Out of the blue the other day, a fellow began commenting on a nearly-five-year-old post in which I referenced a letter he’d written from his (liberal) point of view.  That post, and his comments, are here.  Incidentally, because he did not clearly identify himself, I didn’t at first realize who it was who was writing, as may be evident in my first response to him.

Briefly, in his original piece, the gentleman writes, “one person’s morals may not apply to someone else. Morals are, for the most part, personal views, and cannot be forced on people.”

I would term this “moral relativism”, the idea that morality differs from person to person.  Now, let me add to clarify: it is certainly true that different individuals view morals differently, that what one person believes is moral and right may be, in another person’s eyes, entirely wrong.  That’s not what I’m arguing against; we all see things differently.  What I’m arguing against is any viewpoint that says that all viewpoints are morally equal; I submit that we cannot say that one particular moral system is just as valid as any other.  I argue instead that there is one standard of true morality, that whether I, or the writer of the article, or anyone else may choose to agree with it or not is immaterial: morality is morality, and it isn’t subject to individual choice.  Put another way, anyone’s standard that deviates from God-ordained standards of right and wrong is a wrong standard; my standard is the wrong standard to the degree that it misses God’s standard.  By definition, then, far from “one person’s morals (not applying to) everyone else”, real morality stands above any  individual, and applies to every individual.

At any rate, rather than belabor points I made back then, I will ask any moral relativists reading to simply attempt a cogent answer to any of the following questions (take your pick; they all lead ultimately to the same place):

– If my morality suggested that punching you in the nose was the right thing to do, could you fault me for acting in keeping with my morality?  How?  Why?

– Was Hitler wrong to exterminate 6 million Jews if to his way of thinking he was acting morally (i.e., advancing the Aryan race)? On what basis, if morals are “personal”?

– Is it wrong to torture babies for fun and profit?  Why, if doing so doesn’t violate my personal standard of right and wrong?

Attempted answers that stick to one of the questions will be addressed with respect; “answers” that devolve into name-calling, stereotyping, or anything else will be deleted.

115 responses »

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  1. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    Regarding people standing behind altars preaching their beliefs, let me point out they are speaking to people who have chosen to be there to hear it; and as far as school children having beliefs shoved down their throats, well, every child is being taught or influenced by someone’s beliefs – whether it’s in school, at home or on the playground. My son was taught nothing but evolution in school, so we had many discussions at home so he could have a broader base on which to form his opinions. I was not a Christian when he was young, but I didn’t think it was fair to only expose him to what I believed.

    I don’t know how you think Christians (as a whole, not small groups or individuals who teach things that conflict with the spirit of Christianity) in this day and age, have the ability or the desire to dictate or force their beliefs on anyone – I didn’t/don’t live in the past, nor should I be expected to answer for the individuals involved in the Spanish Inquisition – to me that would be like holding today’s Americans responsible for slavery, something we all agree wasn’t right, so what would be the point of continuing to rail against it? It was wrong, it’s over – move on.

    You have a problem with “organized religion” – ok, I get that; so if I’m hearing you right, you disagree with any organization whose focus is on teaching a particular set of beliefs that you yourself don’t agree with? That would include most if not all world religions, right? I’m thankful that there are many people that don’t agree with you; I’d hate to live in a country where I was prohibited from going to a church if I want to, or made to attend one I didn’t want to. What is that part of the Constitution that addresses this? Oh yeah, it says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    As far as experiencing things outside the natural realm – can’t help you with that. I had my doubts too until it happened to me so I understand where you’re coming from, but there’s not a classroom on the planet where you can “learn” to experience this type of thing because it’s not in our control. As long as you are so deadset against giving the possibility the benefit of the doubt, it probably won’t happen to you. I’ve not heard a bush talk, or seen any of the other things you mentioned; but there’s a reason for that, and I have experienced other things – and these are things that no person could have showed me, so it would be useless to share them with you – you would have to experience something yourself to know if it’s real.

    I’ll tell you a little secret, I can’t stand self-righteous religious freaks either, and I stay as far away from them as I can. You and I may have a different definition for that, though, because I don’t just include people who have beliefs about the supernatural – I include anyone who attempts to influence my thinking to see things their way by using manipulative measures like name-calling, intimidation, attacks on my intellectual capacity, charges of weak character or mental illness, hatred, anger, etc.

  2. Ryan says:

    Laurie
    First of all, most of your last post was you telling me what I think. No offense, but I’ll decide what i am going to think, thank you very much. I don’t need you to tell me what i think, or twist my views to fit into your little arguement. If you must know, I went to catholic school from 1rst grade until 8th grade, then spent my Sophmore year of high school in a Catholic Prepatory school where I lived in the dorms, which was run by a franciscan monk. I went to church twice a week (yawn) for 9 long years. After all of that, I realized that the catholic church was just a way for people to brainwash chldren who are too young to question things at an early age, and I stand by that. Since I have become an adult, people find out that priests are sexually molesting children, more proof of theultimate hypocracy, as far as I am concerned. People teaching kids about morals, except that they have no morals.
    It has nothing to do with people “teaching things that I don’t believe in,” (and please don’t put words in my mouth, or speak for me, you don’t even know me) it has to do with stories that are meant to teach morals, but should not be taken literally. There are good morals in the bible, but again, snakes do not talk, nor do bushes, people can not walk on water, or turn water into wine, or part a sea with their minds. This is fantasy. Plus, when you teach kids that evolution is not true, or that people were on the earth at the
    same time as dinosaurs, or that global warming is not real, or that the earth started with Adam and Eve, you are teaching tngs that go against proven science (in most of these cases) or at least the scientific concensus. We KNOW that dinosaurs existed, fact. People came much later than that, fact. As far as evolution and global warming are concerned, they are theories, just like gravity is still a theory, but no one is denying that, are they? Do you deny that a sepration of churc and state exists? because it does, very clearly.

  3. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    Not sure why you think I was trying to “tell you what you think”; for the most part I was responding to things you said in previous posts, and asking if I was understanding you correctly because it seemed to me that if you don’t think it’s good for Christians to teach their beliefs thru the forum of organized religion then you must have the same opinion of all other religions who do that as well – you were free to correct me if I was wrong.

    I didn’t have a particularly great opinion of the church I was raised in, but I never felt like they were trying to brainwash me just because my parents attempted to pass on their beliefs and what they felt were good values – when I became an adult I chose not to accept some of what they taught me and do things my own way for many years. Kids can be “brainwashed”, if you will, by both religious and atheist parents alike; a lot of it has to do with how things are presented to them – but they grow up eventually and decide for themselves what they want to believe.

    I know many parents, both Christians and unbelievers, that try to pass on good values to their kids even if they themselves don’t always succeed in living up to them. I think a good parent hopes their children won’t make the same mistakes they did, or fall into bad habits that they will struggle with for much of their lives.

    Your opinions regarding what the Bible teaches are just that, your opinions/beliefs; and you have the right to believe whatever you want. I would agree with you that generally speaking, bushes and serpents don’t talk, people can’t walk on water, etc. The Bible doesn’t present those things as something we could ordinarily expect to see, however; it presents them as one-time, supernatural events – not as something that could “naturally” happen, but as something completely outside our experience by means of a Being outside our experience (i.e., the things we can normally see and hear). Not trying to convince you of this, I’m just sharing my opinions/beliefs.

    Separation of church and state has nothing to do with whether or not it’s legal (or right) for people to assemble and teach religious beliefs. My point in bringing up the subject of our freedom to do so was that our forefathers clearly thought it was a good thing to protect this right; without it we might be at the mercy of people who would like to see some/all churches shut down. We have the right to believe what we want, and if that includes rejecting religion and choosing to trust in “scientific consensus” (which could change tomorrow), you are free to do so.

  4. Ryan says:

    No, I don’t have a problem with organized religions teaching their beliefs, what I have a problem with is religion being taught in public schools where it has no business being taught, that what private school is for. If you can’t afford private school, you’re out of luck. I guess you need to teach it at home, in that case. I also have a problem with science being taught incorrectly, as is the case with dinosaurs and people having been on the earth at the same time. And yes, that goes for all organized religions, however many do not go to the same extent to push their beliefs as Christianity does, like Buddists, Hindus and people of the Hebrew faith.

  5. Ryan says:

    corrections:
    I meant to say “that is what private schools are for.”

  6. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    As far as I know there are very few places where public schools teach anything other than evolution, and in those few places that do – obviously the majority of residents in that area felt strongly about what they wanted their children taught and took steps to change it, so I guess in those instances any parents who have a problem with their children not being taught evolution in school have the option of teaching it to their kids at home or sending them to a private school.

    You are correct in stating that religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism don’t make it a point to reach out to people of other faiths; there’s a reason for that, which becomes clear when you study their history and their teachings. Jesus, unlike those other religions leaders, commissioned His followers to share the good news of the gospel – they were not to keep it to themselves; He wanted everyone to have the opportunity to hear and respond. There’s not much good news in most other world religions.

  7. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    The question of the origin of life is clearly important to you, and I respect that; but you may have noticed that although it’s a big issue for you, it’s not necessarily so for everyone. A lot of people just don’t spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about it, or being concerned about what other people think/believe about it, or who has the real 411 on how we came to be. Some prefer to focus on the here and now and not worry about where we came from or what may/may not happen after we die. This is a subject that fascinates some people, and bores others; even higher education does not motivate everyone to spend any more time thinking about this than they have to.

    Being that most world religions began and their scriptures written before the “age of science”, so to speak, it’s not surprising that the subject of the origin of life isn’t written using the scientific terms we’re familiar with today; not only that, but their focus wasn’t on proving the existence of a higher being or a spiritual realm or even the origin of life, it was more along the lines of testimony or the assertion/faith that these things exist, and how that should affect the way we live.

    None of these beliefs claim to have all the answers to all the questions about this, and I think that’s because they believe the way we live our lives and whether we’re accountable for our actions is a more important subject.

    The focus of science is purely on the physical, so it would not be the logical place to look in search of the answer as to whether or not a spiritual realm/beings exists. I know of many people who at one time believed as you do, that evolution is the only explanation – end of story – and who now acknowledge that evolution is an unproven theory, albeit with evidence that can be viewed as supportive based on the knowledge we have up to this point; and who now believe that there is more to this than currently meets the eye. Most are unwilling to completely disregard the findings of science, but more willing to accept the idea that a Creator was involved although they may not be too sure just how.

    Since none of us were there to see how it was done for ourselves, and there are still many unanswered questions, I don’t see why this has to be a subject that causes people to be at each other’s throats.

  8. Ryan says:

    Science is actually important to many people. I refer to these people as intelligent and or educated. Then there are the people who believe far fetched stories about things that never happen in the real world. Things like walking on water, talking snakes and bushes, and magic (turning water into wine). People can believe whatever they want, but if Christianity is so right, then why push it on children who are too young to decide for themselves? The answer is fear. Religious people know that unless these stories are shoved into their brains at a young, impressionable age, no one would believe them, especially not an adult. This is why religion is decided for a child, as opposed to chosen by an adult. Why the need to decide for kids what religion they will be a part of unless there is a fear that unless their religion would not be the one that the child chose, or didn’t that they wouldn’t choose to be a part of any organized religion? The answer is that the parents believe in and are a part of an organized religion, and because THEY believe that this is the way it is, their kids have to also. This is brainwashing, and I don’t agree with it, never have, never will. It is self righteous garbage, no offense to you.

  9. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree that teaching your beliefs to your children, and whatever moral code you live by is always brainwashing, no matter how it’s done. As I shared before, I was not a Christian when my son was young, but I told him some people believed in God, etc. I figured if he wasn’t interested, I’d leave it alone and let him figure it out for himself, but he was surprisingly receptive and wanted to hear more. When he asked what I believed, I said I wasn’t sure and hadn’t made up my mind yet. He was fascinated by Jesus, and loved hearing about Him. One day he told me he prayed and Jesus spoke to him. I was taken aback and said, “Really? What did He say?” (He didn’t learn that from my example!). It was something fairly generic that I supposed He could have said, so I made no comment, but I did wonder… He started going to church with a friend when he was in Jr. High; and after he became a Christian, when he was in high school, he asked me one day why I had never taken him to Sunday School – he felt cheated, and that I had done the wrong thing by not taking him to church.

    Some unbelieving parents not only choose not to tell their children about God, but actually make an effort to keep them from hearing about Him. One such parent was having a conversation with a Christian and saying how she doesn’t believe in all that, etc., and in the middle of it her 4-year old was trying to get her attention, asking her who Jesus was – the mother ignored her, so finally the child shouted “WHO’S JESUS?!?!” Reluctantly, kind of choking on the words, the mother told her that Jesus was God and died on the cross. I thought it was interesting that she didn’t present it as something some people believed, but as if it were a fact, particularly as she had just been stating she didn’t believe in God.

    Another such parent was my own uncle. When my father became a Christian, it drove a wedge between him and his brother; my uncle wanted nothing to do with it – we rarely saw his family after that. Years later, my cousin met a Christian, went to church and became a believer. When she found out that my father was a Christian (she never knew that) and that my uncle had purposely kept her from knowing anything about Christianity, she was very upset with him.

    This is why I say that “brainwashing” can happen on both sides of this issue. I’ve seen religious parents who use fear, and unbelieving parents who use mockery to influence their child’s thinking, and I disagree with both methods.

    I think teaching children anything at a young age is the best time, and that includes religious beliefs, and there’s a reason for that. The mind of a child is very open to learning and accepting new ideas; as he grows, it starts to close up – a young person begins to make up his mind what he thinks about things, wants to find things out for himself, and is less likely to want to accept things he doesn’t want to hear. People don’t learn as easily as they age, and they’re less likely to want to change the way they think.

    What I’ve observed is that no matter what beliefs children are exposed to growing up, they have a mind of their own and the ability to either accept or reject those beliefs when they become adults.

  10. Ryan says:

    Media Matters: Conservatives’ perpetual dishonesty machine

    Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh regularly tout their supposed accuracy and often claim their critics never prove them wrong. Fittingly, this in itself is a complete falsehood. Limbaugh and Beck are wrong for a living, but have been rewarded for their perpetual wrongness by assuming the role of the two most important cogs in the conservative media.

    Every day, the conservative noise machine — Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh, and other prominent conservative talk radio hosts and bloggers — hurl false accusations with the hopes of damaging the Obama administration, Democrats, and progressives politically. Make no mistake: this is the primary motivation for the majority of the stories they promote. Pesky things like “facts” and “reality” are, at best, a trivial concern.

    Often, these attacks are baseless, easily debunked, and laughably absurd — yet conservative media outlets rarely (if ever) offer corrections when they are proven wrong. Instead they either double down on their attacks or simply ignore that they were wrong in the first place and move on to the next overhyped bit of nonsense.

    While it may seem like a minor story in the grand scheme of things, one example from this week perfectly exemplifies the utter lack of journalistic standards endemic to conservative media.

    Early this week, conservatives were in their usual panic mode over what they claimed was evidence that the Obama administration “backed” or “preferred” the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the terrorist better known as the Lockerbie bomber. As we pointed out, reports — often the same reports these conservatives were linking to in order to make their arguments — indicated that the administration wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned, with the stipulation that if he were to be released, he should remain in Scotland rather than risk him receiving an “extremely inappropriate” “welcoming reception” upon being transferred to Libya.

    Fox News twisted reality to claim that the “U.S. Backed Freedom, Not Prison, for Bomber.” Matt Drudge splashed a huge headline across his website announcing that the “White House Backed Release Of Lockerbie Bomber.” Pam Geller — whose deranged rantings have earned her frequent appearances on Fox News and bylines on Andrew Breitbart’s “Big” websites, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, and the American Thinker — called for a “special investigation” and a “charge of treason” for Obama.

    Rush Limbaugh — while bragging, as he often does, that he was “executing assigned host duties flawlessly” with “zero mistakes” –claimed that Obama “backed the release” of the Lockerbie bomber because he wanted to “make nice with the Muslim world.”

    Late Monday, when the State Department released the administration’s correspondence with the Scottish Ministry of Justice, it confirmed in unambiguous terms that the administration was “not prepared to support Megrahi’s release on compassionate release or bail,” and that “it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence.”

    So, after this story completely fell apart, did conservative media figures correct the record and let their readers/listeners/viewers know that the administration did not “support” or “prefer” the release of the Lockerbie bomber?

    Of course not.

    Conservative blogger Jim Hoft — whose ongoing popularity and influence in conservative media says a lot about their complete indifference to accuracy and credibility — linked to the letter and proclaimed that the administration “preferred” his release. This was akin to pointing at the ground and saying “this is the sky.”

    Fox Nation, almost 48 hours after the story had completely fallen apart, still had the following headline and image on their front page:

    And you can be sure that in a few months, whenever Sean Hannity or anyone else in the noise machine decides to twist a news story to claim that the Obama administration is “weak on terror,” they’ll point to the time the administration supposedly “preferred the release of the Lockerbie bomber” in order to buttress their point.

    It’s a perpetual dishonesty machine.

    If this were an isolated incident, perhaps it would be possible to (partially) excuse conservative media outlets for their shameless performance “covering” this story. But as we detailed this week, the right-wing media routinely promote fake stories (for example, the epic freak-out over the imaginary Obama proposal to “ban sport fishing.”)

    For another good example of how the perpetual dishonesty machine works, have a look at this segment from Tuesday’s Fox & Friends. In it, Glenn Beck, Steve Doocy, and Peter Johnson Jr. seized on reports of the U.K. supposedly “admit[ting] its socialized health care is a mess” in order to attack health care reform. They rehashed some old favorites from conservatives’ misinformation campaign about health care reform, claiming that we “modeled” reform on the British system and fear mongered about imaginary “death panels.” Neither of these attacks were true when they appeared last year, they weren’t true this week, and they won’t be true the next time Fox’s hosts bring them up. 

    This pattern is undeniable, and at this point is just expected behavior for the conservative media. The larger problem is that “mainstream” outlets still frequently treat garbage from conservative media figures as newsworthy, and ombudsmen at major newspapers like The Washington Post regularly chastise their colleagues for not seizing on conservative nonsense faster.
    It says a lot about the state of the media when Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and other prominent media conservatives can be caught pushing a blatantly false story, offer no correction, and have their behavior met with a collective shrug. Conservative media outlets retain their unfortunate power and influence over the public discourse because they are able to lie largely without consequence.

    They did it all this week, they did it all last week, and they’ll do it again next week.

  11. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    Groups like Media Matters and The Media Research Center exist to provide balance for what they believe is an unfair liberal or conservative bias in the media. I have no problem with watchdog groups, they definitely serve a purpose; I just try to keep in mind that since such groups are biased, they too need to be monitored because they have opposing views of what should be considered media propaganda. There’s a wide range of viewpoints in the U.S., with no one single perspective being completely right or completely wrong.

    I don’t spend a lot of time reading articles by conservative watchdog groups/individuals, but I’m sure anyone who does could provide instances where reports by liberals were less than 100% accurate. This just serves to illustrate that we shouldn’t accept everything we hear as fact just because we like the spin they’re putting on it.

  12. Ryan says:

    The article seemed to me to hit the nail right on the head.

  13. Laurie says:

    I’ve seen articles about reporting by liberals that I felt the same way about.

    It is not only conservatives that are guilty of speaking before checking their facts. On these types of news shows you are never going to get just straight reporting; you’re always going to get their opinions, and sometimes those opinions are wrong.

    I’ve seen both conservative and liberals have a wrong opinion on something, and typically neither comes back and admits it; they just move on to the next issue.

    I understand your frustration, I’ve experienced it myself, but I don’t see the good in hating “liberals” because of shoddy reporting practices.

  14. Ryan says:

    Yes, you’ll always get some opinions in news programs on Fox & MSNBC, but the people on MSNBC, like Keith Olberman, admit when they were incorrect about something and make the proper correction, not so at Fox. Fox is often wrong, and NEVER admit it, ever. Fixed news is not a news organization, it is an arm of the republican (retardican) party.
    Oh, and I believe what I hear from Keith Olberman, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow infinately more than I do anyone on Fox “News.” I know that it has some Liberal slant, but it is accurate and truthful. I don’t think that anyone can say the same of Fox. Just look at the Shirly Sharrod incident, or WMD’s in Iraq, or the question, created by Fox, posed to people on the street just last month. ” Half of Americans think that Obama is not doing a good job, what do you think?” I think that Fox is, as usual, setting up the question in a way that distorts the facts and attempts to sway people’s opinions by how it is worded to get the answer that Fox is looking for, but then again you don’t need to listen to me, I’m just one of those annoying edumacated liberal types. Please, continue listening to morons like Sarah Palin.

  15. Laurie says:

    By all means, listen to whoever you think is trustworthy; I’m not sure, though, if you’re assuming that anyone who is a Republican or who leans toward that ideology only listens to Fox, etc. Personally I like to listen to different sources so I get a broader spectrum of perspectives.

    I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to say “half think he’s not doing a good job” instead of “half think he’s doing a good job”. If it had been a liberal asking that question, he’d probably have gone the other way; it’s what I would expect. I think most people have a strong enough opinion of how he’s doing that it wouldn’t matter how that question was posed.

  16. Ryan says:

    I have plenty of right wing family and friends who listen only to Fox and repeat the lies that they hear as if it is fact. My uncle is one. He doesn’t get news from anywhere but Fox, and that is one of the multitude of people that I know personally who do the same thing (my step dad is another, and Yet another aunt and uncle, and several friends). I am VERY confident in saying both that right wingers, more often than not, get their “news” from Fox and only Fox, and that MSNBC, while left leaning, is not even close to as close minded and one sided as is Fixed “news”. If you want to be one of the easily manipulated, go ahead, but I will not be fooled…EVER! Every news program has a slant, but Fox takes the cake on one sided journalism and working directly for a political party. it is, in a word, a joke.

  17. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    Well, you know what they say about discussing politics; I have relatives with whom I can’t talk about politics either – when someone starts becoming insulting and derogatory it becomes unpleasant to talk to them. I don’t mind having a conversation with anyone about subjects that we disagree on, as long as we can hold a mature, reasonable discussion that doesn’t disintegrate into name-calling and a hateful attitude – we’re not in the schoolyard anymore.

    Not long after Mr. Obama was elected a relative and I got into a conversation and he started getting really ugly about it so I had to tell him it would be better if we stopped; I love him (no matter what he believes) and respect his right to have a different opinion.

    As far as I can tell, discussions of this sort never result in anyone changing their minds. I never enter into conversations expecting that, and it kind of blows my mind when someone comes off aggressively; as if they either want to wish me into the cornfield or don’t know/care that being insulting is unlikely to cause people to really listen to their point of view. Let’s face it, an insult is like a slap in the face; now, I may choose to turn the other cheek rather than strike back with an insult of my own, but how can there really be an exchange of ideas if I constantly have to duck and weave and keep my gloves up to protect myself?

    I guess if we, the constituents of this country, can’t hold a mature, reasonable conversation, we shouldn’t be too surprised that our conservative and liberal reporters and government leaders can’t do it either.

  18. Ryan says:

    Laurie,
    I know what you mean. Back in June, I invited my uncle to ride his Harley up to my house and then we could ride around where I live. he helped me buy my first Harley last fall, and I thought that it would be fun, and it was… for an afternoon. The same day that he arrived, we rode a little, then went to my brother’s house to say hello. When we got back to my place, he started in with the Fixed news talking points/ lies about Obama not being born here, and death panels and all of these other already debunked stories. I did the same thing that you did, I said that we shouldn’t discuss it anymore due to a rise in tension between us and he agreed. Not two seconds later he was at it again, he just wouldn’t let it go ( a typical trait in republicans, I find). Then after bringing it up again, he blames me for bringing it up again, except I didn’t, HE did (another right wing trademark, juxtapose your guilt on to others. Like Obama’s debt…wrong, that was Bush. Obama’s wars…wrong, Bush again). He then had a little temper tantrum and threatened to leave. I said do what you want, so he left, on his bike at eleven o’clock at night, to drive 300 miles back to the Detroit area. This seems, at first, to not be a big deal, but now put it on context. He dis EXACTLY the same thing to my dad in California. He flew out there from Detroit, wouldn’t quit with the right wing bullsh@t, then threatened to leave a week early, and did. I love my uncle, but he is a typical right wing, Fixed news watching moron. He just can’t stop hself from needing to be right, even at the expense of alienating his own nephew and his brother, my dad, who won’t even speak to him because of this very thing. My dad may not even invite my uncle to his (my dad’s) wedding in November. My uncle is a perfect example of a brainwashed individual. He watches only the lies on Fixed news and believes them to be fact. No one on the left is even close to that brainwashed, tea party brainwashed. Not even close.

  19. Laurie says:

    That’s too bad about your uncle. If that is what “typical right-wingers” do, then I hope I’m not typical.

    I’ve only been a Christian, and a “right-winger”, I guess, for 13 years; before that I was sometimes critical of them. Not to the same extent that some people are, I wasn’t angry or hateful toward them; I just didn’t want them in my face.

    Now, I try not to do the things that made me shy away from them – unfortunately I still have to deal with the fall out from the ill-advised behavior of some; I guess there’s no avoiding it. I choose not to have problems and get ugly with family, friends or fellow bloggers over politics, but apparently not everyone feels that way.

  20. Laurie says:

    Ryan,

    I just came across this article so I thought I’d share it, since you mentioned it in a previous post:

    “Fox News host Greta Van Susteren is apologizing for “a doozy of a mistake” made on her show Monday when a picture of Shirley Sherrod was used to illustrate a segment on Rep. Maxine Waters, the Huffington Post reports.

    Waters, a California Democrat, has been charged by the House with ethics violations, and Sherrod was fired from the USDA for incorrectly being cast as a racist. What the two visually have in common is that they’re both black women.

    Van Susteren took to her blog Monday to issue an extremely effusive apology, calling the incident on her “On the Record” program “a very bad mistake and a painful one for which we are very apologetic.”

    “We really don’t know what to say and there is nothing that you can post to make us feel better (not that we deserve to feel better!) This mistake was bad, very bad and we are immensely sorry,” Van Susteren wrote.

    Though slip-ups are bound to happen on live television, this isn’t the first time Fox has issued a public apology for mixing up black political figures. In 2007, a Fox host apologized after the network ran footage of Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan while discussing the ethics troubles of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana.”

    While I realize this may not affect your opinion of their viewpoints, perhaps it will make you feel a little better knowing they have been known to acknowledge mistakes.

  21. Ryan says:

    “I choose not to have problems and Get ugly with family, friends and fellow bloggers over politics, but apparently not everyone feels that way.” Yeah yeah yeah, you’re better than me, I get it. You can step down from your high horse now. As far as Greta Van Susteren is concerned, it’s one Fox “news” “anchor” apologizing for one of thousands of mistakes. WMD’s in Iraq, Obama not being born in the U.S., death panels and the list goes on and on and on and on….. Until Hannity, O’Reilly, Kilmeade, Douchy and all of the other inflated egos over at Fox news stop making excuses as to why they’re still right when they couldn’t be more wrong, I will NEVER take Fixed “News” seriously. Like I said before, it is a joke.

  22. Laurie says:

    Better than you? Nah – I was talking about your uncle, and I don’t think I’m better than him or you; I do, however, think it’s better not to have problems with people over politics – but that’s just me.

    Like I said, didn’t expect you to change your opinion of Fox over one apology but maybe you’d consider upgrading them to “hardly ever apologize”? 🙂 Lighten up, Ryan, everything doesn’t have to be so serious, I was just teasing you a little bit.

  23. Ryan says:

    Not likely. Fox is opinion television, and always right wing opinion. I want to hear the news, then form an opinion, I don’t want to have my opinion told to me. That’s what Fox does every day, seven days a week. They give you the news with a right wing slant, as if to tell you that their opinions are facts. that may work with the less intelligent segment of our society, but I am not a weak minded moron.

  24. Laurie says:

    Like I said – not asking you to change your opinion of them. I was merely pointing out that when you start using words like “ever” and “never” you run the risk that someone will point out exceptions; but I guess saying “hardly ever” doesn’t have quite the same impact when you’re doing your level best to discredit someone.

    I’m not really interested in defending Fox, by the way, I’ll let them answer for themselves. What makes me sigh and shake my head is the notion that everyone on the right is a moron, uneducated, yada, yada, yada. That idea is schoolyard mentality, in my opinion; like some kid saying “you’re stupid!” to someone he’s fighting with at recess.

    Now don’t take this personally, because you’re by far not the only person who talks this way about “the right”; I’m simply sharing how it comes across to me. I don’t have alot of patience for broad-brushed, over-the-top, blanket statements that unfairly criticize a whole group of people, and are absolutely not based on fact, but on a mindset.

    The FACT is that there are many, many people on the “right” that are very intelligent, highly educated, well-informed, reasonable and sensible. I could say the same for people on the left. That is a FACT that can be proven by looking into their backgrounds, schooling, history of employment, etc.

    Sometimes I listen to people on the left and find myself cringing and thinking “ugh!”, just before I change the channel – I may not agree with someone’s ideas or values, but I’m not going to make unfounded, disingenuous statements about their intelligence, education, etc., because I don’t think that’s a fair way to argue my point of view.

    But that’s just me.

  25. Ryan says:

    That’s good, because I’m not going to change my mind. As far as the left is concerned, they lie far less than Fixed “News” does. Every other word from that network is either heavy spin, or a blatent lie. The way they give the news is with a heavy right wing slant. Like I said, worthless.

  26. Laurie says:

    Ok, I’ll let you have the last word on Fox news.

    Regarding the subject of this thread, the question of whether our morality stems from our own personal sense of right/wrong, or whether there is one standard of true morality; a thought that came to me as we’ve been conversing is that although I do believe there is one standard, and I think it’s far superior than that of any individual I know of – it’s been my choice to submit to and attempt to bring my lifestyle and life choices in line with that standard rather than live solely by my own sense of right and wrong, which is as flawed as anyone else’s I know.

    As I read your posts, I’ve acknowledged your right to believe what you want, knowing at the same time that just because you have the right to believe it, what you believe is not necessarily right. The same goes for me, of course, so I’m not trying to get all superior on you. If I don’t agree with you, clearly it’s because I think you’re wrong; but I don’t think getting mad at you and calling you names would serve any good purpose, and it certainly wouldn’t motivate you to consider my point of view. I don’t want to be forced to live by the moral values of the left any more than you want to be forced to live by the moral values of the right – but we have a system in place that allows us to vote on major issues to settle these differences. Some of these differences cannot be reconciled because they stem from different world views but in my opinion that’s not an excuse to be hateful to and about people.

    So here’s the thing; I can’t answer for the behavior of everyone on the right, I can only control myself. I can choose to follow the bad example of those who behave inappropriately – or not. I can point fingers at the bad behavior of those on the left, but that would never be an excuse for me to behave badly. I don’t have a problem discussing issues with someone I disagree with, but I try not to let it turn into a personal attack.

    Having said all that, let me add that I began making those choices after I became a Christian; before that I went by my feelings, which greatly affected the way I acted – anyone/anything that offended my feelings justified whatever behavior I chose to respond with – and I didn’t really care if I was being offensive in return, which is pretty hypocritical if you think about it.

    To sum up, even though I agree more with the ideology of “the right”; it’s not because they’re perfect (they’re not), or because I think they’re right about everything (they’re not). I think our sense of right and wrong is flawed, and living solely by our own standards is what causes the problems in our society.

  27. Ryan says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve looked at this site, let alone read anything written on it, but I can honestly say that my mind has not changed in the slightest. As long as the right continue to be the hateful, ignorant, hypocritical half wits they they continue to prove themselves to be (I’m talking to you Newt, Sarah, Michelle, any an every right Wing radio host), you can kiss my vote and the votes of 99% of my family and friends good-bye. Case closed, discussion over.

  28. Ryan says:

    It’s been a while since I looked at this insignificant web site, but after reading all of the comments again, I can see that I came off as a bit hostile, I apologize. This does in no way, however, change the fact that Byron thinks a lot of himself and tends to put more importance in this site than reality suggests, which is to say that any fool with an opinion can make a site to spout off at the mouth. No education is needed to create one.

  29. Ryan says:

    It’s been a while since I looked at this insignificant web site, but after reading all of the comments again, I can see that I came off as a bit hostile, I apologize. This does in no way, however, change the fact that Byron thinks a lot of himself and tends to put more importance in this site than reality suggests, which is to say that any fool with an opinion can make a site to spout off at the mouth. It isn’t as though you need an education or any intelligence is necessary to create one. What I said about people on the right is still as factual now as it was then. Arrogance and a self righteous attitude are still the norm when dealing with the religious right.

  30. Ryan says:

    People who refer to themselves as the religious right can attempt to justify their belief that they are morally superior and know better than everyone else when it comes to subjects like abortion or who should have the right to get married, and therefore should have the right to make these decisions for people, but that arguement will never fly. Having an ego and an inflated sense of self worth is never a legitimate arguement. Al Sharpton hit the nail on the head when he said “There was a time when woman not having the right to vote was acceptable, or that blacks had to go to the back of the bus. A lot of things were acceptable, until we decided to stop accepting them.” On that note, these old, ignorant, antiquated beliefs are no longer accepted to us as a society. If some people want to involve themselves in an organized religion that teaches these beliefs, that is their right, but don’t assume that we all believe in them or that we all agree with or take part in organized religion. A woman’s right to choose is not only the right belief, in my opinion, it is also the LAW. If you don’t agree with the law, I guess you had better just get over it, period. As far as gay marriage, who gave anyone else the right to decide who should and should not be able to get married? Get over yourselves. I think that If you believe in the bible, you should be more worried about who is getting divorced and remarried several times over. Isn’t the bible against that as well? That’s a rhetorical question.

  31. Laurie Anthony says:

    Good grief, don’t you have anything better to do than come back on here and try to stir up these old, stale arguments?? LOL!

  32. Ryan says:

    Laurie, I’m sorry, I was under the impression that the box at the bottom of the screen was for people to leave comments. What’s the matter, do differing opinions hurt your fragile sense of self worth? Let’s just agree that i can and will voice my opinion, and that you have no say in the matter. So how about you save your childish attempts at insulting me. Or do you not have anything better to do than show how fragile your sensibilities are that you can’t handle someone voicing an opinion that may differ from yours?

  33. Ryan says:

    If you are looking for me to prove my views on the religious right being arrogant, I can do that. For starters, last summer I had a guy come to my house attempting to push his Christian beliefs on me. Let’s just say he failed. He could have just knocked on the door then left when no one answered, but he had to push it, so he walks around the house into my back yard. That’s when I noticed him, trespassing on private property, I might add. He then went into his speech about the bible, because the fact that he believes it wasn’t good enough, he needed justification. He left disappointed. He was a nice enough guy, but what right did he have walking around my house, looking through the windows? None. Then just today I get a DVD in the mail from some guy downstate called “America and God,” with a letter telling me that he’s not trying to push religion on me. Who is he trying to fool, of course he’s trying to push his religion on me. He sent me a DVD called “America and god!” which went directly in the garbage, because I won’t be told what to believe by anyone, period. If eight years of catholic school didn’t convince me, these self righteous fools aren’t going to. So I say again, organized religion is full of self righteous know-it-alls with beliefs that are self serving and, more importantly, wrong. No one can tell someone else (a woman, for instance) what they can and can’t do with their bodies. Abortion is legal, those who believe that it shouldn’t be are in the minority, end of discussion. No one can tell someone else (like gays and lesbians) that they can’t get married because the bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. Believe it or not, many people could care less what tje bible says. The bible also says that divorce is wrong. How many of these dictator religious people have been divorced? Save your speeches and your self righteous attitudes, religious Hypocrites.

  34. Ryan says:

    I suppose Laurie lives in a world where people can take a letter someone wrote to a newspaper and, in a cowardly fashion, dedicate an entire page on their website to saying that person is wrong without the person knowing to defend themselves, then have his equally cowardly friends insult the person when he finds the website, by chance, and defends his position. Real mature. Who doesn’t have anything better to do with their time, now? What a bunch of spineless garbage.

  35. Laurie Anthony says:

    Sorry, Ryan, but your insults are just rolling off my back – I truly find it funny that you’ve come back here trying to start a fight.

  36. Laurie Anthony says:

    Hey, Byron! Nice to see you back too!

  37. Ryan says:

    Laurie, They aren’t insults, they’re facts. And your comment is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black. And as far as trying to start a fight, that’s your take on the issue, and an obvious attempt at spinning the discussion in a way that suits your needs and tries to make you look like the bigger person. It failed, but nice try. No one put a gun to your head and made you respond to my comments. If you had anything better to do yourself, you wouldn’t continue to come back and respond to what I say here. Also, if you can’t handle the facts, that’s your problem, not mine. Facts don’t change just because people are ignorant of them. Welcome to reality.

  38. Laurie Anthony says:

    You call this a discussion? Looks to me like you just want to rant. So rant away, if it makes you feel better.

  39. Ryan says:

    Laurie,
    Spoken like someone attempting to seem superior, and failing miserably. Like I said, no one is forcing you to respond to my comments, it’s your inflated ego that is causing you to continue to come back and put in your two cents, (which your opinion isn’t even worth) even as you pretend this is all beneath you. I also find it sad and humerous that the guy who started this by dedicating an entire page on my letter is now silent. If you don’t like what I’m saying, ignore it. That is your only option here. As i said before, whether or not i comment here is not up to you, and never will be. If you want to continue having an arguement that you’ll never win, that’s up to you, but your sad attempts at looking mature while engaging in childish behavior us a joke. What would make me feel better would be both you and Byron to get over yourselves. Believing in something blindly doesn’t make you better, it makes you gullible.

    • Byron says:

      I have been silent because I feel we pretty much exhausted the topics upon which we spoke earlier. I’m not sure I have anything further to add to the discussion.

  40. Ryan says:

    It makes no difference to me what you think, Laurie. Honestly, this was originally a discussion between Byron and I, until you and some others decided to butt in, so don’t act superior now. No one asked for your opinion, you decided to engage me on your own, which makes you as guilty as I am of wanting to ‘rant.’ You are a typical egotist who only sees what you want to see and hears what you want to hear, ignoring the facts that are inconvienant to your arguement. If you don’t like what I have to say, I have an idea…piss off.

  41. Laurie Anthony says:

    Ok Ryan, I will leave you alone. Have fun doing whatever you’re doing here.

  42. Ryan says:

    I will, Laurie. And you’re not ‘leaving me alone,’ that would imply that you had any impact on me. You never did. You also have fun continuing doing whatever you do when you aren’t on this site acting superior and engaging in arguments by your own free will, then acting like the arguement that you chose to continue having is beneath you. In short, living in a dream world where facts and logic don’t matter.

  43. Ryan says:

    Fair enough, Byron

  44. Ryan says:

    What is with the religious right insisting that there is a “war on Christianity?” since when did thinking for yourself and having a differing opinion amount to “attacking Christianity?” this is just another example of religious people being needy for attention. You have G.O.P. Presidential candidates like Rick Santorum saying things like “the president is forcing his views on people.” if anyone is forcing their views on people, it’s Christians, who pretend that Creationism or intelligent design is science and should be taught in public schools. These are the same people who talk about morals, regardless of how many times they have been divorced, or tell woman what they can and can’t do with their own bodies even though they have zero say on the matter. And aren’t these priests in the catholic church who preach about morals the same ones who are in trouble for having sex with little boys? There’s your moral superiority. What a joke. And now it’s all about contraception. These religious people are up in arms about Catholic hospitals having to give out birth control to woman. Who says that these doctors and nurses are even Christians? Maybe they just want to practice medicine and have no religious beliefs at all. Just because a hospital is called St. Hostile or Sy. Jude’s doesn’t mean that every person who works there is a Christian. It’s all just a bunch of hypocrisy from tje right, as usual.

  45. Ryan says:

    Typos:

    St. Joes or St. Jude’s

    the right

  46. Ryan says:

    I’ll also add to my previous comments that there is even one doctor or nurse in any ‘catholic’ hospital who doesn’t consider themselves to be catholic or christian, but who just wants to practice medicine and has no problem with birth control, then not allowing those doctors and nurses to provide birth control is forcing your Christian beliefs on them. That is the very defination of forcing tour beliefs on people. I have always believed, and still believe, that the two things that Christians can’t get through their thick skulls are that not everyone believes what tjey believe, and that believing in any religion doesn’t automatically make you right. Never has, never will.

  47. Ryan says:

    You have to love Sen. Mitch McConnell’s latest comments that “the government doesn’t get to decide what religious people’s religious beliefs are, they get to decide that.” this coming from a guy who believes that these same religious people should be able to decide for woman what they can and can not do with their own bodies, or whether or not the L.G.B.T. community should have the right to get married, or adopt children. I guess that old Mitch believes that only religious people have the right to make decisions for themselves. Hypocrite much?

  48. Ryan says:

    The latest in Republican hypocrisy has to be the religious right complaining that, in Sen. Mitch McConnell’s words “The government shouldn’t get to decide for religious people what their religious beliefs are, they should decide that.” At the same time, the Governor of Virginia is preparing to sign a bill forcing any woman who wants to get an abortion to have a transvaginal ultrasound, whether she wants one or not. So apparently to the religious right, no one should be able to tell them anything that goes against their religious beliefs, but they are free to force those same religious beliefs on woman and tell them what to do. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. Then there’s Gov. Chris Xhristie of New Jersey, who vetoed a bill legalizing gay marriage, because it went against his religious beliefs. Beliefs, I might add, that not everyone agrees with. So republicans can force their religious beliefs on others and tell them how to love their lives, but no one Had ever tell them how to live their lives, what a double standard.

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