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Monday, 26 April 2010



As a suggestion, can I ask what I, as an Atheist should do when confronted with a theist image of any religion?

As a person of no faith, I find religious iconogrpahy very offensive, it bothers me to see them used in advertising, television shows, money etc.

Why should people be forced to have your agenda pushed on them through subversive underhanded tactics?

Tommy De Seno


This column is about the insult to religious icons. Atheists have none.

If you don't want to see religious symbols, you might not want to live in a country were most of the people are religious.


Tommy, we discussed the fact I don't live in America.

I'm asking a serious question pertaining to your first amendment - clearly there are provisions in it which prevent against religious persecution and preventing people from worshiping as they please, I believe it's only the establishment of the religion which is covered by this though, I take this to mean you can say what you will about the followers but not the religion itself - please correct me if I'm wrong, I only studied your countries history breifly when I was at school.

So, does this free speech then cover those who preach the religion - since the followers of the religion are not technically the establishment, do they get protected under the first amendment, (the bit that pertains to religion).

I don't think so, (again you may be able to cite cases I'm unaware of).

Now, freedom of press is just that - the press should be able to say what they want, but shouldn't this be the truth, not an opinion?

I'd like to think when that was written that they intended freedom of press to be the freedom of a journalist to print a true story without fear - not to aspouse personal opinion in the guise of news, this to me seems like a very dangerous use of such a law - one being flouted by even the most fair and balanced news channels.

Now, obvioulsy on top of that you have the right to assemble and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances - neither of these really come into the religious debate, since to assemble and worship would come under the establishment of the religion and the Government is seperate to religion.

So, where does this tie into the main discussion?

I'd like to think that from a religious point of view, (again, correct me if I'm wrong), church leaders are not the church themselves, nor are 'prophits' - they worship the "establishment of religion", (Jesus himself was a Jew was he not? Many sects within Christianity believe him to be the son of God - not God); as such these followers are not covered by the first amendment caviets to religion - they are people worshiping sure, but no different to us Atheists who do not worship an "establishment of religion".

Would this not allow for people to freely express opinion against such people, free from any form of censorship or reprisal?

Matt and Trey were not lampooning or attacking Islam itself, nor the "establishment of religion" - they were merely making fun of some of their followers, who are not protected by the first amendment in the same way that Christians are not protected by the first amendment - they are people, not the religion.

How does this tie back to the Atheist point I made earlier? Well, we're the but of every religions' joke - each and every one of you decide that we are unable to be good people, or that humans are incapable of telling right from wrong without a God - and that we'll burn forever at the hands of an all forgiving god because we chose our rights to express our beliefs in the way we do.

Who in this scenario is prejudiced against and mocked more?

Again, please correct me on points I may not understand about your first amendment - the course I did at school wasn't very long, (since compared to the rest of the planet you have very little history - facinating none the less).


Tommy, why is it - when you can reply with a pithy, veild insult to a comment it happens within four hours.

Yet when someone asks you to construct an opinion of the ramifications of the First Amendment on religious icons, you ignore it and hope it goes away?


The purpose of the South Park episodes, 200 and 201, was to criticize political correctness in our society, where it is ok to crticize Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc., but not ok to criticize Islam or Muhammed. In the previous controversial episode, i.e. The Cartoon Wars, Muhammed's image was censored, while the show depicted Jesus defecating. The point was not to criticize Christians or Islam, but to critize political correctness that insulates Islam from criticism.

While I consider myself an authentic libertarian, one who dislikes big government just as much as religion, people should be able to freely practice their religion. This does not mean, however, that they should be free from criticism, especially when there beliefs lead to bad policy decisions.

If there was any insult in South Park, it was directed towards overly sensitive people who feel that certain beliefs should be immune to criticism. There was no "anti-Islam" sentiment in the episode, so for anyone to characterize the episode in such a way is wrong.

Peter Piper

This is a very warm and cozy, touchy-feely proposition, but the world is not a kindergarten classroom. Still, I ask, how could any Christian really be that upset about Chris Ofil's painting/collage/whatever of an abstract African figure? Google it and explain to me, please.

James Sterling

Response to Tyrunn and in general.

We have a thing called manners. If someone is fat we don't say

"Ugh you're fat". We don't start talking about fat people. "Boy there was this fat person; oh, sorry, I'm not talking about YOU."

Even if we ourselves are perfect and have no similar vulnerabilities.

I am not saying that the religious symbols are a negative, I am trying to put it in terms that we all can see. It is just rude to say something that you know will offend someone, and it has nothing to do with free speech as these Mohammed cartoonists had no inclination to draw pictures of Mohammed until they realized that someone else didn't like it. That is called provocation.

When we see that something hurts someone, and we keep doing it, that is vicious and sadistic. It isn't free speech and it isn't art.


The issue is not about provocation when one party goes out of their way to be offended and useses their offence as a tool to censor other's rights to free speech and place where they are above reproach and criticism.

"You can not criticize me or else I will play the race/religion card". It is one thing to be genuinly offended but another to simply use offence as a tool. Southpark tried to draw attention to this and the moment they did they were attacked.

Remember before the infamous Cartoon Wars incident where Southpark was censored on the first instance of Jesus and the Super Friends in 2001 they showed a cartoon depiction of Muhammad and no one complained. It wasn't until Southpark was critical of Islam did anyone complain.

You are either offended by all depictions of Muhammad or not at all. The Qur'an can't be a tool of convenience that you can point to when it suits you and choose to ignore when you are painted in a positive light.

No one is above reproach and criticism. Race/religion cards are not a valid defence. Death threats to those you find offensive are not an appropriate response nor conductive to the conversation at hand.

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A radical Muslim group last week suggested that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone may end up like Theo Van Gogh

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Je suis bien entendu d’accord (encore heureux) qu’un lien Twitter n’apporte strictement rien, sauf une visibilité directe et un possible lien sur un site ou blog d’une personne ayant remarqué le lien sur Twitter. Et c’est en ce sens que je considère que Twitter est loin d’avoir tué le référencement organique.

D’ailleurs et pour exemple, il me semble que je suis tombé sur ton article via Twitter si je ne dis pas de bêtise, comme quoi.

Merci de ta participation Laurent.

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