoms should be balanced.
There is an interesting converation about this topic on a seperate thread
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/15888/P30/

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Posted: 14 July 2013 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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I.J. Abdul Hakeem - 14 July 2013 12:42 AM
Write4U - 07 July 2013 12:26 PM

Write, You misunderstood my statement when I said free association was essential to guaranteeing our security. The greatest threat to our individual security is our own government not some band of terrorists.

That is partially correct.

The threat or terrorism has been greatly exagerated

http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/rand-report-threat-of-jihadist-terrorism-exaggerated/

The reason why is deeply rooted in international politics. Unfortunately, the media is just a puppet of the government to make
sure that the public remains brainwashed.
http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/04/03/the-islamophobia-excuse/

Its almost paradoxical.  The government allowing (if not supporting) indirect hate speech in the media leads to people consenting to have their privacy reduced (in the name of security).  I.E.  one freedom at the cost of another

It would be truly interesting to know how we can realize how certain freedoms should be balanced.
There is an interesting converation about this topic on a seperate thread
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/15888/P30/

Abdul, that quote is not mine. MacGyver was the author and I quoted and responded to it already. I’ll let MacGyver respond to you, if he cares to.

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Posted: 14 July 2013 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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Abdul, from the thread you referred to, regarding the definition of Blasphemy,

with a bad purpose to calumniate and disparage the Supreme Being and to destroy the veneration due to him. It does not prohibit the fullest inquiry, the freest discussion for all honest and fair purposes… it does not prevent the simple and sincere avowal of a disbelief in a supreme being.

Repressive Jurisprudence in the Early American Republic: .
By Phillip I. Blumberg ,  dean of law at the University of Connecticut
332-334

I am sorry but I have never heard such religious drivel. It does exactly prevent the sincere expression of disbelief. It may not make you a “blasphemer”, but it surely would make one an “Infidel” and inevitably “Evil”. And that is sufficient cause for a Fatwah or even an “exorcism” in several Abrahamic scriptures.

The statement is made by a Theist, who presumes that there is Supreme Being to begin with that somehow demands and/or deserves respect, without clearly defining what it is that is supposed to be respected. I believe there is now a law in the UN that says exactly the same in context of Islam. You cannot intentionally say anything against Islam, without condemnation from the UN. Such Hubris scares the hell out of me. I am the one who is sacred, not some fundamentalist fanatic who insists on telling me what I should consider “sacred”.
How about I am an inherently respectful person and never try to insult anyone intentionally. But I do express my Atheism in as clear terms as I can.  But the respect I received in return from a Theist was the personal ad hominem of “If you do not believe, then you are the Anti-Christ”.  I never blasphemed, disparaged, calumniated. I merely expressed disbelief in a scriptural God. There is the danger.

Separation of Church and State .

The State makes and enforces Secular laws which are “blind” to individual distinctions. Under secular law blasphemy is not a crime at all, personal slander or defamation might be litigated, but when the supposedly aggrieved party does not personally exist, what is the injury?

Let the Church (all religions) be benevolent and spiritually oriented all it wants, but leave the LAW to include all, not some, persons equally.

But I am starting a new thread, “Is God a person under law”

[ Edited: 14 July 2013 02:39 AM by Write4U ]
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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

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