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← Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

Mark Jones's Avatar Jump to comment 325 by Mark Jones

Comment 322 by Peanuts

Hmm, I'm still getting the impression that when you refer to "those who are in support of secularism in this case", you mean only those who have been posting in support of the FFRF's action against the war memorial. Apologies if I'm wrong, but the rest of this reply is based on that (mis?)understanding. As I think I've made clear, I think this whole case is an example of intolerance, so if you're asking which of the contributors to this thread on the side of action against the war memorial are NOT being intolerant, I would say that they are all supporting an intolerant action. But please read on because I think we are talking past each other in our use of terms.

Well, we're not really talking past each other; you're simply not addressing my objections. I am not discussing the FFRF action; I'm objecting to your hyperbole, and you've still not responded to that.

You've not answered my question perhaps because it highlights the bind you're in. As a supporter of secularism, you presumably agree that secularism is a system predicated on tolerance of multiple philosophies? And yet, in this case you are advocating a limit to secularism. You are advocating not enforcing secularism, a system installed because it delivers a tolerant society.

If those of us who share my stance on this are right in our view that fighting these little cases will make us seem intolerant and will therefore result in the loss of wider public support for the more serious issues, then we are in support of secularism in this case by trying to persuade people of the dangers of pursuing it. Because if we are right, then the cause of secularism will be better served by adopting our approach.

So you are now moderating your claim; you don't want secularists to seem intolerant, you don't want to lose wider public support for more important secularism. Fine, not too unreasonable; this could be grounds for a civilised conversation.

But, firstly, I invite you to re-read your previous comments and see how you've shifted to a less hyperbolic position. You accused those with whom you disagree (who are supporting a system designed to deliver a tolerant society, remember) of intolerance! And you compared the actions they support to the actions of the Taleban, an authoritarian, theocratic government which is anathema to secularists.

Secondly, that you think the action could lose 'wider public support' is more evidence of the problem I'm highlighting. That a pretty innocuous action like this could draw such barbed and overblown responses from self-professed atheists supports my point that we are victims of the theist-dominated societies in which we live. Why should something designed to be neutral to all sensibilities, designed to deliver a tolerant society, cause such a furore? Because too many are hypersensitive to religious sensibilities, perhaps. This was what I was commenting on, not the action itself. Maybe, as you think, this is too small a battle? Then, again, why the furore? That would suggest this is not too small a battle, wouldn't it?

I do wish those of you who support the FFRF's actions in this case would at least recognise that you don't have a monopoly on support for secularism.

Of course not; I've not even expressed an opinion on the FFRF's actions. But let me remind you that it was you who accused those who support a secular act of being intolerant and Taleban-like.

Wed, 09 May 2012 20:36:51 UTC | #940769