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← Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

Mark Jones's Avatar Jump to comment 275 by Mark Jones

Comment 272 by Peanuts

Keep a sense of perspective, I beg of you. Be tolerant. The mission statement of this website advocates tolerance, but there are many days when I see very little of it reflected in the comments posted here.

Comment 273 by Peanuts

Why do we deplore the Muslim destruction of the Bamiyan statues? We don't share the beliefs that led to their creation, but we recognise that they are symbols of cultural significance, and that their wanton destruction is not just an act of barbarity but a declaration of intolerance.

One of the problems in our theist dominated societies is to counter sentiments like this, which imply that commenters on an internet forum are being intolerant simply by supporting secularism. That does not follow at all, but it's certainly in the interests of theists with a theocratic bent to encourage this view among the population. To compare the removal of a cross from public property with the destruction of the Bamiyan statues, however, is an indication of the success of this meme. It fails to draw a distinction between the actions of an authoritarian theocratic government to crush opposing philosophies and force the imposition of one philosophy over all others, and the actions of a democratic secular government to ensure religious neutrality in the public forum to prevent the imposition of one philosophy over all others.

That's really unhelpful. Rather than accusing secularists of barbarity and intolerance, it would be better to suggest solutions that satisfy the law while showing due care and concern for any symbols that some consider sacrosanct. And the reason for this is not because it crushes religious freedom, but because it protects religious freedom.

Tue, 08 May 2012 15:47:54 UTC | #940550