Off Topic Messages

Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:45 pm

Folks I apologize for the rather graphic image. But I feel very strongly that we have to always keep in mind the concrete reality of the abortion issue, and not discuss it as an abstract concept.

The thought occured to me that some of our female board members may have had abortions, and that this photograph may bring up some guilty feelings. If that's the case then ladies I apologize. I hope you understand I wasn't trying to be insensitive or deliberately trying to hurt anyone.

Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:12 pm

Fact is abortions will still happen. And women who are determined to do it must be given the choice to do it without having to risk their lives. If it can be done legally many pregnant's lives will be saved.

Javier

Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:21 pm

Well, we need not celebrate it as a mere "choice" nor act like it's not the grave decision that it is. That's getting lost in the political rhetoric, if you ask me.


EagleUSA wrote:Getting back to the topic of the (Muslim) cartoon...

I wish the Muslims of the world howled in protest at the hijacking of their religion and 4 American commercial airliners on September 11, 2001 the way they are now about some stupid cartoon. It really makes one question where their priorities are at.... Oh wait...sorry...

I think the question has been answered.


Great point. As someone else said in one newspaper letter to the editor, imagine if Muslims howled in protest after each beheading done in the name of Islam! What hypocrisy. It's time we stopped coddling Muslims and hold them to the standards of a pluralistic society - or else just get out.
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MSNBC News Services
Updated: 1:15 p.m. ET Feb. 6, 2006
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran cut off trade ties with Denmark and Iranians pelted the Austrian Embassy with Molotov cocktails and stones on Monday in the latest protest over the publication of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in European newspapers.

The 200 protesters, chanting “God is Greatest” and “Europe, Europe, shame on you,” smashed all the embassy’s windows with stones and then tried to hurl Molotov cocktails inside. They exploded in flames against metal grills guarding the windows, and the fires were quickly put out by police with fire extinguishers.

Austria currently holds the presidency of the European Union. Protesters also waved placards and shouted slogans against the EU’s stance on Iran’s nuclear program.



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11179140/site/newsweek/
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The Last Word: Flemming Rose
Igniting more than debate


Newsweek International

Feb. 13, 2006 issue - Back in September 2005, the liberal Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published several cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad—at least one as a terrorist—although any physical representation of the prophet is forbidden in Islam. There was no immediate backlash, but last week, after several other European newspapers reprinted the cartoons, the reaction went global. Muslims from Jakarta to Istanbul took to the streets in protest, while editors from France to Jordan were dismissed because of their decisions to run the drawings. NEWSWEEK's Charles Ferro spoke with Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten editor who made the original decision to publish the cartoons, about his actions, the reaction and the bigger issues at stake—freedom of speech and religious sensitivity. Excerpts:

FERRO: What was your thinking behind the decision to publish the Muhammad cartoons back in September?
ROSE: I was concerned about a tendency toward self-censorship among people in artistic and cultural circles in Europe. That's why I commissioned these cartoons, to test this tendency and to start a debate about it.

It was not a media stunt. We just approached that story in a different way, by asking Danish cartoonists to draw Muhammad as they see him. I did not ask for caricatures. I did not ask to make the prophet a laughingstock or to mock him.

But you depicted Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, armed with a knife and with a broken halo that resembled satanic horns.
The cartoon with horns didn't arouse special criticism; it was the other two. The one with the bomb in his turban doesn't say, "All Muslims are terrorists," but says, "Some people have taken Islam hostage to permit terrorist and extremist acts." These cartoons do not treat Muslims in any other way than we treat other citizens in this country. By treating them as equals, we are saying, "You are equal."

Why do you think Muslims are expressing such outrage now, when other religiously offensive cartoons have been published in the past?
I think you have to separate this story into two parts. One part [is the debate] inside Danish borders—that has been going on for four months. On the [one] hand, what does freedom of religion imply, what does respect for other people's feelings and religions imply? You have different points of view, and I think it's problematic if any religion—it doesn't matter if it's Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, any religion—tries to impose its own taboos on the public domain.

When I go to a mosque, I behave by the rules that exist in that holy house. I will not stand up and make a cartoon of the holy prophet in a mosque. But I think if any religion insists that I, as a non-Muslim, should submit to their taboos, then I don't think they're showing me respect. I think they're asking for my submission. This is a key issue in this debate.

You [also] have the international story, and I believe it has little to do with our cartoons. The people in Saudi Arabia and some other countries who have started the action have never seen the cartoons. They are acting on false rumors, misinformation and direct lies.

What does this controversy say about assimilation, or lack thereof, in Europe?
This is a clash of cultures and, in its essence, a debate about how much the receiving society should be willing to compromise its own standards in order to integrate foreigners. On the other hand, how much does the immigrant have to give up in order to be integrated?

Yours is a small Danish paper. Yet your actions had big global ramifications. What does this tell you about how instantly connected the world is today?
This is the first time I've witnessed a story in a newspaper with a circulation of 150,000, in a country of just above 5 million people, becoming a global issue. This is a challenge. It means that what you do in a secular, modern democracy may offend people in some parts of the world, people not living in this type of society. I think it would be unfortunate if people in Saudi Arabia or some parts of the world influenced what we speak about in Denmark. [But] it's a fact of globalization, and we must consider it.

But you tried to influence what happens in Saudi Arabia via the messages in the cartoons.
No, I'm not doing that. This story was about what was going on in Denmark and Northern Europe.

So where do you draw the line between censorship and freedom of speech?
My newspaper has its limits. In a pluralistic society where you do have freedom of speech, my limits should not be the limits of others. We do have laws against racism and blasphemy.

Didn't your newspaper commit blasphemy by depicting Muhammad? Danish prosecutors determined around a month ago that the cartoons were not blasphemous.

Will Jyllands-Posten apologize?
For what?

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11179140/site/newsweek/

Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:51 pm

Greg- That you have to use qualifiers in putting forth the life argument underlines the ambiguity. Also, I'm not sure how much support there is for late term abortion, using it as a club against Roe Vs. Wade is kind of like using kiddie porn against an argument for pornography. People mix and match because they don't truly believe their general argument is strong enough so they go for the most extreme example.

Nobody said that it's not a big decision.

About Islam I wonder if it's not like what Eisenhower said about teenagers and automobiles and how you only hear about them when they crash.

The writer here presents some very insightful thoughts although as I pointed out before I know many Christians who wouldn't appreciate those thoughts as well.

Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:39 pm

Greg, we have heard many like Gore Vidal over the years. Erudite. To the point. It's understandable he is not allowed much TV coverage in America where hysterical re-action is almost as bad as the Muslims.

The nuke 'em brigrade. They were not there in the Korean war when an American general wanted to nuke China? Now Americans are lining up to do business with the Chinese. We with long time memory remember the Yellow peril. The Red Peril, now we have the Muslim peril. It looks to many that America needs a Bogey man!

Abortion by the tens of thousands for contraception is distateful to say the least.

But it's a very complex subject and extenuating circumstances usually dictate unpleasant action. The ethics of it all dictate the need for qualifications.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:47 am

likethebike wrote:Greg- That you have to use qualifiers in putting forth the life argument underlines the ambiguity. Also, I'm not sure how much support there is for late term abortion, using it as a club against Roe Vs. Wade is kind of like using kiddie porn against an argument for pornography. People mix and match because they don't truly believe their general argument is strong enough so they go for the most extreme example.


Bike, with all due respect you yourself wrote about the alleged 'consensus' that it's not ending a human life until the third trimester. The photograph, from late in the second trimester, is clearly a human being. You talked about the butchery of women. There are other options available. Adoption for instance. And that's a subject that I'm not just paying lip service to as my son is adopted. His birth mother was in a difficult postion economically, she knew she couldn't support another child, but she made the decision to have her baby and see that it went to a good home. She chose life. And he has a good home. I couldn't love my son more if he was from my own and my wife's body.

And is what happened to the 22 month old fetus in that photograph not butchery?


likethebike wrote:About Islam I wonder if it's not like what Eisenhower said about teenagers and automobiles and how you only hear about them when they crash.


There's a big difference of course. The teenagers aren't deliberately planning to crash their automobiles. The Islamic extremists deliberately plan to crash aircraft into buildings, set off bombs, and saw off heads - all to murder innocent civilians!

Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:49 am

Maurice wrote:
Abortion by the tens of thousands for contraception is distateful to say the least. But it's a very complex subject and extenuating circumstances usually dictate unpleasant action. The ethics of it all dictate the need for qualifications


Well said, Maurice. Qualifying is key -but so is drawing the line. Laying down the fact that it is not a bicycle tire inside the womb but a human being or human-to-be is a good starting point.

I think by the unfortunate use of the word "choice" and refusal for some to even utter "abortion" (abort what?) shows a certain defensiveness about the procedure.

There is an inherent conflict in terms of rights of the mother and the fetus and as a society (and perhaps as individuals) we have to balance that. It's not just a "woman's body" as some say. If only it were that simple.

As for Islam, there is an awful lot of crashing going on. Just as teenagers (and young adults under 25) disportionately crash cars, it does seem here that Muslims are 'Exhibit A' of a society at odds with modernity.

Christians have their extremists, but for some time, it's been the followers of Muhammed who have hogged the "religious nut" catagory."

I do not totally champion the cause of ridiculing others faith (such as the Brooklyn Museum's celebration of the so-called "Piss Christ" "artwork" some time ago), but I don't think any embassies were stormed. And I"m still waiting for the mass Moslem outrage about beheadings in the name of Allah...Or does that good book in fact sanction such actions against the "infidels"?

Being offended by the world around you is the price (and delight) of a free society, as we negotiate the boundaries. It seems like Muslims have been totally cordoned off for a long time. As many have said, they need their own "Enlightenment."
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:22 am

Pete- I think you misunderstood my original statement. I didn't say it was a consensus that it wasn't a life, I said it wasn't a consensus that it was. It's an important difference. To me, it's a consensus that the sky is blue. It's not necessarily a fact but most of agree on what blue is and most of agree that the sky qualifies. There is really a dissent there. However, there is a disagreement on what qualifies at life, does it begin at conception or birth. It's a legitimate disagreement. You could make a case for the final weeks but what do you say of a baby at 20 weeks. If the woman were to give birth at that time naturally would that baby be able to live without artificial stimulation? If the baby is not ready to live is it a life?

"Choice" is an important word because it respects the right not to have an abortion or to have one.

My point about the teenagers is that the Muslims not raising hell over stupid cartoons or dancing in the street don't get the attention that their more flamboyant counterparts do. One thing you have to remember about the media, more than any bias, is that the media likes stories that are interesting, that have novelty- man bites dog type thing. And most people find stories of mass protests, flag burning etc. more interesting than more conventional activities like charity etc. For instance you won't see Muslim gives buddy Christmas present on the front page of your paper but I'm sure it happens.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:29 am

This is my take.

You can have a religion with any rules you like.

No alcohol.

No meat.

No anything.

But you can't have a religion that requires certain standards of behaviour from people who don't belong to it !

That's absurd.

If the followers of Islam cannot depict their prophets or God in drawings or images, fine.

But they can't ask other faiths, or those who don't believe at all, to adhere to the rules of their religion.

Those rules are for them alone.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:34 am

MauriceinIreland wrote: We with long time memory remember the Yellow peril. The Red Peril, now we have the Muslim peril. It looks to many that America needs a Bogey man!



To be fair Maurice, the Americans didn't arbitrarily pick a group to become today's enemy of choice. Muslim fundamentalists ensured they would take that position when they crashed into the Twin Towers, killing thousands of innocent people. The term 'Bogey man' suggests an invented threat. Events all over the world, before and since 9/11, sadly reveal it to be far from that.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:09 am

TJ, I know the history of oil. I also have been reading World history all my life.

The RAF were bombing primitive tribesmen in Arab villages..........way back, and in the region as a whole the Americans, French, Dutch and British were carving up the area between themselves, setting up Arab regimes that would be kept in check by? ..................why Israel of course, armed to the teeth by..................?

There was a talk on this aspect on our (Talkradio) radio just last night by a highly respected historian. The Israeli Embassy in Dublin was on his case immediately...................People are sensitive to the truth.

We all saw the hundreds if not thousands of bombs raining down on Iraq and tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed.....even though the terrorists in the plane that attacked New York etc killed themselves!

I suggest you read the Gore Vidal article above.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:17 pm

MauriceinIreland wrote:TJ, I know the history of oil. I also have been reading World history all my life.

The RAF were bombing primitive tribesmen in Arab villages..........way back, and in the region as a whole the Americans, French, Dutch and British were carving up the area between themselves, setting up Arab regimes that would be kept in check by? ..................why Israel of course, armed to the teeth by..................?

There was a talk on this aspect on our (Talkradio) radio just last night by a highly respected historian. The Israeli Embassy in Dublin was on his case immediately...................People are sensitive to the truth.

We all saw the hundreds if not thousands of bombs raining down on Iraq and tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed.....even though the terrorists in the plane that attacked New York etc killed themselves!

I suggest you read the Gore Vidal article above.


I'm not ignorant of the issues Maurice and I'm very familiar with Vidal's views, and his novels. I was merely pointing out that the West isn't demonising the Muslim fundamentalists unjustly or fabricating a threat. The historical reasons that the threat has emerged can be debated, but whether or not it exists is not open to question. Now we have a situation where extremists will be moved to action based purely on ideological and religious grounds though. The reaction to the cartoon is good evidence of that. I do not condone it being printed, because in my view there is little sense in offending people purely to make a point. But, the extreme reaction and the ridiculous notion that an entire country should be punished for the actions of a moronic newspaper editor is a good indication of the mindset of these nutcases.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:27 pm

TJ, You may think the western media is not demonising the Muslim clergy unjustly, but what do they and their followers think?
We hear and see their spokesmen and women bitterly complaining about the partisan reporting in the west.

Hundreds of Muslims can be killed and just a few Israelis, guess which victims get mass coverage.

It's not just the cartoons that started the riots....it's a long history of injustice, ridicule, and insult. Nut cases then hardly need a reason..........the cartoons were totally insensitive considering the times.
I think the muslims are totally frustrated at the world's lack of interest in the slaughter of thousands of their people year after year.

What have I got myself into..we probably agree on most stuff anyway!

Total over the top reaction to cartoons is hardly justifiable, but understandable nevertheless.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:10 pm

Pete- I think you misunderstood my original statement. I didn't say it was a consensus that it wasn't a life, I said it wasn't a consensus that it was. It's an important difference. To me, it's a consensus that the sky is blue. It's not necessarily a fact but most of agree on what blue is and most of agree that the sky qualifies. There is really a dissent there. However, there is a disagreement on what qualifies at life, does it begin at conception or birth. It's a legitimate disagreement. You could make a case for the final weeks but what do you say of a baby at 20 weeks. If the woman were to give birth at that time naturally would that baby be able to live without artificial stimulation? If the baby is not ready to live is it a life?

"Choice" is an important word because it respects the right not to have an abortion or to have one.



It's only not a consensus that it's human life (again, not necessarily with full rights of a person) because the pro-choice crowd won't concede the obvious.

I understand its partly a political move, but it's hard to take seriously the idea that it's a "just" some cells, especially once it's a fetus. Draw a line if you must (and I see why) but let's not kid ourselves. If it's as difficult a choice as we all seem (or say) that is, let's not dance around what is being ended in there.

Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:18 pm

View the cartoons that started it all:

Scroll down this article to the blurb..

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9665241/#060207a

Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:45 pm

Do you realize what you're saying Greg? It's not a consensus because the opposing viewpoint won't concede the obvious. It's kind of the nature of a disagreement. Just because you feel passionately one way does not mean someone can not feel the opposite POV just as a passionately.

Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:18 pm

One has to wonder about the wisdom of publishing these cartoons knowing full well the Muslim community would likely not react to it well. Especially given the problems with Muslim extremists in Holland and the recent riots in France. Granted the whole free speech/press issue, but it still comes across as a deliberate, 'in your face' act. One that had the effect of pouring gasoline on smoldering embers!

One thing that seems to be more & more evident to me is that the Islamic world by & large doesn't seem to be interested in democracy. The Muslims that are in the various European countries are there to take advantage of the generous social welfare policies, but they don't seem to have assimilated into the culture, and don't seem to be interested in doing so. I'm now of the opinion that if given the choice between democracy and a Muslim theocracy the majority of Muslims would choose the latter!

Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:24 pm

likethebike wrote:Do you realize what you're saying Greg? It's not a consensus because the opposing viewpoint won't concede the obvious. It's kind of the nature of a disagreement. Just because you feel passionately one way does not mean someone can not feel the opposite POV just as a passionately.


Okay, Likethebike, I put the question back to you: just what is in that womb? Is it not human material/ a human-in-the-making/ a fetus/ a baby?

I'm actually reluctantly in favor of allowing abortion ultimately, but think the pro-choice side is hurt by acting as if it's not ending a life - or would be life. . It is decidedly not a piece of plastic in there. What do you think convince yourself that it is? Is it alive and entitled to any consideration at all?

I admit to being influenced by the writings of John Rawls, who was called the most influential moral and philosphical writers of the 20th century. I recall years ago being quite taken how many (fellow) liberals were uncomfortable with his distinctions beween those moral persons we owe mutual aid to when imperiled and those we do not. It's a rather complicated argument that delves into the rights of childen and uses Jeremy Bentham, Kant and others to ultimately make a pro-choice argument (surprise!)- but with qualifiers that piss off pro-choicers who would elevate the right of abortion above all others.

His obit sums up his approach in general terms:
(2002) John Rawls, a giant of 20th century philosophy who revived the study of ethics and became an intellectual hero of liberalism, has died. He was 81. The Harvard Professor is best known for his 1971 book A Theory of Justice, which revived the idea of the social compact. Each person, he argued, is entitled to certain rights that cannot be overridden even in the interests of society as a whole.

His ideas revolutionized philosophy by returning it to questions of right and wrong, rescuing it from a preoccupation with the questions of logic and the philosophy of science that had come to dominate the field.



It's been too long and I couldn't find it exactly but the following link has an article entitled "Rawls and Children" that discusses his argument, which is too lengthy to get into at the moment:
http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/2_2/2_2_2.pdf

A related (and more hostile piece is called "Abortion and Cloning: New Evasions"

http://lifeissues.net/writers/fin/fin_0 ... sions.html

I think these are good ways to break it down and figure out what we'd want in a fair society. I don't pretend to have the answers but think too many (on either side) don't want to think through some of these issues of fairness and justice. Anyway, food for thought that we'll not settle here but it's worth checking out. :D

******************************************
On Muslims and free societies:
Pete Dube wrote:One has to wonder about the wisdom of publishing these cartoons knowing full well the Muslim community would likely not react to it well. Especially given the problems with Muslim extremists in Holland and the recent riots in France. Granted the whole free speech/press issue, but it still comes across as a deliberate, 'in your face' act. One that had the effect of pouring gasoline on smoldering embers!

One thing that seems to be more & more evident to me is that the Islamic world by & large doesn't seem to be interested in democracy. The Muslims that are in the various European countries are there to take advantage of the generous social welfare policies, but they don't seem to have assimilated into the culture, and don't seem to be interested in doing so. I'm now of the opinion that if given the choice between democracy and a Muslim theocracy the majority of Muslims would choose the latter!


Pete, this moment was sadly an inevitable clash of civilizations. One can debate whether it was a provocation but I'm sure you agree that it's better to find out now what Muslems think and react to political cartoons rather than to continue to coddle them as just hard-working folks trying to make a living who want to settle in the US or Europe. I recall reading that a Mosque (one of the tallest in the US) is going up in Boston and some would have us believe this is just terrific. With the track record of the last few years, I'm no longer so sanguine about the Muslims in our midst, many of whom are hostile to western notions of pluralism and democratic society - and are no longer being asked to assimilate like previous generations of American immigrants, which is our fault.

Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:45 pm

I don't consider it a piece of plastic but I don't consider it a full blown life either. I more consider it an extension of the mother. There's a reason that baby is generally in there for nine months. How far do you go with this idea? Many abortion opponents oppose the day after pill.

About the Muslims I would be careful about sweeping generalizations. I simply can't believe all Muslims are like this. The problem is that the radical wing of the religion is so violent and bullying and claims to dominate the religion so that they cow dissenting and more reasonable voices out. Bringing us all the way back to a mechanism akin to the White House spin machine. They've successfully hijacked the argument so that any criticism of their actions becomes a criticism of Islam. Good people can be bullied into doing nothing.

Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:01 pm

Re: Abortion

LiketheBike wrote regarding the fetus / "pre-born child" / etc::

I don't consider it a piece of plastic but I don't consider it a full blown life either. I more consider it an extension of the mother. There's a reason that baby is generally in there for nine months. How far do you go with this idea? Many abortion opponents oppose the day after pill.


Thanks for clarifying your view. I'm surprised others haven't jumped in here yet. I'll save it for them.

On "Moslems" (remember how it used to be spelled? I do), this generalization is pointing to the very real problem that moderate followers of Islam have been deafeningly silent on this issue and terrorism (beheadings, etc.) .

There have been calls for moderate muslims to step up to the plate. I know they are out there and this might be a good moment.

Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:38 pm

I'd say that what happened to that 22 month old fetus is a lot more than external provocation JLGB. But that illustrates my point about couching abortion in scientific jargon or impersonal language.

Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:05 pm

Try working back from a child in the womb to a point when it is not.

The excuses the pro abortion people use can be hilarious. Why don't they just admit what they want is the right to legally destroy life, albeit for many valid reasons.

The wisdom of many Solomons may be required here.

Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:25 pm

likethebike wrote:I don't consider it a piece of plastic but I don't consider it a full blown life either.
I more consider it an extension of the mother.
There's a reason that baby is generally in there for nine months.
How far do you go with this idea?
Many abortion opponents oppose the day after pill.


Some religions don't even like contraception !

Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:30 pm

Some atheists don't even like condoms. And some, not naming any names, have never used one.......................Yet :lol:

Thu Feb 09, 2006 10:12 pm

Pete Dube wrote:I'd say that what happened to that 22 month old fetus is a lot more than external provocation JLGB. But that illustrates my point about couching abortion in scientific jargon or impersonal language.
My point was directed exclusively if it was human life or not. All the DNA is there. And it is unique.