3 of 7
3
Swiss Minaret Ban
Posted: 07 December 2009 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  350
Joined  2008-09-10
Occam - 07 December 2009 10:56 AM

Quoting Ciceronianus:

Better, I think, simply to eliminate all advantages accorded religions under the law, e.g., tax exemptions.

  I agree, but how would that work with the separation of church and state, i.e., “the power to tax is the power to destroy”?

Occam

I certainly can’t claim to know this area of law well, however I don’t think it’s a separation issue when it comes to taxes.  And, my guess would be it would be possible to structure tax exemptions so that they do not (overtly, in any case) infringe on the practice of religion.

 Signature 

“Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain.” 
—F. Schiller

http://theblogofciceronianus.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2009 02:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2007-08-31
George - 07 December 2009 10:25 AM

It has as much to do with democracy as does sharing a toy between two babies in a sand box. Your ideological principals may sound admirable to some, GdB, but I personally find them quite naive. Perhaps if we could forget one day what we believe the world ought to be, we can then allow scientists (psychologists and biologists in this specific case) tell us what the world is, and what—if anything—can be done to make it a better place if not for everybody, then at least for the vast majority. I remember, for example, reading in Geoffrey Miller’s Spent that we may all be better off if we form communities based on our economic status, ethnic background, etc.

Hi George,

In my anger I might have interpreted you posting wrong. So here a more nuanced, but not necessary less angrily reaction.

What is ideological in my ideas? That we should not offend people for what they did not do? You are generalising from Muslim terrorists to Muslims in general, and then conclude to Swiss Muslims. What is ideological in saying that oppression may lead to a reaction? Isn’t that a psychological (=scientific?) insight? What is naive about that? Isn’t identifying Swiss Muslims with Muslim terrorists naive and ideological? What would you have done in the 70ties in Germany? Forbidding all socialist groups because of the Baader-Meinhof group (=Marxist terrorist group)?

And suppose Miller is right: what clue does he give us for societies where cultures/nationalities are already mixed? Should we send all the Turks, Moroccans, Yuguslavians (and Tsjech?) back home? Would that lead to a better world? Science and values are only loosely connected (Karacic is a psychiatrist, i.e. he had a scientific education). Shall we start an ‘ethnic cleansing’? Will that bring peace to the world?

You are focussed very much on scientific knowledge, but not on secular values, you even seem to mix up ‘values’ with ‘ideologies’. Secular values like ‘freedom of religion’, and ‘equality for the law’ were overruled by the Swiss. We should defend secular values, not offend fellow humans. Do you really support secular values?

GdB

PS To clarify what I mean: When I still lived in the Netherlands, I lived in a neighbourhood where the majority was foreign. When the Turkish baker brought bread, and I started to buy with him to, he was really shining on his face. He was just feeling accepted! It is so easy… A lot more of these experiences and this man will never become a radical. A few times being discriminated because he is a ‘bad Muslim’ and he might become it.

Edit: typo

[ Edited: 08 December 2009 07:49 AM by GdB ]
 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2009 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Hi GdB,

I still believe that science is our only hope to make any sense of the world around us. I have an absolute distaste for any type of ideology—and yes, that includes the values derived from them—regardless of how admirable and well-meaning they may appear. I don’t know if banning the minarets was wrong, but neither do you. I am an immigrant living in Canada and I can sympathize with the Muslims living in Switzerland—yes, it can be very difficult to always do as the Romans do—but I am also aware of how much I hate Prague being polluted by the Russian and Ukrainian mafia.

Regarding Miller’s proposal, I am still awaiting to see how successful our new schools in Ontario for black children will turn out to be; so far I haven’t heard of any major complaints. But I will share a personal anecdote to show you what I mean. A friend of mine always loved the idea of living in a multicultural city that Toronto is, until the time he bought a new townhouse. To save money, the new townhouses share one attic. My friend only found out about this after an Indian bought the house next to him and started to cook Indian meals. Eventually, my friend’s entire townhouse smelled like curry. He hates curry and knew that he had to sell the house. To nobody’s surprise it was another Indian who in the end bought his house.

I said earlier that the banning of the minarets has nothing to do with religion. To me it seems more like a problem of “clashing of cultures.” Maybe they need to designate ares for the Muslims where they can build as many minarets as they want. I am not sure, GdB, what the solution is, but I know that the humanistic perspective on life, where we are all “brothers and sisters,” sounds very close to the fundamental beliefs of the Communists or even the Christian “heaven on Earth.”

[ Edited: 08 December 2009 08:39 AM by George ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2009 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2007-08-31

Hi George,

You do not quite understand what I mean: values like ‘equality for the law’, or ‘freedom of religion’ are not even close to ‘brother and sister’ feelings or communism. They are just common sense (at least for secular humanists). Of course I am aware of problems that arise when people of different cultures live together. But to forbid the building of minarets to moderate Muslims that live according to above values seems hardly a solution for any problem, and at most a new created problem.

GdB

PS Just to clarify, I already live for 16 years in Switzerland. That does not make my statements true per definition of course, but at least I am close to where it all happens…

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2009 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1778
Joined  2007-10-22

Ciceronianus:

Better, I think, simply to eliminate all advantages accorded religions under the law, e.g., tax exemptions

They still would be able to qualify for tax exempt as non-profits (501c-3s) although their would be a fee involved and subject to IRS audit, which they basically are not now.  I don’t know if I like the idea on a prctical level, it would create more work for my agency but would also possibly invoke much more political control over religous organizations.  (Note this is not my area of tax administration so my expertise here is limited.)

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2009 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Non-profit would be fine.  I’d like to see Rick Warren, the televangelists, the Catholic church, etc. have to justify their holdings and their life styles.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2009 08:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  113
Joined  2009-10-17
George - 07 December 2009 10:25 AM

I remember, for example, reading in Geoffrey Miller’s Spent that we may all be better off if we form communities based on our economic status, ethnic background, etc.

We already have communities in which ever member is of the same ethnic group, economic status, etc.  We call them ghettos. 

Could you elaborate on the benefits of ghettos?

 Signature 

I Don’t Want My Country Back, I Want My Country Forward

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2009 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  262
Joined  2008-06-13
Tradition Of Progress - 09 December 2009 08:37 PM
George - 07 December 2009 10:25 AM

I remember, for example, reading in Geoffrey Miller’s Spent that we may all be better off if we form communities based on our economic status, ethnic background, etc.

We already have communities in which ever member is of the same ethnic group, economic status, etc.  We call them ghettos. 

Could you elaborate on the benefits of ghettos?

I took this comment differently.  Ghetto implies someone forced into that particular situation.  I took George’s comment as referring to a choice (please no free will arguments!) that one can make about where they live based on whatever factors are important to them. 

I listened to an interesting take on this recently on a political podcast I follow.  The host to me doesn’t come off as particularly right or left on the US political spectrum.  His point in this particular show was that we might be less heated in our arguments about the hot button issues if we let more of these decisions remain with the states.  As it stands, it is a life or death struggle since these things are handled at the federal level.  Now, I can see a lot of problems with this.  I certainly wouldn’t want Alabama to be able to re-institute segregationist policies because they had the support of the majority in their state to do it.  But, I do agree with the point that it has made for a very toxic environment.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2009 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
Jr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  88
Joined  2009-11-18

We need a cool head on this type of news.

You guys are right, muslim countries have banned western items.

For example, Ayatollah does not allow bikinis on Iranian beaches. They should not cry too much at the Swiss.

So now, if China bans political symbols of, say capitalism, the Swiss would be the last to complain.

The point is two wrongs dont make a right.

[ Edited: 10 December 2009 07:09 AM by ray ]
 Signature 

—-
-

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2009 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29
Tradition Of Progress - 09 December 2009 08:37 PM
George - 07 December 2009 10:25 AM

I remember, for example, reading in Geoffrey Miller’s Spent that we may all be better off if we form communities based on our economic status, ethnic background, etc.

We already have communities in which ever member is of the same ethnic group, economic status, etc.  We call them ghettos. 

Could you elaborate on the benefits of ghettos?

TOP,

Hawkfan said it right: it is everyone’s choice where they want to live. The problem I see is that people (especially children) are being constantly told that if they only try, they can become anything they want to be. This is nonsense. Most Arabs living in the the UK will never become Englishmen. Keep “teasing” them like this, keep telling them that the UK is a democratic country with equal rights for all, only for them to keep finding that they will always be treated as second-class citizens.

Or take the schools for black children in Ontario. How does a black child feel when he’s being taught in schools about the great scientific discoveries and artistic achievements of the white population? How will an Asian child react when being told that Marco Polo “discovered” Central Asia and China? Did Columbus “discover” the Americas from the perspective of an American Indian? I guess we have a few choices here: we can either 1.) stop telling the kids about the exciting voyages of Marco Polo and Columbus; 2.) we can add historical stories from other cultures (but now you’re running a risk that the kids will either get bored, or worse, compare the “greatness” of one culture vs. the other); 3.) build schools focusing on a specific culture. Kids love to have heroes. The closer they can relate to their role model, the better a chance they will enjoy the studies. At least that’s what I believe.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2009 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2007-08-31
ray - 10 December 2009 07:03 AM

You guys are right, muslim countries have banned western items.

For example, Ayatollah does not allow bikinis on Iranian beaches. They should not cry too much at the Swiss.

Yep. ‘They’ should not cry, that is clearly inconsistent. But Swiss Muslims may cry (maybe not too hard, in the end they are still allowed to have Islam services in a mosque here). And we shouldn’t be western Ayatollahs. You said it already: ‘two wrongs dont make a right’.

GdB

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2009 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14
GdB - 10 December 2009 07:55 AM
ray - 10 December 2009 07:03 AM

You guys are right, muslim countries have banned western items.

For example, Ayatollah does not allow bikinis on Iranian beaches. They should not cry too much at the Swiss.

Yep. ‘They’ should not cry, that is clearly inconsistent. But Swiss Muslims may cry (maybe not too hard, in the end they are still allowed to have Islam services in a mosque here). And we shouldn’t be western Ayatollahs. You said it already: ‘two wrongs dont make a right’.

GdB

Bikinis on Beaches? This is the sum total of islamic discrimination? Hello!?!
GdB you bought the program. Man! Western Ayatollahs?
As long as some of you keep viewing this as a right/wrong issue there won’t be any real understanding of this issue.
I’ll stay on your track of thinking anyways…and argue this point.
“Better the Ayatollah you know, than the Ayatollah you don’t know.”
I suppose the countless laws that were passed through the centuries by countries all around the world stemming the tide of religious domination were all wrong! Even the Reformation was wrong? Separation of church and states was wrong?

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2009 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  113
Joined  2009-10-17
George - 10 December 2009 07:46 AM

Hawkfan said it right: it is everyone’s choice where they want to live. The problem I see is that people (especially children) are being constantly told that if they only try, they can become anything they want to be. This is nonsense. Most Arabs living in the the UK will never become Englishmen. Keep “teasing” them like this, keep telling them that the UK is a democratic country with equal rights for all, only for them to keep finding that they will always be treated as second-class citizens.

Maybe this is true for Muslim Arabs living in the U. K.  But it is not true for all immigrants in all countries.  I don’t think any of the Indo-Americans at my office feel that way.  Let’s say an Indian, born in India emigrates to the U. S. with his parents and becomes a U. S. citizen.  Will he always be treated as a second-class citizen?  Would it be “teasing” him to suggest that he could ever hold a public office like governor of a state in the U. S. ?  (I admit that I am a little surprised that the first Indo-American governor happened to be a Republican in the Southern state of Louisianna).  What about a kid who is a natural born U. S. citizen but whose father is from somewhere in Africa, like Kenya?

Or take the schools for black children in Ontario. How does a black child feel when he’s being taught in schools about the great scientific discoveries and artistic achievements of the white population? How will an Asian child react when being told that Marco Polo “discovered” Central Asia and China? Did Columbus “discover” the Americas from the perspective of an American Indian? I guess we have a few choices here: we can either 1.) stop telling the kids about the exciting voyages of Marco Polo and Columbus; 2.) we can add historical stories from other cultures (but now you’re running a risk that the kids will either get bored, or worse, compare the “greatness” of one culture vs. the other); 3.) build schools focusing on a specific culture. Kids love to have heroes. The closer they can relate to their role model, the better a chance they will enjoy the studies. At least that’s what I believe.

I don’t think the risk of the kids getting bored with option 2 is that great.  I think my education was more like that, with some good old African American heroes, like G. W. Carver even though there were very few if any African-Americans in the schools in which I attended before college.  I think it was important to see heroes from different cultures or ethnicities, so I could see that great people can arise from anywhere, and not just my own stock.

As for Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, just state that this was the Europeans’ first documented contact with these cultures and that Europeans lived in a world without much knowledge of these other parts of the world, and for them to learn about this was something that changed their world forever.  These were discoveries to the Europeans, and these all had to do with how our counrty came to be, and understanding the European perspective is important to knowing why or how we colonized this place. 

THe absence of Asian heroes did not prevent any of my Asian classmates from succeeding. 
There were no Jewish heroes mentioned in our elementary school history classes, but that did not prevent any of my Jewish clasmates from succeeding either.  Eventually, when we learned about the labor movement, we did learn about people like Eugene V. Debs, but there was no mention of any Jewish Revolutionary war heroes like Haym Solomon or Aaron Lopez, and I do not think that is a good thing.

I apologize for my posts running way off topic of this thread.  At the moment, I do not think I have anything to offer about the Swiss Mineret Ban that has not already been stated.  In short, I am glad to see limits imposed on religious power, but am wondering what this means about religious liberty.  Also, I find the Christianity in the U.S. more threatening to my own freedom than Islam at the moment.

[ Edited: 12 December 2009 09:37 AM by Tradition Of Progress ]
 Signature 

I Don’t Want My Country Back, I Want My Country Forward

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2009 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2007-08-31

He VYAZMA, please cool down.

You missed the main point I agreed on with ray: the quotes around ‘they’. If some Muslim country yells about the Swiss, I will be one of the first that they should look in their own country first. But again, the Swiss Muslims are not representatives of Saudi Arabia or Iran. It is the over-generalisation from radical Muslims to all Muslims, and then deduce back again to Swiss Muslims. And I do not deny that there are problems in Switzerland with foreigners, but it is not because they are Muslims. So why hit them there?

This was translated in a Swiss Newspaper: Timothy Garton Ash on minarets.

GdB

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2009 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14

T.O.P.-

I apologize for my posts running way off topic of this thread.  At the moment, I do not think I have anything to offer about the Swiss Mineret Ban that has not already been stated.  In short, I am glad to see limits imposed on religious power, but am wondering what this means about religious liberty.  Also, I find the Christianity in the U.S. more threatening to my own freedom than Islam at the moment.

I’m only using your quote as a jump off here Tradition, not as counterpoint.
“What does this mean for religious liberty?”
Well I don’t know. What does it say about liberty for anything? What about capitalistic liberty? What if someone wanted to build a restaurant in a town, but the city said no. Zoning laws. Sorry but your plans for your restaurant conflict with our zoning laws, and our vision of the cityscape.
This is understandable.
For some reason people are ambivalent about the apparent infringement on their rights for speech and assembly. These are often curtailed all over the world. In the US or Timbuktu, civic authorities can easily quell any assembly(and do!) under the guise of existing civic statutes. What of this liberty?
Who but the muslims wish to place the highest precedence on minaret construction as a symbol for liberty?

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 7
3