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Secular society upset by Judge Cherie decision - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

I've written to the NSS to ask how we can help bring pressure to bear to have this vile woman disciplined. She is very clearly not fit to be a judge.
Richard

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:07:00 UTC | #438608

wthorlay's Avatar Comment 2 by wthorlay

How could it happen in a so called developed country? This is more likely to happen in the USA, a developed country as well. Shame on you.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:12:00 UTC | #438610

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 3 by Mitch Kahle

Unfortunately this also happens in the U.S., although the unethical judges are prone to saying "this boy is from a good family" (i.e., the perpetrator is Christian) so we'll let him off easy.

Also parole boards are often lenient when the convict is born-again Christian.

Of course the majority of US convicts are Christian when they commit their crimes.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:18:00 UTC | #438611

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 4 by Steve Zara

I'm stunned. This is clear and simple prejudice against non-believers.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:22:00 UTC | #438612

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 5 by bendigeidfran

Loathe her or hate her you can't deny she is disgusting.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:28:00 UTC | #438617

Harvatos's Avatar Comment 6 by Harvatos

That just piss me off!

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:29:00 UTC | #438618

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 7 by Cartomancer

Perhaps she is trying to set a judicial precedent for when her grinning prat of a husband goes for sentencing before the Chilcott enquiry...

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:30:00 UTC | #438619

SeculR's Avatar Comment 8 by SeculR

I keep reading her statement to see if there might be any way that its meaning could be misinterpreted, but it appears to be unequivocal. It is without logic and deeply offensive.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:33:00 UTC | #438621

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 9 by mordacious1

Hmmm...she just stated out loud what many judges base their decisions on, so she's less hypocritical. It's the old "I'm shocked, shocked that there's gambling going on here". "Here's your winnings sir". "Oh, thank you".

If Blair would have just stuck to the no-past-history-of-crime and kept her comments on religion to herself (as a smart judge would do) she'd be fine. Her main problem here was stupidity.

As Mitch stated, many prisoners become "born again" knowing they will get released earlier. If they're already religious, they sure bring that up.

[edited slightly]

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:35:00 UTC | #438622

wiz5's Avatar Comment 10 by wiz5

I'm hoping it was only a poor choice of words.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:36:00 UTC | #438623

sjsh's Avatar Comment 11 by sjsh

>The 25-year-old from Redbridge, north-east London, was given a two-year suspended sentence instead of a six-month jail term because, Mrs Blair said, he was a “religious person” who had not been in trouble before.

So if she had been the Judge in the 7 July 2005 London bombings trial, would she have let them off lightly because they are religious people too?

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:37:00 UTC | #438624

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 12 by Mark Jones

Jack of Kent, the noted legal blogger, has been tweeting to the effect that there is no evidence of discrimination here, which intrigues me, since I would have thought prima facie there is surely a case to answer. He has expanded his thoughts here.

I'm still not clear how he has arrived at his position, but I *think* he may be saying that because there is no *explicit* discrimination against atheists (a raft of cases where Judge Booth has thrown the book at heathens) the *implicit* favouring of the 'religious' in what she said is not evidence. A snippet:


An allegation of discrimination needs more than an "implication" of words which may not even be reported correctly or may even be taken out of context.

But I don't want to put words in his mouth, so read what he says and decide for yourselves.

My feeling is that it's *possible* that the judge has had submitted various good works the defendant has undertaken in his religious community, so what she says is just an unfortunate shorthand for this mitigation. Obviously if he's just said 'I pray a lot, your 'onour!', I would consider that implicit discrimination against the irreligious.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:38:00 UTC | #438625

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 13 by PrimeNumbers

Shouldn't being religious and committing such a violent crime make your sentence longer because obviously religion isn't making you "good" as it's meant to, and you obviously need the sterner stuff of jail?

Indeed Richard, that scary women is quite vile.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:49:00 UTC | #438626

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 14 by God fearing Atheist

1. Comment #458208 by Richard Dawkins


I hope RD lives up to his avatar - "the most dangerous man in Britain today". Cherry Blair's bias is a good high profile target.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:50:00 UTC | #438627

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 15 by bendigeidfran

I didn't know she was a judge - what next? Martin McGuinness for education?

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:06:00 UTC | #438630

Clairebear's Avatar Comment 16 by Clairebear

He punched a man and broke his jaw over a quarrel in a bank. That's clearly some kind of personality disorder or anger problem. Blair's comments are ambiguous, she may have meant that he was religious and therefore ought to be let off lightly, or she might (as I suspect) have let him off anyway and was simply mentioning religion superficially. But why mention religion at all, is my question. Surely that sort of action reflects more on what kind of a person he is than ANY label - sikh, christian, liberal, socialist, etc. etc. It doesn't seem likely that a judge would end up describing a defendant as 'a decent secular humanist who has done nothing wrong before', or a 'decent wiccan who has done no harm in the past'. People would rightly say, 'what does the fact that she is a wiccan or a humanist have to do with it?'

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:19:00 UTC | #438633

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

Comment #458234 by Clairebear

The way I see it is that Cherie Blair in a position where she is supposed to have a clear understanding of the use of language. If there were any ambiguity, that is still a serious problem.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:25:00 UTC | #438635

j.mills's Avatar Comment 19 by j.mills

Yeah, like PrimeNumbers, I'm baffled as to how she can believe that being religious makes him morally admirable: he'd just come from the mosque, and his religion didn't stop him attacking his victim in the first place! What good is it?

Furthermore, what's with the tacit implication that any religion is better than none? This guy's a muslim, she's a catholic: yet she's giving him credit for believing, without evidence, things that flatly contradict the things that she believes, without evidence. "I believe jesus was god and died for our sins. Because you strongly don't believe that, I'm going to let you off." WTF?

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:26:00 UTC | #438637

JonathanWest's Avatar Comment 18 by JonathanWest

If you want to entertainment on this pop over to see what Andrew Brown has been saying about it.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/feb/04/religion-cherieblair

In essence, he has been claiming that the NSS is demanding that religious people get longer sentences.

In Sanderson's world, judges should say things like "Although you have no previous convictions, you are none the less a follower of Pope Benedict XVI and so unable to tell right from wrong. I therefore find myself compelled to impose a custodial sentence"

He has of course been thoroughly hammered in the comments, to the extent that the Guardian has had to close the thread overnight.

I've put in a complaint to the editors, on the What do you want to talk about? thread.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/04/you-tell-us

I've complained that AB has broken the community guidelines which the Guardian expects all below-the-line commenters to abide by, that he's making up facts, that he's engaging in personal attacks, and that he is very much in the habit of targeting prominent atheists in this way. Do come over and lend your support.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:26:00 UTC | #438636

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 20 by Steve Zara

Comment #458238 by JonathanWest

Brown writes:

For Sanderson and those who think like him, being a devout believer is quite the opposite. It's evidence of bad character.

Eh? This is simply trolling.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:36:00 UTC | #438639

Friend Giskard's Avatar Comment 21 by Friend Giskard

A.C. Grayling was debating this on PM tonight (starts at 33 minutes)

http://tinyurl.com/ydqof4m

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:40:00 UTC | #438640

JonathanWest's Avatar Comment 22 by JonathanWest

Steve Zara

My thoughts entirely. I described it as such in my post in the other thread I mentioned.

In other words he's up to his old tricks again.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:41:00 UTC | #438641

bethe123's Avatar Comment 23 by bethe123

She can be accused of poor judgment.

Of course a judge can take a person's character into account, which is exactly what she did. The problem is she made an unbelievably bad error in equating "religious" to "good character". If she equates “religious” to “good”, as it appears she is doing, what does she equate “non-religious” to?

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:42:00 UTC | #438642

Danish's Avatar Comment 24 by Danish

You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.


It seems to me that it's not just religious discrimination at play here. The judge reasoned that he knew he was doing something wrong. If anything that ought to count against him.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:49:00 UTC | #438643

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 25 by Bernard Hurley

Atheist hits Religious: Well that just shows how evil these atheists are - throw the book at him!


Religious hits Atheist: We have to be lenient, after all he must really be of good character.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 03:04:00 UTC | #438653

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 26 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Oh yeah, Judge's decision makes sense... because devout Muslims have never done anything violent!

Julie

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 03:43:00 UTC | #438661

lesmwill's Avatar Comment 27 by lesmwill

Imagine this:

"I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are an atheist and have not been in trouble before,” she said. “You caused a mild fracture to the jaw of a member of the public standing in a queue at Lloyds Bank. You are a reasoning, intelligent man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.”

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 03:45:00 UTC | #438662

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 28 by InYourFaceNewYorker

If only... if only.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 03:46:00 UTC | #438664

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 29 by chewedbarber

Christ, I feel like I live in a cave, a judge being punished for admitting to leniency for the religious is that foreign to me. –good work

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 04:00:00 UTC | #438666

ghuckin's Avatar Comment 30 by ghuckin

You've got this all wrong. It's perfectly permissible to break a person's jaw if they try to steal your place in a bank line-up. It says it right here in the quran, two lines above the bit about flying planes into buildings.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 04:15:00 UTC | #438667