Monday Morning Thoughts II: The Need for Calmer Heads on Israeli-Palestinian Issue

Swastika-Fraternity

(Editor’s note: I had originally put my thoughts on two subjects together as per my usual Monday Morning Thoughts Column, but after some reflection, decided that the topics were diverse enough that I would separate them)

The Israeli-Palestinian issue has reemerged in the community. The ASUCD Senate voted 8-2 with two abstentions to support a resolution that calls for the UC Board of Regents to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, violating both international humanitarian law and international human rights.”

The issue is largely symbolic, as Chancellor Katehi was very quick to shoot it down.

Someone asked me over the weekend whether I thought the council would take up the issue and support divestment. I may be speaking out of turn, but I don’t see the council supporting that, and I would advise them, if they were to listen to me on such matters, to avoid the topic like the plague.

It is not that I don’t think it’s an important issue, I just don’t think it is an issue that the council should take up. Those of you who were around in 2009 remember what happened when the Israeli-Palestinian issue came up. The council listened one week to the Palestinian group that had mobilized, and were seemingly willing to consider a resolution.

However, the next week, a more mixed group showed up and council punted the issue to the Human Relations Commission. There was a serious downside to even taking up the issue. The second week, the community group was so large that the item took four hours to hear. That pushed important issues off.

Council listened to City Manager Bill Emlen and investigator Bob Aaronson discuss the infamous fire report in an item that began after midnight and was not decided until nearly 2 am. The council was clearly tired and not as critically aware of the import of such a complicated issue as they should have been, which contributed to what was then a cover up.

I do not support divestment from Israel. I am highly critical of the current Netanyahu regime, and have long supported a two-state solution and an engaged peace process.

At the same time, I don’t think there is a huge takeover of Sharia Law on campus. I am concerned about the tone of the anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from sectors of our nation this year. I see the left’s support of the Palestinians not as support for radical Islam, but rather for humanitarian reasons.

The heightened rhetoric is concerning to me and I am was very dismayed to see the swastika incident at the Jewish fraternity house.

The host of groups from UC Davis, which were very quick to denounce the attack, included: Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis; Muslim Student Association at UC Davis; Arab Student Union at UC Davis; Pakistani Student Association at UC Davis; Afghan Student Association at UC Davis; M.E.Ch.A. de UC Davis; Black Student Union at UC Davis; Sikh Cultural Association at UC Davis; S.M.A.R.T. (Students Matter: Activism, Retention, Teamwork) Coalition; Officers of the Davis Unit, UAW 2865; Hannah Kagen-Moore, Davis Unit UAW 2865; Duane Wright, Davis Unit UAW 2865; Mai Sartawi, National Lawyer’s Guild; Claire White, Student National Vice President, National Lawyer’s Guild; Gonzalo Cortes Moreno, Lawyer and Constitutional Law Professor (King Law School); Armando Figueroa, ASUCD President .

Their statement read: “As a coalition of students and campus organizations at UC Davis, we condemn the actions taken sometime during the night of January 31st, 2015 by an unknown person(s) who defaced the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, which is a Jewish interest fraternity, with swastikas.

“Just as we condemned the hanging of a noose, the defamation of the Palestinian dove, or calling students ‘terrorists’ based on their physical appearance or beliefs, we equally condemn the display of the swastika. This reminds us that anti-Semitism, along with all other forms of hate, including, but not limited to, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny, still exist and are rampant trans-nationally and on our university campuses.”

They add: “We reject any attempts to blame this on any single student community, including the UC Davis Divestment movement. We hope that the university investigates and exercises due diligence in holding those responsible for this hate crime to the fullest extent of the law.”

Some have suggested that the attack should be seen as linked to the UC Davis Divestment movement. Can we rule it out? No, and the timing can’t be seen as merely coincidental.

However, I think we should be careful about going too far with the connection. Suppose a more conservative ASUCD had a contentious vote to support the officers in the Ferguson and Staten Island shootings – if someone then hung a noose in front of the black fraternity, would we automatically blame it on the ASUCD vote?

At the same time, the rhetoric needs to be cooled and an ASUCD Senator proclaiming that “Hamas & Sharia law have taken over UC Davis,” is neither appropriate nor helpful.

That said, let’s not overreact to it because there is no evidence that the statement is actually true. Clearly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a polarizing flashpoint in our community, as well as in our nation, and unfortunately it will not be going away anytime soon.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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120 Comments

  1. LadyNewkBahm

    What I would like is the Students for “Justice” in Palestine, Muslim Student Association and company. and the ASUCD to provide us with their official position on whether there should be a one or two state or no state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I think those opinions will be the most telling as to where those individuals truly stand underneath, whether this is about saving Palestinians from alleged persecution or some other agenda hidden behind the veil of civil rights.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/03/01/uc-davis-heckler-interrupts-jewish-event-accuses-israelis-of-raping-women-children/ I found this video to be interesting, and quite frankly in this case seriously makes one wonder if anti jewish bigotry is masquerading as “anti-israeli.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

      1. Frankly

        My position is that I don’t know why there isn’t anti-Palestine protests and anti-radical Islam protests.  Considering what would be better for the world, it is absurd that we see and support so much of the opposite.

        Tell me a place where a majority population of Muslim people peacefully integrates with Jews and Christians… or any other religion for that matter.

        1. Davis Progressive

          it is remarkable to me how anti-islam is so acceptable.  i would argue the answer to your question is the united states – the majority of the muslim population integrates with jews and christians in the us.  there are some bastions of extremism but for the most part not.  certainly in davis i have had good experiences with my muslim friends.  why aren’t there protests against palestine and islam?  that’d be like protesting against mormons and evangelical christians.

        2. Frankly

          I said majority Muslim.  If the US was majority Muslim there would be Sharia law and non-Islam believers would be persecuted.

          Yes the US is currently better integrated.   But only about 2% of the US population is Muslim.

           

        3. Tia Will

          Tell me a place where a majority population of Muslim people peacefully integrates with Jews and Christians “

          Turkey

          Granted that they have not done so well with the Kurds, but that wasn’t your question.

        1. Anon

          Yes, there is no question that free speech is being stifled at the university level.  When my son attended UCD and was a member of the Republican club, he saw just how intolerant some liberals were to any ideas but their own.  If I remember rightly, David Horowitz was to speak at UCD, but all the posters and newspapers advertising his talk were “stolen” and there was so much angst created, that David Horowitz never came to speak.  We’ve seen this recently with Condoleeza Rice.  Silly me, I thought the university was supposed to be the marketplace for ideas and forum for free speech!

    1. hpierce

      That seems to be a simplistic answer.  But, perhaps the only answer that is feasible in the short term. Historically, the area now known as Israel and Palestine had Semites (Jewish and not), Arabs, etc. living peacefully with one another.  That’s racial. On the religious side, Jews, Muslims, Christians, etc. coexisted peacefully.  Therefore, for Jews who have historically lived in/owned property what might be a Palestinian state, how is it ‘justice’ if a new Palestinian state, as a sovereign nation, forbids Jews or Christians from owning property, or overtly practicing their religion?  How is it ‘justice’ if a re-constituted Israel forbids Muslims or Arabs (or Christians) from owning property or overtly practicing their religions?

      Remember that the partition of Palestine post WWII was a result of the collective guilt of those nations that ‘abhorred’ the holocaust, but really didn’t want the German Jews to come into and settle in THEIR countries.

      Perhaps we should consider partitioning Davis along ethnic, religious and/or political lines.

  2. Tia Will

     

    One individual planted himself at the back of the room and continuously shouted slurs “

    I think the key to this are the words “one individual”. I am quite sure that if one were so inclined, one could Google “Zionist extremist” and come up with videos of extremists from the other side disrupting attempts at reasonable debate of this highly contentious issue. Finding one hate filled individual is not difficult. This should never be used by either side to generalize and speculate about the motives of others.

    1. Anon

      Tia, you really don’t seem to understand, and I am not trying to be condescending.  Certain viewpoints are totally shut out of college campuses, and it is usually the more conservative view.  It has occurred often on the UCD campus.  Conservative speakers don’t even bother trying to come here anymore.  For the administration to have allowed the hecklers to continue their disruptive behavior was disgraceful, any hecklers whoever they are and whatever their viewpoint.

      1. Barack Palin

         For the administration to have allowed the hecklers to continue their disruptive behavior was disgraceful, any hecklers whoever they are and whatever their viewpoint.

        This is yet another example that the current administration has been compromised when it comes to keeping some of the activists on campus in line when it comes to things like this, where an activist refuses to let an event continue because he believes differently.  This is all a result of the pepper spray incident.

      2. Tia Will

        Anon

        You  really do not seem to understand my position. I have posted repeatedly that I do not approve of limitation of speech regardless of ideologic position.

  3. Topcat

    Someone asked me over the weekend whether I thought the council would take up the issue and support divestment. I may be speaking out of turn, but I don’t see the council supporting that, and I would advise them, if they were to listen to me on such matters, to avoid the topic like the plague.

    I agree that they should avoid the issue. The role of the council is to deal with City of Davis issues. It is completely inappropriate for them to spend even one minute on issues that have nothing to do with city government.

    1. hpierce

      I could live with that.  Am pretty sure staff  (except those who owe their positions to “activism”) would support keeping the Council focused on City operations, as well.

  4. Frankly

    Last night watching the Super Bowl and one specific commercial for Jeep that depicted a peaceful, colorful and happy planet of people, my mind wandered to the thought about how great the world would be without Islam with the followers of that religion instead taking up Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or Hinduism… some truly peaceful religion.

    What I was really dreaming about was an end to radical Islam, but there is as much chance as that happening given the lack of adequate work from moderate Muslims to stamp it out, as is the elimination of it in its entirety.  So instead my mind just naturally drifted to the thought of a global ban on the practice of Islam.

    Sure that is utopian thinking and a waste of time… expect for the perspective it provides.  It is like thinking about a state of health void of cancer.

    The problem with the Palestinians is that they practice Islam, elected radicals to lead them, and they refuse to accept the Jewish state of Israel.  Nothing Israel does in self defense justifies a modicum of anger directed at them until and unless Palestinians repair the last two, and demonstrate that their chosen religion is indeed the peaceful one that Western liberals continue to proclaim it is.

    Here is the easy to see honest truth.  The Palestinians would receive copious support from the West if they were peaceful.  Hence, it is their lack of peacefulness that is the source of their isolation and ongoing misery.  It is Western liberals and their affliction with assigning victim mentality to those they perceive as weaker as a source of the ongoing misery of Palestinians.   The words of Western liberals legitimize the hostile and extreme behavior of the Palestinians and cause them to continue to pursue their losing strategy of malice to get their way.  If the Western world would join in solidarity to reject terrorism and extremism, and also demand that the Palestinians proclaim their support for the Jewish state of Israel, then the Palestinians would see the futility of their ways and seek a different path.

    This all comes down to the victim enabling tendency of victim mentality.  In modern times, the powerless are generally so because of their own behavior, not because of oppression from the powerful.  Western liberals are just irrational on this point and their actions only serve to perpetuate the victim state of the so called powerless.

    1. Don Shor

      my mind wandered to the thought about how great the world would be without Islam with the followers of that religion instead taking up Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or Hinduism… some truly peaceful religion.

      my mind wandered to the thought about how great the world would be without … religion.

      There you go.

        1. Davis Progressive

          the problem is that’s an oxy-moron.  at its core level a religion based on the premise we’re right and everyone else is going to hell cannot be peaceful.

        2. KSmith

          “Peaceful religion is good and necessary.”

          Completely untrue. It may be good, but I hardly think it’s necessary. The vast majority of the “good” that comes out of religious morality actually was derived from secular ethics that pre-dated religions like Christianity.  The Golden Rule, anyone?

          Those who do not subscribe to religion hardly wander around in a state of apathy making up their own morality. Non-believers find plenty of meaning and joy in life.

          This broad stereotype you’ve presented is ridiculous and unfair.

        3. Frankly

          You just ignored my word “many” and came back with an argument in absolute terms.

          Some atheists are happy.  Some secularists are happy.   Though I find many of them to be lacking dimensional depth in their being.  Sort of like swimming only in shallow water… only skimming the surface of the wonders of life around them by believing it can all be explained by science.

          But some pious are unhappy.

          The point is that many can benefit from religion.  The negative branding by the intellectual elite does a disservice for those that need it but reject it for political and pop-culture reasons.   This is really just another type of intolerance.   The anti-religion message… especially the anti-Christian type… from American left is really quite ugly, IMO.

          I laughed out loud when I read that Stephen Hawking said “There is no God, but I hope to peer into another parallel dimension before I die.”

        4. Frankly

          the problem is that’s an oxy-moron.  at its core level a religion based on the premise we’re right and everyone else is going to hell cannot be peaceful.

          Help me understand something… if you are an atheist, why would you care that a pious person believes you would go to hell after you die?

          I see the oxy-moronism as being largely in the seat of the secular complainer about the religious.

          1. Don Shor

            Very few. The efficacy rate of AA is very low. And it is not religious. So it is a poor example in every respect.

          2. Don Shor

            Says Don, the all-knowing God of his own secular religion.

            Why do you say stuff like this? Do you actually want to have a discussion? You would do well to learn more about the range of secularism in America, and the values of secular people. You make very judgmental statements about people who believe other than you do, but it seems you know very little about the beliefs of the ones you are criticizing. And you are always quick with the insults.

        5. Davis Progressive

          frankly:

          “Help me understand something… if you are an atheist, why would you care that a pious person believes you would go to hell after you die?”

          i don’t know that i can help you understand anything to be frank.  but i was thinking mainly about the relationship between religions.  religions are fundamentally in tension with each other over world view.  the assumption that one group is wrong, the other right is not conducive to peace and understanding.  i think you see muslims as you do because christians are in a hegemonic position and muslims are in a more subservient position.  not sure that helps.

        6. sisterhood

          I know an alcoholic who stayed away from AA because he is agnostic. I have another friend who has been sober for over 25 years. He started his own version of AA, without the religious aspect. Personally, I believe in a supreme being. But I’m glad my friend is able to help hundreds of people, who would not be comfortable in AA, through his organization.

        7. Frankly

          Completely, totally false.

          And you are always quick with the insults.

          Sorry, but this type of response irritates me.  If you have a point then make it.  But when you post that something I wrote was completely and totally false with no explanation, then you are being an intellectual elitist…  God-like in your all knowingness.

          Believe it or not I have an open mind. I look forward to the explanation of opposing views.

          I see the secular side more routinely offended by evidence of religion… basically more apt to push their individual concepts of religion on others with this extreme and incorrect view that separation of church and state is absolute… and the position is defended almost like it is the replacement for their lacking spirituality.

          Then you and others respond with the standard bit about abortion and homosexuality. That is really all you have for your argument against Christianity.

          And on the first, it is not just a religious issue… I know plenty of secular people that have a problem with abortion.   On the latter, I absolutely dislike and disagree with any material discrimination against gays on any basis.  But I also support freedom of association and freedom to practice religion.  So while I might be disgusted with the small business owner that refuses to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, I am more disgusted with the secular and/or gay-rights people forcing those people to make the cake or go out of business.

          It all gets to material harm.

          If there are bakeries that would make the cake, then there is NO material harm.  Of course this is not a problem with places governed by Sharia Law since gays are persecuted and killed.

          1. Don Shor

            Frankly: Peaceful religion is good and necessary. Without it many would wander in Meursault-like meaninglessness apathy and make up there own morality.
            Don: Completely, totally false.
            And you are always quick with the insults.
            Frankly: Sorry, but this type of response irritates me. If you have a point then make it.

            Ok. My point was that your statement that religion is necessary is false. Your statement that “people would make up their own morality” is false. Morals and values are shared across cultures. The secularists you know probably share most of your values, because they share your culture, and many religious people disagree with some of your values.
            Secularism doesn’t cause apathy. People who are secular are not lacking meaning in their lives. In short: your disparaging comments about secular people (an ongoing theme of yours here) are false, insulting, and based on your ignorance about secularism.
            As to whether religion is “good,” that is obviously subjective and probably not answerable as a simple good/bad dichotomy.

            That is really all you have for your argument against Christianity.

            No. Religions in general embrace superstition. Accepting the supernatural is a classic example of using faith over reason. Religions in general tend to be inimical to rational inquiry. Religions in general lead to dichotomous, either/or, good/bad thinking. Abortion and homosexuality happen to be flashpoint examples of this problem. Religions often lead to exaggerated tribalism; nearly every religion has a term for ‘other than us’. In many cases they embrace extreme behaviors. I consider all of those harmful aspects of religion. There are certainly beneficial aspects as well.

        8. hpierce

          It is, Frankly, disturbing to me to see people think religion=spirituality.  One can be spiritual, ethical, caring without religion.  One can be un-spiritual, un-ethical, and down right evil and claim they are acting according to their religion.  For myself, I consider myself to be a spiritual person, and have chosen a religion consistent (most of the time) with my spirituality, which an intrinsic part of who I am.  Religion is only the way you choose to express/practice your spiritual values, IMHO.

        9. KSmith

          “I see the secular side more routinely offended by evidence of religion… basically more apt to push their individual concepts of religion on others with this extreme and incorrect view that separation of church and state is absolute… and the position is defended almost like it is the replacement for their lacking spirituality.”

          So, it’s the secularists and atheists who are pushing to have prayers recited at the beginning of public meetings, like school board meetings, city council meetings, etc.? Got it.

           

        10. Frankly

          I believe that spirituality is a human need.  I don’t think we function well as reasoning beings without some spiritual basis.  I think if we reject organized religion and develop a secular belief system, we will grab on to something else that fills our spirituality void.

          Here is one definition of “religion”:

          a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

          I absolutely agree that spirituality does not require belief in organized religion.  But some people, and I would argue many people, are incapable of adequately filling their spirituality need without subscribing to the belief system of some organized religion.

          Here is good deep thought provoker  related to this subject…  http://www.bethinking.org/atheism/carl-sagan-the-skeptics-sceptic

          One quote from this article:

          He [Sagan] also questioned Skepticsm’s frequently antagonistic strategy:

          ‘The chief difficulty I see in the sceptical movement is in its polarization: Us vs. Them – the sense that we have a monopoly on the truth; that those other people who believe all these stupid doctrines are morons.’

          This gets me back to my point that atheists tend to be more aggressive to promulgate their views of spirituality than do Christians and Jews.  When asked to opine about atheism, a good Christian will simply note that the atheist simply and unfortunately has not found/discovered Christ yet.  However, when asked to opine about the pious Christian, the good atheist will attribute much evidence of demonstrated ignorance and malice.   Just read some of what is written above in opposition to religion to get that point.

          What is very interesting about Sagan… the scientist who in the 60s developed the theory of criteria for the earth sustaining life… on this topic is that the criteria evolved to the point that the odds of the earth sustaining life are so infinitely low… that we really should not be here unless you consider winning the lottery a scientific exercise.    This, and a number of challenges with the theory of evolution, creates a lot of problems for both scientists and intellectual secular folk.

          Isn’t it fascinating to consider that we might be the only intelligent life forms in the universe?  And if we are the only planet to contain intelligent life forms, and the scientific odds of even that occurring are so low as to be a miracle, then why not consider is a supernatural miracle?

          By the way, I am an agnostic kinda’ guy.  I am no bible-thumper and I love reading and studying as much science as I can comprehend.

          1. Don Shor

            I believe that spirituality is a human need. I don’t think we function well as reasoning beings without some spiritual basis. I think if we reject organized religion and develop a secular belief system, we will grab on to something else that fills our spirituality void.

            I think this belief of yours has no foundation in fact. People who are secular, in many cases, have no ‘need’ for spirituality in the sense you are describing it. If they did, they wouldn’t be secular.

            This gets me back to my point that atheists tend to be more aggressive to promulgate their views of spirituality than do Christians and Jews.

            That has not been my experience with respect to Christians.

            a good Christian will simply note that the atheist simply and unfortunately has not found/discovered Christ yet.

            For a significant segment of the evangelical population, proselytizing is considered integral to their faith.

          2. Don Shor

            And if we are the only planet to contain intelligent life forms, and the scientific odds of even that occurring are so low as to be a miracle, then why not consider is a supernatural miracle?

            This is the so-called “junkyard tornado” theory popular with creationists. It is based on flawed assumptions and necessarily ignores important parts of the evolutionary process. There is little point in trying to calculate the “odds” of intelligent life on earth. Here’s a reasonable reply: http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2011/08/16/probability-and-evolution/
            And a “supernatural miracle” is never an answer. It’s just a placeholder for “I don’t know.”

          3. Matt Williams

            Frankly, what you have put forward as a definition of “religion” is very close to how I would define “spirituality.” The problem comes when you change the small “r” in “religion” to the capital “R” in “Religion.” When you do that the definition changes to “A bunch of societal behavior rules mucking up perfectly good spirituality.”

            Lots of people that you might label as “secular” are probably more accurately described as “religious” … but at the same time they don’t fall into the category of “Religious.”

        11. Frankly

          Ksmith – this is not a very good article, IMO.  It masquerades as having some scientific basis, but there is none.  The Author writes books with a clear agenda to push the secular shift.

          I certainly agree that there are secular families that do very well imparting a strong code of ethics and morals.  Some of these families are simply headed by parents with a religious upbringing so they naturally pass on that same teaching to their kids.  Some are just naturally judicious and objective and pass that on.

          Basicslly, the better educated the better chance that there is strong positive ehtics and morality.

          But the world is not comprised of intellectual elite capable of powering through to objctive moral reasoning… it is comprised of a lot of people prone to strings of mistakes in judgement pursuing what feels good… and the secular intellectual elite keeps bashing religion so they are less likley to turn there.

          I don’t mind the existance of secular people… I just hate it when they preach their gospel.

          1. Don Shor

            Then I guess you’ll just have to buy the book to see if the author of the article misrepresented the analysis of the author of the book.
            http://www.amazon.com/Families-Faith-Religion-Passed-Generations/dp/0199948658/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383676784&sr=8-1&keywords=Families%20and%20Faith&tag=viglink21109-20

            Let us know which of these conclusions is false:

            High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.

            … nonreligious family life is replete with its own sustaining moral values and enriching ethical precepts. Chief among those: rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy.

            For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule.

            … secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study.

            Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.

            … the unaffiliated and the nonreligious engage in far fewer crimes.

            I am curious about the evidence you have for this statement:

            Basicslly, the better educated the better chance that there is strong positive ehtics and morality.

        12. KSmith

          “I don’t mind the existance of secular people… I just hate it when they preach their gospel.”

          Now this is truly rich.

          I can probably count the number of people who I have seen preaching a secular “gospel” on one hand, whereas I have seen or have personally been the recipient of plenty of unwanted proselytizing from various religious factions (some of them very pushy).

          I think you are way overestimating the balance here between “preaching” on each side.

          “The Author writes books with a clear agenda to push the secular shift.”

          There is an undeniable secular shift taking place in this country and in many places in the world. Despite your belief that people “need” something spiritual, the incoming data just do not bear that out.

          I don’t see the author pushing a secular shift on anyone. It’s happening. It’s a fact. He’s merely looking at longitudinal data to determine what sorts of impacts this shift has.

           

        13. Frankly

          SOME OF THE MOST RESPECTED INDIVIDUals in the history of psychology–William James, Gordon Allport, Erich Fromm, Viktor Frankl, Abraham Maslow and Rollo May–have made spirituality a major focus of their work. And Carl Jung went so far as to say that spirituality was such an essential ingredient in psychological health that he could heal only those middle-age people who embraced a spiritual or religious perspective toward life.

          So like their forefathers, psychologists today are not unified on their attitude toward religion. But they confirm that it plays some sort of role in their patients’ mental health.

          In 1990, Edward P. Shafranske, Ph.D., of Pepperdine University, and H. Newton Maloney, Ph.D., of Fuller Theological Seminary, surveyed 409 members of the American Psychological Association about their approach toward religion and psychology. Nearly all respondents said they have assessed patients’ religious backgrounds; 57% have used religious language or concepts with patients; 36% have recommended participation in religion; 32% have recommended religious or spiritual books; 24% have prayed privately for a patient; and 7% even prayed with a client.

          And note that the non-religious have a much higher suicide rate.  The trend for increased suicide in Western society trends along with the rise in secularism.

          Maybe instead of attempting to ban guns as a way to reduce the occurrence of suicide we should be delivering bibles to people lacking spirituality.

           

          1. Don Shor

            Yes. Religion is important to people who are religious. Psychologists dealing with religious people who have psychological issues would probably wish to address how religion is a factor, or how it could be helpful to those who are religious. To many of those who are not religious, religion is not important. And many who are secular consider themselves spiritual, but simply do not find that denominational religion is a necessary component of that. My guess is that contemporary psychologists recognize this, with the growing prevalence of secularism. Secularism has significantly increased since the 1990 date of your citation.

          2. Don Shor

            A point I’d really like you to recognize is that there is considerable diversity in secularism, just as there is considerable diversity in Christianity and Islam and other belief systems.

            Some who are secular left religions. For them, religion may still be important in some sense. Others are agnostic or simply don’t care. A small percentage are avowed atheists.

            Islam adherents range from the ones you’re reading and talking about — a small percentage — to the hundreds of millions who are modern and hold values that are similar to their contemporaries in the culture where they live.

            It is your tendency to lump all ‘others’ together and make unsubstantiated generalizations about them that is problematic.

        14. Frankly

          It is your tendency to lump all ‘others’ together and make unsubstantiated generalizations about them that is problematic.

          It is your rejection of acknowledgment of common group behavior that is also problematic.

          Maybe it is my degree in marketing, but there are common trends in groups that are notable and actionable.

          Sure there are different secularists and different Christians.  I was once an atheist after being raised and confirmed in the Episcopalian church.  I wasn’t so much born again as I encountered and uncovered several intellectual and emotional conundrums and epiphanies that led me beck to believing in something bigger than government and laws and “natural” righteousness that the secular left seems intent to push on everyone else.

          Call it enlightenment.  You and other intellectuals that blog feel/believe/know that your intellect is enough to traverse the minefield of moral behavior.  That is your enlightenment.  Mine is that there is something else bigger than that.

          But I am not arguing for you and I… I am arguing for the 70% that are not enlightened, but have been turned off to religion because of…  primarily the secular left’s PR campaign against religion.

          The fact is that most of the secular left does not know what it does not know about religion and so they should stop with the negative analysis of religion.  They should welcome it for any that are attracted it to it.  They should in fact encourage it for those that can benefit from it.  And if you really think about it, this would be a good sign that the secular left really has developed a strong moral basis for how to live.  The lack of positive and gracious acceptance and encouragement of a religious path is a really good sign that the “Golden Rule” is just an artificial construct made to make secular folk feel superior.

      1. KSmith

        “Some atheists are happy.  Some secularists are happy.   Though I find many of them to be lacking dimensional depth in their being.  Sort of like swimming only in shallow water… only skimming the surface of the wonders of life around them by believing it can all be explained by science.

        But some pious are unhappy.

        The point is that many can benefit from religion.  The negative branding by the intellectual elite does a disservice for those that need it but reject it for political and pop-culture reasons.   This is really just another type of intolerance.   The anti-religion message… especially the anti-Christian type… from American left is really quite ugly, IMO.”

        OK, I’ll take the hit for skipping over your qualifier (“many”), but then you double down with the “lacking dimensional depth in their being.” You realize, don’t you, that the same could be said for many religionists–they lack dimensional depth by basically shutting out any other views that might cause them to question their beliefs. This is true for anyone.

        So, “many” secularists and atheists lack dimensional being, but only “some” pious are unhappy. Got it.

        Please explain how non-believers are only “skimming the surface of the wonders of life around them” because they explain these wonders by science as opposed to a god. I really fail to see how I see any less “wonder” in the world because I rely on science than I would if I believed there was a god behind it. In fact, I might argue that Creationists tend to take the world for granted because they feel it was “made especially for them” by their personal god.

        And come back and talk to me when an avowedly atheistic or non-believer is able to run for a major political office and get elected without having to cover up their true beliefs and pander to the right and claim they are religious. There’s lots of ugly out there aimed from the Christians toward atheists that I think you’re overlooking.

        1. Frankly

          You realize, don’t you, that the same could be said for many religionists–they lack dimensional depth by basically shutting out any other views that might cause them to question their beliefs.

          Absolutely.  Religion fills a gap of need that many people have and cannot fill it any other way.  And some end up with other gaps that are not filled as they are made satisfied by their faith.  That drives a typical intellectual secular person nuts.  But frankly a lot of intellectual secular people that I know are full of gaps that religion would help fill.

          Judgementalism on either side should be impeachable unless it is warranted because of harmful behavior or failure to deal with harmful behavior.

          I think that Christians are not working to remove icons of atheism from society, but Atheists are doing the same to remove icons of religion from society.  Atheists are causing the harm.

          I see atheists are more aggressively working to promulgate their “religion” while Christians pretty much just want to be left alone to practice and maintain their heritage.

          I don’t know a single Catholic that demands a fatwa against someone criticizing the pope or Jesus or that defends the acts of pedophile priests.

        2. KSmith

          “I think that Christians are not working to remove icons of atheism from society, but Atheists are doing the same to remove icons of religion from society.  Atheists are causing the harm.”

          Atheists (and practitioners of non-Christian religions) are not working to “remove icons of religion from society.” There has been some pushback from these groups to remove religious icons from government-owned buildings if they do not open it up to allow for other faiths (or non-believers) to be represented.

          And then you see what happens when public property opens up to diverse religions (or freethinkers/secularists), and (for example) an atheist display is set up, or an atheist booth or Church of Satan booth are set up to hand out materials–then the Christians cry oppression of their religion.

          “I see atheists are more aggressively working to promulgate their “religion” while Christians pretty much just want to be left alone to practice and maintain their heritage.”

          In many cases, the Christians want far more than to be “left alone to practice and maintain their heritage.” They want to push it on others through laws (such as the OK issue right now where one judge or representative–can’t remember–doesn’t want to uphold the recent ruling allowing for same-sex marriage and is instead trying to pass a law that would -only- allow religious people to be married).

          Just google the “dominionist” movement for more information on the attempt to insert Christian theocratic laws/principles into what is primarily secular law in the US.

        3. Frankly

          Just google the “dominionist” movement for more information on the attempt to insert Christian theocratic laws/principles into what is primarily secular law in the US.

          When they start cutting off the heads of non-believers and strap on suicide bombs and use assault rifles to murder innocents to get their way, I will start paying attention to this as a moral equivalent.  Until then they are in different universes of consideration.  I view them no different than those that demand we stop fracking and kill the keystone pipeline, I guess believing we call all just survive on sunlight and wind.   We all have our worldview and as far as I am concerned you are free to try and win pushing it on others as long as the majority supports it and it is legal.

        4. KSmith

          “When they start cutting off the heads of non-believers and strap on suicide bombs and use assault rifles to murder innocents to get their way, I will start paying attention to this as a moral equivalent.  Until then they are in different universes of consideration.  I view them no different than those that demand we stop fracking and kill the keystone pipeline, I guess believing we call all just survive on sunlight and wind.   We all have our worldview and as far as I am concerned you are free to try and win pushing it on others as long as the majority supports it and it is legal.”

          I wasn’t drawing a parallel between dominionists and the type of violent extremists you just brought up. I was drawing a parallel between the “aggressive” atheists you yourself cited and showing how there are Christians who are just as aggressive in trying to impose their religion on everyone else.

          It seems your fine with trying to “push things” on others, as long as the means are legal (and I’m assuming non-violent), so I’m not sure what your particular problem is with non-Christians who try legal means to remove impositions of Christianity upon them in government buildings, on government property, etc. Their means seem to fit your stated requirements (except the majority thing which doesn’t matter, since the Constitution protects us from the tyranny of the majority).

      2. Frankly

        What “junkyard tornado”?

        It is the “Rare-Earth Hypothesis.”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_Earth_hypothesis

        Note that there is a minority of scientists countering the points in this hypothesis.  The best they can do is quibble about one or two of the criteria.

    2. hpierce

      Wow!  You obviously are not a student of history.  In historical Spain, Jews and Muslims not only co-existed, but heir combined love of, and application of knowledge/learning was seminal to the beginning of the renaissance in Europe.  In southern France, in WWII, there were Muslim groups who helped protect Jews from the Nazi regime (which was, at least ‘nominally’, Christian). As a ‘testament’ to peaceful Christianity, we have Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, and the way “Christians’ treated Jews during the plagues, or in Czarist Russia (or the Crusades).  The Catholic Church did not speak out against these.Then we have the Jewish ’empire building’, starting with their ‘take-over’ or ‘resettlement’ of the historical Israel, vanquishing those who stood in their way, usually violently, and celebrated in the texts that Christians know as the Old Testament (which you ought to read, particularly to see how “peaceful” any people are).  And Hindus… OK, don’t remember much “violence” except the violence to personal freedom inherent in the caste system.  Buddhists… mainly remember the self-immolation tactics in Vietnam.  Definitely “peaceful” by your terms, probably, as they only destroyed themselves.

      Islam is not the problem.  False interpretations of spiritual/religious teaching is a VERY REAL problem.  A belief system that “nobody matters but me”, “everyone must believe as I do, because I’m right and they’re wrong”, those are major problems.

      Lack of spirituality, empathy, and/or compassion are also major problems, IMO.

       

      1. Frankly

        hpierce – note that you used historical references for your arguments.  I am talking about the here and now.  Do you not want to acknowledge this?

        Islam most certainly IS the problem.  It is the problem in the world TODAY.  It is not False interpretations… it is a failure to ignore parts of Islamic scripture that condones the acts of extremists and terrorists.  The Quoran is filled with references for killings of, and warfare against, non-believers.

        Islam needs a reformation.  But in its current iteration it is a menace for the rest of the free and peaceful world.

        A belief system that “nobody matters but me”, “everyone must believe as I do, because I’m right and they’re wrong”, those are major problems.

        Lack of spirituality, empathy, and/or compassion are also major problems, IMO.

        I agree 100% with this.

        everyone must believe as I do, because I’m right and they’re wrong”

        Plastic bag bans come to mind.

        1. Anon

          Radical Islam is the problem today, not Islam, and the two are not the same/poles apart.  Take the time to education yourself about when and how the madrassas were formed thanks to petrodollars from Saudi Arabia.  Terrorists abound in many religions – TODAY.  How about the Mexican drug cartels?  I very much doubt they are Islamic or even radical Islamic.  How about the Mafia in this country that control so much of our trucking and cement industry?  Priest pedophiles are rogue Catholics, terrorizing children!  Need I go on, to give more examples?

           

          1. Don Shor

            Radical Islam is the problem today, not Islam, and the two are not the same/poles apart.

            Well said.

            How about the Mexican drug cartels? I very much doubt they are Islamic or even radical Islamic.

            http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/10/isil-vs-mexican-drugcartelsunitedstatesislamophobia.html
            Quote:

            in 2013 drug cartels murdered more than 16,000 people in Mexico alone, and another 60,000 from 2006 to 2012 — a rate of more than one killing every half hour for the last seven years. What is worse, these are estimates from the Mexican government, which is known to deflate the actual death toll by about 50 percent.

            A strange mutant religion has developed around these drug cartels; just google Santa Muerte. I’m sure the cartel leaders consider themselves Catholics. But I don’t personally consider them to be representative in any way of the millions of Catholics worldwide. Islamic leaders have denounced the terrorists. Millions of people, including Muslims, just marched in Paris to denounce the killings there.

        2. hpierce

          “The Quoran is filled with references for killings of, and warfare against, non-believers.”  Yes.  And so is the account of Jewish history and belief, preserved in the Old Testament.  And history makes it clear that Christian history is replete with “killings of, and warfare against, non-believers”.  Duh.

          The Qur’an was written, heavily based on ‘sacred’ Jewish and Christian texts.  There are books about Jesus and his mother Mary in the Qur’an.  Jesus is acknowledged as a great prophet.  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all trace their roots to a single patriarch.  The Qur’an includes Moses, and other members of the tribes.  All three belief systems/religions believe in one God, the Creator, who lives/is still present, and to whom we must give all our respect/love.

          Bet you didn’t know that.

          Jesus cursed fig trees, “acted out” when confronting money-changers on the temple grounds, instructed his disciples to carry swords, etc.  If you take those accounts out of context, is Christianity a peaceful religion?

          You argue Now vs History… the history I referred to is but a tiny slice of what we believe to be the history of Homo Sapiens (but sometimes wonder if the “sapiens” part applies to some).  Today we have “Christians” murdering ‘abortionists’, disrupting funerals for those who serve bravely in our military, losing their lives, who are homosexuals.  That’s now.

          Your statements are a crock, and I don’t mean full of butter.

          I stand by my statement that those who understand and follow true Islam are abhorred by the violence carried out, falsely, under the cover of their name.

          You pose yourself as a conservative, arguably a Republican.  Do you fully support the violent/divisive and or “mean” rhetoric that comes from some Conservative Republicans?  If not, why aren’t you publicly refuting them, and/or pressuring them to change their stands?  Your argument that “lack of adequate work from moderate Muslims (or, conservative Republicans?) to stamp it out” indicates that Islam should be eradicated, falls very flat, unless you express the same of zealots/crazies of the far Republican ‘right’.  Unless you are truly one of them, and if so, good luck with that.

        3. Frankly

          Anon – you are really stretching here to try and make some equivalency arguments.  Mexican drug cartels?  Catholic pedophiles?  Really?  Come on now.  Let’s at least keep it sensible.

          Islamic terrorism around the world with the single goal to expand Islam into a global Caliphate through brutalism.  What do you think is driving this fanaticism if not the religion of Islam?

          Radical Islam has been enflamed by so called moderate Islamic leaders.  You mention the Saudi madrasses.   Absolutely!  And now those Saudi idiots are having to build a wall around their country to prevent the evil they unleashed to come back and destroy its host.

          We are looking at a future where we will look back with realization that we ignored the profoundness of the threat primarily because we let the weak, indecisive, passive and irrationally empathetic over the “powerless” lead foreign policy.  Today we should all stand up and say enough.  Islam is a broken and festering poison pill in the water of humanity.  It needs to be cleaned up or rejected.

          I don’t give a rat’s ass what these backwards Medieval thugs do in their own place… well I do, but then I would be fine looking the other way… except they are spreading like metastasized cancer.

          How about we do for them what we did for Israel? We carve out some territory.. maybe Syria.. and tell them to go for it.  100% pure Muslim.  Subjugated women.  Gays and liberals all beheaded.  But if one of the thugs slips out and does malice to the people of any other territory, we bomb the crap out of them.  Or maybe we just put a wall around them and shoot anyone that tries to escape.

        4. Frankly

          Bet you didn’t know that

          I sure do.  Of all three of the Abrahamic/Semitic religions, Islam is the only one that lacks a true reformation.  Christianity and Judaism have adapted to a modern peaceful interpretation.  Where can you point to any violence done in the name of these two religions?

        5. Frankly

          How about the Mexican drug cartels

          Wow… you secular Islam sympathizers are like a dog on a bone of deflective irrelevancy.

          Legalize drugs in the US and the Mexican drug cartels fall apart.

          And then how do you suggest we fix the problem with radical Islam?

        6. hpierce

          “The Quoran is filled with references for killings of, and warfare against, non-believers.”  Yes.  And so is the account of Jewish history and belief, preserved in the Old Testament.  And history makes it clear that Christian history is replete with “killings of, and warfare against, non-believers”.  Duh. The Qur’an was written, heavily based on ‘sacred’ Jewish and Christian texts.  There are books about Jesus and his mother Mary in the Qur’an.  Jesus is acknowledged as a great prophet.  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all trace their roots to a single patriarch.  The Qur’an includes Moses, and other members of the tribes.  All three belief systems/religions believe in one God, the Creator, who lives/is still present, and to whom we must give all our respect/love. Bet you didn’t know that. Jesus cursed fig trees, “acted out” when confronting money-changers on the temple grounds, instructed his disciples to carry swords, etc.  If you take those accounts out of context, is Christianity a peaceful religion? You argue Now vs History… the history I referred to is but a tiny slice of what we believe to be the history of Homo Sapiens (but sometimes wonder if the “sapiens” part applies to some).  Today we have “Christians” murdering ‘abortionists’, disrupting funerals for those who serve bravely in our military, losing their lives, who are homosexuals.  That’s now. Your statements are a crock, and I don’t mean full of butter. I stand by my statement that those who understand and follow true Islam are abhorred by the violence carried out, falsely, under the cover of their name. You pose yourself as a conservative, arguably a Republican.  Do you fully support the violent/divisive and or “mean” rhetoric that comes from some Conservative Republicans?  If not, why aren’t you publicly refuting them, and/or pressuring them to change their stands?  Your argument that “lack of adequate work from moderate Muslims (or, conservative Republicans?) to stamp it out” indicates that Islam should be eradicated, falls very flat, unless you express the same of zealots/crazies of the far Republican ‘right’.  Unless you are truly one of them, and if so, good luck with that.

        7. Alan Miller

          Frank Lee,

          Islam is certainly not the problem.

          I’m a Jew.  I live under the same roof with a Muslim.

          If Islam where the problem, there would be suicide bombings all over the U.S., as there are millions of Muslims here.  Are they all in conspiracy, just waiting for the right day?

          The Bible is also full of violent shit.  It’s the interpretation and context of any religious book that matters.

          I would agree that it would be most helpful if “regular” (whatever that means) Muslims would denounce the actions of the extremists.  Then again, I’m not sure it is their job, any more than it is my job to denounce the actions of “extremist Jews” (whatever that means).

        8. Frankly

          Alan Miller, We shall have to agree to disagree on this one.  Radical Islam is too big to accept this argument that it is some minority sect that is just an aberration of the whole of Islam.

          I assume that the Muslim living under your same roof is moderate and peaceful, but has a strong opinion about the stuff published in the Charlie Hebdo magazine.  Even if not, how can you claim that the whole of Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion when countries supposedly comprised of moderate Muslims issues a fatwa on people of other free countries only because they criticize the prophet Mohammad in some way?  And the majority of “moderate” Islam either nods in approval or is silent.

          I cannot accept this “Islam is a peaceful religion” until and unless there is an uprising of moderate Muslims to stamp out extremism and violence done in the name of Islam.   We are going to see many more of our sons of daughters die fighting this cancer.  Why?  Why are not more Muslims taking up the sword against these obviously evil people within their religion?

        9. Frankly

          Don Shor:

          Where can you point to any violence done in the name of these two religions?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism#Contemporary

           

          On that same Wikipedia page

          The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (January 2015)

          I’ll say.

          It is amazing how hard you work to protect your view that modern Christianity is comparable to modern Islam with respect to violence.  Where is your “progressive” filter on this?

          1. Don Shor

            I assume you know how the neutrality issue at Wikipedia works. Nothing in that disclaimer does anything to reduce the factual basis of the statements about different violent groups around the world that claim to be Christian.
            You asked me to point to violence done in the name of Christianity. I pointed you to it.
            I don’t claim that, on a statistical basis, modern Christianity has as many violent extremists, or as many incidents of violence, as does modern Islam. I have not said that. I dispute your notion that other religions are inherently peaceful, or that Islam is inherently violent. People can be violent. They may use their religious beliefs in support and furtherance of that violence. Nearly every religion has a history of that usage. So do secular ideologies. Fanatical, absolutist ideologies lead to violence and persecution and other horrors. Unfortunately, religion promotes absolutism and tribalism. So in that sense, religion encourages the problems.

            As to what “we” are going to do about “radical Islam” — it is precisely the “we” part of your ongoing commentary on this topic that concerns me. “We” as in the United States should not be leading any military charge against radical Islam. We should cooperate with states that are fighting it in the most efficient, background way that we can. “They” should be leading the charge. And at least with respect to ISIL, “they” are.
            Our disastrous foreign policy under GW Bush — the Iraq war — laid the groundwork. Our support for the Saudi regime finances it. We have a lot to answer for in the Middle East. We should not be quick to intervene, we should not have troops on the ground in any conflict there, we should prod our Israeli allies to the peace table. Terrorism breeds where there are failed states, where people are desperate, and where brutal dictatorships align themselves with religious fanatics. All of those conditions prevail in the Middle East. And some of that is our doing.

        10. Frankly

          As to what “we” are going to do about “radical Islam” — it is precisely the “we” part of your ongoing commentary on this topic that concerns me. “We” as in the United States should not be leading any military charge against radical Islam.

          Did you forget about 9-11?

          1. Don Shor

            Yes of course. A bunch of terrorists from Saudi Arabia attacked the US. So we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. And that worked out great.

        11. Alan Miller

          “We are going to see many more of our sons of daughters die fighting this cancer.”

          I agree, and I agree there is a cancer.  Our difference is that I see the being as having a cancer, and you see the entire being as cancerous.

          “Why are not more Muslims taking up the sword against these obviously evil people within their religion?”

          That may be a cultural “thing” with the religion, and if so it does not help the world.  I hope to understand this better over time; at this time I can only hazard the guess.

        12. TrueBlueDevil

          hpierce, but the Christians and Europe went through a Reformation, right?

          There is violence and problems with Radical Islam in North Africa… in Europe… in the Philippines.. in Pakistan… last I read there are 22 hot spots around the world where Radical Islam causes significant  problems.

           

           

        13. Frankly

          Yes of course. A bunch of terrorists from Saudi Arabia attacked the US. So we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. And that worked out great.

          That wasn’t my point.  My point was/is that this isn’t just a bunch of hooligan thugs looking to score.  There are millions of people willing to strap on whatever they can to take out as many innocent westerners and other “non-believers” as possible in the name of Allah.

          After the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, French, British and Belgian authorities started to ramp up their anti-terror checking and found and stopped several groups that had planned attacks with all sorts of weapons stockpiled.

          What makes you feel confident that there are not Islamic terrorists in this country working on some fantastic murder of many?  And if you agree with me that they are here, what gives you comfort to ignore it?  Are you confident in law enforcement to keep every one safe?

          1. Don Shor

            And if you agree with me that they are here, what gives you comfort to ignore it? Are you confident in law enforcement to keep every one safe?

            Some may be here. Yes, I have reasonable confidence that our security agencies have adequate resources. We spend enough on it and have given them vast powers. It is certainly not a job for the military. And of course, Islamic terrorists aren’t the only terror threat in our borders.

  5. Anon

    Islam is not the problem.  False interpretations of spiritual/religious teaching is a VERY REAL problem.  A belief system that “nobody matters but me”, “everyone must believe as I do, because I’m right and they’re wrong”, those are major problems.
    Lack of spirituality, empathy, and/or compassion are also major problems, IMO.
    Spot on!  I could not have said it better.

  6. Alan Miller

    “That said, let’s not overreact to it because there is no evidence that the statement is actually true.”

    The statement is not true.  It is making the statement that is disturbing.

    I’m sure a certain someone and all their “Facebook friends” are being monitored by the FBI.

    1. Barack Palin

      The statement is not true.  It is making the statement that is disturbing.

      Exactly, and I’ll add it’s disturbing that the person who allegedly made that statement also was one of the voting student Senators.
       

  7. Anon

    Back to the main issue – that college campuses are no longer the marketplace of ideas/forums for free speech.  We have seen examples of this lately, on numerous campuses.  More often than not it is the conservative viewpoint that is being shut out, or whatever is deemed “politically incorrect”.

    Saint Louis University has cancelled a scheduled October speech by conservative activist David Horowitz

    Former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice is withdrawing from the Rutgers University commencement ceremony.  Her invitation by the school’s board of governors had sparked protests from faculty and students, and now Rice has decided not to speak to avoid creating a distraction.

    “International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde is the latest leader to withdraw as a 2014 commencement speaker.  
    Smith College announced on Monday evening that Lagarde was canceling her May 18 appearance at the Massachusetts liberal arts college, citing anti-IMF protests from faculty and students.”

    1. Davis Progressive

      “college campuses are no longer the marketplace of ideas/forums for free speech”

      i would just argue that they never were.  there’s a reason why the free speech movement occurred in the sixties.

  8. Don Shor

    Together with our allies, we are fighting terror in several countries. That includes the revised mission in Afghanistan. It includes cooperation (until a week or so ago) with the government of Yemen. It includes ongoing cooperation with governments of Pakistan, on the Horn of Africa, in the Philippines, in the Sahara, and in the Caribbean and Central America. We do not take the lead role in most of those. We are supporting intelligence and military actions by the governments, though it’s kind of muddy in some cases. And now we are providing a support role against ISIL.

     All of that is a war on terrorists. It’s not a war on Islam. All of our presidents have been careful to make that distinction. It’s not even appropriate, really, to call it a war. It’s an ongoing intelligence operation with some military components. But unfortunately, conservatives in the United States and on this blog clearly consider it a war on Islam. To them, and to Frankly here, Islam is the enemy. The rhetoric is incendiary.

     Terrorism is the ‘enemy’. Terrorism is the threat. It is not, largely, an existential threat to the United States. It is an existential threat to countries in those regions, and a secondary threat to governments elsewhere. We are probably less threatened by terrorism than any other major country.

     Israel is our ally in much of this. It is not unreasonable for the government of Israel to act in self-defense when terrorists lob missiles at them, however ineffectual those missiles may be. Much of the objection to Israel’s actions against Gaza had to do with how disproportional that response was. Israel also has to recognize that the present situation, where they control Gaza at almost every level, is non sustainable.

     And while we aren’t happy that the residents there elected Hamas, I urge you to consider two things. First, their choice was between Hamas and the corrupt, inefficient, aging party of the PA, a party rife with cronyism and unable to deliver basic services. And second, we pressed them to hold the elections and never saw the likelihood of Hamas being elected. We were backing and funding the PA. So we have to accept the outcome of those elections. When you push for elections in a region with weak democratic institutions and where Islamist groups are the most organized social institutions on the ground, you stand a chance of getting them elected. Like it or not.

     I see no likelihood of peace with the current leadership of Israel and Gaza. As one analyst said recently, you only get peace when at least one party wants it. Right now, Hamas only retains credibility if it is a party of resistance to Israel, and public opinion in Israel is very polarized: (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/peaceindexpolls.html).

    The best we can do is press both sides to take whatever steps possible to reduce civilian casualties. We have provided Israel with a lot of military aid, so we have some right to make our opinion known. Treating the Palestinians the way Frankly urges, and talking about them the way Frankly does, will not lead any side to a better outcome.

    1. Frankly

      Islam is the enemy.

      Your words not mine.  You cannot  fight a non-human entity in warfare.  We are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with Islamic fanatics that were born and bred in the madrassas of the so called moderate Islam states.

      I said Islam is a problem.  It has a problem.  The moderate Muslims need to fight the extremists.  And we need to support that fight.

      And there is some of that, but much too little.  The moderates are short on action and even short on words in opposition of the extremists.

      What I find astounding is the lack of outrage by the Western Left for the genocide occurring at the hands of these people.  By God if we had a famine or some disease breaking out there would be a loud cry from the left to do something about it.  But with respect to the diseases of radial Islam we are supposed to, what, just kick back, stay out of it and let nature take its course?

      I don’t want us to fight those battles.  I am disgusted that my sons and their sons and daughters are going to have to endure more fighting and dying for this.  I am very disappointed with moderates in the cultures of Islam because many of them participated in the dialogs and narratives that have inflamed tensions and created the extremists.  Just innocent little quips and points about those non-believers, right?

      Again Don, what majority Muslim country do you want to point out to me as the model for moderate Islam?  Egypt?  Turkey?  Iran?  Syria?  Saudi Arabia? Palestine?  Indonesia?  What about Africa?

      Catholics should be ashamed of their pedophile priests.   But honestly, I don’t know what I could be proud of as a Muslim today.  If I was a Muslim, I would recognize that my religion is a terrible stain on humanity at this time.  I would either jump in to clean it up, or run from it.

      1. Don Shor

        Again Don, what majority Muslim country do you want to point out to me as the model for moderate Islam?

        Malaysia seems to do a good job of it, as far as I can tell without spending a lot of time looking at regional media.

      2. Don Shor

        I said Islam is a problem. It has a problem. The moderate Muslims need to fight the extremists. And we need to support that fight.

        Religion has a problem. Moderate, peace-loving people who are religious need to fight extremists of all religions. People who are religious need to understand how rigid ideologies and judgmental beliefs can lead to extreme behaviors. Moderate, peace-loving people of all faiths, and of no faith, gathered in Paris to march against extreme behavior.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      And what do the terrorists call themselves?

      ISIS or ISIL … Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

      Or, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

      Let’s also not forget their desire for a caliphate.

      Wikipedia: A caliphate (Arabic: خِلافة‎ khilāfa) is a form of Islamic government led by acaliph (Arabic: خَليفة‎ khalīfah  pronunciation (help·info))—a person considered a political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim community.[1]

      1. Don Shor

        Those particular terrorists are Islamist, and they are certainly getting a lot of media attention. Boko Haram is also a strange brand of Islamist, though much less adept at manipulating social media.
        In Europe, most terrorist attacks are by ethnic separatists. In the US terrorist groups are quite diverse.
        You may wish to focus on some of the other terrorist organizations operating in the world.
        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/14/are-all-terrorists-muslims-it-s-not-even-close.html

  9. TrueBlueDevil

    Should the campus accept Sharia Law? Should there be a Sharia Law court on campus for members of the Muslim community to decide whether it was proper or not for a man to beat his wife, or whether he can have multiple wives, or not?

    Student Leader: ‘Hamas & Shariah Law Have Taken Over UC Davis’

    UC Davis Student Senator Proud that Islamist Terrorist Group Represented on Campus

    http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/student-leader-hamas-shariah-law-have-taken-over-uc-davis

  10. Tia Will

    Lest we forget that no group has a monopoly on terrorist activity, I submit the following from Wikipedia:

    Timothy James “Tim” McVeigh(April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City bombing, the attack killed 168 people and injured over 600.[4]According to the United States Government, it was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the 9/11 attacks, and remains the most significant act of domestic terrorism inUnited States history.

    As Don has pointed out Islamists do not represent the preponderance of terrorist activity throughout the world. They are merely some of the easiest to identify, which seems to be a major criteria for who to target and demonize. It is really hard to pick out the white supremacists and violent militia folks bent on overturning the US government. After all, if not sporting their swastikas and other paraphernalia, they look just like us, their names sound just like ours. Much easier to demonize someone who prays using the phrase Allahu Akbar, than someone who uses the phrase “God Almighty”.

     

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Yes, 20 years ago McVeigh blew up a building, hardly a repeated, frequent pattern.

      I don’t know that any posters here have described the terrorists by color. Some may have a light complexion, and there was a western woman who converted and married I believe a North African terrorist. They were (are) a terrorism duo!

      So Don pointed out one Buddhist group (again, so far doesn’t sound like a pattern). Where are these “white supremacists and violent militia folks bent on overturning the US government.”? Obama mentions them, AG Holder mentions them, you mention them, but rarely do we see or hear them killing people.

      It doesn’t matter how they dress or pray, when the planes start falling out of the sky, and when people started jumping out of the World Trade Center, we were able to identify who they were by their ACTIONS.

      It fact it would be very easy to identify these “white terrorists” once they started blowing up buildings and people. 

      Put it another way.

      It’s not like we have Mormons kill 40 people one week, and then Baptists 20 the next month, and then Anglicans 20 the next, and then Eskimos 2,000 the next, and then surfers 12 the next.

      Worldwide, there appears to be a real problem with Radical Islam and how it and Sharia Law are enacted. In England, in France, in North Africa, in the Philippine Islands, in the Middle East, in Pakistan, in Russia, in many other places, and in America on 9/11.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          How many of these lost souls are sitting in their Mom’s basement?

          How many have actually constructed a bomb, and tried to set it off in their underwear or shoe in a public place?

          Guns and ammo and chemicals are pretty easy to access in America, so if someone really wanted to cause problems, it’s pretty easy to do so in a free, wealthy society.

  11. sisterhood

    “I see atheists are more aggressively working to promulgate their “religion” while Christians pretty much just want to be left alone to practice and maintain their heritage.”

    As a previous practicing Roman Catholic, I couldn’t disagree with you more. As someone who has worked with women who work in health clinics who have rec’d bomb threats because they do abortion referrals, I couldn’t disagree with you more. As someone with many agnostic and atheist friends, I couldn’t disagree with you more.

    1. Matt Williams

      Noun 1. proselytism – the practice of proselytizing
      ______________ persuasion, suasion – the act of persuading (or attempting to persuade); communication intended to induce belief or action
      2. proselytism – the state of being a proselyte; spiritual rebirth resulting from the zeal of crusading advocacy of the gospel
      ______________ spiritual rebirth, conversion, rebirth – a spiritual enlightenment causing a person to lead a new life

  12. tribeUSA

    It seems to me Frankly may have an a least partially valid point in his assertion that Islam has not had a (complete) reformation, by contrast with Christianity and Judaism. Some of the more zealous fundamentalist Muslims seem stuck in a medieval worldview and even lifestyle; it seems that this medievalism and zealous fundamentalism often go hand-in-hand (perhaps feed off each other).

    I would be encouraged to hear a more unified public message of disapproval and rejection by the mainstream Muslim community and their religious representatives against actions and views of violent Muslim fundamentalist fanatics and terrorists; as is the case for the mainsteam Christian community regarding the fewer violent actions and views of the fewer number of violent fundamentalist Christian fanatics.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Many sects forbid their womenfolk from being educated, approve of wife beating, approve of multiple wives (per Allah), and promote female genital mutilation.

      A friend who spent time in the area said depending upon where you are, they exist between the 9th and 14th century.

      1. hpierce

        Yes… SECTS is a key word.  Jim Jones was a leader of a “Christian” sect.  David Korash and the ‘Branch Davidians’ were a “Christian” sect.  Don’t see many Christians embracing either of those.  Islam is not immune to charismatic leaders preying on people like Jones or Korash did.

  13. Anon

    Don Shor: “Together with our allies, we are fighting terror in several countries. That includes the revised mission in Afghanistan. It includes cooperation (until a week or so ago) with the government of Yemen. It includes ongoing cooperation with governments of Pakistan, on the Horn of Africa, in the Philippines, in the Sahara, and in the Caribbean and Central America. We do not take the lead role in most of those. We are supporting intelligence and military actions by the governments, though it’s kind of muddy in some cases. And now we are providing a support role against ISIL.”

    Yes, when Obama pulled troops out of Iraq, it left a vacuum filled by ISIS/ISIL.  Oh my, we certainly are doing a great job of fighting terrorism!  LOL

    It seems to me Frankly may have an a least partially valid point in his assertion that Islam has not had a (complete) reformation, by contrast with Christianity and Judaism.

    If you read the previous posts, there are numerous examples of terrorism perpetrated by religions other than Islam.  My conclusion?  There are certain people in the world who enjoy creating mayhem, e.g. Osama Bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh.  There are gov’ts that embrace the mayhem to retain power and collect wealth, e.g. Iraq, Iran, Syria.  There are certain nations that try to stir up trouble in other countries for their own ends by exporting terrorism tools of the trade and training, e.g. Russia, China.  I suspect that most people of whatever religion or philosophy would prefer to live in peace and harmony.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Wasn’t Pakistan created to appease the Muslims?

      Aren’t radical Muslims knee deep in enslaving women and children in Africa, women and children who they steal from Christian communities?

    2. zaqzaq

      Now they (ISIS) put a human being in a cage and executed him by proudly lighting him on fire for propaganda purposes.  This is an organization thousand strong.  It is not just a few individuals.  Not sure what form of sharia law this is an example of but it has everyone’s attention today.

      1. hpierce

        “Not sure what form of sharia law this is an example of … ”  99% sure it is a perverted version.  Just like the Spanish Inquisition (and others) was a perversion of Catholicism.  Similar to (if you give ISIS/ISIL credit for feeling they were persecuted  — I don’t), what some fanatical Jews did right after WWII to avenge themselves against the Germans (most, but not all Nazis) who weren’t being tried in Nuremberg. Along that line, many equate all Germans in the 30’s and 40’s with Nazism.  Father of one of my best friends was ~ 18 when war broke out.  They had no CO’s then (unless you wanted to go to prison, or worse).  Friend’s dad managed to be a Luftwaffe pilot, flying supply gliders, because he didn’t want any part of killing someone.  He ended up moving to Brazil, with his girlfriend/wife, because he was afraid of the allies and/or Jews coming after him.  After all, “he was in the military”, as reluctant as he was to be any part of it.  Unless he wanted to be a martyr, he had no choice.

        And lest anyone dare to point out that religions are the root of all evil, I will cite the example of a certain Joe Stalin, who was certainly a “secularist”, and his buddy Lenin, who espoused a fondness for Marx who opined that religion was an opiate for the masses.

        My opinion (paraphrasing Mark Twain) is that the perpetrators of violence in the name of Islam are “professional Muslims” not “professing Muslims”.  The first are jerks/evil/reprobates, the latter, hopefully, will prevail.

  14. Biddlin

    Key Riced on a crumb cake, what a mess. I wish I’d had Frankly back when I was an activist and organizer. What a talent for rousing the rabble.

    “There are millions of people willing to strap on whatever they can to take out as many innocent westerners and other “non-believers” as possible in the name of Allah.”

    Can I see that sign-up sheet?

    A couple of years ago, while making a music video in Idaho, the crew was harassed daily by threats from the “Soldiers of Christ” militia, who use Hayden Lake as their training ground. They said our mixed race ” Love  in” was an affront to Jesus. We were shooting a video for a gospel group. I was in NYC, not long ago, and went to the John Lennon “Imagine” memorial, in Central Park. I do, Johnny, I do.

    ;>)/

  15. TrueBlueDevil

    Now we just had a pilot burned alive by the “religion of peace”.

    Don’t forget, the killings in France weren’t random… they were specifically done to advance the use of Sharia Law.

    1. Don Shor

      Now we just had a pilot burned alive by the “religion of peace”.

      Yes, and Islamic leaders across the region have denounced the action in very harsh terms.

    2. Matt Williams

      TBD, the pilot was burned alive by human beings. Given that a religion is only an intellectual concept with no corporeal form or substance, it is impossible for a religion to do anything physical.

          1. Matt Williams

            To whom are you replying? If my comment, no, that was my own personal statement. If hpierce’s, he has already answered for himself.

  16. TrueBlueDevil

    Today President Obama pulled out the moral relativism card, trying to downplay the action we are seeing by the followers of Radical Islam.

    He said something to the effect of “lest we get on our high horse thinking that this is very unique … recall the Christian Crusades, or slavery and Jim Crow…”

    1. I thought the Crusades were a response to invading Muslims?

    2. Obama has to go back 1,000 years to find something to compare what Radical Islam is doing today?

    1. Matt Williams

      TBD, regarding your first point, you need to check your history books. The First Crusade declared by Pope Urban II commenced in 1096 and lasted until 1099. It was a European military expedition to regain Christian control of Palestine, which had been part of a succession of Muslim ruled empires since prior to 650 AD … 450 years earlier.

      To put that 450 years in context how was the territory covered by the current 50 United States governed in 1564 AD?

      Bottom-line, the Crusades were papal-led expansion attempts by Western Christendom to create “Europe Overseas” … in effect, the dawn of the imperialistic era of Europe that reached its apex with Western political and economic dominance of most of the globe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

      Regarding your second point, 1,000 years is not necessary. The Reconstruction Era in this country that lasted from 1865-1877 will do quite nicely.

    2. Don Shor

      Full text of the President’s remarks at the prayer breakfast: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/05/remarks-president-national-prayer-breakfast
      Excerpt:

      But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon. From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism — terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.

      We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.

      So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

      Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.

      So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

      And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.

      And that, folks, has the right wing unhinged today.

      1. hpierce

        Thank you for the reference, Don.  I would only add that if you substitute the word “religion” with “dogma”, in the full sense of that word, the far left wing should be “unhinged”, as well.  [ I would have said far right wing, but don’t want to quibble… both the portions of the right and left wings, closer to the brain, chest/heart, would probably have little problem with the remarks]

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