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Hate Speech? Hate crime? really funny joke?
Posted: 14 March 2009 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello there,

I am from Lethbridge Alberta Canada.

Yesterday morning I opened up my email inbox and found this email staring me in the face:

Yea for the GOOD GUYS!!!

A young Canadian soldier was attending some college courses between assignments .

He had also completed missions in Afghanistan .

One of the courses had a professor who was a devout atheist.  One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He Looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, ‘God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you exactly 15 minutes.’

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, ‘Here I am God. I’m still waiting.’ It got down to the last couple of minutes when the young soldier got out of his Chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold. The young man went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the soldier and asked, ‘What the hell is the matter with! You? Why did you do that?’

Came the reply,

‘God was too busy today protecting our soldiers who are protecting your right to talk stupid and act like an asshole.  So, He sent me’


THIS IS GOOD, KEEP IT GOING


I composed a return email that articulated my shock at the content of the email and its blatant celebration of violence. I have been in an email debate with the friend of the person that sent it to me. Their response is righteous indignation (surprise surprise). She even said that it was a joke.

Do you think this email qualifies as hate speech? or do you think this is a funny joke?

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Posted: 15 March 2009 04:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sounds to me like an underhanded incitement to violence, frankly, although I’m not sure whether it quite rises to the level of hate-speech.

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Posted: 15 March 2009 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s the celebration of the violence that shocked me. These are people that my wife knows. So by degrees of separation they know me, sort of, they know where I live at least. And when I entreated them to how the email made me feel, they pretty much told me that they didn’t care how it made me feel.

I was shocked. WAS. But I shouldn’t be surprised. The pious have said worse.

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Posted: 21 March 2009 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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god couldn’t have been too busy the other day-what was it? 4 Canadian soldiers got blown up in Afghanistan.
Maybe it was allahs turn to watch over those soldiers.That’s my joke!!

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Posted: 21 March 2009 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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VYAZMA - 21 March 2009 10:01 AM

god couldn’t have been too busy the other day-what was it? 4 Canadian soldiers got blown up in Afghanistan.
Maybe it was allahs turn to watch over those soldiers.That’s my joke!!

Tragic . . . maybe their god is a schizophrenic; when bad shit happens it’s Allah, when good shit happens it’s Yahweh, when comedy happens it’s Vishnu!

I want to know what’s going on in their brains . . . who’s more schizophrenic? How does this violence make sense given their world view? It can’t!

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Posted: 21 March 2009 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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nietzschesbulldog - 21 March 2009 01:41 PM
VYAZMA - 21 March 2009 10:01 AM

god couldn’t have been too busy the other day-what was it? 4 Canadian soldiers got blown up in Afghanistan.
Maybe it was allahs turn to watch over those soldiers.That’s my joke!!

Tragic . . . maybe their god is a schizophrenic; when bad shit happens it’s Allah, when good shit happens it’s Yahweh, when comedy happens it’s Vishnu!

I want to know what’s going on in their brains . . . who’s more schizophrenic? How does this violence make sense given their world view? It can’t!

Who knows? I read your post above about that joke.It made me ill. I can’t stand that kind of perpetuation. They don’t like intelligence,they like fear and violence. Everyone must be brought down to a level of patriotism and Mob rule mentality.
I’m tired of the national heros being cops,soldiers,and firemen.Whether in Canada or here in the US.When are labor organizers and peace activists going to become heros? When are scientists going to be heralded as heros?
People are afraid of change. They fear the unknown. They mock those who seek it-they always have.

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Posted: 21 March 2009 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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VYAZMA - 21 March 2009 03:54 PM
nietzschesbulldog - 21 March 2009 01:41 PM
VYAZMA - 21 March 2009 10:01 AM

god couldn’t have been too busy the other day-what was it? 4 Canadian soldiers got blown up in Afghanistan.
Maybe it was allahs turn to watch over those soldiers.That’s my joke!!

Tragic . . . maybe their god is a schizophrenic; when bad shit happens it’s Allah, when good shit happens it’s Yahweh, when comedy happens it’s Vishnu!

I want to know what’s going on in their brains . . . who’s more schizophrenic? How does this violence make sense given their world view? It can’t!

Who knows? I read your post above about that joke.It made me ill. I can’t stand that kind of perpetuation. They don’t like intelligence,they like fear and violence. Everyone must be brought down to a level of patriotism and Mob rule mentality.
I’m tired of the national heros being cops,soldiers,and firemen.Whether in Canada or here in the US.When are labor organizers and peace activists going to become heros? When are scientists going to be heralded as heros?
People are afraid of change. They fear the unknown. They mock those who seek it-they always have.

I know what you mean. I was stunned when I opened my email and that was sitting there. Like I had just been punched. The problem is; I began to wonder; did I overreact? Did I read more into the email than is there? No. The celebration of violence is obvious. And what’s more mind boggling is; they don’t care.

But the thing that bugs me, is that I still doubt my reaction to it. Do you see what I mean? I have been numbed to the anti-atheist violence. I posted it in the forum at Dawkins and the reaction was . . . same ol’ same ol? This didn’t bother anyone. If it was written about black people or Jewish people there would have been outrage.

Sure it isn’t hate speech, no hate crime took place, but this is not a funny joke. This email represents the total lack of respect that fundigelicals have for atheists . . . to them atheists are less than human; that’s obvious. They pretty much told me to keep my place. And this is the same mass of loud mouthed idiots that get all weepy-eyed when . . . they are told who their heroes should be. They can’t think without help and they, by sheer numbers, own the agenda.

I would like to see more variety in our (inter)national heroes. Absolutely.

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Posted: 22 March 2009 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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No don’t doubt your reaction to it. Don’t even consider others reactions to your outrage as a setback. There is a growing number of people who are sick of this reactionary,book-burning mentality. I take whatever small steps I can to counter these issues when I can. Find ways to counter them yourself. When enough people start passing around the right jokes,or putting the right bumper stickers on their cars the trend will balance.
I know you may not think this way,and I understand it,but I usually offer explicit gestures to these types when I can. I drive truck around town,and when I see a particularly reactionary type sign or sticker on someones car,I give them the finger-I do. Believe me,it makes them pause. It makes them think twice. Coming from a truck driver it makes them wonder. If it came from some guy driving a Volvo with a Greenpeace sticker and a Rainbow on the back,I think that would add fuel to their fire.
And-yes they know why I’m “waving” to ‘em. I hope it makes them at least consider what they’re doing. I mean-driving around with a sticker on your car?A sticker that promotes violence or a continuation of irrational policies. It looks stupid.Even to most centrist-right folks.
You know Bulldog,unfortunately for me,I believe that fire must be fought with fire. I understand most rational peoples rejection of this idea. All the counter productive dynamics that ensue from it,but none the less,that’s what I feed off of.

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Posted: 22 March 2009 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I agree that it’s a stupid story, but it starts off with them setting up the professor to make a stupid declaration.  I don’t see the putative violence as any worse than when people enjoy the Three Stooges. 

There are many jokes of that sort.  For example:  A guy is caught in a flood and prays to the lord to save him as he floats down the river.  A row boat comes by and tries to pull him in.  “No, god will save me.”  A fireman tosses him a rope, but he refuses to grab it.  “No, god will save me.”  A helicopter drops a ladder, but he won’t climb up.  “No, god will save me.”

He ultimately drowns and when he gets to heaven, he asks why God didn’t save him.  “I sent a row boat, the fireman, and a helicopter.  Why didn’t you avail yourself of them?”

Personally, I love to have people tell jokes or stories like the Professor one because I can always step on their punch line, e.g., “Boy, that soldier must have been an egotistical idiot to think he could make decisions and take actions for an omnipotent god.” 

Occam

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Posted: 22 March 2009 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I agree with you Occam.It isn’t the violence in the joke;I’d hardly call that violence today;it’s the glorification of the theist,setting the atheist professor straight.
One could say that joke had a bad PUNCH-line!.......Badum-bump!!! tongue rolleye

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Posted: 22 March 2009 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hello Occam

And I agree as well. And this is the source of my angst.

I’ve been socked before. If done correctly it can hurt. So in the grand scheme of things punching someone and being punched is pretty minor. But, let’s change the joke just slightly; what does a single person (the professor) do against a whole class room filled with these pugilists who so openly, brazenly and with mutual acceptance celebrate this sort of violence? This violence is celebrated. This violence is condoned. This violence is directed against a minority group. The real source of angst here is how I am treading the psychological tightrope of, overreacting and really overreacting.

Unfortunately, the only way to deal with these wackaloons is to point out where their reasoning fails. I say unfortunately because, in most cases, when you do point it out, they just don’t get it! Four more Canadians died the day before yesterday (? I think), and no doubt the contradiction hasn’t even been given a nanosecond of consideration. In these cases, what do you do? Heap on the ridicule? And what do they do? They play the “Christian suffering at the hand of the Roman Lions” card. Or, even the “why do you atheists need to be so militant?” card.

thank you; VYAZMA, for the pep talk . . . I am glad I confronted them. And I need to extend my best wishes to you for your health and safety while you continue to take the fight to ‘em. We don’t need any martyrs, though, so be safe. And if they can leave a sleeping bulldog lie I won’t snap.

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Posted: 23 March 2009 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I can’t say much.  I started chuckling when the prof asked him “what the hell is the matter with you?”  I don’t like violence either, but it’s a dumb joke in that the soldier put the responsibility of his actions on “God” instead of himself.  What the soldier did is still not proof there is a god and he was wrong to react as he did.  By the same token, I seriously doubt, IF this were real, a professor would make his point in such a manner either.  The other thing is, I have yet to know a veteran, who has been in battle, come out a theist.  Most, that I’ve met, are atheists, agnostics, or they don’t say anything about a god, unless it’s in anger or something like that.  Thus, whoever made up this joke is a bit ignorant in many ways.  Personally, I would have broken the chain and deleted the lame and ignorant joke.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 30 January 2010 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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It was a joke.  It had all the elements to be a joke.  It just wasn’t a very good joke.
Was it hate speech?  That would depend on the sensibilities of whomever you told it to.
Should the teller of the joke be legally or morally bound to censor himself?  I don’t think so.  Freedom of speech is freedom to to say, out loud, the first stupid thing that pops into your head.  If someone wants to argue the point the freedom to do that is provided.
If you can put restrictions on a freedom, or right, then it turns into a privilege.  As every petulant eight year old knows privilege is coupled with responsibility.  As far as I know rights aren’t coupled with anything.

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If they’d told me it was going to be like this I wouldn’t have come.

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Posted: 30 January 2010 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Michael Holloway - 30 January 2010 12:37 PM

If you can put restrictions on a freedom, or right, then it turns into a privilege.  As every petulant eight year old knows privilege is coupled with responsibility.  As far as I know rights aren’t coupled with anything.

Violence is definitely a privilege, ‘though.

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If they’d told me it was going to be like this I wouldn’t have come.

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Posted: 30 January 2010 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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There has to be a way for you guys to turn this around.  The fact is, we are young, evolving systems.  We’ve come through a time when it was a good idea to be afraid all the time.  Your predilection to fear may cause you to bias against any thing that is seen to attack you.
If you could realize that you’re afraid(and therefor angry, disgusted…) because Lucy at the river bank was afraid then mayeyou could separate the fear from the issue and send them back your best Fundie joke.

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Posted: 20 August 2010 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I hope I’m not too late to add to this thread..
The joke email sent to you was a test. I get them all the time as well.
The person sending it (either consciously or unconsciously) is determining whether or not you agree with their beliefs and passions.
To not respond would condone the belief and then your friendship is kept at shallow levels and you need to walk on eggshells around them. If you challenge the ‘joke’ then you risk the possibility of losing the friendship.

It’s like the truckdriver poster above said about bumper stickers. When I see a sticker that says ‘If you don’t stand behind our troops then feel free to stand in front of them’, I want to stop their car and ask the driver what message they are trying to send to me and how do they want me to react to their statement. what is your motivation for putting that sticker on your car?

I firmly believe that most people that are passionate about an issue secretly wish to be confronted on their issues. Adrenalin rush reinforces their conviction etc. etc.

My advice to you would be to tell your friend the following:
- you didn’t understand the motivation behind the joke and you wonder what message they are trying to present to you. please explain.
If rational discourse ensues then you have a friend at a deeper level. if you get passion without reason then you know your friendship remains at cursory levels.

In a way this is a problem I have with the ‘new atheist’ movement. Hitchens especially..  The rhetoric used incites passion in believers. And I find that many believer friends who would normally tend to rational discourse become too busy defending their passion.  but maybe you have to swing the pendulum hard the other way before it settles back to a lower level.

anyway, this is my first post and I am glad to be part of this community of free-thinkers.

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